Hello and welcome to our Amonkhet Remastered Draft Guide. Today we’ll talk about the newest draft format coming to MTG Arena – the set the combines both Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation into a brand new experience.
First we’ll take a look at mechanics and how they work. Next, we’ll talk about the bigger picture and what we can expect from the format, based on our past experience. We continue with best commons for each color. Then we examine the archetypes and what they’re trying to do. Finally, we rank all the colors and archetypes by their power level.
So if you’re trying to win your next draft, this guide can surely help you. First thing first, let’s check the mechanics.
Amonkhet Remastered Mechanics
Because Amonkhet Remastered combines two sets into one, we have eight mechanics, if you count some subtypes as well:
- Cartouches and Trials
Aftermath cards are pretty straightforward. You can cast the top half from your hand. When the card is in your graveyard you can cast the bottom half. If you cast it from your graveyard, you have to exile it.
Embalm is an activated ability. When a creature with Embalm is in your graveyard, you can pay its Embalm cost and exile it to create a token that’s a copy of it, except it’s white and becomes a Zombie in addition to its other creature types.
Eternalize is very similar to Embalm. The difference here is that you get a black Zombie token copy, which is always a 4/4.
Some creatures in Amonkhet Remastered have option to exert. Whenever such creature becomes exerted it’s exert ability triggers and it doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. You know, because it’s so tired and needs to rest.
Afflict is another mechanic that punishes blocking. Whenever a creature with Afflict X becomes blocked, defending player loses X life.
You probably remember cycling from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Although it functions just the same, it plays a little bit differently.
Secondly, as the format tends to be aggressive, expensive cards with cycling like Greater Sandwurm go down in value. The vast majority of the time you’ll just cycle it, when you could be affecting the board. When you can finally cast it, it might not even be that good, as your opponent has a bunch of smaller creatures.
Cartouches and Trials
Each color gets a common Cartouche and an uncommon Trial. Cartouches are auras with spell like effects. Trials also have enter-the-battlefield effects. In addition they also return to your hand whenever you play a Cartouche, so you can use them again. This does come up quite often.
|White||Cartouche of Solidarity||Trial of Solidarity|
|Blue||Cartouche of Knowledge||Trial of Knowledge|
|Black||Cartouche of Ambition||Trial of Ambition|
|Red||Cartouche of Zeal||Trial of Zeal|
|Green||Cartouche of Strength||Trial of Strength|
Desert is a land subtype. You’ll find 12 lands with Desert subtype in Amonkhet Remastered:
- Cycle of 5 cycling (heh) lands (Desert of the Fervent)
- Cycle of 5 lands that let you sacrifice a Desert for value (Ramunap Ruins)
- Scavenger Grounds
- Sunscorched Desert
When Amonkhet was first drafted back in 2017, it was a very aggressive set. Exert was the main mechanic in the set and used mostly on the cards that promoted attacking. Blocking was basically a losing proposition.
Fast forward a few months and we get Hour of Devastation draft. However, we didn’t draft with three Hour boosters. Instead we had two Hour packs plus one Amonkhet. Nevertheless, the format slowed down, so slower strategies were actually good. You could even play 5-color decks, even though aggressive decks were still playable.
Because Amonkhet Remastered features a mix of both sets, it’s should be quite similar to Hour of Devastation draft, right? To find out more about this we counted the number of cards from both sets and here’s what we found:
|Set||Number of Cards||Percentage|
|Hour of Devastation||104||34,3|
Special cards are the ones they added for Historic and won’t change limited format that much, as they are mostly rares and mythics aimed for Constructed play.
The fact you should focus on is that we’re getting almost twice as much cards from Amonkhet than from Hour. This suggests the format will probably look more like Amonkhet.
So what does that mean? The format will be pretty aggressive. Both exert and afflict punish blocking and reward attacking. We’re not saying that some slower strategies (as 5 color ramp) won’t be viable at all, but if you’re just doing a couple of drafts and care about your Gold and Gems, try to draft an aggressive deck first.
Amonkhet Remastered Draft Tips
With that in mind here are some quick general tips for your draft. Again, these tips won’t always be true, but in general they will help you:
- Play enough two drops. You can’t have to many of those, even if they might look weak.
- Cheap removal is key. Both to remove blockers and to survive early assault. Pick Magma Spray highly.
- Combat tricks are good. Your opponents will often be forced to double block your exerted attackers. This gives you an opportunity for a two-for-one with a well timed combat trick.
- Try to be aggressive. If you aren’t, play enough early interaction.
- Don’t rely on blocking, early interaction like removal is fine, blockers like Ancient Crab very less so. Even when you manage to block, you can easily get blown out. Just race your opponents.
- Lifegain can swing a race in your favor. Pay attention to cards like Cartouche of Ambition and Solitary Camel.
Those were just some bullet points about the format. Let’s move on to the cards that will fill the majority of your decks – commons.
Best Commons for Amonkhet Remastered Draft
For each color, we highlight the best three commons plus some honorable mentions (cards that are good but missed Top 3).
1. Gust Walker
Two mana for a 3/3 flying attacker every second turn is great. What’s even better is that you don’t have to exert it. That sometimes happens when you have a combat trick to use or if your opponent doesn’t have any blockers.
Gust Walker was the centerpiece of all white aggressive decks in Amonkhet – and almost all white decks are aggressive. We don’t see this changing just because some cards are added to the mix. You’ll want to play as many Walkers as you can get your hands on.
2. Compulsory Rest
This card is very close to Gust Walker in quality and nobody can blame you for taking it over the Walker. It costs just two mana, it’s a removal, although it has a small downside, which allows your opponent to get value from their Embalm creatures.
Anyways, you still want a bunch of those, as you simply can’t beat this efficiency.
3. Oketra’s Avenger
As we said, attacking is the name of the game in Amonkhet Remastered draft and Oketra’s Avenger attacks without worries. It also wears Cartouches very well, as 4 powered attacker can be a real beating.
The biggest downside is the prevalence of -1/-1 counters. If those become widely played, you might want to downgrade this common on your rankings.
Thankfully, white has a lot of very playable commons like:
- Fan Bearer will keep blockers or one big attacker out of the way. You can often finish games with removing two blockers: end of opponent’s turn – tap, your turn – tap, attack with everything.
- Impeccable Timing – a playable removal spell.
- Solitary Camel, if you have a desert or two, it can get really good especially with combat tricks or Cartouche of Solidarity, which is another great common.
- Aven of Enduring Hope is a big flyer that gives you 3 life, which can be very relevant.
- Dauntless Aven works great in an exert deck. Exert a creature and immediately untap it, so it’s ready for next turn.
White really looks strong in Amonkhet Remastered draft.
1. Aerial Guide
Three mana 2/2 flyer is a fine draft card on its own. Add to that the ability to give flying to something else and you’re looking at the best blue common of the set.
You’ll want to play a lot of Guides in your blue aggressive decks. It compliments your exert cards really good, as you often won’t need to exert them for to survive the attacks.
2. Cartouche of Knowledge
Cartouche of Knowledge is one very nice aura. You can make any creature into a must-deal-with threat and you get your card back immediately.
As all the other Cartouches it works really nice with Trials. Getting back something like Trial of Zeal, drawing a card and making your creature into a reasonable flyer is the real deal.
3. Aven Initiate
Now this is the one card where we certainly could be wrong by putting it so highly. Nevertheless, 3-powered flyers for four mana are usually fine, and the ability to get it back is good too.
So why could this be a mistake? Well, the first thing is Magma Spray, for one mana you get completely blow out and you don’t even get the Embalm effect. Secondly, if the format does end very aggressive you won’t even get to seven mana most of the time.
Depending on how to formats pans out, this card varies from very good to mediocre, so keep that in mind.
Perhaps a better card to put on third place would be Unquenchable Thirst, a blue Doom Blade. Well, not quite, but it can be a fine removal spell, especially if you have a Desert. Even if you don’t it’s still playable, but you’ll need to take a hit for it to work.
Essence Scatter is also a very fine common, which can be an answer both early on and in the late game. It’s one of the rare cards that cleanly deals with the most powerful cards like Glorybringer and The Scarab God. If you’re playing blue, you’ll want a couple of them.
Shimmerscale Drake is probably worth mentioning, but it’s nothing spectacular.
1. Splendid Agony
Splendid Agony is better than it might look. At its worst it kills a creature with 2 toughness. At its best it gives you a great two-for-one in combat. Sometimes, you’ll just make a big creature more manageable and that’s fine too. Maybe you have some synergies with -1/-1 counters and that makes it even better.
So you get a pretty versatile removal spell for three mana, which is always useful. As such Splendid Agony should be a high pick if you’re playing black.
2. Final Reward
Five mana is a lot, especially in Amonkhet Remastered draft. However, the ability to deal with any creature at instant speed is very important.
Exile is far from irrelevant, as it stops both Embalm and Eternalize, as well as Gods. Once you hit The Scarab God with it, you’ll feel amazing.
3. Lethal Sting
Third best black common is Lethal Sting, which is another removal spell. It’s a sorcery and it requires you to make your creature smaller. On the plus side, you get to destroy any creature for 3 mana and you can have ways to get rid of -1/-1 counters.
Keep in mind that you need to have a creature in play in order to cast this spell.
Anyways, the top three black commons are all somewhat close in quality. Usually you’ll want a mix of them and not just overload on one single type of removal, as they can all come in handy in different situations.
Cartouche of Ambition is also a surprisingly good common. It can totally swing the game out of nowhere. Make your creature smaller (or even kill it), make mine bigger and swing in to get a bunch of life. Oh, and sometimes you get your Trial back as well. What’s not to like?
Soulstinger is another interesting card. It can be a 4/5 vanilla for 4, if you throw away one of your smaller creatures. On the other hand you can get a 2/3, which makes something smaller when it dies. The versatility is nice and it synergizes with cards like Lethal Sting.
Finally we want to mention Wander in Death, as a great value card that’s never dead, thanks to cycling. Its value goes up with the quality of your creatures. If your opponent manages to deal with your Glorybringer, let’s see how they like it the second time.
1. Magma Spray
Spoiler alert: the best red commons in Amonkhet Remastered draft aren’t very diverse. We’re starting off with one mana removal spell that deals with over half of creatures in the format.
Because the format will be aggressive, the cheap mana cost matters a lot and Spray is the best red common, so pick them highly. Honestly, it might even be the best common overall.
2. Open Fire
Open Fire deals one more damage and it can target players, both things are very relevant, however it does cost two more mana, which definitely shouldn’t be neglected.
Still you’ll happily pick as many Open Fires as you can get in your red decks.
3. Puncturing Blow
Finally, the third burn removal spell. It’s the slowest and the clunkiest, but it deals with more creatures as a result. Contrary to the first two red commons, it can deal with eternalized creatures on its own. It also deals with Devastation gods (like The Locust God).
We usually do a toughness check with red burn spells in our draft guides. This time around here’s a table of how much creatures does each spell destroy (exile) on its own. Total number of creatures is 191.
|Spell||# of good targets||% of good targets|
As you can see Magma Spray kills over half of all creatures in the format, just for one mana! But as you get to higher mana costs, you get to destroy more creatures. That means you’ll probably want a mix of best red commons, but ideally you want more copies of Magma Spray and Open Fires, than of Puncturing Blow.
1. Cartouche of Strength
Cartouche of Strength is packed with value. First, it’s a great fight spell, which makes your creature bigger – that’s always useful. Secondly, as all the other Cartouches it works well with Trials. Just in green, you have Trial of Strength, which gives you a creature, which you can use the Cartouche on.
However, keep the timing in mind, so you don’t get blown out by a removal spell. Try to wait for your opponent to tap out if you can.
2. Rhonas’s Stalwart
Because we expect the format to be aggressive, Rhonas’s Stalwart will sequentially be very good. Two mana for a 3/3 hard to block attacker? Yes, please.
3. Oasis Ritualist
Oasis Ritualist is very good and enables a whole deck – multicolored good stuff. First it’s a serviceable blocker, which is incredibly important here. Secondly, it fixes your mana and third it ramps you as well.
You can cast a seven drop on turn five with help of just the Ritualist. Now that’s some serious ramp. Keep in mind that you should put Ritualist in a deck where it really shines. Don’t just play in in your aggressive green-white deck, as it doesn’t really accomplish anything there.
But once you have some big stuff you’re ramping into, you’ll want to get multiple copies of it.
Shed Weakness is a fine cheap removal trick, which also works well with plenty of green cards. Don’t sleep on this one.
Finally, we have to comment on Life Goes On. It’s still played every now and then in Arena M21 drafts. Please, for the love of the Scarab God, don’t put that card in your deck. A basic land will do more good than that card a vast majority of the time.
With that rant we’re moving onto the archetypes of Amonkhet Remastered!
Amonkhet Remastered Draft Archetypes
Blue – White: Embalm Flyers
While the flyers don’t have much support, you could still consider it an archetype, as the most of them are centered in these two colors. There are 15 flyers total in blue and white and 7 of them at common slot.
The other thing blue and white supports is the Embalm / Eternalize sub theme. There are 9 creatures with Embalm and 2 with Eternalize in these two colors. Besides the obvious payoff of getting more value out of your creatures, you can also use cards like:
This archetype also unlocks Farm // Market to its fullest, which is a quite powerful Magic card.
Black – White: Zombies
Black-White has a Zombie theme. Nevertheless, you can still play black-white just like any other midrange draft deck, and you don’t have to go all in on Zombie synergies. Include cards that are good on their own and if they have some additional bonuses for Zombie creatures, that’s fine too.
Your payoffs are cards like:
- Binding Mummy
- In Oketra’s Name
- Unconventional Tactics
- Lord of the Accursed
- Wayward Servant
- Liliana’s Mastery – if you get lucky
Remember that both Eternalize and Embalm creatures make Zombie tokens.
Green – White: Aggro / Exert
Green – White is pretty simple. You want to play efficient attackers, possibly with exert, have good curve and beat down.
Ahn-Crop Champion is the perfect poster child for this archetype. Good stats for its cost and an ability that lets you exert all other creatures and use them again next turn. If you get two of them in play they can untap each other. Fun!
Red – White: Aggro / Exert
Red – White is pretty similar to our previous archetype. You trade green big creatures for slightly smaller red ones, most of which are still very good attackers. You also get access to all red burn spells, which is nice.
Mostly you just want to turn your creatures sideways and exert them. Try to have a low curve and you might get away with playing 16 lands.
Red – Green: Big Aggro
Third aggressive exert archetype is green-red, so all Naya colors have different flavors of the same deck.
The plan is still mostly the same, here you tend to get the biggest creatures out of all those color pairs. Use them to attack your opponent and you’ll usually get there.
Blue – Black:
It’s better that you build the deck as your classic midrange draft deck, that’s just slightly more controllish. Use good removal with some counterspells and card draw and efficient creatures. You can still have some cycling synergies with cards like Horror of the Broken Lands, Pitiless Vizier and Ruthless Sniper, but don’t go out of your way to enable them.
Again, the best payoff for the strategy and the card that might be worth it to try and go for it is definitely Archfiend of Ifnir, which can really turn some games around.
Blue – Red: Noncreature Spells
Once again blue and red focuses on noncreature spells. Enigma Drake only counts instant and sorcery cards, but most of the other cards don’t care which noncreature card you play.
You have Riddleform, as well as a bunch of prowess creatures:
Blue – Green: Ramp / 3+ Colors
Blue-Green can be pretty sweet in this format. It’s one of the rare archetypes that isn’t very aggressive. You want to get as many ramp / fixing cards as you can. This includes:
For your top end you want some nice payoffs. In your colors you have Sifter Wurm as the perfect stabilizer. Cards with cycling like Striped Riverwinder are also good, because they aren’t dead in the early game.
On the other hand you can easily splash for bombs of any colors. These decks decks can often evolve into 5 color monstrosities. We’d recommend you’d splash for the best cards you can get your hands on. The Scarab God is a perfect card for a deck like this. You can even splash a card with two off-color mana symbols like Glorybringer, thanks to Oasis Ritualist.
If you can’t get those, you can also use River Hoopoe, which provides a great mana sink, giving you both life and new cards.
Players that drafted Hour of Devastation back in the day might notice that Gift of Paradise is missing here. That’s quite the omission for this archetype, but hopefully, it can still work without it, as this deck can be a blast to play.
Black – Red: Aggro
Red – Black doesn’t have a very focused theme. As most colors in this set it’s very good at attacking. Additionally, you get access to some of the best removal spells, which is always useful.
So when you’re drafting black-red, you don’t have to worry about any synergies. Just play a lot of removal, good attackers and you’ll do just fine.
Black – Green: -1/-1 Counters
This archetype is a very unusual one. It uses -1/-1 counters in different ways and it has payoffs for doing so. Some cards are self contained but work well with others, like the Obelisk Spider you see above. Other such cards include:
This is also the best home for a powerful uncommon Nest of Scarabs. In a dedicated deck, it can be very scary.
So that completes our archetype overview and now it’s time for the power rankings!
Amonkhet Remastered Draft Guide: Power Rankings
Note that all colors are playable. We mostly rated them on how successful their aggressive strategies are, as we assume those will be the strongest.
White enables the best aggressive strategies and is also very deep. Red and green follow pretty closely for the same reasons. Black and blue might be weaker, but by no means by a lot.
Best Archetypes in Amonkhet Remastered Draft
- Red – White: Aggro / Exert
- Green – White: Aggro / Exert
- Black – White: Zombies
- Red – Green: Big Aggro
- Blue – White: Embalm Flyers
- Black – Green: -1/-1 Counters
- Black – Red: Aggro
- Blue – Red: Noncreature Spells
- Blue – Green: Ramp / 3+ Colors
- Blue – Black:
No big surprises here, you can see aggressive archetypes on the top. The one archetype we really hope we’re wrong about is Blue-Green, as it’s probably one of the most fun decks to draft.
Once again, these rankings don’t mean that the bottom decks are unplayable, just that they aren’t the best ones.
That’s the end of our Amonkhet Remastered Draft Guide! Don’t forget to check the full card list for Amonkhet Remastered, so you’ll be optimally prepared.
Furthermore, you can find more information about Amonkhet here, including a timer towards the release on Arena.
Finally we’d like to invite you to our Facebook and Instagram page. We post all sorts of fun stuff there, including memes, opening videos, reminders for new articles and Arena codes. Speaking of which, you can find all current Arena codes here.
That’s all for today. Good luck in your Amonkhet Remastered drafts and may you never be on the receiving end of the Glorybringer.