Hi there. Ben Stoll here. Many of you might be familiar with “Constructed” TCG play: throw your favorite 60 cards into a deck, choose a champion, and you’re ready to go. But not all of you might be that familiar with another form of competitive play called “Booster Draft.”
Booster drafting is the other major way that you can play PvP in HEX, and we’ve put a lot of energy into making sure it’s tons of fun. It’s a whole different way to play, and one of the nice things is that you don’t need a big fancy collection to play, you just need 3 packs! In this article I’ll summarize how Booster Draft works, and then go over some basic strategy so you have a little bit of a game plan going into your first booster drafts.
HOW TO DRAFT
When 8 players have signed up for a Booster Draft tournament, the tournament is ready to begin. Each player will sit around the digital table, as it were, with one player to their left and another player to their right.
Each player will have 3 booster packs of 15 cards each sitting in front of them. All of the cards used for the duration of the booster draft tournament will come out of these packs, no outside cards from anyone’s collection will be used. The only exception are basic resource cards, which will be made available to all players in unlimited quantity for free.
To start the tournament, each player will open up one of their booster packs, select the card from the pack that they most want for their deck, and then everyone simultaneously passes the remainder of that booster pack to the player on their left. Each player will select a new card from this pack, then once again pass the remainder of that booster pack to their left. This process repeats until all cards have been taken.
At this point, each player will have “drafted” 15 cards that they can potentially build their deck from. Players will now open up the second of their three booster packs, select a card, and pass the cards to the right this time. Follow the exact same procedure (choose one card, pass the rest to the right) as outlined in the previous paragraph. Then, do the same with your 3rd pack, passing back to the left again.
At this point you’ll have drafted 45 cards, and you’re now ready to turn them into a deck! If you didn’t quite process all of that, don’t worry, the HEX interface will be walking you through it as you draft.
• In addition to basic resources, each of the gems that can be socketed into socketable cards will also be made available in unlimited quantity to each player in the draft.
• You will be able to keep all of the cards that you drafted, whether you included them in your deck or not. That’s part of why Booster Draft is so fun; not only do you get to add to your collection, you get to play in a tournament in the process!
And that’s how you draft! Ready for some strategy?
DRAFTING AND BUILDING YOUR DECK
In a Booster Draft HEX tournament, your minimum deck size is 40 cards (unlike a Constructed tournament, where the minimum deck size is 60). You can include any number of a given card in your deck. For example, if you drafted 6 Charge Bots, you can play them all.
So what makes a good draft deck? Here are some basic guidelines to watch for during the draft and while building your deck. It may seem like a daunting amount of information, and will be impossible to absorb all at once, but even a cursory glance at these rules will take your game to a higher level.
• Fewer cards makes for a more effective deck. It may be painful to cut your deck down to the 40-card minimum, but remember that every card you go over decreases your chances of drawing your most powerful cards, and makes all of the powerful synergies of your draft deck work less consistently.
• Play the right amount of resources. Depending on personal preference, a good rule of thumb is to play 17 or 18 resources, and 22-23 of the cards that you drafted. In other words, about half of the 45 cards that you drafted will be used to complete your deck. If your deck is very cheaply costed and fast, you might consider playing 17 resources, though I frequently find myself playing 18.
• Stick to two shards while drafting. Sometimes you can build a great deck by just picking one shard, but you may find yourself unable to get enough cards that you like if you’re not branching into a second shard. When you play more than two shards in your deck, you might find yourself running into trouble getting the right threshold to play your cards. If you do decide to play a third color, experiment with just playing around 3 of your favorite cards from that color, and try for cards that only require a single threshold.
• Try to draft more troop cards than anything else. Troops are typically the bulk of how you’ll go about winning the game, since they can deal damage turn after turn. Depending on your deck, about 2/3 troop cards and 1/3 actions+artifacts is typically a good ratio.
• Build a cost “curve” into your deck. If your deck has all cheap cost cards, you’ll be left in the dust when your opponent starts playing powerful cards in the later turns. But if your deck has all expensive cost cards, you’ll get overrun in the early part of the game. Shoot for about 3 or 4 cards to play at every cost, starting with 1 or 2 cost cards and starting to taper off into fewer cards around 5 cost and higher.
• Have a game plan and fully commit to it! If you’re starting to draft a lot of dwarves and artifact cards, don’t stop! They’ll get better and better the more you have. If your deck is shaping up to be very fast and aggressive, try to avoid cards that will you slow you down, so commit fully to killing your opponent before he can get going! Of course, you can draft an effective “well-rounded” medium speed deck as well.
That’s a lot to keep in mind, but if you keep drafting and you try to pay attention to the above rules, you will slowly cultivate mastery over the format! Part of what’s so fun about draft is that it’s a new experience every time. Each draft will challenge you to adapt to new circumstances and allow different opportunities for creative deck building, while still allowing for your understanding of the format as a whole to deepen.
Because draft is such a dynamic way to play, each of the above rules could be broken under the right circumstances. However, until you’re comfortable enough with draft to start experimenting with really crazy strategies, you’ll be able to learn a lot by following them. Good Luck!
Ever wanted to infect your opponent’s deck with a Zombie Virus and then kill them with their own troops? We thought so! Braaaaaaaaaaaains…
What, you really thought those crazy dwarves were batting 100% on making well-built robots?