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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Booster Pack Changes as related to Draft

For those who have not heard you may wish to read this ARTICLE first.

Beside the truly great inclusion in a basic land in to every booster pack, there are going to be major impacts on the Draft environments. For purposes of this discussion, I define a standard draft as an 8 man pool opening the same three pack type. All commons and uncommon cards are assumed to have the same print frequency, which I admit is not always true.

First off, we will probably all be knocked over by the throngs of cheering newbie’s that no longer have issues getting enough basic lands to play. Is anyone buying this load of crap? I would be more then happy to provide an approximate cubic foot of land over the next year to anyone who needed it. I suspect that this actually has much more to do with not flooding the draft tables with commons.

In the last interesting major set Draft environment, Lorwyn, (yes draft of Shadowmoor is stale, boring, and predictable- if you haven’t figured this out yet, draft 2 or 3 more times, and get back to me!) there was a statistical inclusion of a given common approximately 1.87 times per standard draft with uncommon showing up at a rate of 0.9 times per pool. This gives a decent distribution, which makes first pick commons pretty normal over the last 2 plus years of draft.

Under the new booster pack configuration these rates of inclusion jump to 2.37 per common, and 1.2 per uncommon. This literally shatters the prior conceptions regarding draft frequency. Now you can consider passing a common, almost assured that statistically you will see it 1.4 additional times. Even niche uncommon could be passed with a 1 in 5 chance of seeing it again. That is about a 30% increase in frequency over all.

Now if the land had not replaced the common in packs the inclusion rate would jump to 2.61 or a nearly 40% increase in inclusion.

These changes are going to make draft decks feel and operate more like poor constructed block decks, and not taking the land step would give nearly any decent drafter a virtually pauper constructed deck to play in the Draft event.

Is this a good thing? Will it make drafting more fun? Truth is I don't know, but combo, synergy and constancy are all going to be on the rise at a draft table near you this Fall. My guess is that good drafters with on-mark pick priorities will get even better all else being equal. Marginal drafters like my self, may have an easier time assembling a viable deck given higher card frequencies.