Category Archives: Uncategorized

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)

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Black

In:

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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:

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Red

In:

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Out:

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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:

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Out:
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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:

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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:

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Multicolor

In:

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Out:

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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.

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.

Oh good, another sword

Here’s my New Phyrexia update. I’ll add pictures once they are officially available.

Serra Avenger -> Porcelain Legionnaire

One of the best new cards for cube, going in for a pet card whose time has come. I’m running this in white for ease of sorting and because it’s best there in terms of archetypes and flexibility, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sorting these in colorless either.

Eternal Dragon -> Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Eternal Dragon is a cool card, and one I’ve really like since I started playing. But it’s really at its best as a reanimation target, simply because paying five at your upkeep is often a problem. I think it’s gotten creeped out in recent years, and Elesh Norn is a cool effect that I’m interested in trying out. If that doesn’t work, Sunblast Angel will likely be next on the list to try.

Clone -> Phyrexian Metamorph

I love Sculpting Steel a lot. So excited about this!

Timetwister -> Shelldock Isle

I like having Time Spiral a lot, but don’t feel that we really need this effect in a harder-to-abuse form. Shelldock Isle has been on my to-try list for a while.

Silent Specter -> Sheoldred, Whispering One

I love this art, and the card is no slouch either. It may end up costing too much, but I think it’s another one that is worth a try.

Fledgling Djinn -> Despise

About the cut- I’ve often found that my black decks had too many life-loss effects.
Despise is a card that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, probably because Ostracize is pretty unplayed in cubes. But this hits another really powerful group of cards as well, and creatures are getting better and better. In my cube, this hits over half the non-land cards in the cube, and it’s effectively a little more than that since most decks run more creatures than non-creatures. But the more important number (in my opinion) is that I counted 150 of those targets that are either difficult for black decks to deal with once they are in play, or have already done their damage by the time they can be hit by removal. Think Mulldrifter, Great Sable Stag, Inferno Titan, or Nekrataal.

In summary, I think it’s worth a try.

Keening Banshee -> Dismember

Dismember pretty much needs a spot, and Keening Banshee is the weakest card with a similar function. I still like the uniqueness of Sudden Death well enough to keep it.

Dwarven Blastminer -> Words of War

Should have done this in the first place, really. Whipflare is a good card, but I don’t see the need for another sweeper in red. On a side note, I’ve been very happy with Slagstorm.

Mold Shamber -> Beast Within

This is a card that is hard to evaluate, I think. The drawback is real for green decks, but the ability to hit creatures is special too. And if you need a 3/3 haste, you can have that too. I think this’ll be a card like Gilded Drake that isn’t always exactly what you want, but does a useful thing.

Stuffy Doll -> Sword of War and Peace

Yep. No surprises here.

Brittle Effigy -> Batterskull

One of the best cards in the set for cube. Living Weapon is a cool mechanic, and I’m glad it looks like a cube mainstay.

Conservation of Proxies Update

We’re getting a Nether Void in the mail today, so I figure that’s about the right time to proxy another Legends card.

Straight from suggestions on this very blog!

One control card for another. I errated Moat to be Tribal, though- wouldn’t want to nerf that Tarmogoyf.

This is win-win: I don’t have to see Skizzik in drafts, and Skizzik doesn’t have to listen to me complain.

We thought about this and Words of War. Opinions?


Don’t know why we didn’t do this earlier. Tumble Magnet is a great card, and Triskelion has gotten worse and has gotten a lot more competition.

I have been so happy with this change. Darksteel Axe can’t really be more than ok, but the Lifestaff is surprisingly strong. We’ve seen it be very good in the aggro mirror, and also in control decks. This is one of those cards that is weaker in its limited environment than it is in the cube, so I’m glad we gave it a try.

Precursor Golem goes in the second-to-last artifact spot we had yet to fill. The last one is earmarked for Sword of War and Peace, but Justin wanted to try out the Golem.


Swans is my favorite U/R card ever, but it was time to swap in something more playable in U/W. Mistmeadow Witch may not be the final choice, but it’s a card I’ve been interested in trying for a while, and it fits into a deck that’s very well-liked.


We didn’t used to run any off-color kicker cards, but these days I’m more interested in running good cards than being overly concerned about white maybe-kind-of having an extra card. Unsurprisingly, this has already been very good. Legionnaire was fine, but the cost is awkward and in even in R/W, it’s harder to play.


I like Void a lot, but Bit Blast is fun and I always miss it when I see it in other lists.


That’s been a long time coming, but is pretty obvious in terms of power level, and I think will be played much more often.

And a Final MBS Update

Hero of Oxid Ridge was going in for sure, and in the process of figuring out what to cut, we decided that Grab the Reins could go as well…

So that brings Spikeshot Elder back, as the most recent cut that seemed like it could use another try.

I guess it’s a little weird to cut an anti-control card for a control/midrange card, but that hasn’t been the direction of the other changes, and Adamaro was the least-liked card in red, I think.

Cutting a card that is undoubtedly pretty close to being just obsoleted for the green Zenith. This card has really grown on me over the last couple of days, and I think is an excellent fit for decks with creatures at a range of costs. It’s already shown up and been really, really solid.

Just trying things out here, and cutting the most similar card. A few people suggested Body Double as a better cut, but I still like that guy- it lets you double up on reanimation targets, and it’s splashable and unique. Whenever WOTC decides to print blue cards for the cube again, it may go, but the last few sets haven’t offered much.

Upgrade upgrade upgrade.