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!