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Subject: My Wife and I Take the New Cube For a Spin (Spoiler: I Lose) rss

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Josiah Fiscus
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Last night, I convinced my wife to try the new cube I’ve been working on. A cube, if you aren’t familiar, is a set of cards split fairly evenly between colors from which players draft and make decks before each game. We used the Winston Draft format, which is generally considered the best way to do a 2-player draft.

As we drafted, it became pretty clear that no one was taking white cards. When the dust settled, I had a blue/red deck and she had a green/black deck. After a little fine-tuning and debating on land counts, we were ready to go.

I led off with a Perilous Myr. She led off with an Elvish Eulogist.


Eventually, I was able to block with my Myr and deal the damage to the Eulogist. This was all part of the plan, as I quickly grabbed the Myr out of my graveyard with a Fossil Find that was also in my opening hand, and re-cast it.


Next, she dropped an Oak Street Innkeeper. I could tell this was going to be problematic. It certainly made the Surrakar Banisher sitting in my hand a lot less useful.


I realized I had to take out the Innkeeper to make any progress. I played Halimar Depths to see what solution I could come up with, revealing an Oxidda Scrapmelter and two basic lands. Perfect! The Scrapmelter goes right on top.



Unfortunately, I haven’t been the only one playing cards at this time. She has gotten out a Corrupted Zendikon and a Slith Predator.

She’s got enough powerful creatures by now that she is ready to start swinging with everyone. I block the Zendikon Land with the Myr and take out the Innkeeper. Looks like my Scrapmelter won’t be needed after all. Unfortunately, this is also allowing her Slith to start getting tokens. It’s at 3/3 now, which is okay because I have the Banisher in my hand.

I play the Banisher, and am now faced with a terrible choice. Do I return the Slith Predator to her hand so it loses all its counters? Or do I return the Zendikon land? They are both 3/3. The Slith is getting bigger each turn, but bouncing the land is about the only way to effectively get rid of the Corrupted Zendikon. Just killing the land will allow her to re-cast it onto a different land! So I opt to bounce the land, figuring I can throw my 3/3 Banisher in the way of her 3/3 Slith. That’s a trade I’ll take any day.

What I didn’t count on was her play of Jarad’s Orders the very next turn. She puts a Blood Seeker in her hand and a Slitherhead into her graveyard.

Of course, she immediately scavenges the Slitherhead onto her Slith, making it a 4/4. Now if I block with the Banisher, I won’t even kill it. She attacks, and I have to let the damage go through, taking it to 5/5.

I play my Oxidda Scrapmelter which comes in with no artifacts on the table. Strange for this cube, which is pretty artifact-heavy. By combining the 3/3 from the Scrapmelter and the 3/3 from the Banisher, I can block and kill the Slith. Seeing this is the case, she plays her Blood Seeker and we spend a few turns playing draw-go. We’re both looking for something to break this stalemate. I draw a Kuldotha Rebirth, but I don’t think I can afford the 3-life hit. What I need is some direct damage. Unfortunately, she finds her stalemate-breaker the very next turn. A Tangle Angler. Not good.


I know I have one turn to come up with something, so I play Divination (draw 2 cards), but it doesn’t help much. Seeing no other option, I play my Kuldotha Rebirth and another 1/1 artifact creature. The Blood Seeker takes me down to only 3 life left. She has 9 at this point.

I’ve got no solutions, but I wait and see. Of course, she attacks with everything she’s got, plays 4 green to force my Scrapmelter, Banisher, and two Goblin tokens to block the Angler. I still have one other Goblin token and the 1/1 artifact creature at my disposal, but I just can’t deal with the Slith’s 5/5 trample. Game, set, match.

All in all, I was really happy with this cube’s debut. There were some cards that I questioned how useful they would be and I was pleasantly surprised. There seems to be a ton of room for creative play, and the card interactions can still surprise you even when you built the deck. There’s a wonderful element of discovery and creativity in this format, and I’m really glad I decided to give it a shot. I asked my wife if she was similarly enthralled with this format, but all she could talk about was how enthralled she was that she kicked my butt. Sheesh.
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Clement Tey
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Hey Josiah, just a few questions I have after your game. Sounded fun, by the way!

happyjosiah wrote:
I led off with a Perilous Myr. She led off with an Elvish Eulogist.
This was a turn 2 play on your part, yes?

happyjosiah wrote:
Eventually, I was able to block with my Myr and deal the damage to the Eulogist. This was all part of the plan, as I quickly grabbed the Myr out of my graveyard with a Fossil Find that was also in my opening hand, and re-cast it.
What did you block the Myr with?

happyjosiah wrote:
I realized I had to take out the Innkeeper to make any progress. I played Halimar Depths to see what solution I could come up with, revealing an Oxidda Scrapmelter and two basic lands. Perfect! The Scrapmelter goes right on top.
The Scrapmelter only works on artifacts which the Innkeeper is not?

happyjosiah wrote:
Unfortunately, this is also allowing her Slith to start getting tokens. It’s at 3/3 now, which is okay because I have the Banisher in my hand.
Couldn't you have blocked the Slith when it was still a 1/1 and killed it?

happyjosiah wrote:
The Slith is getting bigger each turn, but bouncing the land is about the only way to effectively get rid of the Corrupted Zendikon. Just killing the land will allow her to re-cast it onto a different land!
Not true, the land returns to her hand but the enchantment goes to the graveyard.

happyjosiah wrote:
So I opt to bounce the land, figuring I can throw my 3/3 Banisher in the way of her 3/3 Slith. That’s a trade I’ll take any day.
Should have opted to bounce the Slith as it will get bigger over time whereas the land is static. Also, it might need to be used for mana and might not be able to attack.

happyjosiah wrote:
She attacks, and I have to let the damage go through, taking it to 5/5.
That's what I just said would happen!

happyjosiah wrote:
I asked my wife if she was similarly enthralled with this format, but all she could talk about was how enthralled she was that she kicked my butt. Sheesh.
Take her out to dinner as a treat for beating you!
 
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Josiah Fiscus
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princemousey wrote:
Hey Josiah, just a few questions I have after your game. Sounded fun, by the way!

happyjosiah wrote:
I led off with a Perilous Myr. She led off with an Elvish Eulogist.
This was a turn 2 play on your part, yes?

happyjosiah wrote:
Eventually, I was able to block with my Myr and deal the damage to the Eulogist. This was all part of the plan, as I quickly grabbed the Myr out of my graveyard with a Fossil Find that was also in my opening hand, and re-cast it.
What did you block the Myr with?


The Myr was on my second turn, yes. I have compressed some of the things that happened; it's not really a play by play.

princemousey wrote:

happyjosiah wrote:
I realized I had to take out the Innkeeper to make any progress. I played Halimar Depths to see what solution I could come up with, revealing an Oxidda Scrapmelter and two basic lands. Perfect! The Scrapmelter goes right on top.
The Scrapmelter only works on artifacts which the Innkeeper is not?


Yes, the idea was to use the Scrapmelter to discard the Myr, dealing the damage to the Innkeeper.

princemousey wrote:

happyjosiah wrote:
Unfortunately, this is also allowing her Slith to start getting tokens. It’s at 3/3 now, which is okay because I have the Banisher in my hand.
Couldn't you have blocked the Slith when it was still a 1/1 and killed it?


Smart in retrospect. I believe I had tapped all my creatures to attack the first time. Definitely shouldn't have given him the chance to grow at all.

princemousey wrote:

happyjosiah wrote:
The Slith is getting bigger each turn, but bouncing the land is about the only way to effectively get rid of the Corrupted Zendikon. Just killing the land will allow her to re-cast it onto a different land!
Not true, the land returns to her hand but the enchantment goes to the graveyard.


Right, I decided to return the land to her hand, thus getting rid of the Corrupted Zendikon enchantment. If I had KILLED the land, the Zendikon Enchantment would return to her hand though, per its special ability. This was one of the few ways I could permanently get rid of the Zendikon enchantment. I hoped my direct damage could ultimately deal with the Slith.

princemousey wrote:

happyjosiah wrote:
So I opt to bounce the land, figuring I can throw my 3/3 Banisher in the way of her 3/3 Slith. That’s a trade I’ll take any day.
Should have opted to bounce the Slith as it will get bigger over time whereas the land is static. Also, it might need to be used for mana and might not be able to attack.

Yeah, that might have been the way to go. I just was trying to deal with both threats on a more permanent basis.

princemousey wrote:

happyjosiah wrote:
She attacks, and I have to let the damage go through, taking it to 5/5.
That's what I just said would happen!

happyjosiah wrote:
I asked my wife if she was similarly enthralled with this format, but all she could talk about was how enthralled she was that she kicked my butt. Sheesh.
Take her out to dinner as a treat for beating you!


Yeah, I should probably do that. But maybe we'll go best of three.
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Clement Tey
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happyjosiah wrote:
If I had KILLED the land, the Zendikon Enchantment would return to her hand though, per its special ability. This was one of the few ways I could permanently get rid of the Zendikon enchantment.
Again, this is not true. "When enchanted land is put into the a graveyard, return THAT CARD to its owner's hand." This refers to the land, not the enchantment. If it was to be the enchantment, the following rules text would have been used instead: "When Rancor is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return Rancor to its owner's hand."

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comments! It's really interesting reading your points.
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Josiah Fiscus
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Oh, good call, I definitely misread that. Thanks!
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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happyjosiah wrote:
Eventually, I was able to block with my Myr and deal the damage to the Eulogist.


You blocked the Eulogist with the Myr? Then you should have dealt the damage to your wife, as the Eulogist was going to die anyway. (In fact, rules-wise, you couldn't have dealt the damage to the Eulogist, as it would already be dead when the Myr's on-death ability triggered.)

As for the aura, you were probably confusing the Zendikon cycle from Zendikar with the Genju cycle from Kamigawa. Zendikons save the land; Genjus save the enchantment.

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Josiah Fiscus
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Santiago wrote:

You blocked the Eulogist with the Myr? Then you should have dealt the damage to your wife, as the Eulogist was going to die anyway.


I blocked something else with the Myr, though I can't recall what it was at the moment.

Santiago wrote:

As for the aura, you were probably confusing the Zendikon cycle from Zendikar with the Genju cycle from Kamigawa. Zendikons save the land; Genjus save the enchantment.


Yeah, that must be what I was thinking of. That's the ticket! Haha, no seriously though, I just misread the word "that" as "this". I was not even familiar with the Genjus. Thanks for the nice bit of trivia though!
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Kent Nguyen
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I've never actually done Winston draft, but I have drafted Winchestor (Mix of Winston and Rochestor Draft)extensively with my old Pauper Cube and some in my Un-powered Cube. If you don't know what Winchestor is, you have 4 faceup piles of cards starting with 1 each and a player chooses a pile they want adding 1 card to each pile after the pick has been made and you repeat this until you run out of cards (usually 90). The Pauper Cube played fantastically in the Wichestor format while my Un-powered Cube did not translate so well (due to larger variance in power level of cards and increased reliance on card synergy.

I really enjoyed Winchestor because it was very skill intensive if the range in power level of cards was very close (hence it playing very well with a Pauper Cube) and also rewards tight drafting while punishing greedy picks.

If you haven't tried Winchestor Draft I highly recommend it as it's generally considered a better more evolved version of Winston Draft.
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Josiah Fiscus
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Sounds like the main difference (other than the extra pile) is that cards are face up instead of facedown. I like how Winston simulates the "partial knowledge" you have during a booster draft, but Rochester does have more skill, so I can see why people would like the mix. Most of the people I play with are new enough to the game that it might be a bit overwhelming to choose from that many cards at once. Even simulating booster draft, we do five 9-card packs instead of three 15-card packs.
 
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I see, I do admit the group I play Magic generally play a lot of Magic or have a lot of experience playing Magic in the past. I could see Winchestor being a little to much for a newer player.
 
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