Baldur’s Gate: Salvaging a draft from a disaster

Since his childhood, Jean-Yves has been plotting on world domination. Now he simply wants to beat his friends at a Commander game night.

I’m sure it happened to you. The experience of doing something on your computer, like a school assignment or a game you’re really invested in, when all of a sudden your computer crashes and all of your precious hours of work have gone to waste. We have all been there, and dealing with the frustration of that  kind of experience is a part of life. Today’s tale is exactly that sort of story.

The current set on MTG Arena is Baldur’s Gate. With almost no preparation I fired off a few drafts and got a feel for the format. A few archtypes looked appealing. Now, the way I like to approach drafting is by trying to push the limits of value – I love taking expensive bombs, trying to branch out into multiple colors and generally stay away from playing efficient aggro decks. This format, straight out of the gate (no pun intended) looked to be another stinkin’ aggro set. So naturally, I’ll have to open a bomb or 2 and steer heavily into something fun and full of 2-for-1s.

Thus began my latest draft!

Pick one, Pack one

Looking good!

Of course, most pros at this point say that White is by far the best color in the format, and Patriar’s Humiliation is probably the best common in the set. It’s indeed a very strong removal spell, but that’s not going to sway me from taking this sweet rare dragon! 🤣

In all seriousness, I love-love-LOVE playing dragons in this format! There’s something incredibly satisfying in casting a huge dumb beater after a good ramping. The thing is, dragon decks need a lot of exact cards to be opened during the draft in order to be good, so it’s a bit of a gamble, but this sweet rare pairs so awesomely with the likes of Lozhan and Thrakkus. We’ll just need to pray!

Pick two, Pack one

Well…. This pack is insane. 2 premium black removals (Grim Bounty and Sewer Plague) are surely in the conversation, if it weren’t for the Illithid Harvester, which is a straight-out bomb as long as the opponent’s draws allow us to get to the fifth turn alive.

Pick three, Pack one

Next pack rolls up with some heavy hitters. Gut is an amazing creature (as most of the 6-faced cards are) but a bit too expensive and a bit less dragon-y than I like. Oh, and what’s with the weird name? Nope. There’s also an Orb of Dragonkind that I’m quite fond of, but Oji easily takes the cake here. I have done some nasty things with that guy, and I’ve had opponents do nasty things to me with it. Since this is only the beginning of the draft I like taking the most powerful value-rific card and seeing what happens.

Pack four, Pack one

In hindsight, seeing a Patriar’s Humiliation is a sign that white is moderately open ,and any other normal human player (not a dragon fanatic like myself), would have of course picked it, but I just didn’t feel like it then 😜

So as you can easily understand, I picked the Blue dragon, putting my faith in the gods of magic. All joking aside, I like the fact that it lets you dig for cards in the early game and it is a decent flyer later when you need it.

Pick five, Pack one

And… we get from treasure to trash. This pack is very weak. We could easily take the red card or one of the black commons, as they are very playable, but with our other picks being Green and White (and in my opinion superior to these Red and Black ones) I decide to just stick with blue. The looter is decent, at least (most importantly, it’s a $#%! dragon!).

Unfortunately, MTG Arena had other plans…

Oops! Something went wrong

I try to close the program and re-enter, but I get another error message. Oh no! I start panicking. I try to open Arena from my phone, but to no avail. 3 minutes turn to 20 as I struggle to re-enter the draft unsuccessfully. It’s game over, the draft is ruined.

Or is it?

I decided to try again after an hour. The draft is over, of course, and this is the PILE that MTG Arena selected at random for me:

“Sweet!” I think. “Another Oji! And some other cool cards. Hmmm… Can I actually salvage this? What do I have to lose?” I start looking at my pool and I try to concoct a playable deck. If you want to, you can try for yourself, as an experiment.

Being the greedy bastard that I am, this is my final deck:

And from a randomly picked pile, emerged a slightly less random deck

The games are tight, as this deck definitely feels like it was drafted by an auto-picker. It’s literally a pile, but a combination of lucky draws, value from my strongest cards and the sheer power of green beaters somehow manages to produce cool, interesting games.

My favorite one involved returning Earthquake Dragon several times from the graveyard while using Oji to flicker my Juvenile Mist Dragon to keep my opponent’s unblockable creature from killing me. That was so close!


In the end this was a fun experience. There’s something amazingly satisfying in salvaging a train-wreck of a draft. When fate wants to screw you over, you can still try and turn it into a win.

By the way, my only losses with this deck were to an opponent who played The Hourglass Coven. That card is messed up, and I hope to have a chance at playing one myself in the future.

Until next time Magic players!

We did it Boys! 7-2