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By: SteveJeltz, Rev. David Wright
Mar 08 2018 12:00pm
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The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do:

 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker  Pestermite


The biggest different between the Vintage and Legacy Cube is that 95% of the the Legacy Cube is what we call "fair magic". You're rarely going to lose on turn 2 to someone's broken combo, whether it is enabled by a string of Moxen, or something like Channel into a giant Eldrazi. Because most of the cards that are banned in Legacy are gone in the Legacy Cube, the big offenders are all absent, especially those that cheat on mana. To further create an environment of fairness, the curators of the Legacy Cube have removed almost all the mana rocks, like Signets, and even removed all of the other two card "I-win" combos. No cat-combo: Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai. No infinite turns with Time Vault and Ral Zarek. No Helm of Obedience, Goblin Charbelcher or Aluren shenanigans. So your odds of dying to an instant speed combo kill are quite low.

The only exception is the Splinter Twin combo, of which all the pieces are here: Kiki-Jiki, Splinter Twin, Deceiver Exarch, Pestermite, Zealous Conscripts and Restoration Angel, making it the one instant-win combo of the whole Legacy Cube.

Good First Picks (My Top 25 Cards):


 Liliana of the Veil

LOTV enables all the things that black decks want to do. It kills creatures. It wins attrition wars. It's a discard outlet for reanimator strategies. And if you ever happen to ultimate her, more power to you, buddy! Most importantly, though it doesn't say so explicitly on the card, its almost always a card that trades up on cards, that if you're under pressure you can either tick down and trade for a creature leaving a bit of loyalty left, or if you're ahead, tick up, and crank that vise on your opponent, which is an excellent turn-3 play on either side of the equation.

Recurring Nightmare is my 2nd best black card in the Legacy Cube that it is a unique build around that does one of the most powerful things you can do in terms of setting up repeatable graveyard synergies. While it is not a utility card that just any deck can use, it is the irreplaceable card for the deck that is built off of its synergy.


Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Freshly sprung from the prison of the Modern banned list, JTMS is bar none the most powerful planeswalker ever printed, and probably the single best card in the Legacy Cube. You don't need a specific deck or synergy to make Jace good: JTMS is good in any deck that plays Islands!

But there are so many other first-pickable blue cards in the Legacy Cube. Blue is so deep it can support 4-5 drafters. Consider the following 1st picks:

Consecrated Sphinx - Probably the best finisher creature in the Cube due to its raw card advantage. Blue / Green is also the natural pair for ramp.

Counterspell - The OG! We don't get Mana Drain in this cube, so this is the most efficient catch all counter in a cube full of haymakers.

Control Magic - Much better here than the Vintage Cube. Most decks play creatures, even if they're not their sole win condition. It's a 2-for-1 with a fairly resilient card type. While best against reanimator and G/x fatties, beware that green is best at removing the aura as well!

Glen Elendra Archmage - In a cube where the most powerful cards are spells and not creatures, the double-Negate insurance she provides ensures you don't get blindsided by their haymaker and you can protect your own.

Opposition - Uniquely powerful that its the only card that can utterly lock an opponent out of a game the way that it does. Best in Blue / Green, but Blue / White and Red / Blue can also play it since they both have a lot of cards that make multiple bodies for one card, like Whirler Rogue.

Snapcaster Mage - While you won't be recasting any Ancestral Recalls in the Legacy Cube, having the utility to play your best instant and sorcery twice is still incredible efficiency, and any blue deck will benefit from its inclusion. 

Treachery - Everything I said about Control Magic, except that Treachery is free. If you can play it after your opponent taps out for their big creature, you can steal that creature, and untap to have countermagic to protect your new stolen threat.


Joraga Treespeaker 

LSV calls Treespeaker "the Green Sol Ring". He's not too far off. While vulnerable to an abundance of creatures removal, no other mana dork ramps you up to 5 by turn 3. Even on the turn you invest 2 mana into it, you get that 2 mana back to play another card.

Craterhoof Behemoth - Get hoofed! Green's best "I-win" card. You can turn your board full of dorks into a million damage. Or even better, you can Natural Order into it and win a few turns early.

Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise My pick for the second and third best green mana dorks because they fix you for multiples colors at one mana.



                                                                                                       Splinter Twin

The best piece of the only instant win combo set in the Legacy Cube is Splinter Twin. THIS is the one you want to pick early if you see it and then hope to find the matching pieces. What makes it so much better than Kiki is that it is a whole colored mana cheaper! Kiki would be first-pickable too if it didn't cost RRR. Play the EOT Pestermite, untap and win.

Sneak Attack is my pick for the second best red card in the Legacy Cube, even though its much worse here than in the Vintage Cube. The ability to cheat game-ending fatties into play is a win condition unto itself. Though there are fewer Eldrazi in this cube than the Vintage Cube, and no Blightsteel Colossus, you still have cards like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Woodfall Primus that love coming into play for one red mana with flash and haste.



                                                                                                      Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

While white is a much better color in the Legacy Cube than the Vintage Cube, few white cards in the cube are so irreplaceably powerful that you need to first pick them, But in a cube full of fair cards and big haymakers, why not go with one of the most successful Planeswalkers of all time? Even though Gideon doesn't "protect" himself in the conventional way of being able to destroy creatures or permanents, he will always add utility to the board either via the 2/2 token ally or as a Glorious Anthem emblem. And he's a resilient threat to boot!


Scalding Tarn  Polluted Delta Misty Rainforest Flooded Strand

With so many drafters wanting to play blue, fetchlands that can find blue based duals are at a premium, especially since they can find whatever combination you need. I prefer the fetches to the true duals and shocklands since there are 2 sets of each of those and only 1 set of fetches. But I still have a soft spot in my heart for Volcanic Island, probably the best true dual land in the cube.


Mind Stone

Every deck can use a Mind Stone! In the absence of Signets and Moxen, the only deck that gets an abundance of mana ramp is green. The only other 2 CMC mana rock in the whole cube is Coldsteel Heart. In a cube full of haymakers, being able to make the first big 4 mana play a turn early is hude. And to add icing to your cake, Mind Stone cycles from play!

Coalition Relic is my pick for the next best artifact. Even though its expensive at 3 CMC and a bit annoying to have to chose the color of your mana with every click, it still saves you from color screw like no other card. Additionally, nonbasics like fetchlands can now tap for any color of mana without needing to sacrifice and pay 1 life!


Karn Liberated

Karn is the best generic threat / answer to any big mana deck that can afford him. While 7 mana for a Vindicate is rough, remember that Karn exiles, so he's actually a Scour From Existence who leaves behind 3 loyalty to do it again. Or if you're ahead, just tick up both to make your opponent exile a card, but also importantly to set up the insurance valve of being able to reset the game should you need a panic button.

Honorable mention to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon for doing his best Karn impression at 8-mana and importantly being a great control sweeper / finisher since it clears the board of all permanents except lands and your mana rocks while letting you leave up counter magic for the win.

 The Next 25 Cards to Consider

1. Thoughtseize

2. Grave Titan

3. Griselbrand

4. Reanimate

5. Preordain

6. Negate

7. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

8. Cryptic Command

9. Phyrexian Metamorph

10. Gaea's Cradle

11. Tropical Island

12. Tundra

13. Underground Sea

14. Volcanic Island

15. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

16. Sword of Body and Mind

17. Dragonlord Silumgar

18. Natural Order

19. Woodfall Primus

20. Goblin Guide

21. Lightning Bolt

22. Zealous Conscripts

23. Swords to Plowshares

24. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

25. Armageddon / Ravages of War


Last Word

A Final Word

Even though in cube drafting you will rarely have a deck that lacks enough playable cards, its still important to pay attention to what is being passed to you. "Find your lane" is the the old draft adage. Even though you are likely to be able to build a cohesive deck just on colors alone, finding cards that synergize well into an archetype is so much more important to a successful deck than the individual power level of cards that it behooves you to pay attention to archetype specific power cards that are being passed to find the open deck for you. Cube is a format where Mythic Rare planeswalkers occasionally go last pick! So learn to recognize archetypes and the best cards in those archetypes so you can find the open lane that's right for you.

Next Week

Next week I'll review some of Legacy cube's most supported archetypes, including a few of my own Legacy Cube drafts, and we can decide if I did well, or if they were train wrecks. (I'm going to vote now on train wrecks...)


Keep having fun out there,