My Rivals of Ixalan Draft Log (Part 2)

by Zen Takahashi on 02 April 2018, Monday

Zen Takahashi

My Rivals of Ixalan Draft Log (Part 2)

Hello everybody!

Last week, in my previous article I shared eight practice Booster Drafts. You can check out those decks here. Today, I'd like to share six more Booster Drafts, two of it from Grand Prix London, two of it from our Pro Tour Testing House, and two from Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan!

Draft 9: White-Blue-Red Control

(2-1, Grand Prix London Day 2)


This was undeniably the most interesting draft I had done in this format. 

My first pack had a Timestream Navigator and a Bombard in it, and while the Timestream Navigator seemed to be a card that many teams were low on, we thought the card was quite good. 

However, I did take Bombard over it, as I dislike Blue and I prioritize removal highly. I then followed it up with another Bombard, and then took a couple of mediocre Red and White cards, before being passed another Timestream Navigator in the sixth pick. 

At this point, it felt like a strong signal that Blue was open, but I dislike both UW and RW as color pairs, so I took something else over it. However, the Timestream Navigator I opened ended up wheeling, and at this point, I felt like I had to take it and be open to moving into Blue – especially as my draft was looking quite bad. 


Bombard Timestream Navigator Azor, the Lawbringer

At the end of the first pack, I thought I would be in White-Red or White-Blue splash Red for the Bombards if Blue ended up being very open. After taking a Skymarcher Aspirant as my first pick in the second pack, I was immediately passed a Zetalpa, Primal Dawn – a card that I was high on. 

Following that, I was then passed a fourth pick Azor, the Lawbringer. While I dislike control decks in this format, I had two great rares to build around, and I had a decent amount of removal, so I decided that I would try to build around them by taking lots of defensive creatures and as much removal as I could get my hands on. 

In the third pack, the two players to my right opened a Thaumatic Compass and Search for Azcanta respectively, and I was overjoyed as I was sure both of them would get to me. My first pick was a Blight Reprisal, which is a card I disliked but was happy to have in my deck. I then followed it up with the two flip cards, which were both excellent additions to my deck. At this point, I was still very short on creatures, but luckily, I was passed two late Legion Conquistadors that ended up saving my deck. 

Overall, I was pleased with how I drafted, as I managed to salvage a poor draft and ended up in an unorthodox strategy, but I had a great deck with five rares – all of which were passed to me!

This was also the most enjoyable deck I had drafted in the format – and I got to do it while being 8-1 at a Grand Prix! I thought I could 3-0 with this deck, but I, unfortunately, I had to pair against Seth Manfield in the last round, and he just never loses. 

Draft 10: Green-White Dinosaurs 
(1-2, Grand Prix London Day 2)


I had to 3-0 this pod to make Top 8, but unfortunately, the draft ended up being a bit of a trainwreck, and my deck was horrible. It had decent creatures, but I only had two real removal spells. 

What I did learn from this draft though was the importance of non-creature spells. Since my creature quality was not bad, even though I did not have many removal spells, combat tricks would have gone a long way for me. The most significant issue I had with this deck was that my opponent would eventually be able to double block my creatures and I could not do anything about it. 

However, if I had a combat trick, I would have been able to blow them out in combat – similar to using a removal spell to remove a creature from the battlefield. Andrea said that limited decks need six to eight spells, and I think if I had three basic combat tricks in my deck, like Moment of Triumph or Vampire's Zeal, my deck would have been a lot better.


Moment of Triumph Vampire's Zeal

Draft 11: Blue-Green Merfolk 
(1-2, Pro Tour Testing House)


After the draft, I thought my deck was quite good, as it had a couple of powerful cards such as Merfolk MistbinderShapers of Nature and Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Unfortunately, I had slightly too many filler creatures, and I ended up losing games where they were able to kill one of my dominant creatures, and I was left with Jade Bearers and River Darters. One with the Wind also became much worse with a large number of removal spells in the format. 

Overall, I disliked Merfolk as an archetype, even though it was the most successful in our team's testing. I never managed quite to grasp how to draft the archetype, and with time running out before the Pro Tour, I decided I would try to avoid drafting it and let my neighbors fight over it. 

Draft 12: Red-Green Dinosaurs 
(1-2, Pro Tour Testing House)



Similar to the previous Blue-Green Merfolk deck, this had some good creatures, but also had slightly too many fillers. The deck also had the same problem I faced with the GW Dinosaurs deck I drafted at the GP, where it lacked enough spells. 

I was light on creature removal but did not have enough combat tricks to make up the difference. The deck also had a lot of ways to make mana but lacked any card advantage or mana sinks, which meant I always found myself flooding out. 

Draft 13: Green-White-Red Dinosaurs 
(2-1, Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan Day 1)


Going into the Pro Tour, I planned to force Naya Dinosaurs or Black-White Vampires, whichever was more open in my seat. I ended up with a pretty solid deck, and I especially liked how well rounded the deck was. 

I was well-positioned against aggro decks as I had early defensive drops and Legion Conquistador. I was also well positioned against midrange and control deck as I had a good top end and great card advantage in the form of Path of Discovery and Legion Conquistador. I ended up losing to a Black-White Vampires deck that was probably the best deck I had seen in this format and won my other two rounds quite easily. 

Draft 14: Red-Green-White Dinosaurs 
(0-3, Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan Day 2) 


This was my last draft as I do not draft a format after the Pro Tour is over, and I sadly ended up going 0-3. While this deck was not great, I thought it was decent and would be a 2-1 or a 1-2, as I had a lot of removal spells and a right curve. I felt like my deck was quite flexible as well, as it looked like it could play well aggressively and defensively. Unfortunately, my deck was very weak to fliers, which I was aware of and tried to compensate for by splashing White just for Shining Aerosaur

However, it was not enough, as I played against two White-Blue decks and one Black-White deck that was heavy on fliers, and I only did not have enough removal to deal with them all. 

There were two instances where I could have taken a Plummet and chose not to, and that likely ended up costing me as I had a bunch of playables in the sideboard that I could have played, and I knew that flying creatures were going to be a critical weakness for me. Throughout playing this format, I knew how important sideboard cards were, but I regrettably did not take it into account enough when it mattered. 



I hope you enjoyed this article as I went over all the decks I have drafted in this format. I enjoyed this draft format, and I think Wizards did a great job with the Ixalan block. My next article will be my last of the series on Rivals of Ixalan limited, where I will be breaking down and walking through my sealed pool from GP London - just in time for the Sealed RPTQ!

Until next time!

Zen Takahashi 
@mtgzen on Twitter 

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