So, I was planning on going to the usual FNM on Friday, May 29th. However, I was running a little late so I called the shop to try to reserve my spot. Unfortunately, they ran out of packs… but it was OK, because one of the guys, John, brought his cube… so, those of not in the usual ROE draft were going to draft from the cube.
Now, I had never done a cube draft before, but it always sounded kind of cool, so I was completely game to give it a try. Well, I have to say, it exceeded every expectation. John’s cube goes all the way back, including Power 9 cards and everything. Most of the guys there had drafted from John’s cube before—though not with ROE included, I gathered—but I hadn’t. So I had no idea what the appropriate strategy was. Also, since I took a ten-year break from the game, there were bound to be a lot of cards I didn’t really know, and that happened. We all ponied up $5 at the beginning, $20 for first and $10 for second. Guy, who runs the store (Montag’s Games), ran us using the DCI software, which was kind of trippy with only six people, but it did the job.
So, what’s the strategy in an unknown environment? Well, I have two defaults when I have no idea what to do: mindless aggro and big control. Based on what I was passed, the strategy was pretty clear.
First pack I “opened” a Mox Sapphire, which seemed pretty good. I was passed a Baneslayer, then something I forget, then a Gideon Jura. Well, then, Blue/White control was clearly the way to go. Here’s the deck, as best as I can remember it:
Wall of Omens
Wall of Denial
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Glen Elendra Archmage
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Sphinx of Lost Truths
Sphinx of Magosi
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
I think I’m maybe missing a cards or two, but seriously, how cool is that as a draft deck? Yes, it’s a little lighter on removal than would be ideal, but still, very wicked. I know the Mox Ruby was out of color, but it was a good pick to cut off John on my left in the third “pack” who I knew was heavy red.
Round 1 I played Jason piloting a Black/White deck with a few sweepers (Damnation, Wrath) and Bitterblossom, but I was able to pretty much control the board with counters and bigger fliers and that sealed the deal. Won one of the games with a Psionic Blast to kill him when he was at exactly 4. He never saw that coming from the blue/white deck!
Round 2 was against Joe and his wicked Blue/Black deck that dropped a Finkel (err, Shadowmage Infiltrator) early game 1 that I never answered, winning with Jace 2’s ultimate, and game 2 got decked again, this time by a Nemesis of Reason.
Round 3 was John and his mono Red, very sligh-like deck. Game 1 he got a turn 1 Jackal Pup and just rolled me. Game 2 he took a 1-land draw which also had a turn 1 Pup, but I had an answer (one of the walls) and he didn’t draw land soon enough. Game 3 I again managed both Walls, though he got through them (got through the Wall of Denial with Wither counters). He got out Chandra Nalaar, which took out a guy and which I eventually killed, and then I got a Baneslayer out to restore that life total. He dropped a Siege-Gang Commander, but had to tap out to do it, and I had both Moxen out, so I cast Armageddon so he couldn’t kill me with the goblins, and that was it.
Semifinals were against Tony and his Green/White/Black deck. I don’t remember this deck or this match very well. I do remember taking some beating from a Chameleon Colossus at one point, and getting very lucky that Tony named the wrong color when he hit me with a Persecute, but other than that, I don’t remember much.
Finals were against Joe (my Round 2 opponent). I won the first with a quick start including both Glen Elendra and Augustin. I don’t remember game 2. Game 3 he had slightly better board position but I was ready with a land, a Gideon, a Sphinx of Jwar Isle, and a Mana Leak in hand. However, he hit me with Hymn to Tourach and nabbed both the Gideon and the Sphinx, ugh, and then just rolled over me.
Still, absolute loads of fun!
So, I am now officially a fan of cube drafting. Drafting cards like these is serious fun!
However, next Friday we finally go back to Standard after nine straight weeks of draft, and I’m itching to play. Not sure if I’m going to play Mythic Conscription, Grixis, or Esper Control. They all seem like fun to me!