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ELD Draft – Metagame Update and Ten Life Draft Strategy

Hello again everyone,

It has been a little while since I last made words, but I am excited to get back into it and have a few articles planned for December. Soon enough we will be in the release cycle for Theros: Beyond Death! But until then let us talk about the state of Eldraine Draft and an interesting Limited event that is featuring this weekend.

Eldraine Draft Metagame

In Season 1, Eldraine Draft was dominated by Mill (Typically mono U or UB) and GB Food. This was primarily due to the abundance of Merfolk Secretkeeper and Lucky Clover that bots seemed to be almost completely ignoring. The Mill decks ended up being obnoxiously fast and because the key mill card was a cheap 0/4 creature, difficult to race with a traditional aggro deck that would normally counter Mill/Control. The other deck that did the best against the field was BG Food, being able to produce 4 power creatures to threaten Mill while utilizing Forever Young to buy time. Against aggro decks the Food tokens could be used as lifegain to help the mid range Food decks stabilize and then over power their aggro foes.

Toward the end of Season 1 bots were updated (improved) and viable Mill decks started to become more difficult to assemble. This created an opening for more aggressive decks such as RW Knights to gain popularity with players. Around this time mono colored decks, particularly Red and White, also became popular due to their consistency and the power of certain Adamant cards in Red such as Slaying Fire and Searing Barrage and Adventure cards in White such as Faerie Guidemother, Ardenvale Tactician, and Mysterious Pathlighter. A good mid range GB Food deck could still hold off these extremely aggressive decks, but this meta shift quickly ruined Mill.

By the end of Season 2 (last season), Aggro decks have become the norm and Mill decks are all but extinct. Additional bot tweaks have led to a more diverse meta, though. UR Draw has become quite good lately due to bots taking Improbable Alliance, Mad Ratter, and Loch Dragon at a lower frequency. BW Knights has become an interesting Mid range option as well, being able to utilize Revenge of Ravens against aggro and support its weaker creatures with removal. GW Adventure is another deck that has gained popularity now that the Mill decks that easily defeated it are gone.

And that is about where we find ourselves in the beginning of Eldraine Season 3. Overall I am really happy with how the bots have been tweaked and the meta shifted. Important enablers for all of these decks are more abundant, and I believe that a healthy meta needs several viable decks. I hope the Boros/Dimir-fest that was Guilds of Ravnica Ranked Draft a couple weeks ago was a good reminder of that for everyone! So let’s now get into the event at hand – Ten Life Draft.

Ten Life Eldraine Draft


Interestingly enough, these shifts in the meta toward more aggressive decks will become especially apparent in the Ten Life Draft event tomorrow. You can find an overview of the event here, but essentially it is the same as BO1 Eldraine Draft except each player begins with just ten life.

So what should I be drafting?

The short answer to this is of course Aggro! Ten life means faster decks have it twice as easy in terms of finishing the game quickly. There are a few possibilities though:

R, W, or RW Aggro – I believe these decks are going to be the most popular. They have efficient creatures, combat tricks, and removal low in the curve. Important Commons:

In this event you will not want to run any more than 16 lands or play anything that costs more than 4 mana. I would try to run something like 12-14x 1-2 drops, 8-10x 3 drops, 0-3x 4 drops, 15-16x land. These colors will probably be the easiest to pull that off in. Ardenvale Tactician is going to be extremely good in this format, as potentially preventing your opponent from attacking and blocking can be a huge swing even with 20 life. Other adventure cards like Rimrock Knight and Faerie Guidemother seems really good here as well. All combo really well with Raging Redcap which I think is an ideal 3-drop at common for this type of deck. I also really like Brimstone Trebuchet and Silverflame Squire, but I wouldn’t count squire as a 2-drop since you really want to play him as a combat trick first.

Other Possible Archetypes

BR Knights also seem pretty good. Smitten Swordmaster is a key common I would look for, as lifegain is going to be extremely impactful in this format. Bake Into Pie is a great one at the top of the curve, possibly 2-for-1ing someone on a pump spell and generating 3 life (eventually). I think BW Knights are going to be a little too slow though. GW Adventure could also work as long as you can keep your curve down. I like Curious Pair and Maraleaf Rider at common in Green. The mid-high curve Green stuff is likely going to be too slow, however.

GB Food and GR Nonhumans are the only midrange decks I would attempt. Gingerbrute and Rosethorn Halberd seems like a good combo to go for. Again, I would try to draft Green as Aggro as possible. Gingerbrute seems like a solid pick in general in this format, really. I also think Food tokens could end up being really great, since the 3 life represents almost a third of your starting total in this format. Anything with Blue seems too slow to me though, so I would avoid those decks.

Those are my thoughts for now! I am looking forward to playing some Ten Life drafts this weekend and seeing what everyone comes up with. Good luck out there!

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I have been playing MTG for 20 years and am an infinite drafter on Arena. I teach high school chemistry full time and have a two year old daughter.

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