For all you drafters out there

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I'm thinking about giving up the constructed 1v1 play for drafting. I don't have the money to constantly pour into mtgo so my main question is, is it possible to draft and with the cards you obtain/winnings can you continue to do drafts without buying any tix or packs? and what would be the best drafting format to choose to achieve that goal. not necessarily going "infinite" but almost..
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I am Blue/Green
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I'm thinking about giving up the constructed 1v1 play for drafting. I don't have the money to constantly pour into mtgo so my main question is, is it possible to draft and with the cards you obtain/winnings can you continue to do drafts without buying any tix or packs? and what would be the best drafting format to choose to achieve that goal. not necessarily going "infinite" but almost..




Drafting is costly. No matter how good you are it is going to be an expense that will have you selling your rares (and uncommons too mostly) just to scrape tickets together to get one more in.

My recommendation as has been said to you before, get into one niche format (Pauper classic is a good example if somewhat hard to get into. If you want a slightly less solved format Standard Pauper is played often now that it has a filter in the client.)

Winter.Wolf

I'm thinking about giving up the constructed 1v1 play for drafting. I don't have the money to constantly pour into mtgo so my main question is, is it possible to draft and with the cards you obtain/winnings can you continue to do drafts without buying any tix or packs? and what would be the best drafting format to choose to achieve that goal. not necessarily going "infinite" but almost..

Yes, it's possible. If you're new to drafting, though, your best bet is rare drafting in 3-2-1 Swiss -- and even then, don't expect to come out ahead.

I understand the desire to play for prizes, because it can enhance the playing experience, and to me having something on the line makes it more fun and feels like more of an achievement when I'm successful. But, really, if you have no $$'s, your only viable competitive choices are phantom events and player run constructed events. Or maybe Momir. It takes a small investment to play Momir, though, and if you're not a mistake free player you'll definitely be spending more than you win.

Maybe take a deep breath, take a step back, and reassess? There are so many games out there that are free to play or only require that you purchase the game one time. Maybe Magic isn't the right game for you at this point?
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Okay I understand. One main thing is that I have a very small collection of cards. and have no way of increasing it. I have a well built elf combo deck for legacy format. and telir I was taking your advice at sticking with a single format and that being legacy, for one its not that popular, and 2 every person I play against is running 4 FoW's and every other great card you can imagine for an easy win over me everytime. I want to play something where skill takes more of an effect, like in drafting I have the knowledge of drafting and the m13 set and am working with the same limited card pool as my opponent. Skill truly is a factor there, but in legacy my deck regardless of my skill level just doesn't perform as well as the tier 1 decks out there. I want to sell my elf deck to hopefully gain enough tix to enter a draft, it will pretty much be a do or die game because i'm relying on winning to continue my playing and card collection.

But what i'm getting at is the cards I own, no one wants, no one trades for them, bots wont even take them. there that bad. I have a combo elf deck that if it goes up against anything other than top tier it generally wins. I was paying 2 tix to enter a 1v1 legacy constructed game. and 90% of the time I would lose and there goes my tix. So by drafting I feel like I have a better chance at 1. increasing my collection to where people will actually trade with me. 2. make somewhat of a profit. 3. play for one initial investment and ride the winnings and rare pulls to free entries into drafts all while obtaining new cards.

and also i've seen 3-2-1 swiss, 8-4-0-0, can someone explain each one to me and the entry fee please. thanks again everyone for your help.

and I can imagine my plan not being very effective but it beats what i've been doing for the past week, playing the same deck each time in just for fun classic or legacy and people calling me a net decker :/
I am Blue/Green
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Let's start with your question regarding payout: 3-2-1 is the swiss payout with 1 pack for each win. The payout for 8 players is going to be 3-2-2-2-1-1-1-0. Everyone gets to play all three rounds. 8-4 on the other hand describes a top-heavy payout of 8 packs for the person going 3-0, and 4 packs for the loser of the finals. Different from swiss tournaments, these 8-4's are single-elimination.

If you decide to draft, make sure that you know how much cards are worth. For in-print sets, this means rares and mythics. Be aware that foil rares are worth less than you might think, but foil mythics are very valuable independent of how good the particular card is. If you draft out-of-print sets do some research on card values first - there are some out-of-print commons which are worth multiple tickets.

Playing limited is generally going to be more expensive than constructed, but your arguments are valid. Be aware that an opened pack is usually worth less than 1.5 tickets. This should give you a good idea of how much of a cost to expect when drafting (depending on your match win percentage). There are some graphs in this forum (or bubba's signature) that show some of the expected cost of the different draft formats.

Last but not least, person-to-person trading is relatively rare these days. You can sell and buy cards to and from bots taking pretty low margins, so the need for human trade is greatly reduced.
Let's start with your question regarding payout: 3-2-1 is the swiss payout with 1 pack for each win. The payout for 8 players is going to be 3-2-2-2-1-1-1-0. Everyone gets to play all three rounds. 8-4 on the other hand describes a top-heavy payout of 8 packs for the person going 3-0, and 4 packs for the loser of the finals. Different from swiss tournaments, these 8-4's are single-elimination.

If you decide to draft, make sure that you know how much cards are worth. For in-print sets, this means rares and mythics. Be aware that foil rares are worth less than you might think, but foil mythics are very valuable independent of how good the particular card is. If you draft out-of-print sets do some research on card values first - there are some out-of-print commons which are worth multiple tickets.

Playing limited is generally going to be more expensive than constructed, but your arguments are valid. Be aware that an opened pack is usually worth less than 1.5 tickets. This should give you a good idea of how much of a cost to expect when drafting (depending on your match win percentage). There are some graphs in this forum (or bubba's signature) that show some of the expected cost of the different draft formats.

Last but not least, person-to-person trading is relatively rare these days. You can sell and buy cards to and from bots taking pretty low margins, so the need for human trade is greatly reduced.



Thank you for the information! that 8-4-0-0 is that an 8 man draft?
I am Blue/Green
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Thank you for the information! that 8-4-0-0 is that an 8 man draft?



All drafts are 8-mans (except for 64-person draft tournaments in scheduled events, but those are an 8-person draft followed by another 8-person draft for those that 3-0'd the first one). The payout of an 8-4 draft is 8-4-0-0-0-0-0-0.

and how many tix does it cost to enter the 8-4-0-0?
I am Blue/Green
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and how many tix does it cost to enter the 8-4-0-0?

2 tickets and 3 packs (the ones being drafted) OR 14 tickets. The former is generally the cheaper option.
ok, thank you for all the information!
I am Blue/Green
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I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.
and how many tix does it cost to enter the 8-4-0-0?

Keep in mind that there are also 4-3-2-2 drafts, which pay out one less total pack than 8-4 and swiss, but makes up for that by having a more spread-out prize structure.

Swiss is probably your best bet as a beginner, with the caveat that it's impossible to actually make a profit there if you don't open an expensive rare. If you want to play single elimination, I'd definitely recommend 4-3-2-2 over 8-4 for beginner drafters like you, both because the general player level is lower and because it has a less all-or-nothing prize structure.
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Swiss drafts give the OP the most play value for the investment. In addition, swiss drafts offer a better learning experience when starting out with limited. If you want a competitive environment, play 8-4's. I absolutely do not recommend playing 4-3-2-2's because both alternatives are simply superior. You might need a bigger "bankroll" because of the steeper prize structure of 8-4's, but you will spend more money on 4-3-2-2's in the long run.
Swiss drafts give the OP the most play value for the investment. In addition, swiss drafts offer a better learning experience when starting out with limited. If you want a competitive environment, play 8-4's. I absolutely do not recommend playing 4-3-2-2's because both alternatives are simply superior. You might need a bigger "bankroll" because of the steeper prize structure of 8-4's, but you will spend more money on 4-3-2-2's in the long run.



+1

4-3-2-2 includes some of the risk involved with 8-4 (single elimination) but doesnt have the rewards for 2-0-split or 3-0 ( A sizable profit)

At the end of the day 4-3-2-2 Pays out 1 less booster than the others and should be boycotted. There is abolsutely no reason they shouldnt be 5-3-2-2.

You say you don't want to pour money into mtgo. However drafts are the most significant ways of pouring money in. The long term EV of drafts (and all limited events) is so much less than constructed.
Basically tournament level magic will always cost you. Until you reach the highest skill levels.
Phantom Sealed is the cheapest version of "limited" available and now has a reasonable payout. I'd personally always suggest sealed deck events for a beginner as its easier to pick up than draft.

I've bought the cards and made a deck Now how do I win at this?

You will not turn a profit drafting, you will not even break even!  You having to ask these question show that you dont have what it takes to profit, in my opinion.  I would say maybe 1% profit in drafts. 
One main thing is that I have a very small collection of cards. and have no way of increasing it.



I increased the size of my digital collection by selling pieces of my physical collection on ebay.  I played alot of paper during the MD5 days and had > 5 playsets of Aether Vial.  I turned a portion of that into digital cards.

You will spend a lot of money drafting.  Playing constructed daily events is essentially the only way to play events that cost money to enter and still break even or do better.



If you are good at limited you can play for relatively inexpensive (i.e. averaging 1 or 2 tix actual cost per draft).  However, it's going to take spending a ton of money, losing a lot, and playing a lot to get to the point where you're good.



In short, limited is expensive.  It's expensive because the average player enjoys it quite a bit more than constructed.