Opening loads of Magic The Gathering boosters is fun. The suspense of getting a brand new mythic or playable rare, together with that heavenly smell of a freshly opened pack is the reason most players buy these products. But here at Peanut Headquarters, I prefer to do something more than just opening these things. Why not use these booster packs for something more than just skipping to the rare and put away the commons? Something that requires only another player/friend/archenemy? Something simple, fun and still lets you think about Magic? Something… Something like a Winston draft!

A Winston draft is an alternative way to draft in Magic without needing 8-players, which is the usual way to draft. It’s a fantastic way to use your boosters to their full potential and great fun if you need something to do with friends when you want to do something Magic related.

Let me tell you how it works. First you need six boosters.

Once you’ve bought those boosters (any expansion you want), open them without looking at the cards. Remove the land and token card and shuffle the cards into one big pile of not-looked-at-awesomeness. Then, put the top three cards face down into three separate piles, labelled as pile A, B and C. These are the piles that’ll grow and get chosen by you. Flip a coin to decide who gets to pick first.

Picking cards

Alright, let’s start drafting!

When it’s your pick you may look at pile A. If you want the cards in this pile, take them all and put them in your own card pool. Replace the gap in pile A by adding a new card face down card from the big pile. You now do not know what pile A holds…

If you don’t want pile A just pop a card on top from the big main pile. Pile A now has cards you know and a new mystery card. The same procedure goes for pile B and C. If you don’t want any of the cards in all the three piles, you have to take one blind card from the big pile. A gamble which could turn out great… Keep doing this until the big pile is gone and all cards are gone. You both end up with two card pools.

It could be very well true, that one pile grows and grows, whilst other piles get picked over and over. Probably because that growing pile holds crappy cards and the new cards that replace picked piles are highly draftable. No worries, this can happen.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to create a 40-card deck. You use 6 x 15 cards, so there is enough for both of you. On a sidenote though; if you keep picking single card piles and your opponent keeps picking those stacked piles, your card pool can be a lot smaller!

Once all the cards have gone, all that’s left to do is put together a 40 card deck and get playing!

Let’s take a quick look at the upsides of this way of playing:

  • All included boosters will be used 100%!
  • It’s an even bigger surprise what cards you find since you’ve shuffled multiple boosters.
  • It lets you appreciate those lesser used commons, just like a normal draft.
  • It boosts your Draft-skills. Even though you don’t see as many cards as normal, you do have to choose wisely.
  • Once you know how it works, it’s so much fun!
  • If you buy a booster box, you can Winston draft six times!
  • It doesn’t take too much time, where a whole Friday Night Magic is way longer.

Definitely try this mode out, once you’ve done it I’m sure you’ll want to Winston draft every booster you get from now on. Thank you for reading and hopefully you’ll read more articles of me in the future.

Oh and one last thing. On my YouTube channel, ProjectPeanuts, I also made different video’s, Dutch and English about the Winston Draft, here’s one of a Winston draft from start to finish!

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