Sunday 20 December 2020

Supreme Draft: Vintage Cube


Supreme draft has arrived on MODO and is an interesting format, if utterly foolish in a powered cube. For those unfamiliar with the format you take 18 boosters total and take two cards from each discarding the rest. This leaves you with 36 cards all of which are first and second pick quality. The resulting decks are stupidly good. Not helped at all by the fact that the MODO iteration doesn't track boosters as if from one cube pool and lets you have duplicates as a result. The format has some advantages in that you don't need other people to be involved in the draft as well as some nice logistical ones for doing it online with others. It also has some disadvantages as you can see from this turn one screen shot below. To describe it as an RNG fest would be an understatement. I have had decks with effectively no power and others with double figures, the latter being much more common. Much as vintage supreme draft is very silly it is quite novel and fun and shouldn't detract from the fact that the format is probably quite good for normal cube play, either unpowered or even just not having duplicates possible. 

For those wishing to play the format I have some advice but mostly it is about having fun. Obviously pick power almost always. Be in blue in order to facilitate picking up Ancestral and Time Walk and indeed most of the other coloured bombs. Archetypes are not really a thing, just do broken stuff as quickly as possible. A lot of cards are utterly unplayable as are a lot of archetypes including most  conventional aggro and all midrange ones. 

It is such a fast format that even some powerful cards don't really cut it if they are too costly or too slow to take effect. You mostly want game breaking stuff, cheap disruption, fast mana, and card draw. Things outside these categories are just not much help. Some typical high picks fall off a lot in value. Strip Mine for example is unimpressive as people have so many Mox. Library of Alexandria is also less good than usual as games are over before you have time to really milk it. Holding all your Mox and such back in hand to keep a hand size of seven is just asking to get them all Wheeled or Time Twisted away. Other cards like Ugin which are typically bombs are of less use than normal what with not answering all that much and not ending a game all that fast. Sure, all these cards are still decent but they are far less good than usual and should wind up in decks less often. 

Aggro is viable if you have the kind of disruptive dorks but without them you are just going to get mauled by broken and unfair things. Eidolon of the Great Revel is on of the very best here. Thalia is quite good too but she typically hurts you too and white aggro is a little dodgier than red being that much slower and less interactive typically. It is worth noting Direfleet Daredevil is a pretty sweet card as it will usually have Recall and Time Walk to cast.... Even fairer seeming cards like Tireless Tracker and Bomat Courier are surprisingly good and playable what with having cute artifact synergies for the likes of Urza and Tolarian Academy and just being card draw tools. That Courier in the first picture drew us four cards that game and could have drawn more (with Emry recursion) if it hadn't already drawn us into better things to win with. I think we went on to cast a 10/10 walking Ballista on turn four or five (another great card when you have big mana tools) to clear a path for our sizeable Urza construct through an opposing Wurmcoil Engine.

Draw seven effects are amazing due to how many fast mana effects most decks typically have. This in turn makes card draw disruption one of the very best things in the pool to include Hullbreacher, Narset and Leovold if you can play him. Steal artifact effects are also great as they always have decent targets. Dack Fayden in particular as he is also a draw tool. Thieving Skydiver is the other card in this camp that jumps a lot in value. Here is the pool we had for that draft, it was one of our best but we have seen numerous better decks and had plenty of pools very close to this one in power. We basically played everything bar the costlier red cards plus a few basics. This list could have done with a couple of draw seven and a Force of Will but we made up for it with good ways to spend mana, good threats for the meta, and a bunch of more unconventional draw tools. Nissa was pretty comfortably the worst card in our final list and she was hardly bad...

Here is one of the packs we were offered midway through, what would you take?

The gut reaction is to take the power but we went with Urza (and Lotus although I would have been more than happy with the Mox instead) as we had the synergy to support him properly and he just does everything. This blew my mind a bit that a four mana dork is a card I would pick over power. It wasn't wrong either, Urza is a joke of a Magic card. Far too pushed really. It is a sign that power creep has hit a limit and if it goes any further things are going to go off the rails a little. Here are a few more pools that help to paint a picture of what a good deck should look like in this format.

Happy hunting! 

Kaldheim Preliminary Review Part I

Pathways 8

These have been great thus far and sit roughly at the power level of pain lands in cube, which is to say above all other pure fixing lands except sac, shock and original duals. Certainly there are decks that prefer a quick land but on average these perform better. Horizon lands and most of the dual manlands are also better too but they are good for utility reasons. I advocate for great fixing and so I think most cubes at 540 size or bigger should look to include these but if 70ish (including the Triomes) lands is too much then I guess these are going to among the first cuts. Rounding out the cycle will be most welcome in my cube.

Showdown of the Skalds 6

This is very powerful indeed. It is comparable to Escape to the Wilds which was apparently ban worthy as far as standard goes! Much as Showdown is arguably better than Escape I doubt it makes many cubes as it is narrow being gold and really only suitable for Boros aggro. It is not that desirable as far as what it offers at that point on the curve. Four drops and up tend to want to be threatening. Sure, this is more value more quickly and safely than planeswalkers but it isn't a game winning card. You can only play so many four drops and so the ones you do play you typically want to get a lot out of. Probably this is like a land or two and a couple of small dorks. That isn't punching through and winning the game in the way that a planeswalker or an Assemble the Legion or an Aurelia the Warleader is able to. Red has plenty of card advantage four drops that are more playable and appropriate even if they are not exactly more powerful. I do very much like the idea of flickering Showdown and getting repeat draws and counters however. Certainly a card I will build with but not one for drafting with. 

Pyre of Heroes 4

Tribal Birthing Pod. Much as Pod is very potent it is also very narrow even without any sort of type restriction. It is just super hard to build, let alone draft, a 40 card deck with a smooth curve of targets such that your Pod gives options or even just functions across your curve. This adds type to the mix massively increasing how narrow it is. There will be some tribal decks where this is a great addition. Tribal cubes may even be able to make this work but most normal cubes should avoid including this. Absolutely a card heavily rooted in the constructed world. Interesting, fun, and powerful but not a limited card. 

Magda, Brazen Outlaw 6.5

To call this pushed would be an understatement. This is a lord so powerful I would strongly consider it for cube inclusion despite a real lack of other dwarves. Presently I have 3 dwarf cards in my cube including changelings. Magda will not be pumping or extracting treasure from other dorks often at all. What she will be doing is creating cheap treasure herself with relative ease. Captain Lannery Storm was nearly good enough for cube and Magda does most of what she did but better. Magda doesn't need to attack to create treasure, she can crew or find some other way to get tapped down. She is also a two drop meaning her potential ramp is that much more meaningful being able to speed out a four drop. Just a 2/1 for two that makes treasure when tapped is quite possibly good enough for cube. Add to that the ability to tutor a dragon or artifact of your choice into play and she jumps up in the excitement as well. Sure, this won't happen often at all but it is game breaking when it does and not at all out of the question. Magda makes other dwarf cards, things that can tap down your dorks (Springleaf Drum, Opposition, vehicles etc), and other treasure producers all significantly better. She also obviously singlehandedly turns dwarf from a meme tribe into a potentially serious one. 

Realmwalker 4

Vizier of the Managerie was surprisingly underwhelming and this looks like it will be much the same. Certainly a three drop is better than a four drop with is kind of effect however limiting it to just one type of dork guts the potency of this effect and pretty much limits it to a tribal tool. The changeling aspect of Realmwalker is interesting and increases the potential applications for this card but not really in any sort of draft or limited setting. Ultimately this is a low threat dork with little impact on the board with low, slow, and unreliable value returns. Even if you are lucky and see a couple of dorks of the chosen type you have your hand forced into playing them if you want that value which is often not the optimal line. A good elf card but not many other archetypes jump out as a home for this one. 

Kaya the Inexorable 7.5

This is a very solid planeswalker indeed that I would rate comparably to Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. Kaya is very powerful when there is stuff going on but does suffer more compared to other walkers when there is a clear board. The -3 is obviously exceptional and a big part of the draw to this card. She is just a good answer to most things. Lots of five mana walkers can answer stuff pretty well but either not all stuff or not so effectively or permanently. The ultimate is cute too and encourages you to use it as soon as you hit seven loyalty so that you can replay her for free in your next upkeep. With just Kaya to recur it is decent and will win in the long run but you should be able to find some other legends to recur or cheat out and win with in a comparable time frame to most other decent walker ultimates. The +1 is most unusual and while good it is not always useful and has no direct effect on board or to card advantage immediately. It is still quite versatile being a means to protect against removal, a way to generate tokens for sac outlet fuelling, or indeed to prevent your opponent flickering things in and out for value. It looks as if you always get the token regardless of who controls the ghostform counter target. While not always useful it does have a reasonably high ceiling for a +1 ability. Lots of cube dorks have EtB effects and cost relatively little mana and so giving the ghostform treatment might well make you want the thing to die. This in turn could act as a way of forcing through some damage. You could block my Thraben Inspector would rather take the hit than give a 1/1 flier and another clue etc. It is also noteworthy that presently the options on black or white walkers in the five slot is not all that impressive or deep and that pushes this Kaya a little. Still, mostly you are playing this as a removal spell and black and white really do not lack in that department. The competition for this card is more like Anguished Unmaking, Elspeth Conquers Death and The Eldest Reborn than it is other walkers. The other Kaya options are also a little more interesting than this and so it might be tough finding room to fit this one in on top of the many juicy Orzhov offerings. 

Halvar, God of Battle // Sword of the Realms 6

Halvar doesn't seem very godlike to me but then apparently Norse mythology suggests that gods are not immortal and gain much of their power through their weapons. Halvar himself is pretty weak. A 4/4 for four with no protection or evasion or anything much going on baseline. He fails a Doom Blade test hard and is not able to tangle all that effectively in combat. If he comes down and gives something you have in play already doublestrike then he is rather better but that is going to be fairly rare in cube. The moving about of buffs is also pretty narrow, you cannot really cheap on equip costs as you need them to already be equipped to qualify. 

Sword of the Realms is more interesting as far as cube goes. It makes things significantly more threatening and a pain to try and ignore with the vigilance. It is very slow and grindy being an equip to start with and having a fairly hefty cost for the buff it offers. It should win eventually but it certainly isn't in the same league as other cube equipment as far as power, tempo, value, or threat goes. 

I wouldn't play either of these cards in cube on their own but wrapped up together in this nice convenient MDFC package I am a lot more tempted. A card that buffs dorks when you have them or is a dork when you don't is a good place to be. White aggro decks want both those things and does not have much in the way of selection to ensure the right mix. I will certainly be testing this out quite extensively. I imagine he will do OK in cube and perform acceptably but ultimately need cutting for more playable and powerful cards. Occasionally his high ceiling will come into play and make him look good but this will just distract from his rather mediocre average performance. Really he is pretty narrow as you are only playing him in aggro white decks and they have plenty of more streamlined options, typically in planeswalker form. Halvar will shine in equipment themed decks where his ceiling will be hit far more often and he will allow you to load up on equipment for things like Puresteel Paladin without overdoing it on equipment cards that do nothing when you have no dorks in play. Halvar is certainly more punchy and exciting than Ancestral Blade...

Sarulf, Realm Eater 3

What an odd little card. Too fiddly, aimless and gold for the cube is my bet but there is a lot of potential power and synergy on offer. If you can manipulate counters in some way you have a kind of Pernicious Deed that sticks in play and gets to smash face. Too often this is just Gnarled Mass and needs a bit too much hand holding to get beyond that. Sometimes he will utterly dominate a game either as an out of control fatty or a sweeper but I don't need to test this one to know that it will not be enough. 

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Top 14 Rabblemasters

Rabblemaster style cards are somewhat of a cornerstone card type in my cube. They are great at closing out a game quickly if uncontested. They are solid against removal too as they often leave behind some kind of residual value. Further to that the value, rather than being in card form as per a Sea Gate Oracle style card, is in the form of bodies on the ground. This is surprisingly important in  most cubes where tempo and planeswalkers typically define the meta. Rabblemaster cards are high tempo and high threat while being low risk and low cost. Most high threat cards in cube cost four or more mana or are high risk cards that set you back a lot more when at their floor performance. With all this taken into account it is no surprise that this group of cards are among the most played in my cube and back up this high incidence of play with results. 

For this list to work I need to define what a Rabblemaster card is and I need to be a little looser with the parameters than I would like as we would be short on candidates otherwise. Essentially it is any creature with converted mana cost three or less that is able to create creature tokens in an ongoing capacity without any need of further support, be that further mana investment or triggers from other cards. This lets us rule out things like Monastery Mentor. It also rules out cards like Pia Nalaar who only ever makes the one token and does not have that snowball potential. Certainly Pia is good for a lot of the same reason the Rabblemaster cards are good but she is more on the value, safety and utility fronts and less heavily weighted on the threat side of things. Mentor on the other hand is much heavier on the threat scale but requires you to build and play around somewhat in order to achieve and is not therefore a standalone card you can just toss into a deck or throw down on turn three and have it be good. I also don't count dorks that make tokens which remove themselves from play like Kari Zev or Geist of Saint Traft as they do not snowball either and are more comparable to the Pia Nalaar style cards that make tokens just on the EtB trigger. 

14. Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle

Bringing up the rear we have Mavren. As a stand alone he is slow, vulnerable and generally quite bad. The odds on you getting to attack with your 2/2 and survive to make more tokens is very low and you really need to be making more than one token without any chump attacks for Mavren to be at all above curve. Certainly if you have a significant number of other vampires in your deck such that they can reliably trigger Mavren the turn you play him then he gets a lot better but this is too narrow for cube and keeps him restricted to constructed tribal decks. In those he is pretty strong but mostly because vampires love extra bodies and have few good ways to generate them. 

13. Thraben Doomsayer

A safer way to make dorks than Mavren but not a good way. As this is rarely getting involved in combat itself you need 3+ tokens before it has been a worthwhile investment and that is slow and a little hopeful. Mass and spot removal both take quite the dump on this guy. I don't even rate this guy if you are building a humans tribal deck. The only time I would consider Doomsayer is when I have a reasonable chance of triggering the Fateful hour at which point he becomes very potent. Such decks are rarely white and super tough to make at the best of times. A token a turn drip feed cards are best off when not on a dork to remove the mass removal vulnerability. Felidar Retreat, Elspeths, Castle Ardenvale etc. 

12. Steward of Solidarity 

This is the least Rabblemaster like card on this list and is only really getting mentioned as it isn't precluded by my stated criteria. While this has a reasonable price tag it is so slow to generate value that it never really snowballs or represents that much of a threat. You can usually just ignore it and either answer it with mass removal or win through it. Steward is simply too low impact to be much of a threat and too slow to get by just on being cheap. As soon as you start to mix in synergies with Steward however the value goes up quickly, be that untap effects, Anthems, tribal perks, or even just giving it vigilance. I have used this card in plenty of places but never because it is a good stand alone card. I would not recommend this for drafting cubes.

11. Skyknight Vanguard

This little dork looks better than he actually is although he is still quite a jump up in playability from the previous cards on the list. There are two main issues with this card. The first is simply being gold which greatly reduces the playability in draft cube. The second is that the tokens created are attacking and as such frequently do nothing and die. At that point this is just a 1/2 flyer which is no kind of threat. It is fairly hard to snowball this out of control. Certainly this has a decent ceiling when you follow it with an Anthem but such things align too infrequently for this to be worth running in cubes. If both the body and the tokens shared creature types this would be an all star in that tribal build but being split it is less abusive there too even if it can be played in humans, knights or soldiers as it is. 

10. Najeela, the Blade Blossom

This one shares a lot of the issues Mavren. Warriors are more abundant than vampires in cubes, especially in the card's respective colours but still not abundant enough to take Najeela out of the narrow camp. The extra power and the token coming in attacking do make Najeela much more punchy than Mavren. Although I marked down the Skyknight for putting in tokens attacking it is less of a concern here as their priority will be to block and kill Najeela herself and not the token which is not so often an option against the flier. The activated ability is actually something that is relevant in cube and while rare to come up it is powerful and turns this into the most snowballing card on the list. Ultimately being a three mana 2 toughness dork you need to survive attacking with keeps this out of contention for drafting cube but not by much as the ceiling is so high and the synergies are out there. As a build around this is one of the better cards on the list but as a standalone draft card she falls off a lot compared to the others. 

9.   Mardu Strike Leader

The black iteration of Najeela. This loses all the frills and top end performance and replaces it with a few conveniences which has the affect of giving this a slightly better average performance and floor. The dash isn't all that mana efficient but it is safer against removal and can catch your opponent off guard. It can be a help against taking out planeswalkers or just a good way to play around mass removal and effectively turns this into a modal card. Against players with poor ability to block this is great but otherwise it is fairly hard to get too much out of. 

8.   Hanweir Garrison

Having three toughness rather than two is a big win for a card that needs to attack in order to generate value and indeed survive to that point. Generating a pair of tokens is also a big win and works well with having them enter attacking. Uncontested this is hitting for four the first time round and into blockers it is hard to fully clean up as it is spread over three bodies. Any synergies you might have tend to scale better with this than most other cards on this list as it is typically making twice the tokens that the others do as a baseline. Much as a 2/3 is worlds better than a 2/2 or 3/2 as far as cards on this list go it is still not exactly a substantial body and is quickly outclassed. Play this on curve, on the play, and alongside other relevant cards and it is utterly savage however off the top in the mid to late game it might as well be a Grey Ogre and is easily outclassed. While this card is powerful enough to compete in cubes there are just enough better red cards that do what this offers that it is rarely seen in lists any more. It is probably worse than Mardu Strike Leader but has an easier time of performing being red and having better tempo backup, more abundant removal supporting it, and more synergies with token generation. 

7.   Zurzoth, Chaos Rider

A fraction better than Hanweir Garrison but not always and not by much. Both are essentially 2/3 three drops that generate on the board value when they attack. Zurzoth has the mild perks of occasionally triggering the turn you make him thanks to another devil (realistically a Mutavault!). Occasionally he will annoy your opponent by giving them disincentive to drawing cards on your turn. Sometimes he will disrupt them by randomly discarding a key card for their plan. As a red player you tend to want random loots. You have a lot of redundancies and a lot of things that work from the bin or want fuel in the bin to use. Random loots are also effectively card quality for you as well as you are in control of the timing. Obviously not as much as loots where you choose the discard but better card quality than you might expect given that it is generally a disadvantage for your opponent and at first glance appears to be a symmetrical effect. Zurzoth has a lot going on for sure but most of it is minor and subtle. It is a bit more work to maximise the value than it is with Garrison as well as being a slower card overall. Fuelling the bin is generally a value effect that comes into play in the latter parts of the game. Garrison is a rather quicker clock if left unchecked having done 18 in three hits compared 9 from Zurzoth. 

6.   Brimaz, King of Oreskos

The big draw with Brimaz is his meaty stat line. Brimaz can get stuck in pretty well and even if he isn't making cat tokens that survive he usually lives and makes blocking that bit more awkward. He is also as good defensively as he is offensively and can do both at the same time. Not all that often relevant but an absolute beating when it is. All these cards go well with Anthems as they all threaten to make multiple dorks. Brimaz being good and white is the most likely to actually have that happen. Much as I am making him sound good that is only in comparison to the previous cards, none of which are in my cube (although many have in the past). Brimaz is in fact the weakest Rabblemaster like card in my cube and is dangerously close to being cut for more space. He doesn't really solve the problems white decks have, namely mass removal in the Anthem decks. Control decks tend not to want him either as they want more value or threat on their dorks. Brimaz is fairly slow to do all that much in the way of generating value or closing a game out. He fails the Doom Blade test. He is just a fairly fat vanilla beater in a lot of settings and you can do better than that in cube. 

5.   Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin

Now this is a card that gets out of hand like no other. On the first attack he is representing a Hanweir Garrison level of card. On the second he is like a Brimaz on crack. Two atacks really all you need! Krenko also scales in a disgusting way with any sort of buff effect. He even packs some goblin synergy too. The only real issue with this card is that it is a 1/2 for three mana you need to attack with. Krenko gets killed a lot and fast. Sadly often with relative ease, be that with a Kolaghan's Command, or a Collective Brutality, or just with whatever happens to be lying around. It is about as polar as a modern playable card gets. Either he attacks and wins in short order or he dies easily and you fall behind. It is surprisingly rare to see stalemate situations with Krenko sat in play neither attacking nor being answered. Games are a bit too fast paced and red is able to apply a lot of pressure. Krenko is certainly powerful enough for cubes, especially ones with abundant pump effects. He likes gaining haste too! Despite this he is not essential for them and doesn't feel like he does much to improve them as polar cards do not inherently lead to good games.

4.   Precinct Captain

This little chap being so high up the list may come as a surprise. He is both lower nominal power and arguably relative power for the mana cost compared to Brimaz. There are a few reasons why this doesn't matter. In terms of relative power there is not a linear relationship between cost and power. If Captain was 1WW for a 3/3 first strike with a trigger that made a 2/1 or whatever 50% more than a 1/1 token is it would be a worse card. As far as dorks go I want more than a linear increase in power as I go up in cost. The other aspect of this is that Brimaz fails the Doom Blade test while Captain does not as they trade evenly on cards and mana. Sure, this is a different matter when we start to look at other removal such as Shock or Fatal Push but we are looking for averages. On average you are not behind when you have your Captain removed with a spot removal spell while you are when it is Brimaz who gets got. The floor is also better for captain as worst case you are down one mana and not two. All the cards on this list are snowball cards too and so the capacity to get them down a turn earlier is a big win. Answering Captain is not hard but it is something that needs to be done and from a two drop that has a decent floor that is ideal. He rarely just wins a game but he does a lot of heavy lifting towards a lot of wins. He is the lowest risk card on the list pretty much being not only the most acceptable to eat removal but also the most acceptable when he fails to generate any tokens. Captain holds equipment well and tangles better than a lot of the others here in combat by himself thanks to the first strike. It also makes him rather more dangerous, especially for double blocks.  

3.   Goblin Rabblemaster

The namesake card for this group and well earned. While not the oldest (playable) card on this list (the usual determinant of giving ones name to an effect or style) Rabblemaster is the first non-white iteration and a significant jump in power to boot. Rabblemaster does this by ticking almost all the boxes you want ticked for these kinds of card and more. The previous high damage output card on this list is Hanweir Garrison which achieves an impressive 18 damage from three attacks with it. In that same time Rabblemaster has done 25 damage. Rabblemaster is far safer too. You are pretty likely to retain at least one token when Rabblemaster is facing spot removal which leaves you feeling ahead. You also have no need to attack with Rabblemaster itself in order to generate tokens which can work well with things like Goblin Bombardment or just attacking into X/1 blockers. Rabblemaster also trades up very nicely indeed. While he doesn't do well against a couple of 2/2 blockers he does rather better against a 4/4 one. I am very happy if I can trade my three drop into your four drop and have a couple of tokens left to show as well. Rabblemaster is just so dangerous opponents often have to make this kind of trade. Rabblemaster plus an Embercleave is a filthy thing to behold! I have seen those two cards and nothing else win several cube games. One of the best things about Rabblemaster is that it does something right away. Sure, it is essentially a Raging Goblin but one extra point of seemingly free damage can be a big deal in a format so driven by planeswalkers. You can finish off a walker while actually making a relevant play for your turn as opposed to many other cards which would mean wasting your turn or leaving the walker in play.

2.   Legion Warboss

This is basically just another Rabblemaster. It is almost identical in power and function. The main reason I have at number two rather than third is that it is a little less awkward if you happen to have other goblins and don't wish to attack with them. It is rare that Rabblemaster hurts you by forcing chump attacks with things beyond the tokens he makes but it does happen. Warboss on the other hand trades up a little worse never himself growing beyond a 2/2 in size. He also does slightly less damage, 22 compared to 25 over our three attacks. This is basically irrelevant as it is still so much damage! The ability to mentor dorks that scale themselves rather than just tokens is a more relevant side of things. Kari Zev gets a lot from a +1/+1 counter, as does a Walking Ballista etc. Overall there are two minor perks compared to just the one downside in the Warboss or Rabblemaster debate and so Warboss gets the second on the list spot. They could however very easily have just both had joint second. Having that redundancy from both is lovely too and really lets red make use of strong but arguably narrower cards like Purphoros and Goblin Bombardment.  

1.   Ophiomancer

This snake charmer is a bit of an oddity in that it is far more a defensive card than anything else. Brimaz is the only other card on the list that works well defensively but he is capable of both and wants to go in aggressive decks. Ophiomancer only winds up in offensive decks when you have a strong sacrifice theme in your deck. In combination with the likes of Yawgmoth or Goblin Bombardment you get two bodies every round of turns without having to do any attacking. A kind of super Bitterblossom that is twice the output without the life cost. Without a sac outlet to burn your tokens with Ophiomancer is just a massive defensive obstacle that is in no way efficient to attack past. The real strength of Ophiomancer is in the deathtouch which turns a 1/1 token into a much more relevant body than any sort of vigilance, haste, or lifelink that the other cards on this list offer. It makes Ophiomancer a reliable and high value two for one. You need to kill the 2/2 else he just churns out more snakes but you also kind of want to deal with the snake as well else it trades with your best dork. It is very hard to find answers that trade efficiently into Ophiomancer, especially ones outside of control decks with mass removal. Arc Trail is one of the few. A removal spell plus a dork, even if that dork was a free one, is still likely to be a tempo set back. Even in the face of instant speed answers like a Shock it is quite easy to deploy the Ophiomancer when the opponent is tapped out so as to ensure at least one snake is made and value is gained. I play this card in almost all midrange and control decks with access to black as well as any more aggressive ones with any sort of sacrificial use for tokens. 

Friday 11 December 2020

YouTube: Core Cube Draft Round 1

 Well, it only took a few weeks for me to sus out editing... Here is the video for the first round of our draft;

Having re-watched it several times I noticed an interesting thing I do. I talk a lot about couterspells and Control Magic effects, far more so than is actually warranted. This is mostly a tilt prevention mechanism that I have. If you anticipate the worst things that your opponent can do to you it prepares you much better for having them happen. Sometimes it is sensible to play around such things but mostly you just have to play into them and you feel a lot better about that when you do so with your eyes open. You feel good about your predictions should they happen even if the result of them is bad and this helps keep you positive and in the right frame of mind to win. 

Hopefully I will get rounds two and three done soon. We have them recorded but a third mate joined us for the games and as such the debate is likely going to be more chaotic and less useful. If I cannot sort that out with editing I might try and simply do a separate narration audio outlining what we were doing and why. While this would be an interesting exercise it does not sound like it will speed up the uploading process!