Magic: The Gathering – The 6 Best Sets To Draft Of All Time

In the 30 years since its conception, Magic: The Gathering has offered tens of formats for players to enjoy with cards old and new. Some say the purest of these formats is Draft: a Limited format in which players take turns selecting cards from newly opened packs in order to build a deck.

Draft offers some of the most unique gameplay amongst all available formats. It's perfect for keeping the game fresh as with each new set released a new Draft format becomes available. However, not all Draft formats are created equal. A good Draft format includes great interactivity between cards, powerful deck archetypes in many color pairings, and plain old fun gameplay. Today, we'll dive into some of the best Draft formats of all time in order to understand better what makes them tick.

6 Kaladesh block

Kaladesh block is well-remembered for some of the mechanics it introduced including fabricate, vehicles, and energy. While Kaladesh Standard was a complete mess due to the power of the energy mechanic, energy made for a very fun and interactive resource in games of Kaladesh draft. Furthermore, Kaladesh was unique in that the format wasn't so much about building certain deck archetypes as it was about understanding what each color did and the resulting deck you would get by pairing them together.

For instance, red was the true aggro color of the format while blue was pretty much only viable in a control shell. Players who failed to use colors for their true purpose in the format tended to end up with less than viable decks, but once you understood the purpose of each color there was no limit to the pairings you could come up with. It should also be mentioned that Kaladesh was a rather aggressive format. Nonetheless, games would sometimes still go long due to the low power and toughness of most creatures.

5 Dominaria block

Whereas games of Kaladesh might end after a handful of turns if an aggressively built deck curves out on you, Dominaria block was a format in which this rarely happened. Instead, games developed much more slowly due to most of the low-cost creatures being blockable. Another difference Dominaria block had with Kaladesh was that the colors were not one-dimensional. In Dominaria, you could draft blue and end up with an aggressive blue/red Wizards deck or you could go blue/red control by taking cards with high toughness, card draw, and kicker costs.

Most of the bomb rares and mythic rares in Dominaria could be dealt with using removal spells printed at common. One of the most prevalent gripes players have about Draft is that it's an exercise in who can draw their rare cards first. Thankfully, Dominaria largely avoided this issue by supplying deck builders with playables at common that destroy or exile creatures.

4 Magic Origins

Magic Origins is arguably the best core set Draft format ever printed. It's not a format that's rife with playable cards, but this usually resulted in every drafter having to shove some less than desirable inclusions into their decks. In other words, the low power level kind of balanced out. Furthermore, this is a format that awash with flying thopter tokens and low toughness and power creatures. As such, games tended to go long thanks to the low aggression of the cards and the large number of chump blockers available.

The rares and mythic rares in Magic Origins were a far cry from backbreaking and many creatures printed at uncommon rarity were just as good, if not better. Furthermore, the existence of quirky cards like Sphinx's Tutelage, Chandra's Fury, and Eyeblight Massacre made for some very interesting control deck possibilities that aren't often seen in Limited play.

3 Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons is largely regarded as one of the best Draft formats of all time. The presence of mechanics like delve and convoke which allowed you to cheat out big spells made for a very high-power format in which players were often able to empty their entire hand before the game ended. There's nothing more fun in Magic than playing your cards, and Modern Horizons was all about enabling you to do so.

Green was a surprisingly good color in the format thanks to cards like Springbloom Druid and Rime Tender which allowed you access to more mana earlier in the game. Furthermore, decks featuring green were very commonly easy to splash (playing small amounts of a third color) with and access to more colors for bombs is always fun. The format also featured a powerful tribal deck thanks to its many Changeling and Ninja creatures. Lastly, lands and snow lands decks provided payoffs for simply placing down your land cards, which is almost like doubling the number of cards players enjoyed resolving.

2 Khans of Tarkir block

Khans of Tarkir is a personal favorite of ours. However, it does also have a reputation for being a popular Draft format due to interactive and inventive mechanics including delve, ferocious, outlast, raid, prowess, and morph. Looking back, the sheer number of mechanics this set introduced was a small marvel on its own. Color pairings were very well established in this format and often focused on enabling one of the previously mentioned mechanics. For example, red/blue decks looked to trigger prowess, green/black decks aimed for delving out large creatures, and white/black focused on outlast and raid.

All that being said, morph was also a stellar mechanic alone. It allowed you to play a card face down for three generic mana as a two toughness, two power creature. Then, you could later pay the card's morph cost to transform it, flipping it face up at instant speed. Additionally, this format was tons of fun due to the high number of tri-color gold cards that incentivized splashing. The format also featured lands and artifacts at common that gave you access to two or three colors, further pushing drafters to branch out into three colors. Consequently, there were dozens of viable strategies across the format which made drafting it near immune to getting stale or stagnant.

1 Innistrad block

Original Innistrad is widely regarded as the best Draft format of all time due to its tribal flavor, great fantasy theme, and highly enjoyable mechanics. Many color pairs in Innistrad were home to tribes. Though the cards didn't always synergize super well, this tribal flavor did provide deck builders with the feeling of going to war with their own little army of Humans, Vampires, Zombies, or Werewolves. The setting of Innistrad provides fantastical creatures that people have told stories about for millennia, and there's no doubt that part of the community's fondness for Innistrad is due to this setting.

Flavor aside, Innistrad also featured great mechanics. Flashback allowed you to play many of your cards twice and double-faced cards like Delver of Secrets wowed players with their mere existence. On top of that, a number of uncommons made for archetypes all their own if you happened to draft a couple of them. These uncommons included Burning Vengeance, Travel Preparations, and the fondly remembered Spider Spawning. In summary, the format was great because it featured amazing flavor, tribal decks in multiple colors, and even more archetype enablers thanks to well-made combo-centric uncommons. All that being said, can anyone foretell when we'll be returning to Innistrad again?

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