How does an MTG Booster Draft Work? (Should You Try One?)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.
How does an MTG Booster Draft Work?

Planning a game night with your friends?

Doing an MTG draft is always a great option. The decks made as a result of such drafts are random and oftentimes crazy.

Plus, if your group of friends sees one person win most of your MTG games, drafting can be a breath of fresh air. The decks aren’t made in advance, so your more experienced players can’t guarantee they’ll get what they want.

A booster draft is just one type of draft to do. But how does an MTG booster draft work?

By the end of this guide, you’ll have an understanding of that process and more. Here’s what we’ll be writing about:

  • What a booster draft is
  • How the drafting process works
  • Our recommendation on whether or not you should try it

What is a Booster Draft?

Before we go further, it’s important to explain what a draft is to begin with – especially for anyone new who may have found this guide.

In a draft, the decks players use aren’t built in advance. Rather, players are forced to build their decks right before the game with a limited group of cards provided specifically for the draft.

There are numerous ways to draft. A cube, for example, is a large group of cards put together by someone to be used as a sort of card bank for a draft.

Chaos drafting is another variant. In a chaos draft, players build decks from packs from an assortment of different sets.

A booster draft, however, is like a basic draft. Players create their decks from sealed booster packs from a specific set.

Some sets are designed to be drafted, such as Conspiracy. If you’re curious about the best sets for drafting, check out our guide on the subject. 

The Drafting Process

The first step to doing a booster draft is deciding which set your group will be drafting from. Once that’s been done, the rest is fairly simple.

You’ll need anywhere from three to eight players, although three is a little low. With drafting, the more really is the merrier.

Also, you’ll need a large supply of basic lands nearby. This is so all players have a mana base for their decks once the actual drafting is complete.

Each person partaking gets three booster packs from the designated set. Then they all sit at a table with their three booster packs.

Next, each player opens their first booster pack. They look through the pack, choose the card they want the most, then pass the remaining cards in the pack to the person on their left.

Players continue choosing one card from each pack passed to them in such a manner until the packs are emptied. Then they open the second booster pack and repeat the same process all over again, passing packs to the right this time.

The third and final pack, once it is opened, is passed to the left again after a card has been selected.

Game Rules

Once all cards have been chosen, players must create a deck from the ones they picked. There aren’t too many rules about how these decks must be constructed, but there are a few stipulations.

Your draft deck should be at least 40 cards. You can put as many lands as you like in this deck, but the ideal number is 17 or 18.

Depending on whether you’re playing casually with friends or at an official Magic: the Gathering event, players are then paired for one-on-one matches. If you’re playing at home with friends, though, it’s also possible to do a free-for-all.

Each person gets 20 life and then plays the game as normal until there’s a winner.

Should you do a Booster Draft?

Drafting is also great just for testing your own ingenuity or watching what others come up with.

Like anything else, drafting might not appeal to everyone. But there are quite a few convincing reasons to give it a chance.

One example is that it makes the playing field even.

If you play Magic regularly with a group of people, you’ve probably noticed that one or two people are often better than other players. They might simply have a bigger collection of cards or they might just have more experience playing the game.

These advantages are eliminated for the most part in a draft. Everyone has to choose from the same pool of cards and create a deck on the spot.

Drafting is also great just for testing your own ingenuity or watching what others come up with. You can’t ever assume that you’re going to get the cards you want, so you’ll constantly have to re-evaluate your plan.

It’s even a good way to introduce new players to the game, because all parts of MTG are compressed into one manageable parcel. Picking cards, building a deck, and actually playing a game are all combined into a single event in this format.

If you’d like to host a draft with your friends, you might want to put your cards in sleeves. We’ve got a guide to the best sleeves for drafting here.