I understand not wanting to read about “I drafted the best deck ever OMG!” Good cards are good; it doesn’t take too long to figure out why a Black Lotus is sweet or why an artifact that costs 1 and taps for 2—for free—are incredible cards if you understand magic in the slightest. But sometimes a draft will happen where it seems like the stars align and everything comes in place. The other day we did a four man draft with Sky’s cube and my pool added bonkers card after bonkers card. It wasn’t like I luck-sacked my way into this deck either, as I passed one mox, a Wurmcoil, a couple swords, cards that could be first picks. But the quality of cards that were shipped, the synergy the cards I drafted presented, and some pretty good fixing solidified this as one of the better decks I’ve drafted in recent memory.
Chandra, the Firebrand
Library of Alexandria
X Mountains, Forests, and Islands
Sundering Titan: In Tinker decks I like to have two options to go into. Sometimes you need to make the army; other times you need to go off with Triskelion blinks; and there are other cases where a card like Sundering Titan can turn them off. Unfortunately, this deck had Sundering Titan and Erratic Portal, the latter being an awful option. At least with Izzet Charm I could pitch the Tinker when it was dead, which I was forced to do in one game.
On the draw I had Mox, Mox, Island, Tinker and a few other cards in my hand. In case you’re wondering, that’s a turn 1 Sundering Titan. My opponent wasn’t playing a fast deck or too many one drops, so I wasn’t too worried about running into anything dumb. He played plains and said go, and for my first draw of the game, I pull Sundering Titan. Any other card in the deck would be fine, but instead I draw the only OK target.
This brings me to another point that I always think of whenever someone complains about luck: you put the cards in your deck to draw them. Am I an awful player for top decking that land or spell out of ~20-30 cards? Why doesn’t my deck building get credit for putting myself in a position to win by allowing me to draw that possibility? So he top decked that 1-2 outer—you have to draw something. Players need to worry less about their opponent top decking that 1-2 outer, and instead need to worry about how they got in the position to lose if they drew that card. This is magic and, more importantly, this is cube—the cards will be good in the decks, and if you draw the right ones they will turn the game around.
Aetherling: Before this draft and the rounds, I was unsure of Aetherling’s power. It wasn’t that I doubted the validity of the card—on the surface it seemed extremely strong—but I’m always cautious about cards before I actually play with them. For example, a lot of people were gushing over Blood Scrivener, but in play I find that he’s a 2/1 for 1B way more often than I’d like. Is he unplayable because of it? Certainly not, as those fast black decks do empty their hand. However, instead of thinking it’s the next best thing because it’s a bit reminiscent of Bob, I exercised a level of caution that allowed me to step away from the card, evaluate it critically in play, and see that it wasn’t as incredible as a lot of people were proclaiming it would be. 2/1s for 1B aren’t good enough in cube, and Scrivener is one too much to stay in the cube for too long until a better 2 drop is printed
Aetherling, on the other hand, was a thorough beating every time I casted it. Any time I had blue open he was indestructible, and in one game where I was dead to rights Aetherling and his unblockability took down two planeswalkers on his own while still staying back to block. It was absurd! He dodged a couple wraths too, and he was fortunate enough to not face down any additional removal. With multiple win cons in this deck, it wouldn’t have been the worst to have Aetherling take a couple removal spells with him so my other bombs can finish the job. I feel he needs more testing, but the first impression was a strong one.
Erratic Portal: My portal options weren’t exemplary, but what I had was pretty solid. Snapcaster was the all star. With all my counters and high-quality spells, bringing back a Snapcaster and casting all my spells for twice is super nice. Sundering Titan isn’t the best with Portal, but if I need to eliminate a couple more lands to Armageddon an opponent it’s OK. Inferno Titan is pretty cool but it’s probably overkill. And with Acidic Slime, I can pick off pain in the butt artifacts, lands, and enchantments as the deck doesn’t have too many options.
I also like Portal in this deck more than I’d like Crystal Shard, as with Aetherling it’s a bit tougher to consistently have UU open. Letting my opponent blow me out because I choose to Shard something instead of keeping my Aetherling alive seems awful. Shard may be cheaper, but that’s only a slight issue here since my ramp is so nice and the difference between 1 mana when you’re casting a card is largely irrelevant here.
The deck was bonkers. Too much fun. Thanks for reading!