Friday, May 20, 2016

Format Friday: Ain't no holla Back-Draft

Ideal 1st, 2nd, and 3rd picks
Whatup, my associate nerds. This is Dan, taking a break from seeing how much chocolate milk I can drink in one day to talk to you about something sweet as sugar we did on Wednesday night - Back-Draft. Gaige and I have always talked about giving it a whirl, but every time we went to buy packs for it, we ended up just doing a normal draft, sealed, or just got drunk at a pizza pub instead.  Drunk on pizza, that is. We recently bought two booster boxes though, and apparently that's how many packs it takes for us to start doing silly shit with them, so we ran it with two of our other friends.

The hell is Back-Draft? Sweet as sugar apparently, since I typed that earlier. A Back-Draft is like a normal draft, except instead of drafting out good cards to build your shitty deck, you purposefully draft bad cards to make a shitty deck. Your goal is to assemble the worst pile of 45 cards you can out of the packs that are passed to you.

Hot garbage.
Do you know how it feels to see a foil Eldrazi Displacer wheel around the table a few times? Pretty damn weird. Like getting ladled on the balls, it's strange, but legal. Our friend Alex yelled out "Oh god damnit!" as he got passed that Sigarda last pick. Terrible decks were drafted, pizza was ordered, and shenanigans occurred.

Don't know how to do a Back-Draft? Well, I'm about to drop some knowledge bombs on your ignorance bunker. Here's the general rundown:
  1. Choose your packs. Three packs per drafter. We did OGW and SoI because we had them laying around, though feel free to use any and all sets. Bonus points for Homelands.
  2. Sit down in whatever order you're drafting. You may prepare snacks first.
  3. Open the first pack. Pick the worst draft card from that pack, and then pass it to the left.
  4. Repeat for each pack passed to you. Once all the cards are gone, open the next pack and repeat the process passing to the right, and then the third goes back to the left.
  5. Roll a die/flip a coin/draw names from a hat/cry out to your respective god to randomly pick one of the other drafters. Hand your pile of 45 terrible cards to them.
  6. Someone will hand you their pile of cards. This is now your draft pool. I'm so sorry. Build the best deck you can out of the terrible cards.
  7. Figure out matchups somehow, and let the nonsense unfurl.
Pretty simple, right? Since there is no synergy and everyone is desperately just trying to find their fourth mana before they die to a one drop, the games are fairly random. My cousin Max wrecked me on turn four with cheap dudes and Triskaideckawhatever. Gaige and Alex's game one went for 40 minutes as they bumped 2/4's into eachother. Sheer madness, man.

The most powerful game-closing creature in the set.
The scoring works thusly my gentle folk:
  • You get one point for winning a game that you're playing. Don't draw, because I didn't think of a rule for that situation. We'll say you get half a point, fuck it.
  • You get one point for the draft pool you drafted losing a game. E.g. if I passed my pool to Gaige, and he loses a game, then I get a point for it.
  • Tally these for each match. For example, if I'm playing with Gaige's deck and I lose my match in three games, I get one point, my opponent gets two, Gaige gets two, and whoever handed my opponent his draft pool gets one.
Simple. Well, you'd think that. A surprising amount of strategy went into drafting for us. Gaige went for the "pile of shitty creatures with no supporting spells" draft strategy, while I tried "oops I forgot to draft creatures." Our friends did "counterspells/card advantage with no win condition" and "auras and stuff without targets." Overall, they were great. By great I mean literally the exact opposite of great.

As a testament to how spectacular I am at Magic, I proved that I can't even draft poorly correctly. The pool I drafted was piloted to victory. Olivia's Bloodsworn OP. The pool passed to me had a Sigarda, but all she did has hit the board and immediately die one game. It was rough. Like a young lad who just saw a homeless man eat a cat, I was broken.

Live and learn - I now know to never give someone Untamed Hunger, cause apparently that card will fuck you up. And what happens with all of these awesome common menace auras after the games? Up to you guys. If each player pays for their own packs, you could do a rare redraft, where you pull out all the mythics, rares, uncommons and foils, then starting with the player with the highest points total, pick one at a time until they're gone. Since Gaige and I supplied all the packs this time, we just had all the Oath cards gave back to me, and all the Shadows to Gaige. You could also just try to steal all your friends' cards when they aren't looking. The options are endless.

The main thing is to make sure you don't just keep the cards you draft, as this kills the spirit of the draft. I definitely would have snatched the Declaration in Stone, Sigarda, or Eldrazi Displacer just for value. Having some way to redistribute the cards once done playing will make the draft a lot more fun for everyone. 


Anyways, that's the format. If you're tired of going gung-ho in it to win it style drafting, give Back-Draft a shot. You'll finally get to play that Chaplain's Blessing dream, and you could force someone to play Harness the Storm!

This card is not good.
Have any thoughts about Back-Draft? Any other janky formats rattling around in your head? What is your favorite pizza? Whatever you're thinking, we're morbidly curious, so send us a message or poop a comment down below!


  1. Doable with four? Best with eight? How many escorts do I need to call to fill out a backdraft pod?

    1. We rocked it with only 4 and it was a ton of fun. I think the sweet spot will always be 6-8, but going a bit higher or lower isn't the end of the world.