A Weekend Lost in the Cube

There aren’t too many things that get me to squeal in excitement like a four-year old. The seconds preceding new Game of Thrones episodes, the intro to “This Charming Man,” and any announcement indicating that I’m gonna get to do some cube drafting. So when Wizards announced that there’d be MTGO cube queues, on the first weekend of my spring break, the joyful, high-pitched noises may have alarmed some nearby neighbors and roommates. I bused home on Friday morning and in the midst of matzos and family, I crammed a respectable 14 drafts into the cube preview weekend, often barely noticing as the sun slithered through my windows and cast a glare on my glowing monitor.

Below, I’ve provided the fourteen decklists and brief descriptions of the tournaments I entered. I feel that, by the end, I had a good grip on how to draft this cube and some insights on what works and what doesn’t in the format. I’ve done this so that readers can compare notes, perhaps gain some perspective, and inevitably refute my claims. I also feel obliged to add to the literature concerning cube drafting, as I’ve enjoyed the work of Evan Erwin, Aintrazi and Parnell, Thea Steele, and others so thoroughly. Additionally, I figure long declarations of near-spiritual allegiance to the sub-game of cube can only help foster supports from Wizards.
Anyway, here are my reports from 14 draft queues.

Deck 1, RG Ramp (0-1 in an 8-4)
1 Fertile Ground
1 Arc Lightning
1 Channel
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Crucible of Worlds
10 Forest
1 Strip Mine
1 Devoted Druid
1 Terastodon
1 Natural Order
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Naturalize
1 Sylvan Library
1 Overgrown Battlement
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Mutavault
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Raging Ravine
1 Earthquake
1 Prismatic Lens
1 Molten-Tail Masticore
5 Mountain
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
1 Plow Under
1 Werebear

Sideboard (relevant)
1 Burning of Xinye
1 Genesis
1 Lodestone Golem
1 Pillage
1 Masticore
1 Yavimaya Hollow
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Grafted Wargear
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Ratchet Bomb
1 Lead the Stampede
1 Krosan Grip

The Tournament: My original intention when going into Cube Weekend was to play a bunch of 8-4s and hopefully capitalize on the substantial amount of cubing I’ve done. I cockily entered round one, absolutely positive that my sweet combos (Crucible-Strip, Channel-Kozilek, Natural Order-Terastodon) would overwhelm my opponents’ laughably underpowered aggro strategies. Egg erupted from the crevices of my keyboard and coated my face in yolky shame as B/W aggro ran me down. Even with my turn 4 Garruks, I couldn’t contend with Dark Confidant, Armageddon, Lingering Souls and copious removal.

How I messed up the Build: Besides the boneheaded non-inclusion of Phyrexian Metamorph (I ignored my blue section during deck building), I should have played Burning of Xinye and possibly Ratchet Bomb. Metamorph is one of the highest picks in this format. It’s versatile for when you need a random extra blocker or attacker, essentially colorless, and extremely powerful when you’re doing some of the stuff I did in some of the decks below…

D2 UB Tempo (3-0 Swiss)
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Phyrexian Obliterator
1 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Impulse
1 Plague Sliver
1 Serendib Efreet
1 Mulldrifter
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Phyrexian Rager
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Sinkhole
1 Skinrender
1 Waterfront Bouncer
1 Shriekmaw
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Underground Sea
1 Essence Scatter
1 Doom Blade
1 Stupor
1 Wake Thrasher
1 Unearth
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
5 Island
9 Swamp
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Undermine

Sideboard
1 Nightscape Familiar
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Capsize
1 Opposition
1 Tradewind Rider

… like Metamorphing Skinrender, a play right out of NMS drafts. This little deck, chock-full of value, was a blast to play. Besides rendering my opponents useless, I T2 Hymned, T3 Stupored, equipped SoFI to creatures that drew it for me, and Undermined an opponent at three life. At this point in the weekend, I felt the format rewarded tight, focused decks over splashy, more powerful strategies. My opponents were trying to do cubish things like play three colors and get Kozilek into play and I was all like Sinkhole, Gatekeeper.

How I Messed Up the Build: Lacerator was real bad. Decks like this are very good in the cube I draft in paper but there’s a much higher density of black spot removal in that cube. It’s tougher to effectively wall the black one-drops in the Wizards cube.

D3 Grixis (0-1 in a 4-3-2-2)
1 Rolling Earthquake
1 Arc Lightning
1 Underground Sea
1 Dissipate
1 Impulse
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Skeletal Scrying
2 Mountain
1 Olivia Voldaren
3 Swamp
1 Char
1 Treachery
1 Preordain
1 Miscalculation
1 Agony Warp
1 Mutavault
1 Coldsteel Heart
1 Frost Titan
1 Volcanic Island
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Memory Lapse
1 Chaos Warp
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Brainstorm
1 Magma Jet
1 Bloodstained Mire
6 Island
1 Time Warp
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Undermine
1 Fact or Fiction

Sideboard
1 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Pillage
1 Shrine of Burning Rage
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Keldon Marauders
1 Palinchron
1 Lotus Petal
1 Wasteland
1 Deep Analysis
1 Daze
1 Ankh of Mishra
1 Spell Pierce

Three-color control is my favorite archetype in every cube I’ve ever played except this one. I took burn to three games and the third was a real heartbreaker. My opponent had nothing in hand and a two-power dude in play. I had tapped some lands to get rid of some other guys on my turn. He ripped a Hellrider and attacked, knocking me down 3. On my turn, with my loads of land, I plopped down Olivia and killed the 2-drop. Then I Chaos Warped his Hellrider to see a lethal chain lightning on top of his deck.
I was slightly miffed, lamenting WotC’s affection for critters when all I wanted to do was blow them up and control their minds. More than the affinity for aggro, I feel this cube could use a few more lands. I really wanted to fit Cruel Ultimatum into the deck but there was no way the mana would allow it. I think a cube of that size could probably get some vivid lands without pushing Uxxxx control over the top.

How I Messed Up the Build: My card pool was pretty boss, if a little threat-light. I should have at least made room for the Sea Gate Oracle and maybe should have passed on Skeletal Scrying, given the rapid rate at which life declines in the format.

D4 BW Aggro (3-0 Swiss)
1 Bitterblossom
1 Phyrexian Obliterator
1 Scrubland
1 Dauthi Slayer
10 Swamp
1 Lingering Souls
1 Calciderm
1 Diregraf Ghoul
1 Faith’s Fetters
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
1 Tangle Wire
1 Mox Diamond
1 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Molten-Tail Masticore
6 Plains
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Black Knight
1 Sign in Blood
1 Carnophage
1 Porcelain Legionnaire
Sideboard
1 Nantuko Vigilante
1 Living Death
1 Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
1 Mortarpod
1 Loyal Cathar
1 Magus of the Tabernacle
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Dark Ritual

The Tournament: Lingering Souls is, like, pretty good. Many of my games went uncomfortably long, to the point where I felt my opponents’ more controlling builds would inevitably envelope my band of scrappy aggressors. However, my opponents often failed to answer Lingering Souls. Also, Vampiric Tutoring/Imperial Sealing for Bitterblossom is a powerful play, despite throwing away life and cards with abandon. Imperial Seal went ridiculously late in this (and other) drafts, and given the supply and demand for both power and flexibility in a given cube match, I don’t feel this should have been the case.

How I Messed Up the Build: Again, there’s less spot removal than one might assume in this cube, so Fiend Hunter probably should have been in the deck.

D5 BW Control (0-1 in a 4-3-2-2)
1 Bitterblossom
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Phyrexian Obliterator
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Memory Jar
1 Scrubland
1 Bane of the Living
1 Innocent Blood
1 Disenchant
1 Bloodgift Demon
1 Yosei, the Morning Star
1 Dismember
1 Godless Shrine
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Coldsteel Heart
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1 Condemn
1 Renewed Faith
1 Liliana of the Veil
6 Plains
1 Sorin Markov
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Day of Judgment
9 Swamp
1 Bone Shredder
1 Skeletal Vampire

Sideboard
1 Magus of the Tabernacle
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Pulse of the Fields
1 Mana Leak
1 Hex Parasite
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Celestial Purge
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Watery Grave
1 Careful Consideration
1 Time Warp
1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
1 Control Magic

The Tournament: I intended to redraft my Swiss-winning BW Aggro deck again (even got the Vamp/Bitterblossom combo) but the aggro cards didn’t come. I don’t remember what I lost to but I do remember questioning my abilities after such dismal performances in the non-Swiss queues. This archetype has always been rock solid in my cube but it seemed horrible

How I Messed Up the Build: Not sure what my plans with Memory Jar were, but they did not work out. I hate playing infect cards in cube but it’s possible that Skithiryx would have been marginally better.

D6 RG Beats (2-1 in 4-3-2-2)
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Tattermunge Maniac
1 Volcanic Island
1 Char
1 Inferno Titan
1 Zo-Zu the Punisher
7 Forest
7 Mountain
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Torch Fiend
1 Phantom Centaur
1 Maze of Ith
1 Sylvan Library
1 Fire Ambush
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Hell’s Thunder
1 Wild Nacatl
1 Skullclamp
1 Master of the Wild Hunt
1 Thunderblust
1 Taiga
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Volcanic Hammer
1 Troll Ascetic
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Fire/Ice
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Flametongue Kavu

Sideboard
1 Burning of Xinye
1 Vinelasher Kudzu
1 Genesis Wave
1 Rude Awakening
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Ohran Viper
1 Rorix Bladewing
1 Firespout
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Bogardan Hellkite
1 Scroll Rack
1 Brooding Saurian
1 Mold Shambler
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond

The Tournament: I don’t mind dropping some beats, as long as they’re heavy. Phantom Centaur was amazing against both the first round red deck and the second round BG Rock deck. Sylvan Library was also an all-star, and another card I inexplicably saw going late in drafts. I lost in the finals to a UW control deck with Meloku. I screwed up (or punted, as the kids say) in round 2, having won game one, after failing to Fire my Thunderblust and have the trampling, persisting ball of lightning sneak through the necessary trample damage past some Meloku tokens.

How I Screwed Up the Build: Taurean Mauler is another one that gets better with low levels of spot removal.

D7 Boros (1-1 in 4-3-2-2)
1 Devil’s Play
1 Mimic Vat
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Staggershock
1 Elite Vanguard
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Paladin en-Vec
1 Swamp
1 Plateau
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Soltari Priest
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Savannah Lions
1 Fire Ambush
1 Coldsteel Heart
1 Ravages of War
1 Armageddon
1 Precursor Golem
1 Arc Trail
1 Goblin Legionnaire
1 Keldon Champion
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Chrome Mox
1 Hokori, Dust Drinker
1 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Mountain
1 Sword of Body and Mind
7 Plains
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Sideboard
1 Glorious Anthem
1 Smokestack
1 Shining Shoal
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Stonecloaker
1 Grafted Wargear
1 Epochrasite

The Tournament: This deck had a pretty great Stoneforge package but I just couldn’t get there. It was very late at night when I drafted this; I believe I lost to mono-red after clicking on the wrong sword when searching with Stoneforge

How I Screwed Up the Build: Should I have played Glorious Anthem? The deck felt a little creature-light, but I really don’t know.

D8 RDW (1-1 in 4-3-2-2)
1 Isochron Scepter
1 Chandra Nalaar
1 Path to Exile
1 Char
1 Teetering Peaks
1 Searing Blaze
1 Molten Rain
1 Pillage
1 Brimstone Volley
1 Balance
1 Keldon Marauders
4 Plains
1 Sulfuric Vortex
1 Ajani Vengeant
1 Goblin Ruinblaster
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Spikeshot Elder
1 Genju of the Spires
1 Keldon Champion
1 Giant Solifuge
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Sacred Foundry
10 Mountain
1 Cursed Scroll
1 Goblin Guide
1 Fire/Ice
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Fireblast

Sideboard
1 Skizzik
1 Paladin en-Vec
1 Razormane Masticore
1 All Is Dust
1 Orcish Lumberjack
1 Grafted Wargear
1 Savannah Lions
1 Ravenous Baboons
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Molten-Tail Masticore
1 Chaos Warp
1 Reckless Charge

The Tournament: This deck was mono-red in spirit. It was also totally insane and I could not believe that none of the other seven drafters wanted to take a page from LSV’s guide to cubing. I also couldn’t believe I didn’t win this draft. I mean, that list is hot. In addition to having a glut of top-notch RDW cards like Sulfuric Vortex and Goblin Guide, I nabbed Balance and a nice little Isochron Scepter package. I cruised through round one against some blue deck and then stomped my Bant opponent game 1 of round two.

However, my satanically powerful draft deck was thwarted by Worship and Angels who were Exalted. I brought in Chaos Warp for the third game, but was once again undone by an army of Worhippers whose Devotion was Increasing.

How I Screwed Up the Build: It’s possible I should have gone mono-red, but this is cube and I wanna play Balance and Isochron Scepter, darn it.

D9 Counterburn (0-1, 4-3-2-2)
1 Mana Leak
1 Chandra Nalaar
1 Chandra, the Firebrand
1 Impulse
1 Staggershock
1 Electrolyze
1 Pyroclasm
1 Strip Mine
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Vedalken Shackles
8 Island
1 Fire Ambush
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Opt
1 Legacy’s Allure
1 Slagstorm
1 Chandra’s Phoenix
1 Volcanic Hammer
7 Mountain
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Time Warp
1 Chain Lightning
1 Sword of Feast and Famine

Sideboard
1 Vulshok Refugee
1 Skizzik
1 Stormblood Berserker
1 Price of Progress
1 Flashfreeze
1 Phantasmal Bear
1 Hellspark Elemental
1 Countryside Crusher
1 Intuition
1 Teetering Peaks
1 Mindslaver
1 Keldon Champion
1 Jackal Pup

The Tournament: Another cube classic that doesn’t quite translate to the WotC cube. Not much to say, except that I thought my deck was bad and I didn’t see anyone else trying to build it. I lost to a BG ramp deck after they Indrik Stomphowlered away my game-winning sword.

How I Screwed Up the Build: Most of my mistakes were made in the draft.

D10 (1-1, 4-3-2-2)
1 Treetop Village
1 Vorapede
1 Stomping Ground
1 Thornscape Battlemage
1 Woodland Cemetery
7 Forest
1 Strangleroot Geist
1 Eternal Witness
1 Necromancy
1 Phyrexian Rager
1 Scorned Villager
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Sylvan Library
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Raging Ravine
1 Maze of Ith
1 Grave Titan
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Blastoderm
1 Coalition Relic
1 Disfigure
1 Thoughtseize
1 Noble Hierarch
5 Swamp
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Batterskull

Sideboard
1 Gamble
1 Deathmark
1 Nostalgic Dreams
1 Plague Sliver
1 Oona’s Prowler
1 Restock
1 Ohran Viper
1 Wildfire
1 Thunderscape Battlemage
1 Entomb
1 Sign in Blood
1 Bloodghast

The Tournament: “Welcome back to attrition town,” I said to myself. I got to Metamorph a Flametongue Kavu killing a Bloodgift Demon, so my time in attrition town was rather enjoyable. Unfortunately, a lightning-quick UB deck rode me out of attrition town on a tempo rail.

How I Screwed Up the Build: The build seemed fine although I’m sure I made some poor draft picks given my wealth of options color-wise.

D11 (1-2 Swiss)
1 Graveborn Muse
1 Narcolepsy
1 Dissipate
6 Island
1 Nezumi Shortfang
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
7 Swamp
1 Diregraf Ghoul
1 Oona’s Prowler
1 Geralf’s Messenger
1 Daze
1 Waterfront Bouncer
1 Laquatus’s Champion
1 Dismiss
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
1 Underground Sea
1 Stupor
1 Spellskite
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Disfigure
1 Old Man of the Sea
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Time Warp
1 Black Knight
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Polluted Delta

Sideboard
1 Isochron Scepter
1 Etched Oracle
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Tolaria West
1 Thieving Magpie
1 Tradewind Rider
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Lotus Petal
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Powder Keg
1 Augury Adept
1 Spell Pierce
1 Negate

The Tournament: After my first-round win, this tournament became rather embarrassing. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong but something was very wrong, very wrong indeed. I did lose to the most entertaining deck of the weekend, however. In round three, a 4-color Mirari’s Wake/Heartbeat of Spring ramp deck used huge Eldrazis, Mind’s Desire, Future Sight, and Tendrils of Agony to fustigate me good. I got Tendrilsed for my last 6 points of life in game 2. It was awesome.

How I screwed Up the Build: The deck seemed both reasonably fast and reasonably power but perhaps it wasn’t focused enough. I probably should have gone a more controlling route, and omitting Meloku was definitely a mistake, but control was not working for me. At this point early Sunday morning, I was resigned to failure as a MTGO cuber but determined to fork over some more money to Wizards. Soon, the cube would set sail and I would be like Penelope, waiting for her beloved Odysseus to return.

D12 BW Aggro #2 (3-0, 4-3-2-2)
1 Bitterblossom
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Cataclysm
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Spellskite
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Balance
5 Swamp
1 Lingering Souls
1 Dismember
1 Sun Titan
1 Exalted Angel
1 Mutavault
1 Loyal Cathar
1 Silver Knight
1 Worship
1 Blade Splicer
1 Karn Liberated
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Stonecloaker
10 Plains
1 Spectral Lynx
1 Mortify
1 Honor of the Pure
1 Mishra’s Factory
1 Increasing Devotion
1 Catastrophe

Sideboard
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Manriki-Gusari
1 Nezumi Shortfang
1 Diregraf Ghoul
1 Bloodghast
1 Dauthi Marauder
1 Graveborn Muse
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Thoughtseize

The Tournament: Lingering Souls + Bitterblossom = wins seems to be a trend in my drafts. The tournament had some messy games. I had to fight the Eldrazis plunked down with Summoning Trap, getting MY Worship Chaos Warped, and getting my Bitterblossom, Jitte, and Spellskite all blown up by the same Engineered Explosives. I got there in the end, though, and felt slightly better about my skills, despite getting some lucky pickups during the draft.

How I Screwed Up the Build: I talked myself out of playing my black cards, which I think was a mistake. Since I was running manlands and Honor of the Pure, I wanted to avoid double black. In my matches, I found myself boarding in Liliana, Shortfang, Thoughtseize, and Dauthi Marauder, and boarding out garbage like Stonecloaker and Silver Knight.

D13 UW Control (3-0, 4-3-2-2)
1 Martial Coup
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Absorb
6 Island
1 Force of Will
1 Force Spike
1 Balance
1 Old Man of the Sea
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Counterspell
7 Plains
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Wrath of God
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Court Hussar
1 Dismiss
1 Maze of Ith
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Daze
1 Impulse
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
1 Watery Grave
1 Pristine Talisman
1 Mirran Crusader
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Lingering Souls
1 Hallowed Fountain

Sideboard
1 Glorious Anthem
1 Rout
1 Memory Jar
1 Loyal Cathar
1 Magus of the Tabernacle
1 Lu Xun, Scholar General
1 Wispmare
1 Pulse of the Fields
1 Ruhan of the Fomori
1 Legacy’s Allure
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Dream Halls
1 Etched Oracle
1 Loam Lion
1 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Flashfreeze

The Tournament: This deck was everything I wanted to do in cube and more. I dismantled a series of opponents, all blown into the stratosphere by a torrential hurricane of counterspells and wrath of gods, including Counterspell and Wrath of God. Then, there was Elspeth and there was Jace and there were Lingering Souls. Magic’s past and present met like chocolate and peanut butter, a sumptuous interplay embodying the delicate beauty of the cube. Did I really defeat my opponents by removing their library from the game or did they just weaken at the knees and crumble at the sight of everything Magic is and everything it aspires to be…

How I Screwed Up the Build: I should have maxed out on mass removal and played Rout. Also, as much as I adored this deck, I was happy to avoid Bitterblossom, Phyrexian Arena, or Sulfuric Vortex.

D14 RG Ramp #2 (Swiss 3-0)
1 Chandra Nalaar
1 Fertile Ground
1 Heartbeat of Spring
10 Forest
1 Pyroclasm
7 Mountain
1 Channel
1 Urabrask the Hidden
1 Wildfire
1 Sylvan Library
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Fire Ambush
1 Overgrown Battlement
1 Precursor Golem
1 Vorapede
1 Karn Liberated
1 Coalition Relic
1 Wall of Roots
1 Bogardan Hellkite
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Explore
1 Acidic Slime
1 Platinum Angel
1 Plow Under
1 Rampant Growth

Sideboard
1 Stomping Ground
1 Mind Stone
1 Restock
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Lotus Petal
1 Prismatic Lens
1 Spellskite
1 Ratchet Bomb
1 Rishadan Port
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Basalt Monolith

Tournament: A bittersweet last draft. Bookending my weekend of cubing, I decided to have fun and give RG another shot. I hoped to go 2-1, expected to go 1-2, and was pleasantly surprised when I won the draft. This deck was super fun to play and very effective this time around. I got off the Urabrask into Precursor Golem combo multiple times, restarted the game with Karn (I almost lost that one, missing the interaction between Flickerwisp and land that belongs to my opponent) and Channeled into Karn on turn 2 (and actually did lose that one when my mono red opponent dropped a post-board Pithing Needle). My finals match was against a pretty ill Venser/Opposition deck but there was too much Karnage for my opponent to handle. I would have tried to draft this again but it was after 2 AM on the East Coast and, alas, the queues had ceased, and sorrow fell once again upon the shores of Magic Online.

How I Screwed Up the Build: I neglected to add my mana fixing. Otherwise, it was absolutely perfect. Because I am a drafting genius.

Impressions

Based on my performance and the decks I observed doing well, I would suggest the following tier structure:

Tier 1: B/W Aggro, Mono Red, UW/UB Value
Tier 2: RG Beats, Ramp, BG Midrange

While there are plenty of viable options given the depth of cards in the format, these seemed to be the most coherent, reliable strategies. Lingering Souls is pretty out-of-control, but not in an oppressive way. I played with it and against it and it consistently created complex, stimulating games. I found white to be the most powerful color, but the balance between colors was actually quite a bit better than most cubes.

I had a great time, even if I’d personally opt for a smaller, more control-oriented list. I hope this event comes back ASAP, but this is probably the conclusion of most people who got in on the drafting fun before the queues ended. In the interim, if anybody knows about some tappedout cube drafts, I’d love to lay and be more-than willing to contribute some cards.

Happy Magic-ing
Charley Wolinsky, JuliusF online.

Share

4 Comment(s)

  1. Glad to see articles are coming back up on this site! It seems that you drafted coherent decks with game plans, which is awesome to see. A lot of people, especially new to cube, get distracted by the big bombs and end up with a 5 colour monstrosity that does nothing for the first 6 turns (like I saw Tom Martell do on a couple of CFB vids).

    Rufus | Apr 27, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback! I agree, I think cube hype often characterizes cube drafting as the place where 5-color is king. It’s evident that the builders of the MTGO cube have different intentions. As much as I enjoy drafting 3-5 color control decks, I think I prefer the challenge of having to diversify my drafting.

    Charley Wolinsky | Apr 30, 2012 | Reply

  3. Need a paper cube update. Need to get my fix! And fix my cube!

    Reid | May 7, 2012 | Reply

  4. I’d say UG Tempo was also a very reliable option on the Tier 2 portion.

    Luiz Mussa | May 10, 2012 | Reply

Post a Comment