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7 Hilarious Draft Challenges

Cube is one of my favorite ways of enjoying Magic, and if you’ve never tried it, I highly encourage you to give it a shot. A Magic cube is a large collection of cards that are used for drafting and playing Limited. The cards are often powerful, and in the case of the Vintage cube, they span through all of Magic’s History. 

Every Holiday season, Magic Online releases the Vintage cube for people to draft for an entire month. The Vintage cube is my favorite cube, as you can draft a variety of synergistic, and often degenerate strategies. Towards the end of the Vintage cube season, I like to spice things up and do some stipulation cube drafts. What’s a stipulation draft you ask? Before the draft begins, you determine a simple set of rules and exceptions, then draft according to those rules. 

Stipulation drafts are a fun way to create a challenge for yourself, or a way to change things up within your playgroup. Stipulations aren’t just limited to cube, so you could use these some of these stips in any Limited environment. I’m a full-time streamer, so I spend a lot of time trying out a wide variety of stipulations, and in this article, I want to share with you my all time favorite stips. Enjoy!

Stipulation: Super Friends

Elspeth, Knight-ErrantAjani VengeantJace Beleren

Rules: 

  • Any time there’s a Planeswalker in the pack, you MUST take it. 
  • Flip Planeswalkers do not count as walkers (E.g. Jace Vryn’s Prodigy).
  • You get 1 pick (and one pick ONLY) through the entire draft to ignore the rules and take whatever you want. 
  • Your final deck doesn’t need to include all the walkers you drafted.

Exceptions:

Stipulation: UNO Draft

Uno Cards for the Uno Stip

Rules: 

  • Each pick must match the previous pick on converted mana cost OR share any color.
  • Cards follow Commander color identity rules, so the colors of its casting cost plus the colors of every colored mana symbol that appear on the card.
  • Fetchlands count as cards with color of the basic land they could fetch (E.g. Misty Rainforest is U or G). 
  • Progenitus and Nicol Bolas are wildcards, as are colorless cards, meaning that if you can legally take these cards, your next pick is no longer tied to a color/cmc. 
  • Every new pack resets your color/cmc. 
  • If there’s no legal pick, the pick is also wild, and can be played in the final deck.

Exceptions:

Stipulation: 60 Words Max in Your Deck

Words of Wisdom

Rules: 

  • Maximum 60 words in your deck. We’re counting words in card titles, and every single word counts.
  • Basic lands count as 1 word (island, mountain, etc). 
  • Hyphenated words count as one word.
  • Split cards count both sides (E.g. Wear || Tear counts as 2). 
  • Flip cards only count the front.   
  • Sideboarding still requires 60 words max.

Exceptions: None.

Stipulation: Eldrazi Winter

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Rules: 

  • Any time there’s an Eldrazi or a permanent with cmc 7+ in a pack, you MUST take it.

Exceptions:

Stipulation: You Can’t Attack

Moat

Note: This stipulation works better in Legacy/Modern cube. Vintage cube is too easy because of Storm. 

Rules: 

  • No rules about what you can and cannot draft, as long as your deck’s win condition kills the opponent without attacking them (E.g. Planeswalker ultimates, burn spells, milling them, etc). 
  • You can draft creatures as long as you never attack with them. 

Exceptions:

  • None.

Stipulation: Cut Five

Note: This stipulation is HARD. You’ll end up with many picks you don’t want in your deck, so pay attention to your mana. You’re often 3-5 colors with this stip. 

Rules: 

  • You can draft whatever you want, but your final deck only gets to make 5 total cuts. 
  • You have to navigate your draft keeping in mind you’ll probably end up in 5-color bad cards. 

Exceptions:

  • None.

Stipulation: Boros Control Challenge

Boros Signet

Note: Boros Control is one of the worst archetypes in the Vintage cube, therein lies the challenge. 

Rules: 

  • No white or red 1 drops allowed – your deck cannot be an aggro deck. 
  • Your final deck must be a good mix of white/red control cards, not mono white splashing red or vice versa.  
  • There’s no draft restrictions, but you cannot play non-red or non-white cards in your final deck (artifacts are ok, as is something like Phyrexian Metamorph or Dismember that you can cast off only R/W mana).
  • Try to 3-0 with the deck. 

The stipulations above have many rules and exceptions to follow, but you can also keep things simple, with stipulations like “draft a 5-color deck”, “draft a mono-colored deck”, “force storm”, “always draft a multi-colored card if available”, “draft alternating even/odd cmcs” etc. Stipulations are fun because they make things harder for you, and the added challenge is part of the charm. 

The Vintage cube is still up for a few more days (as of the publishing of this article), so give these stipulations a shot! Which of these stips was your favorite? Did I miss any good stips? You can let me know on Twitter @gabyspartz, or on my stream at twitch.tv/gabyspartz

Also, if you draft anything really sweet, tweet a picture at @channelfireball and me!

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