Hello, friend. MTG Arena is offering us a special draft format, therefore here’s a special draft guide. Instead of the typical structure, this Magic 30: Mixed-Up Draft Guide consists of five tips that should help you win more games.
Before we get to that, let’s quickly talk about what this format actually is.
What is Magic 30: Mixed-Up Draft?
This is a special draft format, which can be played only on the Arena, as a part of Magic’s 30-year anniversary. It will be up until August 14, 2023.
The packs you open can contain cards from any set that was released on Arena. (No Alchemy cards, though.) There’s still the same amount of rares, uncommons, and commons per pack. You get to keep the packs you open, and play for rewards (Gems and random non-Standard packs).
The draft format rewards good understanding of draft fundamentals. (Both during the draft, and during the gameplay.) That’s why a lot of the thing I’ll talk about can be applied to other draft formats too.
With that said, let’s start with the first tip.
#1 Go for Raw Power
For the most part, and particularly at the start of your draft, you should pick cards that have high raw power. What do I mean by that?
Well, cards that are good on their own, and don’t require any additional support, have high raw power. These type of cards don’t ask much from you. No matter which type of deck you’re playing, these cards will always perform.
Various bomb rares, such as Liliana, Dreadhorde General and Glissa, Herald of Predation obviously fit into that category, but there’s only so many of this you can get in any given draft. Nevertheless, you can find cards of lower rarities that have reasonably high power level.
The most common examples would be premium removal spells (Murder, Lightning Strike) and efficient creatures (Cloudreader Sphinx, Llanowar Visionary). All you have to do with these cards, you just have to draft them and put them in your deck. They don’t require you to build around them, as Beacon Bolt would, for example.
If you go for cards with high raw power, you won’t have to pick suboptimal cards in order to support the synergies. There might not even be enough of support for your build-around anyway.
#2 Find Open Colors
During most drafts, you should be figuring out which archetype is open. In this set, you should focus so much on open archetypes, but on open colors instead. (As there aren’t hardly defined archetypes in Magic 30: Mixed-Up draft.)
How do you do so? Well, there are two approaches. Both of them have in common, that you don’t commit to your colors early in the draft, but typically delay that decision. Most frequently, I decide which two colors I’m in, when I have around 7–9 cards. Sometimes that happens even later, somewhere in the middle of pack 2. There really isn’t a hard rule to it.
The benefit of not committing early is that you can find which colors players around you aren’t drafting. Therefore, you’ll get passed a lot of the best cards that get opened in that color, so you’ll deck will be better.
Approach 1: Focus on a Single Color
I like to do this when I open a good rare, and then in the next pack pickup a solid card in the same color. Afterward, I try to add cards of the same color to my pile. This way, I’m just drafting a single color, and waiting to see what powerful cards might get passed to me in pack two.
With this approach, you rarely get catastrophic decks. You can decide on the second color as late as pack 3. Typically, I’ll pick good cards in 1-2 other colors in pack 2, then make the final decision in pack 3.
An example of such draft, would be Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter into into . At that point, I’m heavily in green, and will prefer to draft green cards in pack 1, unless there’s something that really stands out.
Approach 2: Just Pick Up the Good Stuff
With this approach, I just pick what I consider the best card in each of the first 4–8 picks. I put very minimal consideration into what I drafted so far. This is a solid approach when you don’t see a single color being open, instead you note powerful cards in different colors.
This approach can be more chaotic. You might be in the middle of pack 1 and have little to no idea which colors you’ll end up with. By the end of the first pack, you should at least decide on a single color, and make the final decision early in the second pack.
Often enough, you could also play a mix of the both approaches. The key part is to not just get married to your first picks, as you might miss on possible under-drafted colors.
#3 Use Common Synergies
Didn’t I say to ignore the synergies? Well, for the most part that’s true. There are just too many set specific synergies, that really can’t work here.
However, many drafts use the same themes for certain color pairs. For example, these are the archetypes that appear over and over again:
- Black-red: sacrifice
- White-green: go-wide (tokens+ pump effects)
- Blue-red: instants & sorceries
- White-red: aggro
So, if you have a good payoff for one of these strategy, you can likely assume that you’ll get enough enablers. On the other hand, that’s not the case for something like -1/-1 counters cards (Nest of Scarabs).
If you can have some incidental synergies, that’s amazing. This means that you’re playing cards that aren’t fine to good on their own, but can have a cool bonus effect.
I had one such example in a red-black deck with Havoc Jester. I had the option of playing Traveler’s Amulet, a card that you might include in your deck or not, it’s fine either way. With the added synergy with Jester, I decided to go for it. In the whole draft, the additional point of damage actually ended up mattering twice.
So, if you can assemble some incidental synergies, that’s a fine way of gaining some additional edge. Just don’t play actual bad cards in order to support a mediocre combo.
#4 Good Curve + Value
While it’s certainly possible to draft a successful aggro deck, what’s been working for me in practically every draft so far is to play a deck with good curve and value cards.
In order to have a good curve, the key cards are the two-drops. You want to have 3–5 creatures that you can cast on turn two or earlier. This way, you’ll enter the late game in good shape, and then your value cards can swing the game in your favor.
Some example of value cards are:
- draw spells (Divination, Sign in Blood)
- mana sinks (Slimefoot, the Stowaway, Dawn of Hope)
- two-for-ones (Cyclops Electromancer, Scholar of the Ages)
As you can see, these are the cards that can give you multiple cards’ worth of value, hence the name. Most of them aren’t exactly tempo efficient, that’s why you want the game to go long.
I’ve had quite some success with Blue-Green, which could be the considered the typical value+curve archetype. (Two drafts total, with a combined 13-4 record.) In most draft formats it’s quite mediocre, but here it seems to work. Although, this is a small sample size.
#5 Stick to Two Colors (+ Occasional Splash)
The title told pretty much everything here. You want to stick to two-color decks. The packs do include lands that can fix your mana, but these are best used for an occasional splash, and not for a full on 3+ color deck.
#6 Slow Down Your Play
This tip should help you in basically any draft format, but it’s especially important in the Mixed-Up draft. There are thousands of different cards that you can encounter during your games. Even if you’ve seen them before, you might’ve forgotten something about them.
A random creature, such as Varis, Silverymoon Ranger might have reach. If you aren’t paying attention, you might lose your flyer for no value whatsoever. You could fire off your removal spell, and you lose on the spot, as you were on two life, and you forgot what Infernal Grasp does exactly.
While these two examples might seem absurd, both scenario happened to my opponents. They could avoid this by taking just a bit more time to reread the cards. (Both yours and your opponent’s.)
So, don’t be on autopilot, and take your time. You’re playing with so many cards that there could be some unexpected synergies.
That’s the end of Magic 30: Mixed-Up Draft Guide. If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment below.
Perhaps you want more Magic content? Check out our article about the upcoming MTG sets, just a few days ago a ton of information was released about them. The announcement went as far up as 2026.
Until next time, have fun and win many games of Mixed-Up draft. Here’s to 30 more years of Magic!