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Subject: Just did my first FNM: drafting is fantastic! rss

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Adam B.
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So I played casual Magic a good 15 years ago, and hadn't touched it since. Turns out my friend who i'm going to split a room with at GenCon (who I haven't seen in years) still plays, and pressured me to grab a few packs so we could play each other at GenCon. I go "ok, fine" and swing by my FLGS at 6:45. Ask the guy what's an OK way to buy a few cards and he goes "well, we're doing a booster draft in 15 minutes, that's a fun way to pick up a few cards and re-teach yourself the game"

...

I had a blast! The whole booster draft thing is fantastic, and I love that it sort of "levels" the field between no-collection people like myself and people with thousands of dollars of cards. Of course, those with experience will know the cards a lot better, but I still had a blast (I ended up winning a set, drawing a set, and lost 2 sets). It probably helped that the group that plays at my FLGS (which has zero overlap with the thursday night boardgame group, oddly enough) are all very cool, chill people who are clearly there to have fun.

So I guess what i'm saying is, if there's anyone who's wondering about the best way to "dip their toes" into the MTG waters without buying two million cards, just go to a FNM event and play a booster draft. Very low cost of entry, good social fun (assuming your group of people is good), and no need to spend hundreds of dollars on cards.
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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Well, if playing booster drafts become a regular thing you might find two problems. One, you can end up with a unbalanced selection of colours for casual play from the drafted sets, ie. a lot of one colour. Two, the cost can add up if you play drafts every FNM.

Recently I've noticed a lot of arranged booster drafts fall through in the smaller FLGS because a lot of younger players lack the funds. Luckly there are other kinds of MTG drafts, ie. cube.
 
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B Smith
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Sounds like a great time. I started playing Sealed Deck for many of the same reasons. It works on the same principles, but you don't pass around cards; instead you just open up six booster packs and build a deck with whatever you get. You get a bigger, more balanced collection out of the deal, and it's a more approachable format for newbies; but luck has more influence over the game, and it's more expensive. They're both good formats, just with a little variation on the same themes.

I'm kind of personally reassured to hear you liked it, too. I've thought about playing Booster Draft before, but so far I've been avoiding it for fear that I won't do it right and upset other players in the draft. But I'm probably just worrying for worrying's sake. I've been thinking about using the occasion of the new Core Set release to try it out, and you've just given me more encouragement to do so.

If you don't mind my asking, what store was this at? If you keep playing in town we might bump into each other...
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D Low
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I missed the pre-release and release party for 2012 due to work..... I was thinking of trying to sealed deck format as it doesn't sound as intimidating as booster draft especially for a total newbie.

BTW, are FNMs generally a newbie-friendly time or would a release-related event be better? I must admit that I'm a little afraid pissing off the regulars (but of course this also depends on the particular FLGS crowd). I watched this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jhlg0Z9Fow and felt a bit less intimidated by such events....

Any regular FNM-ers here to comment?
 
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Pete Lane
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I love sealed deck a wee more than draft. Tests my brain a bit differently... ooh ohh play that new Garruk... or run my Red and my Blue with the 2 Mind Control, 2 Incinerate, and 2 Phantasmal dragons? Garruk sat out, I won 6 packs.

 
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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lightforx wrote:
I missed the pre-release and release party for 2012 due to work..... I was thinking of trying to sealed deck format as it doesn't sound as intimidating as booster draft especially for a total newbie.

BTW, are FNMs generally a newbie-friendly time or would a release-related event be better? I must admit that I'm a little afraid pissing off the regulars (but of course this also depends on the particular FLGS crowd). I watched this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jhlg0Z9Fow and felt a bit less intimidated by such events....

Any regular FNM-ers here to comment?


FNM are newbie friendly in every FLGS I've been in. Seems a given that every group wants new gaming blood, and that goes for boardgaming groups as well. The only problem that might crop up is taking too long to construct your deck in a untimed environment. Although in that case the 'regulars' are probably not taking the draft/sealed tournament all that seriously.
 
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Adam B.
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It might vary from group to group, but my group was *super* friendly. After each set the person I was playing against took a look at my deck and what I drafted & didn't use, and offered me tips on how I might have done X instead of Y, and drafting tips for the next time I come, etc. They also offered me tons of tips on tactical stuff I might have done differently (i.e. most card effects on your played creatures that don't involve tapping are at the speed of an Instant, so you can actually play them on your opponents turn instead of your own to add to their uncertainty as to how much mana you have for counters and instants when they attack, etc.). And everyone was just positive, which was nice; people congratulated each other for good plays, were joking around, and nobody got their nose out of joint on a bad beat or when things didn't work out. I *wish* my poker group and boardgame group was more like this!

There was only one match where one guy (the youngest, fwiw) got a bit frustrated with my slow play, but that was also because I was playing a slooooooow blue-control deck that had alot of special effects that take time (like re-shuffling, pondering, etc), and he was playing a white life-gain deck, which pretty much guarantees it's going to be a long, long game (and it was, to the order of 45 minutes). And in our FNM, there was a 20 minute window to deck construct after the draft took place, and even I was able to finish with a good 5 minutes to go.

I can see how doing nothing but doing booster drafts could lead to an unbalanced set, but some guys there recommended that if I ever want to build a more extensive collection for casual play, just going to an online retailer where you can buy "play sets" (i.e. 4 of each) of every common in a set for ~ $20, and play sets of every uncommon in a set for $40. Which is probably overkill, but would be more than enough cards for casual deck construction, or even doing pseudo Booster or Sealed drafts with friends.

They also recommended a different form of Magic called Commander that they play on Sundays which sounds very fun, social, and casual, but short of buying the pre-made Commander decks that they sell, can get kind of expensive to assemble.
 
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Adam B.
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bcs_ wrote:
I'm kind of personally reassured to hear you liked it, too. I've thought about playing Booster Draft before, but so far I've been avoiding it for fear that I won't do it right and upset other players in the draft. But I'm probably just worrying for worrying's sake. I've been thinking about using the occasion of the new Core Set release to try it out, and you've just given me more encouragement to do so.

If you don't mind my asking, what store was this at? If you keep playing in town we might bump into each other... :)


I think it's pretty hard to *really* screw up a Booster draft for other people (although you can certainly screw yourself over). And one guy in our pod would deliberately pick a powerful red card when there was nothing he *really* wanted out of packs 2 and 3 when he knew half of the table was going red aggro in order to deny that card to other players. It seems like the general draft strategy is to pick 1 or 2 colors early, decide very early whether you're going with a slow or fast deck, then build around that, making sure you've got good drops at various levels of mana. Having not played in a good 15 years I was able to jump right back in and build a respectable deck, and especially now having done it once I feel really confident I could go back in and draft again even more intelligently next time.

Store was JP Comics & Games. Small store down in Jamaica Plain, but good people. Apparently the polar opposite of nights up at Pandemonium according to some people there last night.
 
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B Smith
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AbundantChoice wrote:
Store was JP Comics & Games. Small store down in Jamaica Plain, but good people. Apparently the polar opposite of nights up at Pandemonium according to some people there last night.

Aw, that's probably overstating it. I've never played at JP Comics, but I've shopped there a couple of times and it definitely seems to live up to the hype.

I'm a Pandemonium regular, and while I'm guessing it does have a bigger contingent of shark players than JP, nobody's ever been rude to me (certainly nothing like the horror stories you read on the web), and plenty of players are really friendly and happy to offer the same kind of advice you got. I know a few people who frequent both stores, so they can't be that different.
 
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Eric Jome
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Of any of the 4 local shops running FNM did drafts instead of Standard, I would actually attend. I loathe Standard.
 
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Athos
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cosine wrote:
Of any of the 4 local shops running FNM did drafts instead of Standard, I would actually attend. I loathe Standard.


Pretty sure Silver Spring does FNM drafts.
 
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Chad Hackman
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I have also been out of MTG for...well...since Ice Age (the block that started implementing rule after rule and block restrictions.)

And, I too, got pulled back into MTG by M12 pre-release sealed & quick booster drafts. My experience is also similar. I had a lot of fun and remembered why I liked the game when I played. On the other side of the coin, I also remembered reasons why I hated playing certain types of people.

What really hit me was how well I remembered how to build decks in sealed and booster formats. I ended up taking top prizes in both sealed tourneys and second prize in my one booster format (against an opponent that was almost mirroring my deck - blue/black vampires.)

After the second day of the pre-release, I even made a profit on the game by selling my two-days draw for $100. It was a win-win for me and the lucky buyer who received over $100 worth of rares/mythics plus my 10 packs of unopened M12 which I told him not to tell me about. MTG is a very addictive game and my ability to part with the cardboard pieces made me feel a lot better; although, I got a distinct regret feeling from parting with the cards. That just makes it more pronounced of a good choice.

 
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