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Rough Drafts: Vintage (Holiday) Cube 1

Hello everyone! It's time for another edition of Rough Drafts! This time we'll be playing my all time favorite limited format, powered cube! In the world of Magic Online, powered cube is called Vintage Cube (formerly known as Holiday Cube), and the format is amazing. If you like powerful cards, broken synergies, and unbeatable combos, the Vintage Cube is the place for you!

On another note, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to make intro videos for limited articles and videos. Constructed intros are easy because they are basically deck techs, but it feels weird to do that for limited. Knowing the deck beforehand takes away from the fun and suspense of watching the draft. As a result, I decided to try something different. Instead of talking about my draft, we will be talking about Vintage Cube itself, starting with a list of my Top 10 Combos in Vintage Cube!

Let's get to the videos, then we'll talk briefly about the deck and Cube. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Rough Drafts series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Vintage Cube 1: Intro - Top 10 Combos in Vintage Cube

Vintage (Holiday) Cube 1: Drafting

Vintage Cube 1: Round 1

Vintage Cube 1: Round 2

Vintage Cube 1: Finals (Round 3)

The Steps to Vintage Cube Success

Winning at Vintage Cube is actually fairly simple. Yes, there are tons of intricacies that make Vintage Cube a very fun and interesting format, but apart from the suggestion to pick mana fixing highly, the formula for winning in Vintage Cube can be broken down into three easy steps. 

Step 1: Go Broken or Go Home

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The one rule of Vintage Cube is that you want to make your deck as broken as possible. Whether this means casting Tinker on turn two, floating 12 mana into Upheaval, or Entombing a Griselbrand for Reanimate, it doesn't matter. In years of drafting Vintage Cube, I've never seen a fair deck that has blown me away, and I'm not sure there is one. The closest thing to a good fair deck in Vintage Cube is probably Mono-Red Aggro, and that deck isn't particularly fair, especially once Sulfuric Vortex hits the battlefield. 

As such, my theory for Vintage Cube is to draft the most broken cards possible early in the draft and trust things will sort themselves out in packs two and three. Thankfully, in many cases, the most broken card in a pack is a colorless mana producer, and with few exceptions these cards will be good in your deck. 

Step 2: Stop Your Opponent's Brokenness 

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Apart from doing something broken yourself, the next most important consideration is to stop your opponent's broken plays. You can build the nuttiest turn three deck of all time, but when your opponent can kill you on turn two, it doesn't really matter much. As a result, cheap and unconditional interaction is very strong. Where a card like Spell Pierce is sideboard material in Legacy Cube, in Vintage Cube it is amazing. The same is true of Thoughtseize, Force of Will, and basically any way to keep yourself alive on turn two and three. 

Step 3: Prepare for Everything

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In Vintage Cube, a lot of times you get in situations near the end of a pack where you have a choice between a borderline playable main deck card and an amazing but narrow sideboard option. Because the cube is so deep and you'll almost always end up with more than enough playables, it is usually better to choose a narrow sideboard card over a card that might be your 23rd card. Think back to the video of the Top 10 Combos in Vintage Cube. When you see a card that can answer one of these combos near the end of a pack, you should take it. Balance and Council's Judgment are one of the few answers to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Deathrite Shaman stops reanimate shenanigans, and Ancient Grudge may be main deck material because so many decks are playing powerful artifacts. The same theory holds for Strip Mine and Wasteland. While they are good cards on their own, once you lose to Tolarian Academy, Library of Alexandria, or Karakas a few times you'll realize just how important these cards are in Vintage Cube. 


  1. First and foremost, do something broken. Don't be the guy or gal playing White Weenie while everyone else is comboing off on turn three. Feel free to pick the most broken card in the pack for your first few picks. Eventually you'll want to settle into an archetype because combo / synergy decks typically beat purely powerful decks in Vintage Cube. 
  2. Second, place a high value on cards that can stop your opponent from doing broken things. It isn't a secret that broken strategies are the best strategies in Vintage Cube, so when you run into the inevitable "broken" mirror, it will be the player that can stop, or at least slow down, their opponent's brokenness that will win most of the time. 
  3. Finally, pick narrow sideboard answers over borderline main deck cards. There nothing worse than passing Ancient Grudge for some random six-drop you may or may not play and losing to Winter Orb or Smokestack

Most Valuable Card

You probably saw this one coming, but there's no doubt Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is the most valuable card in our deck. While we won a few games thanks to Upheaval, with my favorite being match 2 game 2 where we were able to Upheaval with zero cards in our library and discard a bunch of cards along with an Eldrazi to replenish our library, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was directly responsible for half of our game wins. Just the threat of an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn makes an opponent play the game differently. They know if we ever get to 15 mana, they lose. 

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That said, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn had help. While this draft was littered with awesome and interesting plays (see: topdecking the Emrakul, the Aeons Torn at one life in match 2 game 1), my favorite was getting Pattern of Rebirth on Wall of Roots and frantically removing counters from the Wall to get Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. We finally got there, and just in a nick of time as our opponent was attacking with a lethal flyer. 


Anyway, that's all for today. Leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestion in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.

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