KTK Limited Focus: Enemy Color Pairs

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Every Draft format will reward you for staying open as long as possible, and Khans of Tarkir is no exception. In a multicolored format like this, though, it can be hard to stay with just one color early in the draft. When in doubt, sticking to enemy color pairs (white-black, blue-red, black-green, red-white, and green-blue) will leave you with the most options moving forward.

via Imgur

The reason for this is because of the way the wedges are arranged. A given enemy color pair can fit into two clans, whereas allied color pairs go in only one. For example, Mardu contains both Boros (RW) and Orzhov (WB) for enemy pairs, but only Rakdos (BR) for allied. So if you start pack one taking red and white cards, this allows you to move into either Jeskai or Mardu depending on what you see in the subsequent packs.

The same concept applies to mana fixing, too. Although all of the refuge lands are good, the enemy color ones should be valued more highly because they apply in more situations. If you know you're taking a refuge in a pack and have your choice between two different ones, err on the side of the enemy color one if all other things are equal. It's also worth noting that the two-color gold cards in the format are all enemy colors, which just gives more incentive to go into that type of pair, especially if you're sticking strictly to two colors.


I prioritize lands in this format very highly, even if they are not useful to me at the time I pick them. If it's between a fringe playable and a land, I snag the mana maker the vast majority of the time. In my last draft, I was building a grindy white-black warrior deck splashing green for Siege Rhino and Abzan Charm. During the draft, I picked up two Tranquil Coves, a Thornwood Falls, and a Flooded Strand (yaaaaaay!), but had exactly zero blue cards worth splashing.

Then in pack three, my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth picks were Mistfire Weaver, Treasure Cruise, Treasure Cruise. Because I had snagged the blue fixing over sideboard cards and fringe playables, I was able to jam those powerful cards at virtually no cost to my deck or draft. Spoiler: Ancestral Recall is pretty good in this format.

So be aware of the best ways to stay open. Snagging lands early and falling into the colors that are being passed to you is especially powerful in a format that requires incredibly consistent mana bases to cast its best spells. Being constantly vigilant with regards to your mana base will help you eke out those extra wins as you move forward in Khans of Tarkir.

Also: the banners are bad. Don't run them. That is all.

4 thoughts on “KTK Limited Focus: Enemy Color Pairs

  1. Good advice, Dan. This is legit for sure. I used this very technique last night to 3-0 my draft. Picked mostly UG lands and fixers pack1 until it became apparent that Sultai was wide open. Then moved in, when all was said and done, I ended up with a QP.

  2. I’ve had the best luck so far drafting orzhov pack 1 -1.5 and then naturally falling into abzan or mardu depending on what picks come to me. My next best strategy is to go blue evasion right of the bat with mystic of the hidden way and jeskai windscout.

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