Category Archives: Cube drafting

You make the deck! – Sealed pool

Yo!

Imagine the following list is your sealed pool:

White

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

Blue

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

Black

Sarcomancy
Reanimate
Bloodghast
Nantuko Shade
Dauthi Horror
Dark Confidant
Vampire Hexmage
Bone Shredder
Hypnotic Specter
Recurring Nightmare
Dismember
Nekrataal
Damnation
Skinrender
Braids, Cabal Minion
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Tombstalker
Mind Twist
 

Red

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

Green

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

Artifacts

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

Lands

Scrubland
Underground Sea
Savannah
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!

Thanks,

Sexy.

 

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Drafting Cube : GX Ramp

Why to play ramp?

You get to play big fatties early, without people getting butthurt that you’re tinker comboing them. Due to the nature of the deck, you can get a really solid mana base, and easily splash two or three colours of a monogreen shell. The deck also features some of the most powerful creatures and spells in cube, and can play them on or before the curve.

An added bonus of playing ramp is that, like counterburn and boros aggro,  it’s definitely a ‘sit and draft’ archetype – it requires no special support from the cube owner to function, and is incidental in almost all cubes.

Why not to play ramp

Because you’ll have a lot of mana dorks, you’ll have a pretty low threat density, and can be slowed heavily in some games by a well-timed pyroclasm. You shouldn’t play ramp if you get frustrated by mana flood easily – some games you’ll draw all your ramp, and no fatties. Mana flood is just a fact of magic, but it feels a lot worse in mana ramp.

Game plan

Drop a turn 1 mana dork or manafact, probably do the same turn 2, turn 3 drop a 4 or 5 drop, turn 4 drop something huge, rinse and repeat. You want to accumulate as much mana as possible, and then play massive stuff with it. If your opponent has got an empty board, don’t be afraid to attack with your mana elves. A usual game ender is a red X spell – they’re ridiculously deadly in this deck. A key rule of thumb is that if you’ve got 3 mana turn 2, and 5 mana turn 3, you’re probably doing it right.

High Picks

1.Fast mana artifacts. First and foremost, you need to be snapping up moxen, sol ring, mana crypt and vault, and grim monolith, since they’re even more broken in this deck. They go quickly too, so snap snap snap!

2. Mana Dorks/Ramp spells – Almost as good as fast mana artifacts, and the easiest way to reach 5 mana turn 3. These are pretty vital to the deck, and I’d want at least 2 or 3 turn 1 mana dorks in my deck. In my 360, I run 5 of these, so they’re pretty important.  They’re the easiest way of reaching your first aim (3 mana turn 2).

3. Timmy-licious fatties. Big big fatties. Huge fatties.Titans are great here, as are Kodama, Thornling, and Ob Nix. My favourite is Ob Nix. Just think about it for a sec. ‘Lightning Bolt your Ob Nixilis?’ ‘Harrow, take 6’. Such a sweet play, and the more ramp spells you have, the better it gets. I’d also like to put a special mention to Krosan Tusker here. Would you play an uncounterable instant ‘search your library for a basic land and draw a card’ for 2G? Maybe? How about if it’s also a 7/6? Krosan Tusker is wonderful in this deck. If you doubt me, give it a go and be amazed. You should run 5-8  creatures with cmc 5 or more in this deck, so you have enough threats. The more fast artifact mana you have, the more fatties you can afford to run.

4. X spells. These are game winning, and can be absolutely crushing for your opponent. Banefire is built for winning, Fireball can decimate your opponents field, and Red Sun’s Zenith will kill whilst keeping your opponents mid-sized creatures at bay. Ramp uses this more effectively than any other deck, and they can be downright broken when goldfishing. When you’re ramping to 8 mana, sometimes Blaze is better than Terastodon.

Sample Decklist

Creatures

  • Llanowar Elves
  • Fyndhorn Elves
  • Joraga Treespeaker
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
  • Sakura-tribe elder
  • Eternal Witness
  • Indrik Stomphowler
  • Acidic Slime
  • Kodama of the North Tree
  • Genesis
  • Wurmcoil Engine
  • Inferno Titan
  • Myr Battlesphere
  • Krosan Tusker
  • Woodfall Primus
Noncreatures
  • Mana Vault
  • Sol Ring
  • Sensei’s Divining Top
  • Mind Stone
  • Gruul Signet
  • Simic Signet
  • Regrowth
  • Cultivate
  • Harrow
  • Plow Under

Conclusion

Overall, ramp is great. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and it’s  pretty easy to draft a deck of it. That being said, to draft the insane ‘turn 3 wurmcoil engine’ ramp decks takes a lot of practice, and a lot of luck. It’s actually a really good deck to advise beginners (either to draft, or cube, or magic  in general) to try and make, since the cards which are good for it are obvious and numerous, and the strategy is not complex.

As always, thanks for reading,
Sexy.


Drafting Cube : Counterburn

Why to play counterburn?

You’re running few creatures, so a lot of your opponents deck becomes blank ; Wrath and Go for the Throat look kinda sucky against Hell’s Thunder and Hellspark Elemental, and are even worse when you’re not playing against them. Since most of your cards are instants, you can also play the draw go game.Like Boros aggro, this deck doesn’t need any specific support, it can be built in almost any cube.

Counterburn is also very versatile, and very forgiving to draft. For example, if you draft too much blue, and have too many counterspells, it’s not like you’ve take Sun Titan for your aggro deck. It just slows your deck down and gives you a slower win. On the other side of the coin, if you draft more burn, you can play a very fast game. Together, blue and red can handle any permanent except enchantments, so the deck can handle a fairly versatile metagame, and usually doesn’t require any sort of splash.

Why not to play counterburn

Since the deck is almost all about tempo, a quick start by an aggro deck can easily rip this deck apart. This is exasperated by the decks low board presence. Also, since most trades don’t create card advantage, if an opponent makes a play which generates card advantage, you’re already on the losing side.

General Game Plan

The general game plan is to use burn in a blue control shell to make 1 for 1 trades with opponents, gradually gaining card advantage using flashback, divisible damage, and cantrips. You’ll want to be playing an almost entirely reactive game. In the midgame, you’ll be hoping to drop Looter il-kor or Thieving Magpie, keeping your hand full. Finally, you’ll win by dropping a  control finisher like Jwar Jwar or Inferno titan. As soon as your opponent has taken a swing or two, you can use your burn to finish them off quickly.

Drafting the Archetype

As always, there are several things to look out for:

1.Card Draw. Whether it’s ancestral recall or memory jar, card draw can give this deck an explosive win. Dropping memory jar one turn, and cracking it  the next and throwing down a hand full of burn is a nice easy way of winning in this deck. Card draw is also needed to keep a full hand, allowing you to play the control game, and repeatable card draw, like Looter il-kor and Thieving Magpie will draw cards and deal a little damage. Look out for the draw 7s, cantrips, and ophidian clones.

2.Burn. Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, Volcanic Hammer, the works. It doubles as creature removal and a win condition. Get as much as possible, and you’ll be a very happy drafter. Any mass removal type burn, like Pyroclasm, Slagstorm, Starstorm, or better yet, Earthquake should be valued, since it can stop slower builds autolosing to aggro.

3.Counterspells. Pretty much your only answer to ETB creatures, enchantments, instants and sorceries. I’d rate the tempo counterspells higher here, since you need to be able to play them, or play burn, so the 1U cost makes them a lot better for this deck.

Sample Decklist

Creatures

  • Hellspark Elemental
  • Looter il-kor
  • Keldon Marauders
  • Vendilion Clique
  • Thieving Magpie
  • Inferno Titan
  • Crater Hellion

Noncreatures

  • Lightning Bolt
  • Chain Lightning
  • Fire Bolt
  • Brainstorm
  • Volcanic Hammer
  • Pyroclasm
  • Arc Trail
  • Fire // Ice
  • Impulse
  • Memory Lapse
  • Mana Leak
  • Remand
  • Electrolyze
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Molten Rain
  • Jace Beleren
  • Red Sun’s Zenith

Transformation

Sometimes mid-draft, you’ll see Lightning Helix, Ajani V, or some early white aggro drops coming round. This is a sign that you could move into American aggro/control.  You can splash white for some early creatures, some additonal burn, and O-ring. This’ll give your deck some more versatility and make it more interactive. However, by making it more interactive by upping the creature count, the section of your opponents deck which was previously blank is now back online.

Conclusion

Counterburn is a nice easy deck to draft, and can give newer players a first taste of a non-creature based deck. The deck can easily fall together on its own, and it can even perform well as a RU goodstuff build.  It’s a fun deck, an easy deck, and it’s blue. What more can you ask for?

Thanks for reading,

Sexy.


Drafting the cube : ‘The Upheaval Deck’

If you open up your first pack, and you’re seeing a fairly mediocre pack : mind stone, jackal pup, yavimaya elder, firebolt, kor sanctifiers, crystal ball etc. Then, at the end, a 6 mana sorcery. Could it be? yes! you’ve first picked upheaval,and now you’re ready to draft one of the most powerful decks in cube.

The Upheaval Deck (hereafter referred to as TUD) is usually UG, or sometimes UGb. The blue is full of card draw, the green is mana ramp and both are fatties. The occaisonal black splash is for a tutor. The general aim of the deck is to ramp a silly amount early on, and either drop a huge fatty turn 2 or 3 (like a normal ramp deck), or play a midrange game, wait til you’re not winning, then drop upheaval, replay your mana artifacts and be ahead, or float mana, play upheaval, and drop a midrange fatty. There are a good few game plans, but my personal favourite is this : Try and get the ultimate trifector : Eternal Witness, Crystal Shard, and Upheaval. If you get the right hand, you end up upheavaling every turn and winning in 10 turns. This does, however, require 13 mana, so usually upheavaling every other turn is the way to go.

Drafting TUD

There are  a few key components to TUD, which should be aquired in this order:

1.Get Upheaval. Sounds obvious, but the deck gets much better with it.

2. Get ramp. The best 4 to get are Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt and Grim Monolith, since they can all get replayed together off a single land. Failing that, Joraga Treespeaker, or any of the mana elves are usually pretty good, as are mana rocks. Of course, Moxen are great here.

3.Get some weight. Grab fatties where possible. My 4 favourites are Wurmcoil Engine (ease of play and lifelink) , Terastodon (destroy lands then upheaval, leaving them 3 lands behind), Jwar Jwar Sphinx (nigh-unkillable) and Simic Sky Swallower (Sphinx on ‘roids).

4.Search! You’re essentially playing a combo deck a lot of the time, so Impulse, Demonic Tutor, Fact or Fiction and Brainstorm/Ponder/Preordain can be great friends to you. The more of these you guy, the more consistent your deck will be, but bear in mind, if you get too many, you’ll end up digging, see nothing, grab a cantrip, and have to repeat for a while. There are plenty of these cards in cube, and they’re likely to wheel a lot of the time (except DT) – they’re not huge picks for a lot of decks, especially the one mana ones.

5.Praetors gonna praet. If you can’t get any of these in the pack, hate draft to hell. Ankh of Mishra and counterspells should be your primary targets, since setting yourself up to upheaval, then it getting countered really, really sucks.

What to do when the draft isn’t going well

One point of drafing TUD is that if you’re looking for these (above) cards, and they’re not coming to you, don’t try and force the deck. The mana ramp cards are taken early, and the finishers are taken pretty early too,so if you’re not getting what you need for your deck, bail. The easiest deck to move into it probably some sort of blue based control, since you’ll have hated the counterspells, and you’ll have drafted Upheaval and some card draw anyway, it’s a good build to bail into. When in doubt, draft both, since a lot of cards can easily double up to be good in both decks.

If you failed to get the cantrips, and you instead got the mana elves, then it’s probably a good idea to drop into UG tempo. Try and grab the nice blue and green 3 and 4 drops : Kira, Sower of Tempation , Thrun, and Mystic Snake are all good cards for this archetype. Like bailing into blue based control, a lot of these cards are good to double up into anyway, so it’s not a huge problem.

Sample Decklist

Creatures

  • Mulldrifter
  • Thieving Magpie
  • Vendilion Clique
  • Joraga Treespeaker
  • Noble Hierarch
  • Fyndhorn Elves
  • Thrun, the last troll
  • Eternal Witness
  • Wurmcoil Engine
  • Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Noncreatures
  • Mind Stone
  • Sol Ring
  • Grim Monolith
  • Mana Vault
  • Gifts Ungiven
  • Upheaval
  • Remand
  • Brainstorm
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Sensei’s Divining Top
  • Crystal Shard
  • Ponder
  • Impulse
  • Arcane Denial

Conclusion

If you’re drafting a smaller, powered cube, this deck isn’t too hard to make, provided you get Upheaval P1P1. This is because of the higher density of mana artifacts and mana elves, and given the right hand, you can absolutely destroy opponents if drafted properly. However,in a larger cube, it gets a bit harder, since the overall power level is a little lower, and so Moxen and manafacts are taken earlier, meaning you’re less likely to see them. In essence, it’s like you’re drafting a combo deck, and it’s one which doesn’t come together too often, since the combo piece isn’t narrow, and is a great spell in blue based control. Provided you draft hard, and value each card correctly, you should be fine with this deck. As such , I’d actually draft it as one of the harder decks to draft, but probably the easiest combo deck.

Thanks for reading,

Sexy.



Drafting Cube : Black White control

Black white control is the anti aggro control build. Imagine a tombstone rock build, then take out the green. That’s basically Black White control. Imagine a deck with Path, O Ring, Vindicate, Mortify, GFTT, Damnation, Catastrophe, Dismember, and all the other awesome bits of removal in the cube. That’s your deck.

Why play black white control?

As you’ve got so much point removal, midrange rolls to you as midrange usually does, with only Blastoderm and the trolls creating much of a problem. Since you’ve got plenty of wrath effects, you can also have aggro roll to you in most matchups, since you’ll be able to reliably wrath turn 4-6, hopefully keeping you out of the red zone. Also, since you have so much removal, it might be possible that you’ve created a derth of removal in other decks, and therefore your creatures will last longer and win you games quicker and more reliably. Access to black gives you access to Demonic and Vampiric Tutor as well.

Why not to play black white control?

It gets steam-rollered by blue-based control, since the only creatures that deck is likely to be little utility mulldrifter-style cards, which aren’t important to the decks plan once they’re in play, and big untouchable fatties, which can only be answered by a wrath, or another finisher. Also, it accumulates card advantage easily, and has counterspells, which can really screw up your plan.

Drafting Black White control

Your list of priorities basically goes like this early draft.

  • Mass removal
  • Finishers
  • Point removal

With the latter two switching as the draft progresses.Obviously this isn’t a hard and fast rule, since getting a Grave Titan pack three in the same pack as austere command, having already drafted Wrath, Damnation and DoJ, is easily a pick to the Titan. The reasoning behind this order is basically due to scarcity ; There are only 10 (soon to be 11!) wrath effects in BW in my cube (counting Balance and Moat), which means only two in every five packs will start with a wrath effect in it, and they’re high picks for a lot of decks, and are really unlikely to table unless you’ve got 8 aggro players at a table. To really get this deck to work, you want three of them, but two can do, if one of them is Black Sun’s Zenith.

There’s a lot of finishers for this deck, but that doesn’t mean you should let them slide by. Grave Titan, Wurmcoil, Baneslayer and Kokusho are all great finishers, and even weaker stuff like Cloudgoat Ranger or Ob Nixilis should be considered. One of the main problems with this deck is that you draw removal, and you draw removal, and you draw removal, and you’re in the super late game, there’s nothing to kill on the table, and you’re killed by Words of War, or Stormbind, or even just some burn. I would like to run a deck which has at least 3-4 finishers, since that means I’ll probably have drawn one by the time I get to the mana for it.

Finally, there are 18 bits of point removal which kills creatures in BW in my cube, which means on average, you can expect a 6 bits of removal in each round of packs. Due to the relative scarcity of the other two elements of the deck, it is often correct to pick these within the first 5 picks pack 2 and 3, since they’re likely to be taken. I’d say the same for pack 1,but obviously you mightn’t have decided your archetype by that point.

Signs noone is playing black white control

If any of these cards come to you pack one, snap them up and move into this build:

  • Vindicate (!)
  • Consuming Vapors
  • Kokusho
  • Grave Titan (!)
  • Oblivion Ring
  • Phyrexian Arena
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Mortify
  • Bane of the Living

If you’re getting Vindicate passed to you, that’s a clear sign noone who’s seen that pack is in black white. Not seeing it does’t mean someone IS in black white control, since it’s great in any other white/black build, and it’s a card most people will happily splash for.

If you’re getting Kokusho or Grave Titan, it’s safe to say noone is playing a slow black deck at the table. These two are probably easily in the top 5 finishers in the cube, and are both first pickable.

Seeing O-ring and Mortify aren’t strong signs, but they’re versatile cards which see play in any white (or white black deck). Having mortify table means that you’re safe in your archetype, since it’s versatile and efficently costed.

Seeing Demonic Tutor or Phyrexian Arena should be ringing huge bells in your head. They’re both immensely powerful, and I can see few reasons to pass either if you’re in black.

Bane of the Living is a wrath effect which isn’t often taken by a lot of control players here, but which can really shine in this deck. It’s ability to selectively wrath the board so you come out on top is incredibly versatile, but the effect is too expensive for most blue based control decks to worry about.

Sample Decklist
Creatures
  • Nekrataal
  • Skinrender
  • Mirran Crusader
  • Bane of the living
  • Wurmcoil Engine
  • Yosei, the morning star
  • Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
  • Razormane Masticore
Noncreatures
  • Sensei’s Divining Top
  • Day of Judgment
  • Nevinyrral’s Disk
  • Animate Dead
  • Profane Command
  • Go for the Throat
  • Journey to Nowhere
  • Mortify
  • Disfigure
  • Consuming Vapors
  • Akroma’s Vengeance
  • Mind Stone
  • Mana Crypt
  • Phyrexian Arena
Transformations

Like a lot of decks, there are several 3 colour variants this deck can evolve into mid draft.

The first is rock control. If you start seeing green midrange fatties, some more aggressive black elements, and one of the strong recursion engines, like Volrath’s Stronghold or Genesis coming round, as long as you can play it all, I’d start taking them, in an effort to build WGB. Why do you want to play this deck? Because nothing beats good ol’ rock.

The second is esper control. Blue is the main control colour, and even if you’re just splashing for some tempo counterspells, or some card draw, blue can add a lot to the deck in terms of consistency, as long as you have the fixing for it. If you open power pack 3, that’s a viable splash to make (obviously) , or maybe a big blue shroudy finisher. What I wouldn’t get pulled into blue for are Vedalken Shackles, Man-o’-war or Venser. Shackles won’t work unless you’re properly into blue, and will require you to take more blue cards later in the draft. Man-o’-war and Venser are just unecessary – you don’t need to bounce their creatures, that’s what your removal is for. Only take them if you’re super low on removal.

Red is occasionly splashed for Pyroclasm, Wildfire, or an Earthquake, since they’re extra wrath effects which can help you seal wins. It also allows you to play a lot more removal in the form of burn. If you get plenty of bolts  and lightning coming round, you can take them with little fear, since even if you don’t get to run them, burn can be a problem for this deck to deal with.

Conclusion

Black white control is a serious beast if build correctly, and has a lot of favourable matchups. Unfortunately, most of the cards which really break the deck are either rare, or are high picks for other decks, so this deck can frequently be forced into a 3 colour variant, and it also means the deck usually cannot be forced. On the upside, this deck is pretty fun to play, and it’s a lot more interactive / less frustrating to play against that blue based control decks, so all in all, good fun!

Thanks for reading,

Sexy.


Drafting Cube : Blink

The blink archetype is all about getting lots of creatures with CIP/LP abilities, and abusing them to hell. This deck can be tempo/aggressive, or it can very controling, and it’s always very fun to play, and usually one of the more skill intensive builds in the cube.

Why play Blink?

Blink is a great archetype which gets to abuse one of the few common denominators in cube ; creatures with etb abilities. Depending on what you draft, you could win by gaining obscene amounts of life with Lone Missionary, or you could keep your opponents board empty with Faultgrinder and Shriekmaw.  As long as the deck is well built, it’s always very fun to play with and (usually) against.

Why not to play blink?

Not all cubes have specific blink support, which can make drafting the deck a little more difficult that expected. For example, Venser the Sojourner is amazing in the blink archetype, but a lot of cubes don’t run him.  Another problem is that a lot of the cards which are good in blink are also good in a lot of other decks, and so will be picked early on.

Drafting Blink

The main core of a blink deck is a blue control shell, featuring ETB creatures like Man-o’-war and Aether Adept, Clique, Mulldrifter etc, with lots of strong mana fixing. My deck usually end up in bant, or UGb or even UWb, splashing for Shriekmaw and it’s buddies.

There are two key areas you need to focus on when drafting blink cards:

1.Creatures to abuse. You’ll be wanting at least 10 or more creatures to abuse, and probably the more the better. Man-o’-war and Venser are easy picks in blue to get, but white, black and green offer a great selection of cards to choose.  Off the top of my head, great creatures to abuse in white,green and black are:

White

  • Lone Missionary – Gain obscene amount of life
  • Wall of Omens – Weaker target, but drawing cards and absorbing damaged shouldn’t be sniffed at.
  • Cloudgoat Ranger – Getting an army of tokens can easily be your win con, and failing that, it’s a great card.
  • Sun Titan – A lot of your creatures will have a lot cmc, and so recurring them a lot can be awesome.
  • Reveillark – Removal resistant and allows you to return your man-o’-wars and vensers for bouncing funtimes.
  • Karmic Guide – Whilst it can’t return 2 creatures like ‘lark, returning Sun Titan or Lark to play can easily turn the tide of games in your favour.
  • Flickerwisp – A 3/1 flier for 3 is a fine deal, and it blinks creatures out for you. Fun!

Black

  • Bone Shredder – Killing your opponents creatures and gaining CA is a great way to win in blink
  • Shriekmaw – Like Boneshredder, but can be evoked then blinked, allowing for 2 kills and a cheaper Shriekmaw.
  • Nekrataal – See Bone Shredder
  • Skinrender – See Bone Shredder
  • Liliana’s Specter – Empty your opponents hand.
  • Grave Titan – Token fury win con
  • Phyrexian Rager – Losing life sucks, but repetitive card drawing is pretty cool.
  • Puppeteer Clique – Returning creatures is cool, and comes on a 3/2 flier.

Green

  • Viridian Shaman – Blinkable silver bullet
  • Indrik Stomphowler – Big, fat blinkable silver bullet
  • Eternal Witness – Go infinite with Time Walk and this, or just recur other cards a lot.
  • Wall of Blossoms – See wall of omens
  • Terastodon / Woodfall Primus – Lose their land!
  • Acidic Slime – Kill anything in your way.
  • Deranged Hermit – Get a huge squirrel army and swing for the win! An epic way to win.

Other

  • Sundering Titan – get an armageddoning robot
  • Duplicant – Like a colourless Bone Shredder clone
  • Myr Battlesphere – Can allow you to win in a single turn
  • Solemn Simulacrum – Empty your deck of lands
  • Kitchen Finks- more lifegain!

As you can see, there are plenty of targets to pick outside of blue, so don’t be afraid to take cards beyond the colours you’ve already got.

2.Blinking cards! This might sound a little obvious, but in order to make a blink deck, it helps to have cards which can blink things. For me, they come in 2 varieties. Hard Blink, and Soft Blink.

Hard Blink cards are cards which remove a card from the game,and return it to play at end of turn, whereas soft blink cards are just those which return cards to your hand. The more of the former you get, the better, but they’re few and far between in most cubes, so you may have to settle for the latter. If you see cards like Flickerwisp, Venser the Sojourner, Ghostway, Galepowder Mage etc coming your way, snap them up quickly! I’d snap them up even above the creatures you’re blinking, since there are plenty of them about, but only limited blink. You can be a lot less demanding with soft blink, since it’s more common. Ideally, you’ll be getting Erratic Portal, Capsize and Crystal Shard,so you can repetitively bounce your creatures, but even Kor Skyfisher, Man-o’-war and Aether adept can be useful here, if you’re returning powerful creatures.

There are plenty of already broken cards which get better in a blink deck. Recurring Nightmare is easy to abuse anyway, and a blink deck can easily incorporate Recurring Nightmare, and usually vice versa.  Survival / Fauna Shaman allow you to tutor up your blinkable creatures, and the draw 7s can allow you to dig for your ‘combo’ pieces.

Variants

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to get two types of blink. Tempo/aggressive blink, which has less abusable creatures, but is more likely to be running aggressive one drops and ninjas, in a hope to get lots of damage in early game, then blink decent creatures until you win. Depending on how aggressive you make it, it’s arguable this isn’t a blink deck, but I’d be happy either way if I got a deck which looked like this:

Creatures

  • Elite Vanguard
  • Gilded Drake
  • Kor Skyfisher
  • Ninja of the Deep hours
  • Lone Missionary
  • Man-o’-war
  • Aether Adept
  • Flickerwisp
  • Vendillion Clique
  • Kor Sanctifiers
  • Sower of Temptation
  • Mulldrifter
  • Cloudgoat Ranger
  • Galepowder Mage

Noncreatures

  • Repeal
  • Crystal Shard

    Erratic Portal

  • Venser the sojourner
  • Mana Tithe
  • Momentary Blink
  • Swords to Plowshares
  • Bonesplitter
  • Turn to Mist

The other type is control blink. This build tends to be much slower, blink larger creatures for crazier effects, and has more colours. A sample decklist would be:

Creatures

  • Duplicant
  • Nekrataal
  • Boneshredder
  • Lone Missionary
  • Kitchen Finks
  • Mulldrifter
  • Frost Titan
  • Sun Titan
  • Angel of Despair
  • Calciderm
  • Mirran Crusader
  • Knight of Meadowgrain

Noncreatures

  • Recurring Nightmare
  • Turn to Mist
  • Venser, the sojourner
  • Crystal Shard
  • Capsize
  • Swords to Plowshares
  • Counterspell
  • Forbid
  • Ghostway

I would say the build I’ve given above is a little TOO slow, and has a few too many high costing creatures, but when you get recurring nightmare or venser out, these slow creatures will quickly destroy an opponents board, and secure you the win.

Conclusion

I think the most similar decks to Blink I can think of in most cubes are rock, due to the winning due to incremental advantage, and recurring nightmare decks, due to the ridiculous abuse of CIP/LP abilities.

This deck is great fun to play if it comes together, but as more and more cubes forget about it as an archetype, the less support there is for it, and slowly the deck can die as an archetype.  I’m looking to increase my support for blink , but it’s a trade off between reducing the power of (mostly) white in getting flickerwisp and galepowder mage in ,but at the same time, making the deck more avalible is what I want.

Overall, this deck is moderately difficult to draft in a normal cube, but can be easy if catered for, can be obscenely powerful, especially in unpowered cubes, and is great fun to draft,

Thanks for reading,

Sexy.


Drafting cube : Boros Aggro

Boros aggro is  the generic term for the WR aggro deck. There are two main types ; Balls out aggro (the manliest decktype)  and Mana Denial Aggro. They’re very similar, and they can run very similarly.

The general idea to get a bunch of one and two drops and win turn 4-6, with relative consistency. Generally speaking, there is a lot of burn in the deck, and white is there to upgrade reds one and two drops, provides access to Armageddon, tag some removal in, and access Lightning Helix and Ajani V. Red provides a lot of the reach, and has a few of the best 1 and 2 drops.

Why play Boros aggro?

Boros aggro is a build in almost every cube,  because it requires very little support. If built well, it can easily crush any slow or unprepared decks, and , most importantly, is pretty easy to draft.

Drafting boros aggro

There are general four things you’re looking for when drafting:

1.Early Beaters.  It sounds obvious, but I’d be looking to make a first turn play every single game. I’d want at least 3 or 4 2 power one drops, so it’s a good idea to pick Elite Vanguard and Savannah Lions early, or even better, Steppe Lynx. In the two drops, you’re looking for Keldon Marauders, Soltari bros, Pegasi, Kor Skyfisher etc.You don’t want to be choosing Kargan Dragonlord here, since it has no evasion and is hard to cast.Evasion is key early in the game, since your opponent is limited in what he/she can block with, and will hopefully start using up removal instead of dropping a fatty. If you can’t get evasive 2 drops, try and aim for the above the curve 3/1s, accorder paladin, blade of the 6th pride, porcelain legionaire, hellspark elemental, or the protection knights.

2.Burn. Burn is reds main contribution to the deck. It doubles as removal so your team can get through and as reach to finish off your opponent. Lightning Bolt and Burst Lightning are massive picks here, but Char and Fireblast should also be takmass en, since they’re easy to cast and deal large chunks of damage. Some burn, like Fireblast, is likely to wheel , but most of it won’t.

3.Reach. Anything which can keep you going in the mid/late stages of the game should be taken highly, but  not at the expense of one drops. Hell’s Thunder, Hero of Bladehold and Calciderm can inflict massive damage given the chance, and Wheel of Fortune and Sulfuric Vortex should seal the game. Probably the best form of Reach, barring the aforementioned is equipment. Obviously it’s great to get a sword of X and Y or Jitte, but Bonesplitter and Grafted Wargear are godsends for you. GW is best against midrange, where your weenies stay relevant against their beasts, and Bonesplitter is best against control, to get the fasted start possible.Red provides access to some of the best units of reach, X burn spells ; Banefire and Red Sun’s Zenith are pretty valuable. My favourite piece of reach is Mirror Entity, because it gets better the later the game goes on. Other types of reach include anthems, draft 7s, card draw and mass LD.

4. Mana Denial. The main aim of aggro is to win in the early stages of the game, and by denying your opponent mana, you keep them in those early stages longer, and increase the time you have to swing for lethal.

You should win every game where you cast Armageddon. I’m not saying it’s impossible to lose if you cast Armageddon, but it provides you with a massive advantage, since your weenies and burn don’t cost much, so you can function much better on one or two land than your opponent can. Failing to get Armageddon or Ravage of War, Molten Rain can double as burn and disruption. Winter Orb can slow your opponent down greatly, and Ankh of Mishra can damage your opponent so much they don’t want to play land anymore.

The best nongeddon mana denial picks are most likely Wasteland and Strip Mine, as they don’t take nonland slots, followed by Ankh and Orb.

All In vs Mana Denial

As mentioned previously, there are two different builds, and an infinite degree of hybrid builds between them.

The All In build focuses on damaging the opponent from 20 to 0 in as fast a time as possible. This deck has huge amounts of burn, lots of one and two drops, and a couple equipment. This deck tends to win a lot against control, but have a much more fiddly matchup against midrange, where it’s creatures get outclassed very quickly, and you start having to rely on topdecking burn to win.

The Mana Denial build focusses on dropping a one drop, a two drop, and then disrupting your opponents mana whilst dropping more weenies until you win. This tends to be a slower deck in terms of turns to win, but is generally more consistent against more decks than the All In variety. This deck is, however, harder to build, since you need to dedicate a lot of picks to mana denial,and may end up without many weenies to beat with.

Signs Boros Aggro is open

If you’re passed any of the following cards, it’s a safe bet that you could probably draft this deck:

  • Lightning Helix
  • Ajani Vengeant
  • Figure of Destiny (!!!) (this likely means noone is in W or R aggro)
  • Sulfuric Vortex
  • Goblin Guide
  • Koth of the Hammer
  • Steppe Lynx
  • Hellspark Elemental
Sample Decklist
Creatures
  • Elite Vanguard
  • Steppe Lynx
  • Goblin Guide
  • Jackal Pup
  • Goblin Patrol
  • Hellspark Elemental
  • Keldon Marauders
  • Accorder Paladin
  • Stormfront Pegasus
  • Soltari Champion
  • Mirror Entity
  • Hero of Bladehold
  • Avalanche Riders
Noncreatures
  • Skullclamp
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Lightning Helix
  • Ankh of Mishra
  • Winter Orb
  • Tangle Wire
  • Bonesplitter
  • Armageddon
  • Journey to Nowhere
  • Path to Exile
  • Banefire
Transformations

There are two main decks you can transform boros aggro into half way through a draft. American aggro and Naya Aggro.

To change to american (RWU) aggro, you could open up a time walk or ancestral recall first pick, or get Serendib Efreet or Looter il-kor, and then, if you keep your eyes open for any tempo counterspells, ninjas, man-o’-war, then you could shift your deck into this 3 colour build. It’s generally more consistent than normal RW aggro, but slower, and it’s trickier to draft, since you need to get even more fixing.

To change to naya aggro, you might take Wild Nacatl, Kird Ape or Loam Lion, then be passed a Tarmogoyf, and after that, you can look out for Troll Ascetic, Blastoderm, Boas, Rancor, or even Qasali Pridemage and Kitchen Finks.  Bloodbraid Elf is a great shift.

Conclusion

Boros Aggro is a great deck to play, since it’s quick, easy to draft, pretty easy to play, and consistently powerful. The key is to strike a good balance between mana denial ,weenies and burn, which should lead to some good, short, consistent games.

Thanks for reading,

Sexy.