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.
It’s ALIVE! Reanimator in Vintage Cube is a good way to play “unfair” magic, which Vintage Cube is all about. Want a turn one Griselbrand? This is the deck for you. A good version of the deck revolves around the key engines of all the unfair decks: Great card draw and fast mana. If you want to land a consistently early fatty, cards like Looter il-Kor, Careful Study, Moxen, Black Lotus, and Tutors are essential. It’s always a little disappointing to end up reanimating your Inkwell Leviathan the turn or two before you can just play it (and often you’ll die long before that).
This week, the drafts we did ended up very average at best. It highlighted a key part of draft and Vintage Cube in particular and that is not to force archetypes. Since decks like Reanimator, Storm, Tinker, etc. are all based around a lot of the same very powerful card draw and fast mana cards, you need to follow the signals and see when people are taking those cards and find a different strategy. We ended up with decks that were decent, but not great, despite having multiple ways to animate cards in the grave and some decent game-ending fatties. The real deficit in both decks was the cream of the crop card draw and tutors to make the deck more consistent and those will be high picks for a lot of other decks.
Forcing the draft was only a part of the problem, as one of the main weaknesses of a Reanimator deck is the consistency. It’s the reason the combo decks like it need the Tutors and the draw. So many cards in your deck are effectively blank without other combo pieces. A hand that draws a Reanimate and a Griselbrand can win the game almost immediately if you can discard, or it can just have them stay dead in your hand until you die.
If you’re really looking to make an unfair cube deck like Storm or Reanimator, pick up those key draws, tutors and mana cards and you can move in on a *lot* of different win conditions. Your Reanimator deck can quickly turn into a Sneak Attack or Oath of Druids deck. You could end up with a Kiki-Jiki and a Deceiver, instead of storm. Knowing when to move in on taking an archetype cards like Entomb, Reanimate, or Griselbrand is something I can’t give you a hard and fast rule for. It takes a lot of practice, so just keep drafting and look back at your choices critically. Record your draft if you’re on Magic Online or discuss with your friends.
Next week, we’re moving on from Vintage Cube to try out the brand new Eldritch Moon! Leave a comment on what archetype you want me to try below, or on Twitter @IlyonMTG and we’ll learn how best to draft Eldritch Moon together.