Winston Draft allows for limited play without a large supply of cards, and can also be repeated with packs that have already been opened. The challenge in Winston draft is to decide whether to pick one powerful card, a larger amount of less powerful cards, or betting on the random outcome of the top of the main stack to provide value to the deck you are drafting.
Rules[edit | edit source]
Winston Draft is primarily a two-player format and is best with two players but can be played by up to four. Each player must bring three boosters (or 45 cards per player).
To begin a Winston Draft, players open their boosters without looking at the contents and combine all of the cards together (forming a card pool of 90 cards in a two-player draft). The cards are placed as a stack called the main stack. The top three cards are placed separately on the table face down to form three one-card piles.
One player is randomly chosen to be the starting player, and players take turns. On a player's turn, they look at all of the cards in the first pile, and they may take the pile. If they do, they add all of the cards in the pile to their draft collection and place the top card of the main stack (without looking at it) to form the new first card in the pile. If they don't, they add the top card of the main stack to the pile (again without looking at it), and move on to the second pile and repeat this process. If they do not take the second pile, they move on to the third pile and repeat the process again. If the player does not take the third pile, they must take the top card of the main stack.
Players take turns in this process until all cards have been drafted. Players then build 40-card decks using the cards they collected during the draft and may add any number of basic lands. The player who went second in the draft chooses who starts in the match.