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Drafting is so much better than constructed and nobody told me! (Or how I reconciled with Magic the Gathering and MTG Arena)

Magic The Gathering is a game I had kind of given up on. It was part of my “10 popular boards games that didn’t work for me“, and for a specific reason: I really don’t like the person I become when I play Magic, MTG Arena in particular, and within that game, the Constructed Ranked play.

Maybe an unpopular opinion, but, except for the occasional “standard refresh” every year or so, the variety of decks you see (what people refer to as “the meta”) at a given time is insanely limited. If you are just a tiny little bit competitive (aren’t we all?) and play Constructed ranked, the game becomes a frustrating grind from start to finish: forget about build a fun deck, you’ll have to copy/paste the best winning deck from one of the many sites that provide it, and you’ll only face two or three different decks in the hundreds of games you’ll have to go through on your way to mythic.

Worse, don’t even expect to build a deck “around” the meta: if you craft a deck that is particularly designed to win against the deck you encounter the most, surprise, the MTG Arena algorithm will stop pitting you against that very deck, only for you to face something else that is better than the deck you crafted.

Look, I’m frustrated with constructed, not only online but in real life as well, where it becomes a matter of “who’s got the most expensive deck”. Yes, I’m looking at commander too, by the way. Which is a fun format, don’t get me wrong, but definitely has the “richest kid in the room wins” flaw.

But, despite having played Magic on and off for almost 3 decades now, I had never tried drafting! And what a breath of fresh air this format has become to me, in particular in MTG Arena!

Granted, its costs “Gems” or “Gold” to participate in a draft on MTG Arena, but those can be acquired as a Free to Play player, so, although you can’t play to your heart’s content, it’s a nice change of pace when constructed gets boring (which is, really quick).

I’ve been enjoying quick draft on MTG Arena because the decks (yours, or your opponents) don’t feel as “solid” as in constructed. There’s maybe a bit more “luck of the draw” involved, but also a bit more skill, in creating the deck in the first place (make do with the packs you’re given, rather than being able to copy/paste the best deck du jour), as well as during gameplay, especially when a new set is being introduced.

MTG Arena is far from a perfect game for me, I’m waaaay more into cooperative or solitaire board games (or video games, for that matter), but drafting, and in particular MTG Arena’s Quick Draft mode has rekindled my appreciation of Magic The Gathering.

Games mentioned in this article

Magic: The Gathering
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