Pack 1 Pick 1 #25

True-Name Nemesis Sneak Attack Sword of Body and Mind
Detention Sphere Diregraf Ghoul Celestial Colonnade
Golgari Signet Sublime Archangel Psionic Blast
Snapcaster Mage Upheaval Yosei, the Morning Star
AEtherling Phyrexian Rager Karn Liberated
This pack generated from, the MTG Deck Builder

This pack is from Sky’s cube. A link can be found in the cube lists section. (This pack was generated from the version.)

[mtg_card]True-Name Nemesis[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Sneak Attack[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Sword of Body and Mind[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Detention Sphere[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Diregraf Ghoul[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Celestial Colonnade[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Golgari Signet[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Psionic Blast[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Sublime Archangel[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Upheaval[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Yosei, the Morning Star[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]AEtherling[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Phyrexian Rager[/mtg_card] [mtg_card]Karn Liberated[/mtg_card]


This is a seriously tough decision. There are maybe 5 or 6 cards which are unpickable here, which makes for a tough decision. Not that every pick is as good as others, and there are certainly wrong picks you can make from the 11 passable cards, but I could see some arguments being made. On the very edge is Detention Sphere, a good o-ring variant but one you can never take 1st as it is two colors. Sublime Archangel is chilling with the Sphere, as the angel is able to take over games through itself or pulling the strings on a smaller creature, but it dies to so much and is pretty average against a board that can block a single attacker on the ground or in the air with ease. Aetherling and Yosei are nice as finishers but are one of a million and on the back end of that mill to boot.

The cards I’m actually considering are Karn Liberated, Upheaval, Snapcaster Mage, Golgari Signet, Celestial Colonnade, Sword of Body and Mind, Sneak Attack, and True-Name Nemesis. I chose this pack to write on because there really wasn’t anything that caught my eye way more so than another card, and the top-end stuff is top tier and worth putting next to the cheaper spells. Staying open by taking a colorless card could be the correct choice above one of the million blue spells and they might not deserve a spot in the above list no matter what, but with so much blue in the pack it’s doubtful that 7 players go into blue. (Though if it’s cut hard the signal will be clear.)


True-Name Nemesis is probably the last of these cards I would take, to no fault of its own. TNN is stupid good and is way better in cube than it is in legacy where you often have way less time to land a TNN onto the board. While cube is fast you are rarely facing combo decks that have you dead in the first few turns and against the blistering fast decks True-Name comes down early enough to stop the bleeding against most starts. True-Name could certainly be better than a lot of the other cards I am thinking about, and even though it’s a three-drop TNN excels at every point in the game. For me, True-Name Nemesis is boring in comparison to what else I could be doing. A 3/1 that can be impossible to deal with is super brutal, and passing him means I could be getting hit in the face by a merfolk in my near future, but it just feels…vanilla. True-Name Nemesis is also beatable, getting crushed by edicts and wraths, so sometimes the all-in plan can falter before it starts. And though True-Name is perfectly awesome in a slower blue build, he’s much better in the blue decks that want to attack a bunch with their own cheap creatures, something that isn’t always up my alley.

Moving down the boring “blue” line is Celestial Colonnade, the pick I would make if some of the much-higher impact cards weren’t in here. Disregard me saying that True-Name would be my last choice, as Colonnade would definitely be. Colonnade is sweet and is a perfect finisher and fixer, giving you a free amazing spell out of a dual land the UW control deck wants regardless. Moving into two colors as splash or UW seems bad, and the power level of the other cards are high enough that they are worth committing to one way or another. Wheeling Colonnade would be sweet depending on what I do take, but it’s unlikely such a top-tier fixer will wheel.

Golgari Signet is cool and could be the right pick, but like with Colonnade I don’t like taking signets when the quality of the other cards I could take are so high. Cards like Karn, Upheaval, Sneak Attack, the Sword, and Snapcaster are all unique and are worth building around, giving your future picks more potential focus beyond being able to cast spells. Fixing is important, and more importantly colorless two mana ramp fits into every cube deck but the fastest of aggro builds, but the other cards provide such unique abilities and either are the centerpiece to or an importance piece of an archetype that are time tested to be dominating and a lot of fun, and I feel that carries more weight. Signet is good in the ramp deck, but Karn and Upheaval are some of the best reasons to be building that ramp deck. There are quite a few finishers, but there are that many more enablers to that deck on the lower parts of the curve as cubes are designed to support a draft that way, with the earlier spots on the curve receiving more places for cards. Some people will think this is awful; they could be right, so be it.

Snapcaster Mage is awesome and probably the best way to commit to a color without actually committing here, as he is easy to splash and in some decks worth it as the only blue card if your mana is good enough. (Hello, Celestial Colonnade wheel?) In unpowered cubes he’s awesome, but with the potential to crack an Ancestral Recall or Time Walk, his stock rises so much as you have all the more reason to take either one over a mox or something in a later pack. There’s a good chance that Psionic Blast wheels, and Snapcaster allows you to focus on taking spells in place of some permanents to really increase his value, along with other cards that work well with Snapcaster such as Crystal Shard or either of the Vensers. Snapcaster could end up being subpar depending on how the draft goes, and I don’t think I take it here, though I can understand if you would.

Sword of Body and Mind can be the most powerful card in action from this pack, and with all this blue there’s a high chance that the protection will be relevant. Swords are awesome and Body and Mind is probably my second favorite. Body and Mind has the consistently fastest clock of all the swords, finishing the game in 2-3 connections on average. The extra wolf is nice as you’re continually able to equip the sword until you win the game or they somehow stop you, a goal which they don’t have much time to achieve. Swords go highly, and there’s just about as close to zero chance as you can get to this one wheeling, but I’m still willing to pass the sword here for a card that can win the game just as well but is harder to come by. Swords do get passed and there are plenty to crack, along with other pieces of equipment. While all the weapons do different things and work in so many different decks, I tend to enjoy winning with either Upheaval or Karn more than I do with swords. The Upheaval and Karn decks can be really great with a sword, and sword is probably the best pick in leaving me open to any creature-based strategy, but like with True-Name Nemesis that’s kind of boring to me right now. Sorry, I’m only human!

Sneak Attack is the card no one is probably considering, but I love this card when the deck works. Sneak Attacking the win is so satisfying that it can be worth taking early on a lark. Sometimes you’re actually just dead, and then you Sneak Attack and voila!, you’re not dead, you’ve won and it’s the next game or match. That’s fucking awesome! But I am not feeling THAT crazy, and feel like the only two remaining cards, Karn and Upheaval, are much easier to build around and are either colorless or blue, which for me is pretty much colorless.

Between the two, it’s a really hard decision. Do I choose Upheaval, the card that ends the game with a harder boot stomp but is in blue? Or Karn, the more drawn out win but is just as fun in its own way with the added benefit of being a real colorless card? There is no easy decision here for me, but with a gun to my head I take Karn as staying open is usually the weighing factor when making a choice between two cards which are tough to truly differentiate. Playing with Karn feels like the planeswalker version of putting a saddle on the Death Star and taking her for a ride. Karn is also just straight up awesome against so many decks and can turn games around when he resolves, giving you repeatable erosion with the easy-to-turn game restart that is almost always a win for you and your Leylined board. Karn may not be the best pick but he’s one of my favorites plus being what I think to be one of the best colorless finishers. Upheaval is indeed a pretty close second and I do love restarting the game with me having permanents and my opponents having a full graveyard, and if I mulled over the decision further Upheaval could be the choice instead, but I’m OK with taking the Karn here and riding that train to funky town.


What would you choose? Leave a comment and let us know, and thanks for reading!

One thought on “Pack 1 Pick 1 #25

  1. Sword if I feel like beating down, or Snap if I want to go control. I’ve probably only drafted Sneak Attack once or twice, but if I know the cube has plenty of fatties and alternate ways to cheat them out like Show and Tell, Dream Halls, and reanimation, then that could be a fun pick as well.

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