Drafting Rivals of Ixalan with Pros #3

Jeremy Dezani

Jeremy Dezani

Today, we will draft with the new set: Rivals of Ixalan!

I simulate the 8 first pick of a draft and asked to 4 Hareruya Pros Players what they would pick.

Here are the 4 gentlemen who accepted to participate in this experience:

You can see their profiles, more in details, here: Hareruya Pros.

It will be interesting to see if they will do the same choices or not.

PICK 1

Kumena's AwakeningForerunner of the EmpirePride of ConquerorsSwift WardenSanguine Glorifier Luminous BondsSea LegsHunt the WeakTraveler's AmuletColossal Dreadmaw Gruesome FateNegateOrazca RaptorStrider HarnessMountain

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Luminous Bonds

Earlier in the format I would have taken the 《Forerunner of the Empire》 and I am still not sure if it’s not the right pick, because the upside is really high (its great if you get one of the dinosaurs that work well with it), but 《Forerunner of the Empire》 can easily not end up in your deck even if you are red and 《Luminous Bonds》 is a great card, that is also easily splashable.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Luminous Bonds

《Luminous Bonds》 would be my pick. Super stacked pack, other options I would consider are 《Kumena's Awakening》, which is great in 《Sailor of Means》 decks, I also like a lot the 《Pride of Conquerors》 in vampire decks, and 《Forerunner of the Empire》 is obviously very good in a dinosaur deck or any deck with 《Needletooth Raptor》. However I rather take an easy to splash removal, that helps with ascend and also fits aggro decks.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Luminous Bonds

If you are looking for card power, 《Forerunner of the Empire》, 《Hunt the Weak》, 《Luminous Bonds》are your 3 choices. 《Forerunner of the Empire》may be strong or weak depending on what you search for. Different from the release of this set, this card has lowered its value. Comparing 《Hunt the Weak》 and 《Luminous Bonds》, it is simply 《Luminous Bonds》 that is strong, and white is better to pick than green so I pick 《Luminous Bonds》.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Luminous Bonds

《Luminous Bonds》. This pick is pretty straightforward for me. It is a removal and the other options are rather weak. 《Forerunner of the Empire》 would probably be my second choice.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 2

Crafty CutpurseFlood of RecollectionCurious ObsessionmtgColossal Dreadmaw Luminous BondsSea LegsSnubhorn SentrySun SentinelMutiny Legion ConquistadorVoracious VampireSwaggering CorsairGruesome FateForest

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Curious Obsession

I think that 《Curious Obsession》 is the best uncommon and also a card that is better than most of the rares – it immediately replaces itself and it snowballs extremely quickly if they don’t have answer for it.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Luminous Bonds

Even though 《Curious Obsession》 is the best card to me I rather go for a second 《Luminous Bonds》 that is more likely to end up in my deck, so we are more open to different strategies and colors.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Luminous Bonds

It was a tough pick between《Curious Obsession》which is a card that I love. Though when you compare these two with their card power, I believe there is no big difference with 《Luminous Bonds》 and I can send a signal that I am on white, which makes me pick 《Luminous Bonds》.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Luminous Bonds

《Pacifism》 are also great in multiples but here would also be a great option in 《Curious Obsession》.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 3

Admiral's OrderPitiless PlundererThunderherd MigrationmtgFrilled Deathspitter River DarterJadecraft ArtisanVampire RevenantNegateSnubhorn Sentry ShatterTilonalli's CrownDeadeye Rig-HaulermtgPlains

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Jadecraft Artisan

This pick is tough and nothing really stands out to me, but 《Jadecraft Artisan》 is the best card in my opinion so I think I would just take that.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Snubhorn Sentry

Now we get a very weak pack. 《Deadeye Rig-Hauler》, 《Frilled Deathspitter》 and 《Jadecraft Artisan》 are slightly better than the 《Snubhorn Sentry》 I think. However, once again I rather stay in colour, and try to work through the ascend mechanic since I already have 2 《Luminous Bonds》.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Deadeye Rig-Hauler

This pack has no cards in white. It would’ve been great if there were cards that could’ve drifted me to a different color worth picking, but none of that also. If we become a UW deck, I will pick a card that will be useful, which is 《Deadeye Rig-Hauler》.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Snubhorn Sentry

This pack is rather weak again but we do have a pickup in 《Snubhorn Sentry》. While I usually prefer to pick them up a little later I do not see a better option and ascend is strong build-around strategy.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 4

PolyraptorPitiless PlundererAquatic IncursionmtgEvolving Wilds Dusk ChargerMist-Cloaked HeraldMartyr of DuskJadecraft ArtisanSailor of Means Swaggering CorsairNegatemtgmtgIsland

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Martyr of Dusk

If I took a 《Forerunner of the Empire》 I would snap of the 《Polyraptor》, but as it is I would just take a good white 2 drop to go with the 《Luminous Bonds》.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Sailor of Means

Now we have to decide where are we going. 《Martyr of Dusk》 sounds like the more reasonable choice. However I’m a big fan of 《Sailor of Means》 decks, and pick 4 is late enough that we might see a 《Secrets of the Golden City》 and make a defensive ascend deck.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Martyr of Dusk

If you are not on the GW plan, 《Polyraptor》 is not that strong so not worth picking. At this moment, high chance that white might not be an open color, though no cards are here to change what we go for. I just pick the efficient 2 mana card.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Martyr of Dusk

《Martyr of Dusk》, 《Dusk Charger》 and 《Sailor of Means》 are on par regarding powerlevel but I much rather stay on one color here.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 5

mtgCherished HatchlingDaring BuccaneermtgRaptor Companion Sanguine GlorifierGoblin TrailblazerStampeding HorncrestFathom Fleet BoarderSun-Crested Pterodon Dark InquirySea LegsmtgmtgForest

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Sun-Crested Pterodon

Not sure what is the common opinion on this card, but the more I play with the set the more I like the chicken (as we called it in testing). I think that it’s a premium white card and I would be happy to see it this late.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Sun-Crested Pterodon

Nothing too special. But if we attach to the idea of playing a defensive ascend deck this body is both great defense and a way to end games.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Sun-Crested Pterodon

We see lots of white cards which I feel very relieved. 《Goblin Trailblazer》 looks ahead above the other cards in card power, though thinking what cards have passed, red doesn’t seem to look good. This makes me pick a card that does its job.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Sun-Crested Pterodon

This is a great pickup for us. While I think this card is notoriously underrated it goes well in all ascend Strategies as it blocks every creature and chips in 2 damage every turn.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 6

mtgCacophodonmtgmtgGruesome Fate Colossal DreadmawOrazca RelicFrilled DeathspitterDinosaur HunterOrazca Frillback Soul of the RapidsRiver DartermtgmtgMountain

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Colossal Dreadmaw

I don’t particularly like GW dinosaurs, that being said 《Colossal Dreadmaw》 is by far the best card in the booster, so I would just take it even though I can still see myself to draft UW or UG depending on how the rest of the draft goes.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Soul of the Rapids

This is not a good defender but it’s a better finisher. I like picking one in pack one and try to grab a 《Squire's Devotion》 in pack 2 or even a 《Mark of the Vampire》 in pack 3, remember we already have one 《Sailor of Means》 and we would like to pick up more, so splashing shoulnd’t be a problem.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Colossal Dreadmaw

If we head for the GW build, we will want one or two copies of this card. If we are able to pick 《Squire's Devotion》 later on, picking 《Soul of the Rapids》would make a strong combo which I thought worth picking. Though my thoughts on 《Soul of the Rapids》 is that it can be picked later in the draft which made my decision to pick《Colossal Dreadmaw》 first.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Colossal Dreadmaw

There is no white card to be found and it is the strongest card in the pack. All the tools we have so far match perfectly for GW dinosaurs, so I am happy with this pick.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 7

mtgBlazing HopemtgmtgDeadeye Rig-Hauler Tilonalli's CrownRaptor CompanionSwaggering CorsairGleaming BarrierStrider Harness Sanguine GlorifiermtgmtgmtgForest

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Raptor Companion

I don’t really like the raptor, but it’s a 2 drop and I would take it here just in case I don’t see many 2 drops in the rest of the draft.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Gleaming Barrier

The 4 drops are better, but we need to hold the early turns, and we want permanents that stay in the battlefield to cash all the 《Secrets of the Golden City》 that we can take in pack 2.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Raptor Companion

If we choose the second color to be blue,《Deadeye Rig-Hauler》looks good. Though in our first packs, picking light mana cards leads to easier picks later on. This reasons me to pick 《Raptor Companion》which has a low mana cost and could cut off one less white card off the table.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Raptor Companion

While I rather draft UW than GW I make the safer pick in form of 《Raptor Companion》 over 《Deadeye Rig-Hauler》. The 《Hauler》 is fine but way worse than I first thought.

Player’s Choice:

PICK 8

mtgStorm Fleet SwashbucklermtgmtgMoment of Triumph Fathom Fleet BoarderAggressive UrgeEvolving WildsKnight of the StampedeBuccaneer's Bravado mtgmtgmtgmtgSwamp

Petr Sochurek

Pick
Evolving Wilds

I think that the remaining cards in my colors are fairly replacable, but picking up 《Evolving Wilds》 might potentially be very important.

Sebastian Pozzo

Pick
Evolving Wilds

This is a late 《Storm Fleet Swashbuckler》, I love that card. However I’m already commited to play a UW deffensive deck “Good old walls and flyers”. And 《Evolving Wilds》 gives the possibility to splash any bomb we might open.

Kenji Tsumura

Pick
Moment of Triumph

I can’t believe this pack is at its eighth pick, though I will take 《Moment of Triumph》 which is a good combat trick.

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Pick
Moment of Triumph

This is a very interesting pick as it comes down to three cards: 《Evolving Wilds》, 《Moment of Triumph》 and 《Knight of the Stampede》. Splashes in White decks happen quite regularly therefore 《Wilds》 would be a decent pickup. We don’t have a trick yet and we surely want 1-3 so 《Moment》 is great. 《Knight of the Stampede》 is interesting if we really go GW big dinosaurs but we don’t know that yet for sure. I would not blame anyone for picking any of the three cards but will go with 《Moment of Triumph》 here.

Player’s Choice:

The 8 Picks Together

Petr Sochurek

Luminous BondsCurious ObsessionJadecraft ArtisanMartyr of Dusk Sun-Crested PterodonColossal DreadmawRaptor CompanionEvolving Wilds

Sebastian Pozzo

Luminous BondsLuminous BondsSnubhorn SentrySailor of Means Sun-Crested PterodonSoul of the RapidsGleaming BarrierEvolving Wilds

Kenji Tsumura

Luminous BondsLuminous BondsDeadeye Rig-HaulerMartyr of Dusk Sun-Crested PterodonColossal DreadmawRaptor CompanionMoment of Triumph

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Luminous BondsLuminous BondsSnubhorn SentryMartyr of Dusk Sun-Crested PterodonColossal DreadmawRaptor CompanionMoment of Triumph

Conclusion

The 4 players made the safer First Pick. But after that, they had the choice between stay of the same color (white) or try to read the signal and pick the most powerfull card. Both strategy have good and weak points. The thing is, force a color can make a perfect deck, or be disaster if player on your right are on the same one. You can’t be really sure after so few picks. If you pick different colors cards, You are assuming that you will not play some of them. You also send no signal to players on your left.

Thank you for reading,

Jeremy Dezani

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