How on earth do you get better at drafts?

I am boggled. I've started drafting recently and dropped lots of money into learning to draft m10, its a relatively straightforward and simple set so why not. But how do you get better? I've had games lost to an opponent with no hand who topdecked lightning bolts, I've drawn 9 lands in a row, I've drawn 4 lands in a row of a single color that doesn't represent a card in my hand, i mean REALLY bizarre stuff. The only problem is that I can count how many times I've seen an opponent land screwed. Twice. This is by no means a blame the shuffler rant, but I heard that draft takes skill as opposed to sealed which takes luck.


How do you answer an opponent who drops back to back Captains of the Watch? Master of the Wild hunt and then a Magma phoneix? How do you answer decks that get their winning combo twice in a row and kill you on turn 7 both games?


Where is the skill? This isn't to say that the players who pulled these off weren't good, they were real good! But always better lucky than good right?


If my rare is Traumatize and the guy to my left cracks a Garruk, how on earth do you deal with that? I've opened so many traumatizes and hive minds its bizarre!


Does it ever get better? Or do I just keep tanking $$$ and HOPE that I get something good and that everyone else is a moron. Because at that point its just gambling. And poker is much cheaper.


Did anyone ever start in my position? It just seems like everyone has always been stellar. Sorry for whining, but do certain people ever consistently win drafts?

I'm new to drafts and m10 in general, but this is what I'll tell you - it takes skill to build a draft deck well because you have to take into account a) what you open b) what is being passed to you c) what you are passing and d) what makes a good draft deck, and so far for me that's too much to follow.  


There is luck in at least one respect - what you have when you open a pack.  If the guy to your left pops a Planeswalker and you pop something less, you won't know and you can't plan for it.  The rest of the picks are where the skill comes in; you have to do the best you can.

There always remains some element of luck when drafting, but I've found that skill does matter most and have been able to steadily improve in recent months not just through actual drafting experience but also by reading a lot of draft recaps from pro's and others on the major mtg websites and by using various draft simulators.  


The recaps (and related comments) on websites like star city games, puremtgo, channelfireball, and other major sites should help you better understand which cards are most valuable in limited, how signalling works, and so on.  


I prefer the simulator at draft.bestiaire.org/ but there are several good ones out there if you look around.  Running a bunch of these should help you better understand what to expect and to therefore draft better decks. 


That said, no matter how skilled you get there will still be times when you open bad rares and/or draft poorly just due to simple bad luck, or run into someone who had the opposite happen by opening a few great mythics.  It happens, but should be the exception and not the rule.  


~Arby


 


 

Hey thanks!


The resource list was quite helpful. After a little review of some of my mistakes I think it might be my overvalue of creatures to removal. It's good to know that its not just a random gamble, and I think what you have listed is a great place to start to overcome this plateau I've hit.


Anyone else remember being a draft nub but now feel like they are doing much better?

hi


Im pretty much in the same boat as you - have done around 15 drafts - my rating dropped to around 1500 pretty quickly but is now slowly creeping up. Like a previous poster said - do a lot of reading, practice drafting on bestiare. I've also found the channelfireball videos on youtube useful.


You still have to plough a fair bit of money & time in though to improve considerably

I took a break from drafts, then interestingly enough, I started drafting bestiare and reading some things and focusing on removal...


I ended up winning an 8-4 after trying out my newfound knowledge O.o


Go figure that practice and knowledge helps you jump plateaus, for other new drafters, this information is actually INCREDIBLY helpful.

Glad the info was helpful.  I ended up going 0-3 in my only draft since posting it though, hah.  Tried to experiment with forcing mono-black after opening some good black early, and it didn't go so well.  All 3 very close 2-1 losses, but losses nonetheless.  


I've found the swiss drafts to be particularly good for learning, since you are guaranteed 3 games.


~Arby


 

Honest answer?


Stop playing M10!!!!!!!


It's a very bomb oriented set that lets even the worst player win because he played Overrun when all he has is 2 silvercoat lions and a llanowar elves on the board.  It lets bad decks win because they played sleep and you couldn't play catch up.  It let's players have a blowout win because they drop ant queen and the only removal you have is lightning bolt and a sparkmage apprentice.  There's too many threats and not enough quality kill going around.  Removal in M10 is gobbled up too quick and used in games too quick also.  Think about how many times you've played your single pacifism on a cugel troll only to have a serra angel smash your face for the win later.  There's far too many hard to answer creatures and not enough good old-fashioned kill spells.  And regeneration got insane so the 3 guys that have it can shut down land strategies pretty quick.


It's just a tough format to understand and improve on.  Most of the time I find it completely relies on how lucky you were with what gets passed to you and not how much skill you have in actually determining the quality of the cards.  It's not as skill intensive as other sets.


 


So quit drafting it and save your money for Zendikar.  It's only a few days away!


Honest answer?


Stop playing M10!!!!!!!


It's a very bomb oriented set that lets even the worst player win because he played Overrun when all he has is 2 silvercoat lions and a llanowar elves on the board.  It lets bad decks win because they played sleep and you couldn't play catch up.  It let's players have a blowout win because they drop ant queen and the only removal you have is lightning bolt and a sparkmage apprentice.  There's too many threats and not enough quality kill going around.  Removal in M10 is gobbled up too quick and used in games too quick also.  Think about how many times you've played your single pacifism on a cugel troll only to have a serra angel smash your face for the win later.  There's far too many hard to answer creatures and not enough good old-fashioned kill spells.  And regeneration got insane so the 3 guys that have it can shut down land strategies pretty quick.


It's just a tough format to understand and improve on.  Most of the time I find it completely relies on how lucky you were with what gets passed to you and not how much skill you have in actually determining the quality of the cards.  It's not as skill intensive as other sets.


 


So quit drafting it and save your money for Zendikar.  It's only a few days away!




There is definitely truth to what you say!  I just started drafting M10 last month.  I'm new at magic and new at drafting so M10 is/was a good way to learn.  However, it does seem to be mostly about who can draw the bombs at the right time. 


I played last night and had a great uw deck.  I ended up losing the last game and my opponent messaged me and said I had an awesome deck and should have won but he got lucky with topdecking at the end.


Related to the op's original comments though, I have had numerous times where I have 4 mountains (or whatever splash land) and 13 primary lands and end up drawing all 4 of the moutains before getting a second primary land.  I don't see this happen much to my oppenents and I keep thinking maybe it does have to do with how much money you spend and your luck/handicap gets adjusted by the software Undecided


 

I dunno. I have had a pretty successful run on M10 using a commons based drafting strategy. Here are some tips of my for draft in general, M10 in particular.


1: Drafting isn't just about picking good cards. It is about building a good deck with a limited pool. Therefore, pick cards that are going to be good for your deck.


2: Learn the metagame. Thsi means that you need to know which colors are strongest, and why they win games. You need to know how games end,  and how to make them end in your favor.


3. Mana, Mana, Mana. Keep your draft decks to as few colors as possible. This doesn't mean you play a weak mono-colored deck, because you are generally going to need to branch out more to get enough versatility and power. However, this does mean that you should play 2 color decks in M10, 3 color decks in Shards, and probably 2 color decks in Zendikar. When you are playing a 2 color deck, make one color your base color, and the other a splash that is intended to be played in the later game. The second color can have your removal if it isn't too color intensive, and your main color can have your early drops. This helps minimize your chances of having mana problems. Correct deckbuilding minimizes mana screw in the early game, and mana flood in the late game.


4: Play well. Constructed allows you to know your deck inside out, and the plays almost become automatic. Limited requires you to make the best plays at any given moment.


5: Lower your expectations. Good drafters still go 2-1 more often than they go 3-0. That is just life.


 


Try listening to Limited Resrouces at mtgcast.com/?cat=65.


Look over your draft records, and have other people look over your drafts. Review your games. Read Limited Strategy articles.

IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000) Check out Ars Arcanum, my stat based series on Magic Limited, over at PureMTGO. Here is a link to the archive: http://goo.gl/Zvh6Q

There are a ton of great resources online to help you understand and improve your drafting.  Limited is a very complex beast, but there is a great wealth of knowledge available from players who are not only experts on the subject, but also kind enough to share!  Off the top of my head:


www.puremtgo.com 


www.blackborder.com 


www.channelfireball.com 


www.starcitygames.com


www.mymtgo.com


www.mtgcast.com


www.tcgplayer.com


www.draftbetter.com <--awesome real-world draft analysis


draft.beastiare.org <--awesome draft simulator with pick stats  


Trial and error is all good, but when you gotta pay $ for your trials, might as well learn from other peoples errors first, right?

The draft simulator at draft.bestiaire.org is terrible. It will do nothing to prepare you for a real draft. I tried it twice, and both times, FOUR drafters at the table were in red as a MAIN color (not a splash for fireball or bolt).


That will never, never, never, NEVER happen in an M10 draft.


I have played in about 50 M10 drafts, and I have kept track of the colors my opponents were playing as a main color. Those colors are as follows: white 60 matches, black 49, grteen 48, blue 47, and red 34.


Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to get better at drafting.

First off, rare draft when you pull money cards. You can turn around and sell them for more draft if you aren't interested in playing constructed (like me).

As for M10 being broken, nah, not really. Boring, yea, but not broken. If you're aware of what's in the set while you're going through packs and can pick up on what the guys next to you are drafting, then you can usually figure out what to pull. Noobs can pop cards like overrun, but if you're good, you'll be anticipating it and have an answer hopefully lined up.

When you draft, don't force colors. See what's good, and pick what you think won't come back around. After about the first pack and a half or so, you should have your colors figured out, and if you're doing really well, you'll be open to mutliple colors in case a bomb rare comes in the third pack. For M10, 2 colors is usually what to look for in a deck at the end of the third pack.

It's very important to make sure you pull removal, threats, and threat answers like sleep. Drafting is all about tricks, and the more cards with tricks you pull, the better off you'll be (unless you get lucky like a guy at the local shop did and pull 3 overruns). For example, Prodigal Pyromancer I've seen get passed around a lot online, but it's a really good card: you can ping every turn, shoot his weak guys, combo with a lightning bolt, or get lucky and get a gorgon flail on him and watch as your opponent searches frantically for an answer.

GL drafting.
May I also recommend mtgoacademy.com? We have top players showing how to draft in video form and writing articles about it. Check it out if you have missed it so far.

Cheers

MTGO ACADEMY - Magic the Gathering Online Strategy, Articles, Videos, and Cards: The prime source for Magic the Gathering strategy.

http://www.mtgoacademy.com/

Jump on youtube and look up "channelfireball" - LSV has some great drafts to learn from and they're pretty entertaining too.
I'm guilty of the same as OP...

I draft, and find cards are/that look powerful, and try to pull off combos on top of those as we do in standard...

when in fact success stems from just picking the overall best cards and trying to stick to one color and one splash color, and hate draft when there's nothing useful for your colors (pick the best cards from other colors).

Draft Magic is what I use, I think they may be fairly new but have definitely helped me with my drafting in M11.

www.draftmagic.com