Last updated on August 5, 2023

Chaos Channeler - Illustration by David Palumbo

Chaos Channeler | Illustration by David Palumbo

Limited is the best, isn’t it? It’s so more than just Draft and Sealed. Each set has its own quirks, with carefully curated synergies across the colours, with just the right amount of fixing added to make everything work.

But what if you threw all that fantastic curation and set design out the window, and instead went for a bit of… chaos. What could happen? What could be opened? What kind of monstrous synergies can you create with two commons that were never meant to be played together?

Let’s look into Chaos Draft and find out!

What Is Chaos Draft?

Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos - Illustration by Isis

Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos | Illustration by Isis

Chaos draft is a variation on Draft formats where instead of playing with the officially recommended packs for a draft (usually 3 of the same pack, but older formats sometimes had a mix), you mix things up a bit and draft with a random assortment of packs. These packs can be pretty much anything, although some people put some restrictions on the packs that can be included. It’s a fun, different, way to play, and a great way to make use of those random packs you have lying around.

Who Is Chaos Draft For?

Chaos Balor - Illustration by Uriah Voth

Chaos Balor | Illustration by Uriah Voth

Chaos Draft is for anyone and everyone! Whilst usually seen as a casual format, there’s no reason why you couldn’t play for some spicy prizes if you chose to. It’s a great event to do with a group of friends as something different on your Magic night, as a side event at a larger competition, or for your local Draft night towards the end of a format where you’re starting to get tired of the Draft set of the moment.

The question isn’t so much why should you try Chaos Draft, but more why shouldn’t you try it?

Chaos Draft Rules

Chaos Dragon - Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Chaos Dragon | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

There aren’t really many official rules for Chaos Draft outside of the normal rules of Draft, but there are some guidelines you may want to consider if you’re going to run one yourself.

It’s mainly around the pack choice. Firstly, how are you getting the packs? Is one person bringing them for everyone, or are people bringing their own packs along? Either works, and you could even have a set of boosters for people to pick from (either at random or allow them to choose) for people who don’t have any boosters available.

Some other things you may want to consider is some rules around the packs that are used. There are some restrictions you may want to consider if holding your own chaos event that people are bringing packs to.

Only 15 card packs. This was one I was more concerned about the smaller packs from some of the earlier sets of Magic, like Homelands which had 8 cards, which would make it difficult to draft with. Recently we’ve had 20 card Commander draft packs, as well as Epilogue boosters and Set Boosters, so we have all sorts! You may want to consider if you’re wanting these to show up.

No Un-sets. Definitely personal preference here. But for extra chaos bring them in!

English language only (or whatever language you normally play in). Sometimes it’s just easier not to have issues with understanding the cards when there’s already so much chaos going on. However, you might want that extra chaos!

Obviously, these are all based on personal preferences, but something to consider!

Where to Play Chaos Draft

Chaos Maw - Illustration by Steve Argyle

Chaos Maw | Illustration by Steve Argyle

You can play Chaos Draft anywhere! All you need are the packs and some people to play with. If you don’t have these, organized events sometimes happen. They’re often a feature of larger events, like a MagicCon, or a “drop out” event at a competitive event like an RCQ or a Regional Championship. Mystery Booster is a way to get something like the Chaos Draft experience, right out of the box.

You can also play online, as MTGO occasionally has Chaos Draft queues available. MTG Arena also has something like a Chaos Draft available from time to time, but in this the packs are made up of random cards rather than being random “normal” packs.

Chaos Draft Strategy and “Archetypes”

Chaos Imps - Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Chaos Imps | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

It’s difficult to draft with a lot of synergy in chaos drafts because the sculpted synergies and set mechanics can be difficult to pull off without the right support. You’re probably looking more at individual card quality rather than a deck build around energy because you opened an Aetherworks Marvel in your Kaladesh pack! That said, certain archetypes, like instants and sorceries matter are regular features in sets, so you may be able to get some synergy in that way.

Really, it’s an exercise in the basics of Limited. Removal is good, bombs are bomby, but build-arounds should be carefully considered before including.

Getting Started with Chaos Draft

Curse of Chaos - Illustration by Jason A. Engle

Curse of Chaos | Illustration by Jason A. Engle

There’s not much you need to get started with Chaos Draft, but picking up some cool and unique packs is always handy. I personally have a stash of packs, acquired from both random pickups and prizes, which I keep just in case I have a chaos draft to go to. Other than that, you just need some friends who would enjoy it alongside you!

Chaos Draft Products

If you’re looking to do a chaos draft, you’re going to need some packs. What packs do you need? Well, that’s entirely up to you.

If you want a quick start, you can just grab a box of Mystery Boosters and have something of the experience in a single purchase. If you want that more “authentic” chaotic experience, you’ll want to grab some boosters. While it doesn’t really matter which boosters you choose, some are definitely better than others. I personally always like a booster from one of the Conspiracy sets becuase they can affect the draft in fun and unique ways. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also go for boosters from Masters sets, but I have to stress that pretty much any boosters work. You know, except the ones I’ve already mentioned.

Occasionally, online sellers, have mystery grab bags of boosters. These are another solid option to pick up a selection of boosters at once.

Chaos Draft Communities

If you’re looking for more information on Chaos Draft, pretty much any forum online that cares about Limited is a good place to start. There are Facebook groups, Reddit communities, and similar all over the internet. Just choose your favorite platform and give it a search!

How Many Packs Do You Need for a Chaos Draft?

Usually, three packs per person is the recommendation. I don’t recommend going any lower than this, but you could always go higher if you really want to!

Wrap Up

Okaun, Eye of Chaos - Illustration by Yongjae Choi

Okaun, Eye of Chaos | Illustration by Yongjae Choi

Chaos Draft is a huge fan favorite for both hardcore Limited fans and casual fans alike, and part of the fun is that every time is different! Finding those whacky combinations is great, but sometimes it’s just nice to open that booster you’ve been saving for years or see what gets passed to you!

What’s your best memory from a Chaos Draft? Do you have any tips, tricks or favorite sets you want to share? Let us know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Discord!

Until next time, may your chaos be extra chaotic!

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