(Sorry for the picture quality, technical issues led me to an MS Paint session. Also this is using Skyler’s Cube: http://tappedout.net/mtg-cube-drafts/skylers-powered-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:
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!