Usually in Ixalan Draft I try my best to maximize for quality over synergy in the first couple of picks in order to leave myself open to find the right lane. But that isn't always an option. The following pack is pretty mediocre and, in my opinion, doesn't have any outright powerful cards. But that doesn't mean this draft is going to go awry!
Pack 1, Pick 1
I have not been impressed by Raptor Hatchling. It's played way more like Doomed Dissenter than I had hoped. You can do some cute things with Pirates Cutlass and New Horizons, but overall, it only ever turns into a 3/3 when the body is less relevant. I like a copy in my R/G go-big Dino decks, but I've had more success with R/G as an aggro deck and the same goes for R/W. I would rather have a creature like Deeproot Warrior in that case.
Thrash of Raptors can hit hard. I don't like first-picking four-drop beaters in general, but having one other Dinosaur is easy enough in red that it's turned on more than I would expect. I've liked this card in plenty of my red decks, and it hits hard enough to make me play other, less efficient Dinos like Nest Robber.
Shaper Apprentice has the highest upside. A two-mana 2/1 isn't a great rate, but throw in flying and you've got yourself a first-pick-quality card. I'm going to take Shaper Apprentice here to hedge for Merfolk. Keep in mind: all this means for me is that green cards go up slightly, but you can certainly pick up enough blue Merfolk to play this card in another archetype. Two-drops are premium, and I'm fine to take one here, although not that happy about it.
The other thing to be aware of is that there are multiple Merfolk cards that could wheel. If they don't wheel, it's in my best interest to move out. And if they do, then we're in business!
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Pick So Far:
This pick is quite interesting. We have another copy of our two-drop that gets better in multiples, or we have the best card in the pack. Firecannon Blast is better than Shaper Apprentice by a reasonable margin, but does the extra copy of Shaper Apprentice change this?
I don't believe so. You see, the Shaper Apprentice was a hedge. Sure, if I end up in Merfolk, I'm going to miss the second copy of Apprentice, but if Merfolk aren't flowing, it's not where I want to be. I would rather take the most powerful card in the pack and move from there.