Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Crack-a-Pack #1

You're drafting The Mighty Morphin' Cube. It's pack 1, pick 1 and you open the following cards:

What would you pick?

If I opened these cards, here's what my initial evaluation would be:
  • Exalted Angel - One of the best morph creatures in the Cube and it's in white, which is the color with the most enablers to flip morphed creatures. Unfortunately, Flicker is also in this pack. That sucks because it probably won't table. You'll probably be able to grab 1-2 other enablers and you'll definitely be able to grab mana rocks to ramp out, so it's not the end of the world.
  • Azorius Signet, Gruul Signet, and Izzet Signet - I don't like picking mana rocks on pack 1, pick 1. I value them higher than many other cards in the Cube and there are times when I would take a mana rock, but this isn't one of those times. Exalted Angel alone is enough to pass on the signets.
  • Mnemonic Sliver, Horned Sliver, and Might Sliver - There are a number of slivers in the Cube that I'd gladly jump into the sliver tribe fore, but unfortunately none of these are that exciting. I'd gladly 2nd pick any of these if I already knew I was going slivers, they're just not 1st pickable for that tribe.
  • Flicker - In general, I like picking morph enablers higher than creatures with morph. I do this because there are just so many more fatties than there are enablers. Flicker is good for this and it also helps protect against Sower of Temptation or Confiscate, but I don't think it's pickable over one of the high end creatures like Akroma, Silent Specter, or Exalted Angel.
  • Taiga - I don't know if I'm evaluating dual lands properly yet, but right now I value them less than any of the mana rocks. The mana rocks ramp in addition to fixing while the dual lands only fix. On the other hand, they're lands which don't count towards your "playable count." But a big reason why I think they should be valued less in this Cube as opposed to others is that fetch lands don't exist in this format. Fetch lands would make land cyclers nearly obsolete and this Cube wants cycling to be as important a mechanic as possible. I would take any of the signets over Taiga unless I already had a forestcycler or mountaincycler in my pool.
  • Echo Tracer - This was one of the best common morph creatures in Onslaught draft and it's still one of the best in this format as well. It has the ability to bounce one creature and trade with another 2/2. And if the first creature was morphed, you even get to peek at its identity before it's placed in your opponent's hand. A very good utility creature in a relevant tribe.
  • Pernicious Deed - I think all wrath effects in the Cube should be valued very highly. There just aren't that many of them and Pernicous Deed is one of the best. In this format, you can also pop it for zero and get great value is you snag multiple opposing morphs. Picking this would immediately put you into green/black, but those are both good colors to be in and there's also a ton of fixing to be had.
  • Bloodbraid Elf - This is another card which I'm not sure how to value yet in this format. It's obviously very good in general, but right now I think picking a card that either is a morph or has synergy with morphed creatures is the way to go. Bloodbraid Elf does nothing with morphs except reveal the contents of your deck until you hit a spell of 3cc or less.
  • Wall of Deceit and Daru Sanctifier - Both a little underwhelming as creatures in the grand scheme of things. They're both fine to have in your deck simply because they have morph and can be used to buff your opponent, but they're almost guaranteed to wheel even if you end up in their colors. Pass.
  • Ixidor, Reality Sculptor - Now here's an interesting pick. I don't think he's the most powerful card in the pack, but he's definitely a "build around." Once you pick Ixidor, you're pretty set on grabbing anything huge and/or part of the wizard tribe. He buffs your morphed creatures and allows them to make favorable trades with your opponent's creatures. More importantly, he buffs them out of range of most of the spot removal in the Cube.

I would narrow it down to 4 possible picks:
  1. Exalted Angel
  2. Bloodbraid Elf
  3. Pernicious Deed
  4. Ixidor, Reality Sculptor

Like I said, I don't really know how high to value Bloodbraid Elf in this format. For right now, I'd pass on him and turn my attention to the other two. It then becomes a question of whether you want to draft the standard deck or the fun deck. I think any of the possible morph archetypes are some of the best in the format. (They better be, I designed the Cube to be that way.) But you just want to have some fun, I would seriously consider taking Ixidor the angel. He just looks like too much fun and he'd probably be my pick in the end.

You also have to take into account the fact that Echo Tracer has a good chance of coming back. Depending on how highly the other people at the table are valuing the signets and dual lands, if you took Ixidor, you would then have a good chance of doing some goofy stuff with the wizard tribe. If you took the angel, you really don't have anything to look forward to when the pack gets passed back to you except for a Daru Sanctifier. If You're lucky you'll get one of the remaining signets. All of this would also depend if anyone out there opened a nice sliver and was just gobbling them all up.

I didn't forget about Pernicious Deed.

As much as I think you should value wrath effects highly because there aren't that many of them in the Cube, I always want to pick other things over them as my first pick. This could be wrong and requires more testing.

Anyway, this was my attempt at a Crack-a-Pack. If you're interested in me doing more -- if you're interested more content about The Mighty Morphin' Cube -- please leave a comment and I'll be happy to post more of these.

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