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Cube Design – Cube Draft #2

My last draft was well received, so I took a swing at recording another 8-man. This draft was done with a slightly updated list, which can be found here. The new list includes the full suite of Dragon’s Maze cards like [card]Ral Zarek[/card], [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card], [card]Far // Away[/card] and [card]Blood Scrivener[/card]. I also revised the utility land draft, greatly reducing both the quality and the quantity of the fixing options available.

Drafting

Pack 1, pick 1

[draft]Deep Analysis
Dark Ritual
Reins of Power
Damnation
Wild Nacatl
Snapcaster Mage
Carrion Feeder
Sylvan Library
Wooded Foothills
Birthing Pod
Faithless Looting
Flooded Strand
Noble Hierarch
Undying Evil
Sun Titan[/draft]

We open a fairly middle of the road Cube pack, with the strongest cards being [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card], [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], [card]Damnation[/card], and [card]Sylvan Library[/card]. Here [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] is both most powerful and most flexible. [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] slots into blue decks of any speed, and is even fairly splashable should we move into other colors.

My Pick: [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]

Pack 1, pick 2

[draft]Thoughtseize
Arc Trail
Engineered Explosives
Magma Jet
Marsh Flats
Lotus Cobra
Entomb
Coldsteel Heart
Tragic Slip
Counterspell
Hero of Oxid Ridge
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Stonecloaker
Tidehollow Sculler[/draft]

The cards that come to mind are [card]Thoughtseize[/card], [card]Counterspell[/card], and [card]Lotus Cobra[/card]. [card]Counterspell[/card] is a solid if unexciting card that keeps us on theme with our first-pick [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. [card]Thoughtseize[/card] is incredibly valuable in Cube, giving you both information on your opponent’s deck and the ability to shape games in meaningful ways. However, the card I’ve had most success with is [card]Lotus Cobra[/card]. My Cube is chock-full of fetchlands, and landing a five-drop on turn 3 is often game-winning. Even without a third-turn fetch, landing a four-drop without tapping a creature provides a huge tempo boost.

My Pick: [card]Lotus Cobra[/card]

Pack 1, pick 3

[draft]Consecrated Sphinx
Awakening Zone
Tarmogoyf
Act of Treason
Ponder
Tangle Wire
Porcelain Legionnaire
Forbid
Angel of Serenity
Lone Missionary
Hallowed Fountain
Incinerate
Rakdos Cackler[/draft]

Our options here are between [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] and [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card]. [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] is much stronger in my Cube than in others I have played, and it’s not uncommon for him to grow to a 6/7 or larger in the game. [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card] stands next to [card]Grave Titan[/card] as the Cube’s most powerful finishers (I don’t run [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]), and our opening picks lend themselves well to going for some kind of big control shell.

My Pick: [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card]

Pack 1, pick 4

[draft]Vorapede
Vengevine
Mirror Entity
Gravecrawler
Fact or Fiction
Mentor of the Meek
Wooded Foothills
Spikeshot Elder
Wall of Blossoms
Mox Diamond
Gitaxian Probe
Baleful Strix[/draft]

This pack provided an interesting decision point. [card]Vorapede[/card] is exactly the kind of high-impact 5-drop that we want in a [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] deck, but puts us rather heavily into green. [card]Fact or Fiction[/card], on the other hand, is pretty crucial to a control shell. Cube control decks are often lacking in useful sources of card advantage. Many control cards, like spot removal and counterspells, trade resources one-for-one. They also tend to be rather threat-light, and [card]Fact or Fiction[/card] digging through an eighth of your deck goes a long way toward consistently finding your finishers.

My Pick: [card]Fact or Fiction[/card]

Pack 1, pick 5

[draft]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Student of Warfare
Greater Gargadon
Wall of Roots
Swords to Plowshares
Dissipate
Detention Sphere
Bloodbraid Elf
Growth Spasm
Boros Charm
Everflowing Chalice[/draft]

Pick 5 we open the best white removal spell, [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card], and one of the scariest white aggressive creatures, Thalia. I’ve taken [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card] as high as first-pick in previous drafts, so its presence here is a pretty big signal.

My Pick: [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card]

Pack 1, pick 6

[draft]Cyclonic Rift
Eternal Witness
Greater Gargadon
Accorder Paladin
Survival of the Fittest
Trinket Mage
Blood Artist
Rancor
Mana Tithe
Misty Rainforest[/draft]

We already have [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] and a few blue spells, and just picked up a possible signal that white is open. A blue-green fetchland is exactly what we need here.

My Pick: [card]Misty Rainforest[/card]

Pack 1, pick 7

[draft]Steam Vents
Carrion Feeder
Unearth
Disciple of Bolas
Yavimaya Elder
Eldrazi Monument
Glen Elendra Archmage
Memory Lapse
Spectral Procession[/draft] [card]Memory Lapse[/card] is a deceptively strong counterspell. It slows down the opponent and denies them a new draw, and overall serves to slow down the game. Another option is [card]Yavimaya Elder[/card], who is another source of card advantage, and serves as an early road-block that helps to cast late-game spells. For some reason though I’ve been reluctant to move into green, perhaps to my detriment. By this point I could have [card]Sylvan Library[/card], [card]Lotus Cobra[/card], [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], [card]Vorapede[/card], [card]Eternal Witness[/card], and [card]Yavimaya Elder[/card], which might just be a better spot than our current blue deck.

As it currently stands, [card]Lotus Cobra[/card] is my only green card and I may just move into another color entirely.

My Pick: [card]Memory Lapse[/card]

Pack 1, pick 8

[draft]Disenchant
Spell Pierce
Wrath of God
Jinxed Idol
Evasive Action
Tuktuk the Explorer
Relic of Progenitus
Kor Sanctifiers[/draft]

Cube pack distributions are strange in the sense that sometimes you’ll get a really good card late, but the respective archetype or color isn’t actually open. We took a fifth-pick [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card], but there hasn’t been a lot of other indication that white is open. Eighth pick [card]Wrath of God[/card], however, sends the message pretty clearly.

My Pick: [card]Wrath of God[/card]

Pack 1, pick 9

[draft]Dark Ritual
Reins of Power
Birthing Pod
Flooded Strand
Undying Evil
Sun Titan[/draft]

Our first pack returns, and most of the expected cards are missing. [card]Damnation[/card] is gone, as are the Library and the Hierarch. This pack gives us an on-color fetchland and [card]Sun Titan[/card]. I’m not terribly impressed with [card]Sun Titan[/card], and in some decks I even leave him in the board in favor of other finishers. The fetch, however, is a welcome ninth pick.

My Pick: [card]Flooded Strand[/card]

Pack 1, pick 10

[draft]Thoughtseize
Magma Jet
Entomb
Coldsteel Heart
Stonecloaker
Tidehollow Sculler[/draft]

I’m not sure why [card]Thoughtseize[/card] is still in the pack, but I’ll take all the mana rocks I can get.

My Pick: [card]Coldsteel Heart[/card]

Pack 1, pick 11

[draft]Awakening Zone
Act of Treason
Tangle Wire
Angel of Serenity
Lone Missionary[/draft]

Well that was a freebie.

My Pick: [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]

Pack 1, pick 12

[draft]Mirror Entity
Mentor of the Meek
Spikeshot Elder
Gitaxian Probe[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card]

Pack 1, pick 13

[draft]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Student of Warfare
Wall of Roots[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card]

Pack 1, pick 14

[draft]Rancor
Mana Tithe[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Mana Tithe[/card]

Pack 1, pick 15

[draft]Eldrazi Monument[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Eldrazi Monument[/card]

Utility Land Pick:

[draft]Shelldock Isle[/draft]

Pack 2, pick 1

[draft]Act of Aggression
Underground Sea
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Temple Garden
Abyssal Persecutor
Knight of the Reliquary
Control Magic
Batterskull
Augur of Bolas
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Diregraf Captain
Innocent Blood
Kird Ape
Birthing Pod
Kor Skyfisher[/draft]

There’s a [card]Temple Garden[/card] here, and so far I’m all-fetch and no duals. However, in our control build, [card]Batterskull[/card] is essentially unpassable.

My Pick: [card]Batterskull[/card]

Pack 2, pick 2

[draft]Polluted Delta
Izzet Charm
Crucible of Worlds
Leonin Relic-Warder
Blasphemous Act
Gravecrawler
Overgrown Tomb
Ludevic’s Test Subject
Nevinyrral’s Disk
Geralf’s Messenger
Wickerbough Elder
Farseek
Chandra’s Phoenix
Nature’s Claim[/draft]

I think there’s an argument to be made for [card]Nevinyrral’s Disk[/card], but I’ve found the card to be rather slow. Further, we’re looking to ramp with our own mana rocks, so nuking them along with the board feels counterproductive. What I really want is a way to cast my bombs sooner.

My Pick: [card]Farseek[/card]

Pack 2, pick 3

[draft]Joraga Treespeaker
Dryad Militant
Tropical Island
Cryptic Command
Fatestitcher
Grim Lavamancer
Blood Crypt
Solemn Simulacrum
Oona’s Prowler
Breeding Pool
Sower of Temptation
Arid Mesa
Vampire Hexmage[/draft]

Well this is interesting. I want [card]Tropical Island[/card]. I really want [card]Tropical Island[/card]. But [card]Breeding Pool[/card] would be fine too. I’m sure if I pass the pack that [card]Tropical Island[/card] won’t return. The Edric didn’t wheel in Pack 1 so somebody is in Simic. Are two people in Simic? Can the [card]Breeding Pool[/card] wheel? That [card]Cryptic Command[/card] certainly won’t. Maybe we’ll just play an Azorius deck? Do I take the gamble?

My Pick: [card]Cryptic Command[/card]. I gambled.

Pack 2, pick 4

[draft]Scrubland
Smallpox
Opposition
Wasteland
Condemn
Obstinate Baloth
Dismember
Gravecrawler
Plated Geopede
Steppe Lynx
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Misty Rainforest[/draft]

This is a funny bit of juxtaposition.

Last pack I took the [card]Cryptic Command[/card], and this pack I’m passing on [card]Meloku the Clouded Mirror[/card]. I guess I’m playing Cube after all!

Here I want another tool against the lightning fast aggro decks my environment produces. [card]Condemn[/card] also happens to be fantastic against the recursive beaters like [card]Bloodghast[/card] and [card]Gravecrawler[/card].

My Pick: [card]Condemn[/card]

Pack 2, pick 5

[draft]Bonesplitter
Birthing Pod
Taiga
Perilous Myr
Furnace Celebration
Doom Blade
Call of the Herd
Burning-Tree Emissary
Hell’s Thunder
Brimstone Volley[/draft]

As well as [card]Far // Away[/card]

The options are [card]Perilous Myr[/card] and [card]Call of the Herd[/card]. Both are fairly effective against aggro, but only one of them can actually help me finish off the game. Further, I’m already heavy on 2-drops, and could use support in the 3-drop slot.

My Pick: [card]Call of the Herd[/card]

Pack 2, pick 6

[draft]Stupor
Savannah
Reckless Charge
Scalding Tarn
Regrowth
Sea Gate Oracle
Keldon Marauders
Birthing Pod
Mind Stone
Day of Judgment[/draft]

Decisions, decisions. This pack has a lot that we could use, but the only real options are [card]Day of Judgment[/card] and [card]Savannah[/card]. This could be our last opportunity to pick up green fixing, as we’ve already passed [card]Temple Garden[/card], [card]Breeding Pool[/card], and [card]Tropical Island[/card]. I’m normally quite greedy when it comes to fixing, but it may be time to just hunker down and stick to two colors.

My Pick: [card]Day of Judgment[/card]

Pack 2, pick 7

[draft]Force of Will
Bone Shredder
Primal Command
Ranger of Eos
Duress
Hymn to Tourach
Avalanche Riders
Creeping Tar Pit
Phyrexian Revoker[/draft]

Passing on all that fixing means we can’t move in on [card]Primal Command[/card]. Even if we do wheel the [card]Breeding Pool[/card], or deck won’t be able to reliably muster double-green. Which is a shame, because [card]Primal Command[/card] is incredible in these types of decks. It buys time and tutors up a win-condition. You can even rebuy it with [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]!

My Pick: [card]Force of Will[/card]

Pack 2, pick 8

[draft]Burst Lightning
Stoneforge Mystic
Wasteland
Grafted Wargear
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Bloodstained Mire
Horizon Canopy
Chainer’s Edict[/draft]

Reasonable.

My Pick: [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card]

Pack 2, pick 9

[draft]Act of Aggression
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Control Magic
Augur of Bolas
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Diregraf Captain
Kird Ape[/draft]

All three of the viable cards here are hitting redundant slots in my deck. I already have many great 4-drops ([card]Day of Judgment[/card], [card]Wrath of God[/card], [card]Cryptic Command[/card], [card]Fact or Fiction[/card]) and two good finishers ([card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card], [card]Angel of Serenity[/card]) and several 2-drops. Whatever I pick is likely to end up in my sideboard. However, with the benefit of hindsight [card]Control Magic[/card] really should have been the pick. I was siding out board-wipes in the control mirrors, and [card]Control Magic[/card] would have been a perfect sideboard addition.

My Pick: [card]Augur of Bolas[/card]

Pack 2, pick 10

[draft]Leonin Relic-Warder
Blasphemous Act
Gravecrawler
Ludevic’s Test Subject
Wickerbough Elder
Nature’s Claim[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Ludevic’s Test Subject[/card]

Pack 2, pick 11

[draft]Joraga Treespeaker
Fatestitcher
Oona’s Prowler
Arid Mesa
Vampire Hexmage[/draft]

Well, the [card]Breeding Pool[/card] didn’t wheel. It turns out there were not one, not two, but three other drafters in Simic colors.

My Pick: [card]Arid Mesa[/card]

Pack 2, pick 12

[draft]Scrubland
Smallpox
Opposition
Dismember[/draft]

With the knowledge of pack 3’s contents, I wish I had taken the [card]Scrubland[/card].

My Pick: [card]Dismember[/card]

Pack 2, pick 13

[draft]Bonesplitter
Furnace Celebration
Hell’s Thunder[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Bonesplitter[/card]

Pack 2, pick 14

[draft]Stupor
Keldon Marauders[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Stupor[/card]

Pack 2, pick 15

[draft]Phyrexian Revoker[/draft]

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

Utility Land Draft Pick:

[draft]Mishra’s Factory[/draft]

Pack 3, pick 1

[draft]Koth of the Hammer
Trygon Predator
Syncopate
Sundering Growth
Aven Mindcensor
Avenger of Zendikar
Nest Invader
Life from the Loam
Hero of Bladehold
Mark of Mutiny
Mulldrifter
Force Spike
Volcanic Island
Smash to Smithereens
Sword of Feast and Famine[/draft]

The viable options are [card]Mulldrifter[/card], [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card], and [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card]. I don’t think [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] fits my deck very well, but it’s possible I should just pick it anyways for its raw card power and ability to win games if unanswered. [card]Mulldrifter[/card] is a nice value target, and the Sword gives us redundancy for the occasional [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] and [card]Batterskull[/card] draw.

My Pick: [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card]

Pack 3, pick 2

[draft]Godless Shrine
Manic Vandal
Qasali Pridemage
Birds of Paradise
Lotleth Troll
Sublime Archangel
Zombie Cutthroat
Strangleroot Geist
Crystal Shard
Celestial Colonnade
Harrow
Phyrexian Arena
Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Geist of Saint Traft[/draft] [card]Sublime Archangel[/card] will be fairly lackluster with our relative lack of creatures. The pick in my opinion is between [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card] and [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card]. At this point we have two great equipments, so suiting up a Geist looks to be a viable win condition.

My Pick: [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card]

Pack 3, pick 3

[draft]Thirst for Knowledge
Duskmantle Seer
Delver of Secrets
Fleshbag Marauder
Noble Hierarch
Adventuring Gear
Pithing Needle
Lingering Souls
Voice of Resurgence
Hallowed Burial
Cabal Therapy
Stitched Drake
Green Sun’s Zenith[/draft] [card]Hallowed Burial[/card] is a nice supplemental piece of creature control, but I’m unlikely to maindeck a third board wipe. Also, considering how late I picked up [card]Wrath of God[/card] and [card]Day of Judgement[/card], I wouldn’t be surprised to see it make its way around the table. [card]Delver of Secrets[/card] is naturally best in tempo-based decks, but could be a sideboard option for us in certain matchups. [card]Stitched Drake[/card] is a strong conditional body, and I was unsure of how restrictive his additional cost was.

I later picked up a [card]Moorland Haunt[/card] in the utility land draft, and the graveyard was never lacking for bodies to pay the [card]Moorland Haunt[/card] activation cost, so I think [card]Stitched Drake[/card] could have worked in this deck. Another option is to pick up [card]Thirst for Knowledge[/card] as additional digging and filtering.

Lastly, there’s [card]Lingering Souls[/card]. Had I picked up the [card]Scrubland[/card] in pack 2 I would have snapped up [card]Lingering Souls[/card] in a heartbeat, and significantly improved my deck. It’s amazing how quickly these small leaks add up. Either way, I’m pretty sure I botched this pick.

My Pick: [card]Delver of Secrets[/card]

Pack 3, pick 4

[draft]Boros Reckoner
Daze
Garruk Relentless
Goblin Guide
Blasting Station
Tundra
Pillar of Flame
Pyroclasm
Mother of Runes
Hellspark Elemental
Gideon Jura
Terminus[/draft]

This draft was filled with agonizing decisions between fixing I need and spells that I need even more. Tundra would be nice, but Gideon stalls and wins games.

My Pick: [card]Gideon Jura[/card]

Pack 3, pick 5

[draft]Remand
Pernicious Deed
Chandra, the Firebrand
Chain Lightning
Psionic Blast
Fencing Ace
Pestermite
Bloodgift Demon
Pillage
Snuff Out
Mystical Tutor[/draft]

Congratulations to whomever got [card]Pernicious Deed[/card] sixth pick or later.

My Pick: [card]Remand[/card]

Pack 3, pick 6

[draft]Bloodghast
Enlightened Tutor
Inferno Titan
Scalding Tarn
Brainstorm
Stifle
Wheel of Fortune
Primeval Titan
Electrolyze
Wasteland[/draft]

I have a fair number of shuffle effects, so getting good value out of [card]Brainstorm[/card] shouldn’t be a problem. It also pairs well with [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] for those draws that have Stoneforge and an equipment in hand.

My Pick: [card]Brainstorm[/card]

Pack 3, pick 7

[draft]Bloodghast
Sacred Foundry
Mizzium Mortars
Pawn of Ulamog
Fettergeist
Goblin Bombardment
Wall of Omens
Rampaging Baloths
Nekrataal[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Wall of Omens[/card]

Pack 3, pick 8

[draft]Windswept Heath
Torch Fiend
Arbor Elf
Jackal Pup
Kozilek’s Predator
Cataclysm
Path to Exile
Stormblood Berserker[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Path to Exile[/card]

Pack 3, pick 9

[draft]Koth of the Hammer
Sundering Growth
Aven Mindcensor
Avenger of Zendikar
Nest Invader
Force Spike
Smash to Smithereens[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card]

Pack 3, pick 10

[draft]Godless Shrine
Qasali Pridemage
Lotleth Troll
Zombie Cutthroat
Celestial Colonnade
Harrow[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card]

Pack 3, pick 11

[draft]Duskmantle Seer
Adventuring Gear
Pithing Needle
Hallowed Burial
Stitched Drake[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Hallowed Burial[/card]

Pack 3, pick 12

[draft]Goblin Guide
Tundra
Pillar of Flame
Pyroclasm[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Tundra[/card]

Pack 3, pick 13

[draft]Fencing Ace
Pillage
Mystical Tutor[/draft]

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

Pack 3, pick 14

[draft]Electrolyze
Bloodghast[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Electrolyze[/card]

Pack 3, pick 15

[draft]Bloodghast[/draft]

My Pick: [card]Bloodghast[/card]

Deckbuilding

I never picked up the fixing for the green splash, but by sticking to two colors I should be able to cast my color-intensive cards like [card]Cryptic Command[/card] and [card]Angel of Serenity[/card].

I kept [card]Hallowed Burial[/card] in the sideboard for matches that require more creature control, and played [card]Ludevic’s Test Subject[/card] over [card]Augur of Bolas[/card] as an additional win condition. It’s important for these control decks to have a way to finish off games if their few threats are dealt with.

Matches

Round 1: Tom, WUGr Pod

I win the roll and keep the following:

[draft]Island
Island
Island
Arid Mesa
Plains
Wall of Omens
Batterskull[/draft]

I pass without plays on turns 1 and 2, then [card]Memory Lapse[/card] Tom’s Turn 2 [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card]. On Turn 3 I play out [card]Wall of Omens[/card], drawing [card]Coldsteel Heart[/card]. Tom follows up with a third turn [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] and a fourth turn [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card], which promptly eats a [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card].

My [card]Wall of Omens[/card] holds back his Knight, and despite sitting on 19 life and being under no pressure, I run out a turn 5 [card]Batterskull[/card]. Tom punishes me with an immediate [card]Detention Sphere[/card]. Turn 6 I draw [card]Cryptic Command[/card] and pass the turn. Tom leads with a [card]Crucible of Worlds[/card], which I let resolve. I know he’s on four colors, so I’m really not expecting any tricks from him. Neither of us have missed a land-drop, and although he has an on-board [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] I’m not overly concerned with the Crucible.

Tom surprises me by fetching up a [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] and destroying my only non-basic land in play, [card]Tundra[/card]. Turn 7 I draw [card]Angel of Serenity[/card], but thanks to the Tec Edge, now sit a mana shy. I pass the turn.

On Tom’s 7th turn, he plays [card]Shardless Agent[/card], cascading into [card]Noble Hierarch[/card]. He swings with a now 5/5 [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] and I throw my [card]Wall of Omens[/card] in front.

On my 8th turn I rip a Plains off the top, then play [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] targeting [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card], [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], and the [card]Wall of Omens[/card] in my graveyard.

At this point I feel I have the game fairly locked up, as Tom is playing a non-black Pod deck, which normally lack ways to deal with large creatures. However, on his turn he plays the only relevant non-black mass-removal spell not in my deck, [card]Terminus[/card] (hardcast), and Angel goes to the bottom of my library.

He then goes into haymaker mode, finishing me off with [card]Primeval Titan[/card], [card]Reveillark[/card], and [card]Zealous Conscripts[/card].

On the draw I keep the following promising hand in game 2:

[draft]Wall of Omens
Geist of Saint Traft
Consecrated Sphinx
Coldsteel Heart
Moorland Haunt
Misty Rainforest
Island[/draft]

Despite the opener, I never manage to reach [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card] mana, and get run over by [card]Primeval Titan[/card] and [card]Venser, the Sojourner[/card].

Result: 0 – 2 Loss

Round 2: Kristof, UB Control

I win the roll and keep the following:

[draft]Celestial Colonnade
Plains
Shelldock Isle
Coldsteel Heart
Cryptic Command
Aven Mindcensor
Angel of Serenity[/draft]

I open with a tapped [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card] into [card]Coldsteel Heart[/card], and get Dazed. Another line would have been to save it and play the Heart on turn 3, but there are a half-dozen counterspells that come online at two-mana, and the only Turn 1 countermagic spells not in my deck are [card]Daze[/card], [card]Force Spike[/card], and [card]Spell Pierce[/card].

Kristof continues to play lands and pass the turn, and I flash in an [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card] on his turn 3 end step. Turn 4 I play [card]Shelldock Isle[/card], finding three lands and a [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card]. I tuck away the Spinx and pass the turn. He Wastelands my [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card] on Turn 4, and follows it up on Turn 5 with an [card]Engineered Explosives[/card] for 2 on an empty board.

In the following turns I [card]Mana Tithe[/card] his [card]Deep Analysis[/card], then play out [card]Wall of Omens[/card] and [card]Ludevic’s Test Subject[/card]. Kristof points to his [card]Engineered Explosives[/card], which had somehow been erased from my memory, and I start to ponder which life choices have led me to being such a terrible Magic player.

Kristof then casts [card]Consuming Vapors[/card] to finally deal with the [card]Aven Mindcensor[/card], going to 11 life, and plays a second [card]Wasteland[/card] for my Shelldock Isle (smallest library at 22 cards).

Turn 8, I rip a [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] off the top, and Kristof responds by playing [card]Nevinyrral’s Disk[/card] and [card]Academy Ruins[/card]. An audible gulp is heard throughout the store.

From there the game turned into a total grind-fest, and I manage to fight through his Disk-Ruins recursion by bouncing the Disk with [card]Cryptic Command[/card] and getting in for exactly lethal with [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] and a [card]Moorland Haunt[/card] Spirit token.

Game 2: It’s a control mirror, and I make the following sideboard changes:

Out:

[draft]Condemn
Wrath of God
Day of Judgment[/draft]

In:

[draft]Delver of Secrets
Force of Will
Augur of Bolas[/draft]

I mulligan a 7-card hand that had two plains and five blue spells, and keep the following six:

[draft]Celestial Colonnade
Mishra’s Factory
Island
Path to Exile
Brainstorm
Consecrated Sphinx[/draft]

The game opens innocently enough with “land, go” from both parties. Turn 2 he runs the following sequence:
[card]Wasteland[/card] my [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card] [card]Mox Diamond[/card] [card]Sphere of the Suns[/card]

Turn 3 he plays [card]Trinket Mage[/card] for [card]Everflowing Chalice[/card], and kicks the Chalice twice on turn 4 to bring him to 7 mana.

“You know what costs 7 mana?”
I mentally scan through my Cube list. [card]Karn Liberated[/card]. Karn costs 7 mana. He played a turn 2 Wasteland and has 7 mana at the end of turn 4.

But it was all a misdirection. Instead he just clocked me out with a [card]Sphinx of Jwar Isle[/card].

Game 3:

Unfortunately, my notes for game 3 are next to nonexistent. Even my mind seems to have blocked out most of the trauma. I vaguely recall getting [card]Path to Exile[/card] stripped by a Turn 1 [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card], flashing in a [card]Batterskull[/card] off of a [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] while on four-mana, then losing the Germ token to an [card]Engineered Explosives[/card] for 0.

I stalled on 4-mana for a while, then eventually drew the fifth land for [card]Gideon Jura[/card] and played him into one open blue mana. Naturally he was [card]Spell Pierce[/card]d. Finally I “stabilized” at 6 life with an on-board [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card], but died to two [card]Creeping Tar Pit[/card] swings.

Result: 1 – 2 Loss

Round 3: Johan, Junk

At this point we were nearing midnight after a long day at the office, and I opted to eschew note-taking entirely to focus on my play.

Game 1:

I win the roll, then play “land, go” for the opening few turns. My opponent was beating down against my empty board with [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] and [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], and despite having a Wrath in hand, I passed my fourth turn to try to get him to commit more to the board. Johan followed the script by deploying a [card]Sublime Archangel[/card] and swinging for 6 with his [card]Tarmogoyf[/card].

I then pulled the trigger on the Wrath, then took the game with [card]Gideon Jura[/card] and [card]Consecrated Sphinx[/card].

Game 2:

This game was an intricate one, with a long dance between my [card]Gideon Jura[/card] and his [card]Mother of Runes[/card]. He kept sending in with a pro-blue [card]Flickerwisp[/card], to get past my defenders, and I eventually managed to fend off his assault with Gideon at 1 loyalty.

The game eventually came to the following board state:
Johan: 6 life, [card]Grave Titan[/card] and two Zombie tokens, all untapped.
Me: 10 life, [card]Gideon Jura[/card] at 1 loyalty and 8 untapped lands.

I had a couple creatures in hand, but none that could fend off his [card]Grave Titan[/card]. I needed to dig for a board wipe, so I cast main phase [card]Fact or Fiction[/card] leaving open four mana and two white sources. I flip over the cards one-by-one from my library. The first four blank, but the fifth one is [card]Wrath of God[/card]. Johan makes a 1-4 split, and I wipe the board before attacking for lethal with Gideon.

Overall Record: 1 – 2 (3 – 4 in games).

Table layout:

Of course, I’d love to chalk up my poor performance in this draft to the difficulties of recording, but I’ve been struggling with playing Cube control decks lately. A quick look at my last 10 draft records from the past few months:

Last 10 Drafts:
3–0: Four-Color Control
3–0: RBw Aggro
3–0: Golgari Midrange
2–1: Jund Midrange
3–0: Boros Aggro
3–0: BR Zombies
2–1: WBr Midrange
1–2: BUG Control
3–0: Four-Color Midrange
1–2: UW Control

My two worst performances have been with control decks, but I’m hesitant to interpret that as an imbalance in the environment. Three of the four drafts where I didn’t 3–0 were won by control decks, including today’s draft. As a player, I feel far more competent playing aggro decks in a draft environment.

Thanks for reading!

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

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