MTGCube.com’s June draft brought in a wealth of new players and pushed the Cube to its limit, with 630 cards drafted by 14 participants in a 4 round battle royale that would crown one planeswalker supreme over all others.
To balance the playing field for the newcomers to Cube drafting, seven Power cards were set aside and awarded at random to the losers of the first round of Swiss. Indeed a Sol Ring or Black Lotus booster shot proved to make all the difference for those players in subsequent rounds. But in the end only four players would come out on top, with Kuleli’s Esper deck topping Ledesma’s Bolas-packing Grixis to win top honors with a 3-0-1 finishing record. Now on to the top decks of the night!
Commentary by C. Kuleli:
It may be that you won’t know whether you win or lose by turn four, in the all in crusade of the aggro deck. It may be that most games you play seems to take forever, running out of time always an option. But this is how Blue should play. Slowly, yet steadily, you march towards victory. In this case, victory meant Elspeth, Knight-Errant.
Drafting and Forging the Deck
As I opened my Pack 1, I didn’t see anything that dazzled me. There was a Thrun, Last Troll
; bane of all control, but I didn’t want to commit that early during a 14 player draft, with cube being stretched too thin. I simply took Lotus Petal
, to help me in whatever path I chose. I try to keep a strong mana base, because as a control player, I cannot miss my land drop, nor can afford to be stuck with a WW card I can’t cast. Petal was a decent first pick.
Very soon Elspeth, Knight-Errant
arrived; and I took it. I had decided that “protecting” Elspeth would be tonight’s mission, it is a good winning condition and from then on, I first picked removal to keep her alive. Blue gave me access to Timetwister
and and Time Spiral
, allowing me to replenish my hand, as I would be playing a spell heavy deck. I wasn’t comfortable being two colors, though. I suspected they would dry up soon. So I picked the mana fixing that eventually allowed me steady access to Black when Blue/White seemed weak, and together deck got together pretty well.
My favorite moment was when Time Walk
, my favorite magic card of all time got passed to me. The strategic advantage that can be gained through this card, especially coupled with Planeswalkers, is massive, and I discover new uses for it each time. I was also pleasantly surprised when Arcane Denial tabled, which I had passed in favor of Time Walk
When drafting was done, I looked through my deck to see a very low creature count. That worried me a little, yet I had made up for that with a decent amount of removal and a strong mana base. I definitely lacked board clear, which I either didn’t see any/had to pass to not blow up my own heavy count of artifacts and enchantments. I had also picked up a couple more win conditions the deck could protect: Karn Liberated
, Oona, Queen of Faerie
, Luminarch Ascencion
The deck played pretty well against White-Blue Weenies and White-Blue Control. Against weenies I managed to draw out the game without taking too many hits and gained control eventually. Against control I landed an early Luminarch Ascension
, which unanswered will win you the game. Against Tavish’s Grixis, my win was made possible by two factors. I drew very well; allowing me to land an early Luminarch Ascension
both games and being able to answer threats easily. Also, this deck is very good at answering one threat a turn. If you cannot play more than one, you’ll lose. If you can, then I’ll lose. Which happened against Mike and his white-green beatdown.
Creature after creature came towards me. As I fought to weaken the upcoming army, my recourses were dwindling. And then…Timetwister
saved me. Drawing me a new hand of seven, it allowed me to play a Time Walk
, which allowed a Time Spiral
, which allowed me to land an Oona, and if you untap with Oona, its pretty much gg. I was able to mill his library and make plenty of blockers. The game was intense, very hard for this deck with an overload of creatures, and took a long time, we were down to our last twenty minutes by the time game one was finished.
After allowing a Rampaging Baloths
to resolve and make a beast token, I proceeded to cast Karn, only for it to be countered by Mana Tithe. Stabbed by my own weapon, I watched helplessly as the Baloths and the beast token was joined by an Akroma, Angel of Wrath and killed me.
Racing against time, Mike dropped a turn one Library of Alexandria
, and my heart sank. Its uncommon to lose with that beauty in play, but I managed to Faiths Fetters
it turn 3. Most players keep a Library hand regardless of whatever’s in it, so I was hoping I could perhaps sneak a win here. I was close, after killing his Rampaging Baloths
, Renaimating it, I could have swung for the win if it was not for that…Rout. Thus this game ended in a tie. Well played, Mike. I wish we could have played out that game, for your deck game me the biggest challenge.
The two cards that really shined in this deck, surprisingly, are:
If you are facing a creature, this card doesn’t help you much. But everything else? Library? Denied. Jitte? Denied. Manlands? Denied. Its just a very versatile answer for one colorless mana.
Luminarch Ascension: Drop this on turn two (or one with Lotus Petal) against a control player. You will probably win. After this hits, the clock is ticking,. They need to damage you every turn, because making 4/4 flying angels for 1W at instant speed is pretty broken. Coupled with heavy removal, this card pretty much had a hand in all of my wins.
Well, that’s it. Control has a solid win under its belt now, and I am sure no one is ever gonna pass me Time Walk
again, or any blue card.