This past weekend eight of us got together for a team money cube. After randomly choosing teams (Phil, Ben, Chris and Jody vs. Daniel (Me), Jason, Doug and Brett) we got down to business.
Decks from the Winning Team
Decks from the Losing Team
The videos of me drafting are here: Part 1 and Part 2.
Kira, Great Glass Spinner
Grasp of Darkness
Wheel of Fortune
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Here I got a pretty weak pack and was in between taking the Ajani and Kira. I hadn’t played much with Ajani in cube and I really wanted to see how good white weenie was with the recent changes I made.
Here I got a little bit greedy. I had visions of Kithkin tokens getting counters and vigilance. Dismember was likely the correct pick here, and Arrest or Kor Firewalker might not have been terrible picks either. However I made a pick and he underperformed for me most of the day.
My good friend Ben was sitting to my left and his favourite card in cube is Upheaval, so I couldn’t be a jerk and take it. Oblivion Ring is one of the better pieces of removal in white and I was pleased to take it third.
Ankh of Mishra
When I saw the Paladin en-Vec I decided I was going to try and force white weenie. Its not a draft archetype which had seen much play recently and it was something I wanted to try out since my cube supports it very well. Bone Shredder and Fireball were also cards I was considering, but here is where I decided to go all-in on the archetype.
Swans of Bryn Argoll
Sign in Blood
Rite of Replication
Pact of Negation
Having not played very much with Parallax Wave I thought it might be a reasonable inclusion into the deck. I was wrong. This card was not reasonable – it was absolutely godly the entire day. I actually won three games on the back of this card alone when no other card could have won me the game.
Gatekeeper of Malakir
The pick here was between Sunlance and Faith’s Fetters and I liked the fetters as a broader piece of removal which could get me past some of the more problematic cards that white weenie could face.
One of the cards that makes white weenie such an awesome deck – Soltari Champion is essentially an unblockable battle crier. He works well with the Ranger’s kithkin tokens and as well with some of the other dudes I hope to pick up along the way.
Realizing now I could have had a sweet W/B aggro removal deck I decide to forge forwards and pick up the only card here that will keep me on color and snag the White Knight. Though I am sad to be passing all the fun black cards.
Grasp of Darkness
Having seen Wooded Bastion and Windswept Heath previously in these packs I thought I could splash green for some creatures as G/W aggro is a fun deck to run especially if you pick up a Loam Lion or Behemoth Sledge. Technically the Monument would have been the better pick here but the Pridemage was a great sideboard card several times throughout the day.
The correct pick here was Kor Firewalker, but I just added Skinshifter to the cube today and I wanted to give him a try. If I came up some playables short for the white weenie then I thought he would fill a spot nicely. Sadly he stayed in the sideboard all day long and the Firewalker was a card I desperately needed in my last match of the day.
Manland > Rest. Dread Statuary actually was a house for me all day and I was glad to have him in the deck.
Taking the only white card which is something I am currently thinking about cutting as this is the best deck for Griffin Guide, and I was thoroughly unimpressed all day.
Sign in Blood
Sometimes you need a big dumb elephant (except I didn’t)
Mire Boa would be a nice card if the stompy route kept going.
Relic of Progenitus
Bane of the Living
Seal of Cleansing
Avenger of Zendikar
I just recently added Gideon’s Lawkeeper to the cube and I felt he would have fit the deck well. With the way my deck seemed to be leaning, both Saproling Burst and Regrowth could have been options as well. However let’s be honest, Baneslayer Angel is just a mountain among men.
Squee, Goblin Nabob
This back had very little in terms of playables for me. By that I mean I could take the underwhelming Pilgrim’s Eye or the Serra Avenger to stay on color. The choice wasn’t very hard.
Honor of the Pure
Into the Roil
Fire // Ice
Ninja of the Deep Hours
With this pick I began to solidify myself into hardcore drafting white cards as Honor of the Pure was going to reward me for each additional white creature I could pick up. That being said, Qasali Pridemage is still a nice reason to straddle the fence with some green cards as well.
Zo-Zu the Punisher
Once again amidst a myriad of subpar cards for my deck only one stood above as a truly clear pick. Aether Vial is excellent in almost any aggro strategy and all day was a big workhorse powering out EOT Baneslayers and helping me cheat in cards like Uktabi Orangutan and Qasali Pridemage when I had no green available.
Archon of Justice
Pianna, Nomad Captain
Sometimes the only thing better than having one battle crier (Soltari Champion) is having two. Unlike the Champion, Pianna is easily blocked but fortunately she is also able to give herself the bonus during the attack, effectively making her a 3/3 throughout combat. Hadn’t had much of a chance to play this card recently and I was very pleased with how it worked out. I wanted to grab the Temple Garden for mana fixing, but at this point if I could keep grabbing excellent white creatures there may be no need to even run green at all.
Jaya Ballard, Task mage
Sword of Body and Mind
Ahem, its tough for me to explain my pick choices when there is really only one excellent card per pack when it comes to fitting into my deck’s theme. Sword, not close.
Barter in Blood
Hero of Oxid Ridge
Tezzeret the Seeker
Here we go – Procession + Ajani + Honor of the Pure + Soltari Champion? This is what white weenie dreams are made of. Again, no reason to go gallivanting into another color when white appears to be so deep thus far.
Until the white dries up… The best card in here for the deck is arguably Albino Troll. Its an early drop, its big, it regenerates and I haven’t played him in a while. In hindsight I might have taken the Deranged Hermit for value sakes, but in the end neither card would have been particularly relevant.
Avenger of Zendikar
Seal of Cleansing
Relic of Progenitus
Rude Awakening is a monster finisher for any big green deck, which is not what this deck is. I still had thoughts of running green which is why I made the Saproling Burst choice. Seal of Cleansing would have been the proper card selection though as there were many times when I wanted to board into good artifact removal and the only way to do that was to skew my mana base.
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Only card is a near-unplayable card in this deck.
Ninja of the Deep Hours
The only green card, but hey a 2/2 for 1 is pretty spicy.
See above, but instead replace 2/1 for 2 and it is somewhat less spicy.
Stuffy Doll would be more annoying to play against here than either the Ape or the Gaea’s Revenge.
I anticipate no one is in Jund colors so I will pass the harder to play card.
…and get Mire Boa’s older and better friend, River Boa!
Maze of Ith
Glen Elendra Archmage
Angel of Despair
After the odd dilemma of strangely only making a pack with 9 cards (math is clearly difficult) I picked up six new cards from the box and found… nothing I wanted at all. The pick was between Blastoderm, Treetop Village and Memory Jar for me (Scroll Rack wasn’t going to be good enough). I took the Blastoderm in case I was going to go the G/W route which turned out to not be the case and essentially my first pick of the third pack was a complete whiff.
Which makes this sort of pack annoying when there are multiple cards which would all equally fit well into my archetype. I am short on 1 drops so Elite Vanguard is a definite possibility. Soltari Priest is a sweet difficult to deal with 2 drop which would go very well with the Sword of Body and Mind, but Loxodon Warhammer is just a big dumb elephant stick. I like to beat down with large sticks.
Seal of Fire
Creeping Tar Pit
I took the Loam Lion from this pack because if I was running the green splash this would be very good, compared to taking the Leonin Skyhunter. In the end the Skyhunter would have been very good but staying open was something I was trying to do at this point as 2/3s for 1 can be annoying to deal with.
Vines of Vastwood
With the exception of Masticore this pack is a big whiff. Alongside Baneslayer, the Masticore represents some of the only reach this deck has into the late game so picking up this card is crucial to success in some of my matchups.
Magus of the Scroll
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
With the choices between the underwhelming Martial Coup and the Sexy Monkey lingering, I had no choice but to snap up the hairier Viridian Shaman.
Master of the Wild Hunt
Thirst for Knowledge
Wooo – I am certainly not short on the pump effects for this deck. Alongside Honor of the Pure, the Anthem makes my somewhat meek cards like Black Knight and Paladin en-Vec very formidable in the late game. The only other card worth considering is the Effigy which is very slow and perhaps not worth the mana in this deck.
Go for the Throat
Nemesis of Reason
Knight of Meadowgrain
Once again we are faced with the decision of going with a much needed 1 drop or a very effective 2 mana dork. Making this decision even more difficult is the presence of two lands which will assist the mana base if G/W aggro is the true direction. Taking the Steppe Lynx is the correct pick here as aside from the Aether Vial, the Lynx allows us to use our early turns the most profitably.
Wall of Reverence
Oversoul of Dusk
Another finisher alongside Baneslayer and Masticore, the Oversoul of Dusk (Phandy’s favourite card) is difficult to block for many decks and quite difficult to deal with without mass removal. It was also very easy to cast off the mana base that has been assembled so far.
Angel of Despair
Between the Village and the Jar the Village had the most upside for the deck while the Jar might just sit in hand the whole game without much effect.
Both the Priest and the Vanguard wheeled. Having picked up the second piece of equipment earlier this pack, the Priest represented the most upside as creatures with evasion plus Warhammer/Sword was a very good route to quick wins. The Vanguard would have been very good in many matchups but the Priest also performed very well.
Despite my question about how good WW Stax was, Lodestone Golem was clearly the pick. With many artifacts already in the deck, the downside to this card was minimal and actually helped me steal a game in my first match.
Taking the card that can blow up my sword.
Taking the Dual – no one gets the dual!
Don’t much care.
Nemesis of Reason
This guy is so good! Who could pass this gem 14 times?!
My Round 1 Matches: Game 1 and Game 2 (Part 1, Part 2)
Round 1 Play-By-Play
Game 1:I kept a hand of Aether Vial, Loxodon Warhammer, Lodestone Golem, Oblivion Ring, Sword of War and Peace and 2 Plains. I led off with an Aether Vial and started ticking up counters. Ben replied with a Cabal Interrogator. Having drawn a Soltari Champion I decided to run out the Sword to avoid it getting discarded away and I could cheat the Champion in during my next turn. I played out my second equipment and passed with Vial on three counters. He made me discard with X = 1 so I pitched the freshly drawn Oversoul of Dusk and snuck in the Champion EOT. Vial went up to 4 counters so I went to tap it to put in the Golem to try and slow down some of Ben’s better controlling spells pre-combat – in response he Diabolic Edicted the Champion before I could get a good whack in. I threw the sword on the Golem and shipped the turn. Ben untapped and used Interrogator on X=1 on my hand of Oblivion Ring and Baneslayer Angel. I pitched an O-Ring knowing I could Vial in the Baneslayer in my hand if he went to use the Interrogator again the next turn. I threw the Warhammer on the Golem and cracked for 10, triggering the Sword for some mill + wolf action. He untapped and did nothing, EOT I cheated in my Baneslayer and smashed with the team. Ben Capsized the Sword without buyback but it wasn’t enough to ward off the onslaught.Sideboard: Nothing.
I kept a hand of 3 Plains, Parallax Wave, Serra Avenger, Faith’s Fetters and Lodestone Golem, Ben started out with a suspended Ancestral Visions. We played Land-Go for several turns until on turn three I ran out a Glorious Anthem. Turn 4 I tried to add a Lodestone Golem but it bit the Exclude from Ben. His Visions fired off on his upkeep and he refilled his mitt with cards. He then played Psychatog and shipped the turn. I untapped and dropped both Paladin en-Vec (Take that Psychatog!) and Serra Avenger. My next turn I swung with both my dudes but Ben had the Go for the Throat ready for the Avenger and took only three from the Paladin. Ben just had a crack for one with the Tog and passed back to me. I drew Griffin Guide and ran it out on the Paladin and attacked for five more taking him down to 12. I drew a Dread Statuary which I promptly played and attacked with the Paladin again, reducing Ben to 7 life. He bought himself some time on his turn by dropping an Icy Manipulator which could lock down my Paladin. I threw Faith’s Fetters on his Icy, with him tapping down my Paladin in response. On my next turn when I went to attack he Capsized with buyback on my Paladin (accidentally showing me the Upheaval in his hand… uh oh). Knowing I was going to face down the old Upheaval-replay-Psychatog play I decided to force it by running out both the Paladin and Soltari Champion. He cracked a Polluted Delta taking him down to a very relevant 6 life and then bounced the board away leaving him with a Tog in play to my nothing. We played lands back and forth with him plinking me with his Tog for 1 every turn. I went to play Paladin to combat the Tog but it got Memory Lapsed to the top. He activated Creeping Tar Pit and could only take me down to 2. That left me with the ability to untap and play Parallax Wave (my only out to this situation). I waved away both the Tog and the Creeping Tar Pit when he went to attack. Trying to mount a counterattack I drop the Paladin en-Vec. Next turn I drop Honor of the Pure putting him on a 2-turn clock and attempted to smack him down to 3 but he played Necromancy stealing a Masticore from my graveyard. I waved the Masticore, taking the Wave down to zero counters and he took the hit for 3. Post-combat I played Soltari Champion and passed. Ben untapped, drew his card, saw no answer and scooped them up.
My Round 2 Matches: Game 1, Game 2, and Game 3.
Round 2 Play-By-Play
Round 2 (Misner)
I kept a hand with Aether Vial, Steppe Lynx, White Knight, Oblivion Ring, Sword of Body and Mind and 2 Plains. Misner leadoff with Weathered Wayfarer and I replied with Aether Vial. He then attacked me and played Land Tax without playing a land for the turn. I decided to ramp up some pressure so I played a land and ran out White Knight which allowed him to search up a Maze of Ith with his Wayfarer and Tax away. Vialing in a Steppe Lynx allowed me to bash him for 2 as he Mazed the Lynx. I then played a Sword and passed. Equipping sword the next turn to the Lynx ensured that I could attack with Knight uncontested as he was Mazing the Lynx every turn. He ran out a Chameleon Colossus which I promptly Oblivion Ringed. He plays a Troll Ascetic which acts as an effective White Knight blocker. The next turn however the Troll gets a Sword of Light and Shadow and Rancor (ew) and starts bashing and as Phil said “How does a mono white deck beat a Sword of Light and Shadow on a Troll Ascetic?.” Gooood question. Vialing in a Lodestone Golem I try to mount the beatdown but the Weathered Wayfarer can become an infinite blocker with the Sword of Light and Shadow recursion. I leave the Lodestone Golem untapped to block the Troll for one turn but he gets promptly Arrested and I go down on the alpha strike.Sideboard plan:
+1 Loam Lion
+1 Uktabi Orangutan
+1 Qasali Pridemage
+4 Forest-3 Plains
-1 Dread Statuary
-1 Griffin Guide
-1 Glorious Anthem
-1 Paladin en-Vec
I keep a hand of Spectral Procession, Parallax Wave, White Knight, Qasali Pridemage and 3 Plains while Misner mulligans. My White Knight is the first play of the game as he plays a Land Tax turn 2 (ugh). I untap and run out Spectral Procession giving me the early beatdown. He runs out Chameleon Colossus but I untap and drop Parallax Wave to RFG the 4/4 before cracking for another five damage. He then plays Deranged Hermit on his turn who brings his squirrely friends. I just bash with my Procession tokens to take him to 5 and pass. He runs out the Sword of Light and Shadow and tries to equip a token but I wave it in response. I untap and bash with the tokens taking him to 2 life and play Qasali Pridemage. He plays a sexy Exalted Angel and here I get a quick rules validation as I Wave the Exalted Angel and Pridemage the Wave in response causing the Angel to be exiled. Misner scoops as he faces the lethal Procession tokens.
I keep a hand with Aether Vial, White Knight, Forest, Plains, Loxodon Warhammer, Ajani Goldmane and Steppe Lynx. He runs out turn one Land Tax (!) and I dump the Vial into play, threatening to never play another land. He runs out Wayfarer and I decide after looking at the sweet hand I have that “sure let’s play more land” as I drop a White Knight. He Taxes and snags a Maze of Ith with the Wayfarer and passes. I Vial in a Steppe Lynx (Seems familiar?) and then beat down for two before I run out Pianna, Nomad Captain to make his Maze of Ith seem less dominating. Next turn I slam the Ajani and -1 to make my dudes more impressive and swing in with vigilance. I did the same play next turn except Pianna bit a mortify, and played out a Soltari Priest. Next turn I dropped a Serra Avenger and -1d Ajani again to get in with more bashing. He untapped and summoned the squirrely Deranged Hermit. I draw the Parallax wave and wave all five of his new creatures, -1 Ajani and get in with the team to do exactly lethal damage past the Maze of Ith.
Sadly my camera ran out of power before the end of the draft but in Round 3 I promptly 2-0’d Jody before losing to Phil in Round 4 when he went Slith Firewalker into Boggart Ram-Gang into Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Tangle Wire (ouch).
Highlight of the day: Jason ripping the game-winning Fireball while facing lethal on board.