Greetings, I am Cold_Hellfire and I am a regular victim player at Metamind’s cube. I have taken upon myself the task of reviewing a cube draft, both as a way to record and review actual results and data from our draft environment and as a tool for reflection and self-improvement.
The cube took place at a friend’s house and at a very modest half-hour delay, we started the first drafting round.
A little about my drafting habits – I tend to do relatively well with control and aggressive strategies, but I am a combo player at heart so first picking a key combo piece or enabler is far from uncommon, I tend to lose with midrange strategies. I consider myself an average player in our environment.
I didn’t record each pick – only critical picks and dilemmas:
1P1P – Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Unfortunately – a weaker than average pack, mostly utility picks and not much power. Jace is very playable in any (bar the most aggressive) blue decks and the pack didn’t have any other highly pickable cards.
2P1P – Celestial Colonnade
I like WU control, my old buddy looked at me from this pack with watery eyes and begged. Arguably the strongest manland in the cube and a good (so far) fixing on-color.
I regret nothing.
3P1P – Cryptic Command
One way to send a message that reads loud and clear “BLUE IS TAKEN” is to take a 3rd pick cryptic, a very strong control card to boot.
4P1P – Negate
An underwhelming pick honestly, should have sided it out almost every single match, the reason I even wrote it down is because it was in the same pack as Fragmentize, a pick which would have been far more useful in the floor scenario and could sit comfortably in the maindeck even against aggressive strategies.
5P1P – Damnation
Hello darkness, my old friend. Was in the same pack with Linvala the Preserver.
Linvala is a decent, if situational finisher. Fatties are a bit scarce in large cubes and I wanted to have a core few of them already in place. But knowing the other players in the cube – midrange and ‘creatures’ Aggro tend to be a tad more common than the brand of burn Linvala is strong against, ultimately it was the right call.
1P2P – Inquisition of Kozilek
2P2P – Sol Ring
My jaw dropped to the ground with awe as an experienced player (although it was his first time playing this particular cube) passed me a very real candidate for the #1 card in cube, an instant windmill slam. That player took a True-Name Nemesis over Sol Ring. Apparently, in the online cube environment strong threats are a very high priority (especially ones that are as versatile as nemesis). Metamind’s note: he drafted an Edric deck
3P2P – Remand
Went unplayed. Not good in control decks as it doesn’t actually stop threats – only creates tempo and protects other spells from counterspells.
1P3P – Library of Alexandria
2P3P – Ancestral Recall
Yea, this happened.
The player to my right was playing Hymn of the Wilds.
3P3P – Languish
A sorely needed mass removal, I’ll explain.
While the Esper control generally doesn’t have problems nabbing themselves a few white mass removals, I didn’t take into consideration someone was cutting them very aggressively, 4 of them to be precise (he later admitted it was a mistake). I have not seen a single white mass removal except one Wrath of God on a later pick, which I didn’t take (probably for a dumb reason).
Most decklists can be found here:
- Esper Control (By yours truly)
- UR Upheaval (Piloted by Metamind, the Cubefather)
- Hymn of the Wilds (Red+Emissary’s Ploy at 3)
- GW Midrange
- Abzan Midrange
- RW Aggro
- GU Midrange x2
- BR Aggro
Overall the decks were more aggressive than average, with Green midrange running rampant (and placing quite well). The results for the first round (winners in bold):
|Esper Control||2-0||GU Midrange|
|GW Midrange||2-1||RW Aggro|
|BR Aggro||0-2||Hymn of the Wilds|
|Abzan Midrange||2-1||UR Upheaval|
Final round (RW Aggro player had to leave):
|Esper Control||2-0||GW Midrange|
|GU Midrange||0-2||UR Upheaval|
|Abzan Midrange||0-2||Hymn of the Wilds|
|BR Aggro||1-2||GU Midrange|
I ended up winning that draft through combination of luck, making a few right calls (especially in the early parts of the draft) and knowledge of the playing field. Writing during the draft really helped me focus so I’d definitely do so again in future cubes.
Random Insights, Tidbits, and Cube moments:
- I would definitely like to see a couple more black mass removals printed, 2 felt a bit on the thin side.
- Splashing for manlands and a universal removal was ultimately a good call.
- I overdrafted finishers while not drafting enough spot removal, so I ended up with a huge amount of finishers – most of which were wasted picks (finished most games by beating face with gearhulks/manlands). Spot removals were sorely missed as I had to spend a Languish on a board with Fauna Shaman and Smuggler’s Copter.
- “Create your own Hero of Bladehold” via Hero of Oxid Ridge and Hanweir Garrison, I’m glad I wasn’t on the receiving side.
- Cryptbreaker didn’t work well as a filler 1-Drop in the BR aggressive deck.
- What’s better than a True-Name Nemesis? True-Name Nemesis + Hired Heist
- Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was too expansive to fit the mass removal niche, which was needed in the UR Upheaval deck.
- Galvanic Blast was better than expected in the UR upheaval deck.
- The playerbase has started to question Hymn of the Wilds place in the cube, not because of power reasons but mostly because its habit of messing with the entire draft without actually enabling a new and interesting strategy (aggressive-midrange abominations every single time).