What good archetypes have you found in triple Avacyn Restored draft? I'm looking for strategies, color combinations and core cards for each deck type. Maybe you found something that was surprisingly good or bad?

2 Answers 2


In my experience, Avacyn Restored Limited is less dependent on drafting clear archetypes than Innistrad. In particular:

  • None of the colors have a super-strong identity associating them with one particular strategy. For example, you could draft small aggressive white beaters, or you could draft Seraph of Dawn and Angelic Wall to try to win on board control.
  • Many of the colors are short on "playables".
  • Some of the strongest synergies are in rather basic aggressive and midrange decks.
  • Most of the "weird" cards turn out to be useless. Don't expect to be able to draft an awesome combo deck like Burning Vengeance or Spiders.

The closest analogy, in my view, is core set draft.

That said, if I had to pick archetypes, I think these would win on power and consistent draftability. Think of them as a mental shorthand for "What's good in this set that I'm likely to actually see?"

White-based aggro (W/R)

This is the classic white weenie strategy, basically, with red as the strongest secondary color due to its own weenies like Lightning Mauler, Kruin Striker, and Fervent Cathar. Only some of the low-cost creatures in the set are actually good, though, while others are filler; one way this deck fails is if you draft too many do-nothing 1/2s. Auras or Equipment can help keep them relevant in the game, but many of these are weak, too. In my experience, you will be outclassed by your opponent's creatures at some point, so it's important to have a way to push that final bit of damage through, whether that's direct damage, buff spells, or even Heirs of Stromkirk.

I also think the format is just slow enough that you usually want to play a big finisher or two if you can manage to pick up a good one: that's right, shove Entreat the Angels into a weenie deck! Herald of War is actually one of the better finishers because it comes down early and grows so quick. I'd be looking to pick up some of the more aggressive midrange Angels as well, like Emancipation Angel and Restoration Angel.

Green-based midrange (G/R)

The core concept of this deck is simple: most of the other decks you encounter can't beat curving out with a good two-drop into Trusted Forcemage into Druid's Familiar. Green has a lot of playable commons and uncommons and probably the highest concentration of really good ones as well (Druid's Familiar and Wolfir Avenger, for instance!), and it easily supports splashing a third color without diluting your deck (Borderland Ranger, Abundant Growth). I like red as the support color here, because it's good to have Pillar of Flame, Thunderbolt, and all the haste cards to mess with your opponent's defensive preparations. Blue is also promising for its soulbond creatures like Tandem Lookouts but seems to lead to grindier decks; generally, I think it's better to just take the blowout when you can get it, and cards like Uncanny Speed go a long way towards getting blowouts all the time.

In addition to soulbond, there's a "power matters" theme with cards like Wandering Wolf; if you pick up multiples of Blessings of Nature (an uncommon), a bunch of cards like Champion of Lambholt and Falkenrath Exterminator suddenly become game-ending combo cards.

Blue-based tempo control (U/?)

Mist Raven is a good card. Playing it feels a lot like playing Snapcaster - Vapor Snag in Standard. Then you start using Ghostly Flicker and Nephalia Smuggler and it's like a whole wave of Vapor Snags. There are no Delvers in this set, though, so you're in for a much grindier game, pecking away for 2 or 4 a turn in the air while you frustrate your opponent with blockers and bounce; a bit like CawBlade without any hands-down awesomely broken cards, really. This deck really benefits from some card draw to generate more lasting card advantage, like the Tandem Lookouts - Windcrafter combo -- ideally using it to find your big finisher or some powerful removal.

If you pull a Deadeye Navigator, then you have a real control game in the form of a soft lock. Or, you know, a Tamiyo, but I suspect you don't need to be told that planeswalkers can totally take over in Limited.

  • Nice write up, thanks! A few questions: Is it possible to get the white fast enough to win without the angels? Green seems crazy strong. Wolfir Avenger, wow. Have you tried Triumph of Ferocity? It looks like a good fit on paper. Do you have any favorite targets for all the blinking in blue? I haven't seen a lot of blue ones, maybe in other colors? What about black, suggestions what to do if I end up starting a few good black cards? Commented May 31, 2012 at 17:22
  • @AndSoYouCode Triumph of Ferocity is awesome in Limited. I haven't played the other stuff enough to make good suggestions. There are some black cards but I feel like it's very fragile.
    – Alex P
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 17:32
  • Seems like a mistake on Gatherer's side, but your Druid's Familiar link resolves to Druids' Repository.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 5:13
  • @Jefromi I'm surprised it resolves at all! We have an apostrophe problem.
    – Alex P
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 6:07

Pro player Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa recently wrote an interesting article on the subject where he states:

There are no archetypes

This is kind of an exaggeration – obviously there are archetypes – but this is so different than previous draft formats that I think the exaggeration is warranted to get the point across. For most of the past decade, there were very specific archetypes and color combinations that you wanted or didn’t want to be in – in Innistrad, for example, you could be Spider Spawning, Burning Vengeance, GW aggro, BR aggro, but you did not want to be GW control, UB aggro or WR anything, because the cards just weren’t there. In Avacyn Restored, you can be almost any color combination, and you can be control or aggro in any of them. That’s very interesting, because previous picks don’t restrain you as much when it comes to choosing a second color or a strategy, as pretty much anything is fair game.

If we take Paulo's word on the subject, it all comes down to color combinations where pretty much any combination can work.

In the same article he also talks about each color's strengths and highlights the best cards for each color.

  • 1
    I agree with PV (on everything ever; he is my favorite!), but I do think it's useful to point out that he's having a rather terrible season with AVR block, sealed, and draft. That may indicate he has "misread" the format.
    – Alex P
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 15:26
  • 1
    @AlexP ahahah, that may well be the case! I just wanted to bring in the thoughts of a pro, and Paulo's article is the closest answer I could find.
    – rahzark
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 19:49
  • Definitely the right idea. I was gonna link to him, too. :)
    – Alex P
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 20:10

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