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Amonkhet Remastered Draft Guide

Hello and welcome to our Amonkhet Remastered Draft Guide. Today we’ll talk about a special MTG Arena exclusive draft format – the set that 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 experience. We continue with the 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.

UPDATE: If you’re looking forward to drafting the newest set, you can find Midnight Hunt Draft Guide here.

Amonkhet Remastered Mechanics

Because Amonkhet Remastered combines two sets into one, we have eight mechanics, if you count some subtypes as well:

  • Aftermath
  • Embalm
  • Eternalize
  • Exert
  • Afflict
  • Cycling
  • Cartouches and Trials
  • Deserts

Aftermath

Aftermath Mechanic Amonkhet Remastered Draft

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

Embalm is an activated ability. When a creature with Embalm is in your graveyard, you can pay its Embalm cost and exile it. When you do, you 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

Eternalize is very similar to Embalm. The difference here is that you get a black Zombie token copy, which is always a 4/4.

Exert

How to win Amonkhet Remastered Draft Arena MTGA

Some creatures in Amonkhet Remastered have option to exert. Whenever such a 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

Afflict Mechanic

Afflict is another mechanic that punishes blocking. Whenever a creature with Afflict X becomes blocked, the defending player loses X life.

Cycling

Shefet Monitor

You probably remember cycling from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. (For newer players: If a card has cycling, you can pay its cycling cost and discard it from your hand to draw a card.) Although it functions just the same, it plays a bit differently.

First, while you do have some payoffs for cycling (Archfiend of Ifnir being the best one), there’s nothing like uncommon Zenith Flare in this format.

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.

ColorCartoucheTrial
WhiteCartouche of SolidarityTrial of Solidarity
BlueCartouche of KnowledgeTrial of Knowledge
BlackCartouche of AmbitionTrial of Ambition
RedCartouche of ZealTrial of Zeal
GreenCartouche of StrengthTrial of Strength

Deserts

Ramunap Ruins

Desert is a land subtype. You’ll find 12 lands with Desert subtype in Amonkhet Remastered:

Some cards care about Deserts, like Sand Strangler and Desert’s Hold.

Bigger Picture

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, you might think 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:

SetNumber of CardsPercentage
Amonkhet18360,4%
Hour of Devastation10434,3
Special165,3%
TOTAL303100%

Special cards are the ones they added for Historic and didn’t change limited format that much, as they were mostly rares and mythics aimed for Constructed play.

The fact you should focus on is that we’re getting almost twice as many cards from Amonkhet than from Hour. This suggests the format will probably look more like Amonkhet.

So what did this do to Amonkhet Remastered draft? The format ended up pretty aggressive. Both exert and afflict, punish blocking and reward attacking. We’re not saying that some slower strategies (as 5 color ramp) aren’t viable at all, but if you’re doing just a single draft or two 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 too 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.
  • If you drafted a very aggressive deck with lots of two drops, and not many expensive cards, consider going down to 15-16 lands, especially if you don’t have many mana sinks.

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 (good cards that barely missed Top3).

White

1. Gust Walker

Best Commons Amonkhet Remastered Draft 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. This didn’t change despite some cards being added to the mix. You’ll want to play as many Walkers as you can get your hands on.

2. Compulsory Rest

Compulsory Rest Amonkhet Remastered Draft

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.

Anyway, you still want a bunch of those, as it’s extremely efficient.

3. Oketra’s Avenger

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.

Honorable Mentions

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 excellent 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 is really strong in Amonkhet Remastered draft.

Blue

1. Aerial Guide

Aerial Guide Win MTGA Draft Amonkhet Remastered

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 perfectly, as you often won’t need to exert them for to survive the attacks.

2. Cartouche of Knowledge

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. Essence Scatter

Essence Scatter

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.

Honorable Mentions

Unquenchable Thirst is 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.

Aven Initiate is a useful 3-powered flyer for four mana. The ability to bring it back is also nice, but quite expensive for such a fast format. It’s also very vulnerable to Magma Spray, which is why it isn’t higher on this list.

Shimmerscale Drake is probably worth mentioning, but it’s nothing spectacular.

Black

1. Splendid Agony

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

Final Reward Amonkhet Draft Guide

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

Lethal Sting Best Black Commons Amonkhet Draft Guide

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.

Anyway, 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.

Honorable Mentions

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.

Red

1. Magma Spray

Amonkhet Draft Guide Magma Spray Best Common

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 is 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

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

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 many creatures does each spell destroy (exile) on its own. Total number of creatures is 191.

Spell# of good targets% of good targets
Magma Spray11560,2%
Open Fire14374,9%
Puncturing Blow18194,8%

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 the best red commons, but ideally you want more copies of Magma Spray and Open Fires, than of Puncturing Blow.

Honorable Mentions

Just because red best commons are all burn spells, that doesn’t mean red doesn’t have good creatures at common. It has a couple of nice exerters in Khenra Scrapper and Nef-Crop Entangler.

Furthermore, prowess creatures like Thorned Moloch and Nimble-Blade Khenra work nice with combat tricks and burn spells. Firebrand Archer also nicely slots in such deck.

Green

1. Cartouche of Strength

Cartouche of Strength

Cartouche of Strength is full of 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

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 Amonkhet Draft Guide

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 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.

Honorable Mentions

Naga Vitalist is also a fine card to ramp with. However, it’s less good for splashing, since Gift of Paradise was removed from the pool.

Ornery Kudu has nice stats if you can put -1/-1 counters somewhere without losing value. Hooded Brawler is another good three drop.

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. Some players played it 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

Embalm Archetype Amonkhet Draft Guide

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

How to Draft Zombies Amonkhet Draft Guide

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:

Remember that both Eternalize and Embalm creatures make Zombie tokens.

Green – White: Aggro / Exert

Ahn Crop Champion

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!

Don’t forget your combat tricks like Shed Weakness and Mighty Leap and you’re good to go.

Red – White: Aggro / Exert

Amonkhet Draft Guide Exert deck

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

Amonkhet Draft Guide RG Archetype

The 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: Cycling Midrange

Shadowstorm Vizier

Cycling should be best in these two colors. However, if you don’t open Drake Haven or Archfiend of Ifnir there’s really no point of going for this deck and even the Haven might be just too slow.

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 is definitely Archfiend of Ifnir, which can really turn some games around. If you open it early, you might want to draft around it.

Blue – Red: Noncreature Spells

Enigma Drake

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:

Firebrand Archer can really shine in this deck, especially if you can get multiple copies. Then your cantrips like Crash Through become serious burn spells.

Blue – Green: Ramp / 3+ Colors

River Hoopoe Draft

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 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

Merciless Javelineer

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

MTGA Arena Obelisk Spider

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:

Furthermore, you have some oversized creatures with downsides, like Baleful Ammit and Defiant Greatmaw. You can use Shed Weakness to get rid of all those counters.

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

Best Colors

Note that all colors are playable. We mostly rated them on how successful their aggressive strategies are, as those are the strongest in the format.

  1. White
  2. Red
  3. Green
  4. Black
  5. Blue

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

  1. Red-White: Aggro / Exert
  2. Green-White: Aggro / Exert
  3. Black-White: Zombies
  4. Red-Green: Big Aggro
  5. Blue-White: Embalm Flyers
  6. Black-Green: -1/-1 Counters
  7. Black-Red: Aggro
  8. Blue-Red: Noncreature Spells
  9. Blue-Green: Ramp / 3+ Colors
  10. Blue-Black: Cycling Midrange

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.

Explore Amonkhet

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.

If you’re looking forward to the next set, you can find Innistrad Midnight Hunt spoilers here.

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.

13 thoughts on “Amonkhet Remastered Draft Guide”

  1. Thank you so much for this incredibly in-depth and comprehensive look into the set! I haven’t been able to find this information elsewhere and I appreciate the trouble you went through to do this. Definitely checking out more of the articles here!

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing .

    I think “Life goes on” is often better than picking up a land drop actually, obviously relatively late game, treating it as some kind of 5 drop

    MTY

    Reply
  3. You don’t ever explain what cycling is. You just say, “You probably remember it.” Well guess what, I’ve never seen it before.

    Reply
    • This article was first written when Ikoria was the recent set, so I didn’t include the cycling definition back then. It’s added now, thanks for pointing it out.

      Reply
  4. This is so helpful, thank you for the detailed writeup. I didn’t get to play this draft when it was out, but now in Arena this week I’m excited to try it out.

    Reply
  5. I started playing Magic for the first time in my life in Kaldheim and I’ve never touched paper cards. Historic formats are something impossible for me to get in due resources and time. When I saw they are giving free drafts for some historic formats I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to try get the 3rd win 1k gems threshold.

    So I opened this guide and read almost everything in it. Gonna be honest I tend to skip on the “best thing” segments in most game guides but I read the explanations to them. And I know that drafting smart means to be open for a few combos/colors but I just didn’t care enough in this case so I just saw Boros being at first place and went in and picked only red and white cards in the draft. Didn’t even look and try to read any other color of cards. Took the land tip from the beginning of the guide into account and cut my lands to 15 but played with 41 cards as a whole.

    I went 0-2 but then turned it around for a massive comeback of 7-2 taking the price home. After the first 3 wins the rest were a bit of a stomp from my side which is strange considering those were opponents that got further but nevertheless I’m really happy right now. Thank you so much for the guide. It is actually really important to have the ability to write guides who are easy to read and navigate. Without the proper form the best information can be useless. Cheers. I’m looking forward to more if these for the rest of the drafts in the game.

    Reply

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