Celebrate The Harvest
14, Jul, 22

These Drafts Are Back by Popular Demand!

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Article at a Glance

Upon its launch last week, Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate kicked off MTG Arena being all about Alchemy. With new Drafts, seasonal rewards, and a new Mastery Pass, there was just no escaping Alchemy. Alchemy is everyone’s favorite format to hate, so this went down as a lead balloon. Somewhat remarkably, however, Wizards of the Coast appears to have listened to fans’ demands, as things are changing. 

Alchemy-B-Gone

Voldaren Bloodcaster
Voldaren Bloodcaster | Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Much to the delight of those on the Magic Arena subreddit, Wizards of the Coast is introducing additional Premier Drafts. Starting next week and spanning until next month, on the 12th of August, these additional events bring back Premier Drafts for the four most recent Standard sets. These were entirely gutted from MTG Arena with the launch of Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate. The only replacement players were given were the occasional Quick Draft. 

Unlike Premier Drafts, a Quick Draft has you making your all-important draft picks alongside bots rather than actual players. This frustrating disconnect means you never know what deck you will face. In Quick Draft’s defense, this is already a problem on MTG Arena since pods only exist for the drafting process. Even in Premier Drafts, the draft pod ceases to exist after all the picks are made.

Quick Drafts also offer diminished rewards for players, giving them less incentive to play them. However, because of the predictable nature of bots, it’s easy to make an utterly busted draft deck in the quick draft. If you decide to play a quick draft, doing some research into what the best archetypes are (according to the habits of the bots) is a sure way to put some power behind your draft. Just note that you’ll likely be facing similar decks as well.

While they’re better than nothing, MTG Arena’s Quick Drafts aren’t everyone’s favorite way to play. Thankfully, they won’t be the only option for those looking to escape playing Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate soon enough. 

What’s the Schedule for Premier Drafts?

Myojin of Blooming Dawn
Myojin of Blooming Dawn | Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

According to Wizards of the Coast, this is the schedule for the upcoming additional Premier Drafts:

  • July 22–28: Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
  • July 28–August 2: Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
  • August 2–7: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
  • August 7–12: Streets of New Capenna

As you may have noticed, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is featured on this schedule twice. We believe this is a typo rather than a baffling decision on Wizards’ part. However, no clarification has been made thus far. If this is indeed a typo, we expect to see Innistrad: Crimson Vow as the Premier Draft from July 28th to August 2nd. 

It is currently unclear if, after August 12th, Wizards of the Coast will restart the rotation or if the additional Premier Drafts will go away for good. We can only hope that they stick around. In all honesty, for as long as these sets are in Standard, it would be nice to have the option to Draft them.

Is This Enough to Keep the Peace?

Ledger Shredder
Ledger Shredder | Streets of New Capenna

With a rotation of additional Premier Drafts being implemented to appease fans, has WotC finally done enough to quell frustrations? It might not be a popular opinion, but to us, the answer is yes, for the casual player at least. The loss of Standard legal packs as seasonal rewards is admittedly annoying, however, the rest of Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate’s launch is an opportunity for value

Faced with the alternative of keeping around Streets of New Capenna’s stale Mastery Pass, Horizons: Baldur’s Gate is better than nothing. It may be full of packs players don’t want beyond their wildcard value, but it’s still better than nothing. On top of the four rare Wildcards, which players can get for free, it’s also worth mentioning that Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate is fun. 

As we mentioned recently, in isolation, Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate is more similar to an Un-set than a Standard one. This makes it a delightful time, so long as you don’t mind the entry cost. This cost was recently mitigated by a Midweek Magic Phantom Draft, which proved just how fun the format could be. 

Read more: Could Marvel Be MTG’s Next Crossover Set?

Unfortunately for competitive players, there isn’t the same positive draw to Horizons: Baldur’s Gate. This is thanks to Wizards making every Qualifier Play-In and weekend all about Alchemy. Whether it’s Sealed or Constructed, competitive players on MTG Arena don’t have a choice but to learn the ins and outs of this much-mired format.

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