When we left off last time, I finished up the Pauper cube draft at 2-1. I had played my favorite archetype—UB Fish—and got all the value off Ninjutsu-ing in Okiba-Gang Shinobi and replaying Mulldrifter.

I drank some weird Green Tea IPA as we began shuffling the Ravnica Cube.

The Ravnica Cube is a multi-colored nightmare of a cube to draft. Each pack presents myriad mana symbols on gold card after gold card as each person drafting desperately seeks to find the right fixing. My personal preference is to just take all colorless fixing and try to forgo finding the most open wedge to be in. First signets, then keyrunes, then bounce lands, then guildgates. If there’s no fixing you just take the strongest card in the pack regardless of color commitments. The rationale here is that there are a lot of big bomby cards, and it’s better to just jam haymakers and cards that ramp and color fix which allow you cast said haymakers. It’s a strategy my friend Rodrigo introduced me to, and since crossing over to the darkside I haven’t wanted to draft any other way.

I only passed a signet when there was more than one in the pack.

My deck looked like this:



Ravnica Cube—Five Color Keyrune

Creatures (6)
Silhana Starfletcher
Alms Beast
Ogre Savant
Izzet Chronarch
Deathpact Angel
Trostani’s Summoner

Spells (18)
Orzhov Signet
Izzet Signet
Golgari Signet
Pilfered Plans
Spectral Searchlight
Selesnya Keyrune
Orzhov Keyrune
Rakdos Keyrune
Azorius Keyrune
Rakdos’s Return
Merciless Eviction
Aurelia’s Fury

Land (16)
Rakdos Guildgate
Transguild Promenade
Dimir Aqueduct
Orzhov Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate

Round Four—Garrett with Bant Control (0-2)

Our first game, Garrett was on the play. He played Azorious Signet on turn two, then played Grand Arbiter Augustin IV on turn three. My hand was all Keyrunes and X spells, both of which became increasingly awkward when there’s a one-sided Helm of Awakening effect in play. Garrett curved out and played Lavinia of the Tenth, which shut my artifact rocks off for long enough for him to get the win. Game two, Garrett played an Aetherling. There’s basically no way I can ever beat that card.

Garrett ended up 3-0’ing the Ravnica Cube. I was happy to lose to a well built control deck from a dude who pretty much exclusively plays mono-green decks and self-admittedly “doesn’t really give a fuck” about tournament Magic. The deck looked like this:


Ravnica Cube—Five Color Keyrune

Creatures (12)
Coiling Oracle
New Prahv Guildmage
Syndic of Tithes
Loxodon Smiter
Court Hussar
Soulsworn Jury
Master of Impediments
Skymark Roc
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Lavinia of the Tenth
Prime Speaker Zeganna

Spells (10)
Azorius Signet
Simic Signet
Azorius Charm
Blind Obedience
Detention Sphere
Faith’s Fetters
Supreme Verdict
Martial Law
Stolen Identity
Lands (0)

? (0)

Round Five—Max with Jund Graveyard (2-0)

I don’t remember much of this match. Luckily, Max wrote a tournament report on Facebook which I will quote here:

That whole draft was wild and I was flying, then I found out Searing Meditation wasn’t in the Ravnica Cube and I got flustered. That was the first step towards me losing this tournament because before that I thought I might still be dreaming, but I was awoken, rudely, in a drunken and high haze. It was horrible and I wasn’t dreaming, this was reality, which induced a panic attack along with the pot. Wow, I’m so nervous. This sucks. I ended up drafting a shit deck and was magically passed Pack Rat, which is like a rich man’s Sprout Swarm in a poor man’s Sprout Swarm format. By the way, there’s no way that makes sense whether you play magic or not. I won some games with Pack Rat and some games with a 1 drop into 2 drop into 3 drop hands. I lost to Shawn, though, and that totally tilted me. He had some kinda keyrune deck and I never drew Pack Rat. His deck made me sick because I hated everything about it. I hate formats where you just draft like five color or four color whatever with no synergy and win. Honestly, though, it upset me because it made me aware of my own mortality. Darwin Kastle says their can only be one alpha Magic player and Shawn put me in my place like I was a little puppy and he was a full grown Rottweiler. Ugh.

Here is Max’s deck for reference:


Ravnica Cube—Jund

Creatures (17)
Elves of Deep Shadow
Birds of Paradise
Plagued Rusalka
Experiment One
Gyre Sage
Korozda Guildmage
Golgari Guildmage
Pack Rat
Civic Wayfinder
Daggerclaw Imp
Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Dreg Mangler
Savra, Queen of the Golgari
Crypt Champion
Keening Banshee
Grave-Shell Scarab
Golgari Grave-Troll

Spells (4)
Ultimate Price
Moldervine Cloak
Seal of Doom
Traitorous Instinct
Lands (3)
Gruul Guildgate
Orzhov Basilica
Rakdos Carnarium

? (0)

Round Six—Nik with GW Stuff (2-0)
Kind of blanking on this round. I remember Nik had Trostani and Tolsimir Wolfblood. I remember killing them and then killing Nik.

After the last round of Ravnica cube I was 4-2 on the tournament, which put me in a good spot to make the finals after the last match of round robin.

The final cube we’d be drafting would be Phil’s power cube (an interview about the cube will be coming next week). The cube is fairly similar to the MTGO Holiday Cube. My plan going in was to try to build a control deck with cheap counter magic. While there are a lot of powerful niche archetypes, I’ve had some bad luck with getting cut and ending up with an unfocused deck.

At this point in the evening, we had officially listened to most of the Hammock discography and everyone had drank a lot of beer. In a move to wake everyone up, and to fulfill Max’s wishes of putting Kesha on, I cued up my “Guilty Pleasures” playlist. As we started drafting, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” came on and everyone burst into a contemplative falsetto singalong. Erica tried to take a video of the whole thing but it got deleted somehow. Too bad.

My first pack had a Recurring Nightmare and some other stuff I couldn’t bring myself to take. I then picked up some dual lands to keep myself open-ish but ended up getting taken down midrange value deck lane. Somewhere along the line I drafted a Gifts Ungiven/Unburial Rites package and somehow had a creature curve that allowed me to play Birthing Pod. The deck was not really in my wheelhouse but I think it was awesome all the same:


Power Cube—BUG Midrange

Creatures (16)
Deathrite Shaman
Lotus Cobra
Sylvan Caryatid
Scavenging Ooze
Lotleth Troll
Bone Shredder
Courser of Kruphix
Shardless Agent
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Acidic Slime
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Avenger of Zendikar
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Spells (8)
Sol Ring
Recurring Nightmare
Maelstrom Pulse
Unburial Rites
Natural Order
Birthing Pod
Gifts Ungiven
Lands (16)
Tropical Island
Polluted Delta
Marsh Flats
Verdant Catacombs

Round Seven—Eric with UB Control (2-1)

This match took a long time. Not GW Devotion mirror long but still the better part of one hour. Eric had a UB Control deck with lots of removal (Damnation, Far//Away, Chainer’s Edict), Counters (Mana Drain, Cryptic Command), Planeswalkers (Jace, TMS and Liliana of the Veil), and “steal your stuff” effects (Vedalken Shackles, Sower of Temptation, Control Magic). The games were very grindy, I came close to decking myself more than once, and was able to squeak out a victory on the back of Elesh Norn.

I don’t have Eric’s full decklist, just a blurrry phone picture:


After the match, I was 5-2 which put me first place in standings going into the top four bracket.

Semi-Finals—Garrett with Reanimator/Show & Tell (2-1)

What I remember most vividly is that in one game I played a turn four Avenger of Zendikar. Then on Garrett’s turn he Show and Tell‘ed in an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. I put a fetchland into play off Show and Tell and then played another fetchland on my turn. After cracking both, my creatures were big enough to swing in and finish off the game.

Garrett’s deck looked like this:



Power Cube—UB Reanimator

Creatures (8)
Solemn Simulacrum
Bloodgift Demon
Sundering Titan
Consecrated Sphinx
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Spells (14)
Mana Vault
Inquisition of Kozilek
Survial of the Fittest
Dance of the Dead
Mana Leak
Go For the Throat
Show and Tell
Fact or Fiction
Lands (0)

? (0)

Finals—Paul with Naya Midrange (2-0)

My brother took detailed notes on this game. I intended to transcribe his notes into my article. Instead, I’m going to include a picture of said notes; I like the aesthetics of the handwriting on lined paper and it shows just how invested Eric was in all of this.


So despite the last thing written being Thragtusk/Angel of Serenity, I won game two off Avenger of Zendikar. That card really is a beating.

I collected my first place prize:



After foolishly cracking it and finding a Pariah’s Shield I took a picture with the trophy. Eric posed like the Rock from the infamous Roman Reigns Royal Rumble win. I didn’t get the memo obviously, otherwise I would have made sure my mouth was bleeding.


The final round finished right around midnight. I placed my trophy on the mantle, threw empties in the recyling bin, and sat down to some Mario 64.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.