Wimbledon Draft

Inspired by Ryan Spain’s Double-Decker Draft, Wimbledon Draft goes one step further and emulates each player drafting two seats across from each other in an 8 player pod. The decks are drafted simultaneously, alternating decks with each pick, giving the format its name — inspired by the crowds at Wimbledon rhythmically turning their heads from side-to-side over and over again to follow the action of the game.

How to Play

Each player starts with 6 packs of 15 cards. The draft also requires 6 packs of 16 basic lands, usually employing the basic lands already in matching sleeves, but not necessarily.

Each pack is then drafted, in typical Booster Draft fashion, except in each of the six rounds one of the packs of basic lands is inserted into the draft rotation as if it were a normal pack. First, player 1 drafts a land from the land pack for their deck A, places the land pack between players 1 and 2, then the draft continues normally. As a result of the land pack, player 1 will draft their first card from the cube into the pool for their deck B. Players alternate picks for deck “A” then deck “B”, and when they are passed the pack of basics they simply draft a basic from the pack for whatever deck they are picking for at that moment. The land pack should always start in the same location — on odd numbered packs player 1 adds it to the rotation by drafting a land before they start their pack, and on even numbered packs player 4 should do the same. Players should start odd numbered packs drafting for deck “A” first and even numbered packs drafting for deck “B” first.

To ensure the draft has worked properly, you can check the following after pack 1:

  • Every deck should have two basic lands in it
  • Players 1 and 3 should have 8 cards in each of their decks from the cube plus the two basic lands for 10 total, while players 2 and 4 should have 7 cards in each of their decks from the cube plus two basic lands for 9 total.

The inverse should happen in pack two, resulting in all decks containing 15 cards from the cube plus 4 basic lands before pack 3.

The purpose of the pack of basics is to offset the draft order once every rotation around the table. Without it, each player’s deck “A” would always be choosing from the same two packs, with each player’s deck “B” choosing from the other two, resulting in what amounts to four concurrent two-player drafts. With the pack inserted, each pack follows a trajectory similar to a full table of 8: the active player makes a pick from it for deck A, then three opposing decks get a pick from the pack, then the active player makes a pick from it for their deck B, then three more, different opposing decks, then it wheels back around to the active player’s deck A once again. The reason for using 16 cards in the land pack is to make it so the position of the land pack at the table does not affect pool size. No matter where it is placed, each player will get two lands from the land pack in each of their two decks. The basic lands are removed at the end of the draft and have no bearing on the resulting decks.

This format is an extremely close approximation of a full, eight player draft with a smaller group. Because each player is effectively drafting across the table from themselves, they cannot productively collude between their decks. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the two decks to be in similar colors and strategies because of their position relative to each other. While there is technically more information that could theoretically be abused by drafters, the cognitive load required to simply draft two decks simultaneously and the complexity of trying to track individual packs on their parallel tracks around the table makes it impractical.

Each player then builds two decks from their two, separate, 45 card pools. Players are not allowed to move cards between pools or sideboards.


Matches are played the same as in Double-Decker Draft.

Each player plays a best-of-three match against every other player in the pod, starting with the player they were across from. In the best-of-three match, players both play their “A” deck in game one, their “B” deck in game two, and in the event of a game three, players simultaneously choose a deck for their opponent to play in the final game. Note that your opponent choosing which deck for you to play is not as necessary here as in Double-Decker Draft because each deck was built from a discreet pool, eliminating the possibility of a player maxing out one at the expense of the other.

A simple way to handle the simultaneous deck selection is to have each player give their opponent one notable card that was played in the prior games from each deck. Then each player places the card from the deck they want their opponent to play face down in the center of the table. Once both players have made a selection, the cards are flipped over and the deck selections are revealed.

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Parallel Evolution — Matt Cavotta