The Twelve Non-Storm Decks Of Christmas

Harry shares his Magic Online 2013 Holiday Cube photo album and looks forward to answering any questions you have about it in the comments!

On the first day of Holiday Cube, my ten tix gave to me: a deck that looked like powered White Weenie.

Deck 1

On the second day of Holiday Cube, my ten tix gave to me . . .

I swear that when I sat down to write this article something in my brain told me it would be a reasonable idea to show everyone twelve deck lists from my Holiday Cubing and try to parody "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

As it turns out, when you arrive at the writing preparation stage with an idea as bad as mine, sanity takes hold right at about the time you are trying to set characteristics of Magic cards to the tune of "FIIIIIVE GOLDEN RIIIINGS."

Therefore, what I have for you today is something of a holiday photo album, the subject of which will be the only thing that has been worth playing on Magic Online for the past week: the 2013 Holiday Cube. As I make my way through these decks, they will fall into something that resembles chronological order. This will give particularly observant readers the opportunity to watch my deckbuilding development. I will say this—I did a lot more losing than winning in the beginning.

The above U/W deck was the first deck I drafted when the Holiday Cube became available, and the highlights included Stoneforge Mystic for Sword of War and Peace, Geist of Saint Traft, Armageddon, and Unexpectedly Absent. I remember the Moxen showing up in all my openers, which made these cards felt like cheating.

Deck 4

Now this is what I love to do deep down in my Holiday Cubing heart—put giant monsters into play at an impressive rate. Check out that sweet Birthing Pod chain. Even though it contains Masticore, a card I don’t like very much, I feel that it’s still impressive. The three best ways to cheat Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play in blue and green are present, as well as Black Lotus and Mystical Tutor to keep things moving along.

Deck 5

It’s like the white deck and the ramp deck had a baby! Guess what—the little guy knows how to 3-0. Weathered Wayfarer can be weak, however, and I would have preferred almost anything else. I really wanted to table an Intuition to go along with my Gifts Ungiven and Unburial Rites package, but even by itself the combo at instant speed was one of the most powerful aspects of this deck.

Deck 6

So let’s make it the entire focus of the next one! As you can see, I was able to scoop up both Gifts Ungiven and Intuition for this deck, and I also learned the valuable lesson of casting Thoughtseize on yourself as a totally reasonable play to make in order to get a monster into your graveyard. Other nifty interactions included Artifact Creatures with The Abyss, discarding Firemane Angel against aggressive decks, and tutoring for any card in the deck seemingly whenever I wanted.

Deck 7

Entranced with my newfound love of putting giant monsters into play by way of the graveyard, my next draft was a first crack at what is currently my favorite archetype to draft: Mono-Black Reanimator. The catch is that for this draft we also jammed in some elements of the Mono-Black Aggro deck in order to support our slightly shallow reanimation shell. What follows are significantly more refined versions of both of those decks drafted at later times.

Deck 14

Notice the more robust assortment of giant monsters to choose from as reanimation targets. There are even enough of them to consider choosing to draw first and missing your first land drop in order to get a creature into the graveyard to target. But there are plenty of activated abilities built into the deck that can also accomplish that task. It also cannot be understated just how good Lake of the Dead is in a deck with all Swamps. Casting all of your monsters becomes the default line when graveyard hate is present.

Deck 15

Then there’s this. I swear to you this deck won a single-elimination queue, but it was hysterical the entire time. It just goes to show you how far basic lands that can cast all of your spells and a little pressure can take you. Not to mention casting Reanimate on creatures that you’ve killed or made your opponents discard. That’s any graveyard there fellow wizards.

Deck 9

Speaking of pressure and lands that can cast everything, this is one of the most complete Mono-Red Aggro lists I have saved. Many of the key cards like Fireblast, Goblin Guide, and the other six one-drops are present, but the deck does have a few flaws. First of all, Reckless Charge is just awful, and I absolutely hate it the most out of the Bonesplitter, Umezawa’s Jitte, and Reckless Charge grouping of cards. Second of all, cards that target your own creatures in Mono-Red are not that great, especially not when you have a ton of them. And third of all, well, I don’t really have a third of all, but this deck also has a lot of four-drops that don’t do much to impact the game and no Sulfuric Vortex, which makes me sad.

Deck 16

Now this is what happens when your Mono-Red Aggro draft starts to go a bit off the rails. I was able to hit on the Sulfuric Vortex, Goblin Guide, and Fireblast "mythic rares" for the archetype, but it’s very clear that the one-drops are lacking and the four-drops are clogged again. Also, Molten Rain and Chaos Warp are not quality maindeck spells and should be reserved for the sideboard against specific decks. The free splash of Meloku the Clouded Mirror was actually one of the best things this deck had going for it because once my hand was empty I would just make five or six 1/1 flyers and the game would be over. This deck also made the finals of an 8-4. I stand by my earlier statement regarding pressure.

Deck 11

And then there was this abhorrent abomination of a deck. If you take a look at the sideboard, you will see some evidence that this deck wanted at one time to also try to be Mono-Red Aggro. However, a late Tinker in pack 2 threw this trusty writer for a loop, and what followed was a mashing together of creatures and artifacts unlike the world has ever known. I deservedly lost with this monstrosity very quickly.

Deck 7

What we have here is a bit deceiving. While this may look very similar to the Mono-Red Aggro deck in content and plan, this deck is actually significantly less explosive. The additional strain a second color puts on the mana base as well as the less powerful punch of the white creatures makes a deck like this much easier for opponents to race or stabilize against.

Deck 12

The problem with Mono-Red Aggro when it’s open is that no one has any fun. My opponents aren’t having fun because they’re dead. I’m not having any fun because I have to wait 40 minutes for the next round to start. Also, no one is particularly impressed by how the games play out. That is why Mono-Red Aggro will never hold a candle to this masterpiece here. All the sick reanimation cards are there with some awesome enters-the-battlefield triggers on the monsters. There is a ton of value to be found in the filler cards, but by far my favorite interaction is casting Buried Alive into Living Death. The furious clicking associated with stacking multiple triggers is basically the most fun you can have on Magic Online, and I think I’ve finally found something to replace the joy of putting Emrakul into play off of Show and Tell on the first or second turn.

Currently I’m enjoying playing monocolored decks with a lot of basic lands. As long as a deck is set up with a plan that fits whatever color I’m drafting and attention is paid to drafting cards that benefit that specific plan, I find that casting my cards on time with ease continues to be the most effective strategy for battling the 2013 Holiday Cube.

That’s not to say I don’t love a good spew:

Deck 13


I hope you enjoyed my Magic Online 2013 Holiday Cube photo album, and I look forward to answering any questions regarding build or strategy as it pertains to a specific deck!

Happy Holidays!