My friend and I are buying an RTR booster box mainly in hopes of getting some chase rares, but also for some fun. What are some Draft Variants for only 2 players?
The two player formats I know of are:
- Solomon draft
- Winston draft
- Winchester draft
Wizards has some information about these 'casual' formats.
Each of these draft formats uses a similar setup:
3 packs per player (6 total)
Open all the packs, without looking at them, and remove any basic lands then shuffle all the cards together. You should have between 84 and 90 cards depending on the sets the boosters came from (14+basic or 15 cards in each).
Instead of using new boosters one can build a draft pool by:
- Shuffle up an existing sealed deck pool.
- Shuffle two sealed pools (12 packs total) together and draw off 90 cards.
- Shuffle a Cube and draw off 90 cards.
Decide on a minimum deck size (30 or 40, see below.)
Randomly decide who drafts first.
Players alternate drawing 8 cards and separating them into two piles, then the opposing player chooses a pile and the separating player keeps the other.
The piles need not be even.
When there are less than 8 cards left in the draft deck/pool the draft is over, the remaining cards are not used.
Begin by dealing out 3 face down cards, these become the draft piles.
Players alternate looking through each pile in turn, they may either take the pile or look at the next. If no pile is chosen the player drafts the top card of the draft deck. Then deals a face down card to each pile the player passed on, plus one card to replace the pile they took. The draft ends when all the cards are drafted.
The piles have no maximum size.
Begin by dealing out 4 face up cards, these become the draft piles.
Players alternate picking a pile, then adding a face-up card to each pile, including one to replace the pile they chose. The draft ends when all the cards are drafted.
The piles have no maximum size.
Each player opens their 3 boosters and shuffles them together (removing any basic lands first.) Each player deals off 2 face up cards to create the piles, 4 total and players still choose from any pile. After each choice, both players add 1 face-up card to each of 'their' piles from their draft deck/pool.
Nominally a normal 40-card limited deck is suggested for these formats; this leads to rather low power/'bad' decks, bad mana bases, etc.
I would suggest 30-card decks for better game play (n.b. some people consider the low power-level of the 40-card decks very skill testing and part of the fun.)
You should decide the minimum deck size before drafting.
Players build a deck of the agreed size, using their draft picks and as many basic lands as they need.
The player who drafted second gets the choice to play or draw in the first game of the match. A match is usually a race to 2 wins (nominally best 2 of 3, but draws can force additional games!)
When the match is over you can shuffle up and draft again, or try another format. Since the cards come off the draft deck in a random order, each draft will be different.
If new packs were used, these can be saved to draft again, or combine 2 or more draft pools to choose a random (90 card) subset for better re-playability.
We wanted something more like a "real" draft, where there is blindness, but not as much randomness as in Winston. So, our approach: make two stacks of 42 cards (3 boosters), one for each player. Each player draws 5 cards off the top and selects one, then puts the remaining 4 cards aside in a new pile. Continue this until you have emptied the pile. In the last pile there will be fewer than 5 cards, so just take one of these cards as well. Then give your "discard" pile to your opponent, and continue drafting with this new pile in the same fashion. Repeat this until all cards are drafted.
The choice of drawing 5 cards at a time is arbitrary, but it worked well enough for us. Additionally, you can choose to preserve the order of the cards (more like real draft, but less convenient because you have to put "discards" on the bottom of the stack). Or you can reverse the card order each time, or randomize each time.
We found that this 2-player drafting method gives players more control over their decks than in Winston, while maintaining blindness.
There is also grid drafting, a format designed by Jason Waddell where the rules are:
- Start with 18 packs of 9 cards.
- For each pack, lay it out in a 3x3 grid face up (just lay them out in order, >don't look at the cards and decide where each one should go).
- The first player takes a row or column.
- The second player takes a remaining row or column. Discard the undrafted >cards (which will be 3 or 4 cards per pack).
- Alternate who goes first each pack
You can read more here http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/cube-design-grid-drafting-and-more/
This format does not have the unknown information aspect of regular drafting, but it has a stronger focus on denying your opponents strategy while still getting good cards for your deck.
You can play sealed where you open 6 packs each and get to use as many basic lands as you want that are not included in the booster packs (about 17 is recommended) to create a 40 card deck.
is another 2 player booster format.
Full details are here: https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/pai-gow-magic/
Gerry Thompson recently introduced this variant to [the writer] at the World Championship in Boston, and I instantly loved it. He learned the game from Alex Majlaton at Grand Prix Las Vegas, who in turn saw it being played at Pro Tour Nashville by Craig Wescoe. It didn’t have a name then, so Majlaton decided to call it Pai Gow Magic since it involves making piles in a similar way to Pai Gow Poker. The Rules
The game is fun and effective at improving your Magic skills. Here’s how it works.
5 face-down piles of 3 cards each:
Each player opens a single booster pack, looks at the contents, and distributes the contents into 5 face-down piles of 3 cards each. Afterward, the order of the face-down piles is randomized, for instance by having the opponent rearrange them. 5 games with 3-card opening hands:
You play 5 consecutive, separate games of Magic. In game 1, each player’s first pile becomes their opening hand. In game 2, each player’s second pile becomes their opening hand. And so on.
There are no libraries, and you can’t lose to decking.
Start at 5 life:
In every game, each player starts at 5 life.
In every game, all players have access to an unlimited amount of mana in any combination of colors.
Distribute quickly to play first:
The player who was done first (with their distribution of cards into piles) gets to play first in the first game. In subsequent games, the loser of the previous game gets to play first. If the previous game was a draw, then the player who played first in the previous game gets to play first again.
Best 3 out of 5:
A player who wins 3 or more games automatically wins the match. In case of multiple draws, a player who ends up with more game wins than their opponent wins the match.
I should mention that there are no “official rules” for this casual format— these are just one article's rules, and your play group can modify them however you like.
You can try to play boosterbattle. Yout each take a booster and remove the token. You take 15 basic lands (3 of each) and shuffle all cards (unseen). Then you just play a Magic game. When you shuffle unseen, every card is a surprise. I've had much fun playing booster battles like this.
Oh yeah, about 50% of your deck is land, and you often don't draw the right lands, but you don't take mulligans then :)