I’m baaaaack!

After a little hiatus from magic, I’m back, ready and raring to cube. In my absence, several sets have been released, and a new tool over at cubetutor.com has appeared. I’m hoping to produce some new content, including more You Make the Picks, and a new format of video following me as I try and draft on cubetutor. Hopefully I’ll be around for a while.

Unfortunately, unless a card is particularly contentious or new, I won’t be running any more card evaluations – many cards have been discussed to death, and there’s no requirement for my opinion to be put on a pedestal here.

Ciao for now,




You make the pick! 27/09/2011


Excitement about prerelease and technical difficulties have prevented me uploading ictures, but I thought it’d be better to bite the bullet and make a post with no photos ūüė¶

The Pack

Liliana of the Veil
Mishra’s Factory
Thrun, the last troll
Deep Analysis
Stoneforge Mystic
Yawgmoth’s Will
Sulphuric Vortex
Yosei, the Morning Star
Vedalken Shackles
Mimic Vat
Wild Mongrel
Scroll Rack
Siege-gang commander
Scalding Tarn
Trygon Predator




You make the pick! – 28/8


Sorry for the delay, we had some technical difficulties with the polls, but we hope they’ll be up soon.


Here’s the photo:

Top Row: Mox Ruby, Day of Judgment ,Noble Hierarch,Jace Beleren,Yosei

Middle Row:Eternal Witness , Bane of the Living , Black Vise , Volrath’s Stronghold , Ember Hauler

Bottom Row:Scrubland , Sword of Fire and Ice , Hero of Oxid Ridge ,Kitchen Finks, Mana Leak


Thanks for your patience,



You make the deck! – Sealed pool


Imagine the following list is your sealed pool:


Mana Tithe
Stoneforge Mystic
Accorder Paladin
Kor Sanctifiers
Oblivion Ring
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Faith’s Fetters


Ancestral Recall
Force Spike
Looter il-kor
Arcane Denial
Mana Drain
Aether Adept
Control Magic
Deep Analysis
Meloku the clouded mirror
Time Spiral


Nantuko Shade
Dauthi Horror
Dark Confidant
Vampire Hexmage
Bone Shredder
Hypnotic Specter
Recurring Nightmare
Braids, Cabal Minion
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Mind Twist


Spikeshot Elder
Forked Bolt
Chain Lightning
Burst Lightning
Kargan Dragonlord
Keldon Marauders
Sulfuric Vortex
Arc Lightning
Flametongue Kavu
Chandra, the Firebrand
Siege-Gang Commander
Chandra Nalaar
Inferno Titan


Pouncing Jaguar
Noble Hierarch
Survival of the Fittest
Eternal Witness
Kodama’s Reach
Garruk Wildspeaker
Indrik Stomphowler


Mox Emerald
Black Lotus
Cursed Scroll
Phyrexian Revoker
Mind Stone
Mimic Vat
Solemn Simulacrum
Molten-tail Masticore
Erratic Portal
Nevinyrral’s Disk
Myr Battlesphere


Underground Sea
Bloodstained Mire
Verdant Catacombs
Tropical Island
Hallowed Fountain
Maze of Ith
Strip Mine

From this pool, you have to make a 40 card deck. Have fun brainstorming, and post your decks in the comments below!




You make the pick!

Imagine this is your first pack! What would your first, second, and third picks be?

Cards are :

Top Row: Sarcomancy , Mox Emerald , Mogg Fanatic , Black Lotus , Lone Missionary

Middle Row:Man-o’-war , Deranged Hermit , Tropical Island, Strip Mine, Rolling Earthquake

Bottom Row:Demonic Tutor, Pernicious Deed, Capsize , Tarmogoyf , Soltari Champion



Card Evaluation – Skinshifter


  • can be bigger than almost anything early on
  • stays fairly relevant throughout the game
  • versatile modes of play
  • easy to play
  • poor man’s goyf
  • cheap!
  • looks like Jesus


  • Basically has an upkeep cost
  • Disrupts the curve if you want to beat early
  • tiny body

General Comments

Initally, I was really excited by Shinshifter when M12 was being previewed. I got all excited, because you could beat for 4 on turn 3 off your two drop, and it was all quite exciting. Then I realised that the upkeep cost is pretty irritating in a green deck. Most of my GX decks really like to play ¬†a three drop on turn three, and a four drop on turn 4. ¬†Unfortunately, in order to beat for maximum damage with skinshifter, you need to play your three drop turn 4, and your four drop turn 5, which isn’t as much fun.

My most common test I apply to most cards in cube (other than the vindicate verdict) is how it stacks up against other cards at that mana cost, in that colour. So skinshifter is in contest, probably, with Tarmogoyf, Rofellos, Lotus Cobra, the boas,scavenging ooze, wild mongrel, STE, fauna shaman, and a wall. Jesus might be able to displace the wall, although looking to other places, there are probably other cuts to be made for skinshifter in my cube (most likely farseek)

Verdict:450+ definitely, maybe smaller, needs more testing

Match report – Star 1/8/11


I had a good time last night at my friend Will’s house, where we got a cheeky star game going. We drafted individually, and we drafted 5×9. I ended up coming 2nd to last, but good fun was had by all.

We sat (going counterclockwise): Tom (me) , Michael , Will, Finn, Ben.  I made a lot of comments whilst drafting that since we were playing multiplayer, I might as well have taken the red section out of the cube. How wrong I was.

P1P1 , I opened a surprisingly mediocre pack, with Sensei’s Divining Top being the obvious pick. Then I was passed a pack with a mox and mana drain, and I took Mana Drain, since I’ve never played it. Unfortunately, I took the decision at this point to play blue, instead of waiting, not committing, and that turned out to be a little bit of a mistake. I was a bit flagrant with some of my picks, taking blue, white, black and red cards. I was incredibly lucked to get a P2P2 LoA, where Ben had taken Student of Warfare over it. Don’t worry, I’m still confused over that. I took some UX duals early, and ended up in a UBw control build, in the hopes of taking advantage of the slow nature of a multiplayer format. Unfortunately, everyone else appeared to have the similar ideas., with only three decks amongst 5 people.

The game progressed fairly slowly at first, with me keeping my 7, going last, drawing LoA, and maintaining my 7 for a while. Unfortunately, my deck lacked the ability to do anything, and except playing a few reanimation spells, getting Elspeth Tirel into play, and having my gideon quickly killed, I did little. We played for about 90 minutes, and at the end, after I had the turn of Mystical Tutor for Upheaval, Brainstorm. I then sat there, while everyone gave me evils. I didn’t play it, and lost when it reached my enemies. One great play was seeing all my creatures kill by my opponents mountains, with a koth emblem.

My deck


  • Scrubland
  • Hallowed Fountain
  • Undeground Sea
  • Verdant Catacombs
  • Bloodstained Mire
  • Arid Mesa
  • Polluted Delta
  • Mishra’s Factory
  • Rishadan Port
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Maze of Ith
  • 4 swamps
  • 3 islands
  • 1 plains
  • Psychatog
  • Meloku, the clouded mirror
///artifacts / enchantments
  • sensei’s divining top
  • mind stone
  • animate dead
  • necromancy
  • vedalken shackles
  • control magic
///instants / sorceries
  • brainstorm
  • mystical tutor
  • mana drain
  • arcane denial
  • miscalculation
  • timetwister
  • thirst for knowledge
  • gifts given
  • fact or fiction
  • time spiral
  • upheaval
  • profane command
1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Gideon Jura
As you can see, I got a fairly nice mana base, a couple walkers, some draw 7s, and upheaval. the main problem with my deck is the complete lack of removal and ways to win. I essentially played solitaire for the first 10 turns of the game, drawing cards and that’s about it. It was pretty fun to play,but I wish I’d had more gas.
Ben’s deck
  • Celestial Colonnade
  • Watery Grave
  • Tundra
  • Marsh Flats
  • 4 swamps
  • 4 plains
  • 4 islands
  • student of warfare
  • nezumi graverobber
  • flickerwisp
  • nekrataal
  • sower of temptation
  • mulldrifter
  • keiga, the tide star
  • black lotus
  • black ¬†vise
  • oblivion ring
  • recurring nightmare
  • faith’s fetter
  • treachery
  • force of will
  • vampiric tutor
  • ponder
  • swords to plowshares
  • demonic tutor
  • balance
  • sinkhole
  • hymn to tourach
  • consuming vapors
  • day of judgment
  • capsize
In my opinion, Ben didn’t have enough creatures with ETB abilities to abuse Recurring Nightmare, although I guess with tutors, it wouldn’t have been so hard to get recurring nightmare + any two of Keiga, Nekrataal and Mulldrifter. Still, I’d like some redundency in the targets, and to not have to rely on tutors for them. That being said, this isn’t recurring nightmare.dec, and he did have a lot of powerful plays. I think Ben or I could’ve easily won the draft if either of us had read the table better, and moved into a colour pair, instead of the trio. Ben could’ve happily moved into WB, I could’ve moved into UB, and we could’ve been happy.
Finn’s deck -1st place.
  • scalding tarn
  • misty rainforest
  • steam vents
  • 7 mountains
  • 6 islands
  • man-o’-war
  • fire imp
  • venser, shaper savant
  • flametongue kavu
  • thieving magpie
  • wurmcoil engine
  • inferno titan
  • mox sapphire
  • mox ruby
  • coalition relic
  • batterskull
  • ancestral recall
  • forked bolt
  • lightning bolt
  • incinerate
  • arc trail
  • staggershock
  • char
  • electrolyze
  • Koth
  • Chandra 1
  • Chandra 3
  • Jace 3
I’d really love to call Finn’s deck counterburn, due to the theme and colours, but the complete lack of counters means I can just call it improved burn ; yknow, because adding blue to any deck immediatly makes it better. Finn ultimately won , through sticking multiple walkers and since I had no creatures, burning all of michael’s stuff. It’s possibly my fault Finn won, due to my complete lack of threats, but, credit to him, he piloted his deck very well, and won fairly convincingly.
Michael’s deck
  • windswept heath
  • 9 forests
  • 5 plains
  • birds of paradise
  • steppe lynx
  • wild nacatl
  • joraga treespeaker
  • stoneforge mystic
  • soltari monk
  • qasali pridemage
  • viridian shaman
  • eternal witness
  • vengevine
  • wickerbough elder
  • calciderm
  • phantom centaur
  • deranged hermit
  • acidic slime
  • woodfall primus
  • mox pearl
  • mox diamond
  • mox jet
  • sol ring
  • grafted wargear
  • sword of war and peace
  • kodama’s reah
  • elspeth, knight errant
  • ravages of war
  • creeping mold
I can try and knock michael as much as I like for playing so many low drops in a multiplayer format, but he almost took out ben in a very aggro-eque style, so I can’t pretend he didn’t do anything.He was my ally, but unfortunately, I just let him get smashed by all of finn’s burn. Michael could’ve done well if I were a better team player :3
Will’s deck
  • city of ass
  • savannah
  • wasteland
  • 8 forests
  • 8 plains
  • savannah lions
  • elite vanguard
  • pouncing jaguar
  • river boa
  • lone missionary
  • stormfront pegasus
  • tarmogoyf
  • mirror entity
  • soltari champion
  • phyrexian metamorphy
  • great sable stat
  • blastoderm
  • indrik stomphowler
  • baneslayer angel
  • yosei, the morning star
  • sundering titan
  • mox emerald
  • enlightened tutor
  • vines of vastwood
  • rancor
  • land tax
  • disenchant
  • life from the loam
  • ajani goldmane
  • garruk, primal hunter
Once again, Will has the same deck as Michael, to the detriment of them both. Unfortunately, will didn’t draw his little beasts early, and so couldn’t lay down a beat down like michael did. Something of note : he’s running loam with only one target, and phyrexian metamorph without any blue mana.
Overall, Finn won, with his enemies, michael and I, going out in that order. However, it was a good oppotunity to see friends, and get to play with some new cards.
Thanks for reading,