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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
May 29 2014 12:00pm
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 The cube is back.  With the conclusion of Journey into Nix release events, the MTGO team has returned cube with a few small changes.  They dropped six cards from the old list, and brought in six new cards.

Jotun Grunt
Goblin Cadets
Pattern of Rebirth
Voice of Resurgence
Steam Augury
Nezumi Graverobber

Taken alone, there are 3 great cuts here - Grunt, Cadets, and Steam Augury were 99% disappointing and side-board material, and 1% of the time were unbeatable.  Yuck.

Then you have 2 "okay" cuts - Voice and Pattern were cards I liked having in the cube, but I won't exactly miss them.  They were more like 75% disappointing.

The weird cut, to me, is Nezumi Graverobber.  He was disappointing infrequently, and usually was a good role-filler.  It appears that cutting him, in combination with Grunt, may have been an effort to strengthen reanimator just a little bit.

Nyx-Fleece Ram
Prophetic Flamespeaker
All Suns' Dawn
Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
Keranos, God of Storms
Gnarled Scarhide

The ins are interesting.  Flamespeaker and Ram replacing Jotun Grunt and Goblin Cadets, and appear to be a combination that is trying to make RDW just a little worse.  The Flamespeaker is a cool card, but you're rarely playing pump effects that will make him broken, while Cadets were still 2-power 1-drops, and the Ram is just much better against aggressive decks than the Grunts.

All Suns' Dawn? I have no idea why it is returning.  This is the "worst" swap, although it's not a downgrade from Pattern exactly. Ajani and Keranos are going to be fun to play with.  Ajani may cost too much to be amazing, but he will probably be pretty good at least, and Keranos is probably about the same.  Plus, they're certainly not worse than the creature they're replacing, and they are probably just a lot better.

Finally, the Gnarled Scarhide is a big clue that whoever at Wizards is running the cube wants black aggro.

These aren't huge changes, but they aren't nothing either.  Let's take a look at a draft (which is pre-changes).

  Pack 1 pick 1:

Wooo, what a sweet open!  I love me a Grave Titan, and there is only Goblin Guide to compete for my affections.  While GG is often GG, the Titan is a beast, and we're going to (try to) end some games with him.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 2:

Another wooooo!  Cryptic is one of my favorite cards in Magic.  I'm already plotting UBx reanimator/187.dec 

My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 3:

Sun Titan! Ponder! 2 fetchlands! Sinkhole! What a pack - I'll go with some fixing and hope something sweet wheels.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 4:

Well, this is a difficult choice.  Exhume is a reanimation spell, but it is one of the least desirable, and it frequently wheels.  Legacy's Allure is a card I enjoy a lot, so I decide to risk getting the Exhume back. 

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 5:

Uh, I'm not sure what happened here.  I'd like to grab Wasteland or Bolas, but I think I may have misclicked.  I don't THINK I was so mad about RDW that I was grabbing SB-only cards this early, but I suppose it is possible.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 6:


Bummer.  We'd like to have the Myr, the Catacomb, or the Slaughter Pact, but Master of Waves is immensely powerful against RDW, and fine against other decks too.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 7:

A bunch of random, mediocre cards, or a good fixer... fixing time! We already have Misty to find it too.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 8:

It is both encouraging and discouraging to see Narcolepsy, Golem, Ultimate Price AND the Tar Pit in this pack, but the man-land fixes and kills the opponent as well.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 9:

Augur is the kind of effect that wins games against aggressive decks and can apply a little bit of pressure (while hopefully still cantripping) against control decks.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 10:

Okay, that works.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 11:

Kavu should not still be in this pack.

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 12:


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  Pack 1 pick 13:

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  Pack 1 pick 14:

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  Pack 1 pick 15:

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  Pack 2 pick 1:

Going into this pack, I'm not totally set on Grixis, especially with Bolas not wheeling, but I'm close to it.  I decided that while Gideon is amazing, Daze will be fine for us, and we don't have ANY white fixing so far.  This is probably a bad thought process, because Gideon is so much more powerful than Daze/Bolt. I also probably should have taken Animate Dead over the Daze.

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 2:

Had we taken Gideon, we would be snapping up the Martial Coup and tearing off to the races.  Instead, we will be choosing between Dismiss, Polluted Delta, Kozi, and Mulldrifter.  I decide that the Delta fixes us for Grixis nicely, and go with it.

My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 3:


I mean, if I KNEW I was getting Relic third pick, I probably take the White cards in the previous 2 packs...
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 4:

Ahahahaahah. Also, had we know Sphere would come right after Relic, blah blah Gideon, blah Martial Coup, blah.  But seriously, Sphinx is a great one.
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 5:

Speaking of good cards to cut from the cube, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Progenitus!  We'll be content with Snappy, and hope we wheel Teferi, Talisman (not likely) or Servitude.  Lavaclaw Reaches would be okay as well, I suppose.

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 6:

Good removal or...  Yea, nothing to outshine Dismember here.
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 7:

My, oh my, Mind Stone too?  We've seen 4 artifact ramp spells this pack.  I probably should have taken it, but Bolt is so powerful!  I've noticed when I am playing it that a lot of games end with Bolting the opponent's face on their EOT, and digging into one of the cards you need to finish them on your turn.
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 8:

This pack is a bastion of mediocrity.
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 9:

The Animate Dead is a treat at this point, and we'll gladly grab it.

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 10:

If we'd taken more of the artifact ramp (and we probably should have), Burning would be great, but Knight is a fine card for us here.
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 11:

Thoughtseize is probably undervalued at this point.

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 12:

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  Pack 2 pick 13:

Man, I think I wish I'd taken Reaches in retrospect, but Servitude served me well.
  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 14:

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  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 1:

Okay, I have a problem.  I like Kira wayyyyyy too much.  The reasoning was that I had Old Man, and Kira makes him SO much better, while Sower is great, but would like to have Kira out already or something.  This should be Sower I believe.
  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 2:

Good times.  Pick badly, get rewarded with a bomb in your colors.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 3:

We are lacking in actual card advantage here, or I'd be all over the Battleball.  Instead, we'll make it possible to get an extra card from time to time.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 4:

Yuck!  Epochrasite can at least fill in the low end of the curve I suppose.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 5:

Not bad.  We'll get removal on feet here, hating to pass the Deep Analysis, but we just took Research.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 6:

Decent 3-drop in a shallow pack.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 7:

We probably should have been in white, but Kai is fine.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 8:

I'm not sure why I didn't take Visara as a finisher/reanimation target.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 9:

Bad River let me shave back my non-Islands, odd though that might sound - I could get away with something like 3 swamps, 3 fetchlands, 1 mountain, Tar Pit, and 1 Steam Vents, helping me keep my Island count higher for Shackles.

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 10:

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  Pack 3 pick 11:

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  Pack 3 pick 12:

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  Pack 3 pick 13:

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  Pack 3 pick 14:

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  Pack 3 pick 15:

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Not a perfect draft - I think passing Bolas (I swear I didn't mean to!) and Gideon were both incorrect choices at the times they were made.

We built like so:



The downside - there was at least one other actual Grixis drafter.  The upside - our deck turned out pretty well, and had a lot of great sideboard options.  I know I sided BLeb, Sparkmage, Knight of Infamy, Darwin, Stupor, and Servitude.
I do not remember the matches (much).  I was paired with Grixis, RDW, and, uh, UWrb (seriously!?!?) that played a lot of "my" cards along with a minor reanimator theme.  Basically my deck, adding good white cards and worse mana.

I won all 3 matches. Round one, I just remember using the opponent's Bitterblossom to kill him twice, and yes, with a "Prophetic Bolt" finish.  Round two saw me squeeze out a close game one (Thanks, Master of Waves!), lose a blowout in game two, and crush him with BLeb + Master + Shackles in game 3.  The last round saw me lose a long game one.  Turns out he had Bolas.  And Karn.  I sided into some more aggressive cards, and Animate Dead nabbed a tasty goody that I'd countered (I don't remember what, just that the opponent was pissed to walk his great fatty into Daze and then see it Animated).  Game 3 saw him clear my board with Angel of Serenity, who died to Boneshredder, and then a convoluted line where I needed him to attack with a good flyer so I could Servitude the Bonesplitter to kill his OTHER flying blocker and then kill him.

I hope you guys enjoyed the draft.  Sorry for the sub-standard writeup, but the matches weren't memorable enough (aka I should have taken better notes).  Good luck with your cubing this week!