How to Winston Draft

By Draftaholics

Hmmm, Winston draft you say?

Winston draft is a 2-player draft format for Magic: The Gathering where players select cards from a common pool with which to build a deck. This guide won’t teach you how to play Magic: The Gathering but if you already know how to play then it will show you a new way to enjoy the best game in the known universe!

Okay, I get it! How do we do the thing?

You begin with a stack of about 90 cards.

Make a stack of about 90 cards

These can be random cards or carefully curated. If you like to open booster packs (and who doesn’t?!?!) then 6 packs give you about the right number of cards, just remove the token and basic land card from each pack. Shuffle the cards together and place three cards from the top next to the stack face down.

The first player looks at the card closest to the stack.

If they want the card, they take it and replace it with another card from the stack, if not then they place it back face down and add a card from the stack creating a pile.

They then look at the next card along and repeat the process.

Again if they like the card they take it and replace it with a fresh card from the stack and if they don’t they place it back and add a card from the stack on top of it and continue the process with the 3rd card. If they didn’t like any of the cards then they take a random card from the top of the stack.

Once the first player has chosen a card, the 2nd player has a go, this time they will get to look at both cards in the pile

Again, if they like the cards then they take them and replace them with a single card from the stack.

If they don’t then they return them face down and add another card to the pile from the stack then continue the process with the next pile.

This process continues with players choosing piles in turn until there are no cards left. Players then build 40 card decks using only the cards they have drafted and basic lands. Let the epic battle of wizardry begin!


Time for a showdown!

If you’d like to try out some Winston draft, we’ve got a little tool (still in beta!) where you can challenge one of your friends! When you’re done, simple import the list into MTG Arena and you can challenge them to see who drafted the superior deck!

Try out Winston Showdown [beta]!
Winston Showdown