walkerdog's picture
By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Feb 24 2014 1:00pm
0
Login or register to post comments
2097 views


My experience with the most recent iteration of the non-powered cube had some highs and lows - less the signets and power that I'd gotten used to from the holiday cube, I was struggling to adapt my control decks and combo decks, so I decided to force RDW.  RDW is generally easy to draft, and when you're not having to beat Black Lotus, signets, and Ancestral Recall, the deck is a lot better.  I may have been a bit too focused though - you can decide for yourself. 

  Pack 1 pick 1:

This was not the best pack to open, exactly, if I want to attack and burn with Red cards.  It's not terrible to pass these cards though, as downstream players sure aren't seeing much either.  I don't mind RW, Naya aggro, or even just UWR control, so I go with the Temple.  I'm a big fan of the scrylands, possibly to the point of irrationality.  If I wasn't set on going into some sort of red option, I would probably have given consideration to Ravages of War, Lingering Souls, the Elf, or the shockland.  I think my "real" pick settles on the elf.  Thundermaw Hellkite is certainly viable, but my "best" RDW decks generally have 1-2 cards that cost 4-5 mana, and I would rather have Koth, Keldon Champion, the most recent Chandra, Hero of Oxid Ridge, X-spells, etc before I want to pay 5 mana for a finisher.  Hellkite might have been right if I want RDW, but I'm okay with shipping it.


  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 2:

 

Well, we have a premium finisher here, but we could be Helix - I have a love/hate relationship with passing Helix here, since it frequently tables, but it also sometimes irrationally motivates people to splash Red or White because they remember how good it is in normal draft formats and in constructed, but in cube, it's not actually that great, and the Champ is the Champ.

Again, if we were drafting a real deck, you'd snap up PrimeTime and be happy to do so.

 My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 3:

Urabrask is poop.  We never want to play him if we can help it.  I decided that I'd be happy to go silly, diving into 3+ colors for an aggro deck if necessary, and grab Savannah.  

 

My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 4:

  Man-lands generally present an interesting tension - they are uncounterable 2-power 1-drops!  However, a lot of cube players value them very low, and so you can frequently wheel them while grabbing an inferior card, such as Figure of Destiny, who sucks people in like he's actually a top 5 pick for RDW or something.  If you pick them in the "proper" order (Mutavault over Figure, in this example), you get screwed both by not getting Figure (or Mutavault on the wheel) and screwed again by encouraging another RDW drafter (possibly).  In this pack though, there aren't any cards we REALLY want over it, so we're not going to foolishly risk it.

 

My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 5:

  This pick comes down to Mountain Valley (for our theoretical Zoo deck) or Goblin Ruinblaster (who can make it in RDW or a Zoo deck).  The Baboons are the worst of the trio of 4CC land-destruction dudes (Avalanche Riders is the best, and the one that isn't in this pack), because they both lack the flexibility of dropping a hastey 2/1 for 3 and the power of killing any land for 4 (well, 8 if you want to pay to keep them around).

My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 6:

And then we get a nice pack!  We'd be happy to drop the Ruinblaster and Savannah for the 3 red cards from this pack, but instead, we'll value the burn where it deserves to be valued.  We would like to wheel one (or both!) of these guys, but given our various lands, I wouldn't mind getting the 2-drop over the Ball Lightning.  The burn is better than either card though, because, well, it's removal, it's 4 to the face if you need it, there are a lot of things you can end up doing with it.

 

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  I went with the fetchland here, but in retrospect, I think Isamaru was the right choice, given my willingness to go into some sort of Boros/Naya mixture.

 My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 8:

  Not much to say, but this makes my fetchland feel a little better in the last pack.


  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  I don't want to play any of these, but I MIGHTTTTT play a Black card or something.

My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 10:

  Sparkmage is fine, although we hope our deck is good enough to put him in the sideboard.  He's a really nice measurement of whether our deck is good (if properly built).


  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:

This wasn't a great pack one - we have a lot of potential in our deck, but we saw cards like Tin Street Hooligan and Lightning Helix, and even Ravenous Baboon!!!! getting scooped up and not wheeling back to us.



  Pack 2 pick 1:

We have our choice of a fetchland, and two cats that want you to have a really good mana-base.  I decided that there is a pretty good chance to wheel Nacatl, and/or maybe Qasali, but probably not both.  I'd be happy with either one.  Batterskull would be sweet, but I don't think it's quite right for my deck as a 4/4 for 5 (even though it is a heckuva card).  It is possible that I should just grab it and hope I get SFM.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 2:

This pack is a slight heart-breaker too.  Flame Javelin is a pretty good burn spell, while Taiga would improve our mana-base quite a bit, and Bloodbraid Elf is a great 4-drop if we have a good manabase.  Then you get to Rootbound Crag, and the least attractive (but still fine) option in the Firecat.

 

My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 3:

At this point I'm fine with taking the Brimstone Volley over yet another rare land, but I wouldn't mind that land coming back.  There is also a sweet white three drop, and a 2-power 1-drop I'd probably try to get into my deck at this point.  Lodestone Golem is a last-ditch option.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 4:

It is possible that the right card at this point is just Phyrexian Revoker or Soldier of the Pantheon, but I'm going to stick with grabbing Red cards.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 5:

Not much in this pack - we'll take a decent Green two-drop, and he might be very good if we end up in a Zoo build with plenty of options to dig up.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 6:

What a dead pack - we're happy to have Chandra at least, and she can do some busted things in the right situation, so this isn't miserable.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 7:

Shrine of Burning Rage is one of the best cards you can have in RDW, so that is a thing to see in the pack.  Obviously it is nestled next to the improved Watchwolf and the Cackler, which are both cards I wouldn't have minded in, say, the previous pack.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 8:

Ehhhh we're not happy about the Boar, but he's fine.
  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 9:

Both Cats come around - I go with the one that enables the more overwhelming starts and is less color intensive (sort-of).


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 10:

I don't know that I value the Firecat as highly as I should, but it's a nice wheel card either way.


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 11:

The Sophisticate has been somewhat underwhelming for me.  I end up taking the Paladin, because he makes me groan/start sweating when my opponents play him.  I shouldn't be the only one feeling that way, right?


  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 12:

Cool. 
  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 13:

It might be fun to get Geist, maybe a UR burn spell or two, and just go 4c zoo.  Epochrasite is probably wiser, since he's something I can cast, and against some decks he is backbreaking. 

My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 1:

Well, this is interesting - do we want one of the better aggressive one-drops, FTK, who is a good card in RDW (but not one of the better 4-drops, due to lacking haste/direct damage, but STILL is very good of course), but who also gets better in a deck that might be a little slower, or the Angel (or Journey or Pilgrim) who I view as lesser options, but are still very good?  I tend towards conservative picks in this situation, and I know I'll probably be happy to run Goblin Guide out in my opener every time, so I take him. 

If we want to get a bit meta, I have noticed that FTK can go much later (even wheeling) that I think is correct, so that probably contributed to this pick as well.  I'm hoping he or Angel or Journey wheel (Pilgrim would be okay, but isn't really what I want so far).  There is also an outside chance that picks in pack three would lead us to want Lavaclaw Reaches or some other card I haven't already covered.
  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 2:

Char is good, but Grim Lavamancer is one of my favorite cards of all-time, whether that is the right pick here or not - he makes your burn better, he makes Elf-based ramp worse against you, and acts like a hate-card against weenie players and control players alike.


  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 3:

You could talk me into Ohran Viper or (much more likely) the Cloudgoat Ranger, but while the Noble isn't the best 1-drop, he's fine.

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 4:

I'd really like Earthquake to wheel, and in a pinch we could go with Borderland Ranger or Mana Tithe, but right now we're going with the fat guy that gets fatter.
  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 5:

 I think that one probably wants Dismember here - it will make RDW or any sort of 3+c abomination's deck, but I decided to support this abomination's mana-base with the fetch. 


  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 6:

 I feel pretty good about Hell's Thunder here - it usually ends up as a Flame Javelin that is slightly easier to cast, with a flashback of 5.  That's absurd.  I do love me a Hero too, so I am pained to pass him, but I think that if I could play 4 Hell's Thunder in my draft deck, I'd be happy to.  Hero, not so much, and we have good 4-drops already.


  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 7:

We have a lot of options here, since we have a bad deck with good mana - Riftwing Cloudskate is probably the best card, and Daxos is the most fun card.  Even if we keep it reasonable and focus on our likely Naya core, we have our choice of RW lands.  I feel like paying pain constantly for my two most common colors is the inferior choice, but we are getting to the point that we have so many non-basics that it's possible that it's better to take Battlefield Forge, so our land can reliably be tapped for mana the turn we play it.
  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 8:

I would rather grab Paladin in retrospect, but this was the result of quickly scanning the pack, not caring (much) about any of the cards, and hate-drafting the Show.


  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 9:

It is not exactly bad, given the pile we're probably going to play, that we got Exalted Angel here.  She can always be a grey ogre in a pinch too.


  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:


This draft converter created by Benjamin Peebles-Mundy.
Visit the draft converter today!

 During building, I put together a RW build (which was just too short on cards to really do), a Naya build (which was scraping the bottom, but appeared to be potentially strong, given a little lucky), and a Naya build splashing for Deep Analysis and Edric.  I ended up in a Naya build, but I played the blue shocklands so my fetchs could get the green and white associated with those shocks.

Round one was a pseudo-mirror - my opponent on RG.  His build was probably fine against some decks, but it was awful against me.  Keldon Marauders doesn't do much when your opponent has Exalted Angel and Goblin Ruinblaster actually wrecked him, killing a non-basic that he needed pretty badly.  

I did side in the Blue cards (Deep Analysis and Edric) for some of the small guys.  I did this because frequently you end up in an awkward midrange battle in these games, especially when neither deck appears to be very good (or aggressive).  It may have been wrong, but given how quickly he killed Edric, it felt right!  This game saw me grow a huge Taurean Mauler while eating his chump blockers as he flooded, but then he played Polukranos and traded my team for his Monstrous dude. I was still in it though, given the lead on life I had, and was able to turn Hell's Thunder and Brimstone Volley into lethal damage.

Apparently everyone had a bad draft - round two was a terrible GW deck.  Big Country did a lot of work in game one, milling away unneeded lands and making sure I hit gas, and my burn was able to keep him from teaming up his guys to take down my fat giant.  I kept my deck the way it was for G2.  He started off with Nearhearth Pilgrim (which I didn't care much about at the time) into Sublime Archangel (who I did care about).  Luckily for me, I'd played Shrine of Burning Rage on turn two, and had a burn spell for his Pilgrim on turn four, followed by cracking the Shrine to kill his annoying angel.  After that, Ohran Viper drew me a bunch of cards and he died.

Round three was a decent-looking UB deck, but my awful pile showed the right mix of cheap dudes, manlands, and burn spells to take him out swiftly in game one.  The high/low point was his Capsize (no buyback!) on my Stromkirk Noble (who was a 4/4) that went right back into play and finished up the job 3 turns later.

I sided the two blue cards in, cutting the slower Taurean Mauler and a land.  It didn't seem to matter - this time it was Goblin Guide supported by Grim Lavamancer and burn that quickly took my opponent down.  He did mention that everyone he saw appeared to have a train wreck draft, as he'd faced RUG and Mono-black (two sure signs of a draft going in a bad direction!  Mono-black fans probably know I'm half-kidding).

While my picks were pretty bad, I wanted to force that type of deck to try to get untracked.  The two drafts before that, I'd drafted good UG decks and was dispatched easily by what felt like inferior aggro decks, and so I repaid the favor this draft, winning with one of the worst cube decks I've drafted.  I hope you enjoyed rubbernecking this mess, and feel free to give your feelings on how you would have approached this, if you'd come in planning on RDW but making reasonable shifts away from it as it became apparent it wasn't open.