Last night marked the first time I’ve played my favorite Magic the Gathering format in 3 years. I was fortunate enough to find a great group of people who share my love of tapping permanents, and were curious enough to take the reject rare plunge!
So what is a Reject Rare Draft anyway?
Wizards of the Coast prints a lot of Magic cards. Some of them are rare. Some of those rares are bad. Those rares rarely ever see play. So what’s the solution to this apparent waste of cardboard? Well to draft’em of course!
From the Reject Rare wiki: Reject Rare Draft is an unofficial casual limited Magic: The Gathering format, similar in structure to the booster draft. Instead of using booster packs, each player brings 45 rare cards (often ones which are otherwise not very useful). A “reject rare” is said to be “Any rare card its owner cares so little about they’re willing to donate it to this draft.”
The format is fun, wacky, and competitive as it’s a special skill to sift through the crap rares to find those turds that are just barely playable! Who knows, you might also snag some not so crappy rares for your collection or decks in the process! It’s also a great excuse to play with cards that barely ever see the light of day.
How did the draft go?
Drafting was as hilarious as always, with reject staples like Tempting Wurm doing anything but tempting the drafters. If you’ve never held a Reject Rare draft before, allocate more time than you normally would for the draft proper as a seemingly large number of crap rares have a ridiculous amount of rules text. Also, crap rares are by definition rarely opened, rarely played, and quickly forgotten. And since they can come from any printed Magic set (even the Un-Sets), chances are you’ll have a lot of players seeing a good percentage of cards for the very first time.
I didn’t have a specific drafting strategy initially, only that I was not going to commit to a color until at least half way through the second booster. I ended up drafting some decent green with Phantom Nantuko and Engulfing Slagwurm in the first round. I switched from red to black and back for my second color so many times that I could have gone either way. Then when I drafted both a Stonebrow and Charnelhoard Wurm back to back, I decided not only to go Jund, but to draft anything with trample in those colors. I even drafted a Blitz Hellion that did a surprisingly good job getting through unblocked, since my opponents sometimes rightfully assumed that was the last they’d be seeing of it!
Deck construction was easy since everything in my “yes” pile (15 cards) and everything in my “maybe” pile (10 cards) totaled 25 cards already. I was lucky to have snatched up 2 Sacellum Godspeakers, but they were all I had in terms of mana acceleration. With my relatively high mana curve and 3 colors, I decided having a 24 -16 card to land ratio was the better call, and so I dropped a Woodwraith Corrupter and called it a deck! The deck-building was lightning fast for all players for pretty much the same reason: the playable card pool is relatively so small.
Did you win?
My deck’s semblance of a strategy worked surprisingly well! I nearly always played a Godspeaker on turn 3, sometimes even getting both out, and with the big number of 5+ power fatties in my deck I was able to pull off some devastating early-ish fatties! While playing my first opponent I managed to field 4 creatures with trample including the Stonebrow. It was like having a free Overrun on a stick!
My worst defeat happened a couple of turns after my second opponent played a Chaosphere. I chuckled and dismissed the card since I didn’t have any flyers out at the time, then lost to it when I played a Carnifex Demon several turns later. I had forgotten about the Chaosphere and had swung with everything but the Demon, allowing my opponent to swing on his turn for the kill.
I had managed to defeat my two first opponents, which meant I was being paired with the other undefeated player for first place. I won the first match, he won the second. In the third match I was put on the defensive, forced to hold back as my opponent whittled away my life with small flyers I couldn’t block. I finally managed to fill my board with potential attackers and to swing (for the first time that match) for 19 points bringing him down to a single point of health the turn before he finished me off. He had more than a fair share of haste and flying creatures and my fatties just couldn’t keep up.
You’d better believe there’s going to be more Reject Rare Drafts in this Magic player’s future! Everyone present had a blast, and others who could not join in expressed their desire to do so on the next one. It’s inevitable!