This year we have been informed that Irish Nationals will be Day 1: Rochester, Day 2: Constructed. I have never played a competitive RD before, my only exposure being a common draft side event at a small con. It struck me as being a difficult format and one requirirng the most intuitive skill and knowledge of the sets involved.
Does anyone know any good colour tips, strategy tips, articles or general advice that would help the virgin drafter? I have the painting the fingernails thing already. What is the judges take on signalling. Is signalling allowed? What draft position should you take given the choice? I know Mark Rosewater opts for Pos.4. Are there differing strategies depending on where you are sitting at the table?
I have a fair grasp of card strengths but none of the politics or etiquette of Rochester Draft. All help appreciated.
I don't know how well mindripper archives it's material, but Zvi Moshovitz and Seth Burn both wrote excellent rochester draft articles there.
The crash course is to try your best to make strong signals, and do your best not to fight your neighbours, particularly the person to your right, who passes you more cards than you pass him. If you are going to try hard for a specific colour, signal your intent that you are forcing it in the first couple of packs so your neighbours have time to adjust. If you are flexible about the colours you like to play , then mkae signals and card choices that avoid fights as much as possible. For example, in general (there are many exceptions here) , if the person to your right takes a white blue card (or a white card only good with blue like benalish heralds, and there are roughly equivalent picks in red, black , and green left, the black card is probably the best card to choose. If you take either the red or green card, there is a fair chance your neighbour will take the black and you will have to fight someone for your second colour. Taking the black card leaves your colour options open.
Also, be prepared to draft a fast, aggresive deck, or to draft a lot of early solutions to such a strategy. Several players get distracted by the power of some of the higher cost cards, and lose before they get to cast them.