Card Draw Magic Pilot's Guide

FakeMews helps you learn how to pilot the trickiest Magic aggro archetype available.

[8M] FakeMews
Infinite Mana Professional Player
January 03, 2023

Card Draw Magic Pilots Guide:


(Note: This list pre-dates the release of Winter Wanderland)


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Deck Description:

Card Draw Magic (CDM) has quickly become one of the most flexible decks in the current meta. A deck that has the ability to win with raw speed in certain situations and can burst out with face damage vs board-centric control decks. CDM can beat any deck in the current meta and is one of very few decks that have no hard-counters on-meta. Against aggro decks, CDM transforms into a control deck using its ability to draw cards efficiently to out-value opponents that go wide swiftly. Given the recent addition of Pyrrhic Knowledge CDM has more access to earlier game board wipes which makes the deck a headache to face.

Godpower selection:

CDM always takes Magebolt regardless of the matchup. Magebolt helps CDM fight for the board, remove ward/protected from opposing minions and can also help push for lethal in tight situations.

Card Role Descriptions:

Ancient Texts

Ancient Texts is a sneaky card that has more uses than one might think. The obvious use is for removal this spell can go face or help control the early game board state. One of my favorite uses for the card is playing the protected ability on Oni Spellsword. Given that minion already has ward if you are able to successfully give protected on a warded Spellsword then if the opposition has no minions this can be a game winning move. In desperate situations you can give yourself protected to prevent your opponent from lethal as well.

Form of Power

Simple to understand Form of Power is cheap removal. Works nicely with Street Conjuror as the spell boost benefits not only the damage done to the opponent’s minion but also goes to the face.

Shadow Scryer

Shadow Scryer is an early game minion that is a pain to remove for opposing players. The foresee function is often under-rated as Shadow Scryer can set up your early game draws to lessen variance leading to drawing key cards on a more consistent basis.

Street Conjuror

This version of CDM only runs Street Conjuror as the spell boost. Other versions may also run Academy Apprentice for additional spellboost. The unique thing about Street Conjuror is it’s a one cost minion that typically it’s not optimal to play early in the game. Usually when playing Street Conjuror, the main goal should be to get one benefit from the spell boost and leave it on the board to be an inconvenient threat for the opponents. Street Conjuror can work nicely with cards like Tracking Bolt (to act as a board-wipe) and functions nicely with cheaper spells like Form of Power and Ancient Texts

Demetrios, Playwright

Demetrios is a nice early game minion which can accelerate card draw advantage right from the start. War, Light and most versions of nature struggle with dealing with Demetrios in an efficient manner. Even if the opposition removes Demetrios with their god power they haven’t achieved anything in terms of card/tempo advantage as the final draft even at one mana replaces itself. If the opponent can't remove Demetrios and the final draft upgrades to two or three cards this is often a big enough swing to win the game.

Pallas’ Wand

The only relic in this list and a major headache to opposition if successfully played early in the game. Given that 28 of the 30 cards in this deck are from the Magic domain almost everything will give additional charges to the wand. This is the best card to have in your opening mulligan in almost every matchup.

Tracking Bolt

A flexible removal spell. Typically, useful when facing aggressive decks. Tracking Bolt can be paired with Street Conjuror in situations to act as a board-wipe (particularly against aggressive light decks which may have a lot of two-health minions). Also a nice answer to Hidden Rush Deception who loves to play Dark Knives on Shadow of Lethenon

Warp Engineer

The strongest use for Warp Engineer in this list is to cost-reduce Unbound Flames which massively accelerates the ability to use the Empower ability on Unbound Flames many turns before it would otherwise be possible. It is worth noting that before Warp Engineer can be played to reduce a card you must have a minimum of active mana equal to that spells cost (note: If you have 4 mana and a bag of tricks you can use the bag of tricks then play Warp Engineer and achieve the mana reduction on the 5-cost spell). Another sneaky use for Warp Engineer is just for one-turn burst plays Warp Engineer can protect Choralis Rune Moth and act as a card spam for Oni Spellsword turns.

Choralis Rune Moth

Fun value-centric card that immediately replaces itself the turn it's played and becomes effectively a must-remove for the opposition. Some of the most fun tricks vs minion-centric decks include playing Rune Moth and Shadow Scryer on the same turn or spamming the Rune Moth on the same turn as a Warp Engineer. Since the Rune Moth has backline, the opposition must remove all other minions before they can get to it. Some domains will just use a spell to remove the Rune Moth, however it's worth noting that when they do this you have still achieved positive card advantage.

Frenetic Bibliomaniac

Quite simply this is a card draw mechanism that provides a little support for fighting for the board at the same time. The echo works nicely with Pallas Wand as it will help generate additional charges leading to more card draw. One of the best early-game options for CDM is an early Frenetic Bibliomaniac followed by a Leyhoard Hatchling that is cost-reduced due to large amounts of early game card draw.

Oni Spellsword

This card is the closer, Oni poses questions to the opposition typically after they had a bad turn. Usually, CDM will win just about any game where they can stick Oni Spellsword on to the board and keep it alive by the start of the next turn. In a perfect world you can protect Oni with Ancient Texts which decreases the likelihood your opposition can deal with the minion. Oni is a snowball card which also will give ward to some of your smaller minions. It's worth noting that CDM players need to really think out their turns with Oni as this might impact which minions get ward and which do not. Order of operations is important on Oni turns. It's very rare that you will want to play this on 3 mana.

Pyrrhic Knowledge

The most flexible card in the list as it can copy anything previously played. One fun trick is the synergy with Unbound Flames. CDM can essentially “waste” the first unbound flames then play it from the void with Pyrrhic Knowledge accelerating an early game board wipe which can be necessary to survive vs aggressive decks. Against control decks Pyrrhic Knowledge is generally the finisher to push for the win late in the game by copying Wyrmbreaths.


Against control Wyrmbreath is one of the key finishers which help you to push for lethal. Against more aggressive decks this can be used to remove the biggest threat your opposition plays (most aggressive decks will not have minions survive a Wyrmbreath).

Shaped Blast

Shaped Blast is not an auto-include in CDM however, this card is a great response to the current fast meta. The additional board wipe combined with Pyrrhic Knowledge can help CDM survive multiple waves against more aggressive decks. Shaped Blast gives CDM better chances vs Hidden Rush Deception another top deck in the meta.

Unbound Flames

The primary function of Unbound Flames is going to be as a board-wipe against other aggressive decks. Against control decks Unbound Flames can also help push towards lethal late game. The key synergies with Unbound revolve around Warp Engineer (for cost reduction) and Pyrrhic Knowledge. Both of these tricks allow CDM to play a board wipe much quicker than otherwise possible.

Blade of Whiteplain

Quite simply this card from Lights Verdict is just super strong and can fit in almost any deck. Blade of Whiteplain helps fight for board control and acts as card advantage at the same time. Blade of the Whiteplain can deal with armor-related issues that can arise from Zoo Light playing Protective Benediction as well.

Leyhoard Hatchling

Leyhoard Hatchling works well in CDM given how quickly this deck generates cards which reduces the total cost of Leyhoard Hatchling. Generally speaking, if able to play Leyhoard Hatchling for 4 mana or less then great value has been achieved as its almost always a 2-for-1 card value play. Leyhoard is situational in nature and can be a negative value play later in the game. One important trick is to buy from the sanctum the turn prior to playing this which will reduce this by 1 mana for each card bought.

Mulligan Strategy:

General, one-size-fits-all Mulligan strategy:

Top tier list priority: Shadow Scryer, Demetrios, Playwright, Pallas’ Wand

Mid-tier mulligans would be: Frenetic Bibliomaniac (Higher in tier with no Demetrios/Pallas’ wand). Leyhoard Hatchling (Assuming card draw engines are in other spots of the mulligan). Tracking Bolt, Form of Power, Ancient Texts, Warp Engineer + Unbound Flames can be kept if BOTH are in the opener (as they have great synergy) Similar plans can be made with Unbound Flames and Pyrrhic Knowledge.

Bottom tier: Everything else.

Strategy by matchup:

Magic strategy:

In the mirror and against control magic the main strategies will be the same. You want to generate as much early game value as possible and achieve early game chip damage. In these matchups sneaking out an early Rune Moth has merit as they often won’t be able to deal with it super cleanly (usually just trade a spell). Acquiring early initiative and getting chip damage in should be the early goal. This will put you in range to win the game with late game spell burst to the face.

In the CDM vs CDM matchup its important to keep the board clean so your opponent doesn’t obtain the chip damage and their goal should be to prevent you to do the same. Against control magic there isn’t much of a sense of urgency to fight for the early board however you still want to acquire as much chip damage as possible. If you notice your opponent is playing “Clear Mind” god power and suspect them of playing a combo list (such as Portal Wranglers , Stormfield , schoolteachers ETC) then Oni Spellsword becomes a top priority keep as to win the game you need to go all-in with a more aggressive approach.

Nature strategy:

The most common nature lists in this meta are the aggressive nature lists. Whether they be wild-based or amazon based the way CDM wins is by surviving their early pressure and outvaluing them later in the game. Cards like Shaped Blast, Unbound Flames can get additional consideration early in the mulligan. I personally don’t keep Shadow Scryer highly in this matchup given most nature decks run Marsh Walker, Pyreshell Beetle and Faeflame Blade.

Out of all the domains Nature is best equipped on dealing with early game Shadow Scryers without giving CDM any value. Early game Demetrios, Playwrights can be big swings against nature lists running the Animal Bond or Flourish god power.While less common control nature is a headache of a matchup arguably the worst-case scenario. The good news is as of the writing of this article it's not very meta relevant. Against control nature the main goal is to win the board early and try to stick an Oni Spellsword. Given the inconsistencies of natures removal CDM can often stick an Oni which can snowball into a win if there are no answers.

Deception strategy:

As of the writing of this article there are two dominant Deception archetypes in this meta–Hidden Rush Deception and Control Deception. Against Hidden Rush deception your first second and third priority should be stacking as many board wipes as possible, Shaped Blasts and early pieces to set up Unbound Flames as well as Tracking bolts are key cards in this matchup. Typically, Hidden Rush Deception is forced to be extremely committal which can give CDM the opportunity to achieve great value in certain spots. With that being said without the key board wipes this matchup usually ends in swift defeat.

Against Control Deception the main thing to be careful about is Bound by her Will (against your own Oni!) Control Deception loves to steal your cards so if you have the opportunity in this matchup to foresee Pyrrhic Knowledge to the bottom of your deck at the beginning this is a good idea as Cutthroat Insight on Pyrrhic Knowledge is a particularly painful play control deception can go with. The good news is this is generally a good matchup as CDM will likely be able to acquire enough early game chip damage to withstand Deception stealing cards.

War strategy:

As of the writing of this article there are a lot of flexible different style war decks to be concerned about. Control War lists the primary goal is to achieve as much early game chip-damage as possible finishing them with spells. War can be tricky with some of their heals as Magic Missile Launchers are a key card for Control War and they always seem to get healing off of Thaeriel, The Fallen as well.

Against Relic War this version of CDM doesn’t really counter the core principles of that list so basically it's important to come out with as much speed as possible and race. Tricking to stick an Oni Spellsword and have it live might be the key swing in those matchups. The last less popular war deck is the aggressive Viking War. Being a minion-based deck with lots of reach given the slayer Godpower and various relics it's important to keep the board state as clean as possible early on so CDM can outvalue the opponent later on.

Death Strategy:

If facing Board Wipe Death, the key is to try to limit your overdraw. The only true win-condition Board Wipe Death has is to run you out of cards. Playing cards more aggressively earlier than you would like is smart to clear out space in your hand to prevent overdraw. Overall, this is a great matchup however, card draw centric cards as well as board wipes go down drastically in value in this matchup.

Anubians are a weird deck to face however this list always puts you on a clock. They just win by default if a more aggressive strategy is not taken so a push towards earlier lethal is necessary. Zombies on the other hand are won by being a bit more patient outvaluing the opposition.

Light Strategy:

Light has two drastically different styles of play the most popular being aggressive light which is played similar to the other aggro matchups. It's all about early game survival, hitting them with a devastating board wipe then outvaluing them later in the game.

Against Control Light the main strategy is going to be to acquire as much chip damage early as possible. This can be a particularly annoying matchup as the heal can change the math on push towards lethal plays later in the game. One strategy to get around this is using Warp Engineers on Pyrrhic Knowledges/Wyrmbreath and attempt to set up one or 2 turn kill plays potentially with spell boost.

Budget Alternatives:

One common question I get whenever I make a pilot's guide is what to replace for xyz cards. This section will cover ideas for replacements on some of the higher cost options. Note: that these substitutions overall weaken the deck.

Unannounced Arrival this is a budget replacement for Blade of Whiteplain. By no means is this a “like for like” swap but situationally it can be better (particularly against hidden rush deception).

Cram If I am being completely honest I was about 50% to not include this card in this write up because calling this a replacement for Pallas’ Wand is quite an insult to the power of the wand. This is the budget attempt to replace Pallas’ Wand though you will be giving up the overall power level of the deck with this substitution.

Surpassing Blast Illuminate These are the budget attempts at replacing Ancient Texts and Form of Power. I prefer Surpassing Blast over Illuminate given the flexibility on Surpassing Blast is more useful than the flexibility on Illuminate.

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