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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Dec 27 2016 1:00pm
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Welcome back to Limited Edition. I am going to be doing another Vintage Cube this week, as I intended to make the most of the format while it is available on Magic Online. Let's see if we can follow up last week's 3-0 performance with another clean sweep!

As always, feel free to post comments below. I love hearing your feedback on what you would have done differently in my position. 

On to the draft!


Pack 1

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

So, this is not a good pack to start things off. As I mentioned last week, I like to take cards early that are key pieces of an archetype, and there is nothing here. Student of Warfare is ok at best in a white weenie deck, Grave Titan is a strong card, and Goblin Welder is useful in an artifact deck, but none of them are key cards. Instead I decided to stay open and take a colourless card in Myr Battlesphere and see what happens.

  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Again, not a pack that gives us a clear direction to go in. Joraga Treespeaker would probably have normally been my pick if I weren't writing this up for the article, but as I did it last week I didn't want to go into green ramp again. I flirted with the idea of Entomb to head into reanimator, but ended up taking Grim Monolith and decided to stay open.

  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

After my first couple of picks two cards stood out to me here: Wurmcoil Engine and Mishra's Workshop. I was starting to get the idea of maybe an artifact ramp deck, something I haven't drafted before. I took the Engine and really hoped the Workshop could come back. There was nothing else that overly interested me here.

Now, if I can pick up a Tinker somewhere I will be very happy.

  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

I was interested in a few cards here: Palinchron, Hangarback Walker, and High Tide. I went with the High Tide as it was more ramp and I wanted to move into blue for a potential Tinker anyway. I also see that Recurring Nightmare is here, and that moving into reanimator earlier might have been a good idea.

  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Now that I am firmly on the artifact ramp plan, Kuldotha Forgemaster was an easy pick.

  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

There was nothing here for me. I took the artifact removal in case we can splash it, and if we end up facing an artifact based deck.

  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

The pickings are starting to get slim. It was a tossup between Porcelain Legionnaire and Celestial Colonnade here; I was pretty tempted to take the land, but ended up with the artifact and sticking with that plan.

  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Not the Signet I wanted, but Gruul Signet is still ramp, so with no other good options I took it.

  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

More artifact synergies with Goblin Welder. It's possibly I could play red, as there are cards like Daretti, Scrap Savant in the Cube. 

  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Enlightened Tutor is a nice pick up for us here. It can fetch out the Forgemaster if we manage to pick up some high cost artifacts, or can be used to find any other card we might need.

We are getting into the latter end of the pack, so the following picks were:

  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

I wasn't unhappy to see this come back.

  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:

Here are the picks after pack 1:

Most of the white cards I am not planning on playing, but we'll see how the next pack develops our deck. We have a couple of high end artifacts, but would like more.

Pack 2

  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Another really average pick 1 for us. There is pretty much nothing in the pack I want except the Orzhov Signet, so I took that.

  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Well, here's a nice card for us, Tolarian Academy! This is a perfect fit for the deck. Again not much else I want, but that doesn't matter.

  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Well well well. Get in my deck, Blightsteel Colossus! I'm hoping the Show and Tell will come back around; either that or we get that Tinker I want.

  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

I briefly considered Smuggler's Copter here, but a quick look over my deck revealed I really had no creatures to crew it. Instead, I went with Shelldock Isle, which is a good card in general. 

  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Sphinx of the Steel Wind is a perfect card for this deck, though we hadn't been taking black cards to this point. We have an Orzhov Signet that helps cast it, and the Kuldotha Forgemaster can cheat it out; it's also not unreasonable to pick up some fixing soon to help. This was an obvious pick.

  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

I briefly considered Gitaxian Probe before realising that it pretty much does nothing in my deck. Instead, I went with Tamiyo, the Moon Sage for a little bit of control.

  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

It was either Vedalken Shackles or Shardless Agent here, but I really didn't want to commit to green. The Shackles will be okay if we end up heavy blue.

  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I was tossing up between Supreme Verdict or Trinket Mage for this pick. In hindsight I think I should have gone for the Verdict, but at the time I was hoping to pick up something like a Mox or Sol Ring.

  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

This was the only card for me in the pack.

  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

This is not a bad pick up. It's an artifact which helps with Tolarian Academy and Kuldotha Forgemaster synergies and is a good piece of early control.

Again, we are now towards the end of the packs so the last picks were:

  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:

We didn't get Show and Tell back, which was unfortunate but not unexpected. Here are the playable cards we have at the moment:

As you can see, I cut the Goblin Welder in favour of moving into black instead of red.  It's does not look like we are going to be heavy blue, so the High Tide might get cut as well. I'm also on the lookout for some fixing now that I'm in three colours. Let's see what pack 3 brings.

Pack 3

  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is a pretty nice pick up now that we have committed to being at least partially in black. Demonic Tutor would also have been a good pick.

  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Thran Dynamo is more ramp for the deck, and I wasn't overly interested in anything else in the pack. The fixing is the wrong colours, so Dynamo it is.

  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

This was a relatively straightforward pick. With all the mana we will have available, Sphinx's Revelation can get rather large, so in it goes.

  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

While I would have liked to have taken Sundering Titan here, Temple of Deceit is on colour fixing that I badly need.

  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

This is an interesting pack with some good cards. Unfortunately, Torrential Gearhulk has no real targets and we can't afford to run Wasteland with our mana base. Dismember is the next best thing here.

  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

More on colour fixing.

  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Again, not much here. Elspeth, Sun's Champion is a powerful card, so I took that.

  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

A kind of fixing for our deck.

  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

  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'm not really happy with how the deck turned out in the end. The mana base is shaky at best, and we are going to be relying on our top end a lot to win any games. Let's see how we go.


This match is the tale of one really good, close game, and one not so close.

Game 1 we keep a hand of 2 Islands, a Signet, Grim Monolith, Tamiyo, Tezzeret and Wurmcoil Engine and get off to a flying start, casting the Engine on turn 4. Meanwhile, our opponent has played three lands in Esper colours without doing anything else. They cast Hero of Bladehold and we surmise that he is on some sort of tokens or white aggro strategy. We attack with the Engine and untap the Monolith, ready to cast our newly drawn Myr Battlesphere next turn. Our opponent plays Brimaz, King of Oreskos, confirming our suspicions. After turn 6, we are on 25 life, the opponent on 8, and the board looks like this:

I'm confident we are in a good position at this point, until the opponent plays Gideon Jura and forces us to attack in. I'm even less confident when they play an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. I'm able to hold on for a couple of turns, falling to 1 life before casting a Sphinx's Revelation for 5, which also got me down to 20 cards in the library, allowing me to use Shelldock Isle to cast Elspeth, Sun's Champion. I immediately use her -3 ability to wipe half of my opponents creatures off the board; now, I am left with a Battlesphere and a lifelink Wurm, while my opponent has five 1/1 tokens in play. I'm also back up to 5 life thanks to the Sphinx's Revelation and the Wurm.

Unfortunately I've forgotten about the Creeping Tar Pit my opponent played earlier. I tap out for Tezzeret whilst holding a Dismember in hand, and turn my Signet into an artifact before attacking in; my opponent blocks with a token. They then cast Vindicate to take out my Battlesphere, leaving them with lethal on the board. 0-1.

Game 2... well, when you mulligan to 4 before finding your first land, then don't draw any more and your opponent kills that land with Vindicate, you are not going to win many games. 0-2.

Result: 0-1


Our opponent is on blue-white control in this match up. I get off to a slow start, casting nothing but a Tidehollow Sculler before the mana base becomes a problem; I have the wrong colours of lands and haven't been able to draw more, and I am stuck with four uncastable spells in hand. It soon proves to be a moot point; my opponent has Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and a Baleful Strix out and then casts one of the most unfair cards ever printed: Mind Twist. Of course, I then start drawing land... but lose soon after. 0-1

Game 2 is a much different story, as I manage to get a Wurmcoil Engine out on turn 3 thanks to Grim Monolith. The opponent casts Jace followed by Mind Twist again, but hits nothing of significance this time around. Hero's Downfall takes care of the Engine, and the opponent gets a Tasigur, the Golden Fang out, but it's too late; I Anguished Unmaking Tasigur and swing for lethal with the Wurm tokens. 1-1

Game 3 is also a slow start and I get Mind Twisted early. The opponent casts Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and begins to slowly erode my library. I draw nothing but ramp artifacts and land while the opponent is exiling all my creatures with Ashiok, and I lose to being decked. 1-2

Result 0-2


I'm discovering that the deck is a bit of train wreck, but decide to try my best to at least pull off one match win.

Match 3 was pretty much a one game match, as game 1 went on for a very long time. It started out slow, with me Tutoring for a Grim Monolith, and my opponent playing Impulse into Baleful Strix. I was then able to cast a turn 4 Wurmcoil Engine, while my opponent played Woodfall Primus off of Show and Tell, allowing me to also play out my Myr Battlesphere. I followed up with Tezzeret and used his +1, revealing a Spellskite. The opponent then dropped Dragonlord Silumgar and stole the Engine; things suddenly looked bad for me.

In my next turn, I played my Tolarian Academy followed by Tamiyo, which tapped down the Engine. My opponent sent his creatures at Tezzeret, leaving Tamiyo alive; I then used her -2 ability to draw 4 cards, including Blightsteel Colossus; I would have enough mana next turn to cast it. Unfortunately, my opponent cast Time Spiral and shuffled my hand back into my library! 

This was a blessing in disguise, though; it gave me both Kuldotha Forgemaster and Sphinx of the Steel Wind, with the mana to cast them. I started with the Forgemaster with the intention of finding the Colossus again, and was able to do so on the next turn, only to discover that my opponent had Control Magic. I could do nothing but laugh at this point. I was able to Dismember the Dragonlord to get back my Wurmcoil Engine, though, and used Tamiyo to keep the Colossus tapped, and then cast the Sphinx.

But the trickery kept coming from my opponent, casting Sower of Temptation to take the Sphinx. My Forgemaster was untapped, though, so I used its ability to sacrifice the Sphinx in response to prevent them from taking it. I then played Thada Adel, Acquisitor; its Islandwalk ability would allow me to get in for some damage and steal any artifacts my opponent might have. My opponent attacked, killing Tamiyo, and I suddenly had no way of dealing with my Colossus. 

Enter Shelldock Isle, which was able to find an Anguished Unmaking; I would be able to use it next turn to exile the Control Magic and get my guy back. But just when I thought I had things under control, my opponent cast Shriekmaw, targeting his own Woodfall Primus so that, when it came back into play off its Persist trigger, he could blow up the Shelldock Isle!

I had to resort to blocking the Colossus for a couple of turns, but then realized I had been forgetting about Thada Adel. I attacked, and was able to get a look at my opponent's library to steal an artifact: and there, before me, was a Nevinyrral's Disk. I cast it, and if I could survive long enough, I could blow up the battlefield. I cast Hangarback Walker for 8, while my opponent played Kozilek, Butcher of Truth to draw 4 cards; next turn, I activated the disk and reset the battlefield, leaving me with my Colossus and 8 Thopter tokens, and my opponent with nothing. The opponent conceded. 1-0

With only a few minutes left on the clock, game 2 was a nothing affair and my opponent ran out of time, giving me the match.

Result: 1-2


The deck ended up being rubbish, though we did have some bad luck along the way. In hindsight, I wish I had have moved in on Reanimator when I had the chance, but I have learnt that for next time. I also want to hand it to my match 3 opponent, and thank them for an epic game of Magic; those are the really memorable ones, and I'm glad it happened.

I hope you enjoyed reading the draft report, and look forward to your comments. Until next time!

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Is the Vintage Cube designed by Procrastination at Tue, 12/27/2016 - 19:18
Procrastination's picture

Is the Vintage Cube designed in a way that Balance isn't as awesome a card as it usually is? I was surprised that wasn't a first pick over the Battlesphere?

I liked the pick recap at the end of each pack; it really helped keep track of the deck's progress. It's easy to forget that the readers don't have the benefit of the deck builder in front of them.

Balance is good by TheWolf at Tue, 12/27/2016 - 21:08
TheWolf's picture

Balance is a good card, but I like to try and draft key archetype pieces early. Balance fits nicely in certain decks, but is not key to their success, I feel.

Here's my thoughts through by deeathblade at Mon, 01/09/2017 - 15:47
deeathblade's picture

Here's my thoughts through the draft.

P1P1: It was down to grave titan and myr battle, balance is the most upside but requires more pieces and I'd rather pick it up a bit later when i have some. If it was legacy cube id have picked grave titan, but myr was the choice.

P1P2: Grim monolith, with entomb being picked if you went grave titan.

P1P3: Workshop was the pick, it's so much more powerful and you already have the battlesphere. I never would think workshop would wheel here.

P1P4: I think high tide was the right pick.

P1P5: Kuldotha plus battlesphere is super good.

P1P6: Disenchant over nothing.

P1P7: I'd have taken the land(colonnade), while your early had little interaction here, porcelain legionnaire isn't super effective on the forgemaster plan.

P1P8: Definitely the signet.

P1P9: Welder was a greedy pick over the temple, but you had no reason to want black at this point, so I'd have taken welder as well.

P1P10: Godless shrine over enlightened tutor, I don't like enlightened tutor due to card disadvantage here and without any counters at this point you really telecast forgemaster it to players that have one. Artifacts can goesper and shrine is better than temples.

P1P11: Careful Study over nekrataal, even if we play black I wouldn't play over our other picks and we have high tide by now so we want to play as many islands as we can.

P1P12: Same. (Hangarback Walker)
P1P13: Nykthos had some upside here over day of judgement, but only if you knew the rest of the draft, so I'd have picked judgement as well. We don't know yet if we can truly commit to high tide and our blue devotion as of now is 0.
P1P14-15: Nothing meaningful.

P2P1: I go signet as well.

P2P2: Tougher than you made it seem, we have 2 signets, grim monolith, and you would also have legionnaire. I think academy's upside isn't super great for you yet and counterspell would have helped you more I think. Also academy has a better chance to wheel here if no1 else is on the artifact plan, since we took workshop earlier over wurmcoil. I'll assume we keep academy here as it would really warp later picks, but i would have taken counterspell and hope for academy wheel.

P2P3: Show and Tell would wheel less likely than blightsteel and I'd have taken that instead, we already have good show/tell targets and gives us more nut hands and a backup in case we can't forgemaster.

P2P4: If we had any wheels by now LED would be tempting, but tbh we'd have taken shelldock even then, since LED wheels somewhat often. I'd have taken seal here since I don't think you be able to activate shelldock very well. I mean 7 cards +5+2 is 26 cards on turn 5/6 and that's playing the careful study I picked over you. Also, we want a regular island over shelldock for high tide, and seal doesn't tell you opponent you're getting forgemaster/show and tell.

P2P5: We already have two many high cost cards for sphinx, and I don't personally like sphinx too much. Baleful strix was the pick, easier to cast and gives us better early and enable forgemaster and academy better.

P2P6: Probe is far better than you gave credit as you can play around counters better, since countering your forgemaster(or our show/tell) really hoses this deck. I'd have picked either probe or Tamiyo. Damnation is greedy option, we might decide to drop white, with just disenchant/judgement as playables and orzhov signet and collonnade as fixing we might want two colors over three. Tamiyo if went counterspell, probe since we went academy.

P2P7: Shackles is the pick, shardless agent shouldn't be on the radar. Now with hight tide shackles and academy, we want to be as heavy blue as possible.

P2P8: I honestly want to pick Fire/Ice with careful study+welder and now wanting heavy blue we might want to run blue with a small red splash. If we had one or two more discard effects for welder I'd recommend it. Otherwise I agree with the trinket mage and hope really hard for it; you already have day of judgement which is just a little worse than verdict.

P2P9: Karakas wouldn't have been horrible for you, and it's even better if you have the show and tell. I'd go karakas, scroll rack needed shelldock to be activatable.

P2P10: I agree with Tidehollow, but I'm unhappy, your logic here applies to why we wanted baleful strix. Academy if it wheeled though.

P2P11: Blightsteel if it wheeled, otherwise, et Mishra's Factory, it's slightly more useful than the sun titan for this deck.

P2P12: I'd take LED, maybe pack 3 could have a wheel, plus you have trinket mage.
13-15: Nothing of importance.

P3P1: I agree with Tezzeret, the compulsive research for the heavyblue/red is there but it'd have to wheel to want it for that gameplan.

P3P2: I'd go force of will, your ramp is a plenty and the extra counter is more helpful, especially if you didn't have counterspell from pack 2.

P3P3: I'd have gone phantasmal image over sphinx rev, it's arguably the best clone, works great with show and tell if it backfires, and many of your good ramp is a one-shot type effec and you dont want to tap grim or play high tide for a big sphinx. Plus this lets you be more blue.

P3P4: I'd have taken signet, the third signet in this deck makes a big difference.

P3P5: I think you should have taken thoughtseize, namely because you had no counters and this deck really wants to ensure it lands its big cards. Dismember is better if we already had the counters though, but since we had counters I'd take the gearhulk since it has better targets with my picks.

P3P6: Nev disk lets us have a board wipe and stay hard blue, with no fetches I'd take it over scrubland here.

P3P7: Brain maggot over Elspeth, I probably wouldn't main either but elspeth doesnt match our game plan and we might side in brain maggot.

P3P8: Definitely Urborg

P3P9-15 All the same.

So I'd have something like:

Myr Battlesphere
Grim monolith
Mishra's workshop
High Tide
Kuldotha Forgemaster
GRuul signet
Simic Signet
Orzhov signet
Careful Study
Gitaxian probe
Baleful Strix
Vedalken Shackles
Force of Will
Tezzeret Agent of Bolas
Imperial Seal
Phantasmal Image
Torrential Gearhulk
Nevinyral's Disk
Imperial Seal
Hangarback Walker

13x Island (Tolarian Academy if it wheeled)
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
2x Swamp

Brain Maggot
Goblin Welder
Lion's Eye Diamond
Trinket MAge

This feels more consistent on getting forgemaster active, and better control in the early/mid. I like the Tezzeret as a backup wincon and the Gearhulk allows cute plays. In the end I feel the balance plan had some legs, and reanimator was probably the best at your seat but it wasn't set up in a way to let you move in confidently. All in all I think it was a hard draft for your spot. Thanks for putting this and your others up.