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How Do You Grow Your Local Limited Magic Community?


One of the most difficult aspects about the pandemic was that it shut down my main social outlet - playing Magic locally and regionally. Pre-pandemic I was traveling to as many Grand Prixs as I could in addition to hitting up my local FNM. While the pandemic shut down large Magic events for almost two years, I actually maintained my skills by primarily playing Limited on MTG Arena.

The Standard format at the time wasn't my favorite, so I turned my attention to drafting. I got so invested in Limited that I was making Mythic on MTG Arena. Around the summer of 2021 restrictions started to loosen with the availability of Covid vaccines. However, many Magic stores were still shut down or had no events at all, understandably so. Thus, my friend Alex and I pitched the idea of running frequent house drafts. We ended up making a Discord group, starting a Team Draft League, and almost three years later we have a thriving community!

Los Angeles' Limited Community boasts a Team Draft League with eight to twelve teams per season, an active house draft and Cube community, as well as a way to connect with new players. Our Discord server in itself has almost 400 members!

In this article I want to show you how you too can create your own Limited community. Every local MTG community is different, and at first I was unsure how many people in the Los Angeles area were die hard Limited fans (I thought most were Modern or Legacy). If you're an avid drafter that wants to run Limited events, here are some tips on what types of events to try and how to overall grow your community!

Idea #1 - Current Set Drafts

This is a pretty easy idea in itself. Say your local store only offers a booster draft just once a week. As an avid drafter myself, only playing once at a store event a week isn't enough to get my fill, especially if that's my main outlet for MTG. Just grab a box of the most recent expansion and get your friends together to draft!

These types of drafts are usually easy to put together, especially after prerelease weekend, because people will have booster packs from prerelease or FNM prizes. Pitching together to buy a box and using the remaining 12 packs as prizes is a pretty affordable way to run your own FNM with great prizing. I'd support your own store before running your own FNM though if the option is available.

Idea #2 - Chaos Drafts

Chaos drafts are by far my favorite way to play Limited Magic. I love the challenge of finding unique strategies and patterns among cards from different sets, in the hopes of putting together a powerful 40-card deck. Chaos drafts are also pretty easy to put together if you save your draft and play boosters. Even if you haven't been playing Magic for long it's pretty easy to amass a diverse collection of boosters. I'm sure your local store will also have some options to mix and match from recent expansions.

Chaos drafts are also exciting because your card pool will change drastically from draft to draft, depending on what packs you and your friends bring to the table. Chaos drafts are a fresh way to open new cards and are an excellent brain teaser to challenge your deck-building skills.

Here's an example of a 3-0 deck I drafted this past weekend! Some of the sets included were Aether Revolt, Shadows Over Innistrad, and March of the Machine.

Note: I played 8 Islands, 6 Mountains, 1 Plains, 1 Swamp. I also had an Introduction to Prophecy in my sideboard to target with Rite of Extus.

Idea #3 - Collector Booster Drafts

This is definitely a more expensive way to draft, but pretty exhilarating. These drafts definitely push power to the max as you can open five or more rares per pack! Players' decks will be higher in rare power on average. While these drafts are certainly not for everyone, due to the price difference in collector packs compared to regular play or draft boosters, they're a great way to get less-hardcore Limited players who love collecting an avenue to play with more juiced packs.

Idea #4 - Team Drafts

Team drafting is by far the top tier draft experience in my humble opinion. In team drafts, you get six people together and divide them into two teams. During the draft portion you alternate seating players by team (A1, B1, A2, B2, etc). Then after the draft you break off and build your decks with your team (you cannot share cards). Finally, you play matches of Magic against opposing team members. The first team to win five matches wins!

There are a number of reasons why team draft is so much more fun and interesting than a regular six or eight person draft. First, you only need six people to draft making it easier to get together. Second, the draft becomes more interesting and skill intensive, as you have to make decisions based on what you might be passing to an enemy teammate. Hate drafting, making gambles, and sending signals are all unique aspects that are way more relevant in Team Drafts. Third, you get to play with a team. This means you can help each other in deck-building and making decisions during games. It's a much more communal experience that motivates learning and friendly competition.

Team drafts are definitely a little more competitive, especially depending on how you do prizing (for example, the winning team keeping all the cards opened), but I think it's a way more challenging and educational way to draft. And hey, if you go 0-3, you still might win! That's a much better experience than going 0-2 in a regular eight-person draft.

Our Team Draft League in Los Angeles has been a perfect way to foster good competitive play that's helped Limited players across the city connect.

Brian, Eugene, and Dave - our Team Draft League Murders at Karlov Manor season champions

Location and Coordination

One of the great aspects about house drafts is the fact you're not tied to your local game store. While it's great to revel in Magic with your local community, sometimes it can be refreshing to play in a different location. For us in the LA Limited community, breweries have become our main stay for house drafts.

Sunday drafts at Lincoln Beer Company and Lawless Brewing in Los Angeles

For coordinating events Discord has been the best online way to get a community going. In the LA Limited discord, for example, we have a channel dedicated to putting together house drafts and events. This is an easy way to keep track of attendees and any other info you want to share. Having a QR code or Discord invite link on you will also be helpful to get new players into your community with a quick scan of their phone.


Prizing can differ depending on how competitive your community is and what their overall goals are. If your group is mostly casual, I'd suggest doing a one or two pack ante in the prize pool for each player (8-4-2-2 payout for eight players). However if your playgroup's goals are more competitive-oriented, such as wanting to simulate a drafting environment to that of a Pro Tour or RCQ Top 8, I'd suggest doing a timed draft with no looking at picks (except between packs) and offering a cash prize, rare-redraft, or both.

Rare redrafting is another good way to foster healthy competitive play within your group. This essentially means that during the draft, none of the cards that you open in your packs are yours to keep - they go into a collective pool that gets redistributed at the end of the draft based on players' records. If you win the draft you'll essentially get first dibs once re-drafting the rares and mythics (or other expensive cards) at the end. While it may be a bad beat to open an expensive card in your pack, only to lose in the draft and not get it back, the overall environment this type of prizing encourages is super beneficial to you as a player. With that kind of prizing on the line it negates players wasting picks on "money drafting" during the drafting portion and encourages players to make more disciplined picks and plays.

I remember at one RC, Magic World Champion Nathan Steuer was looking for players to team draft with. When I asked about the price entry he said "I don't know, fifty bucks or something?" While that price of entry would shock a lot of players, being able to team draft with a Magic World Champion is an invaluable experience that people interested in leveling up their skills should accept in a heartbeat.

If your goal is to improve at Magic, then fostering a healthy competitive environment with tangible prizing on the line will help you make better drafting picks and play decisions when you're playing for a slot. And if that isn't your jam and your goal isn't to play competitive , that's totally fine too! It's important to understand how to best serve your community and motivate them based on what their goals with Magic are.

Growing Your Community

LA Limited community member and L1 Judge Vincent teaches new players the basics

I never thought that the Los Angeles Limited community would be as big as it is today. Being able to connect with so many passionate Limited players, from Cubers to competitive players to even new players interested in what a team draft is, I'm very grateful to be a part of something so expansive. Kudos to my community partner Alex Elliot-Funk for taking on the reins of the Team Draft League and helping spread the word about the community.

If you're interested in starting your own Limited community I'd say take it one step at a time. Get people interested in the idea of house drafts or cubing, put together a Discord community or even a Facebook group, and be consistent in hosting events. Giving players unique events, prizes, and even new places to play outside of their local game store will be motivation to keep the community active. It's also worth trying new things and being creative, to test what works and doesn't for your local community. There is no right or wrong answer and it sometimes takes trial and error, but I hope this article helps you push your own Limited community in the right direction.

Thanks for reading!

-Roman Fusco

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