Hey everyone! I have returned, once again, to help you decimate the next leg of the Decathlon. We just finished up Traditional BRO draft which got a little crazier than expected because of all of the inexperienced drafters. It was so nuts that I could have almost built another busted deck out of my sideboard. It was a wild ride, but still a quick and decisive victory for me.
Where does that bring us now? Back to the amazing land of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. We’re going to be bot drafting this time so I’m going to mainly be focusing on some of the differences between that and premier/traditional drafting. For my really comprehensive takes on the format, check out my draft guide from the last time we had NEO:
The very basic event info is that it costs 2000 gold a pop and you need to get seven wins before you get three losses. If you get there, you get that all important Decathlon Token while getting to dubs up on your entry fee. If you fail, you get an insignificant number of random packs. In other words, crush dreams and get there.
- Duration: January 10, 2023 @ 8:00 AM PST to January 13, 2023 @ 8:00 AM PST
- Format: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Quick Draft
- Entry Fee: 2,000 Gold or 400 Gems
- Ends After: 7 wins or 3 losses, whichever comes first
- Match Structure: Best-of-one matches (BO1)
|7 wins||4,000 Gold + Decathlon token|
|5-6 wins||3 packs|
|3–4 wins||2 packs|
|1-2 wins||1 pack|
|0 wins||No rewards|
|Entry Reward||Bronze Sundering Titan Sleeve|
Packs awarded during Decathlon events can be from sets legal in Standard or Historic:
- Standard main set: 40%
- Non-Standard main set pack: 40%
- Alchemy set – 10%
- Mythic pack: 10%
You can enter the Decathlon events as many times as you want, but you can only get one decathlon token from each event. You also need to get three different tokens to be able to enter the finals so make plans to play other events if you want to get your hands on some of those sweet finals prizes.
Much Ado About Bots
The biggest difference is that you are not drafting with players so you can ignore what signals you’re sending. While we don’t have the full info on the bots, they typically have a color preference and follow their pick order. Don’t use something like “I’m cutting a color” as a tie breaker for a pick because it doesn’t matter to the bots.
We don’t know if they are updating the bots from the last time we had NEO bot drafts. Normally we would be going deep into the exercise of comparing all of the statistics from the ALSA (average last seen at) of the bot drafts to the top players in premier drafts to determine which cards are being undervalued. Since we won’t have enough data to be sure about that until about a day into the event, we’ll just talk about a few of the important points from the currently available data.
One of the biggest forces pushing the ALSAs higher on non-rare power cards is the bots’ bad habit of rare drafting. WotC can’t let you complete your sets that easily so a ton of bad and niche rares will go much earlier than expected. Even a comically bad rare like March of Burgeoning Life (seriously one of the worst limited rares ever printed) only has an ALSA of 3.25 because they gobble up gold symbols like I gobble up Disney treats. The main reason to discuss this is that since this is a phantom event, they may adjust it to no longer care about rares which would make all the non-rares slightly harder to get a hold of. Either way, it’s pretty unlikely for you to get passed good rares so we don’t need to get deeper into those.
There are some interesting ALSA differences as far as uncommons go with one of the biggest offenders being Life of Toshiro Umezawa dropping all the way from 2.49 to 3.61. One of the top uncommons in the format falling more than a whole pick back is pretty egregious. There are other ones like Circuit Mender and Kappa Tech-Wrecker to look out for because they are going about half a pick later than normal.
While Kumano Faces Kakkazan is only about 1/3 of a pick back from normal, it continues to be one of the most criminally underrated cards in the format. Its the card that elicits a ton of “well guess I’m just screwed” when you drop it turn one against a slow hand. It really is one of the key cards to take the red artifact decks from good to great. While most of the other important red commons have a similar ALSA in both formats, both mono red and Rakdos have outstanding win rates in quick draft.
There is a huge standout when looking at the commons with Okiba Reckoner Raid dropping from an ALSA of 3.69 down to 4.35. There are also a lot of cards disappearing earlier than expected with the bots including Moon-Circuit Hacker and Moonsnare Specialist. That means it might be harder to pull off the crazy ninjas decks despite key enabler Network Disruptor going 3/4 of a pick later than expected.
The other common we absolutely have to talk about is Imperial Oath. By now I expect almost everyone to know how busted it is. The bots are letting it float around until pick 5.58. If you’re playing any of the multicolor decks, splash this and enjoy your future prosperity. While you’re building those saga-based value decks, The Modern Age also has a huge drop from 4.34 all the way to 6.19.
Tips and Tricks
I’ll be giving you some quick hits here, but as I said earlier, I highly recommend going back and reading my full draft guide on the format at:
There are essentially four major archetypes in the format.
The first archetype is red artifacts including variations of mono red, Rakdos, and even Izzet on occasion. In normal drafts, these are either handed to you on a silver platter or are very difficult to come by when multiple people are fighting over them.
Since this is quick draft, there is a good chance that the red decks are just always open. It might be correct to go in with the plan to force it and be prepared for some mirror matches. Considering that this isn’t ranked and the extremely high number of casual players playing, this plan really lets you take advantage of anyone with a clunky, unoptimized deck.
The next archetype is multicolor green based saga value decks. These can have a bit of a problem with the red decks if you lose the die roll. The thing that makes me want to consider jumping into this is getting some of the insane mythic uncommons like Behold the Unspeakableor Blossom Prancer.
Everyone loves ninjas until they get hit in the face with them. I’m extremely happy to run this deck, but as we discussed earlier the best common ninja payoffs are going a bit earlier than they are in a normal draft so you might have to prioritize them a bit. Mukotai Ambusher is actually going a bit later than normal and I would recommend packing one of those to help with the red matchups.
Ninjutsu can get you wrecked if you don’t think about it. I know it’s instinctual to pass to blockers before using removal, but that will just cause you to get blown out when they bounce it to drop a ninja. You also aren’t limited to doing it once per turn so you can drop a Moon-Circuit Hacker, get a card, and with a stop on the end of combat, bounce it back to hand with a Moonsnare Specialist to get some Man-o'-War action in while reloading to get another extra card the next turn. Yes, that also means you can keep cycling two Moonsnare Specialists to Cyclonic Rift your opponent’s side back to their grip.
The other archetype is Orzhov value which can abuse a pile of Imperial Oaths to bury the other decks. It also gets to have the double whammy of both Virus Beetle and Spirited Companion for great two drop creatures. You might as well call this deck Value Town cuz that’s where you’ll be.
Don’t walk into an obvious Tamiyo's Safekeeping. Since it can hit any permanent, Arena gives you a big tell when they keep getting priority even with just one forest out.
This was an exciting look back into the world of Kamigawa. Even if it’s just bot drafts, it’ll still be a great time. Check back in a few days when I’ll be giving you the info on what appears to be Chaos Omniscience draft! What in the what?!? Until then, Stay classy people!
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
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