Turn One Magic Cube Draft: GW midrange
This deck looks pretty awesome. Problem is, it completely flopped on me.
I’ll preface this article by saying I made this build via Winston draft.
Can anyone out there explain to me how a “turn one phantom ceataur” game turned into a, “having to top deck a fireball for the win” kind of game?
Or, going from an empty board other than a baneslayer angel soulbonded to a wolfir silverheart to getting pounded on by simic sky swallower and sphinx of Jwar isle. How does that work?
In cube drafting, the games are just insane. I’m not discrediting any other formats at all here. I think every format of magic is amazing. But, in cube, you get to try a new deck every time you play. And, in a powered cube, you see crazy stuff like turn one bloodgift demons that end up getting beaten in the late game.
As bad as it feels having your dreams crushed by scenarios like these, cube drafting is, simply, incredible. As much as I hate when games swing so drastically against me, I would rather they did that, than if they just puttered on without dramatic game changers. The climatic possibilities of playing a deck crafted from the cube are endless. Every time I play, I learn. And, if someone asked me, “what is the craziest thing you have ever seen happen while cubing?”, I wouldn’t be able to answer because there are too many options.
So, lets look at what failed me.
1x Mox Pearl
1x Black Lotus
1x Maze of Ith
1x Swords to Plowshares
1x Fyndhorn Elves
1x Pithing Needle
1x Birds of Paradise
1x Lanowar Elves
1x Stoneforge Mystic
1x Quasali Pridemage
1x Selesnia Signet
1x Umezawa’s Jitte
1x Mind Stone
1x Mirran Crusader
1x Beast Witin
1x Krosan Grip
1x Fiend Hunter
1x Phantom Centaur
1x Primordial Hydra
1x Acidic Slime
1x Baneslayer Angel
1x Wolfir Silverheart
1x Marsh Flats
1x Arid Mesa
1x Sunpetal Grove
We have Sunpetal Grove and Bayou along with 6 forests for a grand total of 8 green mana lands. Grove, bayou, marsh flats, arid mesa, plateau, scrubland, and two plains amounts to 8 as well. Then, one mountain, plateau, arid mesa, and marsh flats amount to three sources of red mana.
Our two mana elves give a little extra help in casting our green creatures while adding to our acceleration. Birds of paradise is awesome fixing and ramp but doesn’t help us much with a Jitte on the board. And, while we’re talking about rampers we also have an on color signet and a mind stone. I think mind stone is really good here largely for the card drawing. Maybe I played a little too much ramp for this deck, but I did play a fireball and having quick starts is really what this deck needed in order to win.
Baneslayer Angel is the type of card that many think of when people talk about bombs. I took this card as my first pick in a Winston draft and, in retrospect, I’m not sure I’ll do that again. Relying on a big guy like baneslayer for a win is equivalent to underestimating your opponent’s removal. It’s a big flyer with insane power, but it’s not likely that it will stay on the board (at least, not under your control).
I really disliked that the only late game answer this deck ran was the fireball. I don’t consider baneslayer a late game finisher because I feel that it’s most effective if it can get out early, do some big damage, and then die to anything.
Being able to soulbond with wolfir silverheart gave it potential to be swinging for 9 with lifelink on turn 4. It goes something like this: t1 mana dork, t2 mana dork or mana stone, t3 bane slayer, t4 wolfir. Unfortunately, god drawing was not in the cards for me.
The next card I want to talk about is Wolfir Silverheart. This card is awesome. I cannot even tell you how many times I was running through my decklist in my mind and hoping to top deck mr. Silverheart. The power level of this guy is nuts. Twelve power for five mana? Wizards thought that was reasonable? Oh, he can pump shroud creatures? That’s cool.
The creatures in cube have to be crazy good in order to be in cube in the first place. Being able to play an 8/8 for five mana is sick and having that five mana also pump another one of your crazy good creatures for four is just gravy.
I know that I, for one, would love to soulbond with Mirran Crusader and have a 6/6 double striker with protection from black and green.
Which brings me to my next face-beater: Mirran Crusader. This 2/2 powerhouse is arguably the best card that dies to a shock. But throw a sword of fire and ice on him, and that problem disappears into a frenzy of double sword activations. The worst sword to put on the crusader is obviously sword of feast and famine since he gains no further protection from it. Nevertheless, if you have the option of swinging in with this guy whilst wielding feast and famine, you’re still making them discard two cards. Do I need to keep talking about how good this card is? Ok, one more. Four counters per swing with a Jitte. Good game, chump.
Primordial Hydra is one of those cards that is a lot less powerful, if you don’t have a means of keeping it alive. Whenever I plan on playing this card, I seek out lightning greaves like Sam seeks out artifact mana. Now, look back to the decklist. As you can see, I did not have a pair of greaves. What it did have, however, was Swords to Plowshares and Condemn. One game, when I was playing against Sam, I was staring down a moat and a ring of gix with a stoneforge mystic equipped with Jitte, a primordial hydra with power and toughness somewhere in the hundreds, and a swords to Plowshares in my hand. Obviously, I was constantly keeping at least 1 white mana open. I knew I had enchantment and artifact removal in the forms of Quasali Pridemage, acidic slime, Krosan grip, and beast within. Thankfully, I was able to draw acidic slime to destroy the moat. Then, the following turn, I blew up the ring of gix with beast within. Sam responded; tapping the hydra. I settled for attacking with the Jitte and passed the turn. Sam drew, and scooped. All the while, I had the option of using swords to Plowshares on my own hydra to gain unruly amounts of life.
This deck definitely has potential. I was really hoping for a sun titian (when am I not) and an oblivion ring. I feel like those two cards would have really changed the outcome here. If you have watched any of our draft pick videos, you probably have heard us talking about the combo potential of Sun Titan. In this deck, he could be cast with, and then immediately getting back black lotus on turn two. He has great recurrsion targets in Pithing Needle, Quasali Pridemage, Umezawa’s Jitte, Mirran Crusader, and Fiend Hunter. Not too shabby, eh?
I think the main issue this deck ran into was Karn Liberated. Kirk played a mean combination of both Karn and Capsize. I felt so helpless…
When I consider that Karn was the one who caused me the most trouble, I feel a lot better about losing. While I’m still not sure about the power level of GW midrange in cube, I think, with a little tweaking, this is an archetype that can crank out some wins. Getting some strong equipment might be necessary both for the protection and the power-pump. Also, if you haven’t had the pleasure of working a Capsize-Karn lockout, I strongly suggest it.
That’s it for this article. I’m going to go curl up into a ball in the corner and try to forget this draft happened.