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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Jun 28 2017 12:00pm
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Welcome to another Vintage Cube draft! I haven't been having such a good (winning) run with the Cube this time around. In fact, the draft I am writing up for your reading pleasure was one of those "bad idea", late night drafts that I did after going 0-3 in a Cube draft. I normally try to avoid doing those, but sometimes you just want to jump back on the bike and try again.

Now, I have a go to strategy when I get into a bit of a losing streak but, I will say, when I fired up this draft I was not intending to head down that path. Well, not until I saw the first pack...

THE DRAFT

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Take a moment to scroll back up and look at my profile picture. 

Now, let me list some of my favourite decks to play in the history of Magic: Sligh, Deadguy Red, Burn, Red Deck Wins, Boss Sligh, Atarka Red.

As I said, I didn't set out to draft the red aggro deck initially, but smashing people in the face with red creatures and burn spells always makes me feel better when I've been losing. So, seeing Monastery Swiftspear in the pack put me in the frame of mind to burn the house to the ground. Is it the best card in the pack? No, not by a long shot. Upheaval or Wooded Foothills might have been my initial pick otherwise, but seeing good ol' Taylor Swiftspear made me jump straight into red.


  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Magus of the Wheel is okay, but really not what I was hoping for as a second pick mono red card. Instead, I decided to take Pestermite; while I still wanted to smash face, if I can pick up an early Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or Splinter Twin I can possibly play the combo. I'm going to be taking red cards anyway (or at least that's that plan) so this was a speculative pick.


  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Kargan Dragonlord is a pick I like in the mono-red decks. While Chandra, Torch of Defiance is probably good as well, it's generally correct to take lower cost aggressive creatures when building the mono-red Cube deck.


  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

There are four cards here that could fit into mono-red: Figure of Destiny, Guttersnipe, Sword of Body and Mind and Eidolon of the Great Revel. I started by deciding that Guttersnipe and the Sword were riskier picks right now - there was no guarantee I'd have a lot of spells for Guttersnipe, or a lot of creatures for Sword. That left Eidolon and Figure of Destiny, and sticking by the "cheaper is better" mantra, I took Figure.


  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Imperial Recruiter is a good card, but it's hard to go past a 2/2 for 1 mana in Zurgo Bellstriker.


  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Goblin Dark-Dwellers is an okayish card in mono red, but for 5 mana, it's possible I don't end up playing it.


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

The only card I was really interested in here was Shrine of Burning Rage. It provides inevitability, but a lot of people run artifact hate in this format so it's often also a destroyed before you can use it.


  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Chain Lightning is a very easy choice.


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

As is Rift Bolt. The rest of the picks were not interesting for me:


  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

Except this one. Pretty happy to have Eidolon come back.


  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:

The deck is off to quite a decent start. I have a good mix of aggro creatures and a couple of burn spells. Hopefully pack 2 brings more of the same.


  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

I went back and forth on this pick, between Thundermaw Hellkite and Phyrexian Revoker. Both are excellent cards but, in the end, I decided that Revoker might be slightly better. Not just because of its mana cost, but its ability to shut down opposing Planeswalkers.


  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Well, since Wizards won't give us Lightning Strike in Standard, I'll just have to play it here. (Seriously, Wizards - give us Lightning Strike!)


  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

An instant-speed Incendiary Flow is a good card (but not too good for Standard, WotC!), and I'm not really in for Inferno Titan for this deck, so I took Incinerate.


  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

This pick was interesting. Here I had Umezawa's Jitte, Magus of the Moon, Boros Charm and Dualcaster Mage. I quickly dismissed Boros Charm - splashing white usually weakens the red aggro deck in my opinion. That left me with three cards, and I wanted them all. I eventually settled on the equipment, but for no particular reason - all three cards would have been great.


  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

This pick was out of Skullclamp and Smuggler's Copter, dismissing Lightning Helix for the same reasons as Boros Charm. Copter gives the mono red deck a way to get rid of excess lands, and I had just taken an equipment, so Smuggler's Copter won out.


  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

This pick was out of Young Pyromancer and... well, nothing.


  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Again, no choice to be made here. 


  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I've never been a massive fan of Magma Jet in Cube and may not play it, but it was the only red card here.


  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Thundermaw Hellkite and Wheel of Fortune are both still here, but I missed Porcelain Legionnaire when I first saw this pack. Ignoring the colour, it is a 2 mana 3/1 with first strike in any deck, and is perfect for an aggressive deck.


  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

One of the risks with low-curve aggro decks is flooding out. Picking up some utility lands like Mishra's Factory or Mutavault is usually a good idea.


  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:

I'm certainly not complaining about getting Magus of the Moon here. Even if I don't main deck it, it can come in out of the sideboard to wreck decks running a lot of nonbasic lands.


  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:

The deck is shaping up nicely at this point. Some more one drop creatures would be nice, but overall I'm pretty happy.


  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

One of the best finishers in any burn deck is Fireblast. There was also Wasteland here, but the very good burn spells wins over that every day of the week.


  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Another utility land with Mutavault, but Hellrider is too good to pass up.


  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

More burn, thank you.


  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Now, remember that Pestermite I took with my second pick? Well, I found its mate, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. If you don't know the combo, Kiki-Jiki basically makes infinite copies of Pestermite (with haste) that wins you the game on the spot. The problem is I have not taken any fixing and am deep into the draft, so moving into the combo seems like a big risk. If this had have been pack 2, I probably would have moved into blue, but I felt that ship had sailed.

So I took Abbot of Keral Keep instead and continued with the plan of being aggressive.


  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

This pick could have gone either way between Jackal Pup or Brimstone Volley. In the end, the cheaper card once again won out.


  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

With nothing else in the pack, this was a no-brainer.


  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Wow. Well, this one, although not a hard choice, made me cry a little. Sword of Fire and Ice and Koth of the Hammer are both excellent cards for this archetype, but Sulfuric Vortex is one of, if not the best card in mono red. Not only does it slowly kill your opponent, but prevents them from gaining life. It's everything you want in a burn deck.


  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I could have taken Searing Blaze here. It's a fine card, though you do need to hold a land in your hand to make it worth it. Stormbreath Dragon, on the other hand, is a good late game bomb that dodges things like Path to Exile. While you don't want too many high-cost spells in mono-red, I'm happy to make an exception for Stormy.


  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

The same thing I said about Mishra's Factory applies to Mutavault.


  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:

I take it as a good omen of things to come that Koth is my last pick.
 

THE DECK

I'm quite happy with where this ended up. 14 creatures plus Smuggler's Copter, and the only real spell I think I am missing is Lightning Bolt. I'm looking forward to playing with this.

 

THE MATCHES

Match 1

My opponent was on the mono-green ramp deck. They started by playing a Joraga Treespeaker (which I fried), following up with Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (which I Revoked). Unfortunately, MTGO keeps crashing when I watch the replay at this point, but I remember losing the game after my opponent was able to make Polukranos, World Eater monstrous and eat my creatures.

Game two was much the same as game 1. I managed to get my opponent down to 8 life, but couldn't prevent them from ramping into a Primal Command and gaining a bunch of life. That spelt the end for me, as they then had time to play their expensive creatures and run over the top of me.

Match 2

So, not a great start, being 0-1 so far. This opponent was on mono-white, and started with a Kytheon, Hero of Akros, a Spellskite and a Geist of Saint Traft, while I started with a bunch of lands. I eventually managed to draw Abbot of Keral Keep, Porcelain Legionnaire and Sulfuric Vortex. My opponent then cast Supreme Verdict, and it was now a race to see who Sulfuric Vortex would kill first. Unfortunately it was me, as I drew three land in a row while my opponent played creatures.

Game 2 went my way, with me curving out nicely with Jackal Pup, Smuggler's Copter, Phyrexian Revoker and Sulfuric Vortex. My opponent stumbled this time, managing to get out Kytheon again but not doing much else. I won in short order.

Game 3 started off well for me as well, playing Figure of Destiny into Kargan Dragonlord and Jitte. Petrified of Jitte, my opponent kept blocking, but managed to eventually reset the board with Wrath of God. By this stage I had drawn Koth and, along with Sulfuric Vortex and Fireblast, I took the game.

Match 3

This opponent was on Jeskai... something. All they did was durdle around in game 1, and I ran over the top of them with ease and no interaction on their behalf.

Game 2, and they showed that they actually had black in the deck as well, playing Bone Shredder on my Kargan Dragonlord. The thing was, though, that every land that they had in play was nonbasic, and when I cast Magus of the Moon, it was game over. They never found a nonbasic land and I walked away with the match with ease.

 

CONCLUSION

Well, I certainly feel better, going 2-1 and getting back to a winning record. I really do love mono-red decks and enjoy Vintage Cube very much. Thanks for reading!