This weekend’s MTG Arena draft event is all about casting your spells for free! Have a bit of fun and boost your collection just before we welcome the release of Core Set 2020.
Duration: June 28 2019 to July 1 2019
Format: Omniscience War of the Spark Draft
Cost: 5000 or 750
Rewards: Gems and War of the Spark Packs depending on amount of wins (up to 7) before 3 losses
What is Omniscience Draft?
The upcoming MTG Arena weekend event is Omniscience Draft – confirmed to be War of the Spark (source). The name refers to the card Omniscience, where players will be allowed to play all cards they drafted without paying their mana costs!
Same rules apply for drafting where you get to choose one card at a time from rotating packs, and build a 40-card deck with the chosen cards. In essence, the twist of this format is:
- All cards in your hand cost 0 – free! Cards with X in their mana cost is also 0 (and you cannot pay for it with the emblem either).
- Each player will have the Omniscience emblem enabled, which adds one of each color mana to their mana pool once a turn (which you can use to activate abilities, pay cards with X in their mana cost, or pay additional costs).
- Your starting hand will have 3 cards, not 7.
- Your deck will consist of 40 out of the 42 cards you have drafted (since you don’t need Basic Lands) – each pick will be important!
Drafting Your Cards
With Omniscience Draft, you will still be drafting with bots as you would normally do in MTG Arena. That means despite being able to cast anything with no color restriction, the bots will not take this into account. This has a bit of randomness to it, so for example even if you wanted a lot of Blue cards (for the card draw), you might not see much of it. Keep in mind what colors the bots might be drafting, so you can plan accordingly.
All tier lists from normal drafting goes out the window – here is a rough order on what you want to prioritize drafting, courtesy of /u/tomscud on reddit:
- Narset, Parter of Veils
- Bond of Insight
- Heartwarming Redemption (this card will be extremely good, you need to train yourself out of auto-passing it)
- Any other draw > 1 spell (including God Pharoah. Ob Nix is in this tier, just point him at your own trash dudes.)
- Draw 1 planeswalkers (bolas, jace, kasmina) – the 4/5 giant cantrip goes here as well
- Discard effects (good early on, but later on the game opponent’s hand will be empty)
- Dovin’s Veto (I think veto is the only way you can interact with opposing spells reliably)
- Removal that targets planeswalkers
- 6 drops (see comment below)
- Tax effects (statue, dovin)
- win cons
Firstly, let’s have a look at the individual components of your Omniscience deck.
1. Card Draw
Since you can cast whatever card you want, and you only have a small starting hand, drawing cards is something you want to prioritize very highly, if not first.
Blue is always a source of card draw in every set. Tamiyo’s Epiphany is available at the Common level – being able to Scry 4 then drawing two cards is quite broken in this format. Likewise, Bond of Insight allows you to recycle such draw spells and will be high on your pick order.
The cards below also help go through your deck, though technically not card advantage, they leave something behind on the battlefield. Heartwarming Redemption is very useful.
These are also some interesting cards that can generate some nice value, and I would rate quite highly.
An important thing to note is that Omniscience allows you to play cards from your hand for free – but not from anywhere else. That means if you are trying to cast spells from your library or graveyard, you would need to rely on your emblem to cast them! So cards below might be good on paper, but can be quite limiting.
War of the Spark is all about Planeswalkers – which means the games might have a slightly different dynamic to previous sets where the main win conditions are creatures. They have a small accumulative effect, so if left alone for more than a turn can snowball quickly. They also disrupt your opponents passively, which may be relevant.
Narset, Parter of Veils is obviously great here as it can shut down card draw from your opponents, while you can go off. Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner was awesome back when Momir Vig was around, and is also first pick quality here, as you can chain off. Ob Nixilis allows you to draw cards from your filler creatures that are bound to exist in your deck.
The other Planeswalkers are obviously good in their own right, and will give you a significant advantage each turn.
3. Win Conditions
Drawing cards and Planeswalkers does not mean anything if you cannot reduce your opponent’s life total to 0. Last time Omniscience Draft was around for Dominaria, people were able to win on the first turn and do some crazy things!
It goes without saying, you want as much powerful creatures and Planeswalkers to take advantage of the format, but that’s not always possible. In War of the Spark, Amass and Proliferate are mechanics that can snowball pretty quickly, especially if you can chain some spells together. Things like that can be the backbone of your draft.
When drafting, consider the synergy of your deck as well. For example, maybe you can pull off a one-turn kill combo with cards like below…
Or even better, draw your entire deck.
Removal spells are important in a normal drafting environment, but when you are trying to do unfair things they become less so. Your deck still needs to be filled with 40 cards, and you can stop your opponent from beating you as well.
Counterspells are great here because they are free, as well as any Instant speed removal such as Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty and Jaya’s Greeting. They are essentially one-for-one, but not card advantage – and sometimes they aren’t even good enough to stop your opponent.
You want to try and fill up your deck with cards that synergize with the rest of your deck.
Mana ramping, efficiency and fixing are all irrelevant here, so cards like Paradise Druid become nothing more than a filler card, and Nissa, Who Shakes the World become worthless.
Building Your Deck
Fortunately, you have deck building cut out for you as you only have to cut 2 cards from the cards you drafted! In only extreme circumstances you will play any lands at all in this format. In Dominaria, players opted to play some lands to pay for some Kicker costs, but there doesn’t seem to be anything worthwhile to do with extra mana in War of the Spark that would be better than playing some filler or situational card.
Playing Your Opponents
The nature of this format is highly random – even if you drafted the perfect deck, you could be playing second and losing your starting hand to some discard spells, or even losing before you take your turn. Essentially, you are here to have fun and gamble your hard earned (or bought) gold and gems.
Mulligan rules are the same despite our starting hands being reduced to 3 cards. Don’t be afraid to ditch a hand that won’t do much and have no card draw. Going down to 1 card is probably a stretch, though.
Share Your Decks
We will be running the draft as soon as it goes live later tonight, and we will post an update on what worked, and what didn’t. Let us know in the comments below what deck you used to claim maximum wins with!