Ixalan Draft Pick Orders

by Kelvin Chew on 25 October 2017, Wednesday

Kelvin Chew


Ixalan Draft Pick Orders

Hi everyone, this weekend is a triple Grand Prix weekend. Grand Prix Hong Kong, Grand Prix Phoenix, and Grand Prix Liverpool are Ixalan Limited events, so today I would like to discuss three of my favorite draft archetypes and share the pick order list.These are also the decks I've drafted the most often and those that I have the most experience with.

If you are attending one of these Grand Prix, maybe this article can help you out a little in Day 2!


White-Black Vampires

One of the reasons for drafting White-Black Vampires is that you open one of the Vampire rares in your first booster or if someone passes you a mid to late pick Anointed Deacon. That card is simply great in the Vampire archetype. Here is my pick order list of the most important cards.


Legion's Landing Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle Vona, Butcher of Magan


1) Legion's Landing
2) Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
3) Vona, Butcher of Magan
4) Sanctum Seeker
5) Settle the Wreckage
6) Vraska's Contempt
7) Imperial Aerosaur
8) Pirate's Cutlass
9) Anointed Deacon
10) Vanquisher's Banner
11) Territorial Hammerskull
12) Adanto Vanguard
13) Bishop of Rebirth
14) Vampire's Zeal
15) Skulduggery
16) Kinjalli's Sunwing
17) Ixalan's Binding
18) Pious Interdiction
19) Walk the Plank
20) Call to the Feast
21) Vanquish the Weak
22) Duskborne Skymarcher
23) Bishop's Soldier
24) Skymarch Bloodletter
25) Paladin of the Bloodstained
26) Inspiring Cleric
27) Contract Killing
28) Skyblade of the Legion
29) Queen's Commission
30) Fathom Fleet Cutthroat
31) Bishop of the Bloodstained


Anointed Deacon Pirate's Cutlass Vampire's Zeal

Anointed Deacon is the biggest payoff card for Vampire. It allows you to boost up your small Vampires so that they can go into combat and has great synergy with token producers such as Queen's Commission and Call to the Feast. Having it pump lifelink Vampires makes racing a nightmare for your opponent.

I also value equipment like Pirate's Cutlass and combat tricks such as Vampire's Zeal and Skulduggery highly as it allows your tokens to attack pass or trade with your opponent, which is what you want to do. Fathom Fleet Cutthroat is also a good way of letting your 1/1 token trade up with a better creature. One tip is to be careful not overload with too many five-drops as there are a lot of five-drops for this archetype. Normally, the prefered number for me is 3.


Skulduggery Ixalan's Binding Contract Killing

White and Black also offer some of the best removal like Ixalan's Binding, Pious Interdiction, Vanquish the Weak, and Contract Killing. I think this is one of the best archetypes for Ixalan booster draft.

Red-White Good Stuff

Take note that I'm calling this color combination Red-White Good Stuff rather than Red-White Dinosaurs. This archetype focuses on having aggressive creatures backed up with combat tricks and removal but you want to pick cards based on their power level and focus less on tribal synergy.

Captivating Crew Repeating Barrage Imperial Aerosaur

1) Captivating Crew
2) Repeating Barrage
3) Imperial Aerosaur
4) Charging Monstrosaur
5) Legion's Landing
6) Settle the Wreckage
7) Territorial Hammerskull
8) Rampaging Ferocidon
9) Kinjalli's Sunwing
10) Captain Lannery Storm
11) Adanto Vanguard
12) Rowdy Crew
13) Bishop of Rebirth
14) Lightning Strike
15) Firecannon Blast
16) Vampire's Zeal
17) Pious Interdiction
18) Ixalan's Binding
19) Unfriendly Fire
20) Sky Terror
21) Bonded Horncrest
22) Bishop's Soldier
23) Emissary of Sunrise
24) Inspiring Cleric
25) Raptor Companion
26) Fathom Fleet Firebrand
27) Headstrong Brute
28) Raptor Hatchling
29) Sure Strike
30) Shining Aerosaur
31) Sheltering Light


Territorial Hammerskull Shining Aerosaur

Territorial Hammerskull is likely the most important common in this archetype. It allows you to tap their biggest threat and let your other creatures force damage through. You normally want to focus on a good early mana curve and many combat tricks like Vampire's Zeal and Sure Strike. You can fill up your curve with two five-drops like Shining Aerosaur.

Red and White also has many good removal spells at common, such as Firecannon Blast, Unfriendly Fire and Pious InterdictionOne thing that I found out is that Cobbled Wings is actually quite decent for this deck if you lack combat tricks. It helps you push a lot of damage.

Cards like Thrash of Raptors, Priest of the Wakening Sun and Pterodon Knight transform from average to great if you are drafting a more tribal version of Red-White. Thrash of Raptors is just so hard to race if you have it backed up with combat tricks. It is also very hard to race Priest of the Wakening Sun when you're gaining two life a turn as early as turn two.


Thrash of Raptors

Here are some cards which increase in value if you are in Red-White Dinosaurs:

1) Thrash of Raptors
2) Tilonalli's Knight 
3) Priest of the Wakening Sun
4) Pterodon Knight

Blue-Green Merfolk

Merfolk is a tempo deck that uses bounce, tap effects or pump spells to push damage. Reading signals is very important when you are drafting Merfolk. I would normally draft Merfolk if I get passed Vineshaper MysticRiver Heralds' Boon or a late pick Kumena's Speaker as these cards are much more viable in a Merfolk deck. However, Vineshaper Mystic and River Heralds' Boon are just so broken in a good Merfolk deck. This is my pick order for drafting Blue-Green Merfolk.


River's Rebuke Waker of the Wilds Ripjaw Raptor

1) River's Rebuke
2) Waker of the Wilds
3) Ripjaw Raptor
4) Entrancing Melody
5) Vineshaper Mystic
6) Deathgorge Scavenger
7) Dreamcaller Siren
8) Shapers of Nature
9) River Heralds' Boon
10) Jace, Cunning Castaway
11) Herald of Secret Streams (goes up with more River Heralds' Boon)
12) Daring Saboteur
13) Tempest Caller
14) Watertrap Weaver
15) Storm Fleet Aerialist
16) Merfolk Branchwalker
17) Kumena's Speaker
18) River Sneak
19) Deeproot Warrior
20) Shaper Apprentice
21) Tishana's Wayfinder
22) Jade Guardian
23) One with the Wind
24) Perilous Voyage
25) Carnage Tyrant
26) Emperor's Vanguard
27) Air Elemental
28) Snapping Sailback
29) Run Aground
30) Dive Down
31) Wind Strider

Watertrap Weaver Vineshaper Mystic Tempest Caller

Curving out is very important for Merfolk. Normally the game you want is to have one or two drop into Watertrap Weaver and then pumping your merfolk with River herald's boon or Vineshaper Mystic. For two mana, River Heralds' Boon allows you to match the size of your opponent creatures and it being an instant makes it even more difficult for your opponent.

Tempest Caller is a great finisher to close the game. Fight spells like Pounce and Savage Stomp are not great in Merfolk compared to Dinosaur because your creatures are usually smaller.


One with the Wind Jade Guardian Dive Down


One with the Wind is pretty good in Merfolk as it allows your small creatures to push damage in the late game. Some games can also be won by casting Jade Guardian and enchanting it with One with the Wind. This is a two-card combo which a lot of decks cannot beat. If you have multiple One with the Wind, playing Dive Down to protect your enchanted creature could also be an option.

I hope this article helps you understand more on drafting some of the key archetypes in Ixalan Limited. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me and I will gladly answer them.


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