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How to Draft Pandora

Posted by parashara on 12/08/2017

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A comprehensive guide on how to draft a deck in Pandora, including archetypes and drafting a good mana curve (as you call it in Magic: The Gathering). This includes drafting a low average faeria cost when you plan to make an overrun type of deck, and not drafting a too high cost in any deck. The worst situation in Pandora is having no board control with a bunch of high cost cards in your hand.

Welcome to my guide!

I have played hundreds of games of Pandora, and I am still getting better (not perfect yet!), but I will do my best to share what I have learned so far.

First, a basic value lesson about value.

Has anyone else noticed the difference between these two cards? Verduran Force and Barbarian Ogre. The only difference between these cards is one costs an extra faeria. This gives Verduran force a high rating on my tier list and Barbarian Ogre is low. The only reason Barbarian Ogre isn't lower is because red has cards like Ogre Dance which gives you a potential Barbarian Ogre for 4 faeria.

It is supremely important that you get the most value in all games in Faeria (and all card games), not just Pandora. This should be obvious when you frogify a big enemy creature and kill it with a 4/4 (4 power, 4 toughness) creature. You just spent 4 faeria to kill his 7 faeria creature, then killed the 2/2 from frogify, while keeping your 4/4 (now a 4/2) alive for farming wells or killing something else or hitting his face.

Getting value applies to the cards you pick too. You want to pick cards that give you the most potential for value. This is what makes cards like Bomb Slinger or Syland Horsemaster so great. In fact, any card that allows you to play surprise tricks should be valued highly and sometimes higher than simply good creatures, like Verduran Force.

The best surprise event is Elderwood Embrace, and the best surprise creature is Syland Horsemaster. Triton Banquet can actually be great in a lot of situations too, but it's not quite as great as Elderwood Embrace because with Elderwood Embrace you often get to kill one of their creatures and keep your own.

Keep in mind that you cannot make your whole deck surprise tricks; you need some solid creatures too. Likewise your deck will not do well if you only have solid creatures. However, if you are going red damage to the face you can get only solid creatures that do face damage. Which brings me to the next section: archetypes.

There are a few archetypes I have tried,

and I will label them from the most powerful to the least powerful.

  1. Red Burn (with yellow or green or mono red)--if you can get lucky enough to have the right cards come up with this when you draft it, it can be really hard to beat, especially when paired with treasures like Hammer of Destruction or Equinox Automaton, that do even more face damage.

  2. Red/Green Crackthorn--this deck is incredibly hard to deal with in ladder and in Pandora as well. Even if you cannot draft a crackthorn, the synergy between red control spells and big green creatures in Pandora makes the red/green deck the most consistently winning deck in Pandora, because you aren't as dependent on getting the right cards as you are with red burn.

  3. Yellow Haste--Just like in ladder, Yellow Haste is a solid deck. However, like in red burn, you are dependant on getting the right yellow cards. If the game only hands you yellow fliers and no haste creatures, you are SOL. However, if you do not have a lot of time to spend, this is the fastest deck to win or lose games.

  4. Blue tricks--It's fun to build a deck around blue and have transform effects such as Mirror Phantasm and Frogify. You can out-value their big creatures with these transforms and get early board control. This is what makes Aurora Myth Maker the best legendary in the game; well, at least in Pandora. If you build a blue tricks deck you can splash another color or just go straight blue.

  5. Beefy Green--the most simple deck to play, and is more solid if you can include at least a couple of tricks. If you want to go pure green like this make sure you always pick a Syland Horsemaster when it comes up, or Sagami Grovecaller.

  6. Other archetypes I have tried that can sometimes be good if you get the right cards: Yellow flying, Blue/Green Apex Predator, Red/Blue Icerock Behemoth (with Auroras Creation if possible), GY sac deck, etc. There are quite a few more but I am unable to think of them at the moment (will update).

Let me explain the numbers of my tier list for treasures. With treasures, you want to pick the ones that give you the most board control possible, for the cheapest amount possible. You also want treasures that can be used in many situations. Void Guardian and Ocarina are far too situational. You usually have to be already winning to want to play either of those. The same logic goes for how I chose numbers to rate many of the other cards, too. If it's too situational of a card, like Celestial Tower, you don't often want to pick it. Now, Celestial Tower is actually the same ability as Syland Horsemaster, so why is it bad? It's bad because Syland is also a creature, a creature that can farm faeria or kill enemies.

The best average faeria cost in Pandora is between 4-4.5. If you can get under 4 and do a rush or an overrun deck, great. If you are 20 cards in and you are in danger of going above 5 average faeria, you had better start picking some low cost cards or your deck is in danger of losing board control.

This is my first draft of this guide, so bear with me as I update it. I hope you all learned something and make sure you wreck it in Faeria next time you play!


matrien 18/08/2017 18:43

Thank you so much for this advice, Parashara! I’m just building my confidence in multi-player Pandora (first 9 win run recently!) and look forward to learning more. Re: tier list, the link doesn’t seem to work. Any chance you have a link elsewhere? Thanks again and take care.

_monad 18/08/2017 20:33

In general, Barbarian Ogre’s seven cost also has synergy with blue.

parashara 18/08/2017 20:40

hmmm the tier list link works when I click it, I don’t know what to tell you.

parashara 19/08/2017 18:30

I changed the link because it didn’t work for someone else also. Please let me know if new link works

matrien 19/08/2017 19:51

Works perfectly - thank you! Can’t wait to print and reference for my next run.

eusebyo 20/08/2017 00:46

Thanks for the tips!
I’d really be interested if you talked about how you approach a draft, how early do you decide on which colors/archetype your deck is.
Lately I have been trying to focus less on synergy and just pick the best card out of each five, and I think it has become a better strategy to play tri-color decks since the inclusion of the new wild and multicolor cards in the oversky.

p.s. The Divine guy is not in the tier list. I would believe it scores around 20something (?).

parashara 22/10/2017 02:44

Thanks for all the positive comments!

xploring 22/10/2017 03:34

Thanks for updating the list with the new cards.

Is Swordfish really better than Octopus? I really like Octopus’ flexibility.

Altar of Souls 69 and Slaughtering Shadow 31, the difference seems too big? I guess Altar can be game winning…

Emerald Salamander 89? Very surprised you rate it so highly. I like the card but that score is better than almost everything else. O_o

Death’s Desire can be good when used on own creature or emergency removal, surely better than 10?

parashara 22/10/2017 18:36

Those are all very good points. I’ve adjusted accordingly. I need to do some 2nd 3rd and final drafts of the numbers on the tier lists and consider more things. As for swordfish I’m still not sure because I haven’t played with it yet. It just seems like a really nice value card, except for the 5 special land cost. maybe if it had 5 power instead of 4 it would be a lot better tho.


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