It has been a fun three weeks drafting and playing in the polychromatic world of Shards of Alara, but this Year of Modern Flashback Drafts has one more stop before we break to play with Eldritch Moon. This week we'll be drafting Magic 2010, the first core set to feature the new naming convention, and more importantly, the first core set to include brand new cards, not solely reprints. It's balanced with about half new cards and half reprints. This means it's the first core set to have a truly developed and balanced limited format, because cards could be created and customized to fill any gaps, so it makes for a great play experience.

Drafting Magic 2010 is similar to the typical core set draft, with a focus on the fundamentals over synergy. The key to drafting formats without a lot of synergy is to have a better overall deck than the opponent by having more individually high-quality cards. Things to look for are the basic building blocks of Limited, like creature removal and card advantage. Control decks define the format with a wealth of great blockers and defensive cards that give aggressive decks a tough time. The most important tool for aggressive decks is evasion, so fliers, landwalk, and being unblockable are more valuable here than ever; evasion is the mark of a premium creature that should be drafted highly.

Draft a coherent deck with an overall strategy, and make picks to support that. Any aggressive deck will need ways to push through blockers, like combat tricks, and ways to finish off the opponent, like burn, a haymaker like Overrun, or some bomb rare. Controlling decks need robust blockers, disruption to stop opposing cards they might not be able to beat, and a reliable way to win the game. Creating a balanced deck with stable mana and a solid strategy is the goal, and there are countless ways to assemble one. There are no multicolor cards or anything specifically pulling one color towards another color, so it's a world where any combination can be effective.

As far as specific colors go, Blue reigns supreme as it does in every core set, and it's a fantastic base or support color in combination with any other. Black competes with blue with a wealth of quality disruption, creatures, and even card advantage, but it demands a heavy commitment to Swamps in order to take advantage of some of its best cards, Tendrils of Corruption and Looming Shade. White shines in the control role with excellent commons like Blinding Mage, Pacifism, and Safe Passage, but can struggle in its typical aggressive role. Green is deep, but not particularly powerful, so it can be a stable base color for splashing bombs with the mana-fixing of Borderland Ranger and Rampant Growth. Red is shallow, but it has some quality removal like Lightning Bolt and some incredible rare and mythic bombs, so it makes a fantastic splash if you find the right cards.

How do you draft Magic 2010? I'll answer any questions in the comments.

-Adam