I love drafting, but most of my experience with it is watching MTGO videos or playing on MTGO myself. There you can see your picks during the whole drafting part, sort your cards several ways, and even sideboarding the worst cards as the draft goes on, ending with a deck almost ready.

Where I draft IRL, we are only allowed to look back at our picks between boosters, and not during a very long time (casual, but still). Can I maybe separate my picks in (face-down) piles, so that I can at least see how many colors/creatures/whatever I have (possibly going to the extreme, with piles for each color/card type/cost) ? I have limited memory and have a hard time figuring if I should prioritize medium 2-drops, because of curve reasons and I already have too many removals anyway, etc, all of which would not be a problem if I could look at my cards. Things I've considered focusing on remembering (all at once is out of the question) :

  • How many creatures/non-creatures
  • How many in each color
  • How many 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6 drops
  • How many removals/spells that do nothing if I don't have a creature on the battlefield

What should I focus on ? Is there a better way to draft IRL compared to MTGO ?

2 Answers 2


Competitive rules does not allow players to look at their previous picks during or between picks, only between rounds (between each boosters). You are also not allowed to reorganize your picks until the end of the draft. These rules prevents cheating and/or player mistakes while drafting.

In a non-professional environment, these rules are optional, so be sure to check with your LGS which one are enforced.

As for what to focus on remembering, the best answer would be "everything".

Curve, removals, the pace of the game, and color synergies are all very dependent on the current format. You can find format-specific breakdown and strategies guides on the internets, but the best way to improve in real life drafting is experience.

From my experience, if you were to choose one thing to track, it would be your creature/non creature spells ratio, as it is a very important part of deck building in limited, regardless of the current format.


Know what you're going into with how the sets you are drafting play. There really is no hard rule for what you should draft. Generally pick your colours early and focus on them, it's easier to draft if you know you want to build say Dimir based on early pulls, then needing to remember what you have, and balance between the colours you are building in isn't really important, you don't need to be half and half. Yes try to keep track of how many creatures you have, you definitely do not want to end up too light on that.

Never forget that there is a point between each pack that you do get a chance to go through your pulls and refresh your memory. Anything you forgot about pack 1's pulls during pack 2 you can look at and remember for pack 3.

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