Arena Cube Draft Deep Dive: The Mindset of a Highly Experienced Drafter
Hello everyone! I absolutely love Cube drafts in general and Arena Cube may very well be my highest win rate format with around 10 3-0s and multiple 2-1s. With that, I’m trying out a new piece of content that I hope you all find interesting, a Draft Deep Dive. A Deep Dive is where I’m going to show you all of my picks, tell you what I went with, explain the reasoning why, and talk about anything else I was considering.
I think this can be very helpful for those looking to break into Cube or just learn about Limited philosophy in general from someone who’s had a lot of success in the format. I encourage all the readers to do the simulated draft without my explanations to see where we compare and where to differ to get the most out of the article. Furthermore, I’ll post the complete picks every 5 picks so you can easily go back to reference it. This is a Best of 3 draft so I will be drafting with a sideboard in mind.
If you’d like, you can also take a look at my Arena Cube guide to get a baseline of where my thoughts are in this format.
Let’s get started!
Pack 1 Pick 1
It’s always nice in a Cube draft to get a solid opening pack. For me, there are a good amount of cards that can be reasonably first picked in general such as: Elder Gargaroth, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Bomat Courier, Steam Vents, Ruin Crab, Anax, Hardened in the Forge, and Cloudblazer.
Elder Gargaroth is an absolute power house in Cube and is definitely one of the better 5 drops in general. It can fit into functionally any archetype in Green and not feel out of place. There is a decent amount of removal in this Cube, but if you untap with this it’s generally pretty hard to lose.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger may seem weird as a first pick, but the power level is definitely there. It generally can only slot into dedicated Ramp strategies, but it can realistically be the top end to any deck that’s planning on going that late. Furthermore, taking it first does give me a greater ability to build around it so it’s a more tempting first pick than a later pick. That being said, if we’re looking to build a ramp deck, Elder Gargaroth is a cheaper and more versatile option.
Bomat Courier is only playable in aggro decks, but it’s one of the best (if not the best) 1 drop in the Cube. It does narrow what decks you’d be looking to build, but it’s quite a good start. That being said, Anax, Hardened in the Forge is also in the pack which would put our potential draft trajectory in a similar spot and is a good deal better than Bomat.
Steam Vents is a solid first pick as Izzet is one of the best archetypes in Cube and I do like taking lands highly in Cube in general. That being said, Arena Cube and other Cubes are different. Taking lands in other Cubes is generally really high EV since there’s not much power level disparity between the cards in other Cubes. That’s not the case in Arena Cube where there’s still a decent separation between the good cards and the medium cards. I don’t hate this as a first pick, but going for a good spell is generally what I’d lean towards.
Ruin Crab can be a very solid first pick as the Mill archetype, when it comes together, is one of the best in the Cube. There’s so few pieces to the Mill archetype that even getting one is extremely appealing. That being said, Ruin Crab is one of the weakest parts of that archetype (barring you get to play it turn 1), so it’s not as large of a draw as something like Teferi's Tutelage or Ashiok, Dream Render. With that, I think there are more powerful options in the pack.
Cloudblazer is a solid option and has gotten much better with the inclusion of Ephemerate. I don’t mind taking multicolor cards highly, but it’s hard to justify when there’s other powerful cards that are monocolored. For what it’s worth, it’s relatively easy to splash Cloudblazer, but still I’d prefer one of the powerhouses like Anax or Elder Gargaroth.
Anax, Hardened in the Forge can only be played in Monored or mostly Red aggro, but it’s one of the best Red cards in the cube as well. With how bad it makes wraths and how insane it is to curve into it, this card is very hard to ignore.
So ultimately, the pick was mostly between Elder Gargaroth and Anax. As much as I like Anax, I feel that aggro has been having a tougher time than normal in this iteration of Arena Cube and it can only be played if Red is relatively open. Elder Gargaroth is roughly the same power level as Anax, but is significantly more flexible in how it allows me to build my deck.
My Pick: Elder Gargaroth
Pack 1 Pick 2
Although this pack is still quite solid, it definitely isn’t as hard as the first one. The cards I’m immediately looking at is Emeria's Call. Devil's Play, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Sheltered Thicket, and Field of the Dead.
Emeria's Call is super solid, but definitely not as strong as the other options.
I think Devil's Play is super underrated as Fireball effects are excellent and this is probably the best of them. That being said, it’s still not the most powerful card in the pack.
Sheltered Thicket is solid fixing, but it’s worse than Shocklands, Checklands, or Triomes so I don’t believe I need to pick it that highly.
The real decision in this pack is between Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Field of the Dead, cards that want to be paired together and high priority picks. Although I love spinning the wheel with Golos, Field of the Dead is likely the very best first pick in the Cube as you know to prioritize lands extremely highly.
My Pick: Field of the Dead
Pack 1 Pick 3
This pack is significantly weaker than the previous 2 so the choices are definitely a bit easier. The standout cards to me are Dragonmaster Outcast, Abundant Harvest, and Ketria Triome. Two quick things to note is that there’s 4 red cards in this pack likely indicating that the first 2 players didn’t opt for a red card. This is too early to consider it a signal, but many players pigeonhole themselves into an archetype starting with pick 1 so it’s good to keep in mind. There are also 3 Blue cards of reasonable quality which again isn’t a strong signal, but is something to note.
Dragonmaster Outcast is a powerful late game card, but there are plenty of those in the cube. Getting it is great but it’s not a requirement.
Abundant Harvest works extremely well in the Field decks as you need a large amount of lands and spells so having some consistency in controlling that is excellent. Definitely a consideration.
If this was a mediocre land, I think Abundant Harvest would get the nod. However, Triomes are excellent and Ketria Triome is one of the best Triomes as well.
My Pick: Ketria Triome
Pack 1 Pick 4
Waking the Trolls can be a very powerful threat late game, but it generally wheels and if you don’t have a lot of ramp it can easily be bad.
Gilded Lotus does ramp hard, but turn 5 is generally not when you’re looking to ramp. If we first picked that Ulamog it could be a different story, but I don’t like going that direction if we’re trying to build towards Field of the Dead.
Supreme Will is a solid interaction spell, but I don’t think it’s better than having fixing and a good land when we have Field.
My Pick: Scattered Groves
A stronger pack than the previous one. Chandra, Heart of Fire, The Immortal Sun, and Voracious Hydra are all very solid cards. Notably, Rampaging Ferocidon and Rimrock Knight are still in this pack as well. With those cards still there and the previous Red cards we saw, we can start to conclude that Monored might be open if we have to abandon the Field plan. It’s still a little hard to say without knowing who is presumably taking the Anax from pack 1, but it seems unlikely the 4 people to our left are going for Monored.
Chandra, Heart of Fire is a solid, underrated Planeswalker, but not the strongest card in the pack. You can say functionally the same thing for Voracious Hydra as underdrafted and quite good, but not the best card.
The Immortal Sun is an extremely powerful card that gets you obscenely far ahead if you untap with it. All the abilities that come with it and the added benefit of shutting off Planeswalkers is more than worth it as this juncture.
My Pick: The Immortal Sun
Pack 1 Pick 6
This pack is relatively bad for what we’ve drafted so far. Notably there’s zero green cards in this pack and there was only one in the last pack (and it’s one that generally is underdrafted), so that says to me Green could be congested. The only two cards that are really worth considering is Palladium Myr and Unstable Obelisk. Opt can be a consideration, but I only like playing it when you’re low on playables or you’re a low to the ground Izzet deck playing cards like Thermo-Alchemist and Sprite Dragon (two cards we’ve now seen).
Both Palladium Myr and Unstable Obelisk are very similar in how they would slot into the deck. I’m not excited by either, but ramping when we could potentially have a high curve (although we prefer land ramp) isn’t bad to secure. So it comes down to which card I prefer. Myr ramps for 2, but has the downside of being a creature that can be easily killed. The upside to it being a creature is that it can attract removal away from more important threats, especially against decks that don’t have an excess of it so I wouldn’t consider being a creature to be a strict downside. Unstable Obelisk doesn’t ramp as hard, but it’s substantially harder to kill and can also destroy a permanent later in the game when you don’t need it anymore.
My Pick: Unstable Obelisk
Pack 1 Pick 7
We’re definitely starting to get to the filler part of the draft and it shows. Based on our current picks, we’re really not locked into any particular colors so any of these cards could feasibly be options. That being said, in my experience the Field of the Dead decks leaned towards base Temur or Naya so I generally avoid Black unless I’m splashing for something amazing or working towards a Golos (a card that’s unlikely to wheel). So the considerations are the Dromoka's Command,
Dromoka's Command is a solid card, but in a dedicated Selesnya deck, not so much in the midrange Field deck we’re going for.
All the Blue cards are technically in contention, but we can eliminate the tempo based cards right off the bat as that’s not what we’re building for and they’re generally not good anyway in Dive Down and Silent Departure.
My Pick: Omen of the Sea
Pack 1 Pick 8
I think Deem Worthy is a lot better than most players give credit for. It unfortunately doesn’t hit planeswalkers, but the ability to kill any creature or to have an uncounterable deal 2 draw a card are both decent modes. Definitely a consideration.
Clearwater Pathway is a non-basic land for Field of the Dead, but not an exciting one as we currently have no Black cards so this would likely be a non-basic Island. That being said, we could potentially pick up some Black cards which can make this more appealing and having a high enough density of non-basic lands is critical for building a Field of the Dead deck.
My Pick: Clearwater Pathway
Pack 1 Pick 9
Personally, I am extremely low on Fae of Wishes. It’s rare enough that you have good cards that you aren’t actively playing, the body is pretty bad, and with how highly we’re drafting lands, the odds of us having extra cards seems pretty low.
Valakut Awakening is decent, but a tapped Mountain isn’t the most exciting nor is the front half. I think we have better options.
Ruin Crab is still somewhat appealing as we could still go towards the Mill plan, definitely a consideration.
Chainweb Aracnir isn’t good, but can be if you’re facing an aggro deck and need a body to throw on the board or as a counter measure to mill/control decks. That being said, there are better options in the pack so it’s not much of a consideration.
Steam Vents I think is the obvious pick as Shocklands are excellent, Red and Blue both seem relatively open (Steam Vents pick 9 also indicated this), and it helps our Field of the Dead.
My Pick: Steam Vents
Pack 1 Pick 10
Purely on power level, I think Emeria's Call is the best card in the pack. The spell half is very powerful and it’s also a non-basic land working towards Field. The issue is we’ve seen extremely little White and currently our only White fixing is Scattered Groves. Considering that and the fact that White doesn’t seem open, this isn’t a windmill slam pick.
Behold the Multiverse is a very solid draw spell that works well in conjunction with other instant speed cards. Currently, we don’t have any of those beyond the Omen of the Sea, but with Blue being open that could change. Furthermore, Behold could give us more turn 2 plays as well with the Foretell.
I was super torn on this decision, but considering how little White I saw and a current lack of fixing, it was hard to justify taking a card that may end up being worse than a plains.
My Pick: Behold the Multiverse
Pack 1 Pick 11
At the end of the back, we’re clearly getting towards slim pickings. I love Blossoming Defense, but really just in creature decks. That leaves us realistically with Think Twice and Thirst for Meaning.
I think both of these cards are at around the same power level, but I personally like Think Twice more. It’s a 2 mana play and never has a downside where Thirst can lead you into awkward situations, especially since I don’t have any enchantments yet and am unlikely to get many or even any if I continue to be base Temur.
My Pick: Think Twice
Pack 1 Pick 12
The only two considerations I had here was Augur of Bolas and Crush the Weak. In retrospect, I should’ve looked at Return of the Wildspeaker as well since the first mode can be good if I pick up a lot of large creatures and the second mode can create surprise blowouts with my Zombie Tokens.
Augur of Bolas is an alright card when you have a lot of instants and sorceries, but your deck really needs to be dedicated to make sure you’re consistently hitting off of it.
I’m a big Crush the Weak fan as aggro decks really struggle beating any sort of Wrath in this iteration of Cube. Couple that with being able to pay for it in installments makes it the clear pick for me.
My Pick: Crush the Weak
Pack 1 Pick 13
Finally we’re down to a pack where we don’t want any of the cards. There’s no way we can play Gifted Aetherborn, so that’s out of consideration. Sprite Dragon is a powerful card and Blue at a minimum seems to be open, but it doesn’t fit the plan. Sigrid, God-Favored is extremely unlikely to make the cut, but if White suddenly opens up in Pack 2 it could be an option with the current trajectory of the deck.
My Pick: Sigrid, God-Favored
As a note, I’m unsure if picking Sigrid was the right call at this juncture. I was pretty entrenched in the Field deck, but Izzet Tempo seemed relatively open with how much Blue was flowing and picking up the Sprite Dragon as a hedge if Field for whatever reason wasn’t coming together should’ve been a bigger consideration on my part. I believe Sigrid was still the right pick, but I’m not as confident now as I was during the draft.
Pack 1 Pick 14
My Pick: Opt
Pack 1 Pick 15
Unsurprising to see Silent Departure, card is just pretty bad and Blue seems open.
So the main notes I have at this juncture is that Blue is wide open, Black is relatively open as it normally is since it’s by far the worst color, and Green and White are being drafted relatively heavily. Red is up in the air as I didn’t see much in terms of more midrange Red cards or Burn, but a lot of Monored tools. That could potentially indicate that Red is open as well, but I would need more information to make that determination.
Pack 2 Pick 1
Generally Pack 2 is easier than Pack 1 since you more so know the direction you want to go, but this pack was the exact opposite of that. With 5 extremely good choices in Mizzix's Mastery, Magma Opus, Lightning Bolt, Mazemind Tome, and Rootbound Crag.
Mizzix's Mastery is the best top end in Cube if you manage to get enough spells. In theory Magma Opus shouldn’t wheel, but I found that it actually wheels quite often considering there aren’t many decks that can easily play it. If I could get both that would be ideal, but it’s hard to say if it will. The only information I have is that Blue is definitely open and Red could be open as well, however this pack could potentially push someone into Red as no matter what I’d pick, I’d be leaving a powerful Red card.
Magma Opus is also amazing top end and is almost as good as Mizzix’s Mastery without the downside of needing setup. However as I said previously, it does have a propensity to wheel so we could pass it with the hopes of getting it back.
Lightning Bolt is an amazing Red card, full stop. It’s less good in a deck that’s not pressuring the opponent’s life total, but it’s so efficient as a removal spell that’s hardly relevant.
Mazemind Tome is a card players speak highly of, but still very much underdrafted. The only time you don’t want to play it is in very aggressive decks, and even then it’s a really good board card.
Rootbound Crag is an excellent land for this deck, however when drafting Field I tend to prioritize really powerful spells over powerful lands assuming we still need both. Although I’d love to pick up Crag, I don’t think it’s in consideration compared to the other options.
This was an extremely difficult decision and I ended up going with the biased pick. Considering Magma Opus is severely underdrafted per my experience and Time Warp tends to wheel a lot as well (if it’s in this specific draft), the upside to grabbing Mizzix’s Mastery was too high for me to pass up. Realistically, I think any of these choices would’ve been more than acceptable, but I like going for the highest upside when I have the option.
My Pick: Mizzix's Mastery
Pack 2 Pick 2
Like many other cards in my opinion, I think Thryx, the Sudden Storm is really underrated. Good against creature decks and devastating against counterspell decks, I’m a big fan of this card. With that in mind, because its so underappreciated I generally feel more secure in trying to wheel it to get something else I might want. However, I think it’s the strongest card in the pack for me.
Sacred Foundry is another land for Field of the Dead and it hits one of my colors and is a nice hedge if we need white mana for any reason, although that seems unlikely at this point.
Mind Stone is solid ramp, nothing amazing, but certainly decent.
Prophetic Prism is really only playable in specific decks, but can be decent in Field decks. That being said, it’s definitely weaker than our other options.
Although I really wanted to take Thryx, I believed there was a good chance I could wheel it and there was only one other card I wanted that was unlikely to wheel.
My Pick: Sacred Foundry
Pack 2 Pick 3
Once again, pretty slim pickings for such an early pack. Considering we’re base Blue and looking to get into Red, my choices were Magmaquake, Censor, and Lay Claim. Professor Onyx is the best card in the pack and could be a consideration, but with no fixing to cast her, it seemed like that ship had sailed.
Magmaquake is an excellent board wipe, albeit an expensive one. However, the ability to cast it Instant speed and to hit Planeswalkers as well (we’re also not looking to draft many walkers since we already have The Immortal Sun), makes this extremely appealing.
Censor is an ok counterspell, but really nothing special.
Lay Claim can be very nice in a deck looking to Ramp, but there are stronger options and it wheels quite often.
My Pick: Magmaquake
Pack 2 Pick 4
Chromatic Lantern is excellent fixing and Ramp, especially in you’re in 3+ colors. It’s definitely at its best in the Field decks.
Temple of Deceit is a decent land, but Temples are among the weaker lands in the Cube and I didn’t currently have any Black cards I’m looking to splash. It’s a reasonable pick, but worse than the other options.
Unlike Ruin Crab, Teferi's Tutelage is one of the mill engines that’s truly excellent. You don’t need much to get it going and it can kill opponent’s rather quickly if you have the support for it.
My Pick: Chromatic Lantern
So going back over the draft, I realize that this pick was 100% wrong. Sure I was a Field deck, but at this point it seemed that I would either be base Blue splashing cards or base Izzet splashing cards. Lantern is very good in this deck, but passing up one of the best wincons in the Cube (and a wincon that I already had a lot of support for) was definitely a mistake considering beyond Field of the Dead, I didn’t have a guaranteed wincon yet. Furthermore, the Field decks can struggle against Control and the best way to beat control is by milling them out.
The Correct Pick: Teferi's Tutelage
Pack 2 Pick 5
Another pack with a lot of excellent options and a good indicator of where this draft is going. Once you start getting towards the middle of Pack 2, the open lanes should be clearer and we see a few Blue cards, solid Red cards, and a few Green cards. As we noted before White seems completely congested and Black has also not been particularly present. I feel confident that going base Izzet is the open lane. With that, the most interesting cards to me were Purphoros's Intervention, Regrowth, Electrolyze, Indatha Triome, Abrade, and Hedron Archive.
Purphoros's Intervention is a solid removal spell albeit a bit pricey. However, it’s definitely not the strongest card in the pack so it’s not in high consideration.
Regrowth is a cheap and efficient spell that rebuys our best spell. We currently don’t have much we’re actively looking to Regrowth, but that can change pretty quickly. Relatively high consideration for this.
Electrolyze is an extremely good removal spell for small creature decks and solid if you just need to cycle it in general. Definitely keeping this in mind.
Indatha Triome is an excellent pick up for Field decks, but I’m base Izzet maybe looking to go Temur and this Triome misses all those colors except Green. As much as I like Triomes, this feels like the wrong one.
Abrade was always solid in Arena Cube, but the artifacts have gotten better as well so having a main deck way to kill them and also function as small creature removal is extremely helpful.
Hedron Archive is a solid ramp element, but it’s better in Big Green than it is in Field decks. If we first picked the Ulamog, this would’ve been the best possible pickup.
This was definitely a tough pick, but when in doubt, take the historically most powerful card.
My Pick: Electrolyze
Pack 2 Pick 6
Unlike the other packs, this one has very few cards I’m actively looking for. Siege-Gang Commander is cool, but it’s definitely one of the weaker threats in the Cube. Unlike in Standard, Crawling Barrens is unfortunately pretty bad in Cube unless you’re a dedicated Control deck. The only real considerations are between Breeding Pool which is probably the best land we could ask for at this juncture or Pillar of Flame a decent removal spell. I think the choice is pretty clear.
My Pick: Breeding Pool
Pack 2 Pick 7
This pack is better than the last one, but not by much. Blood Crypt is an excellent land, but it’s unlikely we’re going to splash for any Black cards since it seems pretty closed off and there’s so few Black cards worth splashing for. Lightning Helix is excellent, but we don’t really have fixing for it yet. My top 2 contenders are
My Pick: Shatterskull Smashing
Pack 2 Pick 8
There’s still a lot of Red cards, but most of them we don’t want. Seeing Heliod's Intervention this late is pretty surprising as it’s one of the best board cards in the format, but I know it’s still pretty undervalued. The only two considerations here are Lightning Strike and Bubble Snare. Although I believe Bubble Snare is also undervalued, it doesn’t hold a candle to a versatile removal spell.
My Pick: Lightning Strike
Pack 2 Pick 9
Cha Ching! My gamble paid off big and this is why having experience in a format makes it significantly easier to draft it over time. Knowing draft trends in Cube is generally way more helpful than normal Limited sets as a big limiting factor in normal sets is the power level of the cards you open. Even if you know Draft trends, you can’t pass up a good rare even if it’s in an overdrafted color. In Cube though, there’s always an excess of powerful cards so knowing what tends to go later than it should can allow your deck to get ridiculously fed. Technically, Leyline Tyrant, Baral, Chief of Compliance, and Chart a Course could all be contenders as well, but we know what we’re taking.
My Pick: Magma Opus
Pack 2 Pick 10
Considering there’s no good cards in my colors, I’m looking at the colorless cards.
Lithoform Engine is expensive, but does work the best in decks that are looking to cast expensive spells. Copying a Magma Opus is definitely a good time and not as gimmicky as most think it would be.
Prophetic Prism is decent color fixing, something that it doesn’t seem like I need much of right now.
My Pick: Lithoform Engine
This was the rationale I used at the time, but I think I was off the mark. I already had good wincons established in Field, Magma Opus, and Mizzix’s Mastery. I didn’t really need more beyond that realistically, but there was a chance I needed more fixing. It was extremely unlikely I was playing either, but I did choose incorrectly.
The Correct Pick: Prophetic Prism
Pack 2 Pick 11
No consideration here as there’s only one card in my colors, and it’s a decent one at that.
My Pick: Lay Claim
Pack 2 Pick 12
Nothing we want here realistically so I’ll just take the best card.
My Pick: Atarka's Command
Pack 2 Pick 13
My Pick: Regrowth
Pack 2 Pick 14
My Pick: Faithless Looting
Obviously not looking to play Hellhound and they should take it out of the Cube, it’s not even good in Monored.
My Pick: Akoum Hellhound
So as it stands, I’m firmly in Izzet and looking to splash Green for Elder Gargaroth and Regrowth. If I don’t end up playing them it’s not the end of the world, but I’d definitely like to. Furthermore, I’m really looking for Ramp as using Field the fair way is a lot less exciting than powering it out which gives me extra incentive to draft Green moving forward if possible.
Pack 3 Pick 1
Not the strongest pack, but a wealth of options. If we’re looking at what we could potentially take, there’s Thassa's Intervention, Cultivator's Caravan, Irrigated Farmland, Fight with Fire, Coldsteel Heart, Disdainful Stroke, Shock, and Explore.
Thassa's Intervention is solid albeit expensive and I like having a few counterspells in all my Blue decks, definitely a consideration.
I always like picking up more lands, but not so much Irrigated Farmland. Cycle lands are pretty low on my priority list and it’s only in one of my colors. Still a consideration, but not thrilled with it.
Fight with Fire is a really nice removal spell that turns into a wincon later in the game. It’s better in more aggressive decks, but would work well here. Definitely a consideration.
Coldsteel Heart is pretty good and I am looking for Ramp, but I’d prefer land ramp. Despite that, it’s still definitely in consideration.
I really like Disdainful Stroke as most of the spells that are going to kill you are expensive. That being said, taking it first pick is a bit depressing, but it’s a consideration.
Shock is a decent removal spell, but definitely not looking to take it first pick.
Explore is awkward as it’s the card I most want, but splashing for Ramp is always a dubious practice.
My Pick: Explore
Explore is the exact card I needed to put me deeper into Green, but it is definitely risky as there was still a reasonable chance I wasn’t playing Green. I’m unsure if that pick was correct or if I should’ve taken something like Fight with FIre or Coldsteel Heart, but I went medium risk medium reward as it is the perfect card if Green opens up a bit.
Pack 3 Pick 2
Despite this only being pick 2, this is pretty unimpressive for us. Rashmi, Eternities Crafter is a cool card, but not really that good. Watery Grave is not a great land for my deck, but a consideration. Baral's Expertise is a solid card, but not when you can’t leverage the free cast that well My main two picks were between Folio of Fancies and Emergent Sequence.
My Pick: Emergent Sequence
Unlike last pack, I feel that this was more clear cut. I didn’t want any of the other cards and adding more Ramp seemed like good value.
Pack 3 Pick 3
Disallow is a solid counterspell and I’m still looking to pick up one, but there are a lot of strong cards in the pack so I don’t think it’s a high consideration at this point.
Patient Rebuilding is yet again another piece of the Mill plan. If I took the other Mill pieces this would’ve been a windmill slam, but it’s quite good even by itself. That being said, I do already have a decent amount of wincons, but this is still an excellent card.
Icy Manipulator is excellent in slower decks as a tool to slow down the opponent’s gameplan. It does generally function more as filler, but it’s filler I’m happy to have.
This was another extremely tough decision that went down to the final few seconds. Although I don’t hate the Spring pick, I think I got too tunnel visioned by taking 2 ramp spells previously. I’m not positive that it was incorrect, but I feel that Compulsive Research could’ve been the more correct choice. If I correctly took the Teferi’s Tutelage earlier in the draft, then Compulsive would’ve definitely been the correct pick. Very tough pack.
Pack 3 Pick 4
From a really hard pick to a relatively easy one. The only two real considerations were Inscription of Insight which is good in late game Blue decks and Silumgar's Command. Considering I couldn’t pick up Black fixing earlier (I had ample opportunities to, but there was always something better), I don’t think it’s a strong consideration. Ox of Agonas could be a contender as it’s a strong card, but I doubt I’m ever getting to 0 cards in hand with this deck.
My Pick: Inscription of Insight
Pack 3 Pick 5
Back to tougher picks again. Although I’m not super excited by any of these options, most of them are quite solid. I’m looking at Thassa's Oracle, Castle Vantress, Hengegate Pathway, Blightstep Pathway, Temple of Plenty, Saw it Coming, and Demon Bolt.
Thassa's Oracle is a really nice hedge to have in case you start to run out of wincons or the opponent is looking to mill you out. Definite consideration for this.
Castle Vantress could be ok in this deck, but it’s likely to be a tapped Island most of the time. Furthermore, I think Vantress is just pretty bad in general.
Hengegate Pathway and Blightstep Pathway are about at the same power level for this deck. Both are likely to function as non-basic basic lands, but could help splash for something. Either seems like a reasonable choice.
Temple of Plenty is a decent land, but I really dislike Temples in cube unless you’re both colors. If I was definitely looking to splash White, it would be more of a consideration.
Saw it Coming is a very solid counterspell and I’m still looking to pick one up.
Demon Bolt is a decent removal spell and one you can Foretell on turn 2 and hold up for awhile.
My Pick: Hengegate Pathway
Once again, I’m very unsure if this was correct. Although I do like taking lands in weaker packs, I could’ve taken Saw it Coming and had shored up a counterspell. I was likely to secure a mediocre land later so I may have been hasty in taking Hengegate. However, the more basic lands you have to play with Field of the Dead the worse it gets, so it’s really a toss up. Spoiler Alert: I think Hengegate ended up being the correct pick, but I’m not sure it was at this juncture.
Pack 3 Pick 6
This pack doesn’t have much, but it does have some real bangers. Prismari Command and Ashiok, Dream Render are great spells and Raugrin Triome is an excellent land. That being said, Ashiok is absolutely broken and players should stop passing it so late. It’s one of the best cards in the Cube and also another part of the Mill plan. Furthermore, exiling the graveyard and shutting off searching the library is also just insane.
My Pick: Ashiok, Dream Render
Pack 3 Pick 7
Magmatic Channeler is solid in decks with lots of spells, a requirement this deck does fit.
Domri, Anarch of Bolas is a solid card, but moreso in creature decks. I wouldn’t say it’s completely off the table, but it’s unlikely I’m taking it.
I’m a bigger Dryad Greenseeker fan than most (clearly y’all haven’t been dusted by it enough in M19 Limited), but it’s not the best green card in the pack.
Tangled Florahedron hits most of the marks on what I’m looking for. It’s either a non-basic land or early ramp.
My Pick: Tangled Florahedron
Pack 3 Pick 8
My Pick: Cragcrown Pathway
Pack 3 Pick 9
A lot of the cards we were considering the first time were taken so that mostly leaves up with Thassa's Intervention or Fight with Fire. I am still looking for a counterspell, but Fight with Fire slots into this deck quite perfectly.
My Pick: Fight with Fire
Pack 3 Pick 10
We’re back to the weak second pack and it’s slim pickings again. The real considerations are between Rashmi, Eternities Crafter and Folio of Fancies. Although I’m unlikely to play either, Folio of Fancies is an excellent board card against slower decks.
My Pick: Folio of Fancies
Pack 3 Pick 11
Nothing I want here except that tasty counterspell. Castle Garenbrig is a better castle than Vantress, but still it’s likely to only function as a tapped Forest most of the time.
My Pick: Disallow
Pack 3 Pick 12
Not interested in any of these cards, but the non-basic land could come in handy.
My Pick: Khalni Ambush
Pack 3 Pick 13
I’m pretty surprised Thassa's Oracle wheeled, but Blue was wide open and I’m not complaining. As I mentioned before, it’s an excellent board card.
My Pick: Thassa's Oracle
Not surprised Prismari Command wheeled and I’m happy to take it.
My Pick: Prismari Command
My Pick: Jaya's Immolating Inferno
FINAL DRAFT PICKS
So this is all the picks I accumulated in the draft. I’m pretty happy with how I went about it although I did make a few mistakes That being said, if you didn’t mess up a few picks in the draft, you either got fed more than a 18th century French King or you didn’t realize that you messed up. Building this wasn’t too difficult, but it wasn’t super easy either.
FINAL DECK WITH SIDEBOARD
This deck came together great and I should’ve gotten the well earned 3-0, but messed up match 1 against a strong opponent which led me to 2-1 with this deck. This wasn’t the most complicated draft as Field of the Dead constantly gave me a game plan to draft towards extremely early on, but there were still many interesting picks regardless.
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