Left-Right-Left: What’s the Pick?!

Hi there and welcome to Left-Right-Left, a theme of articles focused on my favourite format of MTG… Drafting! For this week we kick off a reoccurring article where I want you to imagine the following scenario:

You’ve sit down at the draft table and you’re itching to open up a crisp, fresh pack of Dragons of Tarkir. You rip it open and flick through the cards, processing each and every one in hopes you can answer that one nagging question… WHAT’S THE PICK?!

It’s a question that plagues us all, but today I’m here with three packs of Dragons of Tarkir to discuss what I consider making my first pick in this format.

Pack #1

Marsh HulkStampeding Elk HerdSilumgar ButcherTaigam’s StrikeMystic MeditationReduce in StatureMisthoof KirinTormenting VoiceQarsi SadistServant of the ScaleSwift WarkiteDeadly WanderingsRoastDescent of the Dragons

My pick:


At 2 mana, Roast is an extremely efficient removal small that will clear away nearly every ground creature in the format. Efficient removal that is extremely easy to cast is exactly where I want to be when starting any draft.

In this pack, it is fairly close pick, but I like Swift Warkite but prefer to keep my options open and stick to one colour as long as possible. This is especially relevant in this format in comparison to Khans and Fate given the significant reduction in mana fixing available outside of green.

Other Contenders:

Swift Warkite

A 4/4 Flyer for 6 is par for the course in DTK Limited, however Swift Warkite will more often than not give you considerable extra value. What puts Swift Warkite ahead of the other uncommon dragons in the cycle is the immediate impact it has upon resolution. It will very often be a 2 for 1.

Swift Warkite is best in an aggressive deck and as such it’s rare that you won’t have a 3 drop or smaller in the graveyard by the time you play this as your finisher.

Descent of the Dragons

While this a powerful card with an effect unique in the format, I don’t believe it’s better than the above options or some of the commons in this pack. When ahead on board or in parity, Descent of the Dragons will promptly close out the game for you. However, from behind and with little to no boardstate, this card does nearly nothing and takes up your entire turn in the process.

Early on in the format it can be worthwhile taking rare’s/mythics such as this just to get experience with them however holistically I would always prioritise good cards that are useful at all points of the game above this one.

Pack #2

Sarkhan’s RagePinion FeastWandering TombshellCustodian of the TroveColossodon YearlingTerritorial RocQarsi SadistLightwalkerDragon FodderKolaghan StormsingerCircle of EldersBattle MasteryMarang River SkeletonAssault Formation

My Pick:

Sarkhan’s Rage

While Sarkhan’s Rage is quite expensive at 5 mana, the versatility of pointing this at a large creature or the opponents face makes it a worthwhile pick in what is otherwise a weak pack.

Sarkhan’s Rage is best in an aggressive deck where it can be used as either removal or a finisher and the 2-life it costs you is largely irrelevant. In a more controlling deck it is still a great card but perhaps worth siding out for cheaper creatures against more aggressive strategies.

Other Contenders:

Dragon Fodder

In a format with a respectable amount of x/1’s, Prowess/Prowess-like mechanics and Exploit, Dragon Fodder is a more than playable 2 drop. While not an exciting pick, Dragon Fodder works well in numerous decks available to draft in the format. I wouldn’t recommend picking Dragon Fodder above Sarkhan’s Rage, however Dragon Fodder may well be the next best pick here.

Assault Formation

This is a build-around rare that can be quite effective in narrow cases but it will be quite destructive to your deck construction.

My issue with this card is that it’s demanding of your deck to have many creatures with far higher toughness than power. If your deck is filled with 0/4’s, 1/6’s and 2/5’s, what is your game-plan when you do not draw Assault Formation? You will likely be run over by evasive or large threats while attempting to stall the game and trying to draw this enchantment.

As with Descent of the Dragons earlier, early on in the format is it could be worth experimenting however I would still take all around solid cards over swingy build-around cards such as Assault Formation.

Pack #3

Ojutai’s SummonsFlattenAncestral StatueUpdraft ElementalTail SlashSibsig IcebreakersVial of DragonfireTerritorial RocQarsi SadistDragon’s Eye SentryYouthful ScholarQarsi DeceiverDraconic RoarGleam of Authority

My Pick:

Draconic Roar

Draconic Roar is one of the most efficient removal spells in the format. 2 mana for 3 damage at instant speed is versatile and powerful and good in any red deck. The dragon reveal clause will rarely be relevant in Limited but even without that text, this card is a worthy first pick and is a reason to be in or move into red.

Other Contenders:


While not as efficient as Draconic Roar, Flatten is still very much a premium removal spell and the best black common in the set. Flatten will kill most dragons and large creatures in the format. It also provides additional versatility when in combat to allow your creatures to kill your opponent’s creatures that may be bigger than x/4’s. Again, this is still a worthy first pick and is a reason to be in or move into black.

Youthful Scholar

This card is a guaranteed 2-for-1 and if you can trade it with an opponent’s creature or gain value from Exploit, you are putting yourself significantly ahead of your opponent. In the worst case scenario, Youthful Scholar will save you a meaningful amount of life as a chump blocker and draw you into two cards allowing you to fight back into a losing game.

I’m unsure if Youthful Scholar is better than Ojutai’s Summons, it might very well not be. But at this stage, I think I’m picking the cheaper, consistent and easier to cast card over the alternative nearly all of the time.

There we have it for this week. Do you agree or disagree with the above picks and analysis? Either way, be sure to comment with your opinions!

Be sure to visit next week where I will be discussing my first impressions of the Dragons of Tarkir draft format.

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