The store cube was drafted last night (with an 8-man draft) and it went rather well. There was someone who tried forcing 5CC and from what I could tell, didn’t do that well and the black aggro cards were taken by someone who ended up just making an awkward BU control deck which would have been just better as a fish deck (It had Jitte and Clamp!) Aside from that, it looked like a good mix of strategies overall. I ended up 3-0ing it with a RW aggro deck. Koth, Ajani G, TONS of aggro beaters (Soltari Monk, Priest) made the deck really good. Oh and getting all of the original moxen, sans Sapphire didn’t hurt either. 🙂
If I make a sequel to the “Cube Design Theory – Aggro in Cube” article, which I probably will since the concept of enabling aggro in cube still seems very misunderstood, I’ll reference the RW aggro deck that I built. Having 4 moxen certainly helped, but the deck would have crushed without them.
Any suggestions are very much welcome regarding the changes and the lists themselves!
Ogre’s 360 cube:
–Tezzeret the Seeker, +Upheaval. One of the most popular blue sorceries in the game, the game is typically won for the caster when Upheaval resolves due to floating mana post-Upheaval. I’ve a feeling that even in this small list, Upheaval’s not going anywhere. Tezzeret, one of the weaker planeswalkers, ultimately gets cut due to his being pretty restrictive and is quite weak compared to everything else at 5 mana.
–Innocent Blood, +Reanimate: Another inclusion of one of the most powerful sorceries. 1 mana is such a bargain for reanimation. Innocent Blood is a card that I feel is underrated, but it doesn’t compete with the other removal options.
–Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, +Vampire Nighthawk: IMO, a better creature. I’d like to fit Drana, Juzam Djinn and Plague Sliver in here, but this list is so tight. Them’s the breaks of running a 360-card list.
–Akroma, Angel of Wrath, +Eternal Dragon: Although Akroma is thought of as one of the best finishers in the game, Eternal Dragon will likely find more homes in decks. It plays better with reanimation spells since it can dump itself into the grave, and Akroma’s pro black makes Animate Dead and Necromancy fall off. Eternal Dragon also tends to be more useful in decks like midrange and is a really strong card in control mirrors.
–Blade of the Sixth Pride, +Kor Sanctifiers: Similar with Innocent Blood, I feel that Blade’s underrated but Sanctifiers is just an amazing cube card. There are hardly ever a lack of targets for it as there are plenty of artifacts and enchantments in cube. It looks meh, but Sanctifiers is a very good card and should do well.
-Pyroclasm, +Magma Jet
Planned changes for later (not reflected in the lists because, well, I haven’t done them yet):
Extras: -Temporal Isolation, -Faerie Conclave, -Thieving Magpie
My cube list:
One of the benefits of managing several cubes is allowing yourself to step back and look at a cube’s design from another point of view for insight. When me and Mr. C. W. III designed the Ogre’s 360-card list, he emailed me an initial draft and I was pretty shocked by the amount of multicolor that there was – only 6 per pair. Compared with the 10 that I was initially running, that seemed like a HUGE cut. Especially when there were cards like the blue-based multicolor manlands and Stormbind that didn’t make the cut. Ouch.
But, the more that I looked at it, the more that I realized that it wasn’t that far of a stretch. If I added a few cards to the 6 for each pair that were in Ogre’s list, I’d be able to keep much of what I wanted to keep.
I did a good amount of analysis and settled on 8 cards per multicolor pair. It allowed most of the suboptimal cards like Llanowar Wastes to get cut while retaining much of what I wanted – blue gets its multicolor manlands and signets, RG keeps Stormbind, BG keeps Putrefy and I’m happy with that. 🙂 This allowed me to expand colorless to 60 cards and send the rest of the cards to the color sections, expanding them to 61 each.
–Llanowar Wastes, –Karplusan Forest, –Sulfurous Springs, –Rugged Prairie, –Izzet Boilerworks, –Voidslime, –Azorius Chancery, –Dimir Aqueduct, –Fetid Heath, –Loxodon Hierarch: Most of these cuts are suboptimal mana fixing options and I’m happy to jettison them for strong artifacts and WUBRG cards. I’ll see how these changes effect available fixing and how overall drafts go, but overall I’m very happy with the cuts. If I cut 1 more card in each multicolor pair, I’d have to cut things like Putrefy, Raging Ravine and Creeping Tar Pit. Granted, it’s an option that I can pursue in the future if I wish to.
+Weathered Wayfarer, +Moat: I’m not sure why my list for white was at 59 cards, but I certainly feel stupid for that. Regardless, it allows me to add Weathered Wayfarer, a solid 1-drop (but one that will likely get benched if a good 1-drop comes out, but still a good creature) and Moat. Moat should be a great card to the white-based control strategies, especially UW, since it has so many fliers.
+Palinchron, –Inkwell Leviathan: Inkwell, much like Sepultura’s Roots, was something that I really wanted to be good, but unfortunately, never quite delivered. Inkwell was in my cube a while ago, got cut, came back and is going out again. I originally cut it because it was only really good in the Tinker decks – if someone drafted Tinker, they could pretty easily rely on being able to get Inkwell (assuming that it was in the pool) since not many other decks wanted it. I was never really impressed with it via hardcasting as, unlike other cards like Woodfall Primus and Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Inkwell lacked immediate effect despite costing more than those cards. I don’t really enable reanimator as a stand-alone archetype (more of a sub-archetype) so that may be why Inkwell never really performed well outside of Tinker.dec. To replace it, I’m giving Palinchron a try. It defends itself pretty well via its uptap lands trigger. Frost Titan‘s another option, but I’ll see how Palinchron works out. The problem is that there’s so much cheap instant-speed removal in cube that the titan’s “shield” will be more an annoyance than anything (worse than something like Kira‘s shield. How would those two interact, speaking of which?)
+Tolarian Academy: The 61st card should work well in blue decks, since so many run a lot of artifacts. I’m excited to see how this works out.
+Fume Spitter, +Skinrender, +Makeshift Mannequin, –Decree of Pain, –Skittering Skirge: Both Scars additions should give solid removal options to black decks of all stripes. I’m really happy about Skinrender, another in the great line of 187 creatures in black. I’m not sure where I’d rank it with regards to Shriekmaw, Bone Shredder and Nekrataal, but I’m definitely a fan, especially since it has more power than the latter 2 and Skinrender actually has a relevant creature type. Score! Makeshift Mannequin is coming back to give reanimation some more support in lieu of Decree of Pain, a card that I feel isn’t quite needed right now with the creatures that kill things. Skittering Skirge, despite being yet another underrated card, is a card that I definitely felt was the weakest of the cards in black and thus, was safe to cut. It’ll always have a home in my commons cube, though!
+Spikeshot Elder, +Arc Trail, +Koth of the Hammer, –Fire Imp, –Keldon Champion: Wow, red’s getting a LOT of burn lately. Spikeshot should be a solid 1-drop in red decks, giving the archetype some reach through repeatable pings and plays wonderfully with just about every equipment card that I’m presently running – Basilisk Collar turns it into a virtual Visara, the Swords of X and Y make it able to deal 3 and able to clear a path so that it can have the swords trigger. Arc Trail is another card that I have high hopes for as many times, Arc Lightning kills 2 creatures or kills an X/2 and domes an opponent. Obviously, there will be times when Arc Trail can’t do that but I’m fine with paying 1R for that effect. Fire Imp may return (as may Keldon Champion) – I just felt that these were the weakest cards at their respective costs. Not being able to dome with Fire Imp does hurt its playability, but I feel either could return. Koth has translated well so far, although its being “offense-only” has been somewhat a liability at times. Still, it’s amazing.
+Creeping Mold, +Terastodon, –Rude Awakening: The faster that my cube has gotten, the less relevant effects like Rude Awakening get. For 8 mana, I’d better be able to win very soon after (see Inkwell and the complaints that I had about it) and Rude Awakening doesn’t really do that. It’s also a card that does little when you’re in a defensive position, which is fine for something like Koth or Sarkhan Vol, cheap aggro deck all-stars, but Rude Awakening doesn’t fit that criteria. When my cube was slower, it was just about an auto-include, but now that it’s faster, I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel that something like Terastodon is worth a shot now, as it helps green with troublesome things like Planeswalkers, control magic effects and things like that. I only have room for so many ramp targets and feel that Terastodon should bring more to the table than Rude Awakening. The other addition, Creeping Mold, should be similar. I had initial doubts about Acidic Slime being good enough for my cube before I ran it (I now think that it’s got a permanent home) and Creeping Mold, while not being a dude, should be able to perform similarly. There are lots of troublesome things out there, (especially with the increase in colorless) and Creeping Mold thankfully hits them, along with its Visions version having flavor text that even Geordie Tait would love.
The reduction of multicolor has allowed the colorless section to grow to 60 total.
–Erratic Portal, +Mimic Vat, +Myr Battlesphere, +Chimeric Mass, +Basilisk Collar, +Molten-Tail Masticore: All of the Scars additions should make for great cube additions (although I’d also like to make room for Nim Deathmantle as well.) Myr Battlesphere is included to give a “big Tinker target dude” since Inkwell left the building as well as giving archetypes like G/X ramp a way to deal with planeswalkers. Molten-Tail has proven to be really good in aggro archetypes, Mimic Vat is really fun with ETB-trigger creatures as well as acting as a way to blank opposing and supplement your own removal effects. Kill your Inferno Titan, Imprint it, bash for 9? I can only hope that I can see that happen. Chimeric Mass should perform well, like its Idol brethren did back in the day and is a much better topdeck than the Prophecy card. I cut Erratic Portal as I felt that for 4 mana, the effect was suboptimal, especially compared to other cards that I was running.
Commons changes to come later. Granted, it’s a BIG overhaul and I’m still not done!