I make no secret of my love of Booster Draft. So when ChannelFireball decided to expand Pick 1 Pack 1 and offer me a role, I was honored to join Huey in cracking some packs. No need for me to offer much explanation on this one—I’ll just be following his awesome format.
I really like this card. It’s quality removal that offers a valuable positive effect if you don’t need to kill anything just yet. It’s rare that you should skip playing something for a turn to get a drain for 1—just view it as a bonus if you have the mana to spend. Also, since black has Dhund Operative and Foundry Screecher as pretty good commons, black decks tend to care about having artifacts.
B/W Servos is the best home for this card, as you just keep making Servos and draining them for 1, and then kill your opponent’s best creature when you are ready to charge. It’s also quite nice for U/B artifact control decks and R/B artifact-based aggro decks, which in addition to those black commons have Gearseeker Serpents and Salivating Gremlins, respectively.
The only black deck I don’t really love this card in is B/G. There you don’t generally have many artifacts or Servos because you’d rather leave the counters on your creatures from cards like Armorcraft Judge and Fairgrounds Trumpeter.
Honorable Mention: Thriving Rhino.
This is green’s best common and green is the best color in the set. That is a little deceptive because green is the best because of its plethora of strong commons and not because of the massive power of the Rhino, but Rhino is still very good. It’s easy to have a few extra energy from an Attune with Aether or another energy creature, and Rhino offers a 3/4 attacker on turn 4 and the ability to continue growing and never end up blanked by mid/late game creatures. One of the main things I look for from cheap creatures in Booster Draft is their ability to remain useful as the game progresses—the Rhino can often deliver on that, and all for the bargain value of 2G.
This rare can range from great to just moderately good depending on your ability to produce energy. A lot of the time it will just be good, but because of the 3 energy it gives you to feed itself, it will almost never be bad. Since it’s both an artifact and the type of card that is a good in any deck, this makes it a clear first pick here, even if it’s “just” good and not a powerful enough rare to be considered broken. Don’t force energy just because you start out with the Wonder. Draft whatever is available and prioritize energy cards a little higher.
Honorable Mention: Iron League Steed.
This pick is very close with Hunt the Weak. Hunt the Weak is a better card and I could almost never imagine being green already and taking Iron League Steed over Hunt the Weak. While you should definitely be willing to take powerful cards in a color or even powerful gold cards over more flexible cards if they are strong enough, I don’t think the power difference between Hunt the Weak and Iron League Steed is high enough to merit taking the green card over the artifact. Iron League Steed isn’t an incredible rate, but it is very flexible. If the opponent has a 3/2, you can make a 2/2 and 1/1 and put their 3/2 in an awkward spot. If they have a 2/3, you can make a 3/3 and attack for 3 or stop them from being able to attack. It’s a nice, flexible card, but a powerful second pick.
I really like this card. If you take it pick 1 and you’re seeing blue, you should almost always be drawing 2 cards a turn whenever you draw and cast Padeem since you should be prioritizing artifacts during the draft. Especially convenient is Dukhara Peafowl. It’s a 4-casting-cost artifact that blocks well and is in the same color as Padeem. Card draw can win a game, but suffers from not impacting the board the turn you play it. Padeem offers 4 toughness for 4 mana. That is a good rate as far as blocking goes, and the 1 power isn’t much of a liability. If you are drawing 2 cards a turn, you can win the game through card advantage, so blocking becomes a lot more important than attacking, which in turn means toughness becomes more important than power. I also find blue to be the most controlling color in Kaladesh, so Padeem provides a cheap and efficient win condition for the color that already wants to block.
Honorable Mention: Tidy Conclusion.
This pick was close between Tidy Conclusion and Thriving Rhino. I don’t think inefficient removal like Tidy Conclusion is all that powerful in Kaladesh, but Tidy Conclusion being an instant and gaining life nudges it just past Rhino for me. It’s worth noting that if I was already green and black, I would usually take the Rhino. It fits nicely in that deck due to its counter synergy and that deck already has a high power level since it’s green. I think it is more important that a B/G draft deck is able to play powerful 3-drop creatures than answer big threats. But pick 1 pack 1, I like the Conclusion because I think it offers more as a curve topper for aggressive black, red, and black-white Servo decks than Rhino offers as
a powerful 3-drop for most green decks. Green decks don’t struggle for power since green is absolutely stacked with powerful green creatures at common in Kaladesh (Peema Outrider, Thriving Rhino, Riparian Tiger).
The answer that I know will please Reid Duke. I don’t think this card is amazing, but it is good. This pack, on the other hand, is not. I’ve found Reprisal to usually kill a 2- or 3-mana creature and deal 2 to the opponent or get a Servo. That’s not terrible, but it’s not a great rate either. Once in a while you do get the full blowout though and kill a Maulfist Squad (counter on of course), and a Dhund Operative. Red is the most aggressive color in the format so the 2 points of reach can even be nice too.
Honorable Mention: Sky Skiff.
As I said, this pack is bad. I like Sky Skiff a lot in white decks. It’s also cool that if you get multiples you can start drafting Night Market Lookouts. That’s not a joke—I wouldn’t start taking them too aggressively, but I do think Night Market Lookout becomes a playable in most decks if you have 3+ crew 1 Vehicles. Cheap evasion is also what most aggressive decks want and it is an artifact for those synergies too. It’s a good common but a really bad first pick.
An enchantment that lets you draw an extra card every turn for the rest of the game is pretty good in every type of black deck. The only trick to it is you don’t want to play it too early. Usually I play every good card in my hand first, then I try to deploy it on turn 6 or 7 when I have a few cards left. You don’t need to empty your hand per se, but playing it on turn 4 over a different 4-drop will usually be a mistake. This card is right around dead average for what a first pick should be in terms of quality. It’s not broken but it’s a solid early pick.
Honorable Mention: Bomat Bazaar Barge.
It’s nice that you can play artifacts in any deck, but crew 3 is pretty bad in control. Your early creatures often don’t have a lot of power and you aren’t getting an extra blocker the turn you play this even if you can crew it. On the other hand, if you have a green or red deck that can crew this easily and is on the offensive, you get a 5/5 for 4 mana that draws a card when it comes into play. That’s a pretty fantastic card.
Those two extremes make for a high-variance inclusion. Sometimes it’s instrumental in winning the game, and other times you might have won if you had drawn a vanilla Hill Giant instead. But while that is what prevents it from being great, it’s still a solid artifact that can go into a lot of different decks. I’m pretty unhappy with first picking this card but 2nd/3rd pick is about right for pack 1.
As usual, I appreciate any constructive feedback I can get, especially on something new, so that ultimately I can produce the best content I’m capable of. Thanks, and happy drafting.