I think we're all a little tired of Amonkhet Limited by now (I'm still enjoying it, but sometimes you need something refreshing), so this week we're going to do some Cube drafts! For those of you who don't know, I am a Cube aficionado. Today we will use my Cube, which is a Legacy-"Good Stuff"-style Cube with a graveyard subtheme (though it has not been updated with the new Amonkhet cards yet). First picks in Cube are almost entirely up to the drafter, as there will be plenty of defensible options. Too many of the cards are great. Occasionally you have a trump card, such as Upheaval or Sulfuric Vortex, but I have selected a pack that I find more interesting to start off with:
Pack 1, Pick 1
This isn't one of those busted-in-half Legacy Cube packs, but it's still pretty strong. There are plenty of cards I'm happy to first-pick. Firebolt and Mana Leak are very good, cheap, interactive spells, which are at a huge premium in Cube. But given the level of impact many of the cards in this pack have, I think it's more important to start out with something powerful. This concept eliminates Tropical Island for me. Even though dual lands are amazing, our other options are just too good.
Fact or Fiction is one of the best card-draw spells ever printed. Combine that with the fact that Cube decks are chock-full of powerful cards and this Cube's graveyard subtheme, and you have a very solid first pick. I wouldn't fault anybody for taking it here, but I think both other options are just more powerful.
Grave Titan is one of the best creatures ever printed and takes over a game entirely by itself. Also, it's entirely possible that Exhume wheels out of this pack. So you could certainly take Grave Titan, stay in some B/X shell, and move into Reanimator if Exhume tables. Again, it's Cube and I would not fault you for taking the card. It definitely has the highest ceiling.
The thing is, the next card is so much better than people give it credit for.
Mox Diamond is one of my favorite Cube cards. It's not in the same boat as Power 9 Moxen, but it's very good. I will play it in almost every single deck, and games where you cast it early, you will seldom lose. Fast mana, as many of you know, is one of the most broken things you can do in Magic, and Mox Diamond is no different. I'm quite happy to start off my Cube draft with this card!
Pack 1, Pick 5
The Picks So Far:
This is a great start to a draft. Following up Mox Diamond with Balance is a gift, as they synergize quite well together. I think many of you would look at this and be pretty excited to play a W/U control deck, and while that is entirely an option, there is no need to zone in just yet. We have Balance with three pieces of fixing, so it's possible that I don't even end up white and just splash the Balance in Grixis control, or even some good-stuff deck. Maybe we can get a bit more direction with this next pack.
I really don't think you understand how hard it is for me to pass Squee, Goblin Nabob. Squee is one of my favorite cards of all time, and I'll often first-pick it in Cube because it's Cube and I want to play with the card, especially because I could wheel the Molten-Tail Masticore here. But don't worry; I'm fighting my urge and taking the "correct" pick (grrrr).
Also note Smokestack works very well in, well, the Stacks decks, and Balance can also create a good foundation for this. I actually wouldn't fault anybody for taking Smokestack, but I do feel that this pack has better, more interactive options.
Tarfire may look unassuming, but it does get a big bump knowing that Emrakul, the Promised End may come around. Shock is a surprisingly good Cube card, and I'm always happy to play a couple of copies of that effect in any of my decks, whether aggro, midrange, control, or combo. Given that we don't know if we are red, and the card (disregarding Emrakul) is somewhat replaceable (especially with a Firebolt in our initial pack that could also wheel), I'm not going to take it here. But I do value cards like this very highly.
Both Underground Sea and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad are great cards that could very much make the deck. But I already have some fixing and I'm not even sure if I want to play black yet, which definitely gives both the cards a negative tint.
Miscalculation is such a good card. And I think it's the pick here. As I mentioned, cheap interaction is extremely premium here. Given that it has cycling and that I already have a Tundra, the card has a very good probability of making my deck. It's great early and still good late. It helps prevent degeneracy while also protecting your own. I'm happy to take it, and while it doesn't have that much direction, it's a solid addition to my deck!