As a magic player, I have always been drawn to play styles that differ from the traditional theaters of aggro, midrange, and control. So today I want to talk about supporting the more fringe archetypes including my favorite archetype: Lands-Matter.
Lands-Matter is a little harder to support than most archetypes, and to do so requires an understanding of how many support cards are needed. It is important to note, that some archetypes are going to be draftable at 8 players, but be a trap in a 4 person pod. Some archetypes are supportable in smaller cubes, but fall flat in the bigger lists. There are many things to consider when choosing which archetypes to support in your cube, and which to draft when the time comes.
So let’s get a picture of what I’m talking about here. In a traditional draft, you are going to draft a total of 45 cards across 3 packs, of which you need to find 22-24 playables. Among those playables, you will want archetype cards, on-color interaction (removal spells, counters, wraths, etc.), and will likely fill out the remaining slots with on-color efficient threats and value cards. For a combo-esque archetype like reanimator, only a few of those need to be your archetype cards. The draw, card selection, removal and so forth will all be cards that function completely independent of the reanimator archetype.
A lands-matter deck on the other hand will need a lot more of the deck dedicated to land related synergies to make the otherwise underwhelming cards worth playing. Lets say that we are going to want *at least* 10 cards in our draft deck to work with our hypothetical strategy. So that means we are going to need to draft synergies for 10 out of our 45 cards. This means we are going to need to see at least 3.33 (let’s round up to 4) of these cards per round. Now you need to know the minimum number of people you will be drafting with. Let’s say you draft with 4 people minimum. This means to see 4 each round, you will want 1 out of every 15 cards to have synergies that coincide with your archetype. In a 360 card cube, that’s 24 cards. Also keep in mind that some cards won’t ever make it around to our drafter. To account for this, we may want to boost our number. Now, all of these numbers are ball-park guesses and they are all variable depending on the number of drafters, size of packs, number of draft rounds, and of course the archetype in question. This should, however, give you at least a little perspective on this issue.
So let’s assume that 10 card limit holds for my lands-matter deck. If I want to support it in a 360 cube and I want it to be draftable at 4 players, I need 24 lands-matter cards in my cube. If I jump up to 540 cards(the size of my cube), that number grows to 36. However if I concede and decide to only support it at 8+ players, that number now drops to 18. Not all archetypes have a surplus of unique, playable support cards, and you need to take this and your expected number of drafters into consideration when you are designing your cube.
It is not inherently wrong to include archetypes that only really shine in larger draft pods, but try to keep it to a minimum. Too many thinly-spread archetypes will leave for a heavily inconsistent drafting experience with smaller groups of drafters. Lands-Matter is a pet deck of mine that I really want to be draftable. It does not have many support cards, but luckily it bleeds together with the Rock/Stax archetype that I am also supporting. Lands-Matter is the only archetype I support that is this thinly supported, but it is certainly draftable with enough people.
So what fringe archetypes do you run? Do you ever find them undraftable? Leave a comment and let me know.