Riding the Avalanche – Draft Literacy

Learning to read is an important part of any education, including MTG draft. Now that I’ve had some success drafting all five colors in Scars, I really want to focus on reading the draft more and avoiding early color commitment. This has the advantage of allowing me to really focus on artifacts with my early picks, ensuring that I end up with the number of artifacts I really want: 16-20. Not only will I have high quality artifacts because I used my highest picks on them, but I will also have a number of excellent colored cards because I should be in excellent colors for my seat.

Pack 1 pick 1:


As usual, it’s good to start the draft with a powerful artifact. This is especially important when you want to read colors and not force them. If a potential bomb like the Mantle wasn’t here, I would be perfectly happy with the Steed. Arrest and Galvanic Blast would make great first picks if I knew my colors.

The Draft

My Pick:

nim deathmantle

Pack 1 pick 2:

Another potential bomb artifact makes an easy second pick. The next best card is Lifestaff.


My Pick:

golem artisan

Pack 1 pick 3:


A great third pick. This is especially true since I expect to get plenty of artifacts using this strategy. The Revoke Existence suggests I might be in a good seat for white, and if Relic wasn’t so good I’d be tempted to take it.

My Pick:

rusted relic

Pack 1 pick 4:


–> Iron Myr


The Warden continues to suggest white, but I stick to the plan and take a solid artifact.

My Pick:

iron myr

Pack 1 pick 5:

–> Flameborn Hellion


Here my plan hits a snag, since I don’t really like main decking any of these cards. I take the Hellion because sometimes you just have to smash face.

My Pick:

Flameborn Hellion

Pack 1 pick 6:

[draft]–> Copper Myr


Barrage Ogre is tempting, but there is still a good artifact that’s going straight into my deck.

My Pick:

copper myr

Pack 1 pick 7:



I generally consider Panic Spellbomb a red card, so it’s about the replicas. Not sure which is better in a vacuum, but I err on the side of aggression.

My Pick:


vulshok replica 

Pack 1 pick 8:

–> Myr Galvanizer


My myr picks look a little better, as I luck into an eighth pick Galvanizer. Perhaps black is available in this seat?

My Pick:


myr galvanizer 

Pack 1 pick 9:

–> Neurok Replica


Whether I treat it as a colored card or an artifact, I think the Replica is the best card here. Now I have reasons to consider blue and red.

My Pick:

neurok replica

Pack 1 pick 10:

–> Trigon of Mending


A potential sideboard card in a weak pack.

My pick:


trigon of mending 

Pack 1 pick 11:

Turn Aside
–> Salvage Scout


Potentially playable, but I’d rather not.

My pick:


salvage scout 

Pack 1 pick 12:

–> Soliton


I’m fine main decking this guy, especially if I go blue, but the rest of pack one was meaningless.



Pack 2 pick 1:

–> Mimic Vat


A rare I seem to open frequently; at least I’ve played with it enough to know it’s fantastic. Shatter is the next best card in the pack and the Rust Tick is the next best artifact, although my [card myr galvanizer]Galvanizer[/card] would love for me to take the Myr.

My Pick:


mimic vat 

Pack 2 pick 2:

–> Sylvok Lifestaff


If I didn’t already have three good late game cards to sink my mana into: Vat, Golem, and Deathmantle, I might take the Trigon. Since I do, the Lifestaff is definitely the pick. Lots of good colored cards, so it will be interesting to see which one comes back to me.

My Pick:


sylvok lifestaff 

Pack 2 pick 3:


I wouldn’t main deck any of these artifacts in a metalcraft deck, so it’s time for my first serious colored pick. Frankly, the Forger is the only card I like in the pack, period.

My Pick:


carapace forger 

Pack 2 pick 4:

–> Vulshok Replica


Still keeping my colors open, I take an okay three drop. Trinket Mage may have been a better pick anyway though.

My Pick:


vulshok replica 

Pack 2 pick 5:

–> Snapsail Glider


Quite happy with a Glider here. The Tanglewurm is tempting, since I’m leaning towards green.

My Pick:


snapsail glider 

Pack 2 pick 6:

–> Kuldotha Rebirth


An awful pack. I take the Rebirth because the [card vulshok replica]Vulshok Replicas[/card] have me considering Red.

My Pick:


kuldotha rebirth 

Pack 2 pick 7:

–> Bleak Coven Vampires


I love Vampires, I’ve been stockpiling artifacts and I don’t feel color committed yet. The Geargrabber is the only other card here I might consider.

My Pick:


bleak coven vampires 

Pack 2 pick 8:

–> Origin Spellbomb


I might be in a good white seat and I have a [card myr galvanizer]Galvanizer[/card], plus I don’t like the rest of the pack.

My Pick:


origin spellbomb 

Pack 2 pick 9:

–> Alpha Tyrranax


Easily the best card in the pack, and in a color I’m leaning towards.

My Pick:


alpha tyrranax 

Pack 2 pick 10:

–> Vedalken Certarch


I’m not a huge fan of blue/green, but it’s the best card here for a metalcraft deck. The rest of pack two was garbage.

My Pick:

vedalken certarch

Pack 3 pick 1:

–> Myr Galvanizer
Fulgent Distraction

Obviously not nearly as exciting as my first picks in packs one and two, but it’s a good fit for my deck. The Spellbomb, the Spider and the Drake are the cards I’m next most interested in.

My Pick:


myr galvanizer 

Pack 3 pick 2:

–> Bladed Pinions


Probably the toughest pick of the draft for me. The best cards in the pack are Myrsmith, Grasp of Darkness and Untamed Might. Unfortunately, given that I’m still not locked into colors, there is a very real chance this pick could be wasted. As a result, I end up settling for a lesser card, Bladed Pinions, that’s guaranteed to make the cut and that’s a really good fit for my deck, especially with cards like Rusted Relic and Carapace Forger.

My Pick:


bladed pinions 

Pack 3 pick 3:

–> Carapace Forger


I don’t really need any more mana-myrs, so it comes down to either Revoke Existence or Carapace Forger. Since I already have one Forger, I continue to go green.

My Pick:


carapace forger 

Pack 3 pick 4:

–> Perilous Myr


Another mind boggling pick. The cards I consider are Might, Myr, Blast and Conviction. It comes down to Might and Myr because I’m sure they’ll make the deck. I go with the Myr because of the two Galvanizers.

My Pick:


perilous myr 

Pack 3 pick 5:

–> Copper Myr


Once again my Galvanizers put the Myr ahead, this time instead of Sentinel.

My Pick:


copper myr 

Pack 3 pick 6:

–> Molder Beast


I take the Beast over the Drake because I feel more likely to play green than blue.

My Pick:


molder beast 

Pack 3 pick 7:

Melt Terrain
–> Necrogen Censer


A weak pack, I take the card that would go best in an aggressive metalcraft deck.

My Pick:


necrogen censer 

Pack 3 pick 8:

–> Lumengrid Drake