Welcome to the last installment of my series about Cube! I know that it’s a little late for this iteration of the Cube, but Rivals of Ixalan set reviews ambushed me. Plus, this info will hold for future Cubes, or most Cubes you’ll end up playing in, so it’s still got plenty of value (and I will be running these again when the Cube is back up on MTGO). Let’s just knock out the two best aggro archetypes and call it a day.
Mono-White (hereafter referred to as WW, for “white weenie), is a deck full of underpowered cards that actually manages to win a ton. When it’s open, which it usually is, this deck can be very good.
Game Plan: Play cheap white creatures and back them up with mana denial and equipment.
- Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Vryn Wingmare, Lodestone Golem – In order, these are the disruptive cards you need for WW to really shine. Thalia is by far the best, and one of the cards that makes this deck awesome. They really put a damper on all the decks trying to do unfair things, and slow them down enough to make them play your game.
- Strip Mine, Wasteland – These are also critical mana denial elements, and can almost serve as Time Walks if the opponent doesn’t have a ton of acceleration.
- Cheap creatures – You want mostly 1- and 2-drops, and should be sparing with the amount of 3s and 4s you play. All the cheap white creatures are viable, and you should lean towards resilient/disruptive ones (though beaters are still fine).
- Armageddon, Ravages of War – Playing one of these on turn 4 will often win the game on the spot, as you should have spent the first couple turns deploying creatures.
- Stoneforge Mystic + Batterskull/Swords/Jitte – I’m not the biggest fan of equipment in this cube, but Stoneforge is a powerful card, and makes it worth running some. This package is at its best against other fair decks.
- Mana Tithe – I’d always run this, if only for the satisfaction of Mana Tithing something like Ugin (Note: I was on the wrong side of this recently).
This deck plays out pretty straightforwardly, and one of its advantages is that most of its cards are interchangeable. As long as you have some mana disruption, what you pressure the opponent with doesn’t matter quite as much.
I’ll admit that I don’t draft this deck a ton, but I do have a lot of respect for it. As long as you lean into 1-drops and away from Brimaz, you can crush all the idiots like me by casting a single Thalia.
Ways to Get Into the Deck
- Force it. I know multiple people who’ve done quite well doing just that because the deck is underdrafted. Assuming it’s open from pack 1 is not the worst idea.
- Pick up an early Strip Mine and Thalia. If you start with disruption, you’ll do well.
- Note a bunch of white creatures in packs, and have them wheel.
I used to force this deck in Cube, for reasons unclear to me. Maybe I just like blowing up people’s lands? I even drafted it at the World Championship in 2012, the only time (that I know of) that Cube was played on the professional stage. This deck is also quite good, and also tends to be underdrafted.
Game Plan: Attack the opponent with 1-drops, disrupt their mana, and finish them with burn.
- Sulfuric Vortex, Shrine of Burning Rage – These 2 cards are cards nobody else wants while being the best cards for the deck. They deal tons of damage quickly and without much interaction, while Vortex also stops cards good against this deck.
- Goblin Guide (and other 1-drop) – All the red 1-drops are playable, and Guide is by far the best. You really want 1s in this deck. The more the better, and 2s and 3s are so much less important.
- Strip Mine, Wasteland, Ancient Grudge, Manic Vandal – Once again, you have to disrupt the opponent. You aren’t faster than the fast combo decks, so cut off their mana and slow them down.
- Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Fiery Confluence, Fireblast, other burn spells – Likewise, all the burn spells are good, and these top 4 are especially potent. You want as much burn as possible, as it’s what deals the last 8-12 damage.
- Koth, Lodestone Golem, Chandra (not the 6-drop), Thundermaw Hellkite – Cards that cost 4 or more aren’t a high priority. You’ll play 1-3, but the best version of the Mono-Red deck have one max.
The deck is pretty single-minded. Attack them early and blow up a land or an artifact, and you usually have enough time to burn them out. It is very important to note that this deck gets much worse if it’s 2 colors, so I only splash if I have 3-4 fixers, and only 1-3 cards of the splash color.
Ways to Get Into the Deck
- Like WW, you can just force this deck. It’s a great deck when nobody else is drafting it.
- See an early Sulfuric Vortex, Goblin Guide, or Shrine of Burning Rage. Anyone who passes these cards isn’t drafting mono-red, so if you see a 5th pick Shrine, you’re in.
- Note red cards, and see them wheel. Like WW, if the cards are wheeling, you are in good shape, and this is a distinct possibility.
Draft More Cube!
That wraps things up for now. I might retouch these as we get a different version of Cube, but for now, this covers the Vintage Cube in depth, and hopefully gives you a good starting point for jumping in, or helps refine your strategies if you’re a veteran drafter. Let me know what else I can cover, as I love talking about Cube!