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War of the Spark Arena Omniscience Draft Primer


Omniscience Draft has returned to MTG Arena, available now (June 28th) and ends monday (July 1st). The draft uses War of the Spark boosters this time around.

Omniscience Draft has four changes compared to a normal draft:

  • Spells you cast from your hand cost 0 mana (aka Omniscience).
  • You have an emblem that you can activate once per turn to generate 5 mana (WUBRG) to spend however you want. You usually use this mana to pay for activated abilities (Eternal Taskmaster) or opposing spells (Crush Dissent)
  • Your starting hand size is 3 instead of 7.
  • Basic lands have been removed. This means only 2 of the cards you draft will be left out of your deck, compared to the 18-20 cards you leave out in a regular draft to add basic lands.

Such huge changes to gameplay means card evaluation while drafting is going to be very different from a regular War of the Spark draft. We're not trying to draft aggressive 2-drops when Pouncing Lynx and Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God are both cast for free. We're playing silly, broken Magic, and our pick priority is going to reflect that.

All your card picks fall into one of the following categories:

  • Card Draw
  • Finishers
  • Disruption
  • Graveyard Recursion
  • Filler
  • Garbage

For this guide, I will be focusing on commons and uncommons only. Those will be the cards you will be seeing consistently in draft, but the philosophy applies to rares / mythics too.

 

Card Draw Is King

Card draw is the single most important thing in Omniscience. Since we have to run all but 2 of the cards we drafted in our deck, the overall card quality of our deck is going to be poor and we need to compensate by drawing through the garbage cards into our sweet stuff. The player that wins the game is the one that draws the most cards, dropping the most stuff on the battlefield to overwhelm the opponent's stuff

Cards that can reliably draw you 2+ cards are the foundation of your deck. Tamiyo's Epiphany is the best common in the set for this reason, scrying away your bad cards and then drawing you two cards.

Cantrips, aka cards that only draw you one card, can also be sweet. Tithebreaker Giant is by far the best example of this, dropping a formidable 4/5 body while also drawing a card. Stuff like Contentious Plan is pretty decent as well, and even the do-nothing cantrips like Blindblast and Defiant Strike is an easy choice over garbage cards. The cantrips are going to help us get to our bombs and better card draw.

Looters are also huge boons in this draft because we can exchange our garbage cards for good cards (aka card draw). Honor the God-Pharaoh is the best looter at common, with Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor being the best uncommon.

But if there's one card you should be first-picking over basically anything, one card that utterly dominates the format, it's this one:

$ 0.00$ 0.00

In a format where card draw is the most important thing, Narset, Parter of Veils is the biggest bomb you can possibly draft. She shuts down your opponents' card draw while drawing you multiple cards. Going first and dropping Narset before your opponent has a turn is almost always going to result in a free win for you.

I would pick Narset, Parter of Veils over any other common, uncommon, or rare. Only the most busted bombs would steer me away from windmill slamming her, like Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God.

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

 

Finishers

Back when Omniscience Draft used Dominaria, games could end on the first turn thanks to Garna, the Bloodflame and the 2x Guardians of Koilos + Cabal Paladin combo. Things are less explosive in War of the Spark -- or at least that's my initial impression of the draft.

There are still ridiculous bombs at rare/uncommon like Liliana, Dreadhorde General that dominate games all by themselves, but at uncommon / common there isn't anything too broken. Big, powerful beaters like Mowu, Loyal Companion and planeswalkers like Arlinn, Voice of the Pack are going to get the job done like they do in normal draft. Samut, Tyrant Smasher is probably the only Garna-like card in the set, allowing for some quick kills.

I think the best filler cards are going to be Counter Synergy cards. Run the best creatures that deal with +1/+1 counters, like Spellgorger Weird. Run the best planeswalkers, like Ob-Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted. Then run the best proliferate cards like Flux Channeler to buff them to insane proportions. I think the Counter Synergy plan is easy to assemble and has a better payoff than generic big creatures like Primordial Wurm. Within reason, of course; don't take Pollenbright Druid over a Primordial Wurm.

Ashiok, Dream Render is also a pretty consistent finisher, gaining even more power thanks to the fact that both players are encouraged to draw through their deck as quickly as possible.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00$ 0.00

 

Disruption

The third thing you must prioritize after card draw and the best finishers is disruption. You need ways to deal with both planeswalkers and creatures in this format; artifacts/enchantments largely don't matter.

No Escape is basically the Force of Will of the format, being the best response to opposing planeswalkers, most notably Narset, Part of Veils. Prison Realm and Spark Harvest are other premium options at uncommon/common.

Another option for disrupting our opponents is discard. Discard is super high variance in Omniscience Draft: going first and making your opponent discard two of the three cards in their starting hand (66% of their hand!) with Davriel's Shadowfugue is absolutely backbreaking. But if your opponent gets a turn before you can cast your discard spell, chances are your opponent will have an empy hand and that Davriel's Shadowfugue is a dead card in your hand.

Are discard cards worth it? Super high risk with equally high reward? My gut says that yes, they're worth the risk, but I will prioritize picking card draw / finishers / removal over discard.

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Graveyard Recursion

Recursion starts off as dead cards in your hand when you have no cards yet in your graveyard, but as the game progresses they become your most valuable cards since they can grab your best cards back from the grave. The only two notable choices at common/uncommon are Aid the Fallen and Bond of Insight. Both are excellent pickups later on in the draft, with Aid getting back Tithebearer Giants and Narset, Parter of the Veils and Bond getting back Tamiyo's Epiphanys and Jace's Insights. Spellkeeper Weird is okayish but slow.

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Filler

When you can't choose card draw / synergy filler / disruption / recursion, you're left with these. Big dumb beaters mostly. Primordial Wurm is good filler, as is Challenger Troll. You just want big dumb stuff to win the game with after you've drawn as many cards as possible. The person with the most filler on the board wins.

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Garbage

Since we can only exclude two of the cards that we draft out of our deck, unfortunately we'll be forced to run a lot of garbage. It's going to happen. Just make sure not to actively pick the garbage cards over other stuff. Small creatures like Ahn-Crop Invader are useless when "curve" is nonexistent. Ramp like Centaur Nurturer is also pointless. Removal that can only kill these useless small creatures, like Jaya's Greeting, are useless. Take literally any other card over these.

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Tomer's Priority Pick List (Commons / Uncommons)

This isn't a definitive list and pick priorities change a little based on previous picks but it should still be helpful to people new to the format:

 

Pick Over Everything

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The Best

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

 

Next Best

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

 

Great

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

 

Good

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

 

Solid Filler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

 

 

Filler

$ 0.00$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

 

 

 

 

Remember to Mulligan!

Mulliganing is just as important here as anywhere else, if not moreso. Ship any starting hand that doesn't have any card draw. A 1-card hand with Tamiyo's Epiphany is worth ten times more than a 3-card hand with Centaur Nurturer, Ashiok's Skulker, and Pouncing Lynx. You need to chain together card draw to win.  

 

Most Important Tip While Playing: Don't Tilt!

Omniscience Draft is a high variance draft, even higher than a normal draft environment. You can be on the draw and watching helplessly while your opponent goes Tamiyo's Epiphany into double Tithebearer Giant into other cantrips into Bond of Insight getting back Epiphany ... and that can be tilting! But just remember: this is a swingy format. If you drafted correctly then you have the potential to do those nutty plays just as easily. I've had games where my opponent went insane drawing cards and it looked hopeless for me, only for two turns later I topdecked my own card draw and chained together an even crazier turn and won. I've also had games where either me and my opponent goes off and it's a completely one-sided affair. It happens!

Go in with the mindset that this is a silly format that does silly things. Embrace the variance, but also understand that for as in-your-face as the luck factor is, there's still skill involved and things you can do to improve. Omniscience Draft isn't for everyone, but I love it, and I hope you give it a go and enjoy it!


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