• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

Multiplayer Drafting - Brian Randich (10/13/2012)

Drafters gonna draft. Some people draft on Magic Online, some go to their local game store, and some people hang around and draft with their friends. Personally, I own a cube and do the latter, as neither of the other options are viable for me. Typically, my playgroup will get together, draft the cube in a group of 3-5 players, and rather than dueling, we will play a massive multiplayer free-for-all game or two after that. We typically agree on doing either duels or free-for-all games before the draft, and this choice significantly changes how you draft, and a lot of the decisions about what cards you pick and why give good insight into how to make a casual multiplayer deck, or even an EDH deck, perform well against multiple opponents.

There are multiple archetypes that can be successful in a typical draft, based on colors and the synergies of cards in your deck. In something like a core set, the colors usually represent what they do very well, so you can draft an aggressive red-based deck, using creatures that come down in the first few turns, along reach in the form of burn, to kill your opponent in short order. A blue-based control deck that slows the game down with walls and bounce, usually ending the game with a large flier, is another example. However, the former aggro style is not very often viable in multiplayer, unless you use very specific cards that are very resilient, like Bloodghast
Bloodghast
BloodghastSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Daarken
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Bloodghast can't block. Bloodghast has haste as long as an opponent has 10 or less life. Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may return Bloodghast from your graveyard to the battlefield.
, or can be used multiple times, like Red Sun’s Zenith. You have to deal at least 40 points of damage, and that’s in your best-case scenario, a normal three-person game.

Your cards simply have to do more in multiplayer because they are up against more opponents, so they have to do more damage, neutralize more threats, etc. Creatures usually need some form of resiliency, such as protection or hexproof, or some way to ensure value, like an enters-the-battlefield trigger or leaves-play trigger. Even something as simple as Penumbra Wurm
Penumbra Wurm
Penumbra WurmSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
R
Number:
84
Artist:
Jeff Easley
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Trample. When Penumbra Wurm is put into a graveyard from play, put a 6/6 black Wurm creature token with trample into play.
can be quite scary, as an opponent using a removal spell on it will usually have another creature to deal with after using a card. The same goes for spells. Spells with a single target either need to be very efficient or have a very powerful effect to do well in multiplayer. Cards like Blightning
Blightning
BlightningSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
156
Artist:
Thomas M. Baxa
Text:
Blightning deals 3 damage to target player. That player discards two cards.
usually aren’t very good in multiplayer, because even though you use one of your cards to (hopefully) get two of theirs and hit them, it’s only one person, and there are others at the table that could potentially represent more of a threat. I tend to imagine it as a single opponent that draws X cards a turn and starts the game with (20*X) life, where X is the number of opponents when evaluating cards. A Savannah Lions
Savannah Lions
Savannah LionsSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lions
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
on turn one in an aggressive deck is great against a single opponent at 20 life, not so much against 60 combined life. Having multiple targets, or affecting “each” type of a thing, ideally “each X you don’t control” or “each other X,” are good places to start when looking for the kinds of cards you want to add.

The composition of your deck in multiplayer should also change drastically from a deck you would build in a duel. If your playgroup likes aggressive decks, or is perhaps new to multiplayer, they might play the aggressive decks because those decks served them well in the past, or they just like playing those kinds of decks. If you want to do well against those, you would have to build a control deck, focused mainly around sweepers like Wrath of God
Wrath of God
Wrath of GodSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Text:
All creatures in play are buried.
and efficient creatures that can finish the game and have an impact when they come down, like Frost Titan
Frost Titan
Frost TitanSet: Magic 2011
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
M
Number:
55
Artist:
Mike Bierek
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Frost Titan becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter that spell or ability unless its controller pays {2}. Whenever Frost Titan enters the battlefield or attacks, tap target permanent. It doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
or Angel of Despair
Angel of Despair
Angel of DespairSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
101
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying When Angel of Despair comes into play, destroy target permanent.
. Strong, spell-like effects that come on creatures, like the aforementioned angel, or vice-versa, such as Phyrexian Rebirth
Phyrexian Rebirth
Phyrexian RebirthSet: Mirrodin Besieged
Cost:
6
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Scott Chou
Text:
Destroy all creatures, then put an X/X colorless Horror artifact creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the number of creatures destroyed this way.
, are better than most, because they combine two powerful effects on one card, giving you another card slot to do something with. Having such effects on lands that have multiple uses, like Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree, don’t even take up a spell slot, and are more likely to live, since most people avoid land destruction in favor of creature or artifact and/or enchantment destruction. The creature cards should still have some form of resiliency if you can, but wanting to cram all this power into so few cards creates a problem, that being that those cards all usually cost a lot, which would leave you open in the early to mid-game. To counteract this, you should try to put some cards that deter attacking in the early game. These can have defender, like Wall of Denial
Wall of Denial
Wall of DenialSet: Alara Reborn
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
16
Power:
0
Toughness:
8
Text:
Defender, flying, shroud
or Taproot Kami, but they don’t necessarily have to, they can even be something as simple as Drudge Skeletons
Drudge Skeletons
Drudge SkeletonsSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Skeletons
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
B: Regenerates.
.

However, experienced multiplayer groups will think and build decks differently. They will typically have the control-style build mentioned above, and might even have a combo that will quickly give them either a win or a very large advantage on the board. With those sorts of players, you might be able to shift your deck into a slightly more aggressive version, with cards like Troll Ascetic
Troll Ascetic
Troll AsceticSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Troll Shaman
Rarity:
R
Number:
135
Artist:
Puddnhead
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Troll Ascetic can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control. 1G: Regenerate Troll Ascetic.
or Thrun, The Last Troll getting in some early damage. Got an Invisible Stalker
Invisible Stalker
Invisible StalkerSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Rogue
Rarity:
U
Number:
60
Artist:
Bud Cook
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.) Invisible Stalker is unblockable.
and a Loxodon Warhammer
Loxodon Warhammer
Loxodon WarhammerSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
U
Number:
201
Artist:
Jeremy Jarvis
Text:
Equipped creature gets +3/+0, has trample, and has 'Whenever this creature deals damage, you gain that much life.' Equip 3 (3: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery. This card comes into play unattached and stays in play if the creature leaves play.)
? That’s good too (Put a Rancor
Rancor
RancorSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
110
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Enchanted creature gains +2/+0 and trample.When Rancor is put into a graveyard from play, return Rancor to owner's hand.
on it!). Kills via poison are another good way to be aggressive in a multiplayer game, as long as you have some form of recursion, as creatures with infect are typically weak. Infect has an advantage of wearing down other, stronger creatures in a way that prevents regeneration, and can even act as a deterrent to prevent other players from attacking you.

You should also be prepared to deal with more kinds of situations. Try to include graveyard hate that can be used right away, like Relic of Progenitus
Relic of Progenitus
Relic of ProgenitusSet: Shards Of Alara
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
C
Number:
218
Artist:
Jean-Sébastien Rossbach
Text:
T Target player removes a card in his or her graveyard from the game. 1, Remove Relic of Progenitus from the game: Remove all graveyards from the game. Draw a card.
or Withered Wretch
Withered Wretch
Withered WretchSet: Legions
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Cleric
Rarity:
U
Number:
86
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
1: Remove target card in a graveyard from the game.
, being careful to read if it targets or hits everyone, just in case you use it, or you want a certain someone to get their graveyard-based combo off once because you’re a nice guy like that. Also, you should probably maindeck more artifact and enchantment kill, because there will be more targets around. Return to Dust
Return to Dust
Return to DustSet: Time Spiral
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
39
Artist:
Wayne Reynolds
Text:
Remove target artifact or enchantment from the game. If you played this spell during your main phase, you may remove up to one other target artifact or enchantment from the game.
is an all-star here, and Vandalblast
Vandalblast
VandalblastSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
111
Artist:
Seb McKinnon
Text:
Destroy target artifact you don't control. Overload {4}{R} (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of "target" with "each.")
or Fracturing Gust
Fracturing Gust
Fracturing GustSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
227
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Destroy all artifacts and enchantments. You gain 2 life for each permanent destroyed this way.
are other good effects of this type. Again, these effects are good on creatures, but be careful if they require you to tap the creature or make the ability otherwise unable to be used right away, as you will have at least one player wanting to kill it.

If you want to draft and then free-for-all with normal sets, there are some multiplayer-friendly styles and cards out there. Exsanguinate
Exsanguinate
ExsanguinateSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
61
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Each opponent loses X life. You gain life equal to the life lost this way.
is a nice finisher and/or recovery card, and the overload mechanic can never be harmful to you, as each card with it specifies something you don’t control. Detain is also great, as “until your next turn” will typically mean three or four turns of the creature being unable to block, which would allow for people to get a lot of damage in against someone who may be having a bit too powerful board presence. Again, look for “each creature” or “each opponent” to get the most out of your cards. Something that looks like fun in a Return to Ravnica draft is building a deck based around the “defender matters” subtheme, seen on cards like Doorkeeper
Doorkeeper
DoorkeeperSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Homunculus
Rarity:
C
Number:
37
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
Defender {2}{U}, {T}: Target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard, where X is the number of creatures with defender you control.
and Axebane Guardian
Axebane Guardian
Axebane GuardianSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
115
Artist:
Slawomir Maniak
Power:
0
Toughness:
3
Text:
Defender {T}: Add X mana in any combination of colors to your mana pool, where X is the number of creatures with defender you control.
, maybe toss in a Hover Barrier
Hover Barrier
Hover BarrierSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Illusion Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
40
Artist:
Mathias Kollros
Power:
0
Toughness:
6
Text:
Defender, flying
or two, maybe a Blustersquall
Blustersquall
BlustersquallSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
30
Artist:
Willian Murai
Text:
Tap target creature you don't control. Overload {3}{U} (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of "target" with "each.")
or Voidwielder
Voidwielder
VoidwielderSet: Return to Ravnica
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Chase Stone
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Voidwielder enters the battlefield, you may return target creature to its owner's hand.
for some more stall, and finish with a large flier or milling. That style of deck looks a lot like the style of multiplayer deckbuilding suggested here earlier, just be careful of how many packs are actually in the draft pool. At three per player, with only three or four players, there might not be enough cards open to make this work at all, but if you can do it, it’s extremely strong in multiplayer, because those games tend to play out slower than normal anyways, due to all the other players taking shots back and forth at each other. Free-for-all drafts and games give another fun way to play Magic, while also making you think about different strategies and ways to evaluate cards. It’s both fun and educational, and isn’t that just awesome?


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles