Article Channel Waddell: Cube Draft #1

Eric Chan

Hyalopterous Lemure
Staff member
Woooo! Sweet article. Long-awaited, and does not disappoint!

It's weird, because in pack 1, I swear that mono-red is open (Goblin Guide pick 5 or something, red cards flowing throughout). But then four drafters on your right are in red? Strange.

I think the report also nicely illustrates how different your cube is from most cubes, with the extra copies of fetches, and the multiple Steppe Lynxes. And you were right - your removal suite density is way higher than mine. Things die!

On a side note, it's funny how the packs screwed up in pack 3, cause that sorta thing happens around here more often than it should, too. Like, somebody will forget to verify that their pack should have 15 cards, so an 11 card pack goes around. Or during pack 1, somebody will mix up the packs being passed to them with their undrafted packs 2 and 3, and chaos ensues. It's gotten better over the years, but we still get those sorta mix ups way more often than we should. For whatever reason, this stuff happens way less with retail limited packs when drafting at my local store, even when the table is half newcomers. I haven't figured out why.
Agreed! This is a great draft coverage.
I thought for sure you would jump into blue with the 7th pick fact or fiction.
The highly green-blue pack that randomly gets formed is always fun to see, whether it's a signal or not.
On the side: The utility land draft between packs is interesting, since you can potentially signal your colours.

Jason Waddell

Staff member
Yeah, I'm currently trying to reconfigure the utility land draft fixing section.

I either want:
1) One of each guild
2) No guild lands, and ~5 multicolor (3+) lands

As the drafter, I found the signals very difficult to read here. I got multiple packs that had no blue at all, and some that were just flooded with it. Being in black was perfect in my seat, white was fine and the red splash panned out. The other thing to keep in mind is that I had no fixing for a looong time. There are drafts where I have several fetchlands midway through Pack 1, so this one really put me outside my routine a bit. I felt very much pressured to hold the line and just make the most of my BW deck, and was even unsure until Pack 3 whether a red splash would come together.


brief comments:

there are no signals in a good cube ever, which is fine. it's a multicolored format nbd

interesting that jitte is a 'clear first pick' in that pack -- is such a pack where it isn't (being colorless and all)? i get that it's way sweeter in your cube than a modo abomination but damn card's banned in modern for a reason

that's a LOT of spot removal, i'm sure your deck and cube interact interestingly with the latest andy c podcast

surprised mirran crusader would wheel, dude's a house. double strike and jitte awwwww yeah (fetch me a silverblade!)

Jason Waddell

Staff member
There are probably cards that I would take over Jitte. Part of the match reports got edited down, but I lost 2 of the 3 games where I had Jitte in play. I don't think I ever got Jitte + first/double strike online.

Yeah, our environment relies much more on spot removal than sweepers. Even with all the cheap removal aggro decks still find their way to the top, but their matches are much more of a dance.

Mirran Crusader wheel was nice for me, but not too ridiculous. In a vacuum there are probably ~ 6-7 cards (from that pack) I would pick over it P1P1?

Chris Taylor

Love this article. It's always interesting to get this kind of insight into another player's cube, something you can't really get from just studying a list.


i wonder why jitte isn't overpowered in your cube. could it be a card whose power level scales to that of the format? that would be so surprising to me!

re. spot removal -- i like it too though it's odd that the legacy-playable mirran crusader, who laughs in the face of doom blade, would be such a late pick in such an environment! i enjoy spot removal having a kind of 'curve' too, so like

cmc1 will be 'conditional / symmetrical' (innocent blood, darkblast)
cmc2 will be 'doom blade' (terminate, go for the throat, shriekmaw, chainer's edict)
cmc3 will be 'doom blade plus' (putrefy, mortify, bone shredder)
cmc4 will be '2-for-1' (consuming vapors, barter in blood, seize the soul)

odd that instant-speed unconditional creature-only removal is ideally costed somewhere between 2 and 3, though terminate solves that issue by requiring another color and dreadbore by being sorcery-speed etc. someone should make a thread about this.

i also feel an mcd-sweepers thread coming on. what kind of sweepers do y'all like? i hate hate hate the modo cube's emphasis on sweepers (that cooperfauss article has everything i ever wanted to write about it, what a ludicrously high concentration) but the other day my playgroup asked for a few more. i like the following kind of effects:

white -- wraths and wraths plus (austere command, martial coup, day of judgment)
blue -- bounce (cyclonic rift, evacuation, NOT upheaval)
black -- wraths and conditional wraths though sometimes just 2-for-1's instad (damnation, infest, black sun's zenith)
red -- conditional damage-based creature kill (earthquake, firespout)
green -- f it

the current count (not including explosives and ratchet bomb) is at 9/405 (day, burial, rift, infest, damnation, earthquake, firespout, deed, jund charm) which is 1/person which seems about right, though it's historically been 6/405 because i needed to hose control and i was reacting violently to my hatred of the modo cube.
Yep, this is a fantastic article. It not only lays out a draft pick by pick and game by game, but you are able to show how your unorthodox cube actually drafts and plays in real life.

Why did you not take fixing in the Utility Land Draft pick 2? It seemed a bit odd after you describe how worried you were about it to take a colorless manland...

Finally, I'm happy Ludevic's Test Subject gets some exposure.

Jason Waddell

Staff member
Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'll be sure to do more!

I personally am a big fan of anti-aggro sweepers like Pyroclasm and friends. Upheaval isn't really that oppressive if you don't include lots of mana ramp.

Re: not taking more fixing. Well, for one I thought that it would be there later, which ended up being true. But this was also a signal to me that there was too much fixing in the utility land pile. I don't want there to be so much that I can compensate so thoroughly for not getting any in the main draft. I was actually pretty fortunate to get even the Fetid Heath, as Maxime took Vault of the Archangel with the first utility land pick (!). Either way, density of manlands really can make or break an equipment deck, and the games I lost were due to not drawing enough threats with Jitte on the table.

Most of the Test Subject game actually got edited out. What actually happened was that I got Jitte online, and he killed everything I had before it could get a swing in. Finally I managed to get 2 Jitte counters, but he flipped Test Subject that turn to put it out of Jitte range. It was a pretty tense match.