Pack 1 Pick 1 #16

Time to crack a pack!

Edric, Spymaster of Trest Wheel of Fortune Fire/Ice
Mana Tithe Sarcomancy Pillage
AEtherling Geist of Saint Traft Murderous Redcap
Force Spike Eternal Witness Sylvan Caryatid
Stromkirk Noble Figure of Destiny Karn Liberated
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder


(Broken link is Edric, Spymaster of Trest)

For a powered cube, this pack is not winning the “pack of the year” award, but there are a bunch of powerful cards that I would be happy to pick first, whether because of general preference or the card is just stronger than others. For top-tier choices, I’m looking at Wheel of Fortune, Eternal Witness, Sylvan Caryatid, Aetherling, and Karn Liberated. These cards all send me in different directions, even though some overlap, so it’s important to understand the route you’re taking when you’re looking at how a card will perform and what role you’re using that card in.

While Wheel of Fortune might be the most powerful card of the bunch, it’s my least favorite for no good reason. Draw 7s are nuts, and even better when they cost 2R. Like a lot of cubes, Wheel of Fortune reads as a balanced performer but often can be abused to better benefit you. In mono red, wheel restocks your hand, giving you that final burn spell or two to seal the deal and kill your opponent. In reanimator builds, Wheel gives you a way to discard your drawn fatties while digging you closer to your reanimation spells. If combo is a thing–and I’d be much more inclined to pick Wheel if Sky supported cube, which he does not–then it’s a super cheap draw 7 that you can chain off of a ton of produced mana or done as a free Dream Halls pitch. Sounds pretty amazing, no? Why wouldn’t I pick it? Unfortunately I suck and I always run into situations where I can’t actually afford to discard a card or allow my opponent to draw 7 himself. A lot of players ignore these detriments because Wheel is such a powerful card, and rightfully so, but there is a flaw in either my skill or luck where I am always staring at the wheel in my hand and thinking how much is sucks with where I am in the game. Perhaps this is unjustified, because I really do understand why Wheel of Fortune is so bonkers broken, but a pack would probably have to be otherwise barren for me to pack-1-pick-1 Wheel of Fortune.

Aetherling has impressed me considerably, but it’s not actually a 6 drop which hurts it stock otherwise. A resolved Aetherling is a boss. In the short time Aetherling has been on the cube scene, I’ve seen him go unblockable and win a fair number of games on his own. He blocks almost everything when you have the mana open, and he gets through almost any board. He really is a 7 drop in most cases though, since it sucks to play your Aetherling and have him die because you were too impatient to wait a turn. Aetherling is probably the least serious of the picks since all the others provide the same power level at a cheaper cost or are harder to remove.

Staying in charge of being large, Karn is the safer of the bomb picks. Who doesn’t love a resolved Karn? You feel like some otherworldly laser cannon that disintegrates upon the touch. Karn either picks apart their hand while threatening a new, less-fair game, or elimnates anything on the board that is causing you concern. Unlike Aetherling, Karn fits in any deck that wants to cast things that cost 7, but also is harder to get into play than other fatties because you can’t reanimate/Sneak-Show/etc. him into play from your hand or graveyard. (This gives him niche importance if you know there is a bribery in the draft and you need a fatty yourself.) As someone who loves to make decks that tend to make more than less mana, Karn is right up my ally and one of my top contenders for the #1 choice from this pack.

Green’s serious contenders are both super strong and cards I don’t hesitate to take early. I value Sylvan Caryatid almost as highly as Birds. Costing 2 definitely makes it a worse card, and flying can definitely be important in some situations, but the ability to protect himself while blocking a variety of the early scum that green decks have to sludge through is really really strong. Caryatid gives me an any-color source that I can rely on, giving me confidence that a splash is accounted for when doing my mana base. If you consistently read the site you’ll know I love playing every color and starting in green for that deck is one of the best ways to do so, powered or unpowered.

If I’m going to pick a green card though, Eternal Witness would be the choice. Even though 1GG is way tougher, it doesn’t necessarily force me any more into green since I’d never splash Caryatid. If I’m going to be in green, Eternal Witness is a unique creature whereas I can find ramp in a variety of spells. Witness is silly when you start raising her ceiling, repeating the effect over and over until your graveyard is empty and your hand is full.


I think Karn would ultimately be my choice here. I love planeswalkers, making a lot of mana, and he’s colorless so my options for making that mana are open. What would you pick? Reply and lets us know, and thanks for reading!

One thought on “Pack 1 Pick 1 #16

  1. I’d snap-pick Geist of St. Traft because tempo decks are fun and there are some useful cards here that are almost certain to wheel. We’ve got Force Spike and its fraternal twin Mana Tithe if we’re sticking to UW, or Edric and Eternal Witness if we’re going Bant. American might be the best way to go based on this pack though, because Fire//Ice, Stromkirk Noble, Pillage, and Figure of Destiny are all great cards in tempo.

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