I love it when I get a chance to draft my cube. It’s not often, but when it does happen I get super giddy to see what new and exciting things are going to happen. Cube as a format is all about finding awesome broken combinations of cards and seeing what crazy things you can do with it. I come away from each draft with new knowledge about magic, and with new knowledge about my cube.
Going into this draft I told myself that if I could go aggro I would. Aggro hasn’t seen much play in my cube, and I was curious if that was a cube problem or simply people not wanting to draft it.
My opening pack wasn’t very impressive so I went with an Imposing Sovereign hoping to go aggro. Pick 2, however, was Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and pick 3 was Hellrider. Yeah, by that point I was definetly going aggro lol. Our group of drafters included both experienced and inexperienced players, and it was a fun draft with a lot of people complaining about the cards that they had to pass. (Myself included). Hearing that is always a good sign, as it shows that your drafters aren’t having easy choices and that the overall power level of the cards is equal. Anyways onto the decks, and who placed where!
1st: Boros Aggro (My deck)
2nd: Izzet Spells
3rd: Azorious Flyers
4th: Jund Midrange
5th: Abzan Angels/Midrange
6th: Golgari Ramp/Reanimator
7th: Mardu Control
8th: Dimir Zombie Control (He, unfortunately, dropped after round 1)
Immediately upon seeing the top 8 I noticed how much more balanced the decks are in terms of color. One of my last major updates involved taking all of the signets out of the cube in order to nerf color fixing. Right off the bat, we have 5 two-color decks, and 3 three color decks. That is a major improvement from my last draft which had me easily playing 4 color control.
The second thing to note is the spread of archetypes. We have 2 aggro players, 2 midrange players, 3 control players, and finally a combo deck in Reanimator. This looks pretty healthy to me. What made me really happy though was finally seeing an aggro deck do really well. One of my biggest concerns was the number of wraths that I have in the cube, but I was able to consistently win by turn 4 or 5. Cards such as Assemble the Legion were actually too slow for my deck, which surprised me considering how great of a card it is. Another interesting thing to note about my deck was the number of enchantments I had in the deck. (Curse of the Pierced Heart, Sulfuric Vortex, etc. etc.)
Problems that I am noticing, however, is that UR based decks tend to do really well. Last draft we had 2 separate pilots take Izzet into the finals, and here we see another Izzet player making it to the finals. Granted, in the draft only 3 players were fighting for blue, but Izzet has gone to finals enough that I know it is the strongest color combination in my cube. Green still feels like the weakest, and I think it’s still that way because I toyed with green aggro for a bit and forgot to take out all the crappy cards. Perhaps I can include more naturalize effects in green as a way to beat out all the scary enchantments running amuck in the cube.
Another issue I noticed was the failure of Reanimator as an archetype. They had all the tools to get creatures into the bin, but not enough to get them out. The problem was enough players would draft value cards such as Animate Dead that the Reanimator player would just simply never see it. So I’m adding in two more reanimation spells in Exhume and Vigor Mortis (Soon to be Dread Return) in the hopes that this gives reanimator the edge it needs to win games.
Highlights of the Games
The Reanimator player got a Journey to Eternity on a Sakura-Tribe Elder turn 3, and then proceeded to draw all 23 lands out of their deck. Was able to win that game very narrowly, thanks to the frequent recurring of Tetzimoc and a Tireless Tracker.
I was able to deal 13 damage on turn 4 with a Hellrider. Could’ve dealt 15, but kept Mother of Runes back for protection. They would have just simply died on the spot if they did not have a Vampire Nighthawk on the field.
We had a counter war that was won with Censor. I, unfortunately, can’t remember what they were fighting over, but it was a huge tempo play that eventually won him the game. I believe he was trying to cast a threat that the opponent had kept up Countermagic for, but was blown out by a timely Censor.
Abzan vs Mardu was one of the grindiest and most entertaining games I have seen in a while. Right as one player would start to pull ahead, the other would wrath the board resetting it back to nothing. The Abzan player won by swinging with a Smuggler’s Copter and using Blossoming Defense for the win, just a turn before his opponent would have been able to swing in for lethal.
The UW Flyer player got Hymn to Tourached and discarded two lands, but was able to top deck enough lands to keep him in the game and eventually win.
Anyways, that’s all for this cube draft! It was super fun and helped me feel a lot better about the broad archetypes in the cube. There are a few things that still need changing, but far less than it was the last time I drafted. Thanks for reading, and have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!