One Two Punch: Adding a Double Strike Theme

By: Chris Taylor

So in an effort to change things up in my cube, I’ve decided to replace the GWr token theme I had with something a little stranger: A double strike deck. The two decks share a lot of overlap cards, but double strike shares additional synergy with pump spells/equipment.

So here’s the basic cards. Depending on the size of your cube, you may want to double up on a few of these, namely the cheaper creatures. Waiting until turn 4 to start attacking doesn’t work too well.

Hound might seem a little loose, but I’m willing to bet most people’s red 4 drop section has been rather stagnant since the addition of Hellrider. Mix it up a little guys.

The reason for my swapping out the tokens decks for this theme is because quite a few of the support cards overlap between the two archetypes: Fencing Ace gets just as powerful as Gather the Townsfolk with Glorious Anthem in play, after all.

Now here’s the initial warning: if you want to support this archetype, the removal in your cube will have to get worse (or at the bare minimum slower). The whole reason things like auras and pump spells suck in cube is because 9 times out of 10, the creature just gets Doom Bladed in response. Or Swords. Or Pathed. Or Into the Roiled. Or…

You get the point. A lot of those bounce spells become significantly worse by being sorceries, but try out Undo every once in a while. Card is powerful.

Anyways, back on topic. Now that we have a host of fun creatures to suit up, now it’s time to find ways to crack in for lethal. Add a smattering of cards from these categories, or at least realize they just got better in your cube:

And a few Misc cards like Varolz, the Scar-Striped, Stonewright, Kessig Wolf Run, Edric, Spymaster of Trest and Dreg Mangler. In the same vein as Edric, try Warriors’ Lesson, Mask of Memory and Keen Sense.

As well as pump spells. This part needs a whole section.

First, the small few you might be playing already:

Now a few of those are probably a maybe. Here’s a few more you might want to try:

Titan’s Strength
Brute Force
Sylvan Might
Prey’s Vengeance
Predator’s Strike
Dragon Mantle
Pyrewild Shaman
Wrecking Ogre

Also, to tie this theme to red a little more, there’s a lot of good synergy with red cards that care about the power of your creatures:

Now I’ll be the first to admit Soul’s Fire is probably going too deep, but doubling or tripling up on Spikeshot Elder is not out of the question if you want this to be a deck, and not just some incidental synergy that happens to come together now and again.

It’s also worth noting the impact that actually running combat tricks has on your limited environment. Combat becomes kinda rote and by-the-numbers if people know the only downside to attacking is a haste guy from your side. If adding Giant Growth makes games more interesting, I’m all for it. Remember your cube is a limited environment too, not just a giant collection of cards.

Shake it up every now and again.

3 comments on “One Two Punch: Adding a Double Strike Theme

  1. cptawesome says:

    so basically you are saying that in order to have to add a subpar strategy to your cube for the sake of variety you have to depower the rest of your cube to compensate for your new strategy….

    you are basically just making a cube revolving around double strike. there are not enough cards to even remotely fully support such a strategy especially when the cards that you are adding aren’t even that good in their own limited environments let alone cube.

    I appreciate the desire for changing things up but at least the RB sacrifice theme was fun and interesting. Double strike is only workable in aggro decks and only in two colors! Just completely confusing

  2. James says:

    cptawesome, I’ve been running this archetype and it’s awesome. I doubled up on Fencing Ace, Gather the Townsfolk, Champion of the Parish and Accorder Paladin, and my white aggro decks are finally good. The point is to make a lot of overlap between aggressive weenie and token strategies so that your cheap guys work well together, as well as hitting hard on their own. For me this wasn’t cutting down on power at all, it was a way to finally make my white aggro decks as good as the other decks in my cube.

    You say the cards “aren’t even that good in their own limited environments let alone cube.” That’s really not a good way to look at it. Fencing Ace wasn’t great in its native draft formats, but it’s a star in my cube because it has better support.

    You are right though that this is an aggro strategy, and yes, it is much better as a red-white deck than anything else. As far as my experience goes, aggro decks with burn are just always better than aggro decks without. (I have no experience with the black zombie decks that Jason wrote about, so I can’t speak for those)

  3. Chris Taylor says:

    CPTAwesome, I appreciate the comment. But here’s my take:
    Lowering the power of cards in your cube is something we do all the time. That’s why it’s MY cube or YOUR cube, not THE cube. If all we did was play the most objectively powerful cards, there would be a final answer to what cards I should put in my cube. That’s not very interesting, so ever since the beginning we’ve been doing this, right down to the classic Powered/Unpowered distinction.

    I’ve always believed you can design an environment to make any card good, from fencing ace to scornful egotist. As a corollary to that, you can similarly design an environment where even the most broken cards are bad (Ancestral Recall is horrible in Three Card Battle, for example). That fencing ace didn’t have much support in it’s original draft environment doesn’t really concern me, I’m more interested in how good it is in MY draft format, and how/weather I should change that.
    For example, fencing ace (now called two headed cerberus) is a fine card in Theros limited, since the themes of the set allow for much more voltron style support.

    You say that (unlike the RB sacrifice deck) Double Strike isn’t interesting, but I disagree. It’s certainly uninteresting when no matter how hard you try, Fencing Ace eats burn/bounce/removal before you can get your plan going. But an interesting format without any removal would be a hard one to craft, so rather than remove everything that could make fencing ace unappealing, I made them a little worse.

    While I’ll admit the double strike theme only really works as an aggro deck, I don’t really see the problem with that. Every archetype in your cube only works as one kind of deck, or it isn’t really an archetype, is it? Tokens is an aggro deck, it’s about making lots of guys and attacking. That game plan can’t be a control deck, it just doesn’t work.
    I’d also posit that I think I’ve done a decent job tying it to red as well, given the number of overlap cards and the pure power of reckless charge.