I’m home from Japan, where I had the pleasure of playing two major Magic tournaments and two weeks of Magic with my Pantheon teammates. I’ve had a lot of time to gain more experience with Hour of Devastation Booster Draft, so hopefully I’ll be able to be more precise with my picks. Here are the packs:
Sand Strangler is one of the two best uncommons in the set (along with Struggle // Survive). The upside of a 3/3 for 4 that enters the battlefield to remove one of your opponent’s creatures is just obscene. It’s even better to get in the first pack, as now you can prioritize Deserts even higher than normal.
Honorable Mention: Farm // Market.
Farm without Market is already a pretty good card, better than Sandblast (which is also in the pack). I will definitely play it in any deck with white mana, and the fact that you occasionally get a blue Faithless Looting in the aftermath from Market is just an added bonus. Even if you don’t end up in a blue-white deck, you may have Desert synergies and want to play cards like Survivors’ Encampment or Painted Bluffs, which will make Market a realistic card to cast, and add a good deal of value.
This is, of course, a bomb rare. You can play it in literally any deck. Personally, I like to draft decks with a high number of cycling creatures. This will allow you to have a full graveyard as well as seeing a lot of cards and giving yourself a high chance to find the God-Pharaoh’s Gift.
Honorable Mention: Overcome.
I don’t like Overcome much. The green decks I want to draft are ramp decks, and don’t have a lot of little dorky creatures, which is what Overcome wants your deck to look like. But this pack is weak, and there aren’t a lot of other great options. I’d take Overcome and see about drafting some sort of U/G, W/G, or R/G Aggro deck. If my deck started to veer into another direction, though, I wouldn’t force it, as I don’t think Overcome is enough upside to end up with a mediocre deck otherwise.
After playing the format for a few weeks, I have changed my opinion of the best common. I originally thought it was Open Fire, or maybe Ambuscade, but now I think it’s Unquenchable Thirst. I tend to draft Deserts so highly that this is almost always a 2-mana removal spell. Even when it isn’t, I tend to play decks that block and take control, and I have not found it at all difficult to use Unquenchable Thrist to good effect, even in the rare scenarios where I don’t have a Desert.
Honorable Mention: Oketra’s Avenger.
Oketra’s Avenger is probably the best white common. It’s an efficient aggressive white creature that plays well in most white decks. It’s tough to block profitably when it takes no damage, although it can sometimes be shut down by Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs. I would be relatively unhappy to start a Draft with Oketra’s Avenger, but I’d do it in this case.
At face value, Champion of Wits is just an okay card. It’s a 3-mana 2/1 that lets you filter two cards from your hand. The real strength in Champion of Wits is the eternalize half. Considering that you hopefully get to trade the original card, and then spend 7 mana for a 4/4 that allows you to draw 4 cards while discarding only 2, this card accomplishes a lot. Good as a top end in both aggro or ramp decks, Champion of Wits will be a first pick out of almost every pack.
Honorable Mention: Farm // Market.
Farm // Market is the best card in the pack again here, basically for all the same reasons I mentioned—power, versatility, and upside.
Honorable Mention: Desert of the Glorified.
These are effectively the same card—it just happens that green is a better color. This is a format where you are not often short on playables. When you’re faced with a decision of choosing between Deserts and average cards, you should almost always take the Desert. Replacing a basic land with a Desert in your deck is going to provide so much more value than replacing a card that is a 5/10 with a card that is a 6/10. For that reason, I’d take either the Desert here over the Dauntless Aven or the Aerial Guide.
Thanks everyone for reading! Let me know what you think about the picks in the comments. I’ll be back soon with more packs!