Cube Draft Strategy: B/W Aggro Discard

Overview

One of my favorite draft archetypes, B/W Aggro Discard gives you the strength of small, versatile white and black creatures along with the versatility of powerful discard spells. It also lets you take advantage of a few of the most powerful multicolor spells to boot. Let’s take a look at how it works.

High Picks

Armageddon (Flagship card for this archetype)
Discard
(Thoughtseize, Duress, Nezumi Shortfang, Hypnotic Specter)
Efficient Weenies
(Paladin en-Vec, Nantuko Shade, Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Mother of Runes)
Powerful Enchantments
(Land Tax, Bitterblossom, Phyrexian Arena)
Cheap Removal
(Swords to Plowshares, Snuff Out, Chainer’s Edict, Oblivion Ring)
Multicolor Power
(Vindicate, Tidehollow Sculler, Mortify, Death Grasp)
Equipment (Umezawa’s Jitte, Sword of Fire and Ice, Bonesplitter)

Strategy

B/W Aggro Discard is one of my favorite archetypes to draft as of late. It’s powerful because it always gets a fast start — provided you mulligan aggressively — and your opponents are usually cold to a single removal or discard spell that knocks them off balance long enough to overwhelm them. Your creatures have just enough protection, and you have just enough long game threats (Bitterblossom) that you should be able to go all the way.

Your basic “nut draw” is Thoughtseize/Duress, Bitterblosom/Tidehollow Sculler (for Counterspells or other answers), Phyrexian Arena/Paladin en-Vec, Armageddon. I don’t think there’s a deck that can possibly win against that draw, unless perhaps you have multiple counterspells or lots of land and Disenchant effects to draw off the top of your deck.

So that’s the bees knees. What about the rest of the time? Well, the benefit of being in B/W is that very few other players are actually fighting you for cards, particularly some of your most valuable tools such as Mortify and Vindicate. These will only be drafted by the 5-Color deck, so you can safely wheel them around the table most of the time. Other powerful cards, like the innocuous Nantuko Shade or beatsticks like Juzam Djinn will also go very late as most other decks playing black will either be very control based (5-Color or U/B Control) and won’t have much use for a cheap beatstick.

White weenie creatures are of course fantastic and provide you with the protection (Paladin en-Vec, Silver Knight, Mother of Runes) needed to survive the burn, creatures and weapons used against them. The ability to go one-drop, two-drop, three-drop, Armageddon is still one of the best plays in Magic, let alone the cube. Use the tools provided with these creatures (i.e. repeatable effects to give you long-term advantages) to get around your opponent’s defenses.

Lastly the multicolor cards in this archetype are just fantastic. Vindicate is the answer to everything, instantly. Okay, at Sorcery speed, but still, it’s better than Oblivion Ring in that it can’t be ‘answered’ unless they have a counterspell. Your creature removal should be second to none (Snuff Out, etc) and your other discard tools should do the rest.

Weaknesses

This is another archetype that is weak to Wrath of God / board sweeper (Akroma’s Vengeance) effects. This is basically because your threats are many in regards to Enchantments (Phyrexian Arena, Bitterblossom, Oblivion Ring), but a few Disenchants and your deck is much less scary. Also, if you fail to find Armageddon then this deck can have great difficulty winning the long game versus 5-Color Control and U/W Control. These are your toughest matchups, the ones in which you need some good discard (Thoughtseize / Mind Twist) in the early game in order to get an advantage. Your cheap hard-to-deal-wtih creatures are always a bonus, but are more troublesome against G/W Aggro and G/R Beats than any other.

As long as your best threats don’t run into Counterspells, you should be able to play around mass removal without too much detrement.

Summary

B/W Aggro Discard is one of my personal favorites because you get access to a variety of powerful cards and some of your most powerful cards are multicolor so they won’t be chosen highly by any other archetype barring 5-Color Control. I’ve gotten Vindicate as late as 11th or 12 pick, and that is nothing to scoff at. This also gives you access to the cheap black aggro creatures (Nantuko Shade) that others shun, and still gives you the power of the small and efficient white weenie creatures to boot (Mother of Runes).

This is the archetype I always like to play when I open Armageddon, but can quickly and easily switch to G/W Aggro instead if the discard / powerful black cards (Bitterblossom) aren’t coming to me.

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