By Andy Baquero
Over the weekend, the Sisters of the Flame had the honor of being able to draft Raging River’s Old School ‘95 Cube. And when I say the honor, I mean it. The amount of care and attention to detail put into this cube is staggering. Custom tokens, dice, counters… they are all there. Individualized deck boxes to hold your booster packs are each bearing a quote from the distant days of Magic. If you don’t know where the quote is from, no worries, the answer is under the lid. I don’t really cube too often but have always made it a point to try and make any of these drafts when they come up and we were lucky to get a full 10 for this weekend.
Anyway, onto the actual draft.
P1P1: Nothing really screamed out to me this pack. Mox Emerald I decided was my best choice for obvious reasons. Nods to Crusade, Tor Wauki, Mana Drain, Colossus of Sardia, and Thallid. However I didn’t want to commit to anything too early on. Although Colossus is an interesting top end, I think Mox easily wins here. The only “tribe” we were told prior to the draft was goblins, so I doubted fungal bloom was included in the cube and, even if it was, Thallid is not the best Thallid to have. No offense little guy.
P1P2: This pack is MUCH more interesting. Cards I considered were Time Bomb, Order of the Ebon Hand, Sengir Vampire, Juggernaught, Mana Vortex, Vetern Bodyguard, Al-abara’s Carpet, Ydwen… My god I went into overload. Ultimately I went with the carpet which I think is the wrong pick here but my thinking was to stay defensive as this cube lends to midrange quite often and Al-abara’s Carpet effectively shuts down all ground attacks. There are not many artifact removal spells so I figured it would stick around and it kept me open since it’s colorless. Sengir or Time Bomb would probably have been better in retrospect.
P1P3: Ok I know what you are thinking. Take the Island of Wak Wak and shut down the Air as well and build pillow-fort.dec but I did that last time I drafted this cube and Raging River has since taken away the Abyss that gave me so many wins (card is nuts). Anyway, some of you may know that I tend to get bored of decks and like changing things up. This time I would win some other way. I decided to play a ramp deck so Fyndhorn Elder was my pick. I saw the eureka and figured people would be too scraed of what’s out there to play it so I was hoping it would wheel back my way.
P1P4: Didn’t see any big fatties except a Wittigo that I knew no one would take (mainly because they wouldn’t bother to read the entire text box). Spirit link was my pick as pseudo-removal/lifegain. Hungry mist was also a consideration but it would tie up my mana which is not where I wanted to be.
P1P5: Decent cards here in Merieke Ri Berit and Vesuvan but they are not in the colors I want to be in. Stunted growth can be annoying but decided that dark banishing was good enough as a splash.
P1P6: Couple of ways I could have gone here. I decided to go with the Cyclone which I think is incorrect. Perhaps I was still thinking back on my Cyclone/Living artifact deck I played recently but if I had a chance to pick again I think the Hymn to Tourach Is clearly the right pick. Nod to Hecatomb which I toyed with but that would really put me into black and after passing so many good black cards, that ship had long sailed.
P1P7: This Pack only really has Primal Clay or Crumble. Not great. I’ll take the Clay and pass another decent black creature in the Mindstab Thrull to the players to my left.
P1P8: Ok I’m definitely in the right colors. Green is open and no black players to my right at least. Really wanted the Drop of Honey but the Minion of Tevesh Szat kept calling my name. And who am I to say no?
P1P9: DAMN YOU Minion of Tevesh Szat! That’s the last time I listen to you! Missed out on the drop of honey Living Plane combo. Argh! So good. I guess I’ll take the living Plane and move on with my life. At least I learned not to ever again let a good combo piece go by without acting on it.
P1P10: Meh, Khabal Goul? Fungusaur? None of these will make my deck likely. I’ll take the Ghoul.
P1P11: OK OK thallid it is.
P1P12: Gotta go Reincarnation. Might be a good trick. Maybe…
P1P13: YES!!!!! Windmill slam Eureka! This deck is unbeatable (in my head).
P1P14: Wittigo Baby! Come on over and join the insanely high mana-curve deck party.
P1P15: I think I’m the only green drafter at this table. Or people are sleeping on stunted growth. It’s gotta be one of the most annoying cards. Let’s see what Goodies Pack Two has for us…
P2P1: OMG this Pack is Nutz! Seraph, Autumn Willow, Mox Jet, and Mana Crypt are all arguable picks for me. There are not many creatures Seraph can’t block and kill. Even if seraph dies in the exchange, her trigger is a delayed trigger which gives you the creature anyway except now you never have to sacrifice it. Thought about this one for a bit but ultimately decided to go B/G and went with the Mox. It hurt to pass Autumn Willow but c’est la vie.
P2P2: Ok gotta start thinking about mana fixing since I am splashing black. I go with the Bayou. Insane pack for red players. There is no way Craw Giant does not wheel back to me given no one else is playing green at this point and even if they are splashing green GGGG is insane to pick at this point. Thicket Basilisk is another great ground deterrent. Nod to Raise Dead as a way to get my fatties back in case they want to double or triple block.
P2P3: In my mind this pack has only two options: Forcefield or Swords to Plowshares. I don’t have much in the way of removal and if I had to splash white at least I still have the spirit link as well. I went with the Forcefield thinking that artifacts would stay around given little removal and I hate splashing a third color. Lord of the Pit is the card I really wanted to Wheel. It’s a heavy toll to pay BBB and I was hoping people would pass on the big guy for that reason.
P2P4: Meh. Weak pack for me. Thallid Devourer it is.
P2P5: Another not so great pack for me. I really wanted to make Diamond Valley work so I convinced myself it was the right pick but in hindsight, Tranquility for sideboard is probably better. Obsianous Golem is another option but my curve is already out of hand. I would need a fatty with a stronger game impact for it really to be worth it.
P2P6: Ooh Baby. Gaea’s Liege come to Papa. I love this card for its nostalgia, art, abilities and overall coolness. Not much else really holds a candle to it in this pack. Sorry, Mr Atog. I still love ya.
P2P7: My two considerations are Avoid Fate and Adun Oakensheild. Not terribly excited about either one. Picked Adun and moved on.
P2P8: Windmill Slam Ifh-Biff! Flyer which I really need and removal vs flyers in a pinch.
P2P9: Do you remember when I said I need an expensive creature to do something if it was going to be expensive? Well apparently Ebony Rhino is just such a creature. Not sure what I was thinking. Berserk and Essence Filter are so much more useful. I’m so bad at this game.
P2P10: Hello! Master of the Hunt please. At this point I might be Mono green.
P2P11: Ok so one would think I would pick the Argothian Pixies here since I’m already splashing black. I am afraid of weenies and decks with low to the ground mana curves. Koskun Falls can possibly slow them down. Lets take the Falls. Of course you may argue that a 2/1 will also slow down a fast deck but at this point I’m not paying attention to you apparently.
P2P12: Can’t get more Old School big than everyone’s favorite rampager, Craw Giant. Wheeled just as planned.
P2P13: What? No lord of the Pit? Well can’t win them all. Fog…
P2P15: Game of Chaos. Last Pack…. Here we go!
P3P1: Whoa, third Mox?! Only other card I hate passing is Desert Twister but there is a chance it comes back to me. Zero chance the mox does. Ok, my ramp plan is in full swing. Now I need to get some removal and I’m in business.
P3P2: Speaking of ramp, Birds of Paradise. Ok I’ll take it. Other option includes Stampede but I don’t have the creature density to pull that off and Fireball forgetting about black. Spent a second looking at Time Vault when I saw the instill energy and wondered if I could make something work this late in the draft. Could Animate Artifact be in this cube? Ultimately decided Time Vault is definitely a lost cause.
P3P3: IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING TO ME!!!???!!!??? Apparently seeing a combo piece for the second time is still not enough to teach me to take it. I did not know Elder Druid was in this cube?! That would have been insane to pull off. ARGH! I take the druid given that it is still a strong card in its own right. Nods to Elven Riders, Regrowth and Bayou.
P3P4: Ok, now we got something. It may not be an infinite turn combo but at least I can drop a Concordant Crossroads and swing in with my big creatures as a surprise.
P3P5: I go with Tawnos’ Coffin as really expensive removal.
P3P6: Whirling Dervish. Not sure how many mostly black decks there are but he seems a solid sideboard plan at worst.
P3P7: Nothing here for me. I pick Stone Calendar hoping to show people how broken (not really) it is.
P3P8: Now here is a pack. Ernham Djinn, Singing Tree, or Walking Wall? I wasn’t too excited about giving dudes forestwalk. I did like the idea of kinda slowing things down until I could drop something relevant. Picked the Singing Tree just barely over walking wall.
P3P9: Windmill Slam Killer Bees! I mean what are you going to do.
P3P10: OMG!!! Live the dream of slamming down a force of nature or live the dream of Luring a Craw Giant? I don’t know. I just don’t know. I went with the Force of Nature but I really want both. Like, really want them.
P3P11: Yes! Desert Twister wheels back to me!
P3P12: Instill energy seems good enough. At the very least I can cause Elder Druid shenanigans.
P3P13: Bayou please. Thank you!
P3P14: Xira Arian. Is it good enough to splash red now I’m not sure.
P3P15: Ok Started the draft with a Mox Emerald and I end with a Wild Growth. My deck may have been fated to me.
(I did not end up playing red for the Xira Arian and instead went with a Thallid Devourer)
Round One: Sister Blake
Blake ran a White/Red deck with low to the ground creatures and a few nasty top end bombs like Seraph. Mix that with red’s removal in Earthquake and Fireball and I was just hoping to ramp into a large threat and ride it to victory. Fortunately for me, the only threat I needed was something with the word “flying” in the text box as my Ifh-Biff Efreet went all the way to take the match down. Blake told me afterwards that his deck is a little weak to flyers. I only saw a Seraph and a Roc of Ker Ridges. Other than the BoP, Ifh-Biff is my only flyer so I may have had a bit of luck drawing it both games.
Round Two: Sister Keith
Keith ran a mono Blue deck with a lot of powerful cards but never really got off the ground. Early brass man did some work but ultimately my creatures outgrew his and his life was too low to bring out his Serendib Djinn. He told me that I broke his Bottle of Suleiman streak and that taking 5 life is not in any way good.
Round Three: Sister Phil
Phil P1P1 picked an Underworld Dreams which is one of his favorite cards in all of Magic. Apparently I was sending him all those nice black cards. Unfortunately for him, he drew an insane amount of lands the first game and could not really do much. Second game I also won partly due to a misplay on his part that really tilted him. I had no idea he was running Hellfire and at one point I believe he may have been able to turn the tides around but forgot to cast it after his attack. He told me about his misplay after the game and I don’t think a victory was guaranteed but it would have been tough. Sorry Bud.
Round Four: Sister Petr
Petr’s deck was really good. Something totally in my wheelhouse and I still have no idea who he lost to but as you can see he had a little bit of everything. Removal, counter-magic, infinite combos, board resets, large creatures, tutor effects, the list goes on and on. This deck was crazy. I don’t think I win one out of ten matches versus him. He handedly beat me 2–0, ‘nuff said.
Round Five: Sister Paul
Paul DeSilva’s deck was also pretty good. I mean Lich/Mirror Universe combo. Come on! That’s not fair. Necropotence, removal with reanimation, hell he even has Ali from Cairo as a back up plan. To top it all off those are not even the best cards in his deck. I think Jokulhaups is hands down the most broken card in this cube now that Abyss is gone. Once you ramp into enough mana to play it and then play a reasonable threat, it’s Game Over. I think I have more of a chance vs Paul than Petr but I wasn’t able to put up much of a fight due to early pressure by Order of the Ebon Hand. Unfortunately, lost in the end.
I had a great time as usual and was happy to draft this cube again with a full ten people. Hope you guys enjoyed the article and the glimpse into my drafting.