Cube Drafting Storm — by Rowan Sheehan

Welcome to my Cube article! On a weekly basis, some people and I get together to shuffle up and play our paper version of the MTGO Holiday Cube, one of the most fun draft formats that there is. It follows normal draft style, but plays with high-powered cards, including [card]Black Lotus[/card]! There’s only about four or five changes from the MTGO list, none of which are notable. Everybody arranges themselves, we count out packs, and start playing!

[Deck title=p1p1]
Regrowth
Gruul Turf
Knight of the Reliquary
Vedalken Shackles
Devil’s Play
Garruk, Primal Hunter
Pernicious Deed
Venser, the Sojourner
Garruk Relentless
Phyrexian Arena
Mana Drain
Mirror Entity
Abrupt Decay
Ancient Grudge
Necromancy
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Mana Drain[/card]

P1P1s are difficult to really focus around, as picks are nearly exclusively up to personal taste. In general, the only snap-picks in a P1P1 of Holiday Cube would be [card]Sol Ring[/card], [card]Black Lotus[/card], Moxen, [card]Time Walk[/card], or [card]Ancestral Recall[/card]. I picked Mana Drain because it’s a pillar of Vintage for a reason, but it took awhile to decide.

[Deck title=p2p2]
All is Dust
Dark Confidant
Animate Dead
Phyrexian Obliterator
Demonic Tutor
Lotus Bloom
Nantuko Vigilante
Corpse Dance
Magus of the Moon
Wrath of God
Timetwister
Bloodgift Demon
Looter il-Kor
Golgari Rot Farm
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Demonic Tutor[/card]

Oh man, black is looking pretty solid. I could force mono-black and take the Obliterator, or go tempo with [card]Dark Confidant[/card]. [card]Timetwister[/card] is also vital for ramp or storm. However, I strongly value tutors, as they are as good as the best card in your deck, and [card]Demonic Tutor[/card] is pretty undeniably the best tutor.

[deck title=p1p3]
Vengevine
Oracle of Mul Daya
Obstinate Baloth
Searing Blaze
Dungeon Geists
Volrath’s Stronghold
Black Knight
Sacred Foundry
Agony Warp
Into the Roil
Blade Splicer
Miscalculation
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card]

I could snag Miscalculation and go hard into UB Control. Given that Holiday Cube is a bomb-oriented format, I think it’s important to stay open in pack one, so I went for [card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card]. Currently I’m looking at a UG rampy deck, so I hope that [card]Timetwister[/card] last pack wheels. Ravnica bounce lands interact well with Oracle, because you often run out of lands to play, but with karoo lands, you can play the lands from your hand more often. I’ve already seen two of them that will likely come back around.

[deck title=p1p4]
Wheel of Fortune
Land Tax
Fyndhorn Elves
Oblivion Ring
Gideon’s Lawkeeper
Reanimate
Time Spiral
Lodestone Golem
Unburial Rights
Restock
Sower of Temptations
Null Rod
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Wheel of Fortune[/card]

Land Tax and Oracle of Mul Daya are a non-bo, so no sense going for that. I’m feeling one of the two wheels right now and in retrospect I probably should have picked Time Spiral. However, I go for the Wheel of Fortune because it requires a lower storm count. The fact that it’s single red means that it’s fairly splashable and Time Spiral would probably dedicate me to going blue.

[deck title=p1p5]
Nether Void
Baneslayer Angel
Reveillark
Graveborn Muse
Firemane Angel
Bloodghast
Mizzium MOrtars
Gatekeeper
Armageddon
Wake Thrasher
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Wake Thrasher[/card]

I have a Wheel and a Tutor in the first four picks, so there’s a good chance I’m going to be playing combo. As such, I pick Wake Thrasher, as it combos with [card]Basalt Monolith[/card] in the cube to give an infinitely powerful dude. [card]Armageddon[/card] is powerful in the early picks, but is a non-bo with a ramp/combo strategy that I seem to be setting up. [card]Nether Void[/card] isn’t bad, but I don’t enjoy playing a stax deck until I’ve snagged a [card]Crucible of Worlds[/card].

[deck title=p1p6]
Polukranos, World Eater
Go for the Throat
Life from the Loam
Fauna Shaman
Frantic Search
Scavenging Ooze
Shriekmaw
Cryptic Command
Hellrider
Ancient Tomb
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Frantic Search[/card]

Cryptic Command is far too color intense for an already four-color deck. I’m not on the red aggro train, otherwise Hellrider is a good pick. The Fauna Shaman is rather pretty, especially with the consistent reanimator support I see in the previous packs. I have the Tutor and Wheel to play reanimator, but the Frantic Search also works for U/B reanimator and works well with Oracle, bounce lands, and wheels. I pick up Frantic Search because it allows me to go for reanimator, storm, or ramp.

[deck title=p1p7]
Frost TItan
Awakening Zone
Mind Stone
Falkenrath Aristocrat
Greater Gargadon
Slaughter Pact
Hypnotic Specter
Primal Command
Plow Under
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Mind Stone[/card]

I started playing cube consistently with a good unpowered cube, which proved the power of Mind Stone. It’s not an exciting pick, but it allows for ramp, is recurrable, and is a card draw later.

[deck title=p1p8]
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Dismember
Boon Satyr
Nekrataal
Prophetic Bolt
Torch Fiend
Honor of the Pure
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Prophetic Bolt[/card]

I’m not sure what to make of this pack. The three notables are Grand Arbiter to make cheaper spells, Dismember for an easy kill spell regardless of my mana colors, and Prophetic Bolt for damage and card draw. None of the three are too bad, but I picked Prophetic Bolt because I wanted to get some more testing in with that card.

[deck title=p1p9]
Lifebane Zombie
Thelonite Hermit
Flickerwisp
Call of the Herd
Stormblood Berserker
Arc Trail
Shivan Reef
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Shivan Reef[/card]

There isn’t much calling in this pack, so I pick up Shivan Reef as land drafting is vital.

[deck title=p1p10]
Gruul Turf
Mirror Entity
Pernicious Deed
Venser, the Sojourner
Knight of the Reliquary
Ancient Grudge
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Gruul Turf[/card]

Sweet, got that bounce land action going on. This is also vital because this is the first pack that I can read signals on. Both Garruks are gone, as are most green cards. I make a mental note that I’ll probably be moving out of green-based ramp. Also the Necromancy is gone and if I don’t see the reanimator cards in the next pack then I’ll probably move out of reanimator.

[deck title=p1p11]
All is Dust
Nantuko Vigilante
Corpse Dance
Wrath of God
Golgari Rot Farm
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Golgari Rot Farm[/card]

Oh, the Animate Dead is gone. I’m going to stay away from reanimator and just do an easy pick on the bounce land and dedicate myself further to this Oracle / Frantic Search strategy, wherever it leads me.

[deck title=p1p12]
Qasali Pridemeage
Vengevine
Blade Splicer
Agony Warp
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Agony Warp[/card]

None of the creatures seem to represent anything I want, so I pick up an Agony Warp for sideboard tech against creature decks.

[deck title=p1p13]
Gideon’s Lawkeeper
Oblivion Ring
Land Tax
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Land Tax[/card]

White, white everywhere! I pick up Land Tax as a method of early deck thinning and the ability to support my already insane mana base. Land Tax also works very well with karoos, but doesn’t work too well with Oracle.

[deck title=p1p14]
Reveillark
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
[/deck]

Don’t want either, take the Reveillark because somebody else might want it.

p1p15: Life from the Loam

Life from the Loam isn’t too bad of a last pick! My karoos are going to be prime targets for land destruction, so I am going to need a reliable way to get them back to my hand. However, the dredge is problematic because I haven’t seen any recursion yet or way to replay my graveyard, so I’ll try to value that higher in later picks.

[deck title=p2p1]
Sun Titan
Birds of Paradise
Stunted Growth
Metalworker
Vindicate
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Living Death
Spikeshot Elder
Mind’s Desire
Jushi Apprentice
Aetherling
Dreg Mangler
WickerboughElder
Sphinx’s Revelation
Chandra, Pyromaster
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Mind’s Desire[/card]

Oh boy, this pack is fun. There’s a lot of valuable things here, notably Sun Titan, Metalworker, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Mind’s Desire. I’ve picked exactly one artifact so far, so I don’t pick up the Metalworker. I have the Mana Drain which complements Jace, the Mind Sculptor very well, but Minds Desire is one of the most bonkers storm cards ever in cube (and too bonkers for Legacy). I pick Mind’s Desire because I love playing storm and I think that it will contribute to an interesting article. Around now I decide that I will be forcing storm.

[deck title=p2p2]
Voice of Resurgence
Damnation
Golgari Signet
Path to Exile
Whipcorder
Nezumi Graverobber
Silverblade Paladin
Overgrown Tomb
Fireblast
Savannah Lions
Mystic Snake
Huntmaster of the Fells
Gaea’s Cradle
Consuming Vapors
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Overgrown Tomb[/card]

Lands are always a wonderful pick. I think in hindsight, I should have grabbed the Damnation because it’s difficult for me to deal with problematic creatures. Also, the Signet is good for fixing and basically costs one mana to create one storm count (after playing and tapping it).

[deck title=p2p3]
Erebos, God of the Dead
Wolfir SIlverheart
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Gilded Lotus
Bonfire of the Damned
Underground River
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Vendilion Clique
Selesnya Sanctuary
Dust Bowl
Frenzied Goblin
Hallowed Fountain
Daze
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/card]

LED is one of the classic storm cards, I have to go for it. I’ll be happy on the wheel to get any dual lands or Erebos, though.

[deck title=p2p4]
Mox Ruby
Tendrils of Agony
Hymn to Tourach
Maelstorm Pulse
Rakdos Cackler
Jackal Pup
Chandra’s Phoenix
Counterspell
Basalt Monolith
Leonin Relic-Warder
Spectral Possession
Impulse
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Mox Ruby[/card]

Oh boy! This pack is absolutely beautiful. Mox Ruby, Tendrils, and Basalt Monolith stand out. The first is a piece of power, and the second and third are win conditions (remember that I mentioned the infinite combo with Wake Thrasher and Basalt Monolith?). I’m okay with letting the Basalt Monolith go—the people I’m playing with are experienced enough to know the combo so I won’t get as many free wins. Tendrils is my least favorite storm win-con because it’s the only one that requires you to hit the full count to win. [card]Brain Freeze[/card] can be fired off early and cheaply and they will naturally continue to draw and after a Wheel or two they will meet their death. A small army of goblins is never not scary. However, a player can sit at two life comfortably for the rest of the game. Therefore, I pick the piece of power (which is still a fantastic pick!)

[deck title=p2p5]
Noble Hierarch
Stomping Grounds
Ravages of War
Koth of the Hammer
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Zealous Conscripts
Old Man of the Sea
Llanowar Elves
Electrolyze
Mogg War Marshal
Faith’s Fetters
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Electrolyze[/card]

Electrolyze is important for taking down the early aggro decks and providing card draw. Ravages of War is also in this pack: the mono-white aggro or stax player will be very pleased by the second mass-LD card.

[deck title=p2p6]
Ultimate Price
Terastadon
Putrid Imp
Everflowing Chalice
Nezumi Shortfang
Rout
Masticore
Hellspark Elemental
Ohran Viper
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Everflowing Chalice[/card]

Yesss, I love Everflowing Chalice in a storm deck. It can be used as ramp early and mid-game, while being able to be played for free to get one storm count when you’re going off.

[deck title=p2p7]
Smokestack
Lightning Helix
Paladin en-Vec
Firedrinker Satyr
Necropotence
Price of Progress
Flametongue Kavu
Archangel of Thune
Temple Garden
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Necropotence[/card]

Necropotence is another iconic storm card beside LED. However, my mana base currently obviously doesn’t support it. I pick it up in hopes that I’ll get a Dark Ritual later.

[deck title=p2p8]
Yavimaya Coast
Bonesplitter
Diregraf Ghoul
Teetering Peaks
Breeding Pool
Elite Vanguard
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Wall of Omens
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Breeding Pool[/card]

I think about snagging the Wall of Omens because at the least it cantrips, but fixing is over cantrips, even in storm.

[deck title=p2p9]
Kird Ape
Chandra, the Firebrand
Tangle Wire
Boggart Ram-Gang
Mishra’s Factory
Pristine Talisman
Tin-Street hooligan
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Chandra, the Firebrand[/card]

If I got a Crucible in pack one, I would be going for that stax action so much. However, Chandra can copy instants and sorceries and is an alternate win-con, so she goes in!

[deck title=p2p10]
Jushi Apprentice
Spikeshot Elder
Sphinx’s Revelation
Wickerbough Elder
Vindicate
Stunted Growth
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card]

Sphinx’s Revelation is good for card draw and works well with a land-based storm strategy. I really love this card in storm when you start getting the land-doubles, notably Mirari’s Wake and Heartbeat of Spring.

[deck title=p2p11]
Voice of Resurgence
Path to Exile
Huntmasterof the Fells
Whipcorder
Nezumi Graverobber
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Path to Exile[/card]

I pick up Path to Exile because it’s a cheap spell that interacts with my opponents’ problematic creatures and gives storm count. I can also path my own creatures after they’ve outlived their usefulness to get a much-needed land.

[deck title=p2p12]
Hallowed Fountain
Frenzied Goblin
Daze
Underground River
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Hallowed Fountain[/card]

Laaaands! I pick Hallowed Fountain because it’s fetchable and pain lands aren’t as good in Cube Storm, because you so often tap and untap your lands.

[deck title=p2p13]
Impulse
Leonin Relic-Warder
Jackal Pup
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Impulse[/card]

An almost last-picked cantrip? Yes, please!

[deck title=p2p14]
Ravages of War
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
[/deck]

Hate draft the Ravages.

p2p15: Savannah Lions

White weenies is clearly reading open, as I’ve now seen good low-drop white creatures at the end of both packs one and two.

[deck title=p3p1]
Char
Baleful Strix
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Channel
Gifts Ungiven
Brimstone Volley
Karplusan Forest
Genesis Wave
Orzhov Signet
Taurean Mauler
Glen Elendra Archmage
Xenagos, the Reveler
Taiga
Angel of Serenity
Firebolt
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Channel[/card]

Oh, my! I have to pick the Channel—I already have a Sphinx’s Revelation. The double green is a bit restrictive, but I should be able to get there. I hope to get some of those lands on the wheel or the Signet. I thought about Gifts Ungiven, but I don’t have any recursion so it loses its effectiveness.

[deck title=p3p2]
Upheaval
Snapcaster Mage
Venser, Shaper Servant
Thornscape Battlemage
Braids, Cabal Minion
Sensei’s DIvining Top
Bitterblossom
Beast Within
Chrome Mox
Palinchron
Razormane Masticore
Toxic Deluge
Goblin Guide
Misty Rainforest
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Upheaval[/card]

P3P1 Channel into a P3P2 Upheaval makes me so happy. Although it’s not a hard-combo such as Wake Thrasher / Basalt Monolith, these two cards work very well together. I’ll be happy with a lot of these things wheeling, such as Snappy or Misty or SDT.

[deck title=p3p3]
Windswept Heath
Balance
Indrik Stomper
Dreadbore
Garruk Wildspeaker
Rude Awakening
Sword of Fire and Ice
Underground Sea
Epochrasite
Pentad Prism
Spear of Heliod
Riftwing Cloudskate
Cloudgoat Ranger
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Windswept Heath[/card]

The Windswept Heath is very appealing because it fetches three dual lands I currently have. Rude Awakening is obviously indispensable, but I can easily expect that to wheel. It’s not  commonly highly picked, especially in my meta.

[deck title=p3p4]
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Exalted Angel
Ranger of Eos
Izzet Charm
Heartbeat of Spring
Gideon Jura
Molten-Tail Masticore
Recurring Nightmare
Emeria Angel
Rakdos Carnarium
Pyroclasm
Thoughtseize
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Heartbeat of Spring[/card]

I went for the Thoughtseize and did a double-take—there’s Heartbeat of Spring in this pack. There was a Palinchron two packs ago. I could get infinite mana and storm count that way. Also Heartbeat of Spring works wonderfully with Sphinx’s Revelation. I pick it. I have a few comments on the card in Cube: don’t forget it’s two-sided. There have been so many situations where I drop it on turn three and my opponent untaps then quickly wins on turn four through an insane play. Due to that, I strongly advise that you only drop Heartbeat of Spring on the same turn that you are planning to go off, while they are tapped out (if they are playing permission).

[deck title=p3p5]
Dimir Aqueduct
Empty the Warrens
Orcish Lumberjack
Serendib Efreet
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Polluted Delta
Mana Leak
Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Bribery
Hero’s Downfall
Goblin Welder
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Empty the Warrens[/card]

I let out a sigh and snap-pick Empty the Warrens. It’s my second card with “storm” printed on it, and the first one that will kill an opponent. This is the exact card I wanted and needed.

[deck title=p3p6]
Orzhov Basilica
Trygon Predator
Thalia
Thragtusk
Treetop Village
Porcelain Legionnaire
Karakas
Wasteland
Windbrisk Heights
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Orzhov Basilica[/card]

I’m going full in on the bounce lands here. I could have hate-drafted the Thalia or the Wasteland, but either is an acceptable route.

[deck title=p3p7]
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Gruul Signet
Ember Hauler
Sarcomancy
Wrath of God
Guul-Draz Assassin
Smash to Smithereens
Soldier of Warfare
Mirari’s Wake
[/deck]

I go for Mirari’s Wake which will serve as another mana-doubler. It’s funny that I get both doublers that are in the cube and within four picks. I quickly think about picking the Gruul Signet, but I think mana doublers with an already picked Sphinx’s Revelation, Frantic Search, and bounce lands is too strong.

[deck title=p3p8]
Wall of Blossoms
Mana Tithe
Savannah
Precursor Golem
Meloku, the Clouded Mirror
Ancestral Vision
Goblin Ruinblaster
Master of the Wild Hunt
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Ancestral Vision[/card]

I think that I’m doing pretty good on the fixing so I don’t take the Savannah and instead focus on almost-free card draw. It’s also interesting to note that Ancestral is basically only good in your opening hand, moreso with storm. Suspending a card doesn’t contribute to storm count, but when it pops, you do get spell for your count. I often suspend this on turn one and plan to go off on turn five when I get a free storm count and three free cards.

[deck title=p3p9]
Soltari Champion
Avalanche Riders
Unexpectedly Absent
Simic Sky-Swallower
Oona’s Prowler
Skinrender
Stormbreath Dragon
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Unexpectedly Absent[/card]

I frequently play Legacy Storm, where the majority of hate that you will interact with will be through counterspells. In Cube, people don’t play Force of Will or Daze unless they’re a dedicated control/tempo deck, as opposed to 60-percent of top Legacy decks running Force of Will. Therefore, most of the hate on storm in Cube is going to be through permanents. Unexpectedly Absent does well against that. However, it’s bad with our five colors so it will probably go straight to the sideboard.

[deck title=p3p10]
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Karplusan Forest
Orzhov Signet
Taurean Mauler
Brimstone Volley
Char
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Karplusan Forest[/card]

Lands are always good. I pick up the land, although the signet would have also been a good pick.

[deck title=p3p11]
Toxic Deluge
Goblin Guide
Thornscape Battlemage
Beast Within
Razormane Masticore
[/deck]

Toxic Deluge is important to allow me to interact with fast creature decks, which is even more important because the mana elves have been picked up very quickly from this pool. Palinchron does not wheel.

[deck title=p3p12]
Indrik Stomphowler
Balance
Rude Awakening
Cloudgoat Ranger
[/deck]

Wow, that’s a late Balance. However, I hoped that Rude Awakening would wheel and it did (and it’s now better for my deck than the first time around!)

[deck title=p3p13]
Exalted Angel
Ranger of Eos
Emmara Angel
[/deck]

Pick: [card]Exalted Angel[/card]

SB tech against burn.

I didn’t document p3p14 or p3p15, but in one of these packs I picked up a [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card].

[Deck title=Cube Storm]
[Creatures]
Solemn Simulcrum
Oracle of Mul Daya
[/creatures]
[Disruption]
Path to Exile
Toxic Deluge
Electrolyze
Chandra, the Firebrand
[/Disruption]
[Filtering/Draw]
Ancestral Vision
Demonic Tutor
Impulse
Frantic Search
Wheel of Fortune
Sphinx’s Revelation
[/Filtering/Draw]
[Win Conditions]
Empty the Warrens
Mind’s Desire
Upheaval
Rude Awakening
[/win conditions]
[Fast/Extra Mana]
Mox Ruby
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Everflowing Chalice
Mind Stone
Channel
Heartbeat of Spring
Mirari’s Wake
[/fast/extra mana]
[Lands]
Overgrown Tomb
Golgari Rot Farm
Dimir Aqueduct
Orzhov Basilica
Karplusan Forest
Breeding Pool
Gruul Turf
Shivan Reef
Hallowed Fountain
Windswept Heath
2 Island
3 Forest
Swamp
Plains
[/lands]
[Sideboard]
Mana Drain
Wake Thrasher
Prophetic Bolt
Agony Warp
Land Tax
Reveillark
Life from the Loam
Necropotence
Ravages of War
Unexpectedly Absent
Exalted Angel
[/sideboard]
[/deck]

I hemmed and hawed a bit about the Mana Drain being in the main deck or sideboard, but decided to put in a Path to Exile over it. With five colors, it’s nearly impossible to hit the double blue on a regular basis, even if it allows me to storm off early.

Prophetic Bolt is another good card for a combo/storm deck, but my curve was already fairly high and I wanted to decrease it. I would side this in against midrange decks. It also becomes marginally better when you’re playing Tendrils of Agony because it can decrease the amount of copies needed.

Exalted Angel will come in versus burn and Ravages of War will come in against permanent hate.

Round One

Due to an odd number of players, I got a bye! How unfortunate. I do some goldfishing and watch some matches. I notice that there’s another storm player in our pod of nine, which was not expected. However, in hindsight, I should have realized the Tendrils and [card]Time Spiral[/card] didn’t wheel. He’s playing with more artifacts, notably the Signets that I passed, while I’m playing with land ramp, so we didn’t cut each other too hard on the fillers cards. However, he picked up some of the important cards I could have used, such as [card]Brain Freeze[/card].

Round Two

In game one, I play against a guy named Ian, who’s a nice fellow. He’s playing mono-black, which is a matchup that I’d prefer to not see. He sets up a commanding board state and hits me down to 10 life, keeping cards out of my hand with [card]Nezumi Shortfang[/card]. I topdeck an [card]Upheaval[/card] and float enough mana to play it and replay [card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card]. We restart the game, but with me being able to play two lands per turn (including bounce lands, meaning I didn’t have to discard after the Upheaval due to my hand size) is too strong. I fire off a cantrip, an LED, Wheel (crack LED with Wheel on the stack), Chalice for 0, then make 10 goblins. Next turn I untap and entwine [card]Rude Awakening[/card] for lethal.

Sideboarding:
-1 Heartbeat of Spring
-1 Solemn Simulacrum
+1 Mana Drain
+1 Land Tax

I side out Heartbeat of Spring because I check his graveyard after the Wheel and notice that he has a [card]Griselbrand[/card]. Well, let’s try to make sure that he doesn’t get to that mana. Solemn is just too slow and most of his creatures have evasion. I put in the [card]Mana Drain[/card] because he played a lot of high curve-toppers (like Griselbrand!), so I’ll have time to hit the double blue and be able to counter. I put in [card]Land Tax[/card] because I know he has random discard, so I want to try to improve my ratios and thin my deck. Also, I’ll be on the draw, so I’ll probably always be one land behind. Land Tax does help make topdecks better, which is great against black!

In game two, he plays a turn-two [card]Hymn to Tourach[/card] into a turn-three [card]Hypnotic Specter[/card]. Even though I’m improving my odds with Land Tax, all his hits take out important things. Over a few turns, he hits the [card]Upheaval[/card], [card]Empty the Warrens[/card], and [card]Rude Awakening[/card]. I realize that he’s hit all my win-cons, so I Revelation out my deck for value and we go to game three.

Game three is fantastic. He pressures hard with creatures and I have to [card]Toxic Deluge[/card] and [card]Path to Exile[/card] to stay alive. He untaps and drops a Griselbrand. Oh my. I do some quick math and realize that because he has 10 life, I can kill him in two turns and be fine. I’m at 12 life and he’s at 10, with a [card]Griselbrand[/card], [card]Guul Draz Assassin[/card], and [card]Hypnotic Specter[/card]. If I swing out with 15 tokens and keep one back as a blocker, then I’ll be fine. He blocks and goes to four life, then untaps and swings. I block his Guul Draz Assassin, confident that I did my math right. He ninjitsu’s in an [card]Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni[/card] on the Hypnotic Specter. Ouch. Exactly lethal. But it was a good, close game.

Round Three

In game one, I learn I am facing David, who is playing GB Rock. Nooooo, another black discard deck. That’s alright—David is a wonderful opponent and it’s always a pleasure to play him. In game one he plays a turn-three [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] followed up with some solid creatures. I [card]Toxic Deluge[/card] away the creatures and play a [card]Chandra, the Firebrand[/card] to keep keeping Liliana one away from her ultimate. The repeated discard never allows me to stabilize. He gets down a [card]Thrun, the Lats Troll[/card], kills Chandra, and ultimates Liliana. I end up with three lands, one of which he continuously taps down with [card]Rishadan Port[/card]. I scoop.

Sideboarding:
-1 Solemn Simulacrum
+1 Land Tax

I bring in [card]Land Tax[/card] to combat that pesky Liliana and side out sad robot again. I feel like he’s often not making the cut in this deck.

Game two is a hideous beating. He lands a turn-three Liliana followed by a turn-four [card]Dust Bowl[/card], which destroys my double karoo land draw. If I had seen Dust Bowl, I would have sided in [card]Life from the Loam[/card]. I hang on, but never get anywhere and scoop to stop the abuse. Not a good start to this draft!

Round Four

Cameron, playing Counter-Burn, is another nice regular that I often play with. In game one, he keeps throwing burn at me, taking me down to eight life. I use an [card]Electrolyze[/card] to take out  his early attackers and I cast a [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] for a life buffer. I draw my cards and realize that I can win. I untap, cast [card]Heartbeat of Spring[/card], then [card]Channel[/card], [card]Upheaval[/card], replay the Mox and [card]Mind Stone[/card], and produce 12 goblins. I swing twice with my goblins and win easily, as he is now back to no lands in play.

Sideboarding:
-1 Toxic Deluge
-1 Solemn Simulacrum
+1 Exalted Angel
+1 Mana Drain

He doesn’t have enough creatures to justify keeping in [card]Toxic Deluge[/card] or [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card]. [card]Mana Drain[/card] is important against his X-damage burn spells and [card]Exalted Angel[/card] is important to stabilize against burn. A single hit is influential, and oftentimes hitting twice with Angel is game-changing.

On turn five, I’m put in an odd predicament with my mana, so I unfortunately have to play a [card]Heartbeat of Spring[/card] and pass the turn. I’ve seen two fireball effects from him in game one, so I could easily just lose the game right here. Cameron takes this opportunity to [card]Devil’s Play[/card] me from 19 down to nine. On my turn I cast [card]Channel[/card], [card]Rude Awakening[/card], [card]Wheel of Fortune[/card], and a few cantrips to produce 16 tokens. I pass the turn, fearful for my life total. He plays a creature and casts firestorm, hitting me and four of my tokens for five damage. I untap, play [card]Mirari’s Wake[/card], and hit for exactly lethal. GG.

Total Record: 2-2

Thoughts on Cube Storm and this Draft

I only saw Mind’s Desire in my hand once and I only got to cast it for four, but it was still a fantastic card. It allowed me to cast free spells that contributed to storm count, easily allowing for a large amount of goblins.

In terms of Cube, I think storm cards should be picked in this order (from best to worst): [card]Mind’s Desire[/card], [card]Brain Freeze[/card], [card]Empty the Warrens[/card], [card]Tendrils of Agony[/card]. [card]Brain Freeze[/card] is the only one that can be played at instant speed, and you should always pay attention to the storm count of your opponent: I have lost by playing an Upheaval deck versus a storm player, and after replaying all my permanents, getting Brain Frozen for lethal with floating mana.

I am a huge fan of bouncelands in storm. However, land destruction wrecked me in one game. ThEse are definitely high-risk, high reward-cards. When they start being untapped through [card]Frantic Search[/card], [card]Time Spiral[/card], etc., they can net some good profit. However, there are quite a few specific land destruction effects and those are easy targets to functionally set you back on two land drops with a single target.

There was another storm player at the table, which is exceptionally rare in a draft pod of nine people. He cut me hard on the [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card], [card]Yawgmoth’s Will[/card], [card]Brain Freeze[/card], [card]Dream Halls[/card], and some other important normal storm cards. Therefore, I had to get a bit janky with this odd five-color storm deck without any recursion. However, it was a fun and skill-intensive deck to pilot and most of my games were enjoyable, so I left very pleased.

I hope you enjoyed my write-up! I’d like to hear comments on criticism on picks and MD/SB choices! Should I have done something differently?

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