Dom's Stream of Consciousness


Yes, thats more of what I was looking for. Though maybe it wants to go in a more comby form of the deck? I think I would be ok with that.

For double strike, i found that white was one of the only places with actual playable double strike creatures, but was never really happy with the way the color played out as a whole, ezcept when buffing fabled hero, which is great. I would have needed to ran enhancers that provided a more dramatic vertical buff i think, at least one or two.

Silverblade can feel like a card that gets overly taken by midrange builds, so I'm kind of down on it. When you consider that fabled hero can't make all lists, it makes me want to cut white out of the equation if possible.

Dom Harvey

This is an excellent start to the thread, thank you!

Grillo: Again, the CubeTutor list is an imperfect guide. I don't own a Berserk currently but I will probably proxy one for our next IRL draft.

It works best as a Stompy deck, you need enough cheap creatures to put your enhancers on anyway and you want those creatures to have some utility if you can't pump them up.

I had Madcap Skills for a while but cut it for being too obnoxious: it certainly gets there on power level. I'm intrigued by Hammerhand

The limiting factor on this strategy will always be the prevalence of cheap, instant-speed removal. If you think having a high quantity of that would harm your environment in other ways, then yeah I'd avoid Battle Rage and the other effects that allow for a OHKO through blockers.

When talking about white let's not forget Ajani, Caller of the Pride which I have as one of the best cards in my Cube. I like the Griffin Guide/Elephant Guide/bestow family of cards because you don't have to go all-in and can present multiple waves of threats that each demand an answer; Gryff's Boon doesn't give you more bodies by itself, but it's more Rancor-esque than it seems at first glance.

Eidolon of Countless Battles is the best card for sudden vertical growth, I'd urge everyone to try it out.

Peter: I'll try Doom Engine again; my concern was that the Welder decks aren't that aggressive, so the damage won't help much, but I like that the whole card is great against planeswalkers.

Steel Hellkite always felt a bit below the bar. Maybe that's a failure of my environment - I said I wanted people to tap out for something that doesn't have an additional effect on the board and not be punished for it, and the payoff for Hellkite is certainly high.

I love Sundering Titan but that's because I've wrecked a lot of people with it in Constructed, I don't think it would be healthy here.

RBM: Great post. I loved Lighthouse Chronologist and Cubed it to many strange glances back in the day, so I'd love an excuse to try it again.

Vault of the Archangel specifically I cut a while back because it makes it impossible to attack into the player with more on board. I'd rather have the members of that cycle I do include in the main draft since they are basically gold cards/spells. My criteria for the ULD atm are a. do I want every player to have this without working for it and/or b. is this worthy of a Cube spot by itself

Sorin's Vengeance is sick with Narset and Jace VP too. Might have to dig it out of the box.

I wondered if I could justify running Krosan Tusker in CURRENT YEAR so it's nice to see a vote in its favour.

sigh: I have some of the best sidekicks for Blazing Shoal (Gargadon/Blasphemous Act) and it still seems too inconsistent. I'd love to be proven wrong though.
Maybe artifacts is a good route for blue? I love Grand Architect but it needs a lot of 1/2 CMC blue creatures which I really don't have right now

How do we feel about Mystical Teachings? I need something interesting for UB

The problem with artifacts is they tend to fall to blue, red, and/or white, which means the chosen colours get "free" bonus cards in the colourless section that nobody else is really that interested in. It can lead to some real colour imbalance issues, so I try to avoid it.

Teachings seems much less cubeable than its given credit for. I'd rather run raw draw or more selection than such a super narrow card personally.


Teachings is very good in certain environments, but I wouldn't consider it a staple cube card, or one that would likely be successful in your environment.

One of the reasons it works so well in the penny cube is the access to bouncelands, which makes obtaining mana superiority for the flashback very easy for control to do. Also, the combo with draining whelk.

I know you have visions of those sweet dralnu decks from TSP standard (I do too) but I feel like a teachings engine is too slow for modern magic.

Dom Harvey

Is it? We need an in-depth analysis of those cards. I have no idea when I'm meant to use them despite playing Gifts for years

Gifts as double Entomb comes up surprisingly often in my experience. I think it offers more interesting decisions on both sides when you're just Giftsing for good cards or want to get something specific


My complaints with gifts are:

1. When people value gifts (at least with my mediocre to poor players) the tank period is obnoxious.
2. Gifts as super entomb happens quite a bit, and feels repetitive.

Neither card though I think occupies the same niche as mystical teachings.
Probably not, but it's high enough power level/fast enough for more cubes. And I haven't experienced repetitive yet with it, as in, I don't think I've seen two gifts piles the same yet (in my cube), and then again, aren't all combos kinda "repetitive" anyway?

Regardless, the power level and mana cost are why I call it the "Teachings we Want", more than anything.


Your entomb gifts piles are actually interesting though. When people zone in on the "unburial rites" combo it can be hard to get them to think about anything else.

Dom Harvey

Got to Cube again today!

I threw a bunch of stuff in to see how it would be received so in the lists you'll see some cards that haven't featured in the thread so far. With the inscrutable CubeTutor AI and unpredictable tendencies of individual drafters, it's hard to get real feedback on what's popular and what isn't; you just have to draft in person as much as you can and note what people do/say with a critical eye.

There were a few specific things I wanted to test (will anyone actually pick Hardened Scales?!) but mostly I was interested in how structurally sound the Cube was since it's undergone a lot of changes since we last drafted it a few months ago. I have a decent idea of the sort of decks my group likes to draft and how they build them, which often differs substantially from my own preferences. I hoped they would have fun and come up with interesting decks even though the Cube is a product of my fevered imagination.

As always, these are imperfect reconstructions of what people played; where SB cards were relevant, I've swapped some of them in to show what the pool was capable of.

I'll start with my deck:

This deck was obscene; across four matches, the closest I came to losing a game was almost decking myself. Ugin was on my watch list; I put it back in to give decks of all colours with late-game ambitions a reliable payoff to work towards but, after seeing it in action again, I'm left needing to find something else. It was so hard to lose after resolving Ugin; for it, Elspeth SC, and others that are potentially oppressive, I was careful to include a lot of cards that can 're-trump' them to maintain balance. I don't know if it's just how the draft/games went or the way my opponents build their decks, but in practice that never really happened for Ugin. After my second match I swapped it out for the SB Seasons Past to see if the deck would be more balanced, but it wasn't. Pristine Talisman, Thragtusk, and Nissa's Renewal were brutally effective at making up any lost ground, the blue card draw/manipulation made ramp's consistency problems look like an urban legend, and the countermagic neutered any attempts to run me over in the early game; it's a lot like the deck one of our locals used to Top 8 the GP but you get to run Condescend over Clash of Wills etc.

As one of the other Cube owners pointed out, with the Time Warps effectively acting as ramp, I have so many ramp cards that the usual problem of only drawing one or not drawing fast enough doesn't apply; this despite cutting all the Worn Powerstone/Coalition Relic effects and not going overboard with green ramp or mana rocks. I tried and succeeded in building a ramp deck that didn't have those issues, but perhaps it needs those flaws to keep it in check? I've noticed that a deck like this almost always becomes the best deck if you give it any room to breathe.

Mizzix's Mastery was INCREDIBLE and a ton of fun. Even if it's 'just' a cheaper Time Warp or Prophetic Bolt it's good; when it's both and a bunch of other stuff on top, it's amazing. I got to Overload it for Ponder + Preordain + Explore + Magma Jet + Prophetic Bolt + Time Warp + Nissa's Renewal...

I won!

So, yay? It's a super sweet deck but maybe needs to be reined in; I'd appreciate suggestions for how. It's a nice problem to have I guess.

This was the other undefeated deck AFAIK, by someone who doesn't play competitively any more but came out of retirement to flex their muscles:

yeah yeah I know but hear me out! I snuck a cheeky Balance in at the last minute as part of my biennial ritual to remind myself why it's fraudulent advertising, and it was actually ok this time. From what I saw the best use he got out of it was cashing in a few of his lands and excess cards in hand for an emergency sweeper off Demonic Tutor, which is fair enough.

I had been worried about all the tricky stuff crowding out old-school, relatable control decks so it was nice to see this do well. Between my deck and this one, blue proved it's still powerful even without explicit support; now I need to channel that into something compelling.

A few of the others:

This was one or two cards away but still came out well even though its record wasn't great overall

This guy plays this kind of deck whenever possible and this was no exception. I couldn't recreate it faithfully because he drafted some more controlling cards too (Pernicious Deed, Languish, Kagemaro) that let him switch plans in SBing based on how his opponent's deck was configured; this is a solid MD from his pool.

This one was sweet (actual maindeck was more experimental, with at least one more colour!). It reminds me of the Naya Vengevine decks in Standard: a solid aggressive-leaning midrange deck that uses creatures to do a bunch of tricky stuff.

This was less 'aggro' than expected: I didn't communicate clearly that traditional red aggro isn't supported, which affected his draft a bit. It didn't help that the WU guy took both Figures of Destiny...

- When drafting on CubeTutor the manafixing gets taken at weird times; here it seemed like everyone was able to pick up some fixing for their colours
- Oblivion Sower worked as I hoped: it's very big, any colour combo can play it in a pinch, and with so many utility lands in the Cube the effect is relevant a lot of the time. It's an argument for 5C fixing (Vivids?) so that you can activate an off-colour Gavony Township or something more easily. I'm tempted to revisit Nightveil Specter
- Artifacts stuff didn't show up in the pool outside of a Trash for Treasure that nobody needed
- The power level felt quite high; dial it down a bit?

- Integrate graveyard-centric stuff into BG properly, find an approach for UB that works
- Make blue interesting at a healthy power level
- Refine the irl list so that the off-the-wall stuff is more likely to be in the pool and get tested
- Keep ramp in check

We drafted the graveyard Cube I've mentioned before as well, I ended up with a great BW deck:

This was really fun to play: there were some complicated games where I had to assemble a Mindslicer or False Prophet lock via Oversold Cemetery through pressure, which felt rewarding.

Bubbling Cauldron was a surprising MVP; when you're gaining 4 life a turn, you have a cushion to set up or spend your mana inefficiently because it's really hard to break through.

James Stevenson

Steamflogger Boss
Staff member
James: I don't know! You're in London, right? I'm in Bath/Bristol so it's not too easy to get there, but I'll be around for the WMCQ/GP and possibly other stuff

I just checked, and the next London wmcq is July 17th. You gunna go? It's pretty near my place, you can probably crash if you want.

Dom Harvey

EMN review:

Emrakul, the Promised End: Amazing design, I'll do what I can/should and much more to make this work

Vexing Scuttler/Lashweed Lurker/Elder Deep-Fiend/Distended Mindbender/Decimator of the Provinces: Emerge is a broken mechanic and I have a low-key love for Kozilek's Return so let's gooooo. Elder-Deep Fiend and Distended Mindbender are particularly egregious; I worry they will dominate Standard for as long as they are legal and everyone will be sick of them by the time they get to Cube with them

Collective Effort: I'm really growing to hate the incidental 'blow up an artifact/enchantment' mode on cards like this after Dromoka's Command basically forced any interesting enchantments out of Standard for over a year. There are so many good Anthems in white that I don't want a part of this, even though Anthem + Reprisal is very strong

Lone Rider: I want this to work a lot; Griffin Guide?

Selfless Spirit: Perfect! Supports the Maverick/D&T/Protect the Queen style of deck in Wx and lets me justify running a 2-drop flier that does something unlike the white pride pony. Combos nicely with sweepers, Avacyn, Boros Reckoner

Thalia, Heretic Cathar: An absolute home run. I have high expectations and I still wouldn't be shocked if it overperforms

Thalia's Lancers: I love narrow tutors far too much, but White has so many good 5s

Curious Homunculus: A bit too hard to trigger in a timely fashion. It's so hard to find enough non-duplicate cheap instants/sorceries to make the Delver-style deck viable, if that's even desirable?

Imprisoned in the Moon: How strange

Docent of Perfection/Niblis of Frost: Everything costs 4+, could see trying Docent but for now it's a pass

Unsubstantiate: Highly overrated IMO unless you push a certain kind of tempo deck very hard

Wharf Infiltrator: Sweet card but the anti-synergy with sorcery-speed pump and getting brickwalled by tokens turns me off. I'd rather double on Looter il-Kor

Cryptbreaker: I expect this is one of those cards that will hover around the sideboard binder for a long time. I like that it can just become an engine by itself with few restrictions

Dark Salvation: This really needs to be a Miracle, Bonfire-style

Liliana, the Last Hope: Unclutters boards, buys time, and plays off sacrifice/delirium strategies while also being a solid source of CA in a normal deck. Better than advertised I think

Stromkirk Condemned: Prepare for Season 2 of MTGO Cube: The Vampire Players

Voldaren Pariah: I like this a lot actually but cf. Puppeteer Clique, Sidisi Undead Vizier

Bedlam Reveler: Way too expensive, Tasigur you are not

Collective Defiance: I like this a lot more than Collected Effort even if it's just an expensive Searing Blaze most of the time

Hanweir Garrison: I'd like some non-awful Human incentives in Red but maybe this is good anyway? It compares decently to Goblin Rabblemaster if you have a way to get it through but Rabblemaster is the better card

Incendiary Flow: sure

Otherworldly Outburst: Might be fine as a weird Skin Invasion/Spoils of Blood hybrid?

Crop Sigil/Grapple with the Past: For these and all similar cards in future: cute, but how does it stack up to [Gather the Pack/25 other examples]?

Eldritch Evolution: Busted, hopefully not in a dull way!

Emrakul's Evangel: Kinda reminds me of Scourge of Skola Vale which never broke through, this one has some definite advantages over Scourge and can 'go off' with Caller of the Claw and such

Noose Constrictor: Along with Flametongue Kavu, Wild Mongrel was one of the few old-school creatures that could play in the big leagues. Of course they had to print a mostly better version with awful art...

Gisa and Geralf: Only catches my eye because there are some decent Zombies and few good UB cards

Grim Flayer: I want this to be good but I really don't think it is

Heron's Grace Champion: I support Humans and Flash in GW and even this might be too on-the-nose. We'll see!

Spell Queller: YES

Tamiyo, Field Researcher: Looks amazing now that I know it's 4 mana and not 5 sorry I ever doubted you bby

Cathar's Shield: The Puresteel Paladin deck gets another piece!!!?‽,....

Dom Harvey

I forgot this:

which is an awesome card. I think it becomes great if you're willing to put the work in; here's a list Sam Black suggested for Standard:

These combo-ramp decks (cf. the Goggles deck) are what I love about deckbuilding, and this is just what you can do in Standard; the card gets a lot better in a format with a billion fetchlands and lots of cool utility lands alongside Dredge, Faithless Looting, etc.

I also want to talk about Emerge a bit more. I've been searching for an identity for UG for a while and this might be just the ticket: Green has more disposable bodies at every spot on the curve than you could ever play, Blue has the most + best Emerge creatures and some decent bodies in its own right (Eldrazi Skyspawner, Sea Gate Oracle, Man-o'-War, Vendilion Clique, Riftwing Cloudskate). The UG 'creature deck' was already a thing but there was no real reason to play blue and its draws often felt a bit disjointed. Now, you have this self-contained combo element that lets you pivot quickly to take the upper hand. The same goes for UB, which wasn't doing much outside of the rare control deck and even rarer reanimator deck: you have the two best Emerge cards, good stuff to sac, and black's Disentomb effects to get all of it back.
Quick question Dom: what's with the double Figure of Destiny? The other Aggro doubles I get, but I was curious what you are trying to emphasize here. Thx


Ecstatic Orb
Quick question Dom: what's with the double Figure of Destiny? The other Aggro doubles I get, but I was curious what you are trying to emphasize here. Thx

I run double Figure of Destiny as well! Boros aggro is the deck that wants aggressive one-drops the most, and this is basically the only option you can include to specifically help Boros decks get to a critical number of one drops.

Dom Harvey

I want more 1-drops to support aggro decks but I don't want to just load up on 2/1s that quickly become irrelevant. Figure is great at all stages of the game and is really fun to play with/against. It serves this role for the two most common aggro colours as well as Boros which is distinct from either mono-R or mono-W in many ways. It's great in slower decks too - WR midrange is common for me - as it lets you get on the board quickly and gives you the possibility of an aggressive draw while acting as a nice target for Imperial Recruiter, Ranger of Eos, Reveillark, and so on.

Your bump is pretty timely since I got to Cube yesterday! I'm fairly busy atm (more updates in September hopefully) and this came together on short notice so there are no real changes to the IRL list just yet. Green was open from the start and I got passed Elder Deep-Fiend, which I was excited to test. I moved into UG and ended up with a sweet deck:

UG felt sufficiently deep that I could get enough cards to let me transform between aggro and control depending on the matchup, even with another UG drafter sniping the cards I expected to pick up (RIP Void Grafter/Bounding Krasis). I started with the aggro cards - E1, Avatar, Rancor - in the maindeck - but switched to control against a fast Naya deck while keeping some of the aggro elements against the blue control deck shown below. I do worry that the more controlling deck might be better outright and that the aggro deck would have had clunky draws; I can't say that I've solved the UG tempo/aggro problem just yet. Still, this deck felt very strong and adaptable and is a nice model for creature-centric UG decks. In particular, having a wide net of flash cards worked as well as expected.

Match 1 vs Naya Aggro: After splitting two noncompetitive games we had an interesting G3. He plays a few creatures and follows up with Honor of the Pure but I'm not under too much pressure. I cast Collected Company mid-combat (getting Eternal Witness for Company - not for the first time against this guy) and while I'm tapped out he plays a decently large Secure the Wastes which poses a severe threat with his Westvale Abbey. I sneak some damage through to put him to 14 so I can bestow Boon Satyr on Vendilion Clique and have lethal in two hits or use Elder Deep-Fiend to set up an alpha strike, but if he flips Abbey I'll have to use Deep-Fiend and then if I don't have lethal in one turn (which isn't guaranteed) Ormendahl is a big problem. Instead he plays Ranger of Eos for Kytheon and Mikaeus to set up an all-out attack that plays around bounce (or Pestermite or similar), so I get some breathing room and can EDF for the win next turn.

The other deck worth noting was this:

(not sure what 22nd card was)

Match 2 vs Ugr Draw-Go: I win G1 very quickly. G2 I have what I think is a decent draw but counter into Cultivate means I don't have a great board presence by the time he's playing his big spells. He plays Fact or Fiction revealing Dissolve/Syncopate/Remand/Dragonlord Atarka/land and I split Atarka/land vs counterspells because if he tries to land Atarka I can Mystic Snake it and be pretty far ahead but I can't play around Atarka and counters (or Atarka with counter backup eventually) at the same time. He doesn't fall for it and takes the counters, and forces through a Drowner of Hope. Beating Drowner + 3 counters is a tall order but I draw them out over time and a few mistakes make it easier. My Snake hits a Meloku that would have ruined me, and I land a Scavenging Ooze that soon outsizes the Drowner. He has a counter for my Elder Deep-Fiend but the cast trigger taps his stuff anyway and I get in for lethal.

EDF is as good as advertised, it might have to join the watch list...