Pack #1

My Pick

 District Guide

I don’t like green, but I think this pack is pretty weak. I don’t mind picking the more powerful card because I’m not missing out on a whole lot, even though I know that I’m not as likely to play it specifically as some of the other cards. District Guide is a bit worse now than Civic Wayfinder was in Ravnica, and not only because it’s green but also because there’s a lot of fixing (it’s very rare that I want to splash and can’t), but it does enable some 4- or 5-color decks, and it’s OK with both of the green mechanics.

Second Pick: Healer’s Hawk

Hawk is quite underrated, even still. Everyone understands that it’s “better than normal” since it can help with early convokes and there’s mentor to make it bigger, but I think it’s an actively good card rather than a playable. I see a lot of people that don’t play Hawk in their Boros decks if they don’t have cheap mentor, for example, but a lot of Boros games come down to racing, so having a flying, lifelinker is pretty good. Even if you don’t have much mentor or your mentor creatures are more beefy, there’s still a lot of pump in the set, which makes a flying, lifelinker better. If everything else fails, you can always try to put Maniacal Rage on it and cheese people out.


Pack #2

My Pick

 Wojek Bodyguard

The first thing that catches the eye in this pack is how heavy red it is—the best cards are all red. Some people take this as a reason to avoid red—ship all of it and let your neighbors fight—but I don’t really subscribe to this philosophy. I think you should take the better card unless the difference is negligible (and here it isn’t). This is even more true in a guild-based format because while it’s true that three people in a row might be red, if you’re Boros and they’re both Izzet, then it’s like you’re a different color from the other two.

Of the red cards, Wojek Bodyguard is the best. 3/3 is actually pretty big, and there’s no shortage of 2-power attackers to boost. The best part is that those 2-power attackers often also have mentor, so they in turn pump something else. I’m happy with this card in aggro Izzet and very happy with it in Boros. I think it’s the best red common.

Second Pick: Direct Current

Direct Current is pretty good. It’s better than Bodyguard in some Izzet decks (and a lot better in the control versions that aren’t actually interested in attacking), but it’s also much weaker in Boros, where a pump spell often does something similar. Izzet has more “spells-matter” and wants the damage to the face more since the deck is a lot about “sneaking damage through,” but Boros decks win with overwhelming board presence more than burning people out.

I think both these cards are better than the 5-drop alternatives because this set is full of good 5-drops and you’re never in need of them.


Pack #3

My Pick

 Boros Challenger

This pack is basically “rank the three Boros cards,” just as the previous one was rank the red cards. I think it’s really close between Skyknight Legionnaire and Boros Challenger, but the upside on Boros Challenger is so high. There aren’t a lot of 1-power creatures for you to mentor (though some of the ones that exist are really good targets), but the fact that you can pay 4 mana and mentor on a 2-power creature is incredible.

Second Pick: Skyknight Legionnaire

I like Legionnaire more than Legion Guildmage because mentoring up your flyer is really good. Legion Guildmage is certainly a good card, and I wouldn’t be unhappy to pick it (and I think it might be correct to do in some other formats), but the main thing that pushes Skyknight Legionnaire above it is that this set has a lot of 2-drops. If you’re Boros, you have Vernadi Shieldmate, Skyline Scout, Fresh-Faced Recruit, Ornery Goblin, Goblin Locksmith, and Tenth District Guard, all at common! I’m a 2-drop maniac and even I have been cutting 2-drops from my decks in this format because there are so many. Obviously, Legion Guildmage is better than all of those, but one of its advantages over Skyknight Legionnaire is that you can play it on turn 2, and if you’re almost never going to need to do that because you’ll always have another 2-drop anyway, then you’d rather play Skyknight Legionnaire on turns 3 or 4.

Of course, you might read this and ask, “but isn’t it the same for Boros Challenger, which is also a 2-drop?” and yes, it is, but I think Boros Challenger is enough better than the other 2-drops that it’s worth taking it over the Legionnaire. I do think it’s very close and this pick could just be wrong.


Pack #4

My Pick

Trostani Discordant

I don’t love Selesnya, but Trostani Discordant is an incredible card. By itself it’s 5 power, 4 of which have lifelink, and it’s spread over three bodies, which is perfect for convoking or mentoring, and also very good versus the controlling Dimir and Izzet builds. I don’t usually start my Draft with a gold card but I think that Trostani Discordant is good enough.

Second Pick: Price of Fame

I think there are formats where Price of Fame would be my pick here—it’s a very good card. But I’ve often found myself with a lot of removal in my decks (or at least the ones that do want a lot of removal), so I don’t put a premium on it. It’s still going to be your first pick in the majority of cases since it’s a ridiculously powerful card that only costs a single black mana, but I think you can take the bomb over it.


Pack #5

My Pick

 Venerated Loxodon

This is a very good pack, but I think Venerated Loxodon is the best card. It fits very well into two decks, and it has both a very high ceiling and a very high floor. Short of just drawing no extra creatures, it’s going to be great, either because you speed up a 4/4 and put a +1/+1 counter on two of your creatures or because you played a free Glorious Anthem that came attached to a 4/4. Even if you draw no extra creatures it’s still a 4/4 for 5!

Second Pick: Nightveil Predator

Nightveil Predator is a bit of a restrictive card because of its mana cost, but I think that it’s the best of these AABB cards. It’s just so hard to beat—some decks in the format are mono-removal and fold to it, and even against aggro it can often be a brickwall. The absolute worst-case scenario with this card is that you trade it for their best creature, and the best-case scenario is that they can’t attack you and then you win with it. I think the effect is powerful enough to warrant picking this over Artful Takedown, even if Artful Takedown is more splashable.