Modern Cube is proving quite fun so far. I am going to walk you through another draft, step by step, so you can see the picks and my thought process at the time. This one should be interesting: spoiler alert, I drafted control. Now, I expect that I made a lot of mistakes here, for I am not a control player and loathe control decks normally and have no clue how to play them. But, as you'll see, it's how I ended up. No doubt I stuffed up a lot of picks here, as I am way out of my comfort zone!
Please keep the mocking in the comments to a minimum (not really, feel free to mock!)
Pack 1 pick 1:
First pick first pack! Let's see what we have here. Planeswalkers are always a good start, and we have Elspeth, Knight-Errant here as well as Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. However, neither of these two really excite me. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is a powerful combo card, and it probably means Twin Combo is present somewhere in the Cube (I still haven't had a chance to see what the archetypes are). Llanowar Elves is a good ramp card, and Anguished Unmaking is a good removal spell. However, in the end I went with Mutavault. It can go in any deck and doesn't commit me one way or another right now.
Pack 1 pick 2:
In this pack we have another unexciting planeswalker in Kiora, Master of the Depths. This pack really didn't push me one way or another; the cards I looked at were Firedrinker Satyr in order to push into a red based aggro deck, Hornet Queen to move into green ramp (though passing the Llanowar Elves before made me reconsider) or Olivia Voldaren, who has been used against me quite effectively so far in this format. I went with Olivia.
Pack 1 pick 3:
This pack has some good cards. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is great, as everyone knows, and is probably the best card in the pack. Beyond him I have Mulldrifter, which is great value and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger if I was on the ramp plan. There is also Steam Vents which I briefly considered. In the end I took Jace, reason being I thought he was the most powerful card here.
Pack 1 pick 4:
Jace's middle ability lets you flashback spells from the graveyard, which is also what Snapcaster Mage lets you do, so I decided to pick it here as it gave me a direction to focus on for the deck.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Dark Confidant is such a powerful card that I took it here, though that was likely a mistake. My thinking was to go into blue/black control, but in hindsight I should have taken Anticipate as it works so much better with my previous two picks.
Pack 1 pick 6:
Dreadbore is easily the best card in the pack here, so I took it. It could mean I am leaning towards a Grixis build at this point, though I will need to pick up some fixing if I go that way. None of the other cards stood out here so Dreadbore it was.
Pack 1 pick 7:
Well, this pack is rubbish for me. There is literally nothing here I want. Next!
Pack 1 pick 8:
For this pick I really tossed up between Mist Raven and Duress. In the end I went with Duress as it was a sorcery and worked well with Jace and Snapcaster.
Pack 1 pick 9:
Same thinking as the previous pick, Psionic Blast is removal and an instant.
Pack 1 pick 10:
Pain lands don't do much for so, despite being on colour, I ruled out Underground River. Instead, I focused on choosing between Ulcerate and Despise. I'm not sure which was the correct pick in the end, but I took Ulcerate.
Pack 1 pick 11:
Pack 1 pick 12:
Pack 1 pick 13:
... and yet more fixing! The red splash should be pretty easy now!
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
So, to recap pack 1, here are the picks:
Obviously I won't be playing the green cards, but everything else is probably fair game at this point. Let's see how I go in pack 2.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Let's see. Phantasmal Image is quite a strong card and is up for consideration here. Gifted Aetherborn is interesting, but the double black is putting me off a little if I am going to be three colours as it seems. There is also Shadowmage Infilitrator which I like quite a lot, and more mana fixing with Temple of Epiphany. In the end I took the Infiltrator, as it can be difficult to block and drawing a card is no joke.
Pack 2 pick 2:
To me, this pick was clearly out of Read the Bones or Thoughtseize. Both are good, but Thoughtseize is certainly the stronger of the two.
Pack 2 pick 3:
Oh boy. It's very hard to resist the allure of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker when you are in those colours, though Dismember did quite a good job of distracting me. I, of course, took the Elder Dragon.
Pack 2 pick 4:
My first thought here was to take Smuggler's Copter until I realised I did not have that many creatures. After reconsidering, Mind Control seemed like the best card here, so that was the pick.
Pack 2 pick 5:
There are quite a few cards in this pack I'd be happy with. I considered Jace Beleren, Devour Flesh, Ultimate Price and Blood Crypt all as cards I'd be happy to take. I took Devour Flesh; unless I end up with the deck wrong, I should have plenty of removal and can hopefully make Devour Flesh work on their important threats.
Pack 2 pick 6:
I don't have any artifacts to make Thirst for Knowledge worth it here, so it came down to Bloodstained Mire or Dragonskull Summit. The fetchland won out as it can get Steam Vents and thus fixes all three colours of mana.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Here's an interesting pack. Jace, Architect of Thought, Liliana Vess, Serum Visions and Gifts Ungiven are all strong cards I would be happy to have. I decided Jace was probably the better pick for his plus ability, allowing me to stay alive longer in order to get to Nicol Bolas.
Pack 2 pick 8:
Chasm Skulker is a strong card, especially combined with draw spells. As I didn't really want anything else in the pack, I picked it here.
I'll quickly skim through the rest of pack 2:
Pack 2 pick 9:
Not unhappy to have Phantasmal Image come back. I picked it over the fixing at this stage as I figured I had a bit already.
Pack 2 pick 10:
Pack 2 pick 11:
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
Here are the playable cards so far:
Pack 3 pick 1:
I have faced a lot of red/black control in this cube so far, so Spellskite seemed like a decent choice. Sorin Markov was the other choice, but I wasn't keen on the triple black mana requirement.
Pack 3 pick 2:
Sunken Hollow and Far/Away were probably the responsible picks here, but I have a fondness for Hypnotic Specter. It was my favourite creature back when I played Necro in Standard (yes, I'm old). I picked it here for "old time's sake". Welcome home, Hippy.
Pack 3 pick 3:
I thought about taking Soul Reap here, but Electrolyze is such a good card I ended up taking that instead.
Pack 3 pick 4:
Go for the Throat, Mind Shatter, Inquisition of Kozilek and Repeal are all good cards. I ended up narrowing it down to Go for the Throat and Inquisition; Mind Shatter is okay but by the time you cast it for a bit your opponent may have dumped their hand, and Repeal is only temporary. I ended up taking the removal spell, but it was close.
Pack 3 pick 5:
Kolaghan's Command was a pretty easy choice here, as it was only competing with Brain Maggot.
Pack 3 pick 6:
I also think Lightning Strike was an easy pick here, though I could be wrong; Whirler Rogue may have been an interesting choice.
Pack 3 pick 7:
I'm not usually a fan of counterspells in draft, so I nearly took Liliana's Specter here. But I decided to overcome my prejudices and take Dissipate instead to try it out.
Pack 3 pick 8:
While Venser, Shaper Savant would have been nice, Ruinous Path was just too hard to go past. Being able to kill planeswalkers is huge, so I took it eagerly.
Let's quickly look at the remaining picks:
Pack 3 pick 9:
Pack 3 pick 10:
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
I enlisted the help of a couple of control-playing friends in putting this deck together, and this is the final product. I'm reasonably happy but not confident I will play it well, but I guess I am about to find out.
Versus: Black/green control
Game 1 began with me Thoughtseizing my opponent to reveal Liliana of the Veil and Sorin Markov, as well as a hand full of Swamps. I was able to chip in for some damage with Mutavault, but my opponent landed Sorin. I was drawing lots of creature removal, but my opponent didn't play any creatures. They eventually ultimated Sorin and controlled my next turn, and forced me to kill my own Nicol Bolas! By this stage my opponent was on 31 life while I was on 8. I cast Shadowmage Infilitrator and then drew Dreadbore to take care of Sorin and began the long road back. My opponent eventually played Primeval Titan, which I took control of with Mind Control, then made a copy of with Phantasmal Image. All of a sudden I was in the lead and a few turns later had won the game!
In game 2, my opponent was able to take care of my early creatures. This time I didn't draw much removal, but my opponent found a bunch of their own creatures to play. In conjunction with Whip of Erebos they were able to quickly take over the game with a Rampaging Baloths and we were on to game 3.
I was able to chip in for some early damage with Mutavault again in game 3, and then was able to get out Olivia Voldaren to put the pressure on. For their part, my opponent was able to cast Sorin and Liliana, as well as Whip again, and then was able to take care of my creatures. Mutavault and Shadowmage Infiltrator were able to take care of the planeswalkers though and put my opponent into top deck mode, while I was drawing cards with the Infiltrator. I once again had Mind Control in hand when they cast Primeval Titan, and with my opponent unable to find an answer, the game was soon over.
Versus: Mardu control
Despite casting Read the Bones on turn 3, I had trouble finding any non-black source of mana in game 1. I eventually was able to cast Olivia Voldaren and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy but my opponent removed them with Anguished Unmaking and Slaughter Pact. They then played Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and their own Olivia. Whilst I was able to take care of Gideon, I couldn't find an answer for Olivia and lost the game.
Game 2 was not much better. An early Lingering Souls from my opponent followed up with a Sword of War and Peace meant I had to spend removal spells on tokens, which was not ideal. Any creatures I played in defence were met with answers, and a stupid little Spirit token ended up winning the game for my opponent.
Another black deck, making it six from six in the articles. I started off with baby Jace into Chasm Skulker, while my opponent's Polukranos, World Eater was quickly met with removal from me. The Chasm Skuler was killed, leaving two Squid tokens behind, and my opponent followed up with Vraska the Unseen. The Squids took care of her. I summoned Olivia Voldaren and, with an abundance of mana in play on my side, I started taking control of my opponent's creatures. They played Liliana of the Veil and Garruk, Primal Hunter, but on the next turn I cast Nicol Bolas and my opponent conceded.
Game 2 was awesome from my point of view. We both started slowly, with me making the first threat in Olivia. She didn't last long, however, and we were back to both trying to stick threats. Some clever play by my opponent almost saw them move ahead in the race: they moved to equip their Liliana, Heretical Healer with a Sword of Feast and Famine. I responded with Go for the Throat on Liliana, to which they responded by animating their Mutavault and casting Doom Blade on it in order to get Liliana to flip into a planeswalker. But unfortunately for my poor opponent, I had Ulcerate still in hand and was able to kill Liliana before any of this could happen, leading to a big blow out. My opponent then went into top deck mode, eventually finding and casting Griselbrand. I followed up with Nicol Bolas, gaining control of Griselbrand and the Grave Titan they played the following turn. Needless to say, I soon won that game!
I have enjoyed Modern Cube, the games have been highly fun. It seems black might be too powerful though, as everyone seems to be playing it; seriously, six out of six decks I faced were black, and I was black this time with a very light black splash last week. It might need to be tweaked slightly before it comes back, and I really do hope it comes back!
Next week, we will be moving to Modern Masters 2017. I hope to see you then!