Glimpse Drafting is the most fun you will have drafting your cube.
Yes, that is a lofty claim, one that I was hesitant to believe, as I’m afraid of change and doing new things. (Leaving the house is scary! And anything other than pizza is awful!) Why do something that could potentially suck when what I’m already doing is a lot of fun? I heard about Glimpse Drafting—sometimes referred to as Burn Drafting too—first on the MTGSalvation forums from a thread that a user named Colby made who has since disappeared. (If anyone knows Colby, reach out to him! (I’m also going for the parentheses record. (Hope I get it!))) He and wtwlf123 combined two different styles of drafting to come up with the format; you can find that history and OP here. As the thread grew bigger with more and more replies and I was growing more and more sick of Winston Drafting with 3 players where the chance of one deck being so much better than the others is too high, I finally brought the idea to our 3-man play group.
There is no way we go back now. Unless we start getting 6+ people in the room, which would be quite the accomplishment, Glimpse Drafting is far superior for groups 4 or less. (Or larger groups, if your cube size supports it.) Let me explain how it works:
Each player gets 9 packs of cards, which means you need 135 cards for each player participating. Any time you receive a pack, you must take one card for yourself, and burn two. This process continues like a normal booster draft until you’ve gone through all 9 packs, leaving you with 45 cards like with a normal booster draft.
By using so many cards, you end up seeing a much larger portion of the cube even with a smaller draft group. One of the main issues with having a mid-to-large size cube is that it’s hard to consistently support many archetypes in each draft as the pool of cards that is available to you during a draft is often a small percentage of the cube. With 3-4 players, you need to have a cube sized 405-540 cards, and you see so much of it that you can support pretty much whatever archetype is available. Even the majority of a larger cube at 720+ is used when you have 4 players, letting you offer that much more to your players to build with.
In terms of cons, there are few, and they are fairly baseless. 9 packs for each player is a decent amount, but if you’re used to doing Winston or a regular pack draft then this is really only extra minutes in total of set up. The draft may take longer because you have more packs, but you usually know exactly what you’re taking and what you’re burning the later into the draft you are which cuts down on that potential time. The decisions become that much easier the further you get into a pack, as there are way fewer cards by the 3rd or 4th pick of a pack and what you take and what you burn is that much easier. The time it would take was my biggest fear, as I play with two of the slowest players on earth, but rarely if at all has a Glimpse draft taken longer than a Winston or regular booster pack draft.
Really the only issue with glimpse drafting is that it’s hard to support a cube that would be large enough to glimpse draft with more than 4 players. A 1000+ cube does not appeal to me at all, and neither does 700+. I don’t speak for everyone, so if that’s not a problem for you and you draft with 6-8 players often then good for you, but it would be a concern for me if I’m drafting with that size of group. (Which Im not.)
I know this isn’t much of an article content-wise, but there really isn’t much more to say than try it, enjoy it, and never go back. Unless when you go back people are Glimpse Drafting. Then do what you want, I’m not your boss! But if I was you’d get a promotion cause you’re doing good work reading this article.
So, uh, just glimpse!