Make the Play Monday - Cubed Squared

Feature Article from Michael Flores
Michael Flores
3/24/2014 10:02:00 AM
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We're going to switch it up a little bit in today's Make the Play Monday.

Up to this point we have focused entirely on Constructed deck. This time it is going to be Limited taking center stage!

Many of you probably know that Cube is my favorite format to play right now, and it just so happens that Cube is currently available on Magic Online. Today's Make the Play Monday is drawn from that current Cube.

The play will be a simple one (albeit with a little twist)...

What is the first pick here?

Fathom Seer
Dimir Aqueduct
Mold Shambler
Wear // Tear
Calciderm
Emeria Angel
Liliana's Reaver
Ulvenwald Tracker
Stomping Ground
Firestorm
Chrome Mox
Thundermaw Hellkite
Gideon Jura
Heliod, God of the Sun
Elspeth, Sun's Champion

This is the first overall pick of your Cube draft.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cube, it is a stack of many of the most powerful and most interesting cards in Magic history, one of each and carefully chosen...played in Booster Draft format. The exact contents of each Cube vary over time; for example around Christmastime the “Holiday Cube” featured powerhouses like Ancestral Recall and Sol Ring, while most cubes feature more pedestrian (but still celebrated) cards. For example, in one of the Cubes I drafted this week, the player to my left could easily have had all of Stoneforge Mystic; Jace, the Mind Sculptor; and Baneslayer Angel (which, I suppose, means I could have had all those had I chosen to draft those cards).

Cube is an amazing format because it is as improvisational as other draft formats, but with amazing depth. You can pick ace after ace out of packs, or draft one of many different synergistic archetypes. The first few times I drafted Cube I didn't really get one of its underlying thrusts -- But my friend Jon Finkel made it explicit: “You are drafting a forty-card Constructed deck from some of the best materiel in the history of this great game.”

If you need a reference to the exact contents of the current MTGO Cube, the full card list is available on the Wizards website here.

So...

What is the first pick?

It's a fascinating question -- and the kind that I pose quite often (like, almost every time I draft). I think that all drafts beg a tension between architects and gardeners: Do you come in with a set strategy, attempting to impose your will over the random distribution of cards that you don't yet know are coming, or improvise your way through by choosing the best cards that come, hopefully in cooperation with your neighbors?

Generally speaking one strategy is steadier, but the other has a higher ceiling. Which is more important to you?

More importantly (for today at least).., which is more important to YT and our Celebrity Guest?

Because we have such a simple Make the Play Monday this week, I am making the victory condition a little bit steeper than usual. There will still be two $25 winners, but this week both winners will have the same answers because instead of one being chosen for my play and one being chosen for our Celebrity Guest's play, both winners must successfully indicate what I would pick and what the Celebrity Guest would pick.

For example, if you think that both I and the Celebrity Guest would take Liliana's Reaver you might say…

● MF - Liliana's Reaver
● CG - Liliana's Reaver

For kicks, I'd love to hear what you'd take yourselves, too!

Folks who follow me on Twitter and tumblr have a slight edge in this Make the Play Monday because you guys already know what strategy I tend to favor in Cube. But what about the Celebrity Guest? For a hint, the Celebrity Guest is a multiple Pro Tour and Grand Prix Top 8 competitor + PT Champion (so, per usual, no slouch).

On Flores Rewards Friday we'll announce the winners and I'll let you know how I did in this particular draft.

LOVE
MIKE




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