jump to navigation

Drafting Shards of Alara Part 5: Naya December 12, 2008

Posted by James in : all, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback

Although I prefer to make two color decks that splash a third color, some of the best draft decks are evenly three colors. I have already discussed how this is the case with Esper. What about Naya?

There are two main reasons to play a Naya deck (green-white-red).

  1. Naya has many of the most powerful cards.
  2. You can try to make a “5 power” theme deck.

Wooly Thoctar and Wild Nactyl are the best cards in Shards of Alara, and both of them are in Naya. Naya is the one shard that doesn’t need any combos in order to win. It can win just because it has good cards.

The “5 power” theme looks absurd at first glance, but I have actually been undefeated with a couple “5 power” theme decks. Here are the best 5 power cards that you will want for your deck:

Of these cards, Spearbreaker Behemoth is the only first pick for your first pack. You might be willing to take a Drumhunter or Mosstodon for your third or fourth pick because they are decent cards, even without a 5-power combo deck. The rest of these cards should be later picks. You don’t want to fight to get a 5-power theme deck. You want these cards to come to you because no one else cares. For the most part the cards used for a 5-power theme deck aren’t that great, but together they can become quite good. (What are the best cards for Naya other than these? Go here to find out.)

One weakness of the 5-power theme is that you generally only want 3 or 4 creatures to have 5 power in a deck. In order to get a 5-power theme deck to work, you will want 4-6 creatures with 5 power. This means you will want some mana accelleration to help you cast all these big creatures, and the 5-power theme deck is especially luck-based. You have to draw enough lands or you won’t be able to play your big creatures. Also, you might draw a hand of nothing but big creatures. (The deck might play too slow.)

There are also a couple other reasons that Naya can be a good choice:

  1. Red and white are the best colors in Shards of Alara, and Naya has both of those colors. There is a lot of removal in white and red. In fact, all the best removal is in those two colors.
  2. Green is the only color that has a lot of decent big creatures. I didn’t realize it before, but it can be difficult to get any big creatures in the other shards.
  3. There will be many cards meant for “Bant” and “Jund” decks that can work well in a Naya deck. Exalted and Devour are good enough abilities to use in a Naya deck, even if they don’t “combo” with the 5-power theme. (Of course, Exalted and Devour can occasionally work with the 5-power theme as well.)

General Draft Tips: How to draft 3 colors

Although this article discusses some reasons to play Naya, as well as some 5-power themed cards, it is also important to note how good drafting habits can lead to creating a good 3-colored deck. I have already stressed the importance of drafting a 2 color deck. Before you choose to try to draft a three color deck, first try to draft 2 colors. Then if you see a card that requires a third color consider “splashing” that card. It is generally best to only create a three color deck when…

  1. You have already taken two on-color triple lands.
  2. You have been taking a lot of “bombs” or “first picks” that require a three color deck.
  3. You have been taking a lot of cards of a particular synergy (such as the 5-power theme).

In order to play a 3 color deck you will want at least two triple lands that are “sort of” on color. (At least two of the colors should be useful.) If you don’t get enough triple lands, you will want panaramas and perhaps an obelisk. Also consider that 3 color decks are more “luck based” than two color decks. You might end up with better cards, but you have to draw the right colors or you will lose.

Before you draft Naya, you will often be drafting green-red or green-white first. Green-white is my preference and I have already discussed drafting green-white here.

Related Articles:

My next article will be posted December 16 2008.


1. michael - December 12, 2008

I would just like to add that in Sealed I had both Spearbreaker Behemoth and Battlegrace Angel. That makes for a nice team up when both are on the board. Just have to dodge that Resounding Silence.

2. James - December 12, 2008

I’ve lost to Battlegrace Angel with an entire army in play because it is stupid good.
Once I got Spearbreaker Behemoth in play with another large creature and my opponent had no way to deal with it, so he conceded immediately.

3. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » Drafting Conflux Part 1: Naya - January 30, 2009

[…] Drafting Shards of Alara: Naya […]

4. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » Drafting Alara Reborn Part 2: Naya - May 23, 2009

[…] Part of the decision to play Naya should be made based on what bombs, creature removal, and other first picks you see in your first booster pack. (If you are playing in an SCA draft, you will start with Shards of Alara. I mentioned the best cards for Naya in Shards here.) […]