August Cube Draft
1st Place: "The Tangled Ascent" by K. Obendorf
This was the first draft we did after dropping the Moxes, Black Lotus and the signets. I was worried about control having a difficult time but when I first picked Elspeth and got an early Fact or Fiction and Sower of Temptation I decided it was time to go for a control plan (and get hunting for some cards with a lower CMC!). This turned out to be wise, as the other white and blue drafter was on my left, and pack 3 slammed me with p2 Day of Judgement and p3 Wrath of God.
The lack of reliable acceleration really made me rethink control. Though I had many powerful cards in the 5+ CMC slot, I realized that I may never be able to cast them in time. Gideon Jura and Time Spiral were the only expensive cards that made the cut. I felt I could rely on the finisher package of Luminarch Ascension (a wonderful dark horse of a card), Gideon, Exalted Angel and Elspeth.
So with a bunch of sweepers and planeswalkers it looks mostly like a normal control deck, however the Tangle Wire and cheap creature package was the true backbone. Tangle Wire + Flickerwisp took entire games by themselves, with aggro choosing between swinging and developing their board, and rival control and mid-range decks unable to do anything. I can’t say those were fun games, but they showcased the power of Tangle Wire, even in a deck without a lot of manafacts or cheap permanents. I have always valued it highly but it’s close to first pick material for me now. The built-in asymmetry and the colorless mana cost make it incredibly attractive.
Another notable, but obvious, combo that made the deck hum was Gideon + Lumiarch Ascension
A final note about land drafting. I picked up a Tropical Island at some point, thinking I was going Bant, but it didn’t pan out. However, that pick turned a late Windswept Heath into a virtual U/W fetch. Never underestimate the boost in power that a dual land can give to any fetches that come along later.