Beginner Planeswalker Guide: Drafting for TwoDecember 6, 2018
This is an ongoing series of Magic articles aimed at welcoming people into Magic: The Gathering!
Winston Drafting is a form of drafting Magic for two players! This is perfect for couples, a get together with one good friend, or playing with your kid who enjoys Magic. This format has a special place in my heart and is a staple in my relationship. In our vows, my husband and I promised to Winston draft with each other every time that a new Magic set comes out.
In order to Winston draft, you need six booster packs. Together, you open all six packs, careful not to look at any of the cards (spoilers!), and gently shuffle the cards together into one facedown pile, called the main stack. From the main stack, you remove three cards from the top and put them into separate facedown piles, as seen here:
Find some way to determine who drafts first. This can be a die roll, a coin flip, a staring contest, or any other fun way you want to decide as long as it’s random. The first player then picks up and looks at the first pile, furthest on the left (which when you start is exactly one card). That player can either decide to keep that pile or put it back. If they decide to keep the pile, they replace that spot with the top card of the main stack and pass the turn to the other player.
If the player does not want to draft the first pile, they put the pile back and add one card from the top of the main stack. Then, they get to look at the second pile, making the same decision. Lastly, they can look at the third pile and decide if they want to keep it or put it back, adding a card from the main stack to the top. At this point, if the player decides that they do not want the last pile, they must take the top card of the main stack as their draft pick and the turn is passed.
Players continue this until the main stack is completely depleted and continue drafting the final piles until all of the cards have been drafted. From here, both players have their entire pool of cards to build a 40 deck from. Just like in regular drafting and limited deck building, a 40 card deck should have roughly 23 spells and 17 lands, and players can add as many basic lands as they need.
Deck building can be tricker in this format depending on how the card pool treated you and it can be especially difficult if the two players were fighting over the same colors in the draft. Often, decks end up having three colors due to what was drafted.
Generally, the second drafter gets to decide who plays first and the two of you can play as many games as you like. My husband and I usually play a normal round, best out of three games. This usually means that we get an entire Magic draft experience in merely one or two hours, which is really nice in the busy lives of adulthood and parenting.
I hope this experience can add to your ability to play Magic in your life the way it has mine!