Before I jump into my draft today I want to give a tip about improving at card evaluation. Mistakes are a good tool for learning, and in the beginning of any format, we are often in the dark. Monitor your draft picks, and once the format has solidified, go back through the initial ones. Ask yourself why you made each pick. Why did you evaluate the cards incorrectly and what did you miss?
If you haven't kept track yourself, feel free to go to some of my initial Aether Revolt Draft Digest articles. I made plenty of mistakes. I first-picked a Consulate Crackdown for two reasons. First and foremost was to try out the rare, but I also thought that there was such an abundance and importance of artifacts that the Crackdown would yield a two-for-one against most decks. I didn't pay attention to the fact that many artifacts sacrifice themselves, and most are cheap and hence not worth the five mana for the potential of a two-for-one that might not even be that great given what I just mentioned. The correct pick for that article was certainly Pacification Array.
Now, as always, let's do a draft!
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Pick So Far:
Four picks in four different colors. Each has a different reason to take it. Let's list them quickly:
Hinterland Drake: solid card, but weakest of the options. Take it to stay in blue with the bomb rare and simultaneously cut off blue to your left.
Caught in the Brights: A removal spell you'll play in any white deck. I'm not high on the card or anything, but it's solid.
Lifecrafter's Gift: Out of everything mentioned, this combat trick has the highest upside. It's not hard to get some counters floating around in green with Scrounging Bandar and Implement of Ferocity. But the floor is pretty mediocre.
To be honest, nothing I mentioned here is great. This makes me lean towards Hinterland Drake for consistency in the fact it increases my chances of playing Aethertide Whale. But if I'm going to make a pick to optimize the probability I play the Whale, is the Drake my best option?
What about Renegade Map? This card stays open, and blue often wants artifacts since it's the color that goes deepest on improvise! Additionally, Renegade Map makes your mana more consistent and helps with splashing if necessary. I may not have listed it as an option, but that's the card I'm gonna take. Gotta keep you on your toes.
Pack 2, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
This is what we have so far. Currently, I believe I am a U/G deck, but note that I only have two good blue cards and two good green cards and the gold card. With two maps, I could easily switch colors and splash the Rogue Refiner. Will the next pack give me something of note?
So we have an extremely good rare in Solemn Recruit. As a common is missing from the pack, I am now 100% certain the person to my left is not in white. This means that I am going to get good white cards this pack should I change colors, and I cannot guarantee this for blue or green.
On the other hand, Shielded Aether Thief is at its best in U/G. I will get to pick up cards like Aether Theorist in Pack 3 that then read 1U for a 1/3 that draws a card. I can generate energy with Aethertide Whale. Shielded Aether Thief is the real deal in a deck like this one, so I wouldn't fault anybody for taking it here.
There's just one very subtle piece of information that's making me lean the other way: white was flowing in Pack 1.
If you paid attention, I got a twelfth-pick Countless Gears Renegade and a fifteenth-pick Conviction. This draft was online, which means that the person passing to me opted to take a basic land over Conviction, attempting to signal that white is open (this is why I have fifteen cards after Pack 1 instead of the usual fourteen). I believe I will get paid off in both this pack and the one that follows by taking Solemn Recruit.
As it turns out, I read the signals properly and got passed an Angel of Invention in Pack 3! Lesson of the day: pay attention.