Article CubeTutor Champion Contest Champion

Jason Waddell

Staff member

Kiblinx's Entry:

I am not that great at designing, I am just here to draft and make bad jokes (most of the time). I decided to throw an entry in just so you have more to look at. So may you observe my entry:

Now to start my rabble on how I got it to this point...

Start With the Lands
The main starting point was the double fetch package as it seemed to be the driving force behind your old cube. I wanted to run double battle (tango) lands but due to the enemy ones not being out yet I had to settle for shock lands (for the enemy section). Once the rest get released in Oath of the Gatewatch I will be swapping them around. They require a little more thinking than the shock lands, which is why I prefer them.
After doing the rest of the cube I noticed I wanted more fetches, so I threw in 5 making sure the colour spread was even then threw in 5 shocks for the other colour pairings to make a nice round number. Also put in 3 wastelands as a sort of midrange safety valve if you will. Would have loved to add more lands (like Shelldock Isle) but then again, that is what the ULD is for.

- Landfall (GW ur)
So what do you do when you have lands that come in twice? Get some sweet triggers! With double Steppe Lynx, Scythe Leopard and Snapping Gnarlid there is a decent GW aggro route to take, with the larger combination of Emeria Angel, Rampaging Baloths and Avenger of Zendikar to support a more ramp orientated version.
I also bled it a little into Red for the two aggro two drops and blue for Meloku and Retreat to Coralhelm for a bit of spice.

The next most obvious card in the list was brainstorm, as you did have 6 copies of the card. It does work well in a fetch-heavy environment so I added 4 but found I wanted more and ended up at 5 copies. It helped come up the the next archetypes:

- Delver (URw)
So brainstorm helps setup Delver of Secrets, who knew? While this would fit into any Ux archetype the double Abbot of Keral Keep help push toward the top-of-library and spell heavy deck construction. Young Pizzy sometimes helps too. Can splash white to gain access to Seeker of the Way and Monastery Mentor if they are so inclined.

- TOL Midrange (UGr)
Sort of the same premise as Delver but doesn't have to be as spell focussed. Just wants to get value from brainstorm/fetches by changing the top card of your library. Lets cards like Courser of Kruphix, Oracle of Mul Daya and Conundrum Sphinx generate obscene value. Also allows other cards such as Mindshreiker, Evolutionary Leap and Collected Company produce known quantities. Also allows some miracles to work and makes manifests better.

- Delve Control (BU)
Fetchlands and 1-mana blue cantrips also have this neat side-effect of filling up your graveyard. This allows delve cards to get powered out quickly like the master of the golden banana, gurmag angler and other breaker of formats.

The Great Sacrifice
There were only 2 more cards that you 'squadroned' so to speak, and those were Birthing Pod and Gravecrawler. Having Collected Company felt that pod wasn't required as much but it still has great gameplay that I decided to include it and work alongside the company. The 'crawlers on the other hand now have competition in the form of Bloodsoaked Champion, which doesn't have the problem of requiring a creature type only (really) in one colour to bring back.

- Pod (BGr)
This is the ideal colour combination for Pod, due to the amount of decent creatures with EtB effects and the fact they usually want to die unlike white's or blue's creatures. Podding Nest Invader into Reclamation Sage into Skinrender are the lines you look forward to and the bits of reanimation help bring back things to go around again. The curves of these colours are low enough that CoCo should fit in these creature heavy decks.

- Sac Aggro (BRg)
So the champion won out over the 'crawler and gets 3 copies in the cube. It works well along side pod but red has the best free sac outlets in Goblin Bombardment and Greater Gargadon. With Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat, Smothering Abomination and Goblin Sharpshooter rewarding the reckless throwaways. Alesha is even there to get the expendables back if you so desire.

- Humans (WB)
So the other positive of Bloodsoaked Champion is that is a human. This allows the mighty white one drop in Champion of the Parish get multiple triggers from him coming back and with these 1-drops, you know things will get aggressive. There is enough incidental humans that it doesn't need too much archetypical support but I threw in a Xathrid Necromancer in case someone wanted some sweet value from their champions.

Filling in the Rest
The other archetypes weren't coming to me right away so I added a little power in the form of all the flip-walkers as they all play really nicely and a normal planeswalker for each colour. The colourless section just got added with some cool cards. Unsure if I needed to support any archetypes from this section it just just been thrown together with some cards I like/would like to try. Added some generic removal to all colours and then added some random pivot cards to help for the last colour pairings.

- Go Wide/Tokens (WR)
Already had some tokens in red to support the sacrifice decks so adding some anthems in white should be enough to encourage the colour pair. Although being the colours with the best one drops makes the go wide and low strategy appealing for the aggro at heart. A couple of drops for this were firefist striker, accorder paladin and hallowed spiritkeeper, which all help the swarm in different ways.

- Tapout Control (UW)
So the usual tactic of throwing some wraths in white so go along with blues card draw generally makes people interested enough to go these colours. This colour combination can also go the tempo route if so desired. Mainly all due to Geist of Saint Traft because with a bit of removal/bounce that guy can win games all by himself. My fist draft of the cube ended up in UW control, which isn't even a archetype I like that much. So it must have been tempting enough to end up there.

- Ramp Control (RG)
Going off one of Grillo's suggestions in the Gruul thread decided to add some red sweepers that work well when you have large creatures. Crater Hellion almost exists exclusively for this archetype as a large guy to quickly ramp into and clear the board at the same time, sort of similar to wildfire. Works off of the base landfall package in green so only needed to add a couple of red sweepers and some splashy gold cards. Probably the roughest archetype but still should function fine if a player ends up stumbling into it (which I did in one of my drafts).

Also, a last little note, I have a removed some of the 1 turn must answer threats such as: Inferno Titan, Baneslayer Angel, Consecrated Sphinx, in favour for some less powerful top ends. Eaach of my inclusions all do something when the enter so you don't feel too bad when they are removed and should take a couple of chump blocks before taking over the game. I don't know if this is a good thing or not for the environment or if any of the cards I have put into this cube are on that higher power level but thought it was worth the experiment.
I have also included a couple of two card combos for some meta-drafting (or something):
Knight of the Reliquary + Retreat to Coralhelm
Reveillark + Saffi Eriksdotter
Palinchron + Phantasmal Image

Hopefully this gives enough of an insight as to how the cube came to be and isn't over some sort of word limit. Was a fun process building and look forward to seeing the other entries.

Jason Waddell

Staff member
Honorable Mention: shamizy


So the majority of the changes I made were more or less just updates on your previous cube with sweet cards that you haven't really had the chance to play with and supplementing certain themes. Prowess is one of the sweetest mechanics we've had in a long while so I added quite a few creatures with Prowess on them (doubling up on Seeker of the Way b/c it's an all-star that slots into a ton of decks). I like the interaction of Prowess with something like the quad-Brainstorm I've got in there now (6 too many for me, 2spooky) and the double Gitaxian Probe.

Mono-Black Aggro has branched out from being Zombie Recursion to human beatdown as well, Bloodsoaked Champion was an awesome addition from Khans and creates a really mean early game with double Champion of the Parish. Shittier Blood Artist is still an effect you'd want to have and it puts in a lot of work in a B/W humans build. Especially if you throw in Athreos, God of Passage to give you some extra reach with drain or buying back your beaters after they trade. In black, I've also doubled up on Inquisition of Kozilek based off a discard thread we had on the forums a while back mentioning that increasing those effects could make that disruptive style of play more viable. Riptide cubes usually have low cmc curves, so double Inquisition feels sweeter than Thoughtseize.

The Flip-Walkers (Jace, Lily, Kytheon) that I threw into here have all been pretty sweet in testing, many times you don't get to see the walker side however, so I think they're perfect if you're looking to keep down the actual Walker density while also giving your drafters that sweet potential action if they meet requirements.

Delve is a pretty strong mechanic that has created some super powerful cards in the last year so I slotted in Tasigur, DTT and Treasure Cruise b/c they're more or less staples now. Tasigur is just the sweetest delve creature around, the recursion ability is just gravy on a 4/5 body that can get in there.

In red, I've thrown in the latest sweet 1 drops that we've gotten and they're all pretty strong. I especially like Zurgo and Lightning Berserker. Zurgo for 2 power, and LB because he's one of the few live 1 drop topdecks in a red deck in the late game or after a wrath. Being able to dash in with hasty, firebreathe for like 4-5, then dodge sorcery speed removal is so strong. Speaking of Dash, it's my second favorite new mechanic after Prowess. I'm going to go ahead and add Mardu Strike Leader right now because he's just sweet. I'll throw in Braids as well because that 3-4 curve is nasty. Big Red also got some nice new options with Chandra's parents and Thunderbreak Regent who gum up and board and create good blockers in non-aggro Red decks.

Some big changes in the burn suite. I've been bored with just Lightning Bolts for 1R that we've been getting and I've been flipping out my own suite with sweeter spells. Stuff like double Magma Jet (Scry 2 is sweet, everyone loves it), Ravaging Blaze (face burn you have to work for), and even stuff like Firebolt(sweet with Prowess) have been way more interesting than just Bolt #2.

Not too many huge changes in green, just swapping in some of the sweeter new cards we've gotten in the last year or two. More recursive elements with Den Protector and Green Warden of Murasa.

For Multi-color, I added three of the Dragonlords because Atarka, Ojutai and Silumgar have been big hits here and great payoff cards that push people towards wanting to play those colors. Most of it is pretty standard, cut a number of walkers that were taking up the slots to reduce the PW count in total but kept in some of my favorites (Sorin, Kiora). Didn't really do much with the colorless section either, looked good to me and I kept your fixing numbers intact.


The biggest challenge here was trying to fit everything I wanted into 360, but I think I did okay. It's kind of like a version of my own list if I were to trim down stuff (I'm at 420). Would have come up with some weird archetypes and stuff, but school started up a week before the contest started and the last few weeks were super busy. Hope you liked the list!

Honorable Mention: vennythekid

Here's my submission for the contest. Something to note is that this list was yours originally and I've modified it in chunks over the course of a year of drafting it. It's not the most "fresh" or "original" of ideas, but its a blast to draft:;jsessionid=88B69979DAF8F15C7BAAE04DF8BE7E16

Mana: The Riptide Standard (TM) Double Fetch, Duals, Shockland mana base provides consistent mana for three colored decks (epecially aggro decks), held in check by 3 Wasteland and land distruction options in the ULD. Also in the main cube is Creeping Tar Pit, as I wanted the effect but its too strong for ULD.

Notable design choices:

Bloodsoaked Champion over Gravecrawler
Bloodsoaked can be played by itself more effectively and cuts down on the bad "but they're
zombies!"cards that were previously included. Also supports humans subtheme.

Champion of the Parish over Steppe Lynx
Steppe Lynx felt too inconsistent to provide midgame damage in the low, low grouned aggro decks
that want their curve topped at 3 (playing 16 or less land). Champion helps a lot in this repsect, while makeing sure those
decks don't fold to a single 4/4.

Tasigur and Gurmag Angler
Are awesome choices for almost any deck, as they can be cast flexibly and provide strong board
presence. Their biggest impact has been helping spell-based aggro decks (usually Delver variants)
have a cheap solid threat in case T1 Delver never flips. Delve is insane.

Pia and Kiran Naalar, Whirler Rougue
These cards are phenominal role-players in a cube that was once lacking a tokens theme. They're
solid bodies at the right cost and fit in a myraid of archtpyes. Esper/Jeskai Tokens love to have
them, control will take them to stabalize a board, they can clean up for an aggro deck with evasion
and reach. What's more, they produce artifacts for that deck as well.

2 Abbott of Kehral Keep, 2 Young Pyromancer
Both fantastic cards for spell-based aggressive decks, giving red some interesting options and card
advantage engines, allowing red aggressive decks to play more than just sleigh style or sac-aggro.
Incedentally, they're both humans, which RW decks appreciate.

Pyromancer's Goggles
If you've noticed a theme, its that I've tried to make red an extremely dynamic color, where in other
cubes it's more straight forward. Red provides control with ways to control the board early with
burn-style removal: Bolt, Chain Lightning, Pillar of Flame, Magma Jet, Arc Trail, Staggershock,
Electrolyze, Helix, etc. What's not super prevelant is late-game scaling and card advantage in the
color. Goggles does just that, allowing burn that usually falls off as creatures get bigger to remain
relevant, but at a cost (5 mana).

I've added Radiant Fountain and Dark Depths to the ULD on top of your original list. Radiant
Fountain is great way to survive an extra turn and rewards 1 and 2 color control decks. Also
amazing with Melokou.

There are no "combos" with Dark Depths, you have to pay the mana to get Marit Lage. But, it does
help savage drafts that went to the dumpster, and I've actually seen Marit Lage win through
Wasteland (via Stifle). It's rarely picked, but when it is, it's exciting.

Notable Omissions
As with anything in design, what you leave out can be as importaint as what you leave in. Some of
the more notable cuts I've made over the past year include:

Grave Titan: that card was too oppressive for my environment, so it got axed. The other titans have been fine, however, as they're not as oppressive to the board. He's been replaced with Masacre
Wurm, which does a great job keeping tokens/board clog in check.

Stoneforge Mystic: is actually out for underperforming. Underwhelming without powerful
equipment, which my cube doesn't support. My artifact section is rather sparce, actually, but there
are a lot of colored artifacts in Esper/Sultai that allow a Tezz artifact deck to work (Birthing Pod as
a 5/5 is great).

Wolfir Silverheart: an unnessary removal check that put way too much on the board all at once.

Trading Post: RIP :'( I cut her for Goggles because it wasn't being played. Trading Post is my all-
time favorite card, and I wanted to make it work, but it's just underwhelming.

Well, that's a good overview of the cube. I think my main design innovation is in the red section, making it more interesting to both draft and play. I'm probably going to make a thread for it (cause I don't have one yet) to discuss choices as well.


Staff member
Thanks for picking my entry!

I feel it is like most of my assignments I submitted in university; Quality documentation can save a mediocre result. While I am not saying my entry was mediocre, there were a fair amount of missteps now that I look over it again.

Probably because I was on a high from GP Sydney and being pretty much surrounded by nothing but BFZ for the entire weekend I was high of its fumes. Stuff like Snapping Gnarlid and Makindi Sliderunner should probably be something else as they probably don't stand up to the power of the rest of the cards (I still don't mind Scythe Leopard too much though). Also, the battle lands:
Kirblinx said:
I wanted to run double battle (tango) lands but due to the enemy ones not being out yet I had to settle for shock lands (for the enemy section). Once the rest get released in Oath of the Gatewatch I will be swapping them around. They require a little more thinking than the shock lands, which is why I prefer them.
Well, that prediction was wrong :p
I still stand by my 'require more thinking' line but I understand where you are coming from with the promoting 3-4 turn plays. This is probably true and would still like to try them out if they ever make a full cycle, but since there isn't a full cycle, I should just change these to the shocklands.

It was hard to try and think what someone else would like. I never thought a design constraint would be how much it would stoke Jason's ego, but I thought about it multiple times (I like to think Brindle Shoat got me there).

One final comment:
Jason Waddell said:
Aoeret’s list intrigues me with double Collected Company and generally aggressive singleton breaking, but then there’s the eyesore of triple Pridemate, effectively giving me flashbacks of a memory I had tried to repress.


I didn't receive the memo that he wasn't cool any more until after my submission :p

A lot of my drafters actually liked the archetype, but I'm trying different stuff now. At present they've been replaced with a bunch of disruption dudes like Thalia or Imposing Sovereign