DTK/FRF: Dragons

Dragons of Tarkir has more Dragons than most sets. But does it have enough to merit drafting either Dragon Tempest or Dragonlord’s Servant? And do the tribal abilities on some of the Dragons in the set affect their value? Probably not, but let’s double check.

All the Dragons in Dragons of Tarkir and Fate Reforged are either monocolor or in an allied color pair.

  • Common: Fate Reforged has Lightning Shrieker, which is usually only played as a Lava Axe in very aggressive decks.
  • Uncommon: Dragons of Tarkir has a cycle of monocolored 3/3 Dragons for 5C (they can also be played face down and have a megamorph cost of 5CC), and a cycle of 4/4 allied color Dragons that costs 4CD. There’s the colorless Scion of Ugin, which rarely sees play but might be playable in a Dragons tribal deck. And Fate Reforged has a cycle of monocolored 4/4 Dragons for 4CC.
  • Rare: Dragons of Tarkir has a cycle of monocolored Dragons, and another cycle of allied color Dragons. Fate Reforged has a cycle of allied color legendary Dragons.
  • Mythic: Dragons of Tarkir has the allied color Elder Dragon cycle.

If we exclude the mostly unplayable Lightning Shrieker, all colors have access to the same number of Dragons as each other, and all allied color pairs have access to the same number of Dragons as each other. There are an average of 0.9 allied color Dragons in each allied color pair, 1.6 monocolored Dragons in each color, and 0.6 Scions of Ugin in an 8-person draft. Consequently, a monocolor deck has access to 2.2 Dragons, an enemy color deck has access to 3.8 Dragons, and an allied color deck has access to 4.7 Dragons. However, you’re unlikely to be passed a mythic or rare Dragon in the first pack of Dragons of Tarkir, and even the uncommon allied color Dragons won’t make it very far, so in practice you’re unlikely to see more than 2-3 Dragons in your colors if you draft an allied color deck.

That’s enough to make it worth playing Dragonlord’s Servant in a slower R/X deck (U/R control or R/G ramp), since it’s still a 1/3 for 2 mana and so can also help you survive until you can start casting Dragons. However, it’s difficult to justify playing Dragon Tempest if you only have 2-3 Dragons, so you probably shouldn’t bother drafting it, even on the wheel. And the Dragon tribal effects will rarely be relevant, so you don’t want to value those cards any higher than usual.

Are any of these cards more valuable in a 3+ color deck? A 3-color shard deck has access to an average of 7.2 Dragons, a 4-color deck has access to an average of 9.7 Dragons, and a 5-color deck has access to all 13 Dragons in a typical 8-person draft. Most decks wouldn’t want to run more than a few, but you’re drafting a 3+ color control deck that runs red, Dragonlord’s Servant should go up in your pick order. However, so much needs to go right for Dragon Tempest to be even somewhat decent that you’re still better off passing under most circumstances.

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