For those of you who are avid Magic Online (MTGO) players, Double Masters 2022 (2X2) Draft has officially begun. This unique and captivating set has been dropped in the middle of summer, providing endless entertainment like a slippery watermelon in a kiddie pool. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to dive in. The water is warm, with just a slight film on the surface.
As I continue my pursuit of my first trophy, I have been enjoying the thrill of cracking open packs. The decks I’ve encountered range from focused aggressive beatdown strategies to elaborate five-color builds, and everything in between. Magic players have proved to be incredibly creative when given the chance to explore all color combinations.
In this article, I’ll share some initial thoughts on the format, highlight what seems to be working well early on, and offer a few words of caution. While Double Masters 2022 may appear straightforward, it’s still worth approaching with some knowledge.
Resembling a Cube Draft
With the increased power level of 2X2, tough decisions abound. Cube enthusiasts will find joy in cracking these packs, as the best results often come from cards that synergize with each other. Unlike Core Sets where high-stat cards dominate, this set follows more of a Cube drafting approach.
Rare cards are the exception, as “Reprint Masters 2022,” as some call it, provides fresh artwork for older cards. These cards usually don’t fit into specific strategies, so when they do align with your plan, it’s like playing with house money. Remember typical Cube rules: opt for the less expensive card when faced with choices, and prioritize high-quality lands.
Embrace Multicolor Decks
Thanks to an abundance of Cryptic Spires in each pod, I’ve been having a blast testing decks with a multitude of colors. If we were playing in person, I wonder if people would mistake these lands for tokens or be disturbed by their resemblance to trypophobia triggers.
Cryptic Spires is a clever design because it allows freedom in deck construction without being restricted by color until it’s time to shuffle up. If you open a bomb in Pack 2, you can easily splash it or change your deck’s direction. As a Masters set, Double Masters 2022 ensures you won’t struggle to find enough playable cards. I find myself valuing these lands more than most commons and a good number of uncommons. That’s how good they are.
Speed is the Key
When everyone is playing with tapped lands, I find joy in racing with a Boros core. The rarity shifts have greatly improved the viability of aggressive strategies, with Monastery Swiftspear, Tenth District Legionnaire, Lava Coil, and Relief Captain all available at common.
Additionally, the set provides a plethora of tricks that often go unnoticed, allowing you to maintain a hot start without sacrificing valuable Draft equity. Simply supplement your core with blue cards (Jeskai prowess has been performing well for me) or black cards (Mardu, though to a lesser extent). However, the best +1/+1 counter payoffs in green can be quite pricey.
Flexibility for Pivoting
One of the reasons I love Boros is its flexibility to change lanes when needed. However, understanding the most effective pivots is crucial for success. Dimir is an excellent starting point because both Grixis and Sultai make excellent use of your graveyard, depending on your preferred playstyle. Extract from Darkness easily finds its place in either strategy.
Conversely, I haven’t been particularly fond of Azorius. Flickering creatures may seem out of place in typical Jeskai or Bant decks. These specialized tools can sometimes trap you in a specific color pair when you’re not paying attention.
Blue Commons – A Missed Opportunity
Upon closer inspection, it seems like the blue commons in 2X2 fall short. Beyond Aethersnipe, Capture Sphere, and Kasmina’s Transmutation, I don’t believe many players would find the other blue cards worth playing. Creatures like Aven Initiate leave much to be desired. Mana Leak remains a powerful card, but everything else feels too niche (Advanced Stitchwing) or out of place altogether (Eel Umbra).
Of course, if you happen to open a Consecrated Sphinx, you’ll find a way to make it work. However, I personally wouldn’t prioritize Islands as the foundation for my decks unless I’m intentionally handicapping myself.
Noncreature Permanents Shine
In my first draft, Divine Visitation played a pivotal role in securing a 2-1 victory. Once it hit the battlefield, my opponents were left defenseless in two matches, mainly due to the limited removal available.
At the common rarity, Qasali Pridemage is the only answer to deal with artifacts and enchantments. Moving to uncommon, Bant Charm provides some additional options. While rares present more choices, the main takeaway is that noncreature permanents have a significant impact. If I come across an early Hardened Scales, Jeskai Ascendancy, or another Visitation, I won’t hesitate to build my deck around it, knowing that most opponents will struggle to remove them. Capture Sphere might even be playable if there weren’t so many blink and sacrifice effects in the format.
In the past week, I found myself doubting my decision to preorder more 2X2 Draft Booster boxes than Collector Booster boxes, especially after seeing the incredible pulls on YouTube. However, I now feel excited about the numerous drafts I’ll be participating in. Double Masters 2022 has the potential to become an S-tier format. Enjoy your time discovering the format and remember: always aim to draft two cards whenever possible, but never three.