MTG Arena is bringing back the Amonkhet Remastered Premier Draft event from August 27 to September 1, 2022! Here is our fully updated in-depth guide to the format, a curated amalgamation of both Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation.
Hey everyone! We’ve come to the last stop on the flashback road before we head back to Dominaria United to combat the Phyrexians. This time, we’re dropping in to say hello to the deserts of Amonkhet Remastered Premier Draft. This was their first attempt at a Remastered set so it was a combination of Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation with the equivalent of a Historic Anthology tossed in for good measure. It’s a crazy concoction, but still a helluva good time.
Key Ideas of Amonkhet Remastered
The first thing to point out is that this is a very aggressive format, but it’s the good kind of aggressive with a lot of microdecisions packed into a few turns. Everything from Exerting to cheap removal requires making decisions while trying to develop your board.
While the format was more balanced in real life once they added Hour of Devastation, it was pretty clear they felt they needed to add some more anti-aggro cards. They may have over corrected by adding a bunch of sweepers which you can check out in the section below. Most of them are rares though so I prefer to think of it more as they added them for “break in case of emergency” or to at least put the fear of them into the mind of the beatdown players.
Since it is an amalgam of two sets, it is much larger than an average set with a whopping 338 cards instead of the typical 280. With ten extra commons and uncommons, it is slightly less likely that you will see multiples of a card. With 25% more rares and 50% more mythics it is even less likely that you will run into them.
While I am going to get into archetypes, it’s important to note that there are many sub archetypes within each color combination which is exasperated by some of the rares they added. Approach of the Second Sun is a great finisher for any control deck, but you’re not going to want it in a deck full of Gust Walkers and Cartouche of Solidaritys. That means it’s another format where you need to focus on synergy over raw power level even if you find the open color lane.
The most popular and some would say the best archetype is the Boros Exert deck. It’s interesting that if you look at the data all the way back from when the format debuted, it has almost twice as many decks as any other archetype on 17Lands data. That’s probably because of how good it was in real life Amonkhet and that it’s usually easier to win with aggressive decks at the beginning of a format.
It was still putting up impressive numbers even with everybody in the know fighting over it so you should probably still bias towards starting your draft with those intentions unless your seat dictates otherwise.
While kicking off the draft with Glorybringer is always great, you don’t even have to bust a crazy rare to get a great Boros deck. There are some pretty busted uncommons like Ahn-Crop Crasher, Sand Strangler, and Trial of Zeal. Even the signpost Honored Crop-Captain is an over statted creature with battle cry when it attacks.
At common you have Gust Walker which is premium and performs much better than it looks. Don’t look at it as a modern bear with upside, it’s much better than that. You even have cheap solid removal with Magma Spray and Open Fire.
With all of that going on, what are you going to do to counter Boros? Economical Value and efficient lifegain tacked onto something else (not Life Goes On) are both great ways to combat that. In particular, Sunscourge Champion is the last card they want to see hit the battlefield. Cartouche of Ambition is also a nightmare for any deck trying to get you dead ASAP.
That leads towards Esper control combinations where you can really take advantage of returning creatures from the graveyard. Embalm and Eternalize are basically the same mechanic where you get to pay the cost and exile it from your graveyard to put a token copy of it into play. The big difference is that Embalm is an exact copy of the creature except for always being white and Eternalize is a 4/4 version of the creature that is black.
You can really put the breaks on them with an early Labyrinth Guardian that can come right back for only four mana. Once you’ve stabilized, one of the best ways to put the game away is with Vizier of the Anointed drawing so many cards that it just buries them in value.
Green is also a very viable option, but is heavily split between hyper aggressive and expensive rampy long game cards. Just make sure you take the right half of them for the deck you’re building because Sifter Wurm isn’t going to do much in your Selesnya Exert deck, but might be just the card you need to stabilize your Oasis Ritualist pile.
Creatures with one in the butt are very good at one thing in this format. Unfortunately, that one thing is dying. That makes cards like Oketra's Avenger worse than you would think.
Trials and Cartouches are amazing together if you can pull it off and well worth holding off on playing an early cartouche to get to double dip on a trial. If you ever do Trial of Solidarity into Cartouche into replay Trial, it’s most likely game over.
Deserts are worth having even if you are playing an aggressive deck. The option to Cycle them away when you have enough lands is a great trade off for having a tap land in your deck. Deserts also enable a ton of relevant cards even after they are in your graveyard. Sand Strangler goes from unplayable to mythic uncommon just because you have a desert somewhere. Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs is an underrated card, but you do need that desert to get it rolling.
The Icy Manipulator variant of the set is Edifice of Authority. It should be a priority in any control deck that you build, but doesn’t perform well in aggro because it can’t move blockers out of the way for three turns.
I’ve seen lots of people playing monuments. Oketra's Monument is great. The rest are bottom of the barrel dumpster fires.
If you’ve never had to deal with The Scarab God in limited, then congratulations. The rest of us haven’t been that lucky and it is particularly egregious. Some people enjoy the challenge, but if you’re not close to winning it’s probably best to go to the next game.
Does a format with a ton of busted sweepers really do it for you? Then this is what you’re looking for. To start off there is just straight outta Alpha OG Wrath of God. That’s right, actual factual straight up four mana, destroy all creatures, no regen, do not pass go, do not collect $200, Wrath of fricken God. The other destroy all creatures effects are Bontu's Last Reckoning and the ultimate on Liliana, Death's Majesty which if it hits that point, you probably have other problems to worry about. Perilous Vault is also floating around, but you’ll usually have a turn to see it coming.
Dusk // Dawn hits bigger creatures before resurrecting all your little critters so it fits really well in a low to the ground go wide deck instead of the usual control deck you’d expect to play a sweeper in.
Anger of the Gods, Hour of Devastation, Sweltering Suns, Heaven // Earth, and Rags // Riches are the scalable damage-based mass removal. Just be careful about overcommitting against someone playing suspiciously.
Brute Strength, Mighty Leap, and Shed Weakness are the cheap common pump spells, but none of them are particularly good. There is a group pump trick with In Oketra's Name, but you mostly have to worry about that against a Orzhov Zombie deck.
Splendid Agony is probably the most important combat trick to watch out for as it can hit you up for an unexpected 2 for 1. It’s also just a solid removal spell on its own.
Haze of Pollen exists. It shouldn’t be a thing that comes up, but I always have to remind people when fog is around.
There are a ton of counter spells in this format. The two you are most likely to run into are the commons Essence Scatter and Countervailing Winds. Supreme Will is also heavily played, but it’s an uncommon so less likely to pop up.
Walking into a Censor is probably one of the biggest feel bads in the format, but it’s difficult to put them on it unless they had priority with one blue for the Cycling. Pact of Negation is usually pretty easy to sniff out because they get priority when you cast a spell while they are tapped out.
These are the Pack One Pick One (p1p1) no doubt, windmill slam, just take them rares of the set. These are not in rank order, just take these over any non-mythic uncommon or common.
- Angel of Sanctions
- Approach of the Second Sun
- Archfiend of Ifnir
- Hornet Queen
- God-Pharaoh's Gift
- Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
- Liliana's Mastery
- Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
- The Scarab God
- The Scorpion God
- Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
These might be uncommons, but they sure don’t play like they are.
- Ahn-Crop Crasher
- Sand Strangler
- Sunscourge Champion
- Trial of Ambition
- Trial of Knowledge
- Trial of Solidarity
- Trial of Zeal
- Vizier of the Anointed
Do Not Draft List
These are the ones that some people talk themselves into, but you should always pass.
They did a great job for their first attempt at a Remastered set with most of the complaints being about the set being a little too big. They also left out some peoples pet cards and snuck some constructed plants in there, but overall it worked. That brings us to the end of our flashbacks so have fun crushing these drafts for a few days and don’t forget to check out all my Dominaria United content here on MTG Arena Zone.
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