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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Dec 27 2018 1:00pm
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"It's that most, wonderful time of the year..." Vintage Cube is here again, and I have been playing it to death, as is my summer tradition (yes, summer, I'm Australian. As I write this, it's 38 degrees celsius (100F) and too hot to do anything else. The air conditioning is nice, though). 

Cube is unlike a normal draft format. You are not trying to put together a good limited deck; you are trying to build a 40-card, singleton constructed deck. This changes how you would approach the draft; you need to build a deck, not a colour pair, so figuring out what you are trying to do is essential.

In general, my pick order for Vintage Cube goes something like this:

  • Power - The Moxes, Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and Timetwister are all in the Cube, and it's why we draft it. Take them first, don't pass them.
  • Honourary Power - Library of Alexandria, Mana Crypt and Sol Ring are also in the Cube. I take these over anything else except power.
  • Fast Mana - Anything that generates more mana than it costs is usually pretty good. This includes cards like Channel, Mana Vault and the Signets. I'll usually take these highly, but it depends on the Signet in question and what else is in the pack.
  • Archetype Engines - These are key cards that make decks tick. Things like Entomb for reanimator, Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary for green ramp, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker for Twin and Sneak Attack for, well, Sneak Attack.
  • Blue Cards - This sounds like a joke, but blue is the best colour in the Cube. When in doubt about what to take, I always lean towards blue cards and build from there.
  • Dual Lands - Now, I don't take every dual land I see. This category is reserved for the original dual lands, shock lands and fetch lands. Especially blue ones.

If I have to take anything other than these pick one, I'm quite disappointed. With that in mind, let's have a look at some packs and see what I'd take. These are all real packs opened during Magic Online drafts. Play along; let me know in the comments what you would take from each pack. I'll give my answers at the end of the article.

Pack 1

This is a reasonably disappointing pack. We don't have any engine cards, and the signet we have is black/green - not a colour pair that really has an archetype. It does work in green ramp decks, though. Honor of the Pure can be an important card in white weenie decks, but it isn't absolutely crucial. There is a fetchland as well with Polluted Delta, and a couple of blue cards, including Ancestral Vision.

What's your pick?


Pack 2

This pack is a bit better. Craterhoof Behemoth is exactly what green ramp spells want to ramp into... but, there is also a Channel in here. Tolarian Academy is wanted by every single artifact deck, and Daretti, Scrap Savant also works in those decks. Finally, there are a couple of good blue cards as well.

What's your pick?


Pack 3

This pack is also a little underwhelming, but let's see what we have to work with. High Tide and Yawgmoth's Will are important for Storm decks, and Deceiver Exarch is part of the Twin combos. We then have Azorius Signet which produces blue mana, making it important, as well as a dual land in Godless Shrine

What's your pick?


Pack 4

This pack has Hero of Bladehold, which I find is one of white weenie's best creatures, despite costing four mana. Breeding Pool is a dual land, and there is also Izzet Signet, which is probably the best Signet to take. Tendrils of Agony is one of the win conditions for Storm decks; there are only a small selection of these, so if you are going to draft Storm you need to take them.

What's your pick?


Pack 5

Another lackluster pack here. There is a Signet (though not a good one); there is also Coalition Relic, which is probably better than it. Kuldoth Forgemaster is good for fetching large artifact creatures, though you need to draft a lot of artifacts to make it work. Other than that... there are three pretty decent blue cards.

What's your pick?


Pack 6

This pack is a bit more interesting, as it has four cards in it I'd be happy to take. Mana Vault and Channel are both excellent mana ramp cards, and I generally would want both. Buried Alive is a key card for reanimator decks; getting your targets into the graveyard is priority. Then there is Steam Vents, one of the better colour pairs.

What's your pick?


Pack 7

This is the first pack we've seen with power, so it's an easy choice, right? We slam Black Lotus and move on? Well, it certainly wouldn't be wrong to do so, but let's just have a bit of a look. You'd certainly take Lotus over Worn Powerstone, but what about Brain Freeze - a win condition for Storm - or Sneak Attack, which is an archetype on it's own?

What's your pick?


Pack 8


For our last pack, we have another piece of the power nine in Time Walk. There isn't much else, except for Lotus Petal and Badlands.

What's your pick?


My Picks:

  1. Ancestral Vision. 
  2. Channel.
  3. Deceiver Exarch.
  4. Izzet Signet.
  5. Coalition Relic.
  6. Mana Vault.
  7. Black Lotus.
  8. Time Walk.