In this video article, I'm going to go over a draft I did with the most recent iteration of the Magic Online Cube. I covered the changes with the addition of Gatecrash and their impact in a previous article when the changes were announced in early April. As noted in the article, the biggest change seems to be the increased mana fixing, and I think it may be at the point where one of the cycles like the Mirage fetch cycle could go.
At the end of the footage, my deck was as follows:
- 1 Consecrated Sphinx
- 1 Grave Titan
- 1 Phantasmal Image
- 1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
- 1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
- 1 Vendilion Clique
In retrospect, I would build it with the following changes:
Since I'd typically be tapping out or nearly tapping out, combined with the double blue in its cost, Forbid was pretty awkward fit for this deck. For this reason, I felt that Force Spike would be a better fit for the deck because it would have let me cast a four-drop with Force Spike mana open on turn 5 and other similar plays. I also thought that Scroll Rack would be pretty good in the deck with two fetchlands along with Impulse and Serum Visions to clear out some cards that I wouldn't want. But the only other card that I considered cutting was Impulse, as I didn't have many turn 1 plays, so I felt that Serum Visions was something that I wanted.
Phyrexian Arena was another option that I considered since this is a tap-out control type of deck, but the three-mana slot was quite clogged. It may have been right to play Phyrexian Arena over Vedalken Shackles because I only had three Islands with which to utilize it. I normally don't mind playing Shackles in three-color decks since typically getting a two-power creature with Shackles is fine by me, but Arena likely would have done more in the deck.
I also considered just bringing in Scroll Rack and Entreat the Angels because the interaction is powerful between Scroll Rack + two miracles and keeping out Force Spike, but then I thought that the deck may have been counter-light with only Pact of Negation.
Initially, thanks to the Hellspark Elemental, I put my opponent on Gruul Aggro and immediately exiled it via Swords to Plowshares, but the deck ended up being a more midrangey Gruul deck with Deranged Hermit, Acidic Slime, and Mold Shambler (although my opponent may have drawn all of the curve-toppers, it seemed like it was just more of a Gruul midrange deck with a few aggro cards than a true aggro deck).
I also should have kept Entreat the Angel in my options in game 2 because my opponent seemed like Gruul midrange with some disruption (land), it felt like the game was going to go long, and having another finisher to supplement my threats would have been good to have and would have had more impact than the Knight of the White Orchid, even on the draw. I also probably should have sideboarded my bouncelands into basic lands (- both, + Swamp, + Island) due to the opponent showing me both Acidic Slime and Mold Shambler; one of the ways I would lose the game is if I fell behind in the mana race.
Game 1 was likely a loose keep since I only had four blue sources that entered the battlefield untapped, but my logic was that the opponent likely had a slow hand and that I could probably draw into the blue source needed for Impulse to smooth out my draws (unfortunately, the Impulse got stripped out of my hand and I died, but I did thankfully see my opponent's deck plan of disruption-heavy mono-black).
I have no idea why I kept giving the Stillmoon Cavalier first strike in game 3 (my not bringing it in game 2 was an oversight, as was not bringing in Entreat the Angels). The only reason is that, for some reason, I thought that Stillmoon didn't have pro black (even though that was the reason that I brought it in the deck), although I guess that's how good a 2/X that doesn't die was against my opponent. Thankfully, the only time that I was punished for it was when I used the first strike and it prevented me from holding Miscalculation mana open, but I wasn't punished as my opponent shipped the turn.
During sideboarding, I should have taken out the bouncelands and Flood Plain since they were too slow and a liability versus my opponent (especially against Zo-Zu the Punisher), but Descendant of Kiyomaro went the distance—its life gain was clutch for me getting there in game 3, as was Obzedat's in game 2.
In game 3, I have a feeling that the opponent forgot about Firebolt in the graveyard because I would have died if the opponent had flashbacked Firebolt at my head, taking me down to five instead of seven and letting Bonfire + the two other creatures deal exactly lethal on the backswing.
I hope that this draft was enjoyable for you to watch. Esper Control tends to be pretty boring, but I hope that the draft walkthrough gave you some insight into drafting the deck and how it can work in a more tap-out style.
May all of your opening packs containSol Rings!
We're at the tail end of the You Make The Card #4, and it's come down to the Top 4. From a cube designer's perspective, I appeal to you to vote for "Blood in the Watering Can" for this bracket and ultimately the entire thing.
Recently we've started to see an uptick in an archetype commonly referred to as "Pox" that centers on symmetrical disruption and cards that recur like Bloodghast and Gravecrawler. Blood in the Watering Can fits those strategies like a glove, although it shouldn't be hard to trigger anyway since it should when taking damage a la Sygg, River Cutthroat's trigger; black aggro cards like Blood Scrivener and Carnophage will trigger it as well.
There is already a ton of great ways to sacrifice permanents (Smokestack, Braids, etc.), but there isn't as many that help to break that parity (cards like Nether Traitor are a bit too low in power level to make smaller lists). Blood in the Watering Can should help push cards like Smokestack and Braids further. Consuming Contract was put best by my friend @ProfCrocodile, who said that it has Suspend 4: Lose the game and seems to be too narrow for the format.
I do have a feeling that Revenge for Necromancy will end up winning due to the casual appeal of cards like Megrim and Liliana's Caress (neither of these is cube-worthy even at B, and neither is Revenge for Necromancy), but I think that Blood in the Watering Can has the best chance of being a cube-worthy card unless it gets priced out mana-wise.