An Uncommon Approach: Rareless Drafting Strixhaven Drafts 2 & 3

We could’ve had fun. We could’ve drafted good cards. This series could’ve been called “Reaping Rewards: Identifying the Open Draft Color” but noooooooo stupid Schaab wanted to do stupid Rareless Drafting. Who even wants to play multiple Dragonsguard Elites when you could have two Hunt for Specimens?

Ok so we passed some real bangers in this one and talking about the rares distracts nicely from the fact that several mistakes were made during the draft. Playing the blame game isn’t helpful, but since I was the only person present during the draft and gameplay, I will valiantly accept responsibility for the errors this time.

Honestly, I fell in to some traps and don’t love how I navigated the draft, resulting in a functional but flawed Witherbloom deck. Mistakes are wonderful learning opportunities though, and eager minds will find no shortage of them in this draft.

Let’s dissect some draft choices, review the thought process behind them, and learn from this author’s mistakes. Let’s Talk Limited!

Draft #2 – Witherbloom (3-3)

Full draft found here

What’s missing?

Don’t strain yourself. The answer is ways to interact with my opponent’s creatures, particularly cheap ways.

Let’s acknowledge a truth, fellow drafter – sometimes a draft concludes and you never had a realistic opportunity to address its flaws during the draft – that wasn’t the case this time. I had multiple opportunities to take cards that would’ve greatly improved this deck but passed them for various reasons. We won’t focus too much on the rares we could’ve had – that’s not why this deck only won 50% of its games – the reason this deck wasn’t more successful was suboptimal draft choices. And this isn’t just hindsight – I should’ve made different decisions with the information I had available at the time.

Pack 1 Pick 1

This was a choice between Emergent Sequence and Elemental Summoning for me. Study Break would’ve been the pick if I wanted to force White aggro every time, but the plan is to draft exactly like I normally would except for the rares. Emergent Sequence is a 2-drop that both ramps and fixes, and you can sign me up for a card like that pretty much every time.

Pack 1 Pick 3

This is the one that derailed me. In hindsight, it’s easy for me to imagine a Red drafter passing this Heated Debate. Maybe they started with Multiple Choice, second picked Igneous Inspiration, so here’s this Heated Debate pick 3. Sadly, I wasn’t thinking that way at the time. I weighed this signal far more heavily than I should have and it impacted my next few picks significantly.

Pack 1 Pick 4

Lash of Malice passed: One.

Knowing that I’ll end up in Witherbloom, the choice in this pack seems obvious. But having just picked a red card, I went with a general Strixhaven guideline of “I rarely regret drafting Lessons early.” Plus, Start from Scratch is a particularly good lesson that is splashable if I end up in green. Had I taken the Inkling Summoning out of the previous pack instead of the Heated Debate, I’d probably take the Lash in this spot. Heated Debate really threw me, y’all.

Pack 1 Pick 5

Alarm bells are going off now. The lack of red cards is concerning and there are obviously good cards in both green colleges, which brings us to Mage Duel. Here’s what deterred me: “Would I take this Mage Duel if I didn’t first pick a green card?” My answer at the time was “no” but I think that was a mistake.

Is content creator bias a thing? Having done the first draft the easy way, I wonder if I felt some pressure to do this one the hard way. I’ll be more aware of this in the future. The goal is to draft good decks, and if that means I keep drafting the easy way, then so be it.

Pack 2 Pick 1

Heading into pack 2 I was confident that I’d be green but was open to either Witherbloom or Quandrix (Temur).

Except for the rare, this pack is horrendous for our prospective colors and I’d take the introduction to annihilation if I didn’t already have one. At this point, I’d prefer to be Quandrix and already have some fixing with Emergent Sequence, so might as well be Temur and take the Igneous Inspiration.

Pack 2 Pick 4

So now I’m pretty sure I’m Temur, snap-pick Bury in Books, and then see this pack:

The moment of truth. Having just taken two good Quandrix cards, I had to honestly ask myself if there were reasons to believe the college would be open in Pack 3. Did I see Bury in Books? Quandrix Pledgemages? Late Quandrix gold cards? I reached the conclusion that I was letting my preferences influence my draft choices too much. I’d really prefer to be Quandrix, but Witherbloom seemed open in both directions, so this is when I decided be Black/Green.

Lash of Malice passed: 2. I really wanted the first Pest Summoning, but wow did this deck need cheap interaction. I regret this choice.

Pack 3 Pick 1

I am an oak. Sturdy, immovable.

Pack 3 Pick 2

I am a monk. Human with iron will and determination.

Pack 3 Pick 3

I’m a child who dropped their ice cream cone, wallowing in sorrow.

Pack 3 Pick 5

I’m a pile of tears. Someone mop me up off the floor.

We could’ve had fun. We could’ve drafted good cards. But noooooooo.

Our variance was TOO good. If those rares had been Flunk and a pair of Devouring Tendrils, suddenly we’re looking at a much different deck. I got caught up in this line of thought for a bit – and it’s fine to briefly acknowledge when things you can’t control don’t go your way – but you absolutely must focus on your own choices if you’re looking to improve as a Drafter. I can’t change what cards were passed to me, but could’ve made better decisions during the draft. That’s the focus.

In the end, I think the Quandrix deck would’ve been fine if I’d stayed in that lane but would’ve suffered the same problem (lack of cheap, meaningful interaction). If I had known Environmental Sciences was going to come around insanely late in Pack 3, maybe I would’ve been stayed the course and been Temur after all.

I tried a second version of the deck splashing Bury in Books but think I would’ve been better off splashing Igneous Inspiration.

I was indecisive and it cost me.

I’m not sure why the third loss isn’t there. I think it was a Silverquill deck?

Draft #3 – Silverquill (6-3)

Don’t draft when you’re frustrated, kids. I was a little annoyed at myself for not drafting a better Witherbloom deck and it showed in my early draft choices. Eventually I came to my senses and settled in to an acceptable Silverquill deck (6-3).

Full draft found here

Friendly reminder: your typical draft mana base is horrendous, and volume drafting ensures you’ll experience unfortunate but normal variance eventually. If your mana base is sound and losses like the following happen, it’s ok to blame variance sometimes. Accept, move on, focus on your choices.

Sometimes you draw all Plains and black cards. It happens.
Sometimes you draw all white cards and Swamps. It happens.
Game #8 was an incredibly satisfying win

Future Drafts

Oh what could’ve been if I were a better drafter. Oh the deck we could’ve had if we drafted the rares. But noooooo stupid Schaab wanted to make stupid mistakes while Rareless Drafting. Beginning this series, I knew the good decks would be great examples of fundamental drafting and deck building. What I didn’t consider is the sun-sized spotlight it would place on my drafting mistakes. Yikes, woof, and other words as well.

I’m more interested in the decks we draft than the overall stats (small sample size and all that) but I’ll keep track and report them for those who are interested.

Silverquill: 7-0 (First Uncommon Approach article here)

Witherbloom: 3-3

Silverquill 6-3

Overall: 16-6 = 73%

Mistakes made: Can we not?

Rares passed: Approximately a billion today alone.

The true goal of An Uncommon Approach isn’t to make mythic or achieve the highest win percentage possible without rares (if it were, I’d probably force White aggro). The goal is to draft the best decks we can, learn from mistakes, and become better drafters than we were yesterday. Winning games is a natural byproduct of that process.

Rareless drafting feels like intensive Draft training. When I start drafting normally again, I expect to feel like Goku taking off the weighted clothing (I look more like Krillin but whatever). Truthfully, I didn’t feel as sharp during these drafts as I’d like so I’ll be looking to correct that. I don’t have much time for content consumption these days, but I’ll be making time for Sam Black’s podcast to sharpen all the tools in my Strixhaven toolbox (and add another one: Dimir Control).

Yours truly hopes to be better next time. And if I’m not…. well, let’s not call them mistakes. Let’s call them learning opportunities. And what educator doesn’t want to provide students with copious learning opportunities?

Happy Drafting!

-Schaab. Draft Enthusiast, Mardu Vehicles Pilot, Draft Mistake Maker, Iron Willed Passer of Rares

I don’t post my articles in too many places, but if you want to receive notifications when I publish, I imagine following the site is the best way.

Author’s Note

Thanks so much for reading! I’m planning to continue an Uncommon Approach until further notice but have a few other things on my mind and am unsure what to prioritize, so introducing Let’s Talk Limited’s first poll! We gettin’ so fancy.

Full disclosure: I’d like to stream An Uncommon Approach but am hesitant to do so because the rural area in which I live is still waiting for 21st century internet to arrive. My audio should be great now thanks to a new mic but I upload to Twitch slowly so I doubt the visuals are great. If there’s interest in watching despite the internet issues, I’d be happy to do it, so please let me know. LetsTalkLimited on Twitch.

You can contact me with comments, feedback, or coaching inquiries at BeBoring@letstalklimited.com

My content is a labor of love to help others get better at draft that will always be free. The best thing you can do is help other people (draft is really hard) but financial support is always appreciated. Thank you!

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