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Rough Drafts: Year of Modern Flashbacks - 9th Edition

Hello everyone! It's time for another edition of Rough Drafts! After surviving three weeks of Kamigawa block limited (barely), our reward is Triple 9th Edition draft, which looks a lot like 8th Edition, but without the possibility of opening 50 tix worth of Ensnaring Bridges. Like 8th Edition, our plan will be to draft good cards, removal, a reasonable curve, and hope that we don't get randomly hosed by things like Worship or Boiling Seas. Unlike Kamigawa, in 9th Edition there is much less focus on synergy. There's no arcane deck, no soulshift, so instead of drafting based on synergy, we will be looking for power!

Let's get to the videos, then we'll talk about my impressions of 9th Edition limited. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Rough Drafts series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

9th Edition: Drafting

9th Edition: Round 1

9th Edition: Round 2

9th Edition: Round 3 (Finals)

Triple 9th

  • First off, don't let this draft fool you, Lava Axe is still a sub-par card. However, the success of our deck provides an example of just how contextual limited can be. In most decks, Lava Axe is a 2 out of 10 (i.e. unplayable). In some very aggressive decks it might move up to a 5 out of 10, but in our deck, thanks to the synergy of Furnace of Rath and Story Circle, Lava Axe was very, very good, probably an 8 out of 10. Not only did it win us nearly every game, it won some games that were unwinnable. 
  • During the intro I mentioned 9th Edition is a lot like 8th Edition, and while this statement is somewhat true, there are not quite as many random color hosers and hate cards. In 8th Edition it seemed like every other Rare did something hateful to a specific color (like Western Paladin) or a specific card type (like Ensnaring Bridge). While there are still some really powerful hosers and hate cards in 9th Edition, including Worship, Persecute, Boiling Seas, Story Circle, and the Circle of Protection cycle, the games felt much less random than they did in 8th Edition where the mantra was "hose or be hosed." In 9th Edition you can build a real deck and pick up some sideboard answers in case you run into enchantments like Worship or Story Circle
  • Icy Manipulator was awesome. For some reason, if you read over the articles in the resources section, you'll see not a single person mentions it. I have a hard time passing it, regardless of what archetype I'm in. Tappers are extremely good in limited, and Icy Manipulator does a lot more than Mastery Decoy since it can sometimes mana screw an opponent and doesn't die to Shock
  • Overall, 9th Edition limited seems fine, especially in comparison to Kamigawa block and 8th Edition. Personally I'm not a huge fan of core set formats, mostly the because interesting, synergy-driven decks are typically absent. While I could imagine myself jumping into another 9th Edition queue just for fun, it's really just a stop-over on our journey through Modern flashbacks. Next week we start three straight weeks of drafting one of the best blocks of all time, Ravnica! 

Money Cards

While the value chart of 9th Edition doesn't look all that bad, with the 30 tix Blood Moon, a bunch of semi-valuable painlands, Worship, and several 1 tix Uncommons leading the way, the expected value is actually horrible because the set size is huge. There are 111 Rares in 9th Edition, so it will take an average of 6.2 drafts to open a single Rare worth as much as a pack. The same problem holds for the Uncommons. Even though there are five in the 1 tix range, there are 112 total Uncommons, and you'll only see a "money" Uncommon about 40% of the time. Overall, 9th Edition is in the bottom half of the value rankings for flashback formats, so if you decided to head into the queues, do it for the experience, not because you're hoping to make a profit. 


  • Dissecting 9th Edition Limited. While not a household name anymore, Rich Hoaen is known be one of the best limited players of all time. His 2005 article breaks down pick orders and archetypes for 9th Edition draft.
  • 9th Edition Draft Primer Michael Reitemeyer gives some in-depth pick orders, including the ten cards for each color and a brief discussion of the best archetypes.
  • 9th Edition Draft. Gerard Fabiano gives his views on 9th Edition limited; unsurprisingly he focuses on Blue and Black cards.
  • 9th Edition Draft Primer. The Limited Resources community on Reddit chimes in on 9th Edition draft. They really like Aven Flock and Blue cards.


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.

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