L.A. Dreams: New Draft on the Block
With Pro Tour Nagoya now behind us we can have a breather to discuss a new draft format. It is a lot more skill intensive than luck. Every pick can be a bomb. It also has nothing to do with card board. What kind of crazy draft format is this!?
It’s a draft that only takes place four times a year. You draft pro players for the upcoming Pro Tour. The next Pro Tour being Philadelphia you can have a little extra fun with some friends. Russel Tassicker wrote a nice article on the basics of a Pro Tour Draft here. The most basic part is the order in which you draft. The most common being a snake draft where you go 1-5, 5-1, 1-5 etc. This is an important part of a PT Draft as it keeps any one position from having too much power. Though getting first pick is helpful it is only as good as the rest of your team.
This is the strategy part of this article. It is important to pay attention to events leading up to the pro tour and probably do some wikipedia searches on people who re qualified for the pro tour. In my pod I knew Paulo Vitor dama de rosa was going to be the first pick for a ton of people. By passing him I am more likely to get one of my other top picks. He had also won GP Signapore which, following a trend, made me suspect a less spectacular showing at the following event(aka the PT). Someone I knew to do well on the Pro tour and seemingly over due for a top 8 is Luis Scott Vargus. Figuring he wouldn’t make it back around, and that PV wasn’t going to get a better finish, I snapped up LSV pick one.
The rest of my draft was pretty solid. Martin Juza, Adam yurchick, Matthias Hunt, Craig Wescoe, Raphael Levy. The only person in my draft to get under 6 pro points was Yuuya Watannabe. Some people may have noticed this was 7 picks. This is something Russel did not bring up and I want to teach people when it comes to running a PT Draft.
5 people with 5 picks is the most common and easiest to run. Sometimes there will be people you want to add into the pod or people vote for more picks. You should not add more than 2 to either catagory over all. Meaning 6 people with 6 picks, 7 people with 5 picks, or 5 people with 7 picks. The reason is that at these numbers it’s already difficult to keep track as well as the fact that you are past 32 players. Seems unimportant but if some ones picks are never going to top 32 then the results are a little lop sided. Never really comes up because it’s unlikely that everyone will get an amazing finish.
The main reason to avoid it is running out of picks. It is only fair that if people know a certain Pro will not be at the tournament, then they should keep people from drafting that Pro. However, if for some reason a pro does not actually attend you do not get a new pick. This can sometimes go to vote if it’s round one or so, but that’s each pods decision.
When my pod decided to go upto 7 picks I knew fighting for big names wasn’t going to work out. All my picks were known for consistent finishes in the money. It was actually their solid finishes that sealed a win for me not matter what happened in top 8. One of the worst things possible is having people finish in the 101+ range. I tried to take people known for top 64’s as the average points earned would help against people that top 8. This would have been a different matter entirely had we planned to stop at 5 picks. In which case 4 picks don’t always make up for the the top 8 finishes of the other drafters.
A pro tour draft is definitely a fun way to get more involved with the happenings at a pro tour. You’re more invested with the pros since they’re success is your success! It is also a good way to learn about some pros you may not have heard of until your friends pick them.
Come Pro Tour Philadelphia I know I’ll be checking #ptdraft on twitter. Hope to see some new faces in that column.