Today's article covers a topic I've yet to talk about: playing a Cube. More specifically, playing my Cube.

Several readers requested a recorded draft of my Cube, so after figuring out the logistics of recording a paper draft, I gathered 7 local players around the table to be my guinea pigs via the promise of free drinks.

My personal drafting abilities don't hold a candle to those of the other authors on this site, but like most Cube designers, I hold a fairly pronounced “home Cube” advantage. That said, the competition has gotten stiffer week by week, as my articles here on ChannelFireball have started to draw more and more local PTQ grinders out of the woodwork.

For context, the Cube list used for this draft can be found here.

Pack 1, pick 1

[draft]Wheel of Fortune
Nest Invader
Spikeshot Elder
Rancor
Umezawa's Jitte
Coalition Relic
Scalding Tarn
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Grafted Wargear
Chandra, the Firebrand
Bloodghast
Phyrexian Revoker
Blood Artist
Angel of Serenity
Bloodgift Demon[/draft]

The first pack gives us a bit of a freebie with [card]Umezawa's Jitte[/card]. I'm not always enthusiastic about Jitte, as, like playing a Sword, Jitte can set you up to some tempo blowouts via instant-speed removal. Jitte is a weaker card in my fast 360-card Cube than in other cubes, and people lose games with an on-board Jitte often. It's still the clear pick here.

My Pick: [card]Umezawa's Jitte[/card]

Pack 1, pick 2:

[draft]Incinerate
Condemn
Doom Blade
Sea Gate Oracle
Trinket Mage
Abyssal Persecutor
Savannah
Searing Blaze
Pillar of Flame
Mulldrifter
Blasting Station
Mogg War Marshal
Sundering Growth
Burst Lightning[/draft]

Our second pack is very removal-heavy, with five solid red cards available. I am drawn to the two black cards. [card]Abyssal Persecutor[/card] is a very efficient threat, and with my Cube's abundance of sacrifice outlets, getting him off the table is rarely problematic. There's a case to be made for [card]Mogg War Marshal[/card], who gives us multiple bodies for Jitte. With the shape of my deck still undetermined, I opt for the solid removal spell.

My Pick: [card]Doom Blade[/card]

Pack 1, pick 3:

[draft]Godless Shrine
Silverblade Paladin
Repeal
Innocent Blood
Vengevine
Spectral Procession
Enlightened Tutor
Sun Titan
Windswept Heath
Mana Leak
Ancestral Vision
Stormblood Berserker
Meloku the Clouded Mirror[/draft]

[card]Enlightened Tutor[/card] is a strong pairing with Jitte, but given the strength of this pack I suspect it might wheel. Green continues to present very little, and there's an indication that blue is open. However, I need beaters to go with Jitte, and Silverblade pairs especially well.

My Pick: [card]Silverblade Paladin[/card]

Pack 1, pick 4:

[draft]Sylvan Library
Wretched Anurid
Gravecrawler
Mystical Tutor
Rampaging Baloths
Thoughtseize
Disenchant
Dreadbore
Goblin Guide
Falkenrath Aristocrat
Snuff Out
Sphinx of Jwar Isle[/draft]

[card]Sylvan Library[/card] is a strong card, but too far off our radar, especially considering the dearth of green cards. Although it's still early, it looks like I'm settling into a BW beatdown deck. These decks are often short on reach, and rely on hand disruption to shape the game. [card]Gravecrawler[/card] is an option, but I suspect I can pick up 1-drops from white as well.

My Pick: [card]Thoughtseize[/card]

Pack 1, pick 5:

[draft]Fencing Ace
Stomping Ground
Sphere of the Suns
Crucible of Worlds
Birthing Pod
Ash Zealot
Nature's Claim
Nekrataal
Bonesplitter
Harrow
Arid Mesa[/draft]

My top prospects from this pack are [card]Fencing Ace[/card], [card]Nekrataal[/card], [card]Bonesplitter[/card] and [card]Arid Mesa[/card]. [card]Fencing Ace[/card] gives us another double-striker, but [card]Nekrataal[/card]'s first-strike ability works with equipment as well. I opt for the greater raw card-power.

My Pick: [card]Nekrataal[/card]

Pack 1, pick 6:

[draft]Hell's Thunder
Day of Judgment
Wolfir Silverheart
Deep Analysis
Taiga
Reins of Power
Chainer's Edict
Stupor
Stromkirk Noble
Hero of Oxid Ridge[/draft]

A trio of red aggressive cards arrive, and it's possible I should make a move at this point. My only tie to white so far is [card]Silverblade Paladin[/card]. However, I don't have any fixing and haven't seen a great deal passing through, which makes me inclined to draft more conservatively. I add another removal spell to my arsenal.

My Pick: [card]Chainer's Edict[/card]

Pack 1, pick 7:

[draft]Relic of Progenitus
Tidehollow Sculler
Leonin Relic-Warder
Craterhoof Behemoth
Go for the Throat
Memory Lapse
Fact or Fiction
Slagstorm
Gitaxian Probe[/draft]

Another pack without relevant fixing, and the choice is between [card]Tidehollow Sculler[/card] and [card]Go for the Throat[/card]. I think I made a mistake here. At this point I'm not hurting for removal, and only have two creatures. Taking [card]Go for the Throat[/card] does continue to cut black. I passed good black cards in my opening pack, but not much since.

My Pick: [card]Go for the Throat[/card]

Pack 1, pick 8:

[draft]Kor Skyfisher
Vedalken Shackles
Breeding Pool
Mirror Entity
Fatestitcher
Izzet Charm
Undying Evil
Crystal Shard[/draft]

I snap up the evasive creature. With any luck I can rebuy a [card]Nekrataal[/card].

My Pick: [card]Kor Skyfisher[/card]

Pack 1, pick 9:

[draft]Wheel of Fortune
Nest Invader
Spikeshot Elder
Coalition Relic
Grafted Wargear
Phyrexian Revoker
Blood Artist[/draft]

My original pack returns, and [card]Bloodghast[/card], [card]Bloodgift Demon[/card], and [card]Mikaeus the Unhallowed[/card] are missing. [card]Grafted Wargear[/card] likely shouldn't still be in the pack, but I'm not complaining.

My Pick: [card]Grafted Wargear[/card]

Pack 1, pick 10:

[draft]Incinerate
Sea Gate Oracle
Trinket Mage
Mogg War Marshal
Sundering Growth
Burst Lightning[/draft]

Only two of the five red cards were taken, and with [card]Sundering Growth[/card] as the only card in my colors, I move into red. This was another suboptimal pick, as I am starting to run the risk of drafting more removal than I want in my deck.

My Pick: [card]Incinerate[/card]

Pack 1, pick 11:

[draft]Repeal
Vengevine
Spectral Procession
Enlightened Tutor
Meloku the Clouded Mirror[/draft]

The gamble pays off!

My Pick: [card]Enlightened Tutor[/card]

Pack 1, pick 12:

[draft]Rampaging Baloths
Disenchant
Dreadbore
Sphinx of Jwar Isle[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Dreadbore[/card]

Pack 1, pick 13:

[draft]Birthing Pod
Nature's Claim
Harrow[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Harrow[/card]

Pack 1, pick 14:

[draft]Hell's Thunder
Reins of Power[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Hell's Thunder[/card]

Pack 1, pick 15:

[draft]Craterhoof Behemoth[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card]

Utility Land Pick: I've yet to find any relevant fixing, and I gladly snap up [card]Fetid Heath[/card].

Pack 2, pick 1:

[draft]Birthing Pod
Lotus Cobra
Dissipate
Thragtusk
Green Sun's Zenith
Kitchen Finks
Reveillark
Snapcaster Mage
Mirran Crusader
Cryptic Command
Nevinyrral's Disk
Plateau
Sword of Feast and Famine
Detention Sphere
Aven Mindcensor[/draft]

Swords are pretty clunky and often bad in my Cube. Five mana is a pretty huge investment to get a Sword online, and I already have two better equipments. It's very possible I wouldn't even include [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] in my final 40. Plateau is an option, but I'm not really committed to the red splash yet, and moving into red might even involve dropping white, rendering [card]Plateau[/card] pretty pointless.

The pick is mostly narrowed down to [card]Mirran Crusader[/card] versus [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]. This is a fairly stacked pack, and although the Crusader might wheel, [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] most certainly won't.

My Pick: [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]

Pack 2, pick 2:

[draft]Inferno Titan
Wasteland
Vorapede
Badlands
Venser, the Sojourner
Eternal Witness
Yavimaya Elder
Cataclysm
Kird Ape
Koth of the Hammer
Baneslayer Angel
Damnation
Pillage
Glen Elendra Archmage[/draft]

At this pick I feel the need to determine the speed of my deck. I don't have any one-drops, and my deck is tending toward midrange. I continue down that path.

My Pick: [card]Baneslayer Angel[/card]

Pack 2, pick 3:

[draft]Red Sun's Zenith
Smash to Smithereens
Bayou
Joraga Treespeaker
Engineered Explosives
Knight of the Reliquary
Control Magic
Bloodbraid Elf
Goblin Bombardment
Steppe Lynx
Zealous Conscripts
Birthing Pod[/draft]

As well as [card]Fire // Ice[/card].

Despite cutting a number of black cards in pack 1, I'm not seeing much payoff in pack 2. I'm eager to fill out the lower end of my curve, and take the Lynx. I don't anticipate wheeling anything useful from this pack.

My Pick: [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]

Pack 2, pick 4:

[draft]Coldsteel Heart
Brainstorm
Awakening Zone
Wooded Foothills
Ludevic's Test Subject
Sarkhan Vol
Scavenging Ooze
Arbor Elf
Wickerbough Elder
Avenger of Zendikar
Verdant Catacombs
Consuming Vapors[/draft]

Yet another fairly dry pack. I'm starving for lands, which will be necessary with or without an extra splash.

My Pick: [card]Verdant Catacombs[/card]

Pack 2, pick 5

[draft]Dismember
Life from the Loam
Ranger of Eos
Jackal Pup
Disciple of Bolas
Mana Tithe
Growth Spasm
Force Spike
Steppe Lynx
Hellspark Elemental[/draft]

It's very possible that I'm overly biased toward removal. [card]Dismember[/card] is one of the best removal spells ever printed, and as much as my deck might need a [card]Ranger of Eos[/card] or another [card]Steppe Lynx[/card], I find myself hard-pressed to pass it.

My Pick: [card]Dismember[/card]

Pack 2, pick 6

[draft]Steppe Lynx
Abrupt Decay
Force of Will
Pernicious Deed
Entomb
Cabal Therapy
Adventuring Gear
Furnace Celebration
Pyroclasm
Wall of Blossoms[/draft]

The third and final [card]Steppe Lynx[/card] makes its way around.

My Pick: [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]

Pack 2, pick 7

[draft]Tropical Island
Shardless Agent
Phantasmal Image
Hallowed Burial
Plow Under
Kodama's Reach
Everflowing Chalice
Kozilek's Predator
Opposition[/draft]

This pack is brought to you by the Simic Combine. It's very well possible that I'm in completely the wrong colors, but with one fetchland I'm not exactly positioned to make the leap. I'm unlikely to play any of these cards, but if I do go into blue or green I'll need additional fixing.

My Pick: [card]Kodama's Reach[/card]

Pack 2, pick 8

[draft]Windswept Heath
Survival of the Fittest
Porcelain Legionnaire
Polluted Delta
Torch Fiend
Smallpox
Volcanic Island
Lone Missionary[/draft]

I'll take all the first-strikers I can get.

My Pick: [card]Porcelain Legionnaire[/card]

Pack 2, pick 9

[draft]Birthing Pod
Green Sun's Zenith
Mirran Crusader
Cryptic Command
Nevinyrral's Disk
Plateau
Detention Sphere[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Mirran Crusader[/card]

Pack 2, pick 10

[draft]Vorapede
Badlands
Venser, the Sojourner
Eternal Witness
Koth of the Hammer
Pillage[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Badlands[/card]

Pack 2, pick 11

[draft]Red Sun's Zenith
Smash to Smithereens
Joraga Treespeaker
Engineered Explosives
Knight of the Reliquary[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Red Sun's Zenith[/card]

Pack 2, pick 12

[draft]Awakening Zone
Scavenging Ooze
Arbor Elf
Avenger of Zendikar[/draft]

Welcome to Greenland.

My Pick: [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]

Pack 2, pick 13

[draft]Life from the Loam
Growth Spasm
Force Spike[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Force Spike[/card]

Pack 2, pick 14

[draft]Pernicious Deed
Adventuring Gear[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Adventuring Gear[/card]

Pack 2, pick 15

[draft]Opposition[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Opposition[/card]

Utility land pick:

[draft]Mishra's Factory[/draft]

Pack 3, pick 1:

[draft]Gravecrawler
Flickerwisp
Solemn Simulacrum
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Farseek
Gemstone Mine
Venser, Shaper Savant
Bitterblossom
Forbid
Thundermaw Hellkite
City of Brass
Hymn to Tourach
Verdant Catacombs
Shriekmaw
Lingering Souls[/draft]

I debated over this pick for a good long while. Obviously it's between [card]Lingering Souls[/card] and [card]Bitterblossom[/card]. [card]Bitterblossom[/card] is slow at times. When you cast it, you don't actually get an attacking creature until a full two turns later, and the life loss is not irrelevant. Although it's a different metagame, I don't think it's an accident that [card]Lingering Souls[/card] has seen far more Legacy success than [card]Bitterblossom[/card].

My Pick: [card]Lingering Souls[/card]

Pack 3, pick 2:

[draft]Obstinate Baloth
Chandra's Phoenix
Steam Vents
Lightning Bolt
Terminus
Phyrexian Arena
Act of Treason
Vampire Hexmage
Dryad Militant
Ponder
Trygon Predator
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Carrion Feeder
Man-o'-War[/draft]

Well, if there's one card to make me regret my colors it's [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]. Blue has certainly been underdrafted, but it's far too late for me to try and muster the double-blue for his casting cost. [card]Phyrexian Arena[/card] and [card]Vampire Hexmage[/card] are both options, and as of this pick I only have two 2-drop creatures. I don't know that this pick was correct, but at the time I felt a pretty desperate need for additional creatures.

My Pick: [card]Vampire Hexmage[/card]

Pack 3, pick 3:

[draft]Sower of Temptation
Spell Pierce
Hellrider
Brimstone Volley
Baleful Strix
Grafted Wargear
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Tangle Wire
Swords to Plowshares
Reckless Charge
Regrowth
Sacred Foundry
Wall of Roots[/draft]

I don't think my deck is aggressive enough to take advantage of [card]Tangle Wire[/card], and I still have next to no fixing.

My Pick: [card]Sacred Foundry[/card]

Pack 3, pick 4:

[draft]Gravecrawler
Magma Jet
Marsh Flats
Mox Diamond
Birthing Pod
Stifle
Tuktuk the Explorer
Act of Aggression
Pestermite
Syncopate
Greater Gargadon
Rotting Rats
Scrubland[/draft]

[card]Scrubland[/card] and [card]Marsh Flats[/card] end up in the same pack (disappointingly), and it's not very close. Scrubland does let my [card]Verdant Catacombs[/card] fetch white, but I have two [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]es and an [card]Adventuring Gear[/card]. Further, [card]Marsh Flats[/card] can give me access to either black or white, and grabs both [card]Sacred Foundry[/card] and [card]Badlands[/card] if our red splash ever comes together.

My Pick: [card]Marsh Flats[/card]

Pack 3, pick 5:

[draft]Overgrown Tomb
Stitched Drake
Kor Sanctifiers
Scalding Tarn
Liliana of the Veil
Dark Confidant
Strangleroot Geist
Primeval Titan
Wasteland
Fulminator Mage
Oblivion Ring[/draft]

This is mildly ridiculous. As if [card]Lingering Souls[/card] and [card]Bitterblossom[/card] in the same pack wasn't bad enough. It turned out that the four drafters to my right were all not in black, leading to both Liliana and [card]Dark Confidant[/card] reaching me for pick five. My deck much preferred the body, and wouldn't mind the life loss either.

My Pick: [card]Dark Confidant[/card]

Pack 3, pick 6:

[draft]Mentor of the Meek
Pawn of Ulamog
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Carrion Feeder
Remand
Call of the Herd
Avalanche Riders
Dark Ritual
Daze[/draft]

None of these cards were all that likely to make my deck. Tezzeret serves as yet another reminder of the awesome deck I could have made if I had moved into Esper colors.

My Pick: [card]Mentor of the Meek[/card]

Pack 3, pick 7:

[draft]Flickerwisp
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Gemstone Mine
Forbid
City of Brass
Hymn to Tourach
Shriekmaw[/draft]

Somewhere along the line, somebody messed up the packs. We'll blame it on the first time recording. [card]Flickerwisp[/card] is a strong option here, but at the time I really had this lingering feeling of being short on fixing, a relic of picking up no fixing lands in pack 1. Further, I have a number of solid 3-drops that I am likely to run over [card]Flickerwisp[/card] ([card]Lingering Souls[/card], [card]Kitchen Finks[/card], [card]Mirran Crusader[/card], [card]Silverblade Paladin[/card]), with [card]Nekrataal[/card] as my only permanent that benefited from a blink effect. I didn't know if [card]Flickerwisp[/card] would make my 40, but [card]City of Brass[/card] would certainly make the cut.

My Pick: [card]City of Brass[/card]

Pack 3, pick 8:

[draft]Chandra's Phoenix
Phyrexian Arena
Dryad Militant
Trygon Predator
Carrion Feeder
Man-o'-War[/draft]

Sometimes you punt and get there anyways.

My Pick: [card]Phyrexian Arena[/card]

Pack 3, pick 9:

[draft]Manic Vandal
Acidic Slime
Greater Gargadon
Cyclonic Rift
Student of Warfare
Flametongue Kavu
Pithing Needle
Noble Hierarch[/draft]

Picking up the red lands finally pays off!

My Pick: [card]Flametongue Kavu[/card]

Pack 3, pick 10:

[draft]Spell Pierce
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Tangle Wire
Reckless Charge
Regrowth[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Tangle Wire[/card]

Pack 3, pick 11:

[draft]Stifle
Greater Gargadon
Rotting Rats
Scrubland[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Scrubland[/card]

Pack 3, pick 12:

[draft]Stitched Drake
Kor Sanctifiers
Fulminator Mage[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Kor Sanctifiers[/card]

Pack 3, pick 13:

[draft]Dark Ritual[/draft]

The table really botched pack 3, and I only end up with 13 picks (for now).

My Pick: [card]Dark Ritual[/card]

Utility Land Pick:

[draft]Grand Coliseum
Murmuring Bosk[/draft]

For a while I experimented with including a couple multi-color lands in my utility land pile. I took two here, and as much fun as it was to fetch [card]Murmuring Bosk[/card] with [card]Verdant Catacombs[/card], these additional fixers were unnecessary both for my deck and the utility land pile. I've since removed them from the utility land stack, and my deck would have been better off with lands like [card]Blinkmoth Nexus[/card] and [card]Secluded Steppe[/card].

After the draft was “over,” a player discovered a pack that had somehow stopped circulating the table. Oops.

Pack 3, pick 14:

[draft]Duress
Unearth
Marsh Flats
Psionic Blast
Eldrazi Monument
Karn Liberated
Jinxed Idol
Blood Crypt
Misty Rainforest
Lotleth Troll[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Marsh Flats[/card]

Pack 3, pick 15:

[draft]Duress
Jinxed Idol[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Duress[/card]

Deckbuilding

I built the following WBr beatdown deck, with relevant cards listed in the sideboard:

This certainly was not the strongest deck I've built, but it's one that has the potential to 3–0. These decks don't have as many lines of play as other Cube decks, and success usually depends on how well you draw. On to the matches!

Round 1: Maxime, WBr

In the first round I'm paired against first-time Cuber Maxime in a WBR mirror. His deck is a strange control-ish build, sporting the likes of [card]Day of Judgment[/card], [card]Gideon Jura[/card], [card]Nevinyrral's Disk[/card], and the [card]Blood Artist[/card]/[card]Terminus[/card] nombo.

Game 1:
I win the roll and keep the following loose hand:

[draft]Plains
Plains
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Scrubland
Lingering Souls
Nekrataal[/draft]

Maxime keeps. I pass with no turn 1 play, and draw a [card]Porcelain Legionnaire[/card] off the top for turn 2. On turn 3 I draw [card]Kor Sanctifier[/card] and cast [card]Lingering Souls[/card]. Maxime has no plays during the opening three turns, indicating a likely board wipe incoming. On turn 4 I draw [card]Dismember[/card], swing in for 5 knocking Maxime to 11, and pass with no play to not over-commit.

Maxime then reveals the expected board wipe, dropping [card]Nevinyrral's Disk[/card] on the table. Turn 5 I blow up the disk with a kicked [card]Kor Sanctifier[/card] and swing for 5 again. Maxime plays an [card]Abyssal Persecutor[/card]. Turn 6 I swing with the Legionnaire, Sanctifier and two Spirit tokens. Maxime blocks the Legionnaire with his Persecutor, and I [card]Dismember[/card] the Persecutor before first-strike damage. Maxime scoops.

Sideboarding:
In:

[draft]Vampire Hexmage
Duress
Chainer's Edict[/draft]

Out:

[draft]Kor Skyfisher
Phyrexian Arena
Doom Blade[/draft]

I sideboard to better configure myself against his Gideon, board wipes, and black creatures.

Game 2:

Maxime and I both keep. My opening hand is:

[draft]Murmuring Bosk
Marsh Flats
Scrubland
Go for the Throat
Dark Confidant
Thoughtseize
Grafted Wargear[/draft]

Maxime plays “land, go” his opening two turns. I draw and play [card]Steppe Lynx[/card] on turn 1. Next turn I crack in for 4 off of Marsh Flats and play [card]Dark Confidant[/card]. Maxime kills my [card]Steppe Lynx[/card] with a [card]Bone Shredder[/card] and passes back.

Turn 3 I draw [card]Vampire Hexmage[/card] and a land. I open with [card]Thoughtseize[/card], revealing:

[draft]Liliana of the Veil
Vindicate
Blade Splicer
Zealous Conscripts[/draft]

My biggest concern at this point is keeping [card]Dark Confidant[/card] alive. Despite Maxime having no white sources, I take the [card]Vindicate[/card] and play [card]Vampire Hexmage[/card] as protection against Liliana's sacrifice ability.

Maxime opts not to pay the echo, and plays a [card]Sphere of the Suns[/card]. On my fourth turn I play and Equip [card]Grafted Wargear[/card] to [card]Vampire Hexmage[/card], and swing for 7, knocking Maxime to 8. Turn 5 I kill Blade Splicer and the token with [card]Go for the Throat[/card] and [card]Chainer's Edict[/card], and attack Maxime down to 1. With no means of dealing with two creatures, Maxime scoops.

Round 2: Gert, UR

Game 1:
I win the roll and keep:

[draft]Mishra's Factory
Scrubland
Verdant Catacombs
Steppe Lynx
Mirran Crusader
Go for the Throat[/draft]

My Turn 1: [card]Steppe Lynx[/card].
Gert's Turn 1: Suspend [card]Ancestral Visions[/card]

My T2: Draw [card]Kitchen Finks[/card]. Crack, fetch Sacred Foundry, swing for 4 with [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]. Play [card]Dark Confidant[/card].
Gert's T2: Kill [card]Dark Confidant[/card] with [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card].

My T3: Draw [card]Kor Skyfisher[/card]. Play [card]Mishra's Factory[/card], [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and swing for 2 (Gert at 14).

My T4: Gert [card]Vendilion Clique[/card]s on my upkeep, putting [card]Go for the Throat[/card] on the bottom of my library. Draw Plains and [card]Grand Coliseum[/card]. I play [card]Grand Coliseum[/card] and attack with [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]. Gert trades [card]Vendilion Clique[/card] for [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]. (Me: 19, Gert: 11)
Gert's T4: [card]Faerie Conclave[/card] tapped, go.

My T5: Draw Swamp. Activate Factory, swing with Finks, Factory and Mirran Crusader. Gert kills the factory with [card]Electrolyze[/card]. (Gert: 4)
Gert's T5: [card]Sower of Temptation[/card], taking my tapped [card]Mirran Crusader[/card].

My T6: Draw [card]Grafted Wargear[/card]. Here I make a pretty big punt. My plan was to trade [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] with the [card]Sower of Temptation[/card], then play [card]Kor Skyfisher[/card] post-combat to rebuy a fresh Finks, holding [card]Grafted Wargear[/card] for the following turn. Instead, Gert takes the damage and goes to 1. I should have played and equipped Wargear to force the trade and get my [card]Mirran Crusader[/card] back.
Post-combat I play [card]Kor Skyfisher[/card] and [card]Grafted Wargear[/card], equip Wargear to Skyfisher to put him out of burn range.
Gert's T6: [card]Fettergeist[/card], go.

My T7: Draw [card]Baneslayer Angel[/card]. I swing with a 5/5 [card]Kor Skyfisher[/card], and Gert blocks with [card]Fettergeist[/card] and uses [card]Magma Jet[/card] to finish off Skyfisher. I play Baneslayer Angel post-combat.

My T8: Draw Fetid Heath. I suspect Gert has a trick, as I saw him play [card]Cyclonic Rift[/card] in the previous match. As the life totals stand 19 to 1 in my favor, I don't need to equip [card]Grafted Wargear[/card] for added life gain. I attack, and Gert casts [card]Cyclonic Rift[/card] returning Baneslayer to my hand.

Over the following turns Gert continues to try and dig for answers with a [card]Mulldrifter[/card], but eventually Baneslayer punches through for a final score of 34 life to -4.

Sideboarding:
My main concern with sideboarding was targeting his removal spells with hand disruption. I brought in [card]Duress[/card] for [card]Phyrexian Arena[/card], but that may have been suboptimal.

Game 2:

Gert Keeps his hand, and I mulligan a hand that had 4 lands and 3 removal spells. Gert had the better late game so I needed a hand that could field some threats. I kept the following 6:

[draft]Plains
Scrubland
Badlands
Swamp
Enlightened Tutor
Lingering Souls[/draft]

Gert's T2: [card]Ludevic's Test Subject[/card].

Gert's T7: Gert transforms his Test Subject with a fifth counter. He attacks me from 19 to 6.
My T7: I draw a blank on my turn and scoop.

Game 3:
I side out a Plains and bring in [card]Vampire Hexmage[/card] to up my threat density. I mulligan a 6-lander and keep the following:

[draft]Plains
Grand Coliseum
Umezawa's Jitte
Mirran Crusader
Dismember
Nekrataal[/draft]

This game was fairly straightforward. Each of my creatures were killed before they could do any damage, and I drew one spell over 9 draw steps. Despite the unlucky draws, this game really highlighted some of my drafting mistakes. Particularly, picking up an additional manland would have helped immensely.

Round 3: Hannes, Ubg

For the final round, I play against Hannes, who has brewed some ungodly Tezzeret, Birthing Pod, Crucible of Worlds concoction.

I win the roll and keep:

[draft]Plains
Scrubland
Fetid Heath
Steppe Lynx
Dismember
Thoughtseize
Kor Sanctifiers[/draft]

My Turn 1: [card]Steppe Lynx[/card].
Hannes' Turn 1: Fetchland, go.

My T2: Draw [card]Phyrexian Arena[/card]. [card]Thoughtseize[/card], revealing:

[draft]Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Swamp
Geralf's Messenger
Crucible of Worlds
Birthing Pod
Deep Analysis[/draft]

I don't really care about the Crucible, and have [card]Kor Sanctifiers[/card] to answer any [card]Birthing Pod[/card] shenanigans. I take [card]Geralf's Messenger[/card], then swing for 2 with Steppe Lynx.
Hannes' T2: Fetch, [card]Phantasmal Image[/card], copying [card]Steppe Lynx[/card].

My T3: Draw [card]Porcelain Legionnaire[/card] and play [card]Phyrexian Arena[/card]. Attack Hannes to 14 with [card]Steppe Lynx[/card].
Hannes' T3: Fetch, swing for 4 with [card]Phantasmal Image[/card]. (Me: 14, Hannes: 14)

My T4: Draw Verdant Catacombs and Marsh Flats. Crack fetch, [card]Dismember[/card] (paying 2 life) his [card]Phantasmal Image[/card] and play [card]Porcelain Legionnaire[/card] (paying 2 life). Swing for 4. (Me: 8, Hannes: 9)
Hannes' T4: Hannes played a fetchland, a hasty [card]Bloodghast[/card] and promptly swung his [card]Bloodghast[/card] into my [card]Porcelain Legionnaire[/card] (whoops). Post-combat he cracked his fetchland out of shame, bringing back [card]Bloodghast[/card].

My T4: Fetch, swing for 7, bringing Hannes to 1. [card]Kor Sanctifier[/card] blows up the Crucible and Hannes scoops.

Sideboarding:
I took out [card]Doom Blade[/card] for [card]Duress[/card].

Game 2:
I keep on the draw:

[draft]Grand Coliseum
Mishra's Factory
Fetid Heath
Steppe Lynx
Umezawa's Jitte
Lingering Souls
Kitchen Finks[/draft]

Hannes' Turn 1: Fetch, go.
My Turn 1: Draw Plains, play Plains and [card]Steppe Lynx[/card].

Hannes' T2: [card]Tragic Slip[/card] [card]Steppe Lynx[/card]. Fetch.
My T2: Draw [card]Flametongue Kavu[/card]. [card]Mishra's Factory[/card], Jitte, go.

Hannes' T3: Fetch, [card]Crucible of Worlds[/card].
My T3: Draw Marsh Flats, play [card]Lingering Souls[/card].

Hannes' T4: Fetch, [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card], bounce a token (Jace at 2 loyalty).
My T4: Draw Plains. Activate Factory, equip Jitte to Spirit token, swing with Factory to kill Jace, and swing at Hannes with the token.

From there Hannes managed to get some [card]Bloodghast[/card]/[card]Crucible of Worlds[/card]/[card]Birthing Pod[/card] engine going, but my Jitte engine proved to be more formidable.

Final Match Record: 2 wins, 1 loss (2–0, 1–2, 2–0).

The table layout looked as follows:

I was positioned ideally for black, with all the players in black seated to my left. With the benefit of hindsight, it looks like my seat was better suited for Esper than WBr.

Gert, my Round 2 opponent, took the draft with the following deck:

Thanks for reading!

Jason's Cube Discussion Site: http://riptidelab.com/