This year Magic Online is featuring Flashback Drafts that return to classic draft formats in Magic's history, specifically a set-by-set journey through the Modern carpool. I experienced these these draft formats when they were originally in print, and it's a blast to revisit our Magical past. Drafting the same set week in and week out can get stale, so Flashback Drafts are a great opportunity to experience refreshing draft environments and constantly challenge our drafting muscles. I'm excited about Flashback Drafts, and I know you are too, which is why I'm revisiting and running down what these Draft formats were all about.
The format this week is Time Spiral-Planar Chaos-Future Sight, and I can't imagine a better format to start our adventure. The block is an homage to Magic's past, and contains nearly every mechanic in the game that came before it. Every pack of Time Spiral includes a "Timeshifted" reprint from a previous set in the old Magic card frame, Planar Chaos throws the color pie on its head with functional reprints of cards in different colors, and Future Sight introduces funky new mechanics of its own. It adds up to a fascinating play experience, but it's also considered one of the most complicated draft formats ever devised. It's going to be a wild ride, and I can't wait to begin, so join me by watching the videos below:
This Draft format is from the era when blue cards were dominant in Constructed and Limited, and it's the best color in TPF Draft. Each set is deep in quality blue cards, so blue can support multiple blue drafters at the same table. Blue can be combined with any color to create a great deck, like Blue-Black Control or Bue-Green Tempo, and many blue cards are morphs, so they are also more splashable than other cards.
Green isn't quite as good as blue, but it has a lot going for it, like a focused Thallid theme and even card drawing spells. Green has the best access to mana fixing in the format, the best ways to use it with powerful cards like Tromp the Domains and the ability to splash any bomb cards.
White is best with an aggressive focus, like in White-Black Rebels, White-Green Thallids, or White-Blue Fliers. Red can pair with blue to form a tempo deck centered around suspend cards, with green to create excellent midrange decks, with white to form a classic aggressive deck of creatures backed by tricks, burn, and removal, or with black as a madness deck.
Beware Gathan Raiders! It unmorphs for no mana. I walked into it in my draft, and it felt bad. Not only does it do an impression of Zombie Cutthroat and blow out the opponent in combat, but it's a madness and graveyard enabler. It can also simply be cast face-up later in the game, so it's always good.
The single best common in the format, and arguably the single best card, period, is Sprout Swarm. It creates an endless stream of Saproling Tokens, and because these tokens fuel convoke, given just a few turns they will overwhelm the opponent. Don't pass it, and splash it if at all possible, it's really that good.
Please turn to the comments section with any questions or critiques of my decisions, and please don't hesitate to share any ideas of your own. I'll also be happy to answer any questions you have about this Draft format, drafting in general, or Limited theory!