Holiday Cube Draft 1.1.2014: 3-0

Last night I decided to try out the Holiday Cube on MTGO. I’d heard it has very powerful cards and you could build all sorts of strange combo decks with it. Well, since I don’t really play combo and I have huge holes in my card knowledge, I didn’t expect much… except I won the pod. Way to go me.

Actually, I probably only won because my opponents had even less understanding of the cube than myself. At least I read this article by Conley Woods. Based on that I decided I’d force a monored aggro deck. At least I know how to play that (although I’m not saying that’s easy, just that I have plenty of experience with those).

Then my plans were immediately wrecked… Here are all my picks with comments (on most):

For those who don’t know what a cube is, its basically a set of cards compiled with some expertise. Then boosters are made from those cards and drafted. There are lots of different kinds of cubes (I have a pauper one with all commons), but this one is a powered cube, meaning its a collection of the best cards available. Of course, this is both subjective and depended on the environment. [card]Terror[/card] is a great card, but probably not in Mirrodin which was the last block it was seen in. Anyway, the cube does have P9 and so forth, so it is very powerful.

Note that the picks are marked with a red border. Its pretty thin, so you’ll have to look for it, but its there.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 1: pick=Jace, the Mind Sculptor]
Balance
Willbender
Dark Ritual
Inferno Titan
Stunted Growth
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Plateau
Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Hero of Oxid Ridge
Sacred Foundry
Goblin Guide
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Keldon Marauders
Yavimaya Coast
Boros Signet
[/draft]

Okay, so this pack had plenty of good picks for my chosen strategy, but it also had the most powerful card ever printed. Which way would you go? I went with Jace. That can’t be a bad bet. Although, I was fairly certain blue was going to be pretty contested color, I thought I’d have a pretty good start with the Jace. It can (and did) win games on its own (well, with blockers). Actually, Jace won all games I drew him. Opponents got it off the board ones, but with [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] for which I was ready. More on that later.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 2: pick=Jace Beleren]
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Jace Beleren
Vampire Nighthawk
Earthquake
Terastodon
Myr Battlesphere
Caves of Koilos
Bloodbraid Elf
Savannah
Rakdos Carnarium
Stormblood Berserker
Journey to Nowhere
Nekrataal
Bonesplitter
[/draft]

Smaller Jace, but still an excellent choice. Gave me gas and kept me in the game many times.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 3: pick=Consecrated Sphinx]
Whipcorder
Consecrated Sphinx
Consuming Vapors
Chaos Warp
Wild Nacatl
Windbrisk Heights
Mirari’s Wake
Vengevine
Faithless Looting
Bloodline Keeper
Rakdos Cackler
Plague Sliver
Sphinx’s Revelation
[/draft]

I was tempted to go with the Revelation, just to cast it once in my life, but Sphinx is just so good. Also, at this point I wanted to take all the good blue out, so that I’d discourage people on my left to blue. Vapors was another possible choice for me, because if I tried to rely on the two Jaces, I’d have to protect them and getting rid of creatures two-for-one is a good start.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 4: pick=Mystic Snake]
Restoration Angel
Nezumi Graverobber
Greater Gargadon
Survival of the Fittest
Manriki-Gusari
Llanowar Wastes
Mystic Snake
Chord of Calling
Putrid Imp
Molten Rain
Windswept Heath
Thelonite Hermit
[/draft]

Mystic Snake ended up in my deck, but I didn’t cast him once. Going green wasn’t a good idea in general, but I was misled by certain cards. Actually, I ended up not resolving one green card in the tournament, although I had several in the deck. In the last few games I sided them out completely, which was actually a very good idea.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 5: pick=Gideon Jura]
Emeria Angel
Remand
Nether Void
Boggart Ram-Gang
Gideon Jura
Koth of the Hammer
Skullclamp
Master of the Wild Hunt
Flametongue Kavu
Gideon’s Lawkeeper
Sword of Feast and Famine
[/draft]

… and here we go with a third color. Also, not making things easy for myself, it has double colored in the mana cost. Of course. Still, Gideon did some work, winning at least one game where I was able to wrath the board twice in a few turns and finish my opponent off.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 6: pick=Tarmogoyf]
Mirror Entity
Old Man of the Sea
Dismember
Godless Shrine
Daxos of Meletis
Phyrexian Obliterator
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Tarmogoyf
All Is Dust
Devil’s Play
[/draft]

Tarmo was what seduced me into playing green, which was a mistake. I would have been better off with Old Man or maybe Meletis. Linvala seemed like a fine choice, but would have been useless in the matches I played. Well, except for being a flying 3/4 for four.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 7: pick=Wrath of God]
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Chandra, the Firebrand
Oracle of Mul Daya
Tropical Island
Maelstrom Pulse
Scroll Rack
Necropotence
Wrath of God
Arid Mesa
[/draft]

I almost took Thalia without thinking, but gladly I did give it a second look and took a key card. Worked great with my planeswalkers and kept me alive a bunch of times. Opponents did have a tendency to overcommit, which I often encouraged by not playing a second white source until right before Wrathing.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 8: pick=Selesnya Sanctuary]
Turnabout
Nezumi Shortfang
Searing Blaze
Selesnya Sanctuary
Dreg Mangler
Guul Draz Assassin
Ulvenwald Tracker
Primal Command
[/draft]

Frank Karsten says he likes to value lands very highly. At this moment, when I was going to play three colors with two of them having very heavy double colored requirements, that felt very right. Turnabout would have been a great choice as well, especially in the second match where my opponent played [card]Winter Orb[/card], but since I had my superfriends, that Winter Orb ended up pretty much losing to his own orb.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 9: pick=Stunted Growth]
Stunted Growth
Plateau
Hero of Oxid Ridge
Sacred Foundry
Goblin Guide
Keldon Marauders
Boros Signet
[/draft]

A great card for some decks, if you can cast it early. In this deck, not so much. Ended up in the sideboard and stayed there. Funnily enough, if I had gone with my initial plan of monored, this pack would have certainly given me nice cards. I could’ve first picked the Goblin Guide and I would have had great choices here. Apparently no-one was drafting red.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 10: pick=Isamaru, Hound of Konda]
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Earthquake
Caves of Koilos
Rakdos Carnarium
Stormblood Berserker
Bonesplitter
[/draft]

Again, could have had great monored cards, but I took the hound just in case I needed to board something cheap in against aggro.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 11: pick=Whipcorder]
Whipcorder
Wild Nacatl
Windbrisk Heights
Rakdos Cackler
Plague Sliver
[/draft]

I did consider playing the Whipcorder, but in the decided against it. Would have been a good defensive card, but I also noticed in the games that the mana requirement was pretty bad for me.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 12: pick=Manriki-Gusari]
Nezumi Graverobber
Manriki-Gusari
Chord of Calling
Molten Rain
[/draft]

Knowing there were plenty of swords going around, as well as [card]Bonesplitter[/card] I took this as a sideboard card… and promptly forgot to board it in.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 13: pick=Gideon’s Lawkeeper]
Boggart Ram-Gang
Flametongue Kavu
Gideon’s Lawkeeper
[/draft]

Basically a cheaper version of Whipcorder from two picks ago, but I ended up putting this in my deck. Wasn’t much use for it though, because I never did have the mana needed.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 14: pick=Mirror Entity]
Mirror Entity
Phyrexian Obliterator
[/draft]

Would have been great in a more aggressive deck, but not in this one.

[draft title=Pack 1 pick 15: pick=Chandra, the Firebrand]
Chandra, the Firebrand
[/draft]

Too bad I couldn’t play her. Superfriends weren’t as super without her.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 1: pick=Mana Drain]
Blade Splicer
Force Spike
Yawgmoth’s Will
Incinerate
Eureka
Dimir Signet
Strip Mine
Xenagos, the Reveler
Nantuko Vigilante
Upheaval
Dimir Aqueduct
Heartbeat of Spring
Batterskull
Mana Drain
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
[/draft]

Plenty of interesting cards for a more aggressive deck, but since I was going for control I took Mana Drain… and a good choice it was. Besides being able to counter keycards, it let me cast many things earlier than I should have been able. Not that I could fully exploit it because of my debilitating color requirements, but a couple of colorless more on turn three is very, very good value.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 2: pick=Elspeth, Knight-Errant]
Elite Vanguard
Frost Titan
Oona’s Prowler
Wildfire
Thragtusk
Basalt Monolith
Volcanic Island
Broodmate Dragon
Rakdos Signet
Inquisition of Kozilek
Black Knight
Wickerbough Elder
Loam Lion
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
[/draft]

Going with our Superfriends theme… although Elspeth was the last one to heed the call. Again, a more aggressive white build would have had a field day here.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 3: pick=Breeding Pool]
Disenchant
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Smash to Smithereens
Elvish Mystic
Breeding Pool
Prophetic Bolt
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Unexpectedly Absent
Shivan Reef
Seething Song
Selesnya Signet
Miscalculation
Sower of Temptation
[/draft]

Well, this was part of my folly of trying to go for Bant, whereas I should’ve picked Sower of Temptation, or maybe Unexpectedly Absent, or maybe even Disenchant, which would have probably made mainboard.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 4: pick=Hallowed Fountain]
Enlightened Tutor
Forbid
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Lightning Bolt
Ghitu Encampment
Shardless Agent
Dust Bowl
Dream Halls
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Gilded Lotus
Weathered Wayfarer
[/draft]

Probably should’ve taken Flooded Strand, but went with Hallowed Fountain. Probably because I didn’t read all the way through the cards. This would have been a better choice just because Hallowed Fountain probably had better chances of wheeling.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 5: pick=Simic Signet]
Plated Geopede
Restock
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Izzet Boilerworks
Electrolyze
Mind Stone
Disfigure
Riftwing Cloudskate
Mirran Crusader
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Simic Signet
[/draft]

I was hoping to wheel Mirran Crusader. Riftwing Cloudskate would have been an excellent choice as well. However, at this point I was sort of desperate for fixing and felt like I had to take what I could.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 6: pick=Simic Growth Chamber]
Ranger of Eos
Gifts Ungiven
Arc Trail
Naturalize
Orzhov Signet
Badlands
Liliana Vess
Silverblade Paladin
Simic Growth Chamber
Phyrexian Revoker
[/draft]

I thought about hatedrafting the Revoker, as it had the potential to wreck my strategy, but fixing won again. I did end up seeing the Revoker used against me once, but that player named some creature, probably [card]Fleecemane Lion[/card] to disable the monstrosity, if I remember correctly.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 7: pick=Treetop Village]
Serendib Efreet
Green Sun’s Zenith
Treetop Village
Voice of Resurgence
Ravenous Baboons
Kargan Dragonlord
Student of Warfare
Tendrils of Agony
Llanowar Elves
[/draft]

In hindsight, I should have probably taken the Efreet, which I loved back in mid 90s, but I though the Treetop Village would combo well with my Wrath of God.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 8: pick=Leonin Relic-Warder]
Price of Progress
Smokestack
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Boon Satyr
Leonin Relic-Warder
Lightning Greaves
Firebolt
Soldier of the Pantheon
[/draft]

Relic-Warder was a very good choice, because there’s plenty of artifacts and enchantments to hide. It was nice to take out an [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] that had exiled my Mind Sculptor.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 9: pick=Force Spike]
Force Spike
Incinerate
Eureka
Xenagos, the Reveler
Nantuko Vigilante
Dimir Aqueduct
Heartbeat of Spring
[/draft]

Knowing there was an Emrakul in the draft hatedrafting Eureka seemed like the right move, but I could also use Force Spike, so took that. I don’t remember using it once, though. There just weren’t openings. I could have probably crafted my game better around it, but this is the downside of not fully understanding these older cards.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 10: pick=Wickerbough Elder]
Oona’s Prowler
Broodmate Dragon
Inquisition of Kozilek
Black Knight
Wickerbough Elder
Loam Lion
[/draft]

Elder for mostly hating on enchantments and artifacts. Didn’t play it though, although maybe I should have at some points in the tournament.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 11: pick=Sphinx of Jwar Isle]
Disenchant
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Smash to Smithereens
Elvish Mystic
Shivan Reef
[/draft]

Disenchant would have probably been better, but after just picking the Elder, I thought I’d go for muscle. Also, Sphinx is very good with Mind Sculptor, since I can know when to not fateseal myself and when to brainstorm, if needed.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 12: pick=Weathered Wayfarer]
Enlightened Tutor
Ghitu Encampment
Dust Bowl
Weathered Wayfarer
[/draft]

If I had had any good enchantments or artifacts, Tutor would have been the choice, but since I didn’t, I went with the Wayfarer as a potential fixer. I never got to tutor with him, but since he can get any land, not just a basic land, my opponents were very afraid of him and actually manascrewed themselves just to not let me use him, which was actually a great use for him, since I didn’t have like [card]Strip Mine[/card]s or [card]Academy Ruins[/card] in my deck.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 13: pick=Restock]
Plated Geopede
Restock
Izzet Boilerworks
[/draft]

Double green meant I wouldn’t ever play this, but playing either of the other cards was even less probable. Although, if at this point I’d have known about the [card]Winter Orb[/card], I might just have taken the Boilerworks to combat that.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 14: pick=Ranger of Eos]
Ranger of Eos
Arc Trail
[/draft]

Well, I did have some one-drops… but ended up not using him.

[draft title=Pack 2 pick 15: pick=Green Sun’s Zenith]
Green Sun’s Zenith
[/draft]

I thought this would be a great card, but wasn’t. It would have been in some other deck. This was the only green card I actually managed to cast in the tournament, but I had forgotten about the [card]Glen Elendra Archmage[/card] my opponent had on the battlefield, which just prompty countered this. Then again, I was severely manascrewed and already low on life, so I was not expecting to win that game in any case.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 1: pick=Mox Jet]
Rout
Glen Elendra Archmage
Mox Jet
Goblin Welder
Plow Under
Lodestone Golem
Academy Ruins
Domri Rade
Lotus Bloom
Sundering Titan
Obstinate Baloth
Day of Judgment
Deranged Hermit
Epochrasite
Sheoldred, Whispering One
[/draft]

Plenty of great choices, but I went for the fast mana. It often felt bad, because my mana was already very awkward and I had so much need for colored mana, but it ended up being good. Moxes aren’t considered some of the most powerful cards for nothing. Even here, where it was far from optimal, it worked very well. However, looking at the pack, the opportunity cost might have been too high. I did let Archmage, Planar Cleansing and Rout through my hands in the hopes that at least one of them wheels… and one did. Gladly.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 2: pick=Karakas]
Cloudgoat Ranger
Intuition
Bloodghast
Sulfuric Vortex
Vedalken Shackles
Karakas
Firemane Angel
Frenzied Goblin
Compulsive Research
Griselbrand
Bone Shredder
Paladin en-Vec
Rude Awakening
Izzet Charm
[/draft]

At this point I should have dropped the green and taken the Shackles. Compulsive Research would have been pretty good too. I went with the Karakas, just because I had seen some nasty legendary creatures in the packs, like Emrakul in the first pack, Sheoldred just previously and Griselbrand in the same pack.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 3: pick=Brainstorm]
Catastrophe
Brainstorm
Necromancy
Brimstone Volley
Thornscape Battlemage
Shrine of Burning Rage
Vraska the Unseen
Char
Genesis
Knight of Glory
Boros Garrison
Pristine Talisman
Stomping Ground
[/draft]

Catastrophe would have worked fine, but I ended up going with Brainstorm. It isn’t that good if you can’t reshuffle your deck, but it still works fine.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 4: pick=Baneslayer Angel]
Baneslayer Angel
Jushi Apprentice
Liliana of the Veil
Mogg War Marshal
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Fleecemane Lion
Torch Fiend
Birthing Pod
Voidmage Prodigy
Angel of Serenity
Taurean Mauler
Chandra’s Phoenix
[/draft]

Not much hesitation here. Miss Baneslayer is just that great. Can win (and did) on its own.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 5: pick=Porcelain Legionnaire]
Faith’s Fetters
Bonfire of the Damned
Wall of Blossoms
Null Rod
Underground River
Stillmoon Cavalier
Strangleroot Geist
Tin Street Hooligan
Taiga
Baleful Strix
Porcelain Legionnaire
[/draft]

Probably should have taken Stillmoon Cavalier first, but I ended up taking the Legionnaire because of my awkward mana, which the Cavalier would have made even worse, although in the end the Cavalier wheeled and I was glad to get it. Its actually a very strong card and gave more value to my mox.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 6: pick=Aeon Chronicler]
Aeon Chronicler
Goblin Vandal
Harmonize
Golgari Rot Farm
Lightning Helix
Vindicate
Orzhov Basilica
Acidic Slime
Mind’s Desire
Garruk, Caller of Beasts
[/draft]

Not much to choose from. I went with the Chronicler, which I’ve found useful in EDH, but not really here. Left it out of the mainboard, although I did side it in in the latter games, when I took out all green because my opponent had a Strip Mine.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 7: pick=Swords to Plowshares]
Pyroclasm
Brushland
Huntmaster of the Fells
Swords to Plowshares
Toxic Deluge
Nearheath Pilgrim
Hellspark Elemental
Genesis Wave
Precursor Golem
[/draft]

The best removal spell ever. Hard to argue with that.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 8: pick=Snapcaster Mage]
Gatekeeper of Malakir
Kird Ape
Gruul Turf
Abrupt Decay
Trinket Mage
Firedrinker Satyr
Snapcaster Mage
Grim Lavamancer
[/draft]

I didn’t have much to flashback, but I didn’t have much to tutor for with Trinket Mage either.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 9: pick=Rout]
Rout
Lodestone Golem
Academy Ruins
Domri Rade
Obstinate Baloth
Deranged Hermit
Epochrasite
[/draft]

A great wheel. Was actually very instrumental at least once, when my opponent gathered a huge army to try to get rid of my Mind Sculptor through my defenses. He did wait too long anyhow, but when he finally did attack, I needed to wrath right after attackers had been announced, because I had a Consecrated Sphinx I wanted to utilise and he had a [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card], which would have attacked my Jace without any blockers otherwise. It was a key move which enabled me to ultimate Jace and win in a few rounds.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 10: pick=Paladin en-Vec]
Cloudgoat Ranger
Bloodghast
Firemane Angel
Frenzied Goblin
Paladin en-Vec
Izzet Charm
[/draft]

Not much to choose from, so I decided to take the paladin, mostly to board in against red aggro, but no-one was actually playing that, as far as I could see. Still, boarded this guy in when I took out green.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 11: pick=Knight of Glory]
Thornscape Battlemage
Shrine of Burning Rage
Char
Knight of Glory
Boros Garrison
[/draft]

Continuing with my subtheme of knights… and there was nothing else in the pack.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 12: pick=Fleecemane Lion]
Mogg War Marshal
Fleecemane Lion
Torch Fiend
Chandra’s Phoenix
[/draft]

This pick did have the role of being a diversion for [card]Phyrexian Revoker[/card], but not much more. He was actually in the sideboard and I put him in the main when I felt I needed more bodies. I just can’t remember why.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 13: pick=Stillmoon Cavalier]
Stillmoon Cavalier
Tin Street Hooligan
Taiga
[/draft]

In hindsight I’m glad this wheeled. It was integral several times. The flexibility is great, but the protections were also very good plenty of times. Like when he kept jumping in front of [card]Archangel of Thune[/card] a number of times, thus stopping her from gaining life and giving away the counters.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 14: pick=Orzhov Basilica]
Golgari Rot Farm
Orzhov Basilica
[/draft]

Nothing to see here.

[draft title=Pack 3 pick 15: pick=Huntmaster of the Fells]
Huntmaster of the Fells
[/draft]

Strange to see something this powerful this late.

All in all, I didn’t really like my deck, but that’s probably because I shouldn’t have put green in. It would have been much stronger with better mana and some of the cards I didn’t take because I went for the green. Of course, its hard to know this mid-draft, but I shouldn’t have been so keen to use the green cards I got.

Oddly, Tarmogoyf was pretty much useless. Not enough cards in graveyards, and when there were, they were all creatures. I guess I should have foreseen this.

The deck itself looked like this:

[cardlist title=The Deck]
[Planeswalkers]
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Jace Beleren
1 Gideon Jura
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
[/Planeswalkers]
[Creatures]
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Gideon’s Lawkeeper
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Porcelain Legionnaire
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Mystic Snake
1 Stillmoon Cavalier
1 Tarmogoyf
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 Wrath of God
1 Mana Drain
1 Mox Jet
1 Brainstorm
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Rout
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Simic Signet
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Breeding Pool
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Karakas
6 Plains
6 Island
[/Lands]
[sideboard]
1 Chandra, the Firebrand
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Manriki-Gusari
1 Stunted Growth
1 Restock
1 Wickerbough Elder
1 Treetop Village
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Fleecemane Lion
1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
1 Force Spike
1 Knight of Glory
1 Mirror Entity
1 Aeon Chronicler
1 Whipcorder
1 Paladin en-Vec
[/sideboard]
[/cardlist]

Again, probably should have put Paladin en-Vec, Aeon Chronicler and maybe Mirror Entity into my deck and dropped the green altogether. Although I didn’t have any cards that produced solely green, which means taking them out and putting something else in wouldn’t have eased my manaproblems at all.

I lost one game in all three matches, always to manascrews. I guess that doesn’t matter, because I did always win the other two games, but if the dice would have fallen just a bit differently, that wouldn’t have happened. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have gotten my Mind Sculptor either. (Not that I really “got” it, because it was a phantom draft, meaning I don’t get to keep the cards, but anyway.)

1 thought on “Holiday Cube Draft 1.1.2014: 3-0

  1. Looking back at all the packs, it seems to me that there was a great monored lurking, which no-one just bothered to pick up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.