Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cube is the Answer #2 - The Pet Card Trap

In the first installment of Cube is the Answer, we built your cube.  You’ve run some drafts, had some fun, but your work is not done.  Its time to trim the fat.  The most important part of maintaining an awesome cube is cutting the cards that just don't work.

Next time you draft, have a notepad handy.  At the end of each pack, ask your playgroup what card was picked last in each pack.  List these cards on your notepad, and look for repeat offenders.  Cards will end up on this list for two reasons:

1.  They suck - the power level is way too low.

2.  They’re good in the right deck, but your cube does not support said deck.

If you’re a lazy shit and don’t want to take notes, you can even ask your playgroup about which cards are under-performing.  Trust me, they will be happy to tell you.  Magic players are bitchy like that.

Most cards that fall under reason #1 are the pet cards.  These are cards you play with for irrational reasons.  Maybe you used to love playing with the card as a kid, or you particularly like the art, or cards with Rampage: 2 remind you of your dear Aunt Tilly.  Whatever retarded reasons you have for including these cards in your cube, they’re probably not good ones.  Pet cards are a trap, and you need to cut them.
"Its a pet card!"

Remember, if your group isn’t having fun drafting your cube, they won’t want to play it anymore. Cube drafts can take two to three hours.  Think about how much streaming porn that is.  Don’t make your friends waste their precious fap-time on your shitty pet cards.  

For instance, if you’re running Grizzly Bears, but NO ONE is playing it, get it the Hell out of your cube.  It doesn't matter if you won some local tournament with it in 1995.  You know what else ‘worked’ in 1995?  Dial-up modems.  The card sucks now.  MAKE IT GO AWAY.  If you’re still clutching your Grizzly Bears like some petulant child, let me illustrate the card’s worthlessness in terms you can understand: the last time Grizzly Bears was playable, RedTube didn’t exist.

Feel the power.
Now, there is a complete difference between pet cards and nostalgia cards.  For instance, I run Hypnotic Specter in my cube.  At the converted mana cost of 3, he’s a little under-powered these days.  However, I also run Dark Ritual, so playing him on turn 1 is a possibility.  And if you get him online, he can still be quite disruptive.  It also doesn’t hurt that my brother (Turkey) gifted me a sexy Beta copy of the card.  So yeah, I’m a little attached, but I can still justify playing the ol’ Hippie in terms of his effect on board states. 

Until very recently, I ran Shivan Dragon.  I hate to admit it, but Big Shiv has been outclassed by other recent printings of red fatties (see: Thundermaw Hellkite), but he’s still a big body with evasion and a pump ability can straight up win the game for you.  If I were drafting your cube, and looking for red/green ramp cards, I’d love to see a Shivan Dragon passed my way.
When in doubt, just cut a card and see if anyone misses it.  If no one says anything like, “Dude, I can’t believe you cut Joven’s Tools!”, it was probably a good idea.
On the next installment of Cube is the Answer, we’ll delve into the aforementioned reason #2 - supporting specific cards with specific deck types. Until then, happy cutting!

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