Recently, I was discussing my recent draft level up article with a friend, and we began to hash out more ideas for articles. We started talking about his current draft, where he was passed 4 copies of Hungry Flames and opened a Fatal Push. The two of us went back and forth about our personal drafting theory and how we value cards. As I was explaining my approach, he said ‘So you use BREAD theory?’ I had no idea what he meant by this since I’d never heard anyone talk about it. He told me to go home and look it up so I could write about it because it would make for a great Level Up article.
Much to my surprise, this is a very well documented approach to drafting. BREAD is an acronym for how to evaluate cards during the draft. The letters stand for: Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggro, Duds/Dregs. I’ll go through each of these categories and list out a handful of cards that fall into each one. Keep in mind while considering this approach to drafting that this is a series of guidelines, not hard and strict rules. Sometimes switching colors to acquire a Bomb or Removal card makes sense, while other times it is just silly and will make your deck worse off. The tricky part about becoming better at Limited is to learn when it is correct to make a drastic change or not.
These cards are exactly what the name implies. They are the cards that are usually picked first for a very good reason. A Bomb is a card that needs to be answered, or it can completely take over the game. Some traditional examples of Bombs are massive creatures that are hard to interact with or Planeswalkers. Usually, these are the cards that will force a player into a particular color because they know if they can resolve a bomb, they’ll be winning the game. In the context of Aether Revolt, some of the bombs I’ve observed are Exquisite Archangel, Herald Of Anguish, Lightning Runner, Battle At the Bridge, and Heart of Kiran.
This is my personal favorite type of card to draft. Having answers to my opponents threats is a good way to open the door for my threats to do their job, and win me the game. Removal cards are answers to threats played by an opponent. These cards can often directly kill (or otherwise disable) opponents creatures or permanents. This category can even include combat tricks that may help your creatures survive while killing your opponent’s creature. Removal can be tricky because not all removal is created equal. Some removal cards use mana inefficiently which can put you far behind on tempo. Aether Revolt is loaded with interesting removal and just a few examples of them are Fatal Push, Caught in the Brights, Shock, Hungry Flames, Thopter Arrest, Cruel Finality, Foundry Hornet, Yahenni’s Expertise, Monsterous Onslaught and Natural Obsolescence. For a full list of removal check out the Aether Revolt Removal List on MTGGoldfish.
Evasion creatures are the bread (no pun intended) and butter of a successful draft deck. These are creatures that are hard to block or hard to interact with. The first obvious type of evasion is Flying but some of the other important keywords in the evasion category would be Menace, Unblockable, Deathtouch, Double Strike, and First Strike. These creatures should be prioritized higher than ‘vanilla’ creatures with very little keywords or abilities. In the case of Aether Revolt, I would add mana efficient hard to kill creatures to this list, mainly because of cards like Lifecraft Cavalry. Some of the best evasive threats in AER are Dawnfeather Eagle, Aethertide Whale, Aether Swooper, Solemn Recruit, Aether Chaser, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Scrapper Champion, Greenbelt Rampager, Ridgescale Tusker, and Outland Boar. In deeper discussions with some seasoned Limited players, they kind of treat this category as a catch-all for good spells. Others would add cards like Tezzeret’s Touch and Weldfast Engineer in this bucket since they are very synergistic with this set.
This heading is for aggressive creatures and other serviceable spells. Your draft will typically be comprised of many cards from this category. One to two of this level of the card will not determine the direct outcome of a draft, but having a series of good aggro cards will contribute positively to the number of prizes that can be collected at the end of an event. In this current draft format, I would be happy with a deck filled out with cards such as Winding Constrictor, Silkweaver Elite, Countless Gears Renegade, Aetherstream Leopard, Audacious Infiltrator, Scrounging Bandar, Narnam Renegade, and Greenwheel Liberator.
Duds and Dregs
These are usually the last cards picked, and add little or no value to a draft deck. I usually make a pile closer to my deck box of these, because I hope that I will not end up playing these in my deck. These are the cards that I will actually be upset with if I end up getting them as the last card. Cards like Secret Salvage have little or no business getting sleeved into a draft deck. This category can also include cards that require a setup that is just plain not worth the payoff.
I hope this little primer on BREAD theory was informative and useful. Please feel free to leave a comment below with questions, concerns, feedback, or just to say Hello.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
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Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com