Utility Land Draft

One of the most unfortunate aspects of traditional cube design is that there’s not much room left for fun utility lands after packing your list full of powerful spells and lands that fix your mana.

Phyrexian TowerHalimar DepthsDryad ArborMoorland Haunt

To find a home for all the outcast lands, I created the “utility land draft.” It’s a small modification to the 8-man draft format that works as follows:

Step 1: Before the draft, lay out the utility lands face up in the center of the table. At the time of writing I use the following set of utility lands.

Flagstones of Trokair
Windbrisk Heights
Eiganjo Castle
Secluded Steppe

Faerie Conclave
Shelldock Isle
Riptide Laboratory
Academy Ruins
Halimar Depths
Lonely Sandbar

Phyrexian Tower
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Volrath’s Stronghold
Barren Moor

Barbarian Ring
Teetering Peaks
Ghitu Encampment
Forgotten Cave
Hellion Crucible

Treetop Village
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Gaea’s Cradle
Yavimaya Hollow
Dryad Arbor
Tranquil Thicket

Tectonic Edge
Ghost Quarter
Rishadan Port

Mishra’s Factory
Blinkmoth Nexus

Ancient Tomb
High Market

Grand Coliseum
Undiscovered Paradise
Murmuring Bosk
Gemstone Mine
Gemstone Caverns
Evolving Wilds

Moorland Haunt
Nephalia Drownyard
Kessig Wolf Run
Gavony Township
Vault of the Archangel
Desolate Lighthouse
Slayers’ Stronghold

Step 2: Booster Draft as usual. After packs 1 and 2, each player takes a single land from the utility land pile. After Pack 3, each player takes two lands from the utility land pile.

This part is fully customizable. My utility land stack is designed around each player selecting 4 total utility lands. Other Cube owners have tailored their list to accommodate as few as 3 or as many as 6 utility lands per drafter.

Step 3: At the end of the draft, put the unchosen lands back in the box. Build your decks as usual.

All told it’s a fun modification to the drafting process that adds a lot of depth to the matches themselves, giving the player more things to do with their mana and more options in terms of sequencing of land drops. For more information, check out this article I wrote for ChannelFireball, or chime in with your thoughts in the Utility Land Draft forum thread.

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