Be Positive, Don’t Be Negative

This is not really a cube article, but a general Magic/life article.

I used to go to a local gaming store (LGS) to play magic quite a bit. On average I would go ~2+ times a week, pretty much only to play limited since I never played constructed because of cost-of-entry. (I.e., the deck.) I love limited in all its forms, even “bad” formats like triple Dragon’s Mage, triple AVR, whatever, I did not care; as long as I was playing, I was happy. Magic is a fun game to me and limited puts everyone on an even playing field, so I could compete for the same low cost of entry, get some rares out of it during the post-draft rare draft, and most of the people there were awesome. The owner was/is great too!

The competition at my local store was top-notch as well, so that was cool. We had several players who had gone to a pro-tour, and many other players who I strongly believe could compete at the highest level if they could afford to go to the sheer number of official tournaments that takes. Games were complex and interesting and if I won I truly felt like I earned that W. I like to win like anyone else, but truly competing and getting better is what my general goal and my main mantra is in regards to Magic and life. I like to have fun, and I like to compete.

So, why don’t I go to that store any more?

The answer: general negativity of some of the “good” players, outright asshole behavior towards not just the adults but some of the kids too, and no oversight for any of these problems.

At first this was not really an issue. Other than one or two guys, everyone at the store was pretty positive, and with those few guys you could just shrug it off. But then bigger assholes started to come, guys who were disgruntled because they were good and not great and liked to let you know how much better they were than you All. The. Time. Week after week I would come back, and week after week I dealt with utter bullshit. And that type of personality will wear you out if you just want to have fun.

I was insulted, outright treated like garbage despite being polite and accommodating to anyone despite any of their qualities. Anyone who has interacted with me in person can say that I treat everyone with respect and kindness, because that’s what I want. Language was thrown around that I wouldn’t dream of saying around children, and not just F-Bombs or “shit”s or whatever—literal N-Bombs, C-Bombs, just outright disgusting language. And let’s be clear here, I am no choir boy, but there are certain lines in public you cannot cross. Children would be in the room, like actual 12 and 13 year olds, and these guys would throw this around without any reservation. It was disgusting.

The worst part? Nothing was ever done.

Week after week these assholes would talk with poison on their tongues, bringing the mood of the room down, complaining about everything and really sucking the fun out of the GAME. This was not a sentiment I shared alone. My close friends who also went to the store grew tired of the bullshit as well. People I sorta knew from the store would give “am I really being seen out in public with these assholes?” looks to these fuck-heads when they would be spitting vitrol, and I could see the love of the game leave their eyes. Instead of Magic at the store being about Magic, it turned into a question of whether the game was worth the environment.

Are these the types of people I share my hobby with? If I wanted to introduce my friend to the game and bring him to a store for competition, can I actually in good conscious bring him somewhere that allows this type of behavior by doing nothing? The owner is a great guy, and has a lot going for him, but week after week I’d hear the language, give him a look, and he would sit there doing nothing. How can I go somewhere that encourages that type of shitty behavior with inaction? Maybe I could’ve played community cop, but why is the owner of the store sitting there allowing it? The guy was a paying customer, sure, but is the reputation of your store worth less than the money he puts into your pocket?

It has been at least a year since I’ve been to the store. Parts of me feel bad about abandoning the store as I hear it’s doing less-well and that sucks. Parts of me miss the guys I made good friendships with at the store. Parts of me really miss playing Magic in a true competitive environment that was accessible since it was the town over.

But ZERO parts of me miss the negativity. ZERO parts of me miss going to a store and being insulted or put down. ZERO parts of me miss the embarrassment of playing a game with guys who would talk like the scum of the earth. Each week I would ask the question “Is paying for live Magic worth the shitty local environment where it’s done?” and soon that answer always became “NO”.

Now? I play at my friends’ houses with my friends only. I play with people who treat me with decency, all the while still competing at what I feel is a high level. And if someone proves to be a dick, they don’t come back.

I hope I am not the only one who feels this way, but I do not have time to waste with people who clearly don’t like me or seemingly anyone for that matter. I do not have time to waste with people who are continually negative or insulting. There is nothing funny or fun about being an asshole. There is nothing cool by acting like you’re better than everyone else. (Also: you aren’t. Only a small percentage of players are, and they are typically the nicest. Learn something from them!) You know what people like? Kindness. Respect. Not putting others down. Laughing. Having FUN.

So, ask yourself: when I play, do I need to assert myself as the best? Am I truly being positive? Am I having fun by playing, and if I’m not winning am I a grumpy gus? Are you acting the way you want to be treated?

I’ve been planning this article for a couple years but didn’t write it because I was more angry than anything about how I was treated. Now that the personal emotional dust has settled, I feel sort of empty and numb. Instead of being mad at the owner for letting the store devolve into a negative atmosphere, I feel relief that I am no longer there dealing with it. And maybe the store is better now, but I do not have time to be burned like that again. I would not feel good if I went back and felt more of the same, and for too long that was the MO of the store.

So remember: the key to magic is being NICE. When you are NICE, people want to play with you, people want to be around you, and people don’t feel sick of being in your presence. And if you’re not nice, well…don’t be surprised if your presence hurts your local store.

Glimpse Drafting Is The Best Way To Draft Your Cube With 2-4 Players: This Title Could Be Shorter

Glimpse Drafting is the most fun you will have drafting your cube.


Yes, that is a lofty claim, one that I was hesitant to believe, as I’m afraid of change and doing new things. (Leaving the house is scary! And anything other than pizza is awful!) Why do something that could potentially suck when what I’m already doing is a lot of fun? I heard about Glimpse Drafting—sometimes referred to as Burn Drafting too—first on the MTGSalvation forums from a thread that a user named Colby made who has since disappeared. (If anyone knows Colby, reach out to him! (I’m also going for the parentheses record. (Hope I get it!))) He and wtwlf123 combined two different styles of drafting to come up with the format; you can find that history and OP here. As the thread grew bigger with more and more replies and I was growing more and more sick of Winston Drafting with 3 players where the chance of one deck being so much better than the others is too high, I finally brought the idea to our 3-man play group.


There is no way we go back now. Unless we start getting 6+ people in the room, which would be quite the accomplishment, Glimpse Drafting is far superior for groups 4 or less. (Or larger groups, if your cube size supports it.) Let me explain how it works:


Each player gets 9 packs of cards, which means you need 135 cards for each player participating. Any time you receive a pack, you must take one card for yourself, and burn two. This process continues like a normal booster draft until you’ve gone through all 9 packs, leaving you with 45 cards like with a normal booster draft.


By using so many cards, you end up seeing a much larger portion of the cube even with a smaller draft group. One of the main issues with having a mid-to-large size cube is that it’s hard to consistently support many archetypes in each draft as the pool of cards that is available to you during a draft is often a small percentage of the cube. With 3-4 players, you need to have a cube sized 405-540 cards, and you see so much of it that you can support pretty much whatever archetype is available. Even the majority of a larger cube at 720+ is used when you have 4 players, letting you offer that much more to your players to build with.


In terms of cons, there are few, and they are fairly baseless. 9 packs for each player is a decent amount, but if you’re used to doing Winston or a regular pack draft then this is really only extra minutes in total of set up. The draft may take longer because you have more packs, but you usually know exactly what you’re taking and what you’re burning the later into the draft you are which cuts down on that potential time. The decisions become that much easier the further you get into a pack, as there are way fewer cards by the 3rd or 4th pick of a pack and what you take and what you burn is that much easier. The time it would take was my biggest fear, as I play with two of the slowest players on earth, but rarely if at all has a Glimpse draft taken longer than a Winston or regular booster pack draft.


Really the only issue with glimpse drafting is that it’s hard to support a cube that would be large enough to glimpse draft with more than 4 players. A 1000+ cube does not appeal to me at all, and neither does 700+. I don’t speak for everyone, so if that’s not a problem for you and you draft with 6-8 players often then good for you, but it would be a concern for me if I’m drafting with that size of group. (Which Im not.)


I know this isn’t much of an article content-wise, but there really isn’t much more to say than try it, enjoy it, and never go back. Unless when you go back people are Glimpse Drafting. Then do what you want, I’m not your boss! But if I was you’d get a promotion cause you’re doing good work reading this article.


So, uh, just glimpse!

Pack 1 Pick 1 #29

Another pack 1 pick 1! (, amirite?) Instead of jib-jabba, let’s get pick-packin’! (I am so sorry.)


Fellwar Stone
Calcite Snapper
Acidic Slime
Path to Exile
Vivid Grove
Wall of Omens
Hero of Bladehold
Force Spike
Glen Elendra Archmage
Gifts Ungiven
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Vampiric Tutor
Garruk Relentless
Courser of Kruphix

The cube list:

This is a strong pack. I am considering Felwar Stone, Acidic Slime, Path to Exile, Hero of Bladehold, Glen Elendra Archmage, Purphoros, Vampiric Tutor, Garruk Relentless, and Courser of Kruphix. The rest of the pack is mainly roleplayers; an argument could be made for Gifts Ungiven, but that argument will not be made by me.

Felwar Stone is the most underwhelming of the picks in a vacuum, but in my cube where there are no signets then artifact mana needs to be prioritizes if that’s the type of deck you make. Felwar Stone is like a first-mode-only Everflowing Chalice that can sometimes fix your mana. The main reason it’s good is that it gives non-green decks a way to ramp from 2 to 4, which is huge. A blue deck dropping a turn 3 Jace or Glen Elendra Archmage will hold its own against a lot of different decks. In this pack Stone is probably not the pick as there are just better cards to be chosen, but there is someone out there probably interested in the stone and I can understand why.

Acidic Slime is a personal favorite, and easily my favorite of the ETB-destroy-artifact variants. (Reclamation Sage is quickly moving up to battle for the top spot, but that’s another article.) Slime is so great because you pretty much always have a not-your-own target, something that Uktabi Orangutan or Indrik Stomphowler cannot claim on their own. There are many times you will want to hit their lands too, as there are many problem lands running throughout all cubes. If you have a Crystal Shard or Recurring Nightmare at hand, Acidic Slime becomes that much more disgusting. A strong card, probably not the best pick here because there are better green cards, but it would be sweet to take one of the other green cards and have Slime wheel.

1 mana removal spells are strong, and Path to Exile is no exception. There are many packs where Path would be the best and safest pick, as so many decks want to splash an easy-to-cast piece of removal that hits almost everything. Giving them a land can suck, but it’s better to force your opponent to have the next threat than it is to not play Path and let them keep beating. Behind Felwar Stone I think path is the safest since it makes the most amount of decks and gives you a reason to splash white if you aren’t there, but I’m less inclined to pick amazing removal if there are amazing threats or planeswalkers also available.

While I’m less high on Hero than when it first came out, Hero of Bladehold is still an utter beating if you’re allowed to untap with it. By itself it’s a 7 power beater on attack, and with other creatures you add more and more damage with the Battlecry. Hero does die to quite a bit and acts like a lightning rod, but in the right deck you can force your opponent to waste removal-removal-removal on the first three turns and then watch them frown as they’re out of gas. In this pack I’d take Path if I’m taking a white card as I like easier to splash cards and game-changing 4-drops are not scarce in cube. Hopefully this changes into the Holiday Cube and I can wheel it in the last 5 picks. This happened a surprising amount.

Glen Elendra Archmage, a card I’ve talked about a lot, and for good reason: SHE’S REALLY GOOD. Two negates attached to a flier as a mimimum is super solid. Resetting that persist trigger any amount of times means you’re probably locking out your opponent from casting relevant spells. Glen Elendra is one of the higher considerations for me because: 1) it’s blue, 2) it’s easily the best blue card, and 3) it’s one of the best card in the pack. If I don’t take it here, it’s worth noting that I’m passing it.

The more I play with Purphoros, the more I like it. Ignore the devotion/creature part—that is a bonus and it does happen, but the most important thing is doing 2 damage any time a creature comes into play. That means blink shenanigans, tokens, regular-old creatures all shoot shocks. The other day on the modo cube I was facing a deck that had me down to 4 life and dead on board. Purphoros was the only reason I won that game, as I was able to do 20 damage to them in one turn. 20! No other card in cube except maybe like Upheaval would’ve saved me there as my opponent definitely had the reach to kill me. The quality and diversity of what the other cards in the pack do means I probably don’t take Purphoros, but I would have to think hard if it wheeled from this pack.

Vampiric Tutor, to me, is the best card in this pack. Cube is a place where most all the cards in your deck are high-quality, and having a 2nd copy of any of them left in your deck is really strong. You lose a card and you take 2 life, but by being instant speed you can find what you want at the end of your opponent’s turn after they’ve made their main phase plays and then get the best card for the best situation. A single black is easy to splash, and I feel like a tutor is worth splashing. Vampiric Tutor is a front runner.

Garruk Relentless is a front runner as well. Garruk is great as he acts as removal in green, which is extremely rare, on top of being a threat generator. Once you flip him, he becomes almost like a Survival of the Fittest with the overrun option at the end. Probably the best part is that he costs 3G, letting many decks splash him and giving so many decks the options of using a card as a continual stream of threats until you feel the need to kill something. Garruk Relentless loses points because there are other strong green cards in the pack, but being easy to cast certainly helps.

Finally there’s Courser, who gives your green decks card advantage on a fairly cheap big-body while gaining you life. Courser lives through a lot, attacks through more, and if your life is of the concern, then the incremental one a turn will help considerably. The biggest drive is playing lands off your deck, which is kind of like drawing cards. Broadcasting to your opponents what is coming off is not stellar, but when that information is better for you to know then your opponent then it’s real easy to sculpt a win.

What would you choose? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Commander 2014 Cube Review

The Commander sealed products are always great for cubers. Wizards must partly design the cards for cube play, as every commander set has had at least 1 staple involved. This year is no different, and in fact might be the strongest set of cards that are cubeable so far! So without further ado, the cards:


Teferi, Temporal Archmage: I’ve read justifications where people say this guy is good because he’s either a 6 loyalty planeswalker that netted you a card or he can be a 4 loyalty planeswalker for free with the untapping ability. For 6 mana I’m not impressed, and as a baseline for planeswalkers that is not what I’m looking for. Cube is full of 6 mana cards that are way better and binders are full of 6 mana cards that are just better than Teferi in so many situations that aren’t being played that a planeswalker which gives me underwhelming card selection/advantage or untaps a bunch of stuff just isn’t going to cut it. I want my Planeswalkers to give me threats, protection ,or more than a card. And where other free spells are sweet in cube like Time Spiral and Treachery, you gain tangible results immediately with those cards. If I lose my Teferi the next turn, does it feel like I’ve gained anything but a 1 for 1? Perhaps in the largest of cubes or if you heavily support Time Vault combo he could find a space, but I’d rather a creature I can reanimate or a spell that does more.

Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath: Slob has been re-done, and holy crap is he awesome. He is essentially a 5/5 flier factory, and at the low cost of every other turn and some life that sounds like a sweet deal to me. Making 5/5 fliers for loyalty counters and some life is really good, and that’s the only ability that really matters. The other abilities might as well be blank because they don’t really register for me in terms of rating this card. Making up a point or two of life with the +2 ability does making the self-draining demon hurt less, but even if that ability did nothing I’d be excited about this card. That’s how amazing making 5/5 fliers is, it’s A-OK as a sole ability. Unchecked Ob Nixilis is a thorough beating, and even with some resistance a 5/5 flier will stop a lot of attacks and kill players quick. Ob Nixilis is insane with the Wildfire packages since both him and his demons live through the burn, adding another planeswalker you want to pair up with Wildfire and Burning. He’s a hard threat in cube, which is full of big bad beaters

The biggest issue with Slob is that he isn’t a creature. Black is huge into reanimation, and having fatties that you can’t pull from the graveyard is a liability in the mid-to-smaller cubes in that color. There is only so much space for top-end fat, so if you were to run Ob Nixilis you probably couldn’t run too many other non-creature curve toppers. But how many others in black do you really want to run? Sorin Markov is past his time, and outside of Academy Rector-supported cubes I’d never cube with Yawgmoth’s Bargain. Perhaps I’m missing some other options, but it seems OK that Ob Nixilis would be the only non-reanimateable fatty. All the evasive power that Ob Nixilis pushes out is worth not being able to bring him back from the graveyard to play.

Daretti, Scrap Savant: He is tough to judge. On one hand, costing 4 is not bad for a PW that loots and Trash for Treasures for his abilities. On the other hand, do cubes really want that? Personally I don’t run Goblin Welder as I never have big enough drafts with my playgroup to insure that the artifact.dec in red is consistently drafted. Welder is a lot worse when you aren’t getting all the artifacts you need in the draft pool, as you’ll be either missing the low or top-end. While Daretti is fine if you can’t pull that deck together as a looter, is that something I really want at 4, a spot that is tight across the board? Is fine OK for a card that is taking of valuable space? Including Daretti into your cube is very cube-dependent and playgroup-centric, since your players need to want to make that deck to need Daretti. He seems to be amazing in those decks, as multiple Trash for Treasures can blow games out quick, but he may also be too slow at 4.

Freyalise, Llanoway’s Fury: Repeatable Naturalizes are cool, but for 5 mana in green there needs to be a much better upside. In fact, you really have to work for those repeatable Naturalizes since she starts at 3 loyalty and you’re certainly not playing her because she makes elves. If Freyalise started at 5 loyalty I’d consider her more as 2 Naturalizes unanswered is OK, but there are better 5 drops in green that I’m not playing which put a ton of pressure on my opponent, which is the type of ability I want to ramp to.

Feldon of the Third Path: If red is drafted a lot as a reanimator color, then Feldon is a staple. If the Goblin Welder deck is drafted a lot, then he’s  still a staple. Feldon is really cool, giving the reanimator and Welder decks a new and sometimes (often?) better way of bringing your fatty back, as you can activate it during your main step or EOT so you can potentially swing in with two of the same giant thing. Even without both of the above being true, Feldon is sweet in any cube where red is not strictly aggro-only, which I imagine would be a majority of them. There will be times where Feldon is a lot worse and you need a creature to enter the battlefield and stay there, but if blocking is the concern you can always hold him up on your opponent’s turn.  Feldon gives your red side of things a unique angle at the reanimator concept, letting you trade a permanent presence for repeatable hastey guys. If you run Eldrazi Feldon finally gives you a consistent way to bring them back from the dead without losing them, as you activate Feldon in response to the shuffle trigger from the Eldrazi.

As my cube is currently situated, I’m middle of the road. My players and I don’t always go for Rakdos Reanimator builds, but with Feldon around I could see it being an incentive. Is Sneak Attack a necessary tool to make Feldon good enough to include? My instinct says he’d be good without it, or maybe Feldon is the one that gives Sneak Attack another point of legitimacy? I have mixed feelings about Feldon. Good! But mixed.

 Containment Priest: In the largest of cubes where your sections could have room for silver bullet cards like Priest she might find a spot. The effect is super powerful, hosing reanimation and other cheating strategies at a cheap cost with an acceptable body to boot. But if you’re not stopping something from coming in then a 2/2 with flash is pretty meh. In the mid-to-small sized cubes you need either wider-spread hate bears or guys with evasion, since you can’t afford to be main decking a bear with flash in your aggressive decks. I’m not a fan because of my cube size, but if I went to 720-1000 I’d at least see if I had room for her.

Flesh Carver: Holy shit! Flesh Carver is insane. A 2/2 with intimidate as a base is OK. A solid limited card that always makes your black decks, but certainly not cubeable. The sacrifice effect makes Flesh Carver a pretty sizeable threat, along with working with many of the black cards. Whether it’s the recurrable creatures like Bloodsoaked Champion/Gravecrawler/Reassembling Skeleton or any of the many token makers, there are a lot of ways in black to abuse the ability. With these stats, I think Bloodsoaked Champion is a fine card, and…

…wait, when it dies it replaces itself with an X/X where X is equal to its horror? Jesus, that is nuts. If they answer it right away, you have a 2/2 which is fine for an immediate replacement. If you can activate the sac ability once and it resolves, you now have a 4/4 which is super hard to deal with after you’ve already dealt with one 4/4. You can see where I’m going, as a 6/6 as an 8/8 etc. are better and better. I think, over time, Flesh Carver will prove to be one of the best if not the best black 3 drop for cube. I might like Nighthawk more since it performs in multiple roles pretty effortlessly, but as an easier to cast card that not only performs multiple roles but becomes one of the best cards in certain archetypes, Flesh Carver seems like a swiss army knife of black doom. Beyond that I’d need to be convinced that any other 3 drops is better. Sign me up. Now.

Impact Resonance: Time for an exercise: think back to all the cube games involving red that you’d played in or seen. Replace burn you have with this card. Is it way worse? Is it actually unplayable in a lot of spots? The best case scenario of Impact Resonance might be an insane blow out, but ignoring the worst case scenario of “dead card that I wish was anything else” is not a price I’m willing to pay to include a card. If you’re running all 3 of the incinerate variants I could understand wanting to switch things up, but you’ll get sick of people complaining how Impact Resonance lost them the game by being uncastable quickly.

Siege Behemoth: If Craterhoof Behemoth needed to attack or something to activate his awesome ability, I could see Siege Behemoth being better since it will make it to combat more. But if you’re Craterhoof is triggering its ETB effect, then you’ve mostly likely lost as your team will still get some bonus + the trample. Costing 7 is not that much of a benefit to make the switch, and do cubes really need the Craterhoof effect? My cube would have to be pretty large and my players would have to be pretty loud about Siege Behemoth for me to include it at all, especially over the better-and-similar Craterhoof.

Scrap Mastery: It’s a nice idea, but like I’ve said earlier, I would have to be heavy into the Goblin Welder decks and archetypes to want to include Scrap Mastery. It’s an amazing card if you need something to be picked 15th every time. Perhaps down the line there will be enough for me to want to support it, and if the artifact deck is drafted a lot then Scrap Mastery is a one-sided Living Death a lot of the time. Not for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone.

Song of the Dryads: Daaaamn, that is what green needs. Creature removal has always been one of green’s biggest issues, so why not give them an o-ring variant that deals with everything? Giving your opponent a land is not negligible, but that is a cost I am happy to pay for an o-ring in green, especially since I should be out-ramping my opponent.  Too many times in base/heavy green decks there have been top-deck stand offs where you hope to out-creature them while they hope for their removal, which is a much better spot to be in. It sucks to have to force through your damage with attacks and give your opponent to cream of the blocks, and it’s much easier to just deal with the problem card and move on with your life. (And taking away theirs.) Song of the Dryads finally gives green a way to deal with things that are not just non-creature.

I think too much stock is being put into the fact that the thing becomes a land. Sure, ramping your opponent kind of sucks, but does it suck as much as an Inferno Titan? A Jitte? A Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Would we rather face that and try to out-thing those cards, something a green deck really has a tough time doing in a lot of spots? Or would we rather go back to the way things were, where big fatties took dumps on your board that were near impossible to wipe? There will be very few times where I’ll knowingly avoid casting this card to not give them a land.

Hallowed Spiritkeeper: As a card without consideration for anything else in your cube, Hallowed Spiritkeeper seems good. A 3/2 vigilence for 1WW is fine, and the dying clause is pretty nuts. In an empty GY he gives you one flier, and the further you get the harder the beating. Wrath? Army. Late game spot removal? Army. Army? Uh…army. Turning your 3/2 into fliers will spell certainly doom, and with Recurring Nightmare Hallowed Spiritkeeper seems like a lot of fun.

As a card with consideration for anything else in your cube, is this better than the other white 3 drops? I’d say it’s not better than: Brismaz, a strong threat on its own which doesn’t replace itself when it dies but can win games on his own; Blade Splicer, a lot of damage that performs better in the same recursion decks; Mirror Entity, which fits a specific role and is one of the reasons you try to play that deck; Flickerwhisp, which is pretty close IMO but gets the nod by enabling the blinks; Mirran Crusader, which I like as a unique paladin variant that’s gross with equipment; and Silverblade Paladin, because apparently I am a sucker for double strike. Beyond those guys, do you need him? At what size cube is he playable? Or is he just better than a lot of them? 5 years ago Hallowed Spiritkeeper is an easy include, but we don’t live in a Time Machine world unfortunately.

Overseer of the Damned: A cool card that will probably net you some value, but it’s kind of boring for a 7 drop/reanimator target. There are dream worlds where you Recurring Nightmare this card to either amass a giant army or clear away what they have, but there are cheaper token makers and 187 creatures. I think I’d want a bigger body too; call that greedy, but this is cube where you need to be greedy.

Dualcaster Mage: Typically I’m pretty good with letting go of a card that doesn’t seem great outside of best case scenarios. Dualcaster seems like one of these guys, but I really want Dualcaster Mage to be good! There is something awesome about copying spells, whether it’s yours or your opponents, and I want that ability in my cube. But at three mana, is this guy better than the unplayed Fork? How many red decks are going to be able to have 1RR + another spell open without being too red/clunky? And is he too expensive for mono red? How many non-mono red cards can we really run here? There are a lot of cheap instants and sorceries that you will want to copy, especially in red, and as a 4 or 5 drop in those aggressive decks he could be fine as an EOT Keldon Champion, but is that always going to be the case?

The more you support “spells matter” the better Dualcaster will probably be. This means you run cards like Talrand, Young Pyromancer (who is fine outside of the spells-matter deck but is certainly an all-star in it), Guttersnipe, etc. A majority of cubes don’t run that archetype, but more and more are popping up as Wizards keeps on printing Delver-type cards and his homies. Time will only tell with testing if Dualcaster Mage is only for cubes with the spells-matter deck available or if he’s still good if you’re not running 10-15 instants/sorceries in your deck.

Malicious Affliction: Last but not least, Malicious Affliction is a one-way ticket to value town. Things die, and black is much better at making sure things are dying on both sides of the table than other colors. In pre-and-post combat it should not be an issue turning Malicious Affliction into a 2-for-1. BB is a bit painful, but the upside seems to be worth it. If you can’t trigger morbid, Doom Blade has been a fine cube card since the day it was printed and there’s no reason we should be upset about 1 for 1 removal. The larger the cube the easier it is to include Malicious Affliction, though I have a feeling that double black won’t be enough to stop the affliction from reaching the smallest of cubes. A sometimes effortless, sometimes minimal effort built-in 2 for 1 has to be good enough for cube, right?


Did I miss any? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!


Pack 1 Pick 1 #27


Another pack 1 pick 1, this time with a different cube—mine! After refreshing about 10 times with power finding its way into the pack as the obvious pick all 10 times, I decided to switch over to my unpowered list that I’ve been slowly putting together for years now. At some point during this past summer, I finally pulled the trigger and dismantled my pauper cube, taking all the relevant commons from that and combining them with the cards I’ve gathered for my cube threw trades/draft prizes/etc. The cube is finally at a point where I’m not too embarrassed about its contents. There are still cards I feel like I need to get for it, but it’s at a point where it feels like the power level is where I want it to be. (Note not “powered” but “power level”. I love powered cards and playing with them, but I wanted my cube to be a dedicated unpowered environment, which means no Sol Ring/Mana Vault, even though they are cheap. The ceiling for power level is probably Jitte/Skull clamp/Grim Monolith, amazing cards you’d even take high in a powered environment but able to be dealt with or slow enough to not blow an opponent out consistently on t1-t3.)


Inferno Titan


Scalding Tarn



Into the Roil


Wrath of God

Phyrexian Metamorph


Zealous Conscripts

Arcane Denial

Wickerborough Elder

Small Pox

Garruk Wildspeaker

This pack contains some stellar cards going in many directions. The cards I’m considering, in no particular order, are: Inferno Titan, Scalding Tarn, Armageddon, Opposition, Wrath of God, Phyrexian Metamorph, Damnation, Zealous Conscripts, Smallpox, and Garruk Wildspeaker. There are a lot of different directions I could go here, and it’s tough to say what I would take first right off the bat.

Inferno Titan is a big beating machine. Easily red’s best finisher, it’s a massive ability that can Wipe Away boards and life points at a reasonable-to-cast cost. If I’m in Wildfire or any big-red strategy where you’re not going aggressive, then Inferno Titan is the finisher I pretty much always want. Big red decks aren’t always popular, and with no Sneak Attack in this cube it’s likely I could even wheel the Inferno Titan with a potentially better red card in the pack. If I’m looking for a finisher here, Inferno Titan is probably my best option, but I’m still less inclined to take red cards early that aren’t super aggressive.

Scalding Tarn is an amazing land since blue decks often want to splash burn for removal, and having fetches is generally a good way to stay open. Not only will Scalding Tarn fit nicely in any blue or red deck that wants to find dual lands, but any random dual lands I pick up with either red or blue will help me fix my mana and make splashes easier. If I have a badlands and I’m playing UB, I play that badlands as it allows my Scalding Tarn to find black mana. Typically I try not to take land fixing this early if there are first-pickable bombs, but I can see the argument of wanting to stay open because it is important to see what people pass to you.

Armageddon hurts. Playing Armageddon and having a way to either have more of a board presence or a way to bring back your gone lands is game-winning. Armageddon is easy to splash, so in green ramp decks or other colored artifact-based ramp deck Armageddon shines. There can be awkward moments where you Armageddon and you don’t instantly win, but that issue seems to be more because of poor application and not really indicative of Armageddon’s power level. Armageddon is one of the better top picks in this pack.

Opposition is a powerful  build around effect that is supported within its own colors. Because I run opposition, I’ve decided to add Master of Waves since that’s an automatic 3 tokens. So far in testing I’ve been pretty happy with that couple, as even if they can remove the master you can usually tap down their entire mana base or their entire army, acting as a fog or Time Walk. If my cube was bigger that would be less of a reason to want Opposition, but at around 425 It’s not too unlikely to see both Master of Waves and Opposition in an 8 man draft. Meloku is also here, and nowadays she goes much later than she used to and could be passed to us. Usually I don’t like to force opposition since it can be awkward to make work if blue starts to get cut, though seeing no other solely-blue great cards in this pack could give me reason to pick it.

Wrath of God and Damnation are exactly the same card, but Damnation is the better choice in my opinion if you’re taking a wrath. The reason being that I have many more wrath effects in white than I do black, so if I do end up being in a white control build it’s not like I won’t be able to replicate the general effect of Wrath of God , whereas Damnation is the only pure-wrath that removes creatures. Living Death can sometimes be uncastable, and Death Cloud can require a lot of mana that you can’t afford to use because your hand or lands are needed. I don’t like taking a wrath here because that effect can be found in not only black and white but red as well, but it’s certainly not the worst pick out of the pack.

In most cubes Zealous Conscripts wouldn’t be considered in this spot but I support the Kiki Jiki/Splinter Twin combo, of which Zealous Conscripts is potentially the other half. With either one, Zealous Conscripts targets the Jiki/Twin’d creature, letting you make another copy, then another, then etc. until your opponent realizes your dead. This combo is my favorite to support because it’s easy, the cards involved can be played in non-combo decks, and I only have to include 3-4 meh cards that aren’t even that bad. Outside of that deck Conscripts is amazing as an aggro curve topper to pull away one of their blockers on an alpha strike, or in any mid-range build to pull and equipment or planeswalker over to get a free swing or activate. The best is when an opponent gets their planeswalker to the point where they can ultimate the next turn, and you take it and use it for your own. Thanks!

As an experiment I’ve been trying to support the Pox build, and Smallpox is a nice one there. Smallpox is great because at two mana and hitting everything for one, you can build your board to better abuse the ability. The pox deck is one you really have to go all-in for, but one that can deliver a beating by consistently attacking resources. I don’t think I’d take it here, but people with experience with the Pox build might know its power and take the Smallpox here.

Garruk is my 1b, as I love planeswalkers and he is incredible. As a mega ramp card, Garruk gives you at minimum two free mana. With City of Ass (hopefully coming soon) or bouncelands, Garruk becomes explosive, letting you reach 7-9 mana with easy the turn after casting him. If you need to put the beats then the 3/3s he makes can pack quite a punch, and his Overrun-ultimate is not hard to reach and activate after you play him. I also love green and find myself playing the color a lot, so I don’t really have a problem committing if I’m playing with people I know as they’ll know I play green. I play green a lot.

Phyrexian Metamorph is one of my favorite cards, and probably my pick here. Before I added all the equipment, Metamorph was a lot worse, but the stronger my cube has gotten the strong Metamorph is. There are so many bonkers creatures and equipment, and Metamorph can copy them in any deck. Not only is that effect something I want to use in just about every build I could make from this cube, but Metamorph’s phyrexian mana cost allows that  dream to come true. Not only do I think Metamorph is one of the best cards if not the best in this pack, it easily allows us to be the most open. I’ve taken Metamorph highly before, and I believe I’ll be taking it here again.


What would you choose? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!


Pack 1 Pick 1 #26


P1P1-26(Sorry for the picture quality, technical issues led me to an MS Paint session. Also this is using Skyler’s Cube:

Welcome back! Today’s pack is full of good cards, and we’re going to get right to what I’d choose, but first the pack written out in case the images above don’t show:

Plow Under

Izzet Charm

Nevinyrral’s Disk

Sneak Attack

Battlefield Forge

Go for the Throat

Stomping Ground

Bane of the Living

Night’s Whisper


Spectral Procession

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite


Lingering Souls


My inclination is that Lingering Souls might be the strongest card here, but there are a lot of other directions you can take that can reward you if you land in their archetype. Lingering Souls is an absurd card, pushing so much power into the air across so many bodies at such a miniscule cost. The flashback aspect of this card’s gold trait gives you multiple easy angles to play this card if you end up in white or a black card that can pitch cards from its own hand, either splashing black for the late cast or white because Lingering Souls casted twice wins a lot of games. I think in most scenarios this is my pick, but there are so many tantalizing other options that I’m such a sucker for that my preference can easily be swayed.

Elesh Norn is a fatty I’ll take p1p1 because of how unique she is. One of the most common things people say about cube is that there is so much fat that you don’t need to take it early, but there are creatures that warrant the early pick as they’re attached to an ability that is too strong to handle when it hits the field. If this was an Enchantment that had the same cost it’d be so much worse, but there are multiple ways to cheat in a creature like Elesh Norn. (This pack actually has two of them, which I’ll talk about soon.) The white praetor is Plague Wind on a stick. She tips the tides in stale mates, pulls you back into the game from far behind, and seals the deal with efficient ease when you’re ahead so your opponent won’t have another turn to draw their answer. Having the two other ways to sneak in the Elesh Norn makes me much more hesitant to take her here–especially since Sneak Attack is such a serious cog for its deck, the Sneak Attack deck–but she’s fine as a control top-ender as well. Vigilence lets her attack on her own, and that big booty and those formidable claws keeps her alive on most boards. If I wasn’t taking Lingering Souls here, I’m more inclined to take one of the cards that cheat my creatures in since it is true that fatties are a dime a dozen, but Elesh Norn is still hard to pass up.

Sneak Attack is the cheater with the highest impact. Playing Sneak Attack and winning either that turn or sealing the deal for the next few turns to be a cake walk is not unheard of, and those types of wins to me is what I want to do in cube. There’s no better feeling than Sneak Attacking a Griselbrand into play and drawing the rest of your creatures, which typically result in a scoop. Red is typically associated with blistering-fast builds, but this cube features cards like Inferno Titan, Bogardan Hellkite, and Siege Gang Commander, all which work nicely with ETB abilities and haste. Sneak Attack certainly doesn’t need red creatures either, so any fatty becomes playable, and there really are so many in cube. Taking the Sneak Attack and hoping that maybe Necromancy wheels is a play you could make since reanimator Sneak Attack builds are so good. Sometimes your opponent has an answer to the creature you placed in before you can attack, so it’s nice to have a back up play in case your attack goes awry. I would consider taking Necromancy here heavily, and if I wanted to go the cheating route a bit more conservatively I’d take Necromancy, but I feel in this spot it’s go big or go home.

Other than those cards, there are some you can make an argument for, but none I’d really consider. Stomping Grounds is a dual land and I might take it if I took the Sneak Attack and it wheeled, but I really only like taking blue or black duals super high since those are the colors I find myself wanting to splash for the most or having the highest reward for splashing. Plow Under is a crazy powerful card but I’m not as high as others on it. Go for the Throat is really good but a pretty boring first pick. The same goes for Condescend (most people won’t agree with me but I think Condescend is pretty incredible), the Disk (a bit slow and lets your opponent have too much time to play around), the Brainstorm (too much work to make good, so much worse without fetches), and maybe the Battlefield Forge I guess (fixing is fixing), though there’s no world where I ever take any of these cards in this spot.


What would you choose? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!