How Early Do You Draft Leovold, Emissary Of Trest In Vintage Cube?

Leovold, Emissary of Trest is a powerful Vintage Cube card, but is it worth an early three-color commitment? Ryan Overturf breaks down a tricky pick!

Leovold, Emissary of Trest, illustrated by Magali Villeneuve

As we all know, blue is the best color in Vintage Cube. In my breakdown of the Magic Online (MTGO) Vintage Cube I identified Mystic Confluence as one of the best cards in the Cube, and as such I end up first-picking it a fair amount. That said, Mystic Confluence doesn’t provide much direction for a deck beyond necessitating blue mana. Today I want to explore a draft pick that revolved around picking a lane for a Mystic Confluence deck.

This draft started with unremarkable packs headlined by the counterspells that I drafted, and I’m not expecting anything I’ll be thrilled about on the wheel — the standard Vintage Cube experience. Take a look at the decision I was faced with for Pack 1, Pick 3; take your time to vote for what you’d pick; and then check out my thoughts on the various options and find out what I picked!

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Mystic Confluence Mana Leak

The Pack:

Leovold, Emissary of Trest Tezzeret the Seeker Concealed Courtyard Dark Confidant Dire Fleet Daredevil Living Death Oracle of Mul Daya Palinchron Plateau Recruiter of the Guard Condemn Dismember Porcelain Legionnaire

The Pick:

Examining My Options

What are my choices?

Leovold, Emissary of Trest

Leovold, Emissary of Trest

Leovold, Emissary of Trest does a lot of work in high-powered environments. Turning off the opponent’s ability to draw extra cards is frustrating for almost every deck, and drawing cards when your permanents are targeted usually means Leovold’s floor is your opponent spending a removal spell and you replacing your Leovold with a fresh card.

That high floor also comes with a much higher ceiling. Combining Leovold with cards like Timetwister leaves your opponent with one card in hand to your seven, and now and again you get the opportunity to target your opponent with a Dack Fayden, forcing them to discard two cards.

The downside of Leovold is the prohibitive mana cost in a wedge with dual lands that are generally high picks. If Leovold were easy to cast, this pick wouldn’t be particularly interesting. Honestly, if you replaced Leovold with Narset, Parter of Veils, this pack wouldn’t be particularly interesting, but the need to aggressively track down Underground Sea and Tropical Island is a notable strike against an otherwise exceptional option.

Tezzeret the Seeker

Tezzeret the Seeker

It might be hard to believe today, but Tezzeret the Seeker really stood out among the early planeswalkers. Before Modern ever existed, Kenny Öberg made Top 8 of an Extended Pro Tour with a deck built entirely around Tezzeret, and while this is a very dated reference, the strategy does hold up in artifact-heavy environments.

Tezzeret is most commonly used to generate extra mana while also threatening a -5 the turn after you play him, which is fairly commonly lethal. The tutoring ability is also handy to track down mana rocks or fancier things like Oblivion Stone, Tangle Wire, or Crucible of Worlds.

I’ve first-picked Tezzeret in drafts that I’ve trophied, though like Leovold there is some downside to this pick. Tezzeret just isn’t much of a card if you don’t end up with a good spread of powerful and cheap artifacts. That’s likely the sort of thing this deck will be looking for anyway, but so will everybody else.

Concealed Courtyard

Concealed Courtyard

Hedging and picking a land is a time-honored Cube tradition. Taking Leovold would mean taking a three-color card and having to figure out the mana, while taking Concealed Courtyard opens up the pool of cards that is reasonable to take. I generally don’t look to draft Esper and I value fastlands considerably lower than fetches and duals, but I see the argument for taking a land here.

Oracle of Mul Daya

Oracle of Mul Daya

The other picks outlined so far all have notable asks, though Oracle of Mul Daya only cares that your deck contains lands and spells. Oracle may not be as exciting as Leovold, but you can make Oracle and counterspells work in a deck with all basic lands much more smoothly than you could with Leovold.

In addition to not involving jumping through any hoops, Oracle also has a number of powerful synergies. Fetchlands can be used to control the top card of your deck, it provides fuel for cards like Tireless Tracker, and using Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Brainstorm proper to put lands on top of your library generates a ton of value with Oracle.



A year or so ago I was very fond of a Vintage Cube archetype that I referred to as “Jeskai Playables.” You can probably surmise what such a deck looked like. Lately sticking to Azorius has proven to be just as powerful as branching into Jeskai due to powerful additions with the planeswalker type Teferi.

Plateau is a true dual land though, and going into Jeskai isn’t without its merits. I think Nahiri, the Harbinger is an incredible card in Vintage Cube and you can basically always wheel it if one is anywhere in the draft. Plateau is also nice to have for some builds of Splinter Twin combo if you’re into that sort of thing.

So What’s My Pick?

What did I take?

Oracle of Mul Daya

Oracle of Mul Daya is just the lowest-maintenance card in the pack, and I have a strong bias against fighting over lands if I can keep things to two colors. It’s also true that Leovold is more likely to wheel than Oracle of Mul Daya by nature of being a three-color card, and at that point I’d happily accept him in my draft pool.

If Growth Spiral and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath have taught us anything, it’s that drawing extra cards and making a lot of mana just wins games. Oracle of Mul Daya and Mystic Confluence give me a great starting point for a “mana and stuff” deck and that sort of thing gets Ws.

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