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Magic 2012 Draft: Top 20 Common & Uncommon First Picks (Tips & Strategy) July 20, 2011

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

When you draft, knowing which cards are best can be quite helpful. You should know if your rare is worth taking. Difficult choices generally concern the commons and uncommons. My 20 favorite commons and uncommons include the following:

1. Overrun


Overrun pretty much just wins the game.

2. Fireball


Fireball has always been a first pick. You can use it to kill just about everything, or finish the opponent off.

3. Serra Angel

serra angel

Serra Angel is a giant flying monster. It can greatly help you win the game.

4. Sengir Vampire

sengir vampire

Sengir Vampire’s ability isn’t as good as vigilance, but any 4/4 flier for 5 mana is good.

5. Mind Control

mind control

Mind control is the best creature removal because it gives you any creature for a reasonable cost.

6. Oblivion Ring

oblivion ring

Oblivion Ring is removal for anything and the odds of it being destroyed are very low. It’s one of the best removal cards ever made.

7. Volcanic Dragon

volcanic dragon

Volcanic Dragon is more expensive than Serra Angel and Sengir Vampire, but it’s still decent.

8. Doom Blade

doom blade

Doom Blade can kill just about anything for a very low cost.

9. Incinerate


Incinerate isn’t as good as Lightning Bolt, but it’s still good. And the fact that it can stop regeneration is relevant.

10. Chandra’s Outrage

chandra's outrage

Chandra’s Outrage is decent removal.

11. Cudgel Troll

cudgel troll

Cudgel Troll doesn’t have flying, but it’s still a great green creature. Regeneration is quite good in draft.

12. Shock


Shock is a nice cheap removal spell that can kill threats early game.

13. Stingfling Spider

stingerfling spider

Stingerfling Spider is one of the few ways to get card advantage in M12, and there’s more dangerous flying creatures worth killing than ever before.

14. Swiftfoot Boots

swiftfoot boots

Swiftfoot Boots gives haste to just about every creature you cast mid- to late-game. And getting hexproof is nice as well.

15. Belltower Sphinx

belltower sphinx

I’ve found out the hard way that Belltower Sphinx can win the game. If it is dealt enough damage, the opponent is likely to die by running out of cards in his or her library.

16. Azure Mage

azure mage

Azure Mage’s draw ability is fantastic late game, and being a 2/1 can be helpful before then.

17. Jade Mage

jade mage

Jade Mage is quite good late game, and there’s a chance it’s ability can be helpful before then.

18. Timely Reinforcements

timely reinforcements

Timely Reinforcements is a great card if your deck lacks options early game. Gaining life and three creatures is great — if you can actually get it to work.

19. Sorin’s Thirst

sorin's thirst

Sorin’s Thirst doesn’t kill everything I want it to kill, but it’s still a decent removal card.

20. Frost Breath

frost breath

Frost Breath is best in an aggro deck. If you can lock down the opponent’s creatures, it will make it a lot easier to break through to deal lethal damage.


1. Kirk - August 5, 2011

Frost breath is amazing in limited, has impacted every game it was cast i was in - whether defensively to catch up, or offensively when you have the creature lead and just smash face. And yes overrun is still a serious win condition.
Im gonna have to go out on a limb and say that incinerate is better than doomblade in this set - because once too often i met black as black.
Also - I know your article is commons/uncommons and this will win games alone against weaker decks - but this set’s games are swung ridiculously by the good rares and mythics. Things like a well timed grave titan, and early skinshaper (not sure of name - 2 mana green dude), WoG (or its 12th tier counterpart) - just monumentally swing the tempo of the game.
But that’s neither here nor there and nothing new to magic - that as well as you might draft luck still plays a huge part in this.

2. the doctor - August 5, 2011

you’re forgetting about spirit mantle, which is amazing for getting your creatures through with a little extra bump.

Then there’s gladecover scout, it may not be the toughest, but in every draft i’ve done, dropping that turn one then throwing spirit mantle on it almost guarantees a win.

and lastly, hunter’s insight. it offers a big bang for your buck when you’re playing a 40 card deck and if you can double up with another one or a reverberate then you’re drawing anywhere between two and eighteen cards depending on the creature and what gets through.

comboing all three of these cards is killer but even by themselves they pull their own weight especially when you compare them to cudgel troll, sorin’s thirst or jade mage. i would much rather have a hexproof 1/1 on the board that i can pump and leave my opponent with little to do about it than have a 2/1 for two that puts a 1/1 on the battlefield for three mana.

but this is all my oppinion and you can take it how you like.

3. James - August 6, 2011

The Doctor, Yes those are all good cards, but where would you put them on the list?

4. JCricket - September 6, 2011

Mind Control should be #1. It is significantly better than any other uncommon, even Overrun and Fireball. Also, Merfolk Looter and Pacifism should have made the list. Both are stronger than several of the cards you listed.

5. James - September 6, 2011

1-17 are all extremely cards for draft. I agree that Pacifism is as well and probably should replace something else on this list. Merfolk Looter is very good (especially early game), but it’s not as good as those 18 cards. Perhaps its better than Frost Breath, but I like that card quite a bit.