The problem with playing Magic: the Gathering for as long as I have (13 years and counting) is that you tend to accumulate a lot of dross in your collection. Oh sure, there’s a good pool of solid, decent cards that you always fool yourself into thinking that you’ll make a draft Cube out of one day, but there’s a lot that’s just taking up space and deserves to be a bin, not your binder/shoe box/bedroom floor.
But every dog deserves their day, and that’s why yesterday I did a Junk Draft with six other people (including Ian, he of Metrauplex fame) at the Chichester gaming club. Entry was simple; bring a load of cards that you simply don’t care about anymore, and want to get rid of. After a solid two evenings of sorting through my own pile of terrible cards, I had 150 cards to add to the grab bag of Craw Wurms, Chimney Imps, Bramble Creepers, Soldevi Steam Beasts, Ember Shots, and the single, coveted Tibalt (because seriously, fuck Tibalt), all ready for drafting. And draft we did! We had enough trash for each player to end up with 90 cards after a standard Booster Draft.
Yes, that was the kind of quality we were dealing with, and let me tell you, you do not know yourself as a Magic player until you’re forced to admit that a Pillarfield Ox is the best pick in a new pack. We also had some Unhinged cards thrown in, because… yay? I personally can’t stand the silver-bordered “comedy” sets, but I suppose it was fitting that they were thrown into this bubbling pot of cardboard crap.
The cards weren’t great, but there was certainly a lot of laughs and groans of suffering as each pack went round. At first I was bit apprehensive (as I always am when drafting, whether Booster or Sealed) that there wouldn’t be enough cards to build a viable deck round, but terrible or not, the two absolute basic elements a Limited deck were still there; bodies and removal. Yes, Pillarfield Ox is bad, and playing it should make you feel bad, but at the end of the day, it’s got a chunky body and can delay your opponent for a few turns.
I’d settled on drafting red-white-black after the first few passes, and this is the deck I ended up building…
8 Mountain, 8 Plains, 8 Swamp
W – Avacynian Priest, Concordia Pegasus, Peregrine Griffin, Sanctuary Cat, Syndic of Tithes
B- Drainpipe Vermin, Minotaur Abomination, Slate Street Ruffian
R – Feral Ridgewolf, Goblin Shortcutter, Mogg Flunkies, Reckless Brute, Riot Piker, Spikeshot Goblin
A/M – Maw of the Obzedat, Sunhome Guildmage, Tithe Drinker, Hovermyr, Soldier Replica
W – Blinding Beam, Razor Barrier, Rebuke, Smite
B – Agonising Demise, Contaminated Bond, Rise from the Grave, Sign in Blood, Strangling Soot, Wring Flesh
R – Annihilating Fire, Blaze, Stone Rain, Traitorous Instinct
A/M – Purge the Profane, Necrogen Spellbomb, Pyrite Spellbomb
That’s a deck I would be happy to build in a non-Junk Draft! Plenty of aggressive and utility early drops, tons of removal (hard and soft), and yes, a Stone Rain, because someone who contributed to the pool clearly has a strange definition of the word “Junk”. I wouldn’t play land destruction in Constructed, because I’m not a raging douchenozzle, but in Limited, where people have shaky mana bases? Yeah, sorry, but BOOM.
A few more cards came my way that I had to question the inclusion of; Call of the Conclave? Seething Song? Ian managed to pick up a Notion Thief and a few Deathcult Rogues. Grafted, the Rogues aren’t top-tier stuff, but they’re hardly on the level of Bog Hoodlums or Mindless Null. Truly, one man’s trash was another’s treasure.
If you haven’t Junk drafted before, I recommend it; it’s a great way to basically offload a stack of cards you’re never going to use. You won’t pull any bomb rares, but you will have a great time and lot of laughs, guaranteed.