Sarkhan Leads Creature Heavy 5-Color Cube Draft Deck
Well, it finally happened. Tavish managed to once again beat me at a Magic: the Gathering cube draft one-on-one match. As they say, “You can’t win them all”. Of course, he didn’t win them all last week either, and in fact took another hardcore beating of which I’d like to relate.
Relying on a barrage of bomb creatures, broken spells, sweet dual lands, and Sarkhan, I ravaged Tavish playing some blue bombs of his own such as Jace Beleren, Time Walk, and Legacys Allure in a deck that also boasted an Akroma, Angel of Wrath. And as always, he just had to draft the Senseis Divining Top, my absolute most hated artifact in the cube, and one of Tavish’s favorites. Fortunately for Tavish, he didn’t get swept, but I did put a good beating on him, in part due to some extremely lucky draws getting perfect land draws to balance the überspells in my deck.
Playing All Five Colors
I still laugh about the fact that I’ve been scoffed at for playing more than three colors. Frankly, it’s my opinion that playing a mono-color deck in a cube draft is more difficult than playing all five colors. The specialty mana cards in the cube, including the many dual lands, moxes, and signets, make playing with more and more colors a real opportunity. Playing a Sol Ring and a Boros Signet also helped me boost my mana to get the bomb creatures out.
Fetch and Dual Lands
I’m a huge fan of dual lands and multi-mana producing artifacts, and drafted a great balance of land that helped me to dominantly play all five colors. Fetch lands are extraordinary combined with other dual lands, and this was the case in this deck. A Verdant Catacombs could essentially provide me with a green, black, or blue since it could fetch either a Watery Grave, and Polluted Delta could provide me with a black, blue, or white since it could fetch a Tundra. I also had a man land, Lavaclaw Reaches, which is always fun to play. I included an Exploration, but was never able to take advantage of it.
Awesome Mana Producer: Lotus Cobra
Lotus Cobra, the truly epic green landfall card, never fails to impress. This card is Über when playing five colors. It is especially harassing when it hits the board early on. During one game I the cobra was good to the very end, when I sacrificed it to Sarkhan the Mad to get a dragon.
The Sarkhanic Transformation
Both Sarkhans? Bad-ass.
Drafting both versions of Sarkhan ensures that your opponent does not fizzle your pumped up Sarkhan Vol ready to unleash dragons by playing Sarkhan the Mad. I observed a game recently where an Ajani Vengeant had seven loyalty counters when his controller’s opponent cast an Ajani Goldmane. I mentioned, after it had been cast, that once that spell had resolved in play, both Ajani’s would go to the graveyard. It’s an awful way to lose your planeswalker.
That being said, what really made me excited was how these planeswalkers would work together in the same cube draft deck. I had hoped to first play Sarkhan Vol, and once his loyalty was six, pop him and put out five dragons. That same turn, I could have cast Sarkhan the Mad and immediately deal 20 damage. Perhaps if some brutal creature came out that I desperately needed to deal with, I could have gained control of it using Sarkhan Vol’s ability, then played Sarkhan the Mad to sacrifice it and gain a dragon. I didn’t get to do all this, but both planeswalkers did come in handy. Sarkhan Vol helped me boost my Cold-Eyed Selkie and other creatures as I brought on a massive onslaught, using my opponent’s creature when I needed to. I used Sarkhan the Mad’s ability to draw cards, and constantly got lands, allowing me to thin my deck out and get more mana, while still being able to use his other abilities later on. Awesome.
Pleasant Surprise: Cold-Eyed Selkie
After drafting, I had a sneaking suspicion that Tavish was playing blue. Lo and behold, he was. Like clockwork, he would play an early game island and I would then respond with the Selkie. I then proceeded to deal a damage to Tavish and draw a card each turn. I used Sarkhan Vol’s ability to pump up this unblockable creature by +1/+1 to draw more cards and deal more damage. This early game nuisance worked out extremely well as a damaging weenie addition to this deck.
The Blue Dragon Spirit: Keiga, the Tide Star
I can’t stress how incredible this dragon spirit is. Since this creature requires only one blue mana, it works great in five color decks or decks splashing blue, and worked great alongside the Control Magic as I sought to steal the creatures Tavish played. As a dragon, it also synergizes well with Sarkhan.
Last draft we played in, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner was used by Steve to spoil all of Tavish’s plans. I decided to go the same route. How amazing is it to play a Bloodbraid Elf that cascades into Kira?
I had a blast playing Sphinx of Jwar Isle, as it meant I could look at the top card of my library without cheating while busting out another huge flier.
Dimir Guildmage is so wicked. It’s easy to play since it has casting cost color options, and its versatile abilities are nuts. At one point I used eight mana to force Tavish to discard the two cards in his hand. The guildmage, combined with Nath, helped to ensure that Nezumi Shortfang would threaten to flip as Tavish’s hand was pulled dry.
My only regret about this draft is letting that Maelstorm Angel slip away.
I finally cast the infamous Teneb, the Harvester, but the game was almost put away by then. This is a card that might not fit well into the cube, and which I feel could potentially be replaced by a Doran, the Siege Tower. Now that Teneb has seen some action, I wonder how useful he will be in future drafts. I would not be opposed to retiring him now. The Razormane Masticore also didn’t do me any good.
Overall, this deck just domineered Tavish’s face as I stole his creatures, forced him to discard cards, drew extra cards myself, and came at him with a storm of shrouded creatures. I can’t complain.