A few weeks ago at a Ravnica Allegiance draft, I mentioned the starter cube that Card Kingdom sells as a fun, accessible introduction to the format. Looking for other fun, limited options, I polled the group at my LGS for their favorite formats. Most mentioned Cube and Commander as their format of choice, but the event coordinator surprised me with one I’d never heard of before: Wizard’s Tower.
I found a great demonstration video and an article from Wizards that clarified some of my questions and made the format feel more obvious to me. And I was all in. This felt like a great way to explore the mechanics of a set and to enjoy the kinds of interactions that you can only get in Limited.
But then I had a thought. In the same way that Cube tries to distill an experience with a specific selection of cards that gives players options within the constraints, Wizard’s Tower felt like it could have the same potential. Instead of playing blind with fresh packs, what if you cultivated a sampling of the fun mechanics and interactions across the set into a gourmet selection? Making these kinds of choices also lets you filter out the kinds of cards that don’t work well in the format, turning more of your dead draws into something that’s at least playable.
So I went about setting up a Wizard’s Towerin the same way that I might build a Cube. What were some of my favorite cards from drafting Ravnica? What were some of the mechanics and interactions that I loved? And most challenging, what mechanics worked well in a format where everyone shares the same library and graveyard?
Obviously mill was out. Sure a deck can have any number of cards named Persistent Petitioners, but can you imagine a game with a shared library and 9 copies of this card? And as fun as Jump-start was to play, it just felt too complicated in a format where everyone shares a graveyard and having to decide who has access to the cards. The last mechanic I wanted to avoid was searching. A shared deck with over 200 cards is enough of a beast without searching for lands and reshuffling every few turns.
The end result is a 215 card deck incorporating a fun selection from both Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance that a group can have a casual playthrough with in about a half hour. Split cards and combat tricks give players a nice variety of options. A set of gates helps to fix colors (I found that the addition of lockets slowed the game down and made for too many non-turns) for a set so focused on the guilds. And the cards choices are kind on the budget, which means you can make use of your draft leftovers and not break the bank to play this more casual-oriented format. Try it out. Tweak the decklist to match your own playgroup’s style. And if you have love for other sets, share your own Wizard’s Tower ideas.