How to Hold a Winston Draft in Magic: The Gathering

By Seth Amery

As fun as Friday Night Magic might be, standard drafting rules won't take just two people that far. Instead of using a Rochester or Solomon draft, you can hold a Winston draft, which aims to get two players brand new decks as quickly as possible using fewer boosters and more strategy.

Step 1

Open all six booster packs and remove the back card in each; this is the booster's junk card and won't be part of your draft pool. Shuffle the rest together thoroughly while you decide which player will draft first.

Step 2

Place the top three cards face-down beside the rest of the deck, one after another, remembering the order in which you placed them down. The order is important, because you must peek at each pile in the same order each round.

Step 3

Peek at the top of the first pile when it's your turn, revealing the card only for yourself. If you want it, take it and replace the card with a new one face down. If you don't, add another card to the pile anyway and repeat with the second pile.

Step 4

Draw a card from the top of the deck if you go through all three piles and don't want to draft any of them. You must draw a card, whether from a pile or finally from the deck, before the other player can draw his or her next card.

Step 5

Repeat these steps until no cards remain, reshuffling as necessary. If both players took only a single card per round, then both players should have 45 cards when they finish the draft.

Step 6

Construct a 40-card deck with your pile while your friend does the same. This leaves you room to omit a few cards you don't want in the mix. If your friend agrees, you can make your extra cards a sideboard to reconfigure your decks in a rematch.

About the Author

Seth Amery is a long-time writer whose specialties extend to all areas of video games, having written thousands of tutorials, fully-featured strategy guides and reviews across all platforms. His experience also includes one-on-one relationships with major gaming publishers to write previews on upcoming games, establish interviews with game designers and hold early game giveaways.