Thanksgiving Day Team Cube Draft Results

Once the draft starts, players at an even seat number will be Team Indians, and players at an odd number will be Team Pilgrims.

UPDATE:

Team Indians:
GriffenValentine
metaknightmare
danrax
norbert88

Team Pilgrims:
Hawzy
glocks4interns
hobbesq
senordarko

Each player will play everyone on the opposing team over the course of four rounds.

Teams and results will be posted here as the event begins!

Round One
glocks4interns vs norbert88 (1-2)
GriffenValentine vs vagariousdragon (0-2)
Hawzy vs danrax(1-2)
metaknightmare vs hobbesq (0-2)

After R1, Pilgrims and Indians are tied (2-2)!

Round Two
glocks4interns vs GriffenValentine (2-1)
metaknightmare vs vagariousdragon (2-1)
Hawzy vs norbert88 (1-2)
danrax vs hobbesq (2-0)

After R2, Indians lead 5-3!

Round Three
hobbesq vs GriffenValentine (2-0, hobbesq dropped for this round)
metaknightmare vs Hawzy (2-1)
vagariousdragon vs norbert88 (1-2)
danrax vs glocks4interns (2-1)

After R3, Indians lead 8-4!

Round Four
Hawzy vs GriffenValentine
metaknightmare vs glocks4interns (0-2)
vagariousdragon vs danrax
norbert88 vs hobbesq.

And here’s glocks4intern’s deck (@timpskowski)

Too many changes to enumerate!

This is going to be a color-by-color summary of what’s been changed and why, because… well because I don’t have all day.

White

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

We wanted to use the new cards from Innistrad to really push a token theme in white. Fiend Hunter and Cloistered Youth would have been included even without that strategic shift, but the others are all a good fit for that archetype.

Out:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

The cards that are dropped are ones that are too redundant – we just didn’t need another 5+ mana Wrath – or just less powerful than the other options, like Prison Term and Return to Dust. Sacred Mesa is a somewhat painful cut for me, but it just wasn’t making the cut in many decks, and I think the token-making cards we’ve added will be just as effective.

Blue

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

The changes in blue reflect a couple things. First, blue was a bit top-heavy and we’ve tried to correct that. Secondly, some cards that are super, super powerful just weren’t consistent enough for us in a mostly Winston environment. If we start drafting with a big group in the future, they’ll probably come back. See you in Seattle, Tinker and Tezzeret.

Some of the cards coming in still aren’t completely solid- Azure Mage and Mindshrieker definitely need more testing. But they’ve been at least good so far, and we’ve seen a lot of really fun, tempo-y blue decks. Sleight of Hand is pretty placeholder, but we wanted to push consistency in card filtering

Out:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Black

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Innistrad is a really impressive set for black and especially for black aggro. We’re also trying out Fallen Askari as a potentially better two-drop. We’re also trying a slightly different set of four- and five- drops, though I do miss Puppeteer Clique. And as usual with a new set, we get a removal upgrade (or at least a different option).

Out:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Red

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Out:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Crater Hellion is a good guy, but one that our red decks don’t usually want. Mogg War Marshall was very disappointing, and there’s been some nice one- and two- drops to replace it and others. Instigator Gang is still in trial mode, but it’s a scary, scary card if it sticks. Blistering Firecat probably won’t be a popular cut, but we found that the combination of fragile and hard-not-to-telegraph made it less than impressive.

Green

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Out:
Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

This is probably the biggest shift in our cube as a whole. We’re not supporting green aggro anymore- it was never very good, and mostly just diluted the quality of green in the card pool. Instead, we’re supporting ramp more heavily. The combination of this shift in focus and some nice green cards being printed is huge. For the first time since I’ve been cubing, there’s a point in every draft where I wish I was in green if I’m not. Green does an excellent job of being a helper color, and we’re letting it do that a little more now.

As a side note, we’ve been thinking about Mayor of Avabruck. Anyone have a strong recommendation one way or the other?

Colorless

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

We haven’t been able to find artifacts that stick to fill out the last few spots, so for now, this section is just smaller than it was. Some of the cuts are experimental, and some are cards that performed well on occasion but weren’t consistent enough. We’ve been pretty happy with Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox, and Spellskite is probably auto-include at this point.

Out:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Multicolor

In:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

Out:

Elite VanguardElite VanguardElite Vanguard

These are some of the most exciting changes to me! I really love Geist of St. Traft. It may not make it in the long run- it’s problems are obvious – but it’s been very successful for us thus far. I’m hoping that with the additional support of blue aggro, it’ll continue to perform well. I do miss that blue Keira Knightley a little, though.

Olivia was a harder inclusion simply because we like Sarkan the Mad a lot, but she’s just super powerful.

Kessig Wolf Run is still pretty untested, but I think it has a lot of potential. As always, lands are tough to deal with and the effect is powerful.

My contribution to Magic: the Googling

This beautiful thing appeared today courtesy of Amanda Casperson. Justin and I thought of a few cards that could use some extra eyeballs (cubely eyes?).

(Some are a bit blurry, but googly leeches wait for no man!)

GP Pittsburgh Cube Updates

So, it’s been such an embarrassingly long time since I’ve updated that I’m actually just going to throw out a list of what we’re currently running from New Phyrexia and Magic 2012, rather than a list of changes.

The big philosophical change since I’ve updated is that we aren’t supporting green aggro anymore, which I’ve been very happy with. The ramp cards we have instead are a bigger draw to draft green, in my opinion, and our green decks have been better and more frequent.

From NPH, Blade Splicer and Birthing Pod are on a trial basis, but everything else is pretty solid.

Batterskull
Beast Within
Birthing Pod
Blade Splicer
Despise
Dismember
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Karn Liberated
Life’s Finale
Moltensteel Dragon
Phyrexian Metamorph
Porcelain Legionnaire
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Spellskite
Sword of War and Peace
Urabrask, the Hidden

From M12, the Mages are still kind of questionable, and I haven’t yet been really impressed with Chandra. Everything else is safe.

Azure Mage
Chandra’s Phoenix
Chandra, the Firebrand
Crimson Mage
Garruk, Primal Hunter
Jace, Memory Adept
Phantasmal Image
Skinshifter
Stormblood Berserker

In the bragging sector, we came home with some sweet stuff from the GP:

I’m really excited about the Demonic Tutor in particular – so pretty!

We got to cube a bit at the GP as well, first with Alex Bertoncini’s combo cube (“no spot removal and no counters- whatever you do is going to happen”) and then with Tim Pskowski’s cube.

Finally, on the subject of Innistrad, Diregraf Ghoul is an easy include if you support aggro in black, and I think Spectral Rider (WW, 2/2 Intimidate) will make it as well.

Marit Lages in Overextended

For Worldwide Overextended Day, I was (as my husband helpfully relayed to twitter) definitely going to be making some Marit Lages. I’d played a UB Hexmage Depths list at Providence (in Legacy), but without Force of Will and Daze, I wanted a more resilient plan in the deck as well. Here’s what I ran-

4 Dark Depths
1 Flooded Strand
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
2 Marsh Flats
1 Plains
3 Polluted Delta
2 River of Tears
1 Sunken Ruins
1 Swamp
3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2 Watery Grave

4 Dark Confidant
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Stoneforge Mystic

1 Batterskull
1 Bitterblossom
2 Dismember
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Mental Misstep
3 Muddle the Mixture
3 Smother
1 Spell Pierce
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
4 Thoughtseize
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

Sideboard:

1 Bribery
1 Dismember
2 Gatekeeper of Malakir
4 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Manriki-Gusari
2 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Sword of Body and Mind
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
2 Teferi’s Response

I played against Affinity, Twelvepost, Affinity, Elves, and Affinity in the course of my sweet sweet victory. Obviously no Recalls ever, but I did get to Bribery an Emrakul which is more or less all I wanted. I had a hard time figuring out the last few spots in my decks, and if I hadn’t seen a bunch of creature decks before the event I might have chosen differently.

I wanted to try to a Bitterblossom in this deck, but after taking 6 or so damage from my own cards every game, I’m not so sure.

Teferi’s Response was only relevant in one matchup, and I didn’t cast it, but I had to try…

Finally, Gideon!

With this update, I’m implementing a tweaked version of what I talked about here. That means adding planeswalkers to the cube beyond one per color in some cases, but keeping them separate as far as constructing the draft pool.

For example, if I want to add Gideon Jura to the cube – and I do – another white card has to be removed to make the spot. Then when we make packs (or a stack for winston drafting) we add as many planeswalkers as we want to that pool. So far, one per person in the draft seems like about what I want.

Just to clarify, I don’t think that planeswalkers are inherently more broken than Sol Ring. And I like the card type- I like powerful cards in general. But I personally think that games with tons of planeswalkers start to feel like something a little different than Magic, and that even in the cube, there still aren’t enough answers. I’m not really trying to convince anyone who doesn’t see a problem, but rather trying to clarify that this is more about quality of games than it is “these cards are too good.”

Anyway, we’ve been doing this for about two weeks now, and I think it works well. I love seeing the new guys, and having cards like Chandra and Ajani Goldmane back.


Oh man, so excited. Archon has been fine, but I like Gideon much more.


I definitely wanted to cut a five- or six-mana wrath with this update, since both Elspeth Tirel and Gideon fill a similar role and cost. It came down to Rout and Austere, and though we’ve had good experiences with Austere, the flexibility of Rout won out.


Moat ended up being too narrow for us. Our control decks usually have plenty of creatures, and even decks with few finishers might still have non-flyers- Titans, Elesh Norn, Gideon…
We actually tried this as Sunblast for a little bit, but wanted Ajani in more. If Elesh Norn doesn’t work out, Sunblast may get another shot, but we didn’t need both of them.


I won’t miss Teferi much, although Justin probably will. I’ve been really impressed with Tezzeret in my online cube, and I already had a fun build-around deck with Moxes, Shackles, and equipment to fetch.


I think this choice is pretty clear when you put the two cards next to each other.


Shelldock Isle has been fine, but I like Baby Jace much more.


In my opinion, three-drops should optimally fit into either midrange or aggro, but Dauthi Marauder doesn’t do that very well. We were deciding between Fume Spitter and Disfigure for this spot, and so far the results have borne out this choice- in his first cube appearance, he carried a Sword of Light and Shadow like a champ.


I missed Diabolic Servitude, and despite trying really card to get Nether Void to work, it just hasn’t happened. Bummer.


I really dislike Crusher, and aside from being happy to see it go, Moltensteel Dragon has gotten really good reviews. I’ve only seen it once so far, but it pretty much did its job.


Wardriver may come back, but double red on turn two isn’t the easiest, and I think the Phoenix will be really good.


I wanted to cut something high-endish, and Aftershock has been just ok. Chandra fills a similar role in the sense that Aftershock can kill big guys (and the other modes are nothing unusual for red). I really missed Chandra- definitely glad to have her back.


Wild Mongrel has been just ok, and we wanted another monster to alleviate the ramp-into-nowhere problem. I think Avenger is the best one we didn’t have in, although I’m guessing some people would run Pelakka instead. Thoughts?


Obviously the Masticores are still very good in some groups, but aside from Molten-Tail, they haven’t been for us. I’m moving Maze of Ith to colorless, since it doesn’t produce mana, in order to make room in lands.


Just moving things around here- since Maze is in colorless, City of Brass can come in.


I love a Selkie, but this change has been amazing. Edric draws more cards, and usually does it the turn you play him. U/G is one of my favorite decks to play and draft, and he is just perfect for it.

We also cut 1 card from each gold section:
Mistmeadow Witch
Inkfathom Infiltrator
Bituminous Blast
Kird Ape
Loam Lion
Angel of Despair
Spellbound Dragon
Spiritmonger
Orim’s Thunder
Voidslime

I think these are mostly obvious except the Ape/Lion cuts. The problem there is that our Gx decks tend to be more midrangey, while W/B, W/R, and R/B are more aggro, and both sections are competitive. In the case of Loam Lion, I like Loxodon Hierarch less, but Justin feels the opposite, so we compromised and I got to keep Putrid Leech. Jund!

More NPH Updates!

A few more changes since my last update:

I forgot to officially say this, but Karn, the Released went in the last free artifact/colorless spot as soon as he was spoiled. He actually isn’t super exciting to me- I’m not really looking for more planeswalkers in the cube- but he’s been good, of course.

Justin and I have been playing some MTGO beta, and realized in the process that Life’s Finale is a huge bomb. It’s probably the Wrath you’re most likely to concede to, and just feels very unfair. We’re trying it out in the place of Tombstalker, which is considered a cube staple, but has never been good for us at all. Maybe we run more reanimation than most- I’m not sure of the reason for this. It felt like everything had to go right to make him even a bit undercosted, but many black decks still don’t want the drawback.

Masticore is out of our cube for now (with no replacement). His ability just doesn’t do enough to justify the drawback in practice, and power creep in creatures has been really hard on him. Basically I felt that without a way to abuse or negate the discard (either through reanimation, Squee, or lots of card draw), he couldn’t compete with other four drops, which makes him pretty narrow in practice. Razormane has an easier time competing with other cards, and I personally like the free damage (and often the ability to attack when Masticore can’t) enough to keep him in instead.

Molten-Tail Masticore is in a totally different position, since hitting faces is rad, and is in no danger.

Finally, Squee is out in favor of Urabrask the Hidden. He has a splashy ability and has been so good in normal limited that we felt he was worth a try in the cube as well. It doesn’t hurt that red has approximately one other five-drop, either. Squee is a card that is really cool in theory, but didn’t come together with the right pieces often enough to earn the spot.