Image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast.

A New Gameplay for Tabletop

Magic the Gathering Arena pushes heavily for the “quick draft” format, that is, the best-of-one matches. In tabletop Magic the Gathering, typically games are decided by the best two-of-three. We very well may be seeing these two worlds colliding in the near future.

Wizards of the Coast invited a small number of top-performing stores to test out tabletop quick drafts. According to the email invitation, “tabletop quick draft” will have several rules:

  • Matches are a single game (best-of-one)
  • Rounds are 20 minutes (as opposed to 50 minutes)
  • Rounds limited to 5 or 6 (as opposed to 3 or 4)
  • Players get a “free” mulligan each game (to help mitigate mana issues)

Will Quick Draft Be Competitive?

Senior Design Director Aaron Forsythe has clarified that there are currently no plans to do quick drafts at competitive REL tabletop events.

While the big scenes might not be seeing quick drafts, it’s not an unreasonable expectation for smaller scale competitions at your local game store. Already there are sealed drafts, round-robin drafts, and two-headed giants. There’s also constructed modern and standard tournaments already. “Quick drafts” seems like it would be right at home as yet another format playable at your local game store.

But Will it Work?

My friends and I have already been playing “quick” games for years. Playing best-of-one allows you to rotate decks so you can play everyone you wanted to play with that day. It allows us to mix up who we play against so that we can spend time with as many friends as possible. When we only have a few hours to hang out with each other in our busy lives, quick best-of-one games suit us just fine.

I feel like this would also be a good way to make friends at your local game store. The more matches you play, the more people you meet, and the more friends you might gain. I also enjoy the format on Magic Arena due to the quick in-and-out feel of it. When I just want to kill 30 minutes or an hour, I can quickly play a match or two and be done.

This game took for-ev-er, and I sure didn’t want to fight him more than once. Best-of-one FTW. Photo by Dana Lockhart.

However, there are downsides to the quick draft format. Though the free mulligan helps you plan your next move, you still might get a bad hand and lose the game for it. In a best two-of-three match, you have a chance to redeem yourself (or for your opponent to get an unlucky hand).

But let’s face it – all draft decks are bad and are going to lose at some point. Just worry about having fun and enjoying the company of other players; not about how much you are winning.