So it's the week before the pre-release. You can't wait to see the new cards before they're actually released. You pack your cards and you're about ready to head to the event. Until you realize... You have no idea what you're doing. So relax, that's where this article comes in. I'm going to take you a step by step way of identifying drafting strategies.
In order to start, We need to work out some vocabulary that's easy to remember. Just remember the Acronym B-R-E-A-D. This stands for: Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggro and Dregs. For more information on this check out this article here:http://www.essentialmagic.com//em2/Doc.aspx?hDocID=239
Since this isn't an article teaching you how to draft, I'll show you how to pick some solid strategies on what to expect when preparing for a pre-release.Spoilers
The first thing to do is your homework. No, I don't mind your Algebra or English. I mean to look up the spoiler pages from a magic website. A spoiler is a preview of the cards being released before the pre-release. This helps players gain a competitive edge and gain a somewhat familiarity with the cards prior to the pre-release.What you should look for
There are a few different things to look for in spoilers. Bombs, Removal, Mechanics and Tempo are the four major things.Bombs
These are the big cards. The "Timmy" cards as they were. These cards have big effects and usually have a high casting cost. Every set has a few Bombs that win games if the player has enough mana to actually cast them.Removal
Since all sets have bombs, this is probably the most important part of drafting in a new set. Removal is exactly what it sounds like. It removes cards from the field. Mass removal spells like Day of Judgment
are the best removal spells as they allow you to gain a large card advantage over your opponent.
Not all sets are created equal in this aspect. Some sets have more removal while others have less. These are usually picked later then the bombs. However, depending on the amount of removal in a set, these cards might be pulled first. This being said, removal never lasts very long in a draft and should be pulled if possible. Mechanics
All non-core sets allow new mechanics to be introduced. A lot of cards with the same mechanics allow a large amount of synergy to be played within a deck. When first reading a mechanic, read it slowly and at least twice. Understand exactly what happens with the ability and when it might apply in a game. It's always a good idea to ask a rules guru or judge to get a definite understanding of these mechanics before the tournament starts. Tempo
What does tempo have to do with a draft? If you answered "Everything" you'd be correct. Tempo is one of the largest pieces of learning a new set. This basically tells you if it will be a fast aggro setting (Alara Reborn) or something slow (Rise of Eldrazi).
You can usually tell is by the casting cost of the spells in the set along with the average power and toughness of the creatures. The lower the average power and toughness of creatures can affect the speed of the draft. Traditionally a low power and toughness of a creature is proportional to the casting cost of that creature. And the lower the casting cost, the faster the draft.
The types of spells have a lot to do with it too. Creatures are great, but if there's a lot of removal then it could stall a game. The amount of life gain in a draft is another variable that will allow a longer game.