Pro Tour Dominaria: Draft Notes

by Zen Takahashi on 20 June 2018, Wednesday

Zen Takahashi

Pro Tour Dominaria: Draft Notes


Hello everybody!


With multiple premier Dominaria limited events coming up, I have decided to go over our team's draft testing results and our pick order list from the Pro Tour.



Our Team's Draft Testing Results

The following were our team's overall testing results from Competitive Single-Elimination drafts on Magic Online, where our team played a total of 757 matches over 370 drafts and accomplished a win rate of 63%. This was slightly lower than usual, as we generally aim for about a 65% win rate in these Magic Online drafts when preparing for the Pro Tour.




What was interesting in Dominaria was how drastically different we found the win rate of colors to be depending on whether they were the primary color or the support color. We found the Esper colors to be the best main colors, as they all ran deep in playables, while Red had many powerful removal spells but lacked depth – especially around two drops, and Green was only good as the primary color if you were in B/G Saprolings.


On the other hand, Green had the highest win rate as a support color – at an astonishing 70%. Green's primary issue as being the primary color was that it lacked removal spells and had a difficult time dealing with evasive creatures. However, if you could pair Green with a color that could solve those issues – such as Red, which has a lot of removal spells, or White, which has a decent amount of removal spells and flying creatures of its own, then Green served as a great color to pair with.


Overall, White and Blue had the highest win percentage in our team – which most people in the team also agreed to be the two best colors in the set. This primarily had to do with the depth of both of these colors - especially with how powerful the commons in these two colors are.




Our most successful color pair was Mono White, with an impressive 78% win rate – but it was only drafted seven times due to the difficulty of drafting a completely mono-colored deck in the best color. Surprisingly, our second highest win rate pair was Green/White at 70%, which we drafted 21 times – which was the same amount of times as we drafted Green/Black. The Green/White deck is predominantly White base decks with a splash of Green for bombs and Shanna, Sisay's Legacy – which is a great payoff that often comes late due to how unpopular the color pair generally is.


Shanna, Sisay's Legacy


To round it off, we had Black/Green, Blue/Red and Blue/White all with win rates above 65%. Green/Black Saprolings and Blue/Red Wizards have been mainly considered to be the two best archetypes in the format by most people, while Blue/White Fliers is always a staple archetype in limited - and in this set, there are a good amount of flying creatures in both of these colors.


It is worth pointing out that not including the other mono-colored archetypes – which were all drafted an insignificant amount of times – Blue/Green was the only archetype that had a win rate below 60%, and it was especially bad at 44%. This indicates that all the color pairs are playable, with Blue/Green being the sole exception.


Regarding how many colors to play in your deck, we found that the two-color decks – whether it be mono-colored with a splash or more evenly split – had a decently higher win percentage than two-color decks that were splashing or straight mono-colored decks. In fact, straight mono-colored decks performed quite poorly with a 52% win rate – about 8% lower than two color decks with a splash, and about 12% lower than two-color decks.



A lot of other teams seemed to have had success with control decks in this format, but we found aggro decks to be the best – with a 68% win rate over 120 matches. Control decks were not trailing too far behind though at 64%, but we drafted it about half the amount compared to the aggro decks.

We found the midrange decks to be mediocre and won only about 59% of the time with them, as we found that the average midrange deck could not capitalise on the aggro decks that well and would generally get "out grinded" by the control decks, but we also drafted it the most due to its common availability.


In terms of the archetypes, excluding outliers that we drafted an insignificant amount of times, we did the best with Fliers – which we had an astounding 76% win rate with. Next was Wizards, which was almost always Blue-Red, and Kicker, which was usually Red-Green and a late discovery for us – but one we had quite a bit of success with.

Beyond that, we had a couple of other archetypes that we won a decent amount with. Notably, we did not think Saprolings was nearly as good as most other teams believed it to be – and that was because of how weak the archetype is to flying creatures, as well as its vulnerability to Radiant Lightning – which started off as a good sideboard card to eventually commonly being played in the main deck.

Also, another interesting point is that the generic "good stuff" decks – where we mainly put together good cards within the colors – did quite poorly and had the second worst win rate. Usually, these types of decks do somewhat decently, but this shows that Dominaria is an archetype-driven format and that you need a coherent game plan if you want to do well.


Funnily enough, due to our team's success in the past with Aura-based archetypes such as Slither Blade/Cartouches in Amonkhet and Black-Red Swashbuckling in Ixalan, we started off this format by drafting a lot of these types of decks. However, we quickly found them to be horrendous, and they had the worst win rate of all the archetypes at just 49%.

Our Team's Pick Order List

The following was our team's consolidated draft pick order list from the limited meeting we had the day before the Pro Tour. Please note that this pick order list is from the perspective of Pack One Pick One, and so it only applies for the first few picks for the first pack – as past that, you should be drafting based on your archetype and the signals of the draft.


Interestingly, we usually have disagreements within the team when doing these pick orders as people have different experiences from drafting the set. However, for Dominaria, the team was in unison over most choices. This is likely due to the long period between the set release and the Pro Tour, which meant everyone on the team had the opportunity to do a lot of drafts.


The following was our common and uncommon pick order list in order of colors:









We believed Pegasus Courser and Cloudreader Sphinx were the two best commons, while Icy Manipulator was the best uncommon, followed by In Bolas's Clutches, Fight with FireSong of Freyalise and The Eldest Reborn.


The following was our rare pick order list – categorized based on its equivalent common/uncommon counterpart regarding how high to pick it:




I hope you enjoyed this article as I shared our team's draft testing results and our pick order list from the Pro Tour for Dominaria Draft. In my next article, I will be covering in comprehensive detail how to draft the Black-White/Blue-White Fliers archetype – which is the archetype I have had the most success with, and I believe it is the best archetype in the format!


Until next time!


Zen Takahashi

@mtgzen on Twitter

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