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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Jan 04 2018 12:00pm
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Fifty draft articles! I have to admit, as much as I love drafting, I wasn't sure I'd ever get this far with this series. Thank you, readers, for helping me get here!

Anyway, on with the draft!

THE DRAFT

 

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

There were several cards in this pack that I would have been happy taking: Ancient Tomb for fast mana; Sneak Attack as the core of a deck; Mox Ruby as, well, it's a Mox!; and Elvish Mystic for green ramp. I ruled out the Mystic as I drafted green for the last article, and I almost took Sneak Attack, but it's hard to go past a Mox so I took the Ruby.


  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Another pack with a few cards I would be happy taking early: Rakdos Signet for ramp; Swords to Plowshares as A+ removal; Bribery for how strong the card is (especially against certain strategies, like ramp, Eldrazi and reanimator); Lightning Strike to maybe move into red; and Sylvan Caryatid for the green ramp deck. While it was likely the weakest of the choices, I decided to take Lightning Strike. Being that I knew that this was a milestone article, and being that it should be well established by now that I am a mono-red mage, I decided to see if I could force the red deck.


  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Having made up my mind to force red, I get a Zurgo Bellstriker or Young Pyromancer to choose from. I took Zurgo, simply due to his mana cost being lower.


  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

This pick was a toss up between Smuggler's Copter and Flametongue Kavu. If you get enough creatures, Copter is great, but mono red decks do sometimes end up with a lot of burn spells instead. This led me to choose Kavu.


  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

In hindsight, this pick should probably have been Hazoret the Fervent. But I took Umezawa's Jitte for it's sheer power; with all the exile and steal affects in the cube I thought Hazoret might not be as strong as it looked.


  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

I'm not sure if Bonfire of the Damned or Fire/Ice was the correct pick here, but I went with Bonfire.


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Fiery Confluence is a strong card, but you often want to go as low to the ground as possible with the mono red decks. Besides, how could I pass my favourite card of all time? I took Lightning Bolt.


  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

In my opinion, Hellrider is one of the key cards for mono red (as well as (Sufuric Vortex)). It was an easy pick over Dualcaster Mage.


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

I didn't want Sweltering Suns for obvious reasons, though I'm not fond of Hangarback Walker in a deck like this either. Still, Hangarback was the better choice.


  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Avalanche Riders was really the only choice here.


  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

I took Sword of Fire and Ice, though I did consider Ral Zarek. I have noticed that I haven't been able to get many cheap creatures yet, and the mono red plan might not work. But I stuck with the plan and took the Sword.


  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

I'm forced to take a second Sword now, this time Sword of War and Peace. It's likely that if I play one Sword in the deck it will be Fire and Ice, but this could be good against white decks.


  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:

I'm glad Hazoret the Fervent came back. Hopefully I'll get a chance to use it to see if it's any good.


  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:

Sword of Light and Shadow gives me a third Sword, something I don't really want, but I'm not taking Adanto Vanguard so it is what it is.


  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

If I had have taken Ral Zarek earlier I would have taken Time Walk here for sure. Instead, I took the unexciting but good burn spell in Incinerate.


  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Well, this pack is not what I really want. Chandra, Flamecaller was really the only pick, and yet I'm hoping not to play it if possible. There does exist a "big red" deck in this cube and if I end up there Chandra will likely make the cut, but I really want to go low to the ground.


  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

I took Searing Spear here but it was actually close between it and Ancient Grudge. There are so many good artifacts in the cube that artifact removal is very important. Here's hoping it comes back.


  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Harsh Mentor was really the only pick here. Desperate Ritual is not for my deck.


  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Aggressive one-drops are quite important for mono red, so Falkenrath Gorger was a welcome sight. It's only the second one-drop I've managed to pick up, which has me a bit worried.


  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

I'm pretty happy to pick up Chandra, Torch of Defiance. It gives me a bit more reach and can help close a game out. I normally would like to take Wasteland as well but it really looks like I'm not going to be a low-curve deck at this stage, so don't want to waste lands.


  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Daretti, Scrap Savant is really not a card I want for my deck, but that doesn't leave any other red cards. Boros Charm is the next best thing - I'm normally hesitant to splash a colour in this type of deck, but I might need to.


  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

It's starting to look like I'm moving towards the big red deck, with Thundermaw Hellkite the pick up here.


  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Magus of the Moon is sometimes good, often times mediocre. Still, I'm not taking any of the other cards here.


  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

I won't be playing Rite of Flame, but I won't be playing any of the other cards either.


  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:

I'm pretty happy to get Ancient Grudge back. It's likely to be an important card in certain match ups.


  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

To be honest, I completely missed Mana Vault when drafting, and am surprised now that I see it here. If I had have seen it, it would easily have been the pick, allowing me to ramp into the bigger red cards I had so far drafted. But because it looks like I need glasses, I took Exquisite Firecraft.


  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

A second Mox? Don't mind if I do! Even though Mox Pearl is off colour, it is well worth picking up. Plus, I had picked Boros Charm and Lightning Helix earlier, so this might help if I need to splash them.


  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Both Rift Bolt and Goblin Guide were fine picks here. I took Goblin Guide simply because I needed much more low-mana creatures.


  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

I love Fireblast. Being able to deal 4 damage out of nowhere, when tapped out, is great. And I love how much it annoys my opponents.


  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Another one drop, so Jackal Pup was easily the pick.


  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Shrine of Burning Rage is an important card for mono red, and I was glad to take it here.


  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

This was a tough pick. Grim Lavamancer is a solid source of repeatable damage, but it dies to just about everything in the cube. Chain Lightning, on the other hand, is just an efficient burn spell. In the end I took Chain Lightning, but it's possible Lavamancer was the correct choice.


  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I've played a bunch of drafts since the cube came back, and storm has been much more common than other times. Eidolon of the Great Revel is a card that just shuts that deck down, so I was quite happy to pick it up.


  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

My fourth Sword. Again I'm likely only to play the one (Fire and Ice), but I guess I can sideboard depending on what my opponents are playing.


  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

I've been able to lower the curve a little with this pack, so I'm happy to include Strip Mine. I'm also at the point that I shouldn't need to splash white, so I can afford a non-coloured mana source.


  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:

Rift Bolt came back, and I am happy.


  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:

 

THE DECK

I'm not in love with this deck. It's missing the better one and two mana creatures and, while it's got the burn spells, it's missing Sulfuric Vortex. Hellrider is less good without the creatures, and the deck is heavy at four mana; normally I only like to play sixteen mana sources in a mono red deck, but I am having to play seventeen (and one of them is Strip Mine). I'll be happy if it takes me to a 2-1 result, but I have certainly had better versions of this deck.

 

RESULTS

Much to my surprise, I went 3-0 with this deck (6-2 in games), earning me my first trophy of this version of Vintage Cube after eight drafts. I faced a Planeswalker/Control/Artifact deck, a Reanimator deck and a White Weenie deck, with all of them being tight games with the exception of the White Weenie one, where I curved out beautifully and won pretty easily.

To be fair, the Artifact opponent should have won; they missed having lethal in game one when they had five artifacts on the board and Tezzeret the Seeker whom they could have ultimated to win. I also did one of the dumbest things I have done in Magic in game 2 against that opponent: they were on 2 life, I was on 1. I had Eidolon of the Great Revel in play; I drew Mox Ruby and stupidly played it, killing myself in the process. It was a match I certainly didn't deserve to win!

As far as how the deck performed, it went better than expected. Hazoret the Fervent won me a couple of games, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance was very valuable. Harsh Mentor didn't achieve anything, nor did Magus of the Moon. Sadly, I never got to cast Hellrider

Thanks for joining me. Until next week, you can get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.

FIRST PICK, FIRST PACK

Vintage Cube - what would you take with your first pick?