Brirro's Variant Cube

I got to draft my cube again last night! I drafted it with 5 other people who had never drafted my cube before, so it was fun to watch them all go "oooh" with every pack they opened. We didn't have time for everyone to play 3 matches, so it was only 1 or 2 matches for everyone. I did get to add 5 more signatures to my basic lands though.

There was a Modern Horizons 2 pack opened from Lore Seeker

Sultai 1-0

I did not get to see this deck or the next deck in action, so I don't know how they actually played unfortunately.

Abzan Lands 0-1

Gruul Aggressive Midrange 2-0

This deck went 4-0 in terms of games and won all 4 of them by using burn spells to close the game out.

Simic Aggro 1-1

Emmisary's Ploy was always on 2
This was my deck. I ran Arid Mesa and Combat Thresher with no white mana and just chose not to side them out, so I had a couple of dead draws. Invasion of Ixalan had a strong ETB effect, but immediately died every time I transformed him, so I didn't get to check the back side out too much.
I first picked Elvish Reclaimer and my second pick was Wasteland but unfortunately, I saw no other good cards for the lands deck.

5 color Golos 0-2

This player was the only one I had the chance to talk to about the draft, and the only thing they did not enjoy was the next deck looping Selfless Spirit with their Sun Titan

Mardu Winota 1-1

Corpse Knight is the 2/3
This player fell in love with Booster Tutor and ended up calling it a Vampiric Tutor that you don't have to pay life for.

The Golos player recommended that I add Yorion to the cube, how strong are the companions now with the updated rulings?
Overall, I think it went pretty well and I think everyone had fun, so I would say it was pretty successful.
I managed to get a 5 player draft together yesterday!
Someone picked Lore Seeker and opened a pack of Throne of Eldrain
I also forgot to take pictures of the standings so they are probably a little bit off.

Bant Tempo Midrange 5-3

This deck was originally 41 cards with an additional forest, but it was cut after the first game.
This deck either flooded or won.
In the first game this deck played, they ended the game with 13 mana, which was just 2 mana short of winning with a Tyvar's Stand on Brazen Borrower
My favorite moment from this deck was when this player used Ashnod's Coupon to try and cheat out Cheatyface, and the other player walked backward to get the drink, trying to keep their eyes on the board the whole time. They did manage to cheat it out.

Turbo Gaak 5-3

This was the deck I drafted, and it kind of felt unfair to play. A turn 3 Hogaak (which happened twice) feels near unbeatable. I still lost though, and went I lost it was mostly from removal, as I was just rushing out any threat I could get, and when Hogaak was removed it was sometimes hard to redevelop. Scourge of Nel Toth didn't win me many matches, as in 2 of my 3 losses, Scourge was the only threat I had, which I think a big part of that is it's slightly smaller, and needed me to sacrifice my other creatures which decreased my damage even more.
My favorite moment with this deck was winning one of my games as a golgari aggro deck, with Grim Flayer with Delerium, along with Oona's Prowler and my many other 3-powered 2 drops, managed to win fast enough.
Dredge was very powerful for turbo-ing out my threats, and Darkblast managed to kill so many opposing creatures, even allowing me to win a game, by making Hogaak's Trample do one more damage to my opponent.

Esper Control 4-4

This was a 53-card deck to make use of Witty Demon's tutor effect. There's also one unknown card in this deck, as another card was covering it in my picture. This deck is really interesting but I don't think it ever really got to go off.

Orzhov 4-4

The number of times Stonecoil Serpent and Changling Outcast turned off his Ophiomancer was actually crazy, and cost him one of the games he played against me.
This player also played Kor Skyfisher bouncing a land 3 times in a single game.

Gruul + Blue Cantrips 1-4

This was this player's first time drafting the cube so they got to sign a basic land! My favorite moment from this deck was when they used Birthing Pod on their Primeval Titan to get their Myr Battlesphere to close out a game.

Overall the draft was a lot of fun, I'm hoping I'll be able to get a full pod of 8 people at some point, but we have plans to draft the cube again sometime after winter break! I'm probably going to try and update the cube again before then.
I managed to get an 8 person draft together on January 26th (nearly a month and I'm just now writing this), which is the first time I've had a full pod to draft my cube with! Also since it was so long ago I don't remember many of the cool plays that happened, so this one might be a little less descriptive than the past few.
I am also going to draft the cube again on Friday, so that will be very fun.

In this draft, there was a Lore Seeker for Throne of Eldrain.

Mardu Aggro 6-0

This was the winners deck, the Elspeths were quiet strong, and so was the Battleball when they managed to get it down.

Selesnya with Rhino 4-2

This was my deck. Maul of the Skyclaves was very strong, and won me most of my games.
I only lost to the winner, so it was a pretty good deck.

Jund Witty Demon 3-4

This drafter saw Witty Demon and thought they were funny, so they decided to try and wheel it, and they got it back and built this deck.

This deck had a Emissary's Ploy that was on One drops.

Azorious Control Flicker 4-3

This deck did pretty well, and I love seeing golem tribal happening, and I would like to support it a bit more in the future.

Grixis Aggro/Spells/Ninjas 1-4

This deck doesn't look like it would do much, but Fallen Shinobi did some work in a couple games.
Im not sure about this decks record

Sultai Graveyard 2-5

This looks like a pretty solid graveyard deck, but is running a lot of 5 drops, which I'm not exactly sure why.
Spined Thopter might of not been in this deck, but there is a 2 drop covered my another card in my picture, and based on the frame I think its Spined Thopter
Im not sure about this decks record

Gruul Spells/Creature Midrange 1-4

This deck is really interesting, I don't think some of the cards like Guttersnipe necessarily belong here, but the creature composition of this deck is interesting.

Mardu Spalshing Blue 4-3

This deck I'm not positive about the record

These are just some changes that I'm considering, they are not all set in stone.

I'm also considering changing up my UR spells deck to be more of a Jeskai Prowess Deck.
I have a couple of flavors of this that I think about be interesting
WR - Prowess Aggro with cards like Monastery Swiftspear, Seeker of the Way, Monastery Mentor, along with cards with Living Weapon and For Mirrodin! and some similar cards
UR - Tempo Prowess with cards like Third Path Iconoclast, Firebrand Archer, and similar cards.
UW - More controlling Prowess deck, with cards like Monastery Mentor, Chromehost Seedshark, and Soulfire Grand Master

Some other random cards I'm looking at including
Kessig Cagebreakers - for an interesting token maker that also cares about the graveyard
Squandered Resources - I just really like this card, I would love to try and make it work.
Insidious Roots - this card seems like it could be very fun and quite strong.
Squee, Goblin Nabob - I think this card is probably too weak for my environment, but it's so cool.
Blitz Automaton - I think this guy could be a decent card to try and keep at the middle of my power band. along with other proto-type cards, which I think are really cool.
Genesis Chamber - Seems like it could be really interesting in certain decks.
Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second and some incubate.
Phyrexian Fleshgorger - I want to try this out as my black top-end card.
Berserk, Mutagenic Growth, Scale Up, Become Immense - for some fun green combat tricks.
There are also a ton of other cards I'm looking at, especially cards from the more recent sets, but I think these are the ones I'm most interested in.
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I drafted the cube again Friday night! I managed to get another 8 people together. I think everyone had a lot of fun during this draft (other than me). We are planning on drafting another cube soon, because someone else in my playgroup is making a Planeswalker only cube.
This post is just for the draft report, but I have some ideas for some changes that I will be writing up soon.

Emrakul 1-6

This was my deck. It was bad. I drew 8 cards from Tamiyo, the Moon Sage once, but that was the only thing my deck ever did.

Bant Value 4-3

One of my favorite moments with this deck was when the player used their Ephemerate on their Titania, protector of argoth to bring back a fetch land twice, and ending up with 3 5/3 elements on the board.
This deck also had Emissary’s Ploy on one.

Abzan Midrange 4-5

This deck was pretty cool, but had lots of mana issues, the player claims that they didn’t draft any Prismatic Vistas because they weren’t feeling them.

Hogaak 6-0

This deck was trying to be a Stax deck but ended up winning with Hogaak in almost all of their games. Since this player went 3-0, I let them sign a basic land, and they signed it with “Hoogak OP”

Dimir Control 2-4

This deck only won against me, but I really enjoyed how it played, it felt like a really solid control deck, but I think it was too slow when it was against decks that actually did something.
The interaction between Ninjutsu and adventures was really cool to see.

Temur Good stuff 4-3

This player is relatively new to magic, so their deck building isn’t the strongest, but they did pretty well overall.

Gruul Cards 2-4

My favorite moment in this deck was when they double-activated their Raging Ravine to get multiple counters during a board stall, causing them to win the game. I think its the first time that has happened in my cube. Reminds me of Pro Tour Gatecrash?


It was this players first time drafting the cube, and they managed to open 3-4 packs from Booster Tutor.

Feedback I got from the draft​

Hoogak is too strong, and that’s completely true, so I’m going to have to cut him, which I’m a bit sad about because my Hogaak is signed by Rhystic Studies.

One drafter was complaining about the weakness of removal. I think they were trying to say that removal is weak in the face of an early Hogaak, which is fair. Since I am cutting Hogaak though, I think the only creatures that can come down early but are also hard to remove would be Rotting Regisaur and Scourge of Nel Toth, which could be problems, but they are not quiet as strong as Hogaak.

A few of my drafters recommended that I cut Skaab Ruinator, for something like another cantrip. And I can’t say that I don’t agree with them, I’ve never seen anyone cast Skaab Ruinator, but I really like it, it seems like a super fun card to try and build around, and a 5 power flyer for 3 that's hard to kill sounds like it could be pretty strong.
I’m trying to support a graveyard theme in {U}{B}{R}{G}, but it really feels like this archetype is based out of Black, with Green being the best supporting color for it, I’ve never seen a graveyard deck based in Simic, Izzet or Gruul, it tends to be Golgari plus maybe a splash of Red or Blue.
I’m going to keep my eye on Skaab Ruinator, but I think that if I support Graveyard based strategies a bit more in Blue and Red, he might end up being a playable card.

On Saturday I also went on a short road trip with some of the guys who drafted the cube, and one of the pieces of feedback that I remember vividly, is them saying that my cube is a “3 color” cube and that it’s hard to draft a 2 color deck.
I don’t mind that there are mostly 3 color decks, I think my fixing supports it quite well, and I definitely encourage it with certain cards in my list like Leyline Binding.
I am a little concerned that they feel that they can’t draft a 2 colored deck though as I would like two colored decks to also be viable since they should be slightly more consistent since they have fewer colors, and don't need any tapped triomes for good fixing.

One of my drafters wanted me to include Up the Beanstalk, so I’m going to test it, and also include some cards that trigger it, for example March of Otherworldly Light, which triggers Beanstalk, but is also a decent white removal spell for any white deck.

My failed Emrakul deck was kind of a Rakdos Discard deck, and sure I didn’t get any pays-offs like Gurmag Angler or Ox of Agonas, but in my games, I was almost always Hellbent, which I don’t really have any payoffs for.
I’m going to try and include more effects similar to Anje’s Ravager so that you can refill your hand when you’re hellbent, which I think will make the archetype a little more powerful.

Lowering the power level of my cube​

Golem Tribal is one of my favorite little themes in my cube, but it feels like it is outclassed by some of the other stuff happening in my cube. There's a great post about Golem Tribal by Grillo, that I based my theme on.
I want to lower the power level of my cube, and add some more support for this theme, so that Golems can be a decently powerful deck.

I think that Booster Tutor and Lore Seeker are not very strong cards in the cube when opening retail packs, so hopefully, if the power level is a bit lower they can be a bit more viable. Although I’m not entirely sure that this is due to the power level of retail sets being lower, but more just the nature of a synergy cube, and I'm not supporting the same themes as retail limited.

I’m thinking of trying to support Jeskai Prowess a bit more in the cube.
I think that there are quite a few different ways that prowess can play out across the three different two-colored pairs in Jeskai.

WR Prowess that uses Living Weapon and For Mirrodin!, which also has a lot of crossover with the WR Artifact Aggro deck.

WR Prowess

There’s a slightly more controlling WU list.

WU Controlling Prowess

I currently support a UR Spells deck, so this is pretty similar.

UR Prowess Tempo

I think that this would be a fun thing to play, and gives a bit more support to a theme that I think is currently a little under-supported.
I also really like the WR Living Weapon Prowess deck and the overlap with the WR aggro deck I already support.

OTJ Prerelease -​

Yesterday I went to an OTJ pre-release and it was a lot of fun! I ended up coming in second place because I opened Oko, which is almost impossible to kill. It was not killed once in the games I played him, and I didn’t lose a single game where I played him.
In the 3rd round, I kept 1 land hands during both the first and second games, because Oko was in my hand. I still won.

Anyways, I ended up opening/trading for pretty much all the cards I wanted to test in my cube, so I’ll be slotting them in soon.
Which are, Nurturing Pixie, Aven Interrupter, Phantom Interference, Three Steps Ahead, Forsaken Miner, Stingerback Terror, Slickshot Show-Off and even Slick Sequence.
Slick Sequence was a very fun card to play in my games, as the base of 2 mana for 2 damage, is good enough, and trying to sequence everything correctly to get to draw a card was fun, although I’m not sure if this card would be better for my environment than either of my other Izzet cards.

I think my favorite moment from my games was when I plotted Loan Shark, and then on the next turn cast Loan Shark and holding priority casting Slick Sequence to get the cards from both of them.

I went with a couple of other people from the Magic Club at my college, and all 5 of us ended up placing in the top 10, with two of us being in the top 3.

4 Color Bombs 6-2

Overall, I really enjoyed the pre-release and thought that the set played really well.

Updates -​

I have updated the Overview page on my CubeCobra, and I’m planning on updating the first post in this thread soon.

With this upgrade, I focused on cutting cards that were not being drafted, cards that were too strong, and some at higher mana values.
I ended up cutting a good number of Un and playtest cards since they weren’t getting drafted.
I also ended up cutting Wildfire, as it was never drafted, and when it was run, it didn’t really work.
Since I cut Wildfire from red, I also cut all of my Mana Rocks and added some cool artifacts to replace them.
With my changes to red, I ended up adding a lot more support for a spells/prowess archetype, which is looking pretty fun.
No one was drafting the ninjas, so I ended up cutting all of the ninjas and their direct support cards and added more Cantrips to blue, and more Removal in black.
Overall, I’ve been working on lowering the power level, but I find it difficult to figure out what the strongest cards in my cube are, but I’m slowly making progress.

-> x2

- almost definitely too strong, but super cool design
- probably too weak, but idk what other simic card to run, and this guy could be cool
- I’m not a big fan of DFCs, so I might end up cutting this guy.

Draft Report​

The day before the OTJ pre-release we only had 6 people come to play my cube, so we did team-sealed, instead of a draft.

My Team​

Rakdos Aggro 3-0

This was my deck, and playing aggro was a lot of fun.
I think the biggest problem with this deck is the lack of burn spells, because the Izzet Tempo Player on my team ended up with most of them.
I only lost one game which was because the control deck managed to draw Seeker of the Way which walled my deck pretty hard, and with no burn spells I didn’t really have a way to deal with it.

Izzet Temp 1-2

My favorite moment from this deck was casting Dig Through Time with Chrome host Seedshark in play, and making an 8/8.

Abzan Good Stuff 1-1

This person only had time to play two matches.

The Other Team​

Azorius Control + Rhino 0-2

This deck was really cool, but it didn't get to do all to much as the two games it played were against Aggro and Izzet Tempo.

Golgari Graveyard 1-2

This deck was really cool, it played like a GB aggro deck, with some graveyard support.
My favorite moment in this deck was when I alpha swung at them, and got them down to 3 life, when on their turn they hard card Vengevine, and struck back, bringing me down to 2 life, with Bob in play. On my upkeep, there was probably a 50% chance I would just die, but I ended up revealing a Gingerbrute and winning that game. It was a very tense situation but a lot of fun.

I forgot to take a picture of the last deck, but it was an Izzet Aggressive deck that went 2-1

Future Updates -​

For future updates I want to try and add more spells that can be used at multiple points across the game, for example Into the Roil, which is a solid tempo removal spell in blue, but also can cantrip later on in the game. I’m going to try and add more cards with Kicker, X costs, Flashback, and other mechanics to try and have cards that are good both early and late during the games.

Since I want to add more cards with flashback, I might try and add Burning Vengence, since I think its a really cool card, and is a card that I think exemplifies some of my goals with the cube along with being a card that could work well in some of the themes I’m working on.
Its a pretty solid piece to run in a graveyard based deck with enough flashback and Gravecrawlers, and also likes the cards that are useable during later game with flashback.

I have a whole list of burn spells that I think are really cool, but dont have updated rules text, so I don’t really want to run them, because it confuse newer players.
For example last night someone Emblemed Koth of the Hammer, which dosn’t have updated rules text either, and didn’t realize that their mountains could shoot his opponents Elspeth, Knight Errant.
I see three options with this,
1. I proxy versions of these cards with updated rules text, which I’m not completely against but would prefer doing.
2. I just run them anyways, which would confuse newer players more.
3. I cut all the planeswalkers from my cube, because then the rules text would accurately say what the legal targets in my cube are.
I’m currently leaning towards option 3 because I don’t think cutting Planeswalkers from my cube would be a bad thing, but I really like Liliana of the Veil as I love old Jund decks with Lili and Goyf. I also don’t want to cut Koth of the Hammer as it was in the very first deck I ever owned and played.
I’ll keep thinking about it and make a decision somewhere down the line.

Tokens -​

I have infinitokens, but people don't normally use them.
One of the members of our playgroup has a big stack of ~100 tokens that they bring to all our events and people are willing to look through it for tokens.
I might try to get the actual tokens since it seems like my playgroup is willing to use them.
There are 43 unique tokens in my cube, so it could get them somewhat easily.

Removal -​

With the last few sets I’ve been adding the cool new removal, so my white removal right now is Fateful Absence, Get Lost and some similar cards, but thats also a lot stronger than my Nameless Inversion removal in black, so I’m going to try to set a baseline on how strong removal can be at each mv.

1mv removal spells should kill creatures with 2 toughness, or 3 toughness if its conditional. Examples - Shock, Disfigure, Elsepth’s Smite

2mv removal spells should kill creatures with 3 toughness or more if its conditional.
Examples - Lightning Strike, Nameless Inversion, Not on My Watch, Soul Partition, Into the Roil, Bitter Triumph

3mv removal spells should be able to kill all creatures, and potentially other permanent types, or very conditional boardwipes
Examples - Murderous Rider, Council’s Judgment, Oblivion Ring, Radiant Flames

4mv conditional boardwipes and 5mv unconditional boardwipes
Examples - By Invitation Only, Night Incarnate, Fiery Confluence

Elspeth’s Smite might be a little too strong as theres only ~33 creatures in my cube that it can’t kill out of 194 creatures, so I might want to run Righteous Blow or Slash of Talons instead.
Some spicy build arounds in Genesis Chamber and Insidious Roots. What type of decks would you slot the Chamber in? It’s a powerful double edged card.
What type of decks would you slot the Chamber in?
Honestly I just kinda put it in my cube to see what it would do without thinking about it all too much because it's a pretty cool card.
I just drafted this deck, and I have some interesting synergies with it, Nettlecyst makes your wide, also go tall, By Invitation Only should be able to be used advantageously, Restless Prarie is an anthem, Gideon Gura probably wins the game with his +2, and Corpse Knight and Hellrider would be able to do lots of damage with it.
I don't know how long I'm keeping Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender, but it also works very well with Genisis Chamber, and if I ever end up putting Urza's Saga in my cube, its pretty good with the Karnstructs.
I haven't seen anyone use it yet, but it seems like it would be good in heavy Creature and Artifact decks.