So there I was, down to five, lil bear at 3 with an an army of dudes, one being my own Simic Sky swallower(that he bribed), a tide sculler holding onto my malstrom pulse, and an army of black fairy and white sprit tokens ready to chew on my face. On my side an Obelisk of Alara(with a faith feathers on it lol), cameleon collosus, mana vault, and sylan library. My hand was two lands, a nekrataal, and something I can't quite remember. I peer with my sylvan libray and my three cards are Shriekmaw, mana leak and Contract from below. I have ten cards in my library, and I know my way out. I draw two off my library, because of sylvan libray. I have 8 cards in my library. I cast contract from below ante-ing a mana leak(that I intentionally put back). I draw my library. Grab the viridian shaman i was looking for, blow up his tide sculler, grab my pulse, pulse the feathers, and then obelisk of alara dealing three damage thanks to the rupture spire....
I was dead set on writing about Magic 2011 limited. However, the only thoughts I have right now are on cube. For those that do not know, Cube is a limited format, where a player with a large collection, in our local case Bobby "lol Foils" Greene, builds a limited format, containing some of the best cards in the game. Cube has a lot of nuances. This article will be mainly a strategy and general ideas on how one should approach the cube. For those seeking more information than my lame opinion try http://www.cubedrafting.com/. For those who have never played in a cube, ask grandpa about it, and if its cool with grandpa welcome aboard,just don't pull a "Garrett." Anyway, without futher ado, here are some thoughts on the cube:
1. Card advantage is key.
When ever I draft cube I see fact or fiction and Sylvan Library get passed around the table faster than a joint at a strait edge convention. I just pick that stuff up and start giggling.("did dave rice pull a mike phelps and ruin his nice guy image?") Guys, even if the cards you drafted are worse, they should outnumber and thus probably overpower their cards if you have drawn more than them. A player who sees 21/40 cards should beat the guy who sees 14/40 cards. Tempo, should also be mentioned, but only to a small degree. I will put it this way, the decks that win everyweek wins off of card advantage, however please take sol ring and black lotus early and often. Altough if you think about it, sol ring is better than lotus in card advantage, it will be there for you everyturn.
2. Build a deck with powerful cards with some synergy, not a deck with weak cards and tons of synergy, it will not pan out as well.
Cube is not about building constructed deck out of cards you drafted, its about building a broken limited deck. A lot of people I see(myself included) go after the cool one too punches. That said, when you pick a survival of the fittest(a good to great card by itself) and find squee take it. It makes one of your best cards, your best card. However, many people get stuck with their darksteel collusuck or their squee, goblin nanothing, sitting in their hand and mocking them with their uselessness.
3. There's really only three good archtypes in cube.
Mid-range blue with green sometimes white for bant and azorious stuff, or red for blood braid, some gruul stull but mostly izzet stuff. This deck has efficent creatures, some card avantage, and counters to stop the other blue decks with awesome cards and aggroo decks with reach. They like cheap card advantage, big creatures, and exceleration.(key cards Noble Hierarch, Lotus coatl, Sylvan library, and broken blue spells). Then the more control version of blue with white or black or black/red for removal and card advantage with contract(draw 7's), wrath effects, and discard. Jace the mind scupltor and planeswalkers shine in this deck, not that they dont in others, but they shine even more here. Esstentially one is creature based with blue spells to break the game open, and the other is instant and socery based, with creatures to finish the job. It's about ration and the other colors you use in blue, I suppose. The last is the underdrafted agroo achetypes, hopefully has green for some card avatange with survival or sylvan library, or has black/red for discard, bob, and hopefully contract from below. I keep saying contract from below because its the best card ever. Red I hate to say it has a lot to catch up with the other colors in this, and is mostly in support with burn for removal and only really has wheel of fortune as the busted card. Altough reach and removal is something that is good to pick up. Keep in that mind
So in summary there's:
A. The midrange to more aggressive blue deck
B. The more controling blue deck
C. the undrafted aggroo deck
The overall problem is that blue is the most drafted color. Everyone is either playing it as the main, or as the splash color. I love watching cryptic command shuffle around the table as everyone knows they can't possible play it. Blue's downfall in the cube is the color, being the known as best color.
4. Look for a shard, guild or color combo that shows up.
When looking at the draft, there are plenty of discounts to be found for the smart shopper. The cube is filled full of clunky mana costs, that perfectly to fit your bant, UBR, or some other deck. I was in bant last wednesday, I had to decide between baneslayer angel or bant charm. Bant charm was the perfect card, it counters a broken spell, it takes care of a good creature, and destroys an obnoxious equipment. However, I took baneslayer, why?? Someone, is going to be in white out of five people. The charm is really only for my deck. Sure enough 15th pick bant charm came my way. This isnt to say don't pick the best card, but also think about what other players are taking and what is likely to be taken because you could end up with two good cards rather than one.
Also think about fixing, grabing a land 4th or 5th pick solidifying a splash can be a very solid choice. Don't get caught running 3 or 4 colors and no fixing.
5. Have fun.(oh dave and his folksy lessons on life)
At the end of the day, magic is about making mistakes and learning from them. In fact, you can probably see a whole bunch of them right on this page. Still, go out and hack with stacks.
until next time....