To test out a series of changes to my Modern-legal Commons cube, I’ve been building a lot of practice sealed decks on CubeTutor. I figured it’d be interesting to discuss one of my sealed pools here on the blog, to see if the Internet would build the same deck as me.
Note that, for me at least, it’s harder to consider every option thoughtfully online than it is with physical cards. If you wildly disagree with my choices, chalk our disagreement up to that (or my rusty sealed skills, your call).
At first glance, it seems our Blue and Black run deepest, so that’s where I’m likely to start. But I’ve also noticed that we have two one-mana ramp creatures in Green (Arbor Elf and Elvish Mystic). Ramping from one mana to three is powerful. We also have three out of the Cube’s ten signets, so we might have the tools for a ramp deck, which would let us power out our Mulldrifter (and other higher-mana cards) early.
Red arguably contains our best removal (Flame Slash, Staggershock), with Black and White providing some options as well. I don’t like the rest of our Red (not enough good two-drops), so I’m leaning towards getting some of these White and/or Black cards into our deck. Particularly, Bonds of Faith, Cage of Hands, and Stab Wound look good.
At this point, I actually think it’s time to cut Green entirely and focus on running Esper instead.
Why to Cut Green
Looking at the deck in process (^ that is a super rough version) I notice we’re playing only three Green cards. That means we’d play only a few Forests, and playing only a few Forests makes our one-mana Green creatures very bad. We’re also currently playing both Pulse of Murasa and Death Denied, which is probably overkill for late-game inevitability. Cutting Green streamlines everything.
Note that we’re still likely to play Golgari Signet, as it’s still a good early play and provides Black mana. We need to get a few other early plays in, to replace the Green creatures we’re cutting. Looking at our pool, Raise the Alarm, Sultai Emissary, and Tidehollow Strix seem like they’ll do nicely.
With our early drops shored up, it’s worth considering what we’re doing if we manage to survive to the late-game. Our deck’s plan is to trade resources early, produce card advantage, and then eventually steal the game with unblockable creatures and Extort damage. We’ve got the makings of a classic Esper Control deck.
The Finished Deck
This deck seems reasonable. I think it might be worth finding one more card to cut, so we can play 17 lands. But we have signets and card draw, so it’s also possible we could get there on 16. I tend to hedge toward more lands rather than less, so I’d likely cut a Morph or Aethersnipe to get up to 17.
The whole point of this exercise was to get you out there to tell me what you think, so let me know what deck you would have built from this pool. I think there’s a decent argument for building a more aggressive Red-Black deck…would you have tried that route? Was I stupid to let the one-mana Elves go? Share your thoughts, and also, check out the Cube in full. I’ve had a bunch of fun with it the few times I’ve managed to play it, and I think it shows you don’t have to break the bank to build a playable and exciting Cube full of Magic staples.