Four more drafts in, I managed my second 3-0 in Kaladesh block. This was my deck:
The good old mixture of strong creatures and a lot of removal, with quite a bit of incidental lifegain (which proved very helpful), and on a rather high power level overall. Both the curve and distribution of mana were just a tad bit clunky, but I got lucky enough to have no unkeepable draws and had my less promising draws develop nicely. A good variety of decent sideboard options rounded out a strong, but still far from perfect deck.
Since there isn’t much else to say here, let me take the opportunity to talk about something vaguely related: Between the releases of Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, I drafted very little. That was due to a number of reasons, most of which had nothing to do with Magic, but one of those reasons was that I disliked (and still dislike) draft leagues. I of course see the obvious advantages of largely eliminating waiting periods and the ability to budget your playing times, but I just miss real drafting. To recap the essential differences:
- Playing cross-pod means that you will get paired against people who drafted at tables with different draft dynamics and different card pool power levels. You might have drafted the best possible deck at your table and still face opponents with superior decks.
This also means that hatedrafting becomes essentially irrelevant. While beginning players tend to vastly overvalue hating cards, intermediate players often give up a non-negligible amount of win percentage points by refusing to do it. (Once you need no longer to care about signalling, there is absolutely no advantage in taking a card in your colors which you will not play over a stronger card which you cannot play.) Eliminating the point of hatedrafting not only takes some skill away, it also reduces the number of picks which matter.
Memorizing which cards you passed – and to whom – can inform your decisions when you play an opponent from your table. In cross-pod drafting, this is yet another bit of skill that is lost.
Because of all this, cross-pod drafting is poor practice for real-life drafting.
Certainly, the majority of players doesn’t really care, but some, like me, do, and yet we do not get a split of draft tournaments and leagues offered. Instead WotC convert any and all draft formats where the critical mass of players makes this possible into leagues, and even though they claim to care for different players’ needs, they just don’t give a fuck about fans of real drafting, for one simple reason: Eliminating waiting times means that people can (and will) enter more drafts, which means they pay more entry fees, which makes WotC more money.
That’s all there is to it. It is also why they insist on keeping a single elimination draft league around, although that format is clearly unpopular; and it is why they are toying around with the abomination which the single-game league is. It’s all about giving you as little playing time per entry fee as possible. Everything else is just smokes and mirrors.