Full Force drafting is a series dedicated to forcing archetypes in draft formats. Join me every Thursday as we learn the ins and outs of the most recent Magic draft formats.
The Legacy Cube has switched with the Vintage Cube and despite sounding similar; there is a vast gulf of differences. With the removal of the most powerful cards and combos grindier cards like Recurring Nightmare go from good to nearly unstoppable, WB hatebears is no longer a deck (don’t fall for that trap) and the format as a whole ends up being focused a lot more on midrange “value” magic.
Normally, when I talk about 5-colour decks I will end up talking about how inconsistent they can be, how I don’t like a shaky manabase, etc. That’s not entirely the case here. In Legacy Cube, if you draft carefully the power of a multi-colour planeswalker deck can be downright disgusting.
I won’t spend a lot of time talking about what planeswalkers to pick, because honestly you just grab the ones you see when your mana is good. Sure Jace, The Mind Sculptor is better than Garruk Relentless, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t play the Jace because you have no fixing and enough cards like Garruk can still certainly end the game. I will say you should definitely value board sweepers highly, to protect your walkers. It’s best to have a Toxic Deluge or Wrath of God; if you can’t get one you’re going to want some choice removal to make up for it.
So the finishers (planeswalkers) and removal are important, but play second fiddle to the manabase. How do you make the manabase work? Duals, duals, duals… And fetches. Take them early, take them often; NOT tap lands. Don’t misunderstand me, a few tap lands like Temples or critter-lands can certainly work, but if you’re trying to play 4 or more, you’re in for a world of hurt against a more consistent deck. They will put pressure on you early and you end up playing the whole game a turn behind because your mana comes into play tapped.
On the topic of mana, it used to be the case with Legacy Cube that you could try to draft a ton of “mana-rocks” signets that would fix your colours and ramp you into your powerful planeswalkers or boardsweepers so you could start taking over the game. The mana rocks have slowly been removed from the Legacy Cube to make Green more relevant as the ramp colour. This has both positive and negative effects on this deck. It lowers the power level of the Cube (harder to get a turn 4 Consecrated Sphinx for example) and allows a deck with a large portion of powerful planeswalkers to prey on the midrange decks that develop.
At the same time, it forces you to fix your mana through Green, making it a very important colour to pick up early. It would be nice to guarantee good mana through fetch lands and dual lands and you need to prioritize them, but a Kodama’s Reach or Birds of Paradise will go a long way to ensuring you can play a Xenagos into an Elspeth, if you need to. In the video I recorded today, I think it shows pretty obviously how important Green is. The first draft green wasn’t open at all and the deck ended up a total mess with Green and Red cards tacked on to what could have probably been a pretty good Esper control deck. The second draft was night and day difference. Green and mana fixing was open and it allowed us to take our pick of anything.
Next week we’re moving into the brand new Aether Revolt, so watch for the voting on my Twitter and good luck on your release tournaments!