January 13th, 2017 Update
I feel like I did a pretty big rebuild of this cube and ended up making around 70 card swaps. During this rebuild I also tried to approach the building process differently, and decided to focus more on individual concepts that you can incorporate into your deck rather than individual named decks. (i.e. Aggressive decks that incorporate double strike themes rather than a dedicated double strike deck) I won't be going super deep into showing every card that was swapped out as there was a bunch, but for all intents and purposes the core of the cube remains unchanged.
This post ended up super long so I decided to break it up. I went ahead and updated the original cube post with the contents of this post. The very next post I make will go into more depth on the changes I made as well as discuss cards I've decided to include from Aether Revolt. As always, I love card images and apologize for how picture heavy this blog is getting.
I. Aggressive Concepts
The three main concepts that aggressive decks can incorporate are going wide, going vertical, and small recursive threats. In addition to these three different ideas, aggressive decks also have access to cube mainstays like 2 power 1 drops and spells like Lightning Bolt
Decks that want to incorporate going wide concepts will turn to creature token makers that will allow them to create many little threats on the board.
From there, depending on color and play style, these creature tokens can be utilized in a variety of ways that will allow an aggressive deck to close out the game.
Decks that want to incorporate going vertical concepts will turn to either pump spells and double strike spells.
To supplement these spells, decks incorporating vertical concepts will find a variety of creatures that either inherently make themselves larger or naturally have double strike.
Both of these concepts can also incorporate creatures with Prowess and Spell triggers that can help a deck go wide or vertical. Decks that lean on these creatures will want to pack a higher density of spells.
Decks that want to incorporate small recursive threat concepts will take advantage of creatures that can come into play from the graveyard as well as various tools to sacrifice those creatures for value.
II. Midrange Concepts
Midrange decks have access to concepts that are focused on concepts that allow them to generate value through both creatures and spells. There are a great many synergies and combos that midrange decks can run, but the focus of this next section will focus more on broader concepts.
Concepts that midrange decks will be able to utilize include, Spell Based Value Generation, Creature Based Value Generation, and Graveyard Based Value Generation. Additionally, I'll also point out some tools that midrange decks can use if they want to combine these concepts with various combos that will be discussed in the combo section.
In addition to the listed concepts, midrange decks will have access to efficient removal and powerful creatures.
Decks that want to utilize Spell Based Value Generation will seek out spells that create 2 for 1s.
Decks that want to utilize Creature Based Value Generation will seek out creatures that have ETB abilities to help create 2 for 1s.
Decks that want to utilize Graveyard Based Value Generation will seek out creatures and spells that both put cards in the graveyard and bring them out of the graveyard.
Most midrange decks will end up utilizing all of these concepts to back up powerful creatures and spells that don't necessarily generate value on their own.
Midrange decks that want to incorporate various creature based combos found in the cube will have access to a wide variety of tutors. Additionally, these tutors are helpful for finding silver bullets or generating value with ETB creatures.
III. Control Concepts
Since all control decks consist of some combination of answers and ways to find those answers, I will focus the Control Concepts on their win conditions and how they can affect how a drafter approaches drafting their deck.
The concepts that I will focus on are Combo and Reanimation. Although I'm focusing on these win conditions as concepts since they are "flashy"ways to win, winning with a Torrential Gearhulk
or a hard casted Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
after taking control of the game should still be viable.
Control decks that want to incorporate a Combo finish have a few to choose from. Decks that choose to incorporate this concept have the advantage of being able to win the game relatively quickly. There is no better way to deal with your opponent's threats than by winning.
Since this concept aims to end the game by assembling a combo, card advantage spells can take a more card filtering angle as they try to find specific pieces they need to end the game. Additionally, these tools can help find specific answers for specific situations.
Control decks that want to incorporate a Renanimation finish have the advantage of being able to play their finisher earlier than normal allowing them to stabilize. Decks that choose to incorporate this concept can either do this in the manner of the Solar-Flare decks or Gifts Ungiven Decks.
Since this concept aims to end the game by reanimating a large creature, the control deck gains access to powerful removal and card draw spells that have their discard drawbacks offset by discarding the reanimation target. Additionally, spells with flashback can be discarded and still utilized for benefit.
Now that I've discussed those two concepts, I'd like to discuss a concept that Grillo touched on in his Min/Max Midrange Cube Experiment thread that focuses on using a combination of looting spells, delve spells, and "recycling" effects that essentially lets you "program" for the game that you're playing.
Decks that utilize this concept can play extremely long games as they are able to shuffle cards back into their decks essentially ensuring they'll never run out of resources. A recent example of this was the Sphinx's Revelation
-Elixir of Immortality
control deck of Return to Ravnica-Theros standard.
In addition to continually recycling the deck, the control player can "edit" their deck mid game by using tools that either remove cards from the game, or selectively adds shuffles cards back into their deck.
I think this is a really neat concept that I look forward to supporting.
This section is less about explaining concepts and more about pointing out combos that I sprinkled into the cube. With the exception of some faster builds of fast reanimator, most of these combos slot into otherwise fair decks.
The Splinter Twin Combo aims to assemble Pestermite
, Deceiver Exarch
, or Restoration Angel
with Splinter Twin
or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
to make an infinite amount of hasty attackers. Splinter Twin and Restoration Angel can't combo together for various reasons. This combo can be slotted into control decks, tempo decks, and midrange decks. Restoration Angel and Kik-Jiki can generate a massive amount of value if left unchecked with ETB creatures.
The Persist Combo aims to assemble a three card combo of a sacrifice engine, Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
, and Kitchen Finks
for infinite life or Murderous Redcap
. This combo slots mainly into midrange decks.
Then Saffi Eriksdotter Combo aims to assemble Saffi Eriksdotter
or Karmic Guide
, and a sacrifice engine to create an infinite number of ETB and LTB triggers. The sacrifice outlet can provide a benefit if it's something like Goblin Bombardment
or another card like Blood Artist
can end the game.
Combo aims to cast Doomsday and then assemble piles that will lead to an immediate win with Laboratory Maniac. Depending on the board state and the answers the opponent has, counterspells and or protection spells can be used to protect the Laboratory Maniac.
The Reanimator Combo aims to put a creature in the graveyard and then cheat it into play with a reanimation spell. This is different from a Control Deck using reanimation as a tool as a dedicated reanimator deck doesn't really care much about controlling the game and is more concerned with getting it's game ending threat as quickly as possible.