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. (But not this week!)
The Vintage Cube is back on Magic Online and it’s time to draft from some of Magic’s most powerful archetypes ever. The voting this week started with a big push for Mono-Red, but Arifacts matter won a come from behind voting push. Artifacts matter is an interesting deck to push as it can often look quite different.
The core of the artifact deck in Vintage Cube is the trifecta of Mishra’s Workshop, Tolarian Academy, and Metalworker, once you have one or two of these, the rest of the deck can look very different depending on the other cards you see. You can go straight ramp with a lot of mana producers and card draw with a Blightsteel Colossus or Myr Battlesphere as finishers, or a more controlling route with Wildfire or Balance and a lot of Planeswalkers, or a hybrid of the two.
For those who are more familiar with Cube you’ve probably notice I left off one of the most important cards that cares about artifacts; Tinker. Tinker is worth some time to talk about all on its own.
I didn’t include Tinker as one of the core cards because it’s so powerful that you’ll normally play it in a deck that isn’t even artifact focused. Once you have a Tinker it tends to warp the rest of your deck and the focus is more around trying to draw Tinker itself, with Tutors or card draw. If you draft an early Tinker, your deck generally looks a lot more like a combo deck and a lot less like an artifact matters deck, with a lot of card draw and only a smattering of artifacts for fuel and finishers.
Of course, if you stumble across a Tinker when you’re already in artifacts it’s an easy pick. In fact if I have a Blightsteel (the best artifact finisher by miles) I’d value it over almost anything, even a lot of the Power 9. Being able to power out a turn 2 or 3 Blightsteel is enough to win almost any game, if you’re lucky enough to draw it early.
One last thing to note in this particular Cube is that I’ve found cards like Daretti, Scrap Savant and Goblin Welder tend to go very late since their focus is quite narrow. They are both fantastic in artifact decks, but taking them in the first few picks feels like a mistake when they go so late. You can pick other good cards less likely to wheel and you can use them as a signalling system; if you can wheel them you’re probably clear to go for the archetype and if they don’t wheel it’s a five-alarm fire warning that you need to re-evaluate and see if you can switch gears.
I’ll be taking a break next week before the start of Legacy Cube and then moving on to Aether Revolt starting February 2nd! Watch for the voting on my Twitter and you can still check out our previous articles on Cube Storm, Hatebears, and Green Ramp! Happy New Year!