[500] CCC - Casual Champions Cube

Yeah, that's right, for the first two rounds (beating me and my very experienced friend Sami) my girlfriend played with only ten plains– accidently. It should not have worked, but she won and even got to turn Figure of Destiny into an 8/8. She also got a bit lucky with the matchups, but nonetheless, did very well.

That's funny, but especially if you have more permissive mulligan rules that's not that wild. Especially since she was playing 25 nonlands, for a 35 card deck, which has much less variance. Optimal land count for a 35-card deck with a free mulligan is probably 11 or 12 (and just because this deck has top end and manasinks).

The deck wasn't even perfect (no anthem effect and an unnecessary Soul Warden), yet it is the second win of mono white in four drafts with 4+ people this year. I'll keep an eye on wether it is a little too good.

Hard to imagine this becoming oppressive if people are willing to go for it to chase win rate, as splitting the archetype is perfectly possible (maybe branching into Wx aggro variants) and not too risky. It might be a case of your cube being a slow meta, such that other decks either are incentivized to optimize for that meta (but sort of let go of the aggro matchup because it's only one deck in the table). It could also just be that your players don't like aggro so it's always open, in which case it might make sense to weaken it a bit :)

My less experienced buddy Tobi is still on his trial run, playing around with all the different themes and archetypes that are outside his red-white comfort zone. Besides his severe lack of removal, the list looks pretty good (he had a Toggo in the sideboard which he should've played). However, what you can't see: Before the draft we ate together and he made the mistake, to tell everyone what he was going to draft – lead to a bunch of weird moments before and in the draft lol.

He also said, that he was a little overwhelmed with it in game, but I guess that was mostly because he had never played with most of the cards in his deck before.

I think the biggest issue with this deck is that it's an "artifacts" deck, but it isn't an "artifacts control" or "artifacts combo" or "artifacts aggro". The one-drops are aggro, but then you don't have enough density and run out of fuel with Mindslaver in hand, and a bunch of Talismans in play ramping into not much. It could be valuable to add some higher power 7-drop to support a deck like this than Meteor Golem, or maybe focusing artifacts a bit more into a fast, a midrange, or a slow archetype.
Hey @japahn, I am glad your kinda back. Hope your family is doing well! <3

As always, your observations are spot on. Especially this one:
I think the biggest issue with this deck is that it's an "artifacts" deck, but it isn't an "artifacts control" or "artifacts combo" or "artifacts aggro". The one-drops are aggro, but then you don't have enough density and run out of fuel with Mindslaver in hand, and a bunch of Talismans in play ramping into not much. It could be valuable to add some higher power 7-drop to support a deck like this than Meteor Golem, or maybe focusing artifacts a bit more into a fast, a midrange, or a slow archetype.

Now it seems rather obvious to me. I would have noticed it (and maybe tobi as well), if it was Jackal Pup and Wildfire in the same deck, but somehow the artifact type lines made me go "yeah that card should be fine".

If you compare it with this deck I've went 2-1 with in january, a midrange version of artifacts, it's not nearly as cohesive:

Esper Artifacts 2-1 (5-3)

HOWEVER, what I do like about the artifact theme in my cube is exactly it's ambivalence. There are a whopping 74 artifacts (and 13 cards that create artifacts but aren't) in my 500 card list, supporting various playstyles and overlapping with various themes. I do want there to be the potential for artifact aggro, artifact midrange and maybe even artifact control. I want blink or dredge decks with artifact subthemes or vice versa. It's still to be proven if all of that works out, but that's the goal at least.

What I had not cosidered before, is that this ambivalence gives more room for potential mistakes. My friend told me afterwards he literally picked up everything with the word artifact on it. The fact that this doesn't lead to great results is probably more positive than negative, imho, but it also explains how an unexperienced drafer can end up with a deck that looks synergistic at first and then loses three rounds.
So far only updating my cube twice a year, hasn't been a problem. I'm even slightly late with my "july update". It ended up being more "cut from the top" than "cut from the bottom" but for diffrrent reasons.

... replaces Topplegeist. Because it's a simpler design not including the akward delirium mechanic and instead bringing artifact synergies with it.

... replaces Thopter Shop, which might be surprising, but I am trying to reduce the amount of flying tokens. One of my main goals with this cube used to be to have a place to play my beloved Nightmare and have it be decent at least. Recently, it struggled a bit with too many flying chump blockers.

... replaces Galepowder Mage because that card is a little too strong for my taste. I am testing Stonecloaker in his spot because of the minimal graveyard hate attached to a card in the right color.

... replaces Clarion Spirit to reduce flying tokens and because I wanted another lifegain payoff after I removed one from in orzhov slot. More to that later.

... replaces Thopter Spy Network, also to reduce token spam in the air and because I really wanna see what Emry can do. Maybe she can link artifact and graveyard themes more?

... replaces Evacuation because if I want mono blue control to be a thing it needs at least a fighting chance against agressive go wide decks.

... replaces Ruin Crab. Hedron Crab is awesome, but two of them are just too painful. Jeskai Granny does a lot of cool things.

... replaces Gixian Infiltrator. I want more sac fodder in black.

... replaces Hypnotic Specter. Sac fodder and card draw. I wamt to test this card again. Sad to see Hyppie go, but while it can be brutal, it doesn't help any supported themes or strategies in particular.

... replaces Executioner's Capsule. Because I am afraid of what Emry could do here.

... replaces Plated Geopede, which was just too sick with 18 Prismatic Vistas.

... replaces Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith. Toggo was also a bit too good. A bit of an experimental addition here, I'm curious how this dragon will play.

... replaces Goblin Bombardment. It kinda hurts but artifact synergies might be worth more than one old frame card.

... replaces Starstorm. Red's board wipes synergizing with the Wildfire deck is cool.

... replaces Dimir Guildmage, which wasn't played as a true hybrid. It's hard to find a true hybrid for dimir, but maybe this faerie is better than it looks? One mana for a flying blocker that trades with many things and even in chump mode permanently shrinks a threat. We'll see.

... replaces Lagomos, Hand of Hatred. Yeah, after that long post celebrating that I finally found my perfect rakdos card im Stormclaw Rager, I now decided to try Juri instead because it synergizes with Prismatic Vista and stuff. Don't ask. Maybe my twisted brain doesn't want to find the perfect rakdos card?

... replaces Gallia of the Endless Dance. This one hurts a lot because I have a self made alter of Gallia. But I think Stormbind works just for more decks than madness aggro. I could switch back here any time.

... replaces Regal Bloodlord, because maybe that's a better card to link white lifegain and black sacrifice.

... replaces Thopter Assembly. Less flying tokens. Cheaper cards. Statue is cool, Assembly was always kinda boring. I don't need a colorless six in this cube.

I also have a feeling that the green based landfall decks are too strong, but I couldn't find a satisfying way to fix this.
After three Pokémagic drafts, past wednesday, we drafted the CCC again. First time after the summer update. It was a good draft with interesting results. We basically had the inversion of the usually expected table ...

1. {G}{W} Tokens (3-0, 6-1)

My friend Tobi, who usually hopes to not come in at the last place, won all three rounds and only lost a single game. He was too aggressive for the blue control deck, had lifegain for the aggro mirror and could go wide enough to beat artifact midrange.

2. {B}{R} Aggro (1-2, 3-4)

The rest of us went 1-2. My girlfriend ended up at the 2nd place, because ahe won one game against the token deck with this aggressive rakdos build.

3. Mono {U} Control (1-2, 2-4)

I got passed all the sweet blue cards and went all in. I also wanted to try how mono blue could perform. I didn't go for the spell synergies as I had too many roadblock creatures I felt like I needed. Still, I had a hard time against the two aggressive decks. I even cast Scourge of Fleets, which felt like a winning play, against rakdos twice and still got beaten in both games. I camein at 3rd place because I won the direct duel withthe artifact deck.

4. {c}{B}/x Artifacts (1-2, 2-4)

My friend Sami is the best player in our group and usually ends every draft with a positive result. Him being at the 4th is new. I think his artifact deck was lacking a bit more beef at the middle/end of the curve and/or better card draw. He had all the mana but sometimes was lacking impressive things to cast.

Very interesting draft.
Past saturday I've had another draft happening in my home, and I was very happy to introduce a very good friend of mine to the group. I've used to draft and play a lot with him, but it was the first time he managed to come to our new place and join this playgroup.

But back to business. Because we we're 5 people, we played two rounds best-of-one. Here's the results:

1. {B/G} Dredge-Ramp 7-1

And back to normal, Sami won the draft easily. He only lost one game against my spells deck and made it pretty obvious that I have to cut Lotus Cobra. That card is too sick with so many fetches. In one game he played Smother, Emergent Sequence (three +1/+1 counters) and Mire Triton on turn three while also ramping.

2. {U/R} Spells Control 5-3

After a very tricky draft, I ended up with a deck I adored playing. I got to cast all those sweet counter, burn and draw spells, create 19 Zombies in the first two games alone and cast huge fliers for 3-4 mana. I knew that Pteramander and Fledgling Dragon were awesome, but the new addition Ore-Scale Guardian was just as good here. Between Vistas, loot and selfmill effects, it's pretty trivial to get 3+ lands into the graveyard in most games.

Special Moment: Galvanic Blast shooting down a 4-toughness creature thanks to the three treasures from Inspired Tinkering – I had 0 real artifacts in my deck.

3. {c} Artifact Midrange 3-5

Tobi tried for the second time to draft an artifact deck and fared better this time. I played like a classic midrange deck that seemed very adaptive to the matchup and situation. Healer's Hawk was the ONLY non artifact card here, which was a pretty clever addition with the powerful equipment in the deck.

One note: beginner-ish players really misevaluate mill. Tobi here always used his codex shredder to aggressively mill the opponent even though he never came close to success with this and although he had Scrap Trawler in the deck. And after he realised how massively he fueled my win condotions, he paused and then continued to mill his next opponent (on rakdos sacrifice).

4. {W}{W/B} Lifegain Aggro 3-5

Another 10 plains/ 5 swamps deck :D

But this one looks totally different. Pretty good actually, an aggressive lifegain deck with a low curve. It could've performed better but my girlfriend, who was piloting this, maybe wasn't focused enough. It could've also been bad luck, maybe sometimes the shaky mana base.

Another thing beginners undervalue is of course mana fixing. I've tried multiple times to tell my gf how much better it is to have 3 Prismatic Vistas in your deck than a slightly bigger side board, but she kinda refuses to draft them.

5. {B/R} Sacrifice Aggro 2-6

That was Felix, the old new guy. He loves a good game of magic but plays very infrequently, especially lately. His deck had a few cards not really focused on the theme and he shouldn't have used Vampiric Tutor the way he did, but mostly, his deck worked and he had some good games and even an impressive win against my 2nd place spells deck.

All in all, the draft went great. People had fun and I got to connect different friends of mine through mtg.

I also got some results from more recently added cards:

Ore-Scale Guardian was very easy to cast for 3 or 4 mana in my izzet deck and felt like it was exactly the power level I'm aiming for.

Swooping Lookout is a really solid Suntail Hawk, even the vigilance mattered against my Pteramander.

Finally, Scrap Trawler was in a draft where someone went for artifacts and it really showed it's potential. Now I understand why it was printed at rare.

I wanted Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim to do two things: Push white lifegain or token drafters into black and push black sacrifice drafters into white. On his first appearence in a draft pool ever, he already could tick the box of the former. And I think he played very well too.

So did Juri, Master of the Revue. Maybe it was the right decision to add him instead of that Berserker from MoM? Time will tell.

My cube makes me so incredibly happy.
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I've just recently realised, that my Cube was celebrating it's 10-year anniversary this month. I've checked cardmarket and found out, that it was the 6th of September 2013, that I've first bought cards explicitly for my cube. Before, in 2009, I had quit magic and sold all my cards, except those from my 9th edition starter decks, out of nostalgia (turn out I should've kept my duals, Force of Wills, my Gaea's Cradle and Rhystic Studies instead, but who could've know that ...).

Then in 2012 me and my friend Sami got back into the hobby and developed the idea of using those 9th edition cards and some ravnica cards we used to love to repeatedly build decks from - we didn't even know about cube as a format at first. After some tinkering with very stupid ideas (rarity restrictions, doubles of every common etc.) we've made the decision to buy some cards from other sets and only have each once in the box, so we could do draft-like stuff with that pile and have a lot of variety and replayability.

Then in september, we started ordering for that purpose. Today, to celebrate the CCC's anniversary a little bit, I've got this list together, containing all the cards currently in the cube, that had been there from what you could call the very first day.

It's possible, that this list is missing a few cards. For example, I am not sure whether or not we had the RAV bouncelands in there at first - I think we started without any mana fixing :D

Still, I thought that would be a funny little glimpse into the past to share.
This month I could really celebrate my cube's birthday. In addition to the 5 person draft recently, I yesterday had one with 7 people (it could've been 10!). After WoE prerelease I connected with dozens of magic players in Bremen. And yesterday, we met in a new location – there is a nice burger bar here which has a large, clean back room you can "book" (no charge) to play MtG or other games.

So, I sat down with six girls and guys I didn't know, in a location I had never been ... it was pretty exciting and a total blast!

With all those new things and with us beeing seven, meaning one had to wait each round, it was very hard to track everything. Also, I didn't know all names by heart yet. And I didn't even see some of the decks really. There were also a bunch of draws, as we did timed rounds with turns, and people had to read and think a bit more as none of them had drafted the cube before. Supposedly, not sure why games would take that long then.

Also, I drafted the slowest, grindiest deck one could ever imagine :p

{U}{B} Dredge/Control 1-2-0 (one win, two draws)

Oh boy, did I have fun. This deck was crazy good in filling my graveyard. In the first game I had ten cards in there by turn three. I won only one game with the actual lab man (he was killed on sight often), but 'tog attacking for double digits or Haunted Crossroads being a repeatable Worldly Tutor wasn't bad either. The first two rounds I went to game three which ended in a time-based draw, but at least I got a 2-0 in the last round against the draft newbie :p

It was the first time I saw dredge and drawgo work so well together in my cube. Great to see that's a possibility too.

{U}{B}{R} Wildfire/Artifacts 1-2-0

This deck also had two draws, but i don't know how those rounds played out. I just saw it's last game against Esper Blink and it seemed to work pretty well. The wildfire effects do harmonize with the artifact shell.

{R}{W} Lifegain 1-1-0 ?

This player won the first round against the other red white deck and managed to get a draw against me. I was a little shocked when I saw the curbe later. One game against me she went Leonin Vanguard into Dragonslayer face up into Celestial Unicorn, that was pretty sick.

{W}{U}{B} Blink 0-1-1

It always sounded like the player with the blink deck was doing very well and creating crazy amounts of Golem tokens, but then he just got a draw a d a lose :p

Deck looks sweet though.

{G}{W} Landfall/Tokens ?-1-?

I didn't see this deck at all. Would've been curious to do, it looks pretty synergistic, but is lacking removal and also 44 cards thick lol. The drafter said, she just didn't want to cut anymore cards, which, I guess, I could take as compliment, regarding the coolness of my cards :p

{B}{G} Midrange ?-1-?

That was my first opponent. I can't say I dislike a good ol' black green vaue pile, but I think there are some cards that don't belong here, like my beloved Nightmare. Me and this guy, we both started the drafting trying to go for mono black, so we made it difficult for each other.

{R}{W} Aggro/Equipment 0-0-2 ?

It was this guys first draft ever and it didn't went so well for him. He was a bit short on creatures for a deck with so many equipments and he had some cards that simply didn't work here, like the Arcanist's Owl which was effectively an 8-drop.

I really hope this guy still had some fun, he did seem a little frustrated in our second match when I had my whole deck in my graveyard and Haunted Crossroads in play, replaying whatever threat troubled him (he just refused to die for quite a few turns :D )

There was a moment where I attacked with a very threatening Psychatog and a deathtouch guy, he cast Temporary Insanity, I responded with Memory Lapse, he tapped his last three lands and paid 4 life to cast Act of Aggression, I tapped my last two lands and cast Mana Leak. Spectators were cheering :p

I've also seen a few new additions in action.

Just added because there was basically no competition for a non mana intensive hybrid in dimir, this gal was really good in my deck. She was often the reason I could survive an opposing fast start. She comes down before counter magic can be cast by either player and is basically a defensive Dead Weight you can cast with an Island.

That card feel so dynamic. Kills small things, kills big things if you need to. I even cast it with kicker to kill a 2/2 once because I really wanted to sac something.

Brought in as a placeholder. But seeing this guys value in the artifact deck, scrying every turn and then swinging for big chunks of damage with equipment was quite impressive. I might keep him over Thousand-Faced Shadow, who seems to just go into onw deck.

I am happy. Having a second playgroup now means I can maybe get a satisfying amount of cubing done :)
I know, I said I'd only update the cube twice a year, but I had a really good and an okay reason to make an exception here ...

I'm cutting:

Because I still have to balance landfall support since I went for 18 Prismatic Vistas last january. Cobra has proven to be too strong and I think the 1-drops would sooner or later cause problems.

I'll try some other landfall cards:

The first three have been on the weaker side when I tried them some time ago, now they might actually be worth it. Leopard should still be a good aggro dude without being a freaking 1-mana 4/5 all the time.

The second task: For draft and game play reasons I really wanted to finally get rid of DFCs:

Those are replaced by:

Mostly I managed to find 1-for-1 replacements. Fencing Ace is a bit unimpressive, but all the Fencing Ace+ cards we have are either dfcs, Adorned Pouncer or heavily indicate a theme I am not supporting at all.

To adjust numbers (e.g. the number of cards that work with dredge, lifegain payoffs etc.) I had to add a few more cards. And some I just slipped in because I wanted to lol.

... and then cut these:

Most of these were easy cuts. Confiscate hurts a bit because it had some kind of pet card status, but I really don't want too many stealing effects, so having all of them support some theme (Vapor Snare, Invoke the Winds and now Welcome to the Fold) seems correct.

Then there was also a special change I had to make ...


Deal Broker was fun in the beginning but people started to really take up a lot of time for that trade :p
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Did another draft at that bar in the back room again, although this time we've only been four people. Still had a great time! All four have been playing for around two decades, most cards didn't need to be read and games went surprisingly fast! The results:

1. {U}{R} Spell-Madness 2-1 (4-2)

This draft was a success. Not primarily because I won it, rather because my deck was (again) proof that I integrated archetypes and themes into the cube in a way, that they have enough overlap, that a mix of them can work. I started drafting madness stuff and then moved more and more into spells. The worked really, really well and was a blast to pilot.

2. {G}{c}{R} Wildfire 2-1 (4-3)

What a weird deck. It has elements of a green ramp strategy, but all the actual ramp cards are colorless. However, there was enough power here that this guy only lost against my spell-madness deck.

3. {W}{U} Blink 1-2 (3-4)

This was actually one my regulars, Sami, drafting this deck. It reads really well and I'm surprised he didn't do better. One against him I thought I was clearly losing against a bunch of flying golems, but I managed to Fire his Wing Splicer and somehow slowly take control of the board. Very intense games!

4. {B}{G}{W} Midrange 1-2 (2-4)

While there are some thematic sprinkles (lifegain stuff mostly), it is really a classic midrange goodstuff deck. Some ramp, some beefy 3-drops and some fatties, some answers and fixing. It's a plus in my book that these kinds of decks don't win drafts usually, but I like that they can co-exist in the environment.

Some new card observations:

I should've been cubing Haggle before. Being one mana cheaper than Thill of Possibility is a huge deal. One game against blink I cast Haggle on turn one to get Wonder into the graveyard. That was quite powerful, and I didn't even cast the Merchant.

That card keeps to climb up in my evaluation. It's a sweet design that not only works in WoE but also made a good first appearance as a madness enabler. Next time I wanna see it in a Wildfire or artifacts deck.

I think it was only cast for 13, essentially making it a 5-mana wrath. However, that's the main role it is supposed to have, so that's good. Now I want to see someone say two or three with it.

Chris Taylor


I think it was only cast for 13, essentially making it a 5-mana wrath. However, that's the main role it is supposed to have, so that's good. Now I want to see someone say two or three with it.
Or zero if your opponent has makeshift munitions in play ;) (You do name on resolution)
Note to myself: Maybe I want to try a little discover package for the next update scheduled in january.

And I would proxy up some versions with reminder text for Glyph and Egg.
The upcoming winter update will be pulled ahead a little bit from january. I have a draft planned for the 30th, and I've heard rumors that my significant other got me some shiny new cards for christmas, so I just ordered the rest to have it be ready for that appointment.

... replaces Travelling Minister because I wanted something more straight forward here. And I've found room for another lifegaim source, as you'll see.

... those two replace Prison Term and Binding Prayer. I wanted to make white's removal cheaper and thus better in the early game, while giving the color some removal spells that can't deal with fatties as easily. Also: Artifact synergies!

... replaces Benalish Marshal to help solidify mono {W}'s identity. I want the monocolored decks to have some synergistic themes, and I checked if the majority of the 4 mono payoffs I've had for each color did also work with it's main theme. For white, I wanted another one that synergizes with the theme most likely to appear in it's mono decks: lifegain.

... replace Gift's Ungiven and Grasp of Darkness. I've learned that the more aggressive colors red and white lean more towards being mono anyway. Blue and black need a little more help and thus each get a fifth payoff. They replace a card that nobody ever maindecked and just another removal spell.

... replaces Gorging Vulture because I just missed Ruth. Not sure about the cut.

... replaces Moldervine Cloak. I didn't want to give mono green another "payoff", I thought to replace Renata with something that fits the colors ramp core better and then add another token/gowide payoff ... just to realize that that would still be Renata, Called to the Hunt.

... replaces Vines of Vastwood. I wanted another token maker, and I really used to like the morph hermit. Vines was an easy cut because it never got played. Maybe I'm cutting too much aggressive stuff here from green, but that topic is very complex and I will adress it in another post (and maybe with another update).

... replaces Pyrewild Shaman because the latter never got played really. That gave me an opportunity to try another cool artifact synergy piece in red, which didn't really have anything besides the mild payoff Galvanic Blast.

... replaces Third Path Iconoclast. That cut might be controversial, but I only have one slot per guild when it comes to traditional gold cards. I think this dragon does a better job here, because it links the themes of spells and artifacts at least as good, has a better floor and is simply cooler (love the full art version).
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Okay, a little update to the update. Colors other than red and white haven't been base colors for an aggro deck for a while. Those other colors could be part of different aggro decks, as they had enough cheap cards that support some specific micro synergy, like {R/G} madness, {B/R} aristocrats or {W/B} lifegain, that were often utilized within aggro decks. However, I found that I still had some purely aggressive, non-synergistic cards in my black and green sections. Those have survived there since my mtgsalvation days, where I was made believe that every aggro deck need seven one mana 2/1s. I still want to support aggressive strategies in every color, I just don't need Savannah Lions in all of them.

... replaces Sarcomancy instead of replacing Gorging Vulture as mentioned above.

... replaces Carnophage. Still aggressive, still a 1-drop, but this one synergizes with sacrifice and dredge

... replaces Jungle Lion. The only aggro deck green really plays a role in is {R/G} madness (the {G/U} version is a midrange deck). So I am replacing this 2/1 with an enabler that actually can hopefully work in different kinds of madness/graveyard decks.

... replaces Experiment One. Nest Invader is a very flexible card. Playable in aggro but also synergizes with tokens, ramp, sacrifice ...

That makes for a change list of 15 cards. I've considered before to cap my semi-annual updates to that number, to prevent myself from changing too much with too little practice and data gathered in between.
One day bevor new years eve we had another 4-person draft happening at my home. It was a great conclusion for a year 2023, that came with a lot of cubing and magic compared to the previous two years. Here are the results:

1. Mono {B} Sacrifice Midrange (2-1-0)

My inner ten year old was very happy to slam Nightmare in a grindy mono black deck once again. My rounds went 2-1, 2-1 and 1-1, but that last one could've been a 2-0 if I wouldn't have been dumb. I had a fully grown Voracious Hatchling against a Rhox with a +1/+1 counter and conceded, because I didn't realize that he couldn't kill my Hatchling AND deal the final 6 to me. We only noticed after I scooped and then we didn't have time for game 3.

2. {G}{U}{R} Madness/Lands Midrange (2-0-1)

Sami said his draft went horribly wrong, but even though this list isn't as focused as usual, there are some strong synergies and an overall high card quality. It was enough for a solid second place.

3. {G}{B} Landfall Midrange (1-1-1)

Tobi kind of forced landfall this time, but then splashed the color that is the only one without payoffs, black. Of course the removal, card draw and recursion elements still make sense, but there are some cards here, that don't really fit.

4. {U}{R} Spells Control (0-0-3)

Denise tried something here, she hadn't drafted spells matter or blue based control decks before. The deck would need some fixing and a burn spell or two to look really great, but the bigger problem was that she found it really difficult, naturally, to make good decisions with her deck. Today we played a game with revealed hands and I could teach her a thing or two on when to cast your instants, when to hold removal etc. I am very happy that she now really is willing to leave her aggro comfort zone.

Some new card observations:

Faerie Dreamthief felt playable even in a slower deck like this one. Surveil+draw a card later is a nice thing to have. She also wears Equipment very well of course which helped here.

Welcome to the Fold exceeded expectations in this very small sample size. It was a brutal swing against me in one game and effectively decided the game.

Picklock Prankster optimally wants more than the 14 targets Denise was playing in her deck to really constantly, according to first impressions.

Galazeth Prismari needs more testing. It was definitely a good card, I just can't tell ho much it really helped to fuel the instant and sorcery theme, or how well it would do in a hypothetical artifact deck.
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On new years eve 2022 I started collecting data from the drafts I've done. One year and nine drafts later I want to take a first look at that data. Of course it's not compareable to what we are used from retail sets in the age of 17Lands, but it is what I've got. And over time, it will be helpful, I hope.

This is a list of decks drafted and whether they got a positive result or not:

1/1 Mono {W} Lifegain Aggro
1/1 Mono {W} Aggro
0/1 Mono {U} Control
1/2 Mono {B} Sacrifice Midrange
0/1 Mono {R} Aggro
1/1 Mono {G} Ramp
1/4 Artifacts Midrange
1/2 {W}{U} Blink Midrange
1/1 {U}{B} Dredge Control
0/1 {U}{B} Ninjas Aggrocontrol
1/2 {B}{R} Sacrifice Aggro
0/1 {B}{R} Aggro
0/1 {B}{R} Wildfire Control
1/1 {R}{G} Madness Aggro
1/1 {R}{G} Wildfire Control
1/1 {G}{W} Tokens Midrange
0/1 {G}{W} Landfall/Tokens Midrange
0/2 {W}{B} Lifegain Aggro
1/1 {B}{G} Dredge Ramp
0/1 {B}{G} Midrange
0/1 {B}{G} Landfall Midrange
0/1 {G}{U} Landfall Midrange
2/3 {U}{R} Spells Control
0/1 {R}{W} Aggro
0/1 {G}{W}{U} Spells Control
1/1 {W}{U}{B} Blink Midrange
1/1 {U}{B}{R} Wildfire Control
1/1 {G}{U}{R} Landfall Ramp
1/1 {G}{U}{R} Loam/Madness Midrange
0/1 {W}{B}{G} Midrange
0/1 {B}{G}{U} Dredge Midrange

This list above gives me the relevant context for the following observations to be worth something.

Next I checked how often each color was represented in those decks and how often it resulted in a 2-1 or better.

{W} 5/13 > 38%
{U} 9/15 > 60%
{B} 7/17 > 41%
{R} 8/14 > 57%
{G} 7/14 > 50%

This is probably more an indicator of white being the least favorite color of Sami and me, us being the two most experienced drafters/players in our group. I hope time will move those percentages closer to each other.

Here, I also did the same for color combinations. Decks in this format are usually 2.0 colors (very exactly so if you don't count the artifact decks, which are often 80-90% colorless).

{W}{U} 2/4 > 50%
{U}{B} 3/5 > 60%
{B}{R} 1/3 > 33%
{R}{G} 4/4 > 100%
{G}{W} 1/4 > 25%
{W}{B} 1/4 > 25%
{B}{G} 1/5 > 20%
{G}{U} 2/5 > 40%
{U}{R} 5/6 > 83%
{R}{W} 0/1 > 0%

I don't think gruul decks being at 100% positive draft results or golgari just having a score of 1/5 is alarming with this little data. However, I think it is already kinda obvious that maybe rakdos and especially boros need a little more synergistic appeal. Just being aggro go wide stuff is not convincing when a color pair like izzet can be madness, spells matter and artifacts, supporting different flavors of aggro, midrange and control.

So I will do another small update before the end of this month.
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Past wednesday I drafted my CCC mid-update with five other people who all had never drafted it before. It was a lot of fun and very insightful. Here are the lists and results:

1. {R}{B} Aggro 3-0 (6-2)

This deck overperformed in the hands of a very good player, I'd say. It has some sacrifice and madness synergies, but neither are super focused. It also doesn't have any mana fixing. But, if you'd know which hands to keep and if you draw the cards in the right order, it could be very very good. Also, nice to see the before this draft second least drafted color combo win a draft, even when this deck was playing barely more than a splash of black.

Also 1. {G}{W} splash {R} Tokens/Landfall 3-0 (6-2)

Funny Story: The guy who drafted this claimed he drafted 'tokens', but everyone else said that it felt more like 'landfall', which lead to some discussions and jokes over the course of the evening. However, no one could be the "non-landfall-deck", except me in one game where I managed to burn them out ...

3. {B}{R} Sacrifice Aggro 1-2 (4-4)

I made some mistakes during the draft – White was very open and I could've moved into boros aggro or orzhov sac, but stayed in both of my very contested colors. I still had some cool synergies and managed to get enough wins to have the best game ratio of three decks that won one match.

I won the first three games I played and I won them all with Exquisite Firecraft to the face :D

Fun Situation: I got me Debtor's Knell with Booster Tutor in a game I was losing heavily. Still lost, but it was cool to switch from aggro to super grind and almost get there.

4. {G}{U} Landfall Ramp 1-2 (3-4)

That person was new to the group, but it seemed like they knew their magic. Nice to see a straight up green-blue deck doing reasonably well. Sadly I didn't play against them.

5. {U}{B} Ninjas 1-2 (2-4)

That was a tough draft to go for the ninja deck. Not only were there two people trying to draft an aggressive black (rakdos) deck, but I also had similar idea early in the draft and had Ninja of the Deep Hours and Moon-Circuit Hacker in my draft pool. A bit sad, I would've liked to see a ninja deck do well, but the draft was tricky.

6. {G}{U}{R} splash {B} Madness Midrange 0-3 (1-6)

That was the same guy who made the 8th place in our Ravnica Cube draft. Interesting, from someone who also owns a cube, you'd kinda expect him to do better, but I guess that's two different disciplines. I've made enough last places myself lol.


(New) Card Observations:

Scroll of Fate isn't that new, but it took a while before it really saw some play. The player winning the draft said this was one of their MVPs. Just having the lands 5-16 that you might topdeck being 0 mana 2/2s is really strong in aggro.

Cult Conscript was never more than a tapped 2/1 for one. But that's good enough and I actually want my 2-power aggro 1-drops to not have massive upsides.

Scute Mob was not played against me, but it seemed to work really well. The person playing it asked me in the first round if there were ways to give it trample in the cube – later he said, that it was good that he didn't have any.

Thousand-Faced Shadow is the last new 1-drop that made an appearence. I just saw it once, where it bounced another cheap flier and copied a Man-o'-War. Seemed cool.
I think Boros being so underdrafted is not necessarily a sign of it being weak, more a sign of it being uninteresting. And I don't even mean that just in a way of people don't like aggro, there just was more tempting synergy support for gruul or orzhov decks, that people just went for the more flashy madness deck or the more obvious lifegain deck. Just go wide aggro is probably both at the same time: Too boring for the enfranchised player and too unassuming for, essentially, everyone.

So I figured to spice things up. As mentioned in this post, I decided to establish a prowess style deck. This allows for a more dynamic game play experience in a boros aggro deck, works well with the gowide theme through token creating spells - I am not really removing anything from the cube in terms of themes - and adds some interesting overlap with e.g. the Ux Spells decks,even though those are very controlling.

Sooo, here is what I am adding to support this theme:

Cheap threats that grow when you sling spells, adventure creatures, and some cheap spells that work with those. But thanks to most of these cards working with just noncreatures, I can also count on my enchantments and many artifacts to help here. What I cut wasn't even that exciting: Some generic aggro dudes (Mogg Conscripts, Elite Vanguard), some dudes that had some synergy, like gaining life or being an artifact, but could be sufficiently replaced while also enabling borowess (Stone Haven Pilgrim, Lizard Blades) and some cards that weren't played much anyway (Death or Glory, Squee, Goblin Nabob).

I am VERY excited to see this in action.
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Talking about new toys, I'm going to wrap up my january update. It's been larger than I would've expected, but at least now I will have five months were I'm not allowed to touch the cube :D

Here come the things I haven't mentioned before. The biggest part is a update regarding my lands. Before I was on painlands+bouncelands for every guild, the rest Prismatic Vistas. I am not going to touch the Vistas - that experiment was a huge success - but I thought about the bounce lands. As much as I love them, they don't fit my cube as well, where you're 2.0 colors on average and you want to start casting spells on turn two. I also have them in my ravnica block cube, so I figured to mix and match the tapped-land-slot for each color combo, trying to get some more variety and synergy into my land slots:

Other additions I haven't mentioned before:

An artifact buildaround, some classics and a new card. They will be replacing Sanctum Gargoyle, Fairgrounds Warden, Arcane Denial, Extract the Truth and Grapple with the Past. Then, finally, we have some new hybrids coming. I've decided to just run as many flexible hybrids as I think to be a good fit. I'll just roughly balance the monocolor sections according to the number of hybrids a color has access to. Those will come in:

They will be replacing Stonecloaker, Thieving Magpie, Reclamation Sage, Oath of the Grey Host, Gorging Vulture, Aetherspouts and Ghost-Lit Raider.

I'm done.
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Somewhere in between moving to our new home we managed to get a 5-person draft done with people who helped us. It was a bit chaotic, it took several days to play out all the games and two people couldn't even finish all their games themselves. But it was still fun and we somehow played out all the rounds for some valueable data.

1. RUG Madness Midrange 3-1 (6-2)

Gruul, Izzet snd Temur decks keep getting great results, especially the madness decks. I have to make sure they aren't too dominant, but you gotta have a strongest deck in a format, and if it's that, I would be very okay with that.

2. WB Lifegain Midrange 3-1 (6-4)

My gf returned to drafting her favorite deck, just a more midrangey version of it, and immediately goes 3-1. Deck needed some fixing but otherwise felt very strong.

3. UB Control 2-2 (5-4)

I really didn't want to draft another U/x spell focused control deck, but people just keep passing me stuff like Counterspell, Mana Leak and Fact or Fiction.

Psychatog is still such a boss btw.

WU Blink 1-3 (4-6)

That guy's first attempt to draft a blknk deck was a little unfocused. A few more actual blink enablers and targets would've been needed for a better result I assume. Yet, this is the only deck that beat the madness deck.

Mono B Sacrifice 1-3 (2-7)

This one also could've been more successful, but for the first few games, that guy was running an unnecessary white splash (Retreat to Emeria and Doomed Traveler). After bringing in Cult Conscript and Dusk Urchins instead, it went much more smooth.

(New) Card Observations:

Seemed quite strong. Don't underestimate prowess on a 2/3. Great hybrid.

Elas now had his first moment in the spot light. He came down almost every game and really felt worth it's gold slot and being in the elitist circles of single choice cards like Tatyova, Brago or Psychatog.

Such a cool card. It now did the thing where one says "seven", sacs a bunch of soldier tokens (and drains the opponent) while whiping the opposing board.

Not new but it had been a while since I've seen someone getting owned be Willy B. Happened twice this draft.

It wasn't really supported that much in it's deck and was still very good, because it's also an Air Elemental. And it takes very little to be much better, even a measily +1/+1 equipment guarantees you a second attacker they'd have to doubletrade with.