The Booster Draft format is a challenging and exciting way to play, as it requires players to think on their feet and make strategic choices based on the cards available to them. Starting with 3 packs, you draft cards one at a time as the packs are passed around the table. With every pack you receive, you'll need to make quick decisions about your draft pick to create a balanced and powerful deck. Once your deck is drafted, you'll face off against other players to see who has the best strategy and skill. Booster Draft is a thrilling and dynamic format that will put your abilities to the test and give you a chance to discover new strategies along the way.
The following only covers the basics and recommendations for Booster Draft. Please refer to the Tournament Rules and Policy for more complete details on running a Booster Draft tournament.
- Each player drafts cards from 3 boosters (~45 cards, depending on the set)
- 1 young hero card from the set
- Start with a minimum of 30 cards in the deck
- Any amount of each unique card
- 30 minutes per round, first to 1
To draft cards, players are arranged into pods. The suggested number of players for a pod is 8 (no less than 4 and no more than 11). Each player is given 3 booster packs to draft, and then the drafting begins.
Simultaneously, all players open 1 of their 3 booster packs and remove the last 1 or 2 cards from the pack (the token-slot cards). Players then choose (draft) 1 card from among the cards remaining in the pack and place it face down into a single pile in front of them. The remaining cards are then shuffled and passed to the player seated on their left. Players pick up the cards passed to them and repeat this process until all cards in the pack have been drafted.
The second pack is drafted the same as above, but packs are passed to the player on the right.
The third pack is drafted the same as above, but packs are passed to the player on the left.
While the drafting of booster packs is in progress, players may not look at the cards they have already drafted. Before the opening of both the second and third booster packs, players may look at the cards they have drafted. At the end of the review period, each player must return the cards to a single face-down in a single pile in front of them.
Players keep all of the cards they draft.
Card-Pool Construction Rules
In Booster Draft, each player registers any young hero card from the set and the cards that they have drafted. A player’s card-pool includes every card that they’ve drafted, and any number of token-rarity cards from the set. Any non-token card removed from the token-slot of a booster is not legal to include in a player's card-pool, including expansion-slot, cold-foil, extended-art, legendary, fabled, and non-young-hero cards (depending on the set being drafted).
Token-rarity cards include weapons for each hero, and Cracked Baubles, but may also include equipment (e.g. Helio’s Mitre) and/or other deck-cards (e.g. Pheonix Flame). If a player cannot construct a 30-card minimum deck from the cards they have drafted, they add Cracked Baubles to their deck until the number of cards in their deck is at least 30. Token-rarity cards are typically pooled together after opening packs so players can use the cards they need for their card-pools.
A player can only start the game with a card from their card-pool if the card’s class/talents are a subset of the hero’s class/talents (e.g. a Light talent card can only be included if the hero has a Light talent). Generic cards can be used with any hero.
A card-pool can contain any amount of each unique card (e.g. If you draft 6 Sink Below (red) from your boosters, you can play with all 6 in your deck.).
These rules are subject to the effects of the hero or cards in the card-pool, which may allow or limit what cards can be included. (e.g. Heroes with “Essence” allow certain talented cards to be included, even if the hero doesn’t have the same talent. Cards with “Legendary” limit themselves to only 1 in the deck.)
Some specific sets have additional rules regarding how Booster Draft is played:
- Decks have a maximum size of 40 cards (and minimum of 30)
- Players may add up to three Phoenix Flame to their card-pool
For tournaments that do not require card-pool registration, players may change their hero between rounds. If the tournament requires card-pool registration, you can find the official forms in Tournament Forms.
The following is the recommended structure for a Booster Draft tournament, which may be altered at the discretion of the Tournament Organizer.
- Matches: First to 1 win
- Deck Construction: 15 minutes
- Round Time: 30 minutes
- Pod Size: 8 players (minimum 4, maximum 11)
|Players||Swiss Rounds||Playoff (optional)|
|12-16||3 or 6||Top 8|
This document was last updated on 21 April, 2023