In this article you’ll find a complete Midnight Hunt Draft Tier List with every card in the set graded, based on how good my impression of it is in the upcoming format. Before we start, let’s take a look at the grades I’ll be using.
Midnight Hunt Draft Tier List – Legend
- S: Ridiculous bomb, swings the game dramatically. The harder to answer, the better the bomb – the best of this tier is virtually unbeatable.
- A: Bomb or one of the best cards in your deck, pulls you strongly into its colour. The best of this tier will generate incredible value even if answered.
- B: Great playable: happy to pick early, pulls you into its colour or archetype.
- C+: Good playable that rarely gets cut, or great in the right deck.
- C: Fine playable, sometimes gets cut.
- C-: Mediocre playable or decent filler, gets cut around half the time.
- D: Medium to bad filler, gets cut a lot.
- F: Cards that are unplayable in the vast majority of decks.
Grades are based on maindeck power level; I discuss sideboarding here.
Every grade can have a subgrade within it, but the differences are most pronounced in the C Category, so they have their own description. Beyond that, a B+ means it’s almost an A, but not quite. There are no subgrades for F or S tier cards.
Two colour gold cards should be taken lower early on – you won’t be able to play them unless you’re specifically in those colours. Colourless cards should be taken about a grade higher early on, because they can go in any deck and staying open is a big advantage i.e. don’t commit to colours before you have good reason to.
I will be updating this tier list regularly as the set develops, so it’ll remain useful throughout its lifespan. This’ll take form through quick grade changes I make on the fly alongside the occasional big written update.
Midnight Hunt Arena Draft Tier List
|Mystic Skull // Mystic Monstrosity||C|
Who is Rating?
This is the first of hopefully many articles and tier lists I write for Cardgamebase.com, and I’m very excited to have this opportunity! This is the eighth set in a row I’ve reviewed and graded a tier list for.
I recently migrated website from MTG Arena Zone, where I worked as a Limited reviewer and content creator; you can find all of my many articles here. On and off, I’ve played Magic for about ten years and the Limited formats have been my passion throughout – I’ve drafted more sets than I can count, on every platform and through wildly different eras. On Arena I draft infinitely, having profited more than 50k gems, and have made top 100 mythic many times.
Over years of practice and great effort, I’ve developed a solid approach and mindset to drafting, a style which means that I almost always draft good decks in any format and end up with a winrate in the 70%s and above.
I have a real passion for strategy writing. I try to include lots of general advice in everything I write and teach, so that my audience can apply it to many different situations, learn from it, and then it’ll remain useful for their entire magic career. You’ll see plenty of that in this article!
I feature the techniques I use in my writing and in each session of the Limited coaching service I provide. Click here or scroll down for more info!
My Considerations for the Midnight Hunt Draft Tier List
Many cards change their rating dramatically based on how fast a format is, so I had to make a firm evaluation of speed to rate properly. The format seems to be on the slower side for a few reasons:
a) Mechanics like Flashback and Disturb are built for slowness. It would be very strange for Wizards to have a format where several of the mechanics just aren’t that useful because the games aren’t going long enough that they come up. Decay too is more like a slow burn where you eventually amass enough tokens to present a big threat; it’s not an aggressive mechanic and fast wins with it will be the exception rather than the norm.
b) The last few formats have been on the slower side and draft decks generally just don’t tend to be super fast in the newer formats.
c) Just the way the cards line up and the way the colours come together. I often look at the set’s 2 drops and burn spells when gauging how good aggressive decks will be, and there aren’t an amazing selection of either this set. Reach (the ability to finish off weakened opponents) comes mostly in the form of fliers and a few tricks, which means that blocking and having bigger creatures than the aggro decks will be a very effective strategy.
You should go in prepared for long back-and-forth games, while making sure you still have enough tools/good blockers to survive early pressure. Having 2/3s specifically is better this format than most, because those can block decayed tokens and prevent your opponent from activating the life loss mechanic in Black/Red with them.
None of this means that beatdown decks won’t also be good – Red/Black’s “if an opponent lost life this turn” mechanic lends itself to attacking, Green has some really good tricks, and White has some powerful early attackers. The Coven mechanic in general can lead to some devastating starts if enabled early. Still, I expect value is going to be very important, even if you’re beating down – if your opponent is able to use their mana well later on and you’re not, then you have a problem.
Fast decks in draft still win longer games all the time – it’s common that you just go wide around people, they built too greedy and you punish them, or they have to spend a lot of resources trying to stay on the board while you’re still using your mana well and pulling further and further ahead. In best-of-one especially, for the first couple of weeks, drafting fast decks with solid curves will win you a ton of games because your opponents won’t be accustomed to the format and building solid decks yet.
Building Around the Synergies
This is a high synergy set, where you’re generally going to be in a two colour-pair with a central theme or gameplan that you’re trying to enact.
For an overview of each colour pair, check our Midnight Hunt draft guide – I won’t repeat the information there; instead my focus in this section will be directly on drafting and deckbuilding.
The simplest way to approach synergy in draft is through the lens of enablers and payoffs. So if you’re drafting the UB Decay deck, you want to make sure you have a good mix of cards that generate the 2/2 Decayed zombies and payoffs to make good use of them, since they’re not amazing by themselves. Payoffs can be anything from cards that let you sacrifice them for value to cards that care about their bodies, like Ritual of Hope or Skaab Wrangler.
Even when you’re drafting for synergy, you still need to keep in mind how good the cards you’re putting in your deck are. The worse a card is by itself, the more synergy you need to have to make it worth it and the better it has to be when it’s turned on – you want your cards to be consistently good, after all.
If the synergy is unlikely or the card isn’t actually that good even with the synergy, then why take the risk over a fine card, even if it’s a little bit worse if things go well? This is important more in the deckbuilding stage than the drafting stage – modern formats have so many playables that the average mediocre playable just isn’t worth all that much, so you should speculate picks over those cards often while drafting.
The point is you shouldn’t just put Ecstatic Awakener in because you drafted it in Dimir where the decay theme is important, and that card is often good in decay decks with lots of sacrifice fodder. That may all be true, but you have to consider how good it is in your specific deck and compare it to your other options. Awakener’s failcase if you don’t have fodder to sacrifice isn’t great since you’re just replacing the card you spent on the creature you sacrifice and losing some tempo, so it may well be that a weaker card like Arrogant Outlaw is better in your deck, and maybe even fits its plan better. As with many things in Magic, a lot of this comes with practice and sounds more complicated than it actually is.
For another example, if you have Ritual of Hope and not actually that many zombie producers, and your creature count isn’t so high/you’re not going so wide that Ritual of Hope isn’t good anyway, then you should really just cut Ritual, which isn’t that good a card without specific synergies. If you’re looking at Dawnheart Mentor, well that card’s decent even if you’re not enabling Coven that quickly, and you might well be able to make use of the Soldier token with some sacrifice synergies or an Equipment to buff it. Also, Dawnhart Mentor only needs one creature alongside it to turn Coven on anyway – it’s enabler and payoff in one.
For the purposes of synergies, treat specific rares and mythics as nonexistent until you open them. There aren’t enough that specifically enable any mechanic that you should bank on getting one, and the chances of opening a specific one are negligible. The dependable synergies in Draft are the commons and uncommons. If you already have a rare that benefits greatly from a certain synergy, then that’s obviously a big draw into drafting/building your deck to support it, but you still want a few other payoffs.
Building Around the Mechanics
Lots of decks won’t need to go out of their way for their synergies – they’ll get them naturally by just playing the good cards from their colours. Some mechanics benefit more than others from being directly built around:
Decay benefits the most from building around, because it has many payoffs that get much better with plenty of Zombie generators – go from being medium cards to great without needing absolutely tons of enablers. With that, I’m thinking of cards like Skaab Wrangler, Vivisection, Eaten Alive, and Ecstatic Awakener – having other fodder like Novice Occultist or random tokens helps with these too, but they’ll mostly be relying on the zombies.
I don’t think it should be too hard to get there as long as there’s not too much competition from other drafters, since there are tons of decent cards in the set which produce zombies as a bonus. You don’t necessarily need to be Dimir since Orzhov and Golgari both work well too. If you have plenty of payoffs, then I don’t mind including dedicated enablers like Rotten Reunion and Startle which aren’t normally that great, but are solid in this scenario.
Day / Night
The Day/Night mechanics benefit from being built around because Werewolves get much better if you can flip them easily, with instants or mana sink abilities – you pass the turn, make it night for free, and still get to use your mana. This is easiest done in Gruul or Simic, but still you don’t need to go too out of your way unless you have plenty of Werewolves – your deck will have instants anyway, and eventually one player will run out of stuff to do and it will become night naturally.
The Day half requires more building around, since some cards in the set benefit from it flipping back to Day. This is where Flashback and Disturb cards can be very helpful, since they let you continue to cast two spells per turn into the late game and get maximum value, but you can also just have more cheap cards in your deck if you want to do this early on.
I think it will be quite rare that you want to put too much effort into enabling day/night flipping because the main payoffs that give a big benefit for flipping back and forth are Gavony Dawnguard, Firmament Sage, and Sunrise Cavalier, all at uncommon, and a few specific rares. There aren’t many and your deck will naturally have Flashback/Disturb cards if you’re in White or Blue, and cheap cards if you’re aggressive. It’s the sort of thing where if you have a couple of payoffs already then you take the enablers higher.
Being able to flip back will be really good in some matchups, since if you keep making it day then you’ll be able to weaken opposing Werewolf decks – in best-of-three, you can consider sideboarding in extra Flashback and Disturb cards, especially cheap ones, to slow them down.
Coven features on some Green and White cards and is pretty easy to enable naturally – just have a reasonable split of creatures with different power stats, and a good creature count, and you should get there eventually. Coven cards benefit from being enabled early on; most of them don’t get a massive buff but multiples start to get very out of hand.
You generally don’t need to go out of your way too much, but if you have plenty of 2s and 3s that get Coven buffs, then you should take early coven enablers like Gavony Silversmith and Timberland Guide higher. Just try to have a good mix of different power stats and bear in mind that 0 and 1 tend to be hard to get so you might want them a bit more – but perhaps not if you’re aggressive!
There are plenty of good Green and White cards that also have uncommon powers for enabling Coven, like Gavony Trapper, Dawnheart Mentor, and Shadowbeast Sighting, so this is another case of the mechanic being best in its dedicated colour pair but still pretty easy to make work outside it.
Flashback and Disturb
There aren’t many additional payoffs for having Flashback and Disturb cards in your deck, but it doesn’t matter because they’re good cards and provide free value.
That being said, these cards and mana sinks in general have diminishing returns – you only have a finite amount of mana even in the late game. Mana sinks usually don’t come free free – a core idea behind card balance is that cards shouldn’t be good at everything, so a mana sink will usually be weaker in a different area. If a 5 drop has flashback or disturb, it’s probably not going to be quite as good as a different 5 drop on curve, and if you already have a bunch of mana sinks then you might just want the latter. For value-oriented slow decks like these, survival should be the primary focus – you only need so much value to beat most decks in the late game anyway.
Obviously there are cases where cards are just much better than others, and some flashback and disturb cards will just be so good that they’re as good on curve anyway, but it’s the exception rather than the norm.
Self mill is very useful in MID, since it gives you free value off your flashback and disturb cards and enables the various reanimation/recursion effects running around, including Ardent Elementalist, Crawl from the Cellar, and Diregraf Rebirth. It tends to be incidental on decent cards anyway – you don’t usually want to go out of your way to build around it, mostly want to avoid cards where self mill is the main thing they’re doing, but do want to take the good self mill cards higher if you have payoffs. We’re looking for Eccentric Farmer and Organ Hoarder, not Tapping at the Window and Otherworldly Gaze (just don’t play that last one ever).
Looting and rummaging can be a good way to enable these effects too, but you don’t need to go too overboard – if all your cards have this ability instead of other useful abilities, your deck will end up weaker because you’ll have a bunch of understatted utility creatures that are doing the same thing, rather than having other useful effects.
Smaller Factors to Consider
I expect most decks to be straight 2-colours, and that splashing won’t be easy outside Green. There are a bunch of artifacts available that can act as mana fixers, but they tend to be on the weak side. Green’s removal is mediocre even for its normal standard this set, so you should splash often there if your second colour isn’t delivering.
Still, I will be taking the good mana fixers like Evolving Wilds highly early on, as I recommend in every low fixing set. Making your 2-colour opening hands significantly better and leaving you open to splashes for the rest of the draft is worth a lot to me, especially factoring in that colourless cards are better picks early. Ideally you want another piece of fixing alongside it, but plenty of decks will be happy to play 18 lands this format anyway, since there are so many late game mana sinks. At that point, just one fixer will do the job if you’re only splashing one or two cards.
This set doesn’t have as many 5 and 6 drops as most, especially not as much as in AFR (Adventures in the Forgotten Realm, the last set) which had a crazy amount. That’s because Flashback and Disturb cards sort of fill that role – they’re early game and late game combined, so 5 and 6 drops have to be better than normal to compete. That means you don’t want to take medium 5 and 6 drops highly at all or even put them in your deck, but the especially good ones are still very much worth taking.
White and Blue have lots of fliers this set, and there are a bunch of Disturb cards with the mechanic. They’re small fliers and removal spells won’t always be the best way to stop them – it’s not very exciting to spend 4 or 5 mana to kill a 2/1 flier, or to then have them Disturb it back so you only killed half a card. Exile helps with this, and there’s some of it, but creatures are the real solution. You can stop them with your own, hopefully bigger, fliers or with the couple of reach creatures Green has, but the best way to punish a fliers deck is to just have good ground creatures and race.
That’s especially good in a beatdown deck, but you often still have to play in that manner when you’re a slower deck going up against them – fliers are almost always understatted so the random 3/3s and 4/4s will often be good enough to outdamage them. Being slow doesn’t mean you get to ignore your curve, or play too many weak and understatted cards, after all. The fliers deck has inevitability against your slower deck, so you can’t afford to play afraid.
If you’re the one with the fliers deck against a normal midrange deck, your job is to stall the ground. If you stall the ground, you win – it doesn’t matter if it takes ten turns or two. Many times I’ve seen people ignore the importance of having good blockers in fliers decks or putting in random extra fliers over removal spells – those are grave mistakes. You don’t need that many fliers if you just kill their fliers, and your fliers will have the space to attack and eventually win if you’re able to stop their threats.
Exile effects are at a premium this set to counter Disturb and Flashback. Regular removal can be pretty weak against Disturb creatures, since you’re only trading for half a card, so destroy effects are a bit worse here than in most sets.
While you don’t want to play cards that only exile stuff from opposing graveyards, it’s a big boon to have some amount of that tacked onto your good cards, and there’s plenty of cards that do it. Remember that you need to exile cards proactively in your games – if you let them activate the Disturb or Flashback ability, it’ll be too late to exile that card from their graveyard.
Weird Cards on the Midnight Hunt Draft Tier List: Rating Some Head-Scratchers
In this section, I’ll look at some of the more complex cards I evaluated as part of the tier list, and provide explanations. Similar to my set reviews, just knowing that cards are good or bad isn’t as helpful to your drafting and deckbuilding as knowing why and when, since Magic is such a contextual game. The goal is to show you what to look for so that you’re better able to adapt to whatever circumstance you’re in.
I knew this card was good from the beginning, but had a hard time working out precisely how good. This is a fantastic Coven enabler and payoff in one, this ability makes combat a nightmare for your opponents, and the card itself is versatile and fits several different decks. To enable Coven alongside this, all you need is one other creature with power >1, so it’s a big boon for your other payoffs. If you don’t have them, you can use the Human to enable your sacrifice synergies in Golgari, of which this set has tons.
The main downside is that this has a dedicated blocking statline so it might not fit the faster decks that well, say in Gruul. However, this ability is so good that I think you’ll never be sad to have it – you can play other stuff early and then this ability provides some gamewinning reach later on. Treat this more as late game than a 3 drop in your beatdown decks, so you want other 3 drops alongside it.
This particular Pacifism effect is a bit harder to evaluate and has a lot going on, and it’s still very good.
It reminds me a lot of Sky Tether, a card slower decks were happy with in Ravnica Allegiance – stopping a creature from beating down for 1 mana is an excellent rate. Candletrap is much better than Sky Tether because Coven isn’t too hard to enable and lets you get rid of the creature permanently, which makes it a great answer to any creature. Often Pacifism effects are awkward against creatures with abilities, a problem that Candletrap doesn’t suffer from.
Another advantage is that it doesn’t hinder your attacks much, because it prevents the blocking creature from dealing damage to your attackers. They can still stop one creature per turn, but the rest are getting through unimpeded.
As such, unlike Sky Tether, I expect pretty much every deck to be happy to play Candletrap – it’s just expensive removal and worse in beatdown decks, so perhaps the Boros decks with plenty of red removal may cut it sometimes, but most decks won’t have that luxury.
Seize the Storm
This is another grade I had to give plenty of thought, because this is a card that would be totally absurd in a different set, but I don’t think is amazing here.
Serpentine Curve was a fantastic curve-topper for spells decks in Strixhaven (STX); this is a little different because it tracks the graveyard constantly rather than just the first time you play it, and that’s an advantage. Sure, sometimes your opponents will be able to exile non-flashback instant and sorceries to shrink this, but your future spells growing it matters more. This is in addition to the flashback ability, which is amazing – getting two big bodies for one card is an easy way to dominate the late game.
So why don’t I like it that much? Well, I don’t think the spells deck is very well-supported at all in MID – there aren’t nearly as many instants and sorceries as in STX and you don’t get the free spells from Lessons you were getting there.
Hence, this feels like a trap in the non-Izzet colour pairs. It wasn’t uncommon in STX for decks to have 10+ spells, and I think even getting 6 or 7 is going to be too hard for non-Izzet decks here. If you have less than that and you’re making a 3/3 for 5 mana off this card, then it’s just bad – Serpentine Curve at least put an extra counter on itself in addition to however many spells it counted.
I wouldn’t be shocked to end up raising this grade, but for now I think it’ll be pretty weak in most decks until the very late game, and good but not busted in Izzet.
Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration
For the same reasons as Seize the Storm, one of the best one drops of all time, constructed staple Delver of Secrets is awful in MID Limited! Delver is way worse than Seize because it requires far more spells to flip consistently and the payoff is much worse.
Even with 10 instants and sorceries, which is more than the vast majority of decks will get, you’re about 25% per turn to flip Delver. That means that if you play Delver on turn 1, you’ll finally get your 3/2 flier on average by turn 5, and be able to trade it with another small flier! It’s an awful topdeck and you’re mostly just banking on being lucky and flipping it early – which is fine if it weren’t awful if you don’t. Play consistently good cards and you’ll win more games of Magic.
This isn’t a real headscratcher for me – I just wanted to stop people from making the mistake of trying to transpose Delver’s Constructed success to Limited.
Unfortunately, this card really suffers from that last line of text. Not being able to block is a massive downside for Flashback and Disturb decks, since those decks are slow, grindy, and value-oriented so they really need to be blocking and affecting the board early. Most of these cards are pretty expensive to recur, so it’s going to take you absolutely ages to accrue enough Bird tokens to make this card worth it.
Even if you do all that work, this is a scenario where things are going well for you – you’ve had time to flash back all these cards. You’ve already gotten a ton of value, and a few Bird tokens that can’t block on top isn’t adding much to that situation.
This card is pretty good out of the sideboard against other Fliers decks, where you can actually use its potential for defense.
Bladebrand is an interesting card to rate, because context of the set matters so much. It was an excellent card in Ravnica Allegiance (RNA), where you had all these annoying Afterlife beaters that you would be overjoyed to trade for real cards. It paired excellently with Orzhov’s overall gameplan of death by a thousand cuts, slowly chipping away at the opponent’s life total, since that made them very afraid to just let you hit them for free.
Great in Rakdos too, thanks to its combo with Dagger Caster, an uncommon which allowed you to wipe their entire board alongside it, some 2 for 1 potential with cards like Footlight Fiend, and it pairing excellently with the Spectacle mechanic, which is almost exactly the same as the life loss mechanic in MID.
Meanwhile, it was mediocre in Core Set 2020, where you just didn’t have that much fodder available, fewer games came down to ground combat, and Black wasn’t all that good at forcing blocks. Oftentimes, you just had to cycle Bladebrand away for a card, which is better than having it rot in your hand forever but not a very good use of 2 mana.
There are tons of parallels to RNA this set, so I’m starting Bladebrand quite high (at least for a situational combat trick). There are many disposable creatures in the form of decayed zombie tokens, but unfortunately those tokens can’t block which makes them much worse than Allegiance’s disposable creatures. Being able to block and then use Bladebrand gives it a great axis of utility, even if it’s a better card when you’re attacking.
Bladebrand creates the same interesting conundrum for your opponent here as in RNA – if they don’t block, you get to enable the life loss mechanic and some of your cards get much better. If they do block then they run straight into Bladebrand. Bladebrand does have a combo this set too, with Purifying Dragon, converting it into a removal spell for anything.
Ultimately I think Bladebrand will be very good in MID’s Rakdos and Orzhov decks, and not quite as good in the other Black combinations – which will be slower and not as good at forcing engages.
No Way Out
There have been some formats where Mind Rot effects were very good, like Zendikar Rising. I firmly believe that this will not be one of them, and that’s for a few reasons. Firstly, there are far more cards your opponent won’t mind discarding since they generate value from the graveyard including every single Flashback or Disturb card. If you discard one of these, you’re really only getting half a card’s worth of value.
Even worse, Mind Rot is best when it stops your opponent from using their mana optimally – when they’re out of stuff to do and they’re just passing the turn back. That won’t happen because now their resources are coming out of the graveyard rather than from their hand.
Getting a free decayed zombie is nice but it’s low value – even in Zendikar Rising, it wasn’t about the extra things Mind Drain did. The primary effect of the card had to shine, and it did in a format full of long low resource games where you needed to make land drops well into the late game, where it was hard to get multiple cards worth of value and where there weren’t all that many mana sinks. MID has tons of mana sinks, tons of ways to produce value, and games will go much bigger.
In such a hostile environment, I think the only decks that will want No Way Out are dedicated decay decks with lots of payoffs that lack enough better enablers.
Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
Commons and uncommons are the focus when rating, but occasionally I come across a rare or mythic which throws me off a bit. Teferi is pretty underpowered as planeswalkers go, since he makes no effort to protect himself (just untapping a creature and giving effective vigilance to it doesn’t really count as that, since the net gain is just a free attack) but does provide some solid card advantage and ramp if unthreatened, and start on a decently high loyalty total.
This is not a mythic bomb-level planeswalker, since those help stabilise the board and have much more impactful abilities. Instead, you often won’t want to cast Teferi and be waiting for the right opportunity, such as when you’ve been able to answer their fliers or the board is more stable. Just getting an Anticipate for 4 mana is a pretty mediocre downside, and that’s all he’ll be in plenty of games – or you’ll just be waiting endlessly and lose with him still stuck in your hand.
None of these abilities are incredibly impactful or gamewinning, but it’s easy to imagine him doing a lot of work if you’re at parity or ahead for several turns. Getting at least two cards worth of advantage, gaining a bunch of life, and being able to ramp up to a 6 drop next turn all adds up to a lot. A slower deck with good blockers or lots of removal to create the space for him is where you want to be, and I think that meshes nicely with Azorius’s value-oriented creature-heavy gameplan. Still, this is a card that shouldn’t make every deck, since some just won’t be good at protecting him.
Teferi highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the planeswalker type in an interesting way – balanced and fair, with the potential to be very powerful with support and in the right deck.
How to Sideboard in the Traditional Midnight Hunt Draft
Sideboarding is the biggest difference between drafting in best-of-one and best-of-three and can have a really dramatic effect on your game 2s and 3s. It adds a whole new axis of skill and fun to the draft format, and makes a whole bunch of cards that would range from bad to totally unplayable in game 1 interesting and important.
The most important thing is to always treat sideboarding as a cost. When you submit a maindeck, you’re saying that you believe that to be the best game 1 iteration of your deck, so you need to have a good reason to dilute that. When you sideboard, you want to keep your synergies intact, your deck needs to be at least as powerful as before, and your curve needs to remain intact.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself in the sideboarding stage:
- What are the important cards in the matchup? Is your deck already good at answering those cards? If so, this isn’t a good reason to make a change.
- Even if your deck’s not good at it, is the sideboard card actually good enough to bring in? Do they have enough good targets for it to consistently hit something? If there’s only a few, is the matchup slow enough that they have a lot of time to draw into those targets?
This can be a difficult question to answer because you only got to see part of their deck in game 1. As an example, in the average draft game where you only saw one artifact, you don’t want to bring in a bunch of artifact removal just to counter it. They’re not that likely to draw it in good time for you to destroy it, so your artifact removal will just be stuck in hand and you’ll be playing a normal game of Magic but you’re down a card. The one exception is that if you’re both slow decks and that card is pivotal to the matchup – as in it’s a bomb that you can’t beat – then one target can be enough because the game is going to go long and they’re going to be able to look at a lot of cards to find it.
If you saw two great targets, or three good targets, and neither of you is playing a particularly fast deck, then that’s probably enough to bring 1-2 removal spells in for that card type, but don’t go too overboard. It’s worse to over-sideboard as an aggro deck – you really need to keep your gameplan consistent and low to the ground, and clunky cards are the enemy.
- What are your worst cards in the matchup? Are there cards that are clearly better for it in your sideboard? For example, if your opponent isn’t attacking you then you probably want to cut your 1/3s and 0/4s, any dedicated blockers, and have creatures that can attack or generate value instead. Same if they have lots of fliers – ground 1/3s and 0/4s can’t block fliers.
If your opponent has lots of 2/1s, then consider what statlines are good at stopping that – 1/3s and 2/3s are much better than 2/2s against those.
It’s a big boon if your sideboard hate also does other things, because that will give them more use cases when your opponent doesn’t draw the big targets you boarded them in for.
Again, don’t dilute your deck too much. You need value and powerful cards in every matchup even against faster decks – that’s how you pull ahead and win the game eventually. You still need 2 drops in slower matchups – even if you’re playing a slow deck, you still want to be attacking because it puts your opponent at a disadvantage.
Good Sideboard Cards for Traditional Midnight Hunt Draft
Most of these cards aren’t so good that you want to take them really highly, but in late pack 2/3 when you’ve settled into colors, there’ll be lots of dud picks for you on the wheel, and that’s a good time to grab these. Even early on, I’d generally take the better sideboard cards over anything rated D or below.
- Thraben Exorcism
- Neonate’s Rush
- Raze the Effigy – you can board this in more than other artifact removal spells if you just see 1 or 2 targets, especially in beatdown decks where the other mode is better than usual.
- Return to Nature
- Turn the Earth – in very slow matchups as well as as graveyard hate. If your opponent is playing a deck that’s self-milling a lot, this can function as an alternate wincon by shuffling in your best cards and playing the decking game.
- Duress – this is a bad format for Duress, and generally you need them not only to have many noncreature spells but also be really slow for it to be worth boarding in. Otherwise, Duress will be a bad topdeck in the later game.
- Ominous Roost – against decks with small fliers.
- Reach creatures like Bird Admirer and Bounding Wolf.
Thanks for Reading!
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt releases later today, and I can’t wait to jump into my first few drafts and see what I got wrong or right. I hope you’re just as excited to get stuck in as I am, and that you’re looking forward to my next article.
To get regular updates on my work, check out my Twitter page. See you next time!
I feature the techniques I use in my writing and in each session of the Limited coaching service I provide. Consider booking a session today if you’d like to learn in a more hands-on way, with feedback tailored to your strengths and weaknesses!
- I’ve been coaching for over a year and have a ton of testimonials, have helped many people reach mythic for the first time.
- I have maintained a winrate between 70 and 83% in every recent draft format, using my approach to drafting the hard way.
- I am an infinite drafter (when I draft, I generate currency rather than lose it), and have earned over 80k gems just from playing the game.
You can build long-lasting habits in just a few short hours and learn how you individually can best improve. You don’t need to be a weak player to benefit, and honestly my students have almost all been experienced.
While you won’t go into one session a new player and come out a Limited Master, using your practice time efficiently is the best way to get better quickly. I have an article here which demonstrates how much learning positive habits and mitigating negative ones can do for your game.
Have you ever thought to yourself: “This format is so confusing , I don’t even know how to begin”? Well, never again! I can teach you the version of drafting the hard way I’ve developed over the years, which is by far the best approach. I almost always draft consistently good decks through this method – I am a master of interpreting signals and pivoting.
Anyone can learn to a good standard after some practice, and while drafting is always hard, this approach makes it considerably more rewarding. Forcing an archetype or colour combination is easier and will get you results in certain formats, but once you learn this method, you’ll have the tools to succeed in every draft format. It’s hard to learn by yourself, but not when you have me at your side!
My feedback is both verbal and written, and I try to be as encouraging and friendly as I can. I become invested in my students’ success quickly and often go above and beyond for no extra charge – following up with my students, giving written feedback after the session, and answering their questions in-depth for free.
Contact me through Twitter or Discord (Drifter#5972) for rates or any questions you have!
For more Midnight Hunt, check out the following articles:
- Midnight Hunt Draft Guide
- Midnight Hunt Collector Booster Contents
- Commander Precons from Midnight Hunt
If you want to organize a draft at home, you might want to get a Midnight Hunt Draft Booster Box.