Friday, 17 February 2023

Everything is Midrange Now

When I first started to describe my cube as a midrange cube I did so to distinguish it from a combo cube, or at least a cube that contained the ability to draft combo decks. I cut all the combo archetypes out of my cube a while back as I felt it drafted and played better with my rock / paper / scissors dynamic being aggro / control / midrange rather than aggro / control / combo. I hold to this being the case however my cube does now just seem to produce differing types of midrange deck. 

Basically the threats are too powerful, slippery, and diverse for the more pure control decks to handle. This means you don't really see control decks that are just answers, control, and card advantage with a few ways to win any more. Control decks have lots of answers but they pack way more threats than ever before. They have to be more proactive or they are just going to die to some random threat they cannot answer and as such they are. Draw go is not a thing really any more. Control doesn't just pass with mana up for long anyway, sooner than not a big scary thing is going to hit the deck and start to pose questions all of its own. Batterskulls, Scarab Gods, Iymriths. Even smaller things too like Monastery Mentor or Sveyalun can really put wind up a deck not poised to handle such things well.  

At the other end of the spectrum there just isn't any reason to go all in. There is so much in the way of value to be found on high tempo cards that you no longer have to chose between tempo or value, you can have both. An all in aggro deck will easily fold to the wrong card. An Ophiomancer when there is no removal, an Arc Trail, whatever it is. The small gains you get from going as all in as possible do not make up for the games you simply can't win when you randomly then walk into the wrong thing. You can still be plenty aggressive while running cards that scale into the late game, be that a Dragon's Rage Channeler, a Recruitment Officer, a Ranger Class, an Evolved Sleeper etc. Aggressive decks are now just low curve midrange decks that can apply a lot of tempo pressure and can reliably continue to do that for all of most games and most of the rest, typically they have more reachy cards at lower costs as well but this is more technical a description than we need! This is also why control decks need more of their own threats, the aggro decks keep coming so you need to put them down before you run out of gas! 

So that is that, how I would define aggro and control decks doesn't really apply to how those things now look in my cube any more. Essentially it is all just semantics and it is easier to call the "midrange" decks I am building now aggro, midrange, and control. It shows how definitions need to change with the times to stay relevant. It is a good thing too that my cube is basically all just midrange decks as they give the best and fairest games with the most option rich drafts. Yes, there is a degree of it being a bit more homogenous and samey than older cubes and combo cubes but that is a trade off I am willing to make for the higher calibre of game. 

1 comment:

  1. The person I cube with is one of those people who enjoy Magic but also are easily turned off if the game feels unfair for any reason. So I'm always very mindful of any interaction that would frustrate him. Midrange decks seem to be the best at having long games with both players doing a lot of fun things, but with such power level on both sides that a few turns of bricking would be game over. I think that's the sweet spot.