All MTG Arena Draft Formats Explained

 MTG Arena Draft Formats
Ah, yes, the greatest feeling on Earth is opening up booster packs

The draft is a format reminiscent of your local game store experience during pre-release where you get to open up booster packs and craft your deck using these limited resources. In MTGA, you can relive this experience wither with a pod of real players or against a bot. It is a surefire way of getting good cards in a set and it gives good rewards. A single pod of draft will allow you to open three, 14-card booster packs that get passed around the table. After the draft, you will have 60-cards at your disposal, to create the best possible deck that can get you the wins.

Playing in this limited format, however, is not as straightforward as your usual constructed play. Just like in normal paper MTG, this format is pay-to-play as you need to have excess gold or gems to join a pod. The cheapest pod that you can join is the Quick Draft, which costs 5,000 gold or 750 gems, where you get to draft against bots. The other draft modes will cost you 10,000 gold or 1,500 gems to join. So, as you can see, it is not cheap but the rewards and the value you get is worth it. 

Draft is a great way to play if you want to shy away from the arduous climb against meta decks in ranked constructed matchmaking. However, you need to have a really good understanding of the set for you to make good decisions on which card to pick, and which cards to pass. 

What are the different draft formats?

Quick Draft

Quick Draft is a game mode where you draft with bots. It is a best-of-one, ranked game mode where you get to play until you reach either seven wins or three losses. This is a more competitive format in limited as it will impact your rank. It is also challenging as you need to create the most balanced deck that you can craft from your given packs. 

The rewards increase as you get more wins, however, you can already get a reward by just joining the draft. Joining a pod, however, will cost you 5000 gold or 750 gems. 

Traditional Draft

Traditional Draft is a best-of-three, unranked match where you get to play three games regardless of your win-loss record. In this format, you will think more of how your picks synergize with your deck since there will be side-boards involved. It is a more restricted mode, in my opinion, as you don’t get to divert as much from your colors compared to best-of-one drafts since you need to have more playable cards that you can put in your sideboard. 

The entry fee in this mode can be paid with either 10,000 gold or 1,500 gems. You also get rewards by just joining, but the rewards get better every win you get. 

Premier Draft

This draft mode is ranked with an entry fee of 10,000 gold or 1,500 gems. In this draft mode, you will be drafting against real players in real-time. You will play three best-of-three matches and you will get rewards of booster packs and/or gems, depending on your final win-loss record. 

If you have 10,000 gold (or 1,500 gems), this is a great mode to play if you want to practice on your gameplay and strategy in the limited format. This is a good avenue to test out different strategies without the risk of affecting your ranking. 

Occasionally, Wizards of the Coast puts in a different format for casual draft players where they introduce a different mechanic to add more spice to the format. Just like in the regular draft formats, you get to keep the cards you draft in these events. These events are offered only for a limited time and are unranked but they are also worth looking into if you want to have a different experience in draft. 

Omniscience Draft

Based on the blue enchantment Omniscience, this draft mode allows you to cast spells without paying their mana costs. On top of that, you get to use five mana each turn to activate your spells abilities. 

This is a great way to play draft since it puts a focus on the bigger spells that players tend to skip on normal draft events. Games in this format tend to be quick since you get to play a lot of spells in your early turns.

Turbo Draft

This format is an iteration of the Omniscience draft. It is a more balanced format since you get a five-mana reduction on your spells instead of just being able to cast them for no cost at all. Additionally, the five-mana bonus that you get every turn is abolished, allowing a more toned down event. 

Reward System

In all the different draft formats, joining a game will already give you a reward of one booster pack of the current set that you drafted in. However, the more wins you rack up, the more rewards you will get.

In Quick and Premier draft, you will get the following rewards:

  • Zero wins - 1 pack + 50 gems
  • One win - 1 pack + 100 gems
  • Two wins - 1 pack + 200 gems
  • Three wins - 1 pack + 300 gems
  • Four wins - 1 pack + 450 gems
  • Five wins - 1 pack + 650 gems
  • Six wins - 1 pack + 850 gems
  • Seven wins - 2 packs + 950 gems

In Traditional, and other draft events, you can get these rewards:

  • Zero wins - 1 pack
  • One win - 2 packs
  • Two wins - 3 packs + 800 gems
  • Three wins - 4 packs + 1500 gems
  • Four wins - 5 packs + 1800 gems
  • Five wins - 6 packs + 2100 gems

There is a debate on whether playing a draft is better than opening booster packs from the shop, in terms of the value that you will get. If you want to increase your card collection, most definitely, draft is the way to go. As was mentioned earlier, every draft you play will get you 60 cards from that set, excluding the rewards you get from winning matches. The downside of draft, however, is you will not get progress on your wildcards. So if you want to get specific cards from a certain set, opening up boosters will help you achieve that.

Moreover, draft does not give out great rewards in terms of the amount of effort you need to put to be successful. If you look at Traditional Draft, you need to win at least three wins out of your five matches just to break even on the gems you paid. Of course, you already get value from the booster packs you get, but in terms of getting valuable cards, opening up a booster pack from the shop is still better than drafting. This makes drafting less valuable to starting players that don’t have a lot of gold in their banks yet. 

Drafting is a really cool way of playing MTG as it allows us to enjoy different strategies while also building up our card collection. It is a breath of fresh air to the people who are always playing in constructed events. For newer players, it can help them improve their knowledge and game sense which will help them progress in the game. All in all, drafting creates a very nostalgic feeling especially now that we are confined in our own homes and most of us can’t attend events in our local game stores. 

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Born and raised in the cold City of Pines, Erik is a master of rhymes. Songs and sagas of games untold, Erik will discover and unfold.
Gamer Since: 2010
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