Hi all! We have an unusual format for you today. I've not talked about my Cube on the blog before apparently but it's just over 400 of the best Commons and Uncommons since original Mirrodin (Peasant Modern to some) in one box, ready to draft with. Why would you bother, I hear you say? Well, everyone has their fun casual formats (e.g. EDH) but some like theirs to be a competitive one. Also, a great way to keep up the competitive skill levels is to play a variety of formats. This will help develop your "fundamentals".
"Fundamentals" are important in Magic because it helps in a variety of aspects of the game, from generic Card Evaluation, to Format Evaluation and Deck Selection, and simply in regular Draft Formats also. Being able to get a general feeling for why one deck style beats another one and which cards make a difference to the general rule helps to make a good player a highly competitive one. We've gone to the effort of trying to record one such draft, using the Fact-or-Fiction style.
We have 92 cards from the Cube (6 boosters of 15 cards, with an additional 2 for reasons soon described) shuffled and piled up. 4 cards are removed from the top and laid face up. Just as with the card "Fact or Fiction", one player splits the cards into two piles and the other chooses which pile they take (with the splitter getting the other pile). By repeatedly alternating this process both players end up with a bunch of cards to make their deck from.
I was reasonably happy with my deck but it lacked in certain areas, which become apparent in the games. My decklist for reference -
1: Sunlance, Ponder, Dismember
2: Merfolk Looter, Vedalken Mastermind, Flashfreeze, Mana Leak, Remove Soul
3: Fathom Seer, Willbender, Wall of Frost, Flickerwisp, Blinding Souleater, Wall of Denial, Necrotic Sliver, Crystal Ball, Oblivion Ring
4: Guardian of the Guildpact, Ninja of the Deep Hours, Faith's Fetters
6: Nucklavee, Kiss of the Amesha, Mindculling
Lands: Vivid Creek, Jwar Isle Refuge, Dread Statuary, 7 Plains, 7 Islands
Games 1 & 2:
Game 3 + Conclusions:
Fundamentals to be learned are mentioned in the videos, but I'll reiterate them here for clarity. Decks with many colours often have to play lands which enter the battlefield tapped in order to reliably cast their spells. A great way to beat those decks is to take advantage of them effectively using their mana to make land drops and use all your mana to be very aggressive in killing them. If your deck is unable to kill them quickly, then you'll need to beat them on card quality or present some kind of trump card. My deck wasn't really able to do either of these so my best bet was to try to beat him on card quantity - as I managed in the one game you saw me win (the off-camera game we played I had a draw which attacked him before he fixed his mana).
The other lesson is that when you're not in much trouble it is better in general to develop your board rather than try to cut back theirs. On the other hand, when you are in trouble then it can be better to try to cut down your opponent's board than try to develop your own. This basically boils down to the advantaged player having or not having lots of options and being able to press their advantage accordingly. I should ask people to pay heed, however, to a common misconception of general rules - they should be seldom broken or else they're no longer General Rules! If you commonly deviate and use the excuse that it's okay to do so sometimes, then you haven't understood what "sometimes" means. Anyway, that's all for now so I hope you enjoyed the videos and took away something about competitive Magic being found in uncompetitive formats :).