It’s been a while guys. I have been quite busy over the last two months and was unable to write much. Now I am back.
Unlike regular draft, cube is open up to individual interpretation. Picks are made according to personal preference and play style. There is no such thing as a wrong pick. I will be walking you through each pack explaining my reasoning.
Now it’s time to crack pack 1.
Hmm…. Options options. For those who are new to cube, the first pack will often be extremely baffling considering every card in a cube pack is efficient and playable.
The five that stand out to me are Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, Woodfall Primus, Damnation, Watery Grave, and Cryptic Command. Both Ulamog and Primus excel as ramp targets. Their abilities are similar in that they act as point removal of troublesome permanents. Ulamog costs more buts is colorless while Primus costs less but is more color intensive. A swing or two from the Eldrazi is usually GG, Primus can still be chumped. In regards to reanimating, Primus is far superior. From my experience Ulamog will be more likely to wheel but picking either of them are fine.
Damnation is not an unique effect in the cube however it is unique in its color. A solid pick that will set you up for control.
The concept of first picking nonbasics is new to people who have never cubed before. Having a pile of sweet spells and basics is not my idea of fun unless it is RDW. Unlike regular drafting where you have to maximize the impact of your 45 picks, the amount of playables in cube allow for 22 free picks. Feel free to experiment with them. Personally I like to use these free picks to draft a large amount of nonbasics. Five color control is the only deck that relies exclusively on this concept. Though doing so may generally improve the manabase of your decks.
Cryptic Command cements you into blue with the triple blue casting cost. It is the most versatile counterspell out there. Similar to Damnation, you will most likely go into control with this pick. If you know that the play group does not include any control freaks like me, feel free to wheel it.
I would take the Cryptic Command or Woodfall Primus depending on my mood. If I take Cryptic, I would follow up with Damnation, Forbidden Alchemy, Inquisition of Kozilek or Watery Grave when the pack comes around. If I take Primus, I could take Wall of Roots, Flooded Grove or Ulamog.
Onto pack 2.
There is a clear winner in this pack. Nothing compares to the resilience and annoyance that is Batterskull. This piece of equipment can find a home in any deck. Giving a massive power/toughness boost along with lifelink and vigilance makes it a nightmare to face for any creature based deck. The possibility of recursion and a built in survival mechanism makes it a solid threat against control. All in all it has all the characteristic of an exceptional creature/equipment with the added bonus of being colorless. There are only a handful of cards that I would pick over this and none of them are in this pack.
Following closely in second are Vindicate, Vedalken Shackles, and Winter Orb. Vindicate is an all round versatile removal spell to troublesome permanents. It performs best in control decks but can function reasonably in BW decks.
Vedalken Shackles is a Control Magic on a stick allowing the player to pick and choose targets as the games played out. The drawback is that it can’t function outside of a heavy blue based deck. Shackles can end games by itself when opponents have no ways to interact with it.
Winter Orb acts as a source of resource denial, finding a home in either aggressive decks or stax. A perfect build around me card to start off with.
I hope this article gave you, the reads a better sense of what goes through my mind when I crack a pack. There are many intricacies you will learn as you become familiar with cubing. Each cube has its own particular set of characteristics that will affect your picks, take for example the inclusion of signets and power. Tinker’s power depends on the amount of artifacts surrounding it. As always feel free to comment and discuss.
Go big or go home.