I’ve been not updating this for some time. That’s gotta change!
I have a new “Six Degrees” article up on Quiet Speculation as of today, as my articles will be posted on Wednesdays. 🙂 It’s part of a self-proclaimed trilogy of introductory articles for how to build a cube from the ground up, before going into the really juicy and complex parts of designing and maintaining a cube (in other words, like stuff that’s been on here.) I also did an article on Evan Erwin’s cubedrafting.com on “letting go” of cards.
Someone on MTGSalvation discussed enabling blue non-control strategies in cube and said that it’s going well. I’m not a fan of the blue 2-drops like Spellstutter Sprite, Voidmage Prodigy and other cards like Mistblade Shinobi, but it got me to trying some blue tempo cards in my cube. I’ve learned some lessons about “toolbox” cards and their viability from my commons cube and I figured that those lessons could be used for my 450-card cube.
For now, this is what I’m trying:
This is a test to see how these cards end up. Wake Thrasher seems like a card that should be a litmus test for how those types of strategies work – when I used to run it, it was SCARY huge, with him nearly outclassing anything on offense. Opposition‘s the same way, a card that should give blue tempo decks a way to lock down lands and annoying blockers. Both of these may end up being “virtual” GU cards since that’s the best strategy for them, but I’m going to see how they turn out. One of my earliest cube memories with my cube was someone drafting a BU tempo-ish deck with Cloud of Faeries, Grinning Demon and… I think Ninja of the Deep Hours was in there too – all cards which are now gone. I’ve no intention of bringing any of these cards back (Cloud of Faeries isn’t even in my common cube) but it shows that the idea at least can work. Neither of the cuts are ones that I’m happy to cut, but I believe that the redundancy that Desertion provides isn’t necessary right now (or at least, makes it safe enough to cut.) Tolarian Academy‘s a harder cut, but one that I feel is right for now due to its inconsistency.
Whenever I was testing Palinchron vs Frost Titan, I had Palinchron in and asked myself “would you rather this be Frost Titan?” I can’t think of a time when I said “no” to that question when I was testing the titan. Frosty’s been in a draft since then and has been very good, as even with the bounty of cheap removal in cube, its ability is still pretty relevant. I never was all that impressed with Palinchron, so I think that this change will be permanent.
Discussion on MTGSalvation’s cube forums has gotten me to give Venser another shot. My initial conclusion was “great if you have something to combo with it, meh at any other time” but I’ve warmed up to the idea that he’s more a “build around me” card like Wildfire, Stoneforge Mystic or Tinker. Today’s draft featured him in a deck with minimal interactions (Frost Titan, Sower of Temptation, Jace 2.0) but even then, I was impressed, but then again, I was running a nearly mono-blue (splashing for Gelectrode and Grim Lavamancer) deck, so I had few ways to attack Mr. Sideburns. On Friday, there was a deck that would have been VERY good with him. I’m still keeping an eye on him, but so far, my impression is much better than it was before.
At first, I thought “Well, how are artifacts going to get into the grave in the first place? That’s just awful.” I failed to realize that even though artifacts don’t die as often as creatures, Goblin Welder essentially acts like an artifact version of Recurring Nightmare. Artifacts typically do end up in the grave because of cards like Manic Vandal and being able to bring back a Myr Battlesphere (which, btw, is a really good finisher) by sacrificing a Mind Stone is a powerful effect. I felt that Ghitu Encampment was the weaker of the two “red lands” because it entered the battlefield tapped, which is pretty big a deal for red decks (which are typically aggressive.) I haven’t seen him in play (I’d have used him in my Ur deck if I was more red-heavy) but thinking of him as a weird Fauna Shaman-meets-Recurring Nightmare for artifacts has given me new appreciation for him.
These changes may become permanent, they likely will, but I’d like to give them some more time before committing. I’d like to fit Rout, Cloudgoat Ranger and Flickerwisp into my cube (the only new card out of those would be Rout, as the latter two white cards have been in my cube in the past), but I don’t know if I have room for them.