1. Bone Picker
Bone Picker would be my first pick in this pack, and I would be pretty happy with it. Creatures trade in combat all of the time in Limited, and playing Bone Picker as a one mana 3/2 flyer is not too difficult and also an excellent tempo play. The other thing I love about Bone Picker is that having deathtouch allows it to trade up in combat when necessary, and it's the best way to keep an opposing Scaled Behemoth at bay. My next pick would be Aven Mindcensor, which has its advantages and disadvantages. I'm not thrilled to take one-toughness creatures in this set because of the amount of cards that can easily pick them off in the set, most commonly Cartouche of Ambition. Still, I'd take Aven Mindcensor over Wayward Servant to be able to stay more open with my first pick, as Aven Mindcensor can go in various strategies. Wayward Servant is a wonderful payoff card to take when you are in B/W Zombies, but not a reason to jump into the archetype with your first pick.
1. Bone Picker
Bone Picker is incredibly powerful and already a good card, even when you don't cast it for one mana. It's ridiculous when you do. I have a bone to pick with anyone suggesting keeping your color options open isn't important, and Bone Picker does do that. If I knew I was going to end up in B/W Zombies, I would probably take Wayward Servant, though, and it could lead to the more powerful deck.
1. Bone Picker
There are a lot of fine cards here, but nothing that immediately stands out above the rest. Wayward Servant has the most upside, but I wouldn't commit to two colors immediately. The next most powerful card is Bone Picker because its normal rate is still quite good and the possibility of casting it for one mana after a removal spell or an innocuous trade in combat can provide a nice tempo boost. After that the cards are very close, but I've generally been impressed with the Exert mechanic, so I'll put Hooded Brawler second, followed by the two-drop.
2. Bone Picker
I'm never stoked to start a draft with a green creature, but this pack is exceptionally bad. There's an argument for taking Bone Picker, but I've found the most success in color combinations relating to all things Naya. After that, I guess I would take a high-risk/high-reward card like Wayward Servant. It's nothing special, but neither is this pack.
Pack 1: Who Picked It Best?
This pick is really close for me, but the rate on Defiant Greatmaw is insane, and I'm always happy first-picking it. Sure, it's not a bomb rare, and it does have a somewhat low floor if you don't have other creatures on the battlefield or any synergies with it, but you can do much worse with a pack than have a rebellious Hippo in it.
I like Binding Mummy quite a bit and think the pick between it and Defiant Greatmaw is quite close. Two-drops with upside are all I want to take in Limited, and Binding Mummy can fit in B/W Zombies as well as U/W Embalm. Just tapping a single creature at the right time can be all you need to win a race in limited.
The third pick is also very close for me, but I would go with Wander in Death because of the strength of cycling. I like to think of Wander in Death as a situational Divination that will always draw two relevant creatures when it's “turned on,” and having the ability to cycle it when it's not useful is perfect. Previous iterations of cards like Wander in Death would sometimes get stuck in your hand for an entire game, and I love that Wander in Death won't.
The other card I was strongly considering in this pack is Gideon's Intervention, and I think it's a better overall card than many people give it credit for. Removal is always at a premium in Limited, and although Gideon's Intervention is untraditional, it's still a removal spell. Gideon's Intervention is a perfect answer to Scaled Behemoth and also good against a common creature with Embalm that your opponent may have multiples of, as you don't have to worry about dealing with the same creature multiple times. Sometimes your opponent may have multiple Cartouches on the same creature as well, and turning it into only being a blocker can be key.
I think Censor is a great card on its own and focusing on cycling opens up the powerful archetypes of U/R and U/B Cycling decks. If you're lucky enough to pick up some of the best cycling buddies, like Enigma Drakes or Shadowstorm Vizier, you'll be very pleased to have boarded the Censor ship early. Defiant Greatmaw is versatile and gets much better if you end up in G/B and care about -1/-1 counters, but can be mediocre otherwise. Gideon's Intervention deserves mentioning because of how easy it is to overlook and how potentially powerful it can be. It answers bomb rares and is great against decks featuring multiple copies of a card, and even when it isn't great, it's still perfectly reasonable.
Things haven't improved much in the second pack, which is headlined by another pair of unexciting first picks: Binding Mummy and Defiant Greatmaw. Both of these cards push you in a specific direction but it's a lot easier to end up with incidental Zombies for the former than incidental -1/-1 counter cards for the latter. G/B requires you to commit fully to it, so the Hippo represents a larger commitment. I'll take the two-drop. After those two I'd look at Essence Scatter and Wander in Death, leaning toward the counterspell.
Again, Censor isn't an exciting first pick, but it's what we have to work with. One-mana cyclers are the heart of any Dimir-based strategy, and Censor is particularly great in that deck. I've found that even though Defiant Greatmaw is good in a G/B counter deck, it's never the card that puts me into the archetype. I would be aggressively looking for the better cards that are the true heart and soul of that strategy. Last, we have Binding Mummy. What it lacks in inherent power, it makes up by being the best color.
Pack 2: Who Picked It Best?
Drafting Gravedigger Pick 1 is the perfect start to your draft because it's a great card in every archetype while having synergies with other Zombie cards as well. Gravedigger has been a Limited all-star as long as I can remember, and it's only gotten better in Amonkhet because of the tribal benefits. Shimmerscale Drake is one of the top commons in the set because it has the size to rule the skies while also having the ability to cycle early if you need to hit land drops. I highly value versatility in both Constructed and Limited. Finally, although I'm a fan of most Aftermath cards, I would take Those Who Serve as my third pick. There are not many four-power creatures that can easily get through Those Who Serve, and it's a solid creature to have on the curve and to fill out Zombie strategies.
Gravedigger is head, shoulders, limbs, and torso better than everything else in the pack. Did I mention I like B/W Zombies in Draft? Embalmer's Tools might look like chaff, but it's actually an excellent win condition in Zombies decks, especially in a format with so much cycling to naturally reduce the amount of cards in everyone's deck, so I would hope to wheel it, but the pack is bad, so I wouldn't quite count on it.
The top cards here are a little better, but this pack is not deep at all. Gravedigger is a strong uncommon with built-in card advantage that fits well into every black color pair except Rakdos, and even there the power of the card still makes it a solid playable. It's the clear pick here. Second place by a wide margin is Shimmerscale Drake, which is well-sized in a format full of three-power creatures with all the bonuses that come with cycling. It's slim pickings for third; as in Pack 1, I'll lean toward a two-drop, Pathmaker Initiate. I haven't liked many one-toughness creatures, but this one at least provides some utility once the body is no longer relevant.
3. Go Home from the Event
Gravedigger isn't as good as it's been in the past, but that doesn't stop the card from being an acceptable pick, especially when Shimmerscale Drake is its only competition. That said, after opening these three packs, I'd realize that something terribly wrong has happened to my luck, and I'd quickly escape to my bed where I would hopefully wake up in a day not filled with disappointment and regret.
Pack 3: Who Picked It Best?
Battlefield Scavenger is a pretty easy first pick for me here. Red is a solid aggressive color in Amonkhet Draft with the amount of removal it has, and you can never have enough quality two-drops. The great part about Scavenger is that it filters your draws whenever you Exert any creature, not just itself, and so even in the late-game, when the 2/2 body isn't as relevant, you can use another creature with more favorable attacks to filter your draw. Bitterblade Warrior is also quite good and would be my second pick. I love how Bitterblade Warrior can attack fearlessly into larger creatures, and it's another solid start to the draft. The third pick with this pack is the toughest in my opinion, but I would end up going with Nef-Crop Entangler. It's another solid red two-drop, something that I want to draft plenty of.
Approach of the Second Sun is a card that I would stay away from if I were drafting on Day 2 of #GPRichmond. The best-case scenario for Approach of the Second Sun is to have a control deck that can survive long enough to cast the card twice, but I believe if you can already survive that long, you can use basically anything for a win condition and wouldn't need the flashy rare. Take cards with a higher impact on the battlefield and leave Approach of the Second Sun to the next person.
Battlefield Scavenger may be small, but it is mighty. Discarding cards is very relevant, and notice that its ability triggers whenever you Exert any creature you control, not just itself. Battlefield Scavenger and Trueheart Twins are the only cards that do that in the set, so it's easy to miss. Plus, it's a Jackal! Jackal! It looks like a Jackal! Jackal! Also, listen to what your mom told you and don't stare at Approach of the Second Sun.
Another pack, another collection of mediocre cards. At least all the best ones cost two mana. Have I mentioned I like two-drops? The red and green creatures are clearly the top three, but ordering them is tough. I'll take Battlefield Scavenger first because it has the most potential as a looter, followed by Bitterblade Warrior because it's the hardest to invalidate as the game goes long. Unsurprisingly, the one-toughness Nef-Crop Entangler comes in third. Illusory Wrappings gets an honorable mention, but so-so removal spells are the most overrated cards in Limited and good two-drops are typically underrated. You don't have to worry about your opponent's creatures if they're dead.
Nope, still there. Sadness and sorrow surround me as I first-pick Battlefield Scavenger. Now, this little feller isn't the worst, but taking it first-pick is similar to asking a coworker out to dinner due to the crippling realization that no one will be at your funeral. Nef-Crop Entangler is your coworker's friend who got invited without your consent. You'd be mad, but deep down you know you're just a Bitterblade Warrior yourself.
Pack 4: Who Picked It Best?
2. Gust Walker
3. Fetid Pools
This pack has a pretty deep falloff after Aven Initiate and Gust Walker, and I wouldn't be too happy being the third or fourth drafter with this pack. Aven Initiate would be my top pick, as just being a 3/2 flyer for four is already a fine rate, with the ability to Embalm as an added bonus. Aven Initiate is one of my top commons from the set, and I'm perfectly fine with it being my top pick. Gust Walker is a close second, as I generally prefer being in white to being in blue and Gust Walker can have a large impact on the game for only being a two-drop. I don't usually like taking multicolor lands in Limited formats where I'll most likely be two colors, but I would still choose Fetid Pools over the remaining options for my third pick. Fetid Pools is the best of the cycling lands because U/B decks have synergies that reward you for cycling, and it does make a small splash easier if I end up there.
1. Gust Walker
3. Blighted Bat
This pack is essentially the choice between three solid fliers, so color preference may end up being the decider. That said, I think Gust Walker solidly better than the other two, even before you start factoring in cards like Trial of Solidarity.
1. Gust Walker
Gust Walker is perhaps the best two-drop common in the set and one of the best commons overall, so it's the clear top choice here and a card I'm happy to first-pick for a change. Desert Cerodon and Aven Initiate are the next in line, and while it's close, I lean toward the flier, since my red decks in this format tend to be hyper-aggressive and don't want to spend time cycling or have six lands on the battlefield. Still, the versatility of a high-cost creature that won't ever rot in your hand makes it a fine play. Aven Initiate fits nicely into more aggressive blue decks, which makes it an easier pick for me.
1. Gust Walker
I'd slam Gust Walker down so hard as I realize life is worth living again. The darkness that once plagued my mind is now an afterthought, and light can once again be seen at the end of the tunnel. It was a tough road that got us here, but finally we found a card worth first-picking. Sometimes life can be difficult, but through these rough patches can we truly appreciate the simple things life has to offer. For me, that's attacking people with this busted common.
I'd burn the rest of the pack.
Pack 5: Who Picked It Best?