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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Jun 27 2017 12:00pm
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We all know "the big four" cube archetypes:

(Honorable mentions go to Storm and White Tokens, which are clearly available but lack the power and consistency of the above four.)

But perhaps you're getting tired of those and want to try something different? I bring you....

#1 Midrange Necropotence

Necropotence Yawgmoth's Bargain

You see these cards every time you draft. You probably see them twice, because they always wheel (unless they're taken by a storm drafter). But what about using them for their original purpose of just overwhelming the opponent with card advantage and winning the old-fashioned way?


    Not the best card in your deck. But playable.
  • Tutors. Enlightened Tutor is the strongest one you are likely to be passed. But even Sidisi, Undead Vizier and Dark Petition are good. I caution you against the black tutors that cost life to use (and there are three of them), unless your deck is heavy on lifegain.
  • Acceleration. Obviously we want Dark Ritual and Black Lotus. But those don't get passed every time. Even signets and the colorless accel are good in here, though. Worn Powerstone gives us a turn 4 Yawgmoth's Bargain, after all. And if you're worried about getting the BBB to cast Necropotence, remember that this deck has a lot of swamps and only splashes for other cards. It's rarely a problem. (Plus Cabal Ritual can get you there in a pinch.)
  • Discard. I don't need to explain why Hymn to Tourach and Duress are good cards, but in here, they're even better than normal, because, as a black-heavy deck, we don't have a lot of ways to deal with planeswalkers and non-permanents. Hero's Downfall and splash cards are options, of course, but they lack the cheapness of most discard spells. Cube Necro decks don't usually have much to do on the first two turns, unless they open with a Ritual.
  • Lifegain. Consider Vampire Nighthawk, Wurmcoil Engine, and Batterskull first. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet has really underperformed in my experience and I don't recommend him.
  • Stall. Tangle Wire has always been great for me, and nobody else seems to play it. In some builds, I also like Smokestack and Braids, Cabal Minion. They are highly risky, but sometimes win the game singlehandedly.
  • Wraths. Damnation is great because we can restock so easily.
  • Expensive cards. With all these rituals and card draws, you can reliably hardcast a Sheoldred, Whispering One and such.
  • Splashes. White is good for not only Enlightened Tutor but also Oblivion Ring and lifegain. Green is good for Pernicious Deed. You may also want to splash for some Disenchant-types, at least for your sideboard.
    Yawgmoth's Will

Traps: (Don't fall into these!)

  • Sacrifice. In the old Necropotence days, the conventional wisdom was to have ways to remove your own Necropotence, so you could get your draw phase back after it had served its purpose. In vintage cube, that's not necessary. You will either win the game while it's still in play or have no chance of winning at all. Do not run Nevinyrral's Disk (unless you were going to anyway).
  • Yawgmoth's Will. You're already running rituals and maybe even Lotus, so this is certainly tempting. But it's a dead card way more often than not. And please don't get any funny ideas about Lion's Eye Diamond—this is not the place. That is great in storm but can only shine during the late game in midrange Necro. And the late game is where this deck needs the least help. If we made it to the late game, we probably have 12 more cards than our opponent and don't need to start looking at our graveyard.

Land advice

Run 3 to 4 sources of color for each splash you have, and make the rest swamps. 12 black sources is ideal. Make use of duals and signets when possible, but they're lower priority unless you're going three-color. 

#2 Artifacts

Mishra's Workshop  Metalworker  Lodestone Golem

You always watch these cards go by and wonder: is it really feasible? It seems like it's not, since every player is stealing your Wurmcoil Engines and Worn Powerstones. But the good news is, there are indeed enough artifacts to go around.


  • Cards that mention artifacts. Duh, but let's list them. The above three images, Tinker, Daretti, Scrap Savant, Tolarian Academy, Academy Ruins, Tezzeret the Seeker, and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. All are playable. Tezzeret the Seeker is perhaps the weakest of them, but he can flourish in the right build.
  • I repeat, Tinker. Tinker is this deck's god. First pick it. It usually wheels, but you cannot risk missing it. A turn-two Tinker is likely game.
  • Accel. You cannot rely on having the Workshop in your opening hand. You need lots of signets. Not only for accel, but also for Tinker food.
  • Tinker targets. The best is Blightsteel Colossus, but lacking him, Sphinx of the Steel Wind is a resilient threat. Inkwell Leviathan and Myr Battlesphere can be good. Mindslaver is strong by itself and a lock with Academy Ruins.
  • Other high-end spells. It's not all about Tinker and Mishra's Workshop. You also have a lot of mana from Tolarian Academy and Metalworker, so you can hardcast non-artifact spells like Karn Liberated, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and perhaps some Eldrazi even.
  • Colorless lands. Wasteland, Ancient Tomb, Mutavault, and Rishadan Port are now fairly low-risk, unless you're splashing several different colors.
  • Hole filling. This is more important than ever, since the core of the artifact deck has so many things it cannot deal with. Fortunately, hole filling is also easier than ever with this deck, since its core does not need colored mana. Splash away! The highest priority is removal of all types—we have none otherwise. (Okay, we have Duplicant, but that's it.) Card draw is nice, although artifacts do have access to Coercive Portal. Almost any normally good card is good in here: counters, control magics, planeswalkers, etc. Do be mindful not to have too low an artifact count, of course.


Goblin Welder    

Goblin Welder. If you think this guy has high potential, you're right. There will be a game where he recurs Wurmcoil Engine and Tangle Wire, or where he makes your Mindslaver get an extra two uses.

If you think he's reliable, you're wrong. The only way I would recommend running him is if you build your entire deck around him, ie with lots of looting effects, and if you don't expect an opponent with removal. But we don't have room for looting effects, unless we make other holes in our deck. Even if we do, it will still fizzle often, and that opponent is rare, so I suppose I don't recommend him.

Early game he's pathetic, unless you have something like Faithless Looting by his side. But as someone once said, you shouldn't run bad cards to enable other bad cards. Faithless Looting is only good if you have several resurrection spells, and your artifact deck isn't going to.

Late game, he might be able to trade your signet for a second run with Lodestone Golem, but wouldn't you rather have just drawn a Lodestone Golem-quality spell in the first place, instead of putting your eggs in a fragile, summoning sick basket?

It pains me to pass on such a high-ceiling card, but pass on him I must. Earlier I said Daretti, Scrap Savant was playable, and he still is. This is because he has the looting built in, so even at 3 extra mana he's much better than Welder. Daretti is both powerful and reliable.

Land advice

After you pack in your colorless lands, fill the rest of the slots with whatever your splash colors are. This may cause you to have 7 of a color you only need 3 of, but that's actually a good thing.

(Once I had four splash colors and so had to cut my colorless lands entirely, which hurt, but it was for the best.) 

#3 Four- or Five-Color Goodstuff

This is my favorite way to draft cube. The basic idea is, prioritize duals VERY HIGHLY. Even higher than what you're thinking right now. Our goal is to get 12 to 14 duals by the end, then fill our deck with the best from each color.

In the end, we will maindeck almost every card we draft.

Our sideboard will have about 7 cards in it.

Drafting Strategy

Think about the absolute tier-1 cards, like Ancestral Recall, Consecrated Sphinx, Dragonlord Silumgar, and your favorite planeswalker, then put duals at the tier below them, and then put the rest of the cards.

Here's a concrete example. Swords to Plowshares is usually a very high pick. In this deck, it's lower than a dual. I would happily pass a Swords for a Seachrome Coast, because if I don't get that particular removal spell, I will get another one later. I will just run Dreadbore instead. (Regular white decks can't do that because they can't run Dreadbore. But we can.)

What this means is you do have to pay attention to what nonlands you take. Keep a mental tally of how many threats, how many removal spells, what card draw, and so on you have at all times, because all of those can come in many different forms. Once you have enough large creatures, don't even take the Grave Titan that gets passed to you. Take another dual instead. Your Baneslayer Angel already fills that role.


What's fun about this deck is that it's different every time, and you have access to basically any synergy you want. One draft you can throw in the Deceiver Exarch / Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo. Another draft, you're a Moat deck with only flying creatures. Another, you have Wraths and Planeswalkers galore. It never gets old!

(You can never run the Land Tax / Scroll Rack synergy, alas, because we won't have enough basic lands to support it. But anything besides that is fair game.)

Land advice

I already mentioned 12 to 14 duals. Once you have that (and some signets etc.) in place, count up how many sources you have of each color. Mentally note which EtB tapped and what your fetches are capable of getting.

Then count up how many cards you have of each color. Mentally note which you need access to early on. Also look for how many cost more than one of a specific color (hopefully not many).

THEN add in whatever basics you need to make the above to match each other.

That is it for this week, hopefully this article gave you a bit of inspiration for looking outside of the popular strategies while taking advantage of the awesome cube draft format!  If you try any out, talk about it in the comments section, and have the best luck! 

Thanks for reading! 


Great article by TheWolf at Wed, 06/28/2017 - 19:36
TheWolf's picture

Love the spotlight on the lesser archetypes.

The midrange necro deck is actually good if you pull it off and one of my favourites to draft (I was a necro player back when it was in Standard). One of the key parts which you didn't mention was Pack Rat. This card is INSANE with the card draw from Necropotence and just wins you the game.

You mentioned mono white tokens but I quite like black-white tokens as well. It's not as consistent as mono white but with Bitterblossom, Pack Rat and some anthems you can build a very strong deck.

Nice article! While I've by stsung at Mon, 07/03/2017 - 09:24
stsung's picture

Nice article!

While I've seen some players go Necro midrange in mono black fashion often in our cubes we draft BW Midrange more or less right away. That is actually quite powerful and often other people do not really pick the cards the deck needs. It can go two ways -> more towards Necropotence/Bargain Midrange or more creature based midrange deck that still plays the same control cards but usually runs planeswalkers and some tokens to protect them or stall long enough for a wrath effect to happen and then play some expensive finisher.

Interesting to see artifacts as underrated archetype. For me it always seemed that there is usually 1-2 players actually drafting it. I wouldn't say it is underrated. The problem with this is that it is very fragile, there is a reason to stay out of the archetype. It's either insane or dies easily depending on card availability in the pool and where people end up (I mean in what archetypes). I certainly had some funny games with it. Once I played Mindslaver on t2 and wonder if I should activate it. My opponent would have played Natural Order into Progenitus next turn so I was very glad I actually used it! This deck also likes looting and card draw. So Dack Fayden, Thirst for Knowledge/Compulsive Research etc are good. Also Wildfire effects are not bad^_~.

Most of the time though I played UWb Artifacts deck with some reanimation. That's my favorite deck of all time in Vintage Cube.

White or Boros is also something that works. It's either more WW style or more RDW style but is very potent nonetheless but I understand that it's pretty boring to play, it's not something one would decide to play in Vintage Cube usually ^_~

BTW here's one of the best decks I've seen drafted by one of our Vintage Cube players. He won all his matches since we tried to play Vintage Cube Limited and he was more like playing Vintage Constructed^_^. It started well for him since he opened a Mox, was passed another one (the pack contained 2) and in pack 3 he first picked Time Walk. Someone got lucky.

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berlin0099's picture

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