Pack 1 Pick 1 #22

Who doesn’t love p1p1s? Tons of people, sure, but they can go somewhere else, because now it’s time to pick!

Fyndhorn Elves Sea Gate Oracle Skinrender
Woodfall Primus Searing Blaze Mirran Crusader
Entomb Restoration Angel Lightning Greaves
Geth, Lord of the Vault Qasali Pridemage Dance of the Dead
Plateau Imposing Sovereign Lingering Souls
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder
[yop_poll id=”5″]

This is a pretty solid pack; not outstanding, but there are a lot of good cards. Fyndhorn Elves, Woodfall Primus, Restoration Angel, Entomb, Dance of the Dead, and Lingering Souls are all in contention for me. Plateau is fine but if I’m going to take a dual first it needs to be blue.

Fyndhorn Elf is the only 100% green card while Woodfall Primus can be placed in any deck that tries to cheat things like Woodfall Primus in. Fyndhorn is not exciting but what your green decks want. Like with Llanowar Elves in the last pack, Fyndhorn Elves is kind of a lame duck first pick here and an effect that, while we do want multiples of, can also be found in multiples later. Woodfall Primus is something I’m eying up and down much closer. Primus is awesome in any deck that can land him on the board because he is one of the few creatures that size that reliably leaves another body lying around after you deal with him the first time. Other than white removal–the bane of almost all creatures that come back for another of those rock-jocking beats–you return a 5/5 which can be reset AND kills a second non-creature permanent. Even though Woodfall Primus is the best, there are a ton of fatties in the cube and taking one first that isn’t Griselbrand might be greedy, since most of the time just putting the creature onto the board the is enough because you’re doing it at a point where your opponent is ill-equipped to deal with the creature. Woodfall Primus is one of the best, though, and is therefore under serious consideration.

Restoration Angel and Lingering Souls are solid and if I was going for a safer pick I think either of these are fine. Restoration Angel isn’t always going to have a blink target but as a 3/4 flier with flash for 3W, she is still a pretty amazing creature who can fight through control on the end of their turn, acting as a solid threat on her own, or using that fat ass to block a lot of stuff. When you do start hitting other creatures, she turns good plays into blow outs. Removing a creature from combat or underneath a kill spell is a free 1-for-0, and then the ETB creatures you bounce get insane value. I don’t think there’s a white deck I’d run that wouldn’t play Restoration Angel, unless I was solely splashing for the Angel or just one other card like Balance. Lingering Souls is safe, but for the reason that it’s good in an black or white deck that is either both colors or can splash one or the other. Lingering Souls is less of a must-pick card than it was in DKA ISD ISD where you took it over anything if you’re doing a back draft or you don’t care about the cards you keep and you just want to win, but it’s still great in any deck that can at least cast one side consistently and the other frequently enough. Four 1/1s from a card that only costs 5 if you need it to and can be put into the air with only 3 mana on your table across 2 turns is insane value for just about any format, cube not excluded. I’m less likely to take Lingering Souls over Restoration because I really hate picking two color cards early on, but I understand why many other people would.

Entomb and Dance of the Dead are both considerable if you think you want to draft reanimator, but I’m pretty uncomfortable picking either. Dance of the Dead is good and something I want if I’m already in reanimator, but it’s definitely the worst of the reanimation spells and one I’m less likely to stay committed to black for. Entomb is much better and can lead to some broken plays, but I’m willing to let it slide by. If I take the Woodfall Primus, there’s a good chance I get one or the other back if there’s only one other player in the draft going reanimator. If they take Entomb, there’s a chance that Dance will still to me past other black players for the reasons I said above. If they take Dance, it’s way less likely that another player will take it unless there are multiple dedicated reanimator players this early, at which point it’s a pretty clear signal that Woodfall Primus will not be snuck onto the battlefield from my graveyard. I think that means Woodfall is my pick here. Even though I can get other fatties, it’s worth taking and maybe think about jumping on the first chance of reanimator that gets passed to me; if not, I enjoy drafting green a lot as is and it’s not like Fyndhorn Elves this early is some massive signal.

What would you choose? Am I the biggest moron in the entire world? Leave a comment and let us know why, and thanks for reading!

Pack 1 Pick 1 #21

P1P1 #21–BLACKJACK! OR SOMETHING! (Let’s get on with the picks, eh?)

Wheel of Fortune Oblivion Stone Stupor
Lingering Souls Hypnotic Specter Thran Dynamo
Tarmogoyf Karmic Guide Geth, Lord of the Vault
Sewer Nemesis Underground Sea Tragic Slip
Bone Shredder Thassa, God of the Sea Llanowar Elves
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder
[yop_poll id=”4″]

This is a tough pack in that there’s no card that really sticks out but there are a lot of strong pieces to powerful decks. Lingering Souls, Wheel of Fortune, Underground Sea, Sewer Nemesis, Thassa, and Llanowar Elves are all good. Even the other cards are nice and arguments could be made for any of them, but I feel like the 6 I mentioned are the strongest for me.

Lingering Souls is not broken by any means but is a nice threat that fits in white, black, or both colored decks. 4 1/1 fliers is a serious threat, spreading the damage across a bunch of bodies that have evasion. Souls is also awesome on the defense, blocking so much, and it’s a fine card to pitch to discard since you’re getting close to a card’s worth of value with two 1/1 fliers for 1B. Ultimately it’s not the pick here for me for a couple reasons. One is that there are better single colored cards. Lingering Souls CAN be easily splashed off of, but I’d rather stay more open with just one color instead of trying to hit that second color. Second, I just feel like it’s not the best card to pick here and that the others not only leave me more open but are better. Not that Souls is necessarily bad–not even close–but I’d pretty much always take some of the other selections first.

Wheel of Fortune is awesome and I feel like I’ve said a lot about it recently in a p1p1, so I’ll hold off here, but it’s worth noting we’re probably getting a black card here so if we take Wheel we should keep in mind the reanimator strategy and either go RB or try and splash Wheel.

Sewer Nemesis is a serious bomb and even more seriously underrated. While he’s much better in an unpowered cube where he’s not as dead when you’re playing way ahead of the cube, he’s still super strong in decks that plays spells and puts things in yours or your own graveyard. The incremental mill can be a big pain in the ass when it hits your opponents, and in your own graveyard strategy it’s a free dredge-like effect that won’t tear apart your deck. I like Sewer Nemesis more than most because I’ve always felt that 10/10s for 3B seems like a good deal. I probably won’t pick it here since finishers are still a dime a dozen, but if it wheeled I’ll take that as a sign that I should be black.

Thassa is cool and rewards you for being heavy blue, something I’ve never had an issue committing to. Free scrys are nice on the upkeep, and making things unblockable will close out many games quickly. I’m less inclined to throw Thassa into a deck that can’t activate her since she is that much worse, but if my deck is full of awesome cards then Scrying for them every turn would be great. I most likely wouldn’t pick her here since it influences me to go heavy blue, something I’m willing to do off a passed pick or a less-good pack, but I wouldn’t fault anyone for picking her here.

Llanowar Elves. Dakota McCarthy would look at this pack and say “Sam would pick that” and he wouldn’t be far off. I love green about as much as I love blue in cube and the most important part of a good green deck are the 1 drops. Sending Tarmogoyf along shouldn’t be a signal, so taking the Elves here does a good job of cutting off blue. Even with that being said, I probably don’t take Llanowar Elves here since it is kind of a lame-duck pick. Not that the card isn’t strong, but there are plenty of 1 drop elves and there is an outside chance that I do wheel the elf even with another green drafter; they could take one of the other strong cards in the pack as an off-color choice and pass the elf along under the same thought.

When it comes down to it, I take Underground Sea here. Not the most exciting pick by a long shot, but there are a lot of reasons why fixing is good. First off, if I’m either color I’ll want to splash the other. If I’m blue I’ll want to splash the tutors and mind twist that I highly prioritize. If I’m black I’ll want to splash the power I’m not going to pass or the card draw that doesn’t sieve me dry of life. And if I end up as both–a definite possibility–then Underground Sea is obviously good to have. It’s not the craziest pick, but I’d be happy with it and I’m going to wheel a black card I might want to play so there’s that.

What would you choose? Why am I an idiot? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Skyler’s Cube

Pack 1 Pick 1 #19

Welcome to another Pack 1 Pick 1! Today’s is a nice one! (I also kinda wanted to play with the poll maker a bit, and this seems like a good excuse to do that.)

Arbor Elf Flooded Strand Searing Blaze
Control Magic Mulldrifter Journey to Nowhere
Phantom Centaur Sarkhan Vol Phyrexian Metamorph
Savannah Chandra's Phoenix Channel
Oona's Prowler Hero of Bladehold Jace Beleren
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder
[yop_poll id=”2″]

There are a few blue cards that catch my eye: Flooded Strand, Jace Beleren, Mulldrifter, Phyrexian Metamorph, and Control Magic. Other than Channel–which for me is definitely not the pick, as it’s a little too all-in for my tastes compared to amazing blue cards–these are the only cards Im seriously considering. This is a deep pack, and it could send bad signals if 3-4 players see one of these first pickable blue cards that will inevitably make their way down the line and see it as a sign, but I tend to find my way in blue a lot of the time as is. Also, these cards are all ones I’d seriously consider first picking against many different non-power cards, so they’re worth the considering.

Jace Beleren, Control Magic, and Flooded Strands are probably my last choices. Jace has the highest chance to wheel out of the bunch since he is undervalued (for that matter, Phyrexian Arena is underrated too) so I’m happy letting him go. I don’t expect to see Control Magic return, but it commits me the heaviest to blue out of the remaining choices and it doesn’t matter how stacked these cards are, if there is no blue being passed then I must either jump ship or look to find ways to splash it. Both Mulldrifter and Metamorph are super splashable, much more so than the UU in control magic. Flooded Strand technically keeps me the most open, something which I am a fan of, but when a card that I seriously rate high ends up in a first pack then staying open becomes a back seat priority. There are certain cards which are both stellar AND colorless, which I almost always choose over the colored options, but I value both Mulldrifter and Metamorph extremely high, way more so than Flooded Strand. Basically this: 99% of the decks that want Flooded Strand want Mulldrifter and Metamorph more.

Mulldrifter is an insane card that was certainly a mistake at common. 2/2 fliers for 5 are at the absolute outskirts of playability, but adding “ETB: Draw 2 Cards” to that creature is insane. Giving him an evoke cost of Divination makes Mulldrifter one of the best limited cards ever printed, and certainly one of the best blue cube creatures printed. Mulldrifter has an easy color commitment, and there are neat tricks you can do with Crystal Shard or other blink/recursion effects that want you to evoke him way more than cast. Like an active Skullclamp, once you draw 4-6 cards off the ‘Drifter you should be back on top of your games.

Phyrexian Metamorph is quite a bit different than Mulldrifter, but one of the most underrated cards in cube, which is saying something for a card people rate highly. Clones are great in cube; there are so many creatures whose ETB you want to replicate or general girth and size you’d like to pair with a buddy. Metamorph is the best clone because 1) he’s essentially 3 colorless mana and 2 life, fitting him in any deck that can cast 3 drops, and 2) he copies artifacts. For the small-sometimes-not-even-a-cost of being an artifact, Metamorph gives you a copy of so many high-powered spells that you will have a target in just about every match up you can conceive. Metamorph copies weapons, utility cards like Icy Manipulator or Crystal Ball, he can even ramp up your mana–it’s an awesome card.

Because of the insane versatility, I would take Metamorph over Mulldrifter. There are certainly times where I’d rather have a Mulldrifter, but Metamorph keeps me open and can be so much in so many different decks that I think it’s the ideal pick for me. I wouldn’t fault for anyone taking Mulldrifter here, or some of the other cards either.

That being said, what would you pick? Make a vote in the poll and if you have more to say, leave a comment!


Pack 1 Pick 1 #14

Searing Blaze Bloodgift Demon Recurring Nightmare
Memory Lapse Stoneforge Mystic Dauthi Marauder
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad Survival of the Fittest Harrow
Terminus Grim Monolith Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Carnophage Firebolt Sword of Body and Mind
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder

It took me a bit longer than last time to generate this pack, but this one is a doozy. There are a ton of strong cards, and some serious frontline contenders, but there’s nothing that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. Some of you will disagree with that sentiment, and I certainly have my own biases that pull me in one direction more than another, but when it comes down to it there are many strong cards that appeal to a variety of archetypes.

For starters there’s my old favorite, Recurring Nightmare. This is an ideal spot to take the card: early on where I can focus on building around the Nightmare, and I can jump off into other directions without completely abandoning the card. It’s possible to build a variety of builds in other colors and only splash black, and still have Recurring Nightmare be a high impact card that is able to be casted and activated multiple times in a turn even off a slight commitment. While it’s not a guarantee that we’ll pull a helpful, synergistic piece off the wheel, Nightmare is strong enough that you don’t need every card to be focused around it, though it’s better when you can add more to the mixture. There are more universal picks in this pack, some that could be stronger in a vacuum, but if you need a focus while you’re drafting then Recurring Nightmare is an excellent choice.

Heading to brown-town is one of the easiest ways to stay open while still picking a powerful card that can either be archetypal or powerful for a bunch of different decks, and Grim Monolith is one of those brown cards I’m seriously eyeing up. Big mana decks beat a lot of the others, since they operate early in the game with bombs where other decks are still developing. Dropping your bombs ahead of curve where they are tough to deal with will trump a lot of decks, and while Grim Monolith is certainly worse than cards like Mana Vault or other like-pieces of ramp, it’s as close as you can get without being over-the-top broken. In fact Grim Monolith is the extent I’d go to with brown ramp in an unpowered cube, since it is inherently amazing but is not going to completely bury a deck. A turn 2 four-or-five drop off of a mana vault in much tougher to deal with than a turn 3 five-drop. Picking Grim Monolith allows you to play off whatever you’re being passed as well, since so many different strategies are looking to play big spells early on. Grim Monolith is the one I expect most people to want, but I could be wrong there.

The other brown card I really enjoy is the sword, but if we’re looking at the sword we need to consider Stoneforge Mystic as well. Sword of Body and Mind is insane and will win games quick. Like Jace, Adept at Winning, it only takes a few connections to win off of Body and Mind connects, and if the sword-wielding critter gets killed, then there could be a wolf waiting to hold the sword in its teeth. I’m a huge fan of Sword of Body and Mind. But I’m a bigger fan of two copies of Jitte. Or two Batterskulls. Or two of the same sword. Or a copy of one sword or another. Perhaps I think of Stoneforge higher than other people do, but providing a cheap tutor on a body where you can cheat the weapon in or make it uncounterable propels Stoneforge to great heights. Taking Stoneforge early can lead to the risk of missing out on a weapon, and it’s almost crazy to pass a sword for a card that gets one of the few targets it has in the cube. If you spike an amazing weapon later on, it’s much better having the Stoneforge and the weapon instead of two different weapons. Like I said earlier, it’s much better have two Jittes than it is to have a Jitte and a Sword.

If Planeswalkers are more your speed then Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is a great choice and the last card I’m seriously considering. Sorin functions as a mostly-worse Elspeth, Knight-Errant, but when you’re compared to one of the greatest Planeswalkers then you’re in good company. Sorin may not give you as big of an evasive threat, start with as much loyalty, or continually churn upwards towards his finisher, but he does bring a lot of positives to the table. In the token or BW-aggressive based decks it’s nice to be able to pump out threats that gain life. Combined with the various Glorious Anthem type of cards that the archetypes prefer, Sorin can pump out multiple permanent boosts to power that can turn a decent-sized army into a 1 or 2 turn clock. There are also a lot of cards that you could potentially wheel if you take the sorin, from the other Planeswalker Ajani to any of the black creatures. If you’re looking to make a slower build then you could wheel the Terminus, a great card with a Sorin on the board when you want to clear creatures off an start adding your own.

There are some great options here, let us know what you would choose in the comments!

Pack 1 Pick 1 #13

Llanowar Elves Black Vise Maelstrom Pulse
Sundering Titan Brainstorm Evolving Wilds
Kird Ape Noxious Revival Powder Keg
Misty Rainforest Bloodgift Demon Into the Roil
Cryptic Command Grim Lavamancer Ankh of Mishra
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder

Time for another Pack 1 Pick 1! For the first time ever I opened a pack on the first try that didn’t have a clear first-pick. There are some cards in this pack that are ones people have said are “clear” first picks in some videos I’ve watched, but I disagree and think this is a pretty even pack that allows you to go into a lot of different directions.

For starters there’s Llanowar Elves. While not exciting by any means, and probably not on the radar for a lot of players, there are a few reasons why this caught my eye. First off, it’s the first card in the pack. (Har-har.) In terms of the accompanying cards, it’s one of only 2 green cards, and noxious revival is more of a colorless card that is better in decks that can make green than anything. The noxious not wheeling is not a sign that green is necessarily being drafted by another player, even in a smaller draft like a 4-man, since there are so many decks could use the noxious effect. Llanowar Elves as a card isn’t jump-off-the-page exciting, but I tend to draft a lot of decks with green in them while cubing and you want a good amount of elves if you’re looking to ramp. While it’s pretty “all-in” compared to some other picks in this pack, there is so much ramp in green that it can support two players depending on how many there are in a draft.

On the opposite end of the ramp spectrum is Sundering Titan, i.e. the guy you want to be playing off your elves and other big-mana makers. Fortunately for Sundering Titan he isn’t as pigeon-holed as some of the green fatties are into the green decks. Sundering Titan excels in just about any deck that can put 8 drops into play, whether that’s through cheating or fairly ramping up with incremental ramp spells. He’s really cool in the cheating decks too, since Titan often turns into a 7/10 with two Armageddon attached to him, which are sometimes more one-sided than not. For the same reason as I’d pick elves—in that I like to put massive creatures into play—this is one of my safer picks, since I gravitate towards the Titan-style decks to begin with.

Misty Rainforest is probably the actual “safest” pick here, and for good reason. In cube, where there are so many amazing cards in all the colors, it can be really strong to splash for an effect your colors typically can’t run if your fixing is strong enough. The fetches help your mana base the most, and if you’re picking in a vacuum then I take the fetch over duals every time when it comes to priority for quality fixing. The reason is that being able to grab the third color through a dual is incredible, and being able to grab that off-color basic with one side of the fetch is also great. Ultimately, fetches provide more versatility than duals, being able to find a bunch of different cards that you drafted instead of only being exactly what it is. Taking the Misty here and wheeling the Evolving Wilds could be the start of a nice 4-5 color decks, perhaps base green if that starts to funnel in.

If you’ve decided that the aggro cards are the strongest here, which could certainly be the case, there are a few options. Grim Lavamancer is nice, since it’s good in the aggro and also RG midrange decks too. In aggro he’s a one-drop that eats up all your burn and removed creatures and turns them into shocks. In midrange he’s a bit more versatile, able to eat their little early guys and acting as a later win-condition once your graveyard fills up with your earlier spells. Black Vise is a nice one, but one I don’t want to be taking early since I’m siding it out in a lot of different match ups. Anhk of Mishra is a bit stronger for the colorless options, and if you were to take it then you’re looking to play 16, maybe 16 lands.
Cryptic Command is a p1p1 trap that a lot of people in recorded videos have made, saying it’s an amazing card. While I certainly agree, and if I was already in blue by packs 2 or 3 then I would certainly consider it, but I feel that taking any triple-colored card this early is absurd in a pack with so many other good options. If you end up being in blue you’ll look like a genius, but why force yourself into the best color? If your color split Is 50% or worse—a number I came up with off the top of my head that seemed legitimate—then Cryptic is pretty bad, being uncastable under a lot of different mana bases. I’d rather stay open and pick a strong card instead of just picking a strong card.

Ultimately I think I just take Misty Rainforest since if I wheel any of the blue or green cards I’m probably in good shape. What would you choose?