Drafting Digest: Vintage Cube

Ryan Saxe is switching things up with a little Vintage Cube action! Will he start things off with Elvish Mystic or Skullclamp? Will he be tempted by Show and Tell? Will you?

The Vintage Cube on Magic Online is a wonderful refresher. Now, both mono-white and mono-red aggressive decks are some of the best decks in Cube, but there are so many broken things to do, I’ll probably bias away from those archetypes. Let’s see where this draft takes me!

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

The Pick:

Cube is all about what you want to do. Sometimes you approach a Cube with a strong affinity towards mono-red, in which case you should probably take Skullclamp and try to wheel either Monastery Swiftspear or Lightning Bolt. And Skullclamp is just a powerful card in general, so if mono-red is drying up, you can back-door into another creature-oriented strategy that can utilize the busted Equipment.

I don’t actually believe you can justify picking Elvish Mystic here, but I see the logic. Mana Elves are very powerful and extremely important to a variety of green decks. However as mentioned above, Skullclamp is one of the most powerful things you can do if you’re in a creature deck. Hence if you’d like to be in a deck where Elvish Mystic is good, Skullclamp will likely be great.

Outside of that, there are a variety of blue cards. True-Name Nemesis is a phenomenal threat. Search for Azcanta is a great filtration effect and eventually engine. Ancestral Vision is great card advantage. The Scarab God is a more powerful threat than True-Name, although likely not as terrifyingly efficient. However, I think Dack Fayden really overshadows all of these cards by a reasonable margin.

In general, I would say that most people approach Vintage Cube with the goal of drafting the most busted deck as possible, to do something that you don’t get to do often in Limited. What most people often forget is that in order to draft decks that can consistently do broken things, you need to utilize picks that improve consistency. This means that lands and cantrips become crucial. If you’re trying to assemble a combo, Fathless Looting, Preordain, and the like become necessities. This is why I would take Dack Fayden, and I think Dack is one of the most powerful cards in the Cube. He is a threat, as his ultimate can certainly win the game. But the card-selection Dack provides is often enough to win the game when your deck has access to powerful synergies and broken combinations of cards. Plus, the ability to steal an artifact is nothing to scoff at either.

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Nothing like starting out with two of the best non-power cards in the Cube!

The Pack:

The Pick:

I think Show and Tell is a trap in Vintage Cube. In Legacy Cube, this isn’t the case, as very few decks are attempting to utilize large Eldrazi. However, in the Vintage Cube, the probability that your opponent has a great card to put onto the battlefield is no longer so small, and so while there is an archetype that the card spawns, I think there are better ways to cheat cards onto the battlefield.

The real decision is between Arid Mesa and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. If Arid Mesa were a blue land, I think the decision would likely go there, but the fetchland isn’t guaranteed to be as necessary, although it will likely help play and/or splash Dack Fayden. That being said, Jace also helps facilitate this, as he loots and also can Flashback cantrips to dig, which makes your mana better on average.

My heuristic in Vintage Cube when a pick is close is to take the most powerful card. That intuitively is Jace here. I know that lands are important, but I tend not to take them this early in Pack 1 when they don’t necessarily help produce blue mana. What can I say? Blue is great in Cube!