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Solomon Draft
DCI Sanctioned
Paper {Cross}
Magic Online {Cross}
Magic Arena {Cross}
Type Limited (Draft)
Multiplayer {Cross}

Solomon Draft is a casual limited Magic: The Gathering format that allows players to draft with just two people.[1][2]

Description[ | ]

Each player needs three booster packs, which they open without looking at the contents. All six packs are shuffled together, creating a combined pool of ninety cards.

Decide who will be "Player A" and who will be "Player B" through a random method, generally a die roll. Player A gets to draft first, while Player B gets to choose whether they want to play first during the games. To draft, Player A flips over the top eight cards of the deck and then divides them into two piles. They can be divided evenly into two piles of four cards, or disproportionately into piles of five and three, six and two, seven and one, or even eight and zero.

Once Player A has split the cards, Player B picks one of those piles and adds it to their drafted cards. The other pile goes to Player A. The process is then repeated, this time with Player B separating the top eight cards from the deck into two piles and Player A selecting a pile. The process continues, alternating between Player A and Player B splitting the piles, until all the cards have been drafted. (The last batch will have ten cards rather than eight.) You then each build decks of at least 40 cards, adding as many basic lands (Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains or Forests) as you like.

Many players enjoy the Solomon Draft format because it challenges them in different ways than a traditional Booster draft. Instead of simply choosing a single card from a single pack, players have to analyze what colors they think their opponent will play, balance powerful cards with mediocre ones in order to have good cards in their own pile, and remember the cards that have already been drafted for both decks.

Four-player Solomon Draft[ | ]

A variation on Solomon Draft can be played with four players. Instead of putting all product together, each booster is used separately. The player who opens the booster must make four piles, usually of about equal strength. Then the players in a previously established turn order take a pile each, with the player who opened the booster getting the last pick (the remaining pile after the other three players had their choice). Players open boosters in turns until the product is used up.

Players have to make 40 card decks using any number of basic lands. Usually the game is played in a round robin format, with the usual die roll to decide who may choose to start or draw in the first game of a match.

Trivia[ | ]

  • This method of creating "fair" divisions of uneven resources is well-known and is called Divide and choose.
    • It is not possible to apply the classic method fully as intended: Magic cards are not a continuous resource, so the "divider" may have no choice but to divide the cards into groups where one is slightly more valuable than the other; whoever receives the more valuable one gets an unfair advantage which the method is intended to avoid. A very simple example would be if some card is judged more valuable than all the others combined - the best the divider could do is a 1-and-7 division with that card as the only one in its division, since it is not possible to put only a part of the value of that card into the other pile. The classic example is a parcel of land, which could be subdivided by any amount, unlike a Magic card.
    • Players are forced to use the "divide and choose" strategy to determine which objects to apply an effect to by multiple Magic cards, most famously Fact or Fiction. Fairness is not intended in this case.
  • The Solomon Draft format is named after the biblical King Solomon, who was famous for his wisdom, especially in the Judgement of Solomon. However, this is a misnomer: The "divide and choose" method of fairness is not actually from the story of Solomon, but rather the story of Abraham and Lot's conflict - Abraham partitioned the land, and Lot chose one of the parts.
    • The Judgement of Solomon is actually about a woman who claims to be a child's mother being willing to cut the child in half to resolve the claim to the child, proving she is not the mother (or at least not a good one). There is currently no draft format based on proposals to cut cards in half.

References[ | ]

  1. Anthony Alongi (August 19, 2003). "Unlimited Limited". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (August 11, 2008). "Casual Formats". Wizards of the Coast.