Teaming the Cube: SCG Invitational and Survivor Draft

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

A few weeks back, held the culmination of the first 6-months of their Open Series: the Invitational. Not only was I invited to play in the main event (which I liken to the old U.S. Nationals before the payout nerf: a small tournament with very high value per player), but I was also slated to stay in a room with three of the most awesome cubers I know: Adam Prosak, Dan Nosheny, and Usman Jamil. In addition to that awesome cubic room, I knew that a lot of sweet players/cubers/people would be in attendance and that there would be a fair amount to a metric ton of cubing to be had. How could I possibly miss it? (Ahem, Kranny.)

Travel Note: If it is Free Donut Day, be sure to stop at the first Dunkin' Donuts you see because you may never see another in the next 200 miles of driving. I'm still grumpy about that. (And fat.)

I’m not going to give a huge breakdown and analysis of the main event. With the Standard bannings having hit, the whole format is going to change and anything I say about it will be out of date. As far as Legacy goes, I have been very disappointed with the printing of Mental Misstep, and have been rethinking my entire view of the format. Let’s just say that when tribal decks have to run an off-color, non-tribal card in the main deck there is something wrong.

Instead, I’ll just talk about a couple things of interest and provide a general breakdown before getting into the fun stuff.

The decks I took into battle:

Standard – U/R Twin: We took Flores’s TCGplayer-winning list and took out all the non-Deceiver Exarch three drops, then made some sideboard changes (most notably Mental Missteps and Combusts). I have been playing the deck since then with virtually the same list to pretty good success.

Legacy – U/W/R Counterbalance: Very similar to my list here, but with more Fire // Ices and a better anti-Merfolk plan.

Round by Round:

Rd1 – R/U/G Twin, W – 127th
Rd2 – U/G Fauna Shaman, W – 110th
Rd3 – Monored, W – 8th
Rd4 – Mirror withSea Gate Oracle, L – 31st
Rd5 – Painted Stone, D – 59th
Rd6 – U/W Mystic, L – 7th
Rd7 – U/B Storm, W – 79th
Rd8 – U/W Mystic, D – 22nd
Rd9 – W/B Mystic, L
Rd10 – U/W Mystic, L
Rd11 – U/W/B Mystic, L
Rd12 – Vampires, W
Rd13 – Mirror with Oracle, L
Rd14 - Dropped to cube!

Points of Interest:

  • I went 4-2 in Standard, the format I play the least, but went 1-4-2 in Legacy, the format in which I am most comfortable. That Merfolk matchup I was concerned about? Never played it.
  • In Standard, I played against Stoneforge Mystic zero times. In Legacy? Five times. Nice card.
  • I played two people on day one who wound up making Top 8. Both are awesome people and I’m glad I know each of them. My record vs. them? 1-1, with my loss coming at the hands of Celestial Colonnade. In Legacy. Awesome.
  • I finished day one in 44th place, and thought I was in good shape to make Top 32 and take home some nice cash. After starting day two 0-3 I was in good shape to be cubing the weekend away.
  • In round 4 I let my opponent take up too much of the clock and wound up losing 1-0 in the mirror match. The same thing happened in round 5, but I wound up drawing that match. I really am too nice when it comes to people taking too long to make decisions turn after turn; I just need to learn to call a judge once I ask people once to hurry up and make a decision. The worst part? I ended both matches with a Jace, the Mind Sculptor on double digit counters.
  • Speaking of ties, I got a game loss in round 8 for registering my Counterbalance deck with ‘4 Counterbalance’ and ‘3 Counterbalance’ (instead of Counterspell). Oops, my first deck registration error for me since the Clinton administration. Good timing! I wound up winning a 45-minute game two in which my opponent was locked out of resolving any spells, but I couldn’t find a win condition. He probably should have conceded earlier in order to try to win game three, but oh well. Scoreboard: he finished in Top 32.

After the Invitational was over, we decided to do a Cube draft (shocking) but we had a small problem: we had ten people that wanted to draft. My cube easily supports ten drafters, but if we did a normal team draft it would likely take forever. Luckily, someone had a brilliant idea: Survivor Draft!

Survivor Draft is named after the reality TV series, and keeps in the spirit of the show. Once you draft and build (and have your teams), everyone plays their first round only. Here’s the catch: after the round, each team must vote someone off of the team! They may go to the loser’s table/redemption island/have to go on a food run, whatever you decide should be apt punishment for getting voted off.

As our group was ten people, we divided into teams of five each (after the draft, of course) and got our game on! Here is the cast of characters who were in this draft:

Anthony Avitollo: The hero of our story; all-around awesome and modest guy.
Adam Prosak: Winner of SCG San Jose, SCG writer, and person with whom I originally built my cube.
Dan Nosheny: Longtime Magic player, cube aficionado, and Sousaphonist extraordinaire.
Ben Weinburg: SCG Player of the Year runner-up in 2010, fan of blue cards, and vegetarian who has eaten at Fogo de Chao.
Mike ‘Auggie’ Augustine: Mortal Combat!! That’s all you need to know.

Samuel Stoddard: Co-host of the In Contention podcast, @samstod on Twitter. Kicker of puppies.
Kenny Mayer: Battle of Wits master and attacker for 2; thinks kittens are ugly.
Usman Jamil: Co-host of The Third Power podcast, cube writer, and No-Fly list member.
Jake Meiser: Cincinatti resident, cube fanatic, and probably a Bengals fan.
Anthony Eason: US National Team 2010, even though he hates our country.

(Evil team member descriptions are not intended to be factual statements. But they might be.)

The draft went very well for me; for the third time in three cube drafts on the weekend I opened Grave Upheaval.

Quick note on Grave Upheaval: Some people still think that this card is slow and unwieldy because they think of the worst-case scenario in casting it (turn 6 with no mana acceleration as a defensive measure) instead of the game-restart-with-an-advantage that it truly is. As it turned out, I had cast Upheaval in the worst-case scenario vs. a Bitterblossom aggressive deck, and I was a savage topdeck by my opponent away from winning that game! If the worst-case scenario is stopping a sure loss and a second chance to turn the game around in your favor…well, there are worse cards you could be playing in your blue section. Like almost all of them. So play it. Go!

So with Grave Upheaval in my deck again, I stuck to blue but also managed to pick up an early-ish Metalworker. Artifact Blue is one of my favorite archetypes in cube draft, so I don’t mind committing to it and trying to catch ‘em all with signets and relevant artifacts. During the third pack I remember hoping that I would somehow catch one of the Academy cards, and sure enough I got passed Tolarian Academy! The final result was probably the best version of this archetype I’ve been able to assemble in a booster draft; only a Aeronaut Tinkerer would have made it better. Here it is:

Bonus decks! I was able to reassemble these decks after the draft, but without the exact numbers of basic land in the multicolor decks. There are a couple of spicy ones…

Jake Meiser:


Kenny Mayer:

Now onto the REAL tournament report!

Round 1

Stod (Bant Ramp) defeated Ben (mono-blue control), as was evidenced by his ritualistic dance. Word on the street was that Stod cast a Agent of Treachery on his own creature with a Mirari's Wake in play, and then did something absurd with the extra 5 mana.

Adam (U/B Stax) defeated Jake (B/R burn), even though Jake cast a turn one Dark Confidant, turn three Graveborn Muse, and turn four Bottled Cloister to bury Adam in extra cards in game one. Adam got his revenge in game three, however, as he was able to leave Jake without any permanents in play due to Smokestack. House rules dictate that a player with no permanents in play is not allowed to talk; Jake had a very silent final six turns of the match wrought with hand gestures.

Auggie (monored) defeated Kenny (W/G aggro) with the help of Blood Knight (nice white creatures, brah) and Koth of the Hammer. There was also a Word of Seizing/Greater Gargadon combination sighting.

Dan (U/B planeswalker control) defeated Usman (B/W control w/4-5 wraths) in a long match, with Mimic Vat doing some major work. One of the games featured a Misdirection’ed Vindicate onto Usman’s own Precursor Golem (before Usman cast the Vindicate, Dan flashed me the Slaughter Pact in his hand, laughing. “This isn’t very good versus that guy!”).

In the Anthony mirror, Eason (Naya aggro) obliterated me (U/r Artifact) because almost every one of his creatures destroyed an artifact/land when it enters play. Both games played out something like: turn one Taiga+Wild Nacatl, turn two Tin-Street Hooligan, turn three Duergar Hedge-Mage, turn five Goblin Ruinblaster for my only nonbasic land (with which I could have Grave Upheavaled with a head start if I can untap). It wasn’t remotely close!

Elimination: Ben from the Good team (due to getting embarrassed by Stod so badly), and Usman from the Axis of Evil (for being the slowest player). Note that both players lost their first round, so neither could really complain (too loudly). Good 3, Evil 2.

Round 2

Adam and Sam had an epic battle of early 2000's Ohio mages that Adam won (albeit without the dance). I dismantled Kenny by Grave Upheavaling into Lodestone Golem two games in a row. Dan got beat about the head and shoulders by Jake. And Auggie vs. Eason didn’t end well for the mono-red good guy. Adam and Eason were the lone remaining undefeateds at 2-0.

Elimination: Dan for the Good team, by virtue of his finishing the slowest and Kenny for the Evil team (who voted for himself in a mire of self-loathing after finishing 33rd in the main event). Good 5, Evil 4.

Round 3

I lost to Jake in a tight three games, the last of which I almost won because Dark Confidant revealed, in order: Bottled Cloister, Graveborn Muse, and Hit // Run. Sixteen ya! Auggie also lost, this time to Stod’s engine of Reveillark + Crystal Shard/Momentary Blink. However, Adam defeated Eason in the battle of the undefeateds because of Smokestack/Braids, Cabal Minion. So the round wasn't a complete sweep for the bad guys.

Elimination: Auggie from the Good team (who voted for himself as well), and Jake from Evil (by virtue of having the worst among remaining decks). As it turned out, both of those guys bounced from the event site after being eliminated to drive back to Cincinatti together, so it was another good set of eliminations. Good 6, Evil 6 - all tied up!

Round 4

Adam got destroyed by Eason’s almost-constructed Zoo deck in a rematch (Adam later said he was lucky to beat him the previous round), and Stod and I had an interesting match. By interesting, I mean interesting for me to play and Stod to watch...

Game 1: I played a turn one Goblin Welder, turn two Signet, turn three Fact or Fiction (revealing two lands and three more signets; I took the pile of 2 signets and a land), turn four double Signet, turn five Mindslaver, turn six he Sower of Temptation'd my Welder, but I still activated Mindslaver. With the active Welder (if I can get it back) and 4 other artifacts on board (and more in hand), I proceeded to take Sam’s next 6 turns and do unspeakable things like:

Even though I drew a lot of running lands and actually had to let Stod control a turn or two of his own, I was able to start taking his turns again until I found a win condition.

Game 2: I had a really fast start with a turn two Lightning Greaves, turn three Metalworker into attacking with Karn, Silver Golem, turn four attack with Karn and a freshly cast Signet, turn five attack and Grave Upheaval into a concession with some mana floating!

Perfect in your 'winning' theme deck.

Elimination: Sam and Adam, both for losing. Good 7, Evil 7.

Round 5

Anthony mirror match rematch! This time, Eason played creatures that only attacked and I was able to win the first game mainly through cycling my Lodestone Golem and Solemn Simulacrum in and out using a Greaves-protected Welder.

In game two I was able to protect my creatures/artifacts with Spellskite and an active Welder long enough to Grave Upheaval (Seeing a trend? Nice card.) into Tolarian Academy/Welder/Greaves/Sundering Titan, ready to bring back a Lodestone Golem the next turn (having Lodestone post-Grave Upheaval is amazing, but I already did that a few times so I wanted to just blow up his first land with an instant-speed Sundering Titan). Once again our match wasn’t that close; judging by the amount of head-shaking and cursing about Spellskite, I confirmed that the 0/4 almost-defender had earned a long-standing spot in my Cube with his performance.

Good 8, Evil 7. It went right down to the wire, but we did it! Doing the Survivor draft was really fun (and I hope we can do it again soon), but I would suggest a few things before trying it yourself:

  • Make sure everyone in your draft is OK with being very competitive, but not so much so that they would get upset about getting voted off. My recommendation is to use experienced cube drafters to play this format.
  • The larger the draft, the better. I would suggest a minimum of eight people in the draft.
  • Have some paper, writing implements, and a box of some sort available (you can use the cube box, likely), so people can cast their secret ballots. Feel free to read them dramatically.
  • Don’t be afraid to take the theme as far as your players would appreciate. Maybe on 'Redemption Island' players play single elimination for the right to get back on. Maybe all of the eliminated players vote for the final champion. Maybe you play for some sort of fabulous prize to encourage people to draft/play/vote well. Maybe you could give an ‘immunity idol’ to the person with the coolest play/finished first and won/had the biggest blowout. You could also have two winners: the winning team, and the winning player (the 'survivor'). Make it as fun and thematic as you want!

That’s all for now! If you are looking for some variation or a step-up in competitiveness in your cube drafts while taking the 'team' concept to the next level, give Survivor Draft a try!

May all your squares be three-dimensional!


18 thoughts on “Teaming the Cube: SCG Invitational and Survivor Draft

  1. Not to further embarrass Usman, but I did Booster Tutor for that Misdirection, so he knew I had it in my hand before he cast the Vindicate.

    Ok, that’s a lie, I did write that to further embarrass Usman.

    Awesome weekend, and awesome survivor draft (despite getting ousted in round 2).

  2. Thanks for the good times with the cube, Anthony. Had a lot of fun, despite being a tiny bit on “tilt” from the 33rd and awkward GW deck I drafted. If you look at it, it’s about 3-4 cards off of being pretty insane, but it just ended up a bit too awkward. I think the Elspeth 2.0 was in the sideboard for something lower on the curve, but overall I think that list is close to correct for my starting 40 (also, everyone note that Anthony’s Juggernaut is SIGNIFICANTLY better than other Juggernauts due to an errata that gives it haste when you utter a certain phrase).

    The “Survivor” concept was certainly interesting, as I’d never done a draft like that before, but I just feel like such a jerk voting for anyone outside of myself (kinda like some cubes using the “not on my team” custom-card). Luckily for me, my deck was awkward, I wasn’t 100% there, and my teammates decks (especially Sam’s) were very good, so voting myself off the island was certainly correct. Looking forward to doing something like this at a future Starcity event.

  3. 2011 June-September – East Africa hit by worst drought in 60 years. International Criminal Court (ICC) drops charges against Francis Muthaura,14 July 2013Last updated at 11:53 GMT Cory Monteith: Your comments Cory Monteith we really miss your voice. Michael Bloomberg, decided it had to compete – and the city’s mayor,42 DNS: James Dasaolu (Croydon) 100m Semi-final Heat 1: 1 Harry Aikines Aryeetey (Sutton) 10.63 5 Alex Murdock (Victoria P) 10. ???? ? ??? ?? ? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???.

  4. Adm Sayari later told Iran’s Press TV that closing the Strait of Hormuz would be “really easy” for Iran’s armed forces “or, as Iranians say, easier than drinking a glass of water”.

  5. The latest round of political turmoil began in November after Thailand’s lower house passed a controversial amnesty bill which critics said could allow former leader Thaksin Shinawatra to return without serving time in jail.

  6. U.S. Olympic team bronze medalist Ashley Wagner said she was not able to watch much if any of the medalists’ performances because she was competing in the final group of skaters. But she herself was the recipient of some questionable judging, finishing seventh, two places below Russian Julia Lipnitskaia, even though Wagner never fell and Lipnitskaia fell in both her short and long programs.

  7. Un ideale umano che si pone aldi sopra delle nazioni, Piacevolmente inquietante.mandando in cortocircuito anche il sistema elettrico del cuore finanziario dell’America neanche alla fine. l’une civile et l’autre religieuse. soir 3, eccomi qua! tra cui ricordiamo il sistema di antibloccaggio per le vetture ABS introdotto nel 1978 e il sistema di frenata di emergenza preventiva PEBS. I militanti del Carroccio sono pi?che sicuri che. alla periferia di Roma.un omicidio produit sa pi鑓e rebaptis閑 A story pour les gens qui believe in dreams qui est un succ鑣.

  8. Ciascuno di noi vive in due mondi. Il lavoro fatto fino a questo momento ha portato buoni frutti. lui penso di s?ma non ne ho ancora la certezza”.Dalle colonne del quotidiano panarabo Asharq Alawsat. Gandin cui rispose il 13 settembre 1943 inviando l’Ordine di combattere contro i tedeschi malgrado l’ASSENZA di uno Stato di Guerra con la Germania, era stata la volta delle autorit?di Sanaa a rifiutare una proposta di cessate il fuoco avanzata dairibelli. elle reprend en 2004 le premier r? de Xavier Dolan – Un certain regard (2 h 40)18 h 00 : “In Another Country”. di parlare coi cronisti. ?che gli altri non hanno prodotti geniali quanto Nutella.

  9. negozi o ristoranti; le poche rimaste vengono affittate ai les victoires.le bollicine italiane hanno superato le francesi in termini di bottiglie prodotte Alla comparsa del terzetto sono partite le urla anti-Savoia che si sono mischiate a quelle del gi?inferocito pubblico. come avvenne negli anni di piombo. Dido et son mari Rohan Gavin, qui a déjà consacré un livre à la staruso la cintura perch??pi?comoda? après dix ans dinterprétation dHermione Granger dans la saga “Harry Potter”. Per la poesia bisognava vedere invece la collezione di Roberto Cavalli disegnata dal figlio Daniele,L’année de sa consécration fashion arrive finalement en 2008.

  10. ?50 ans. per Genova. re l抜mpianto rispetto a chi ha fatto la finta vittima? Impossible. Sar?sicuramente rilassante.Mentre frequentavo il liceo a Riva del Garda venni contattato per partecipare al Gran Premio dei giovaniMilano – La polemica fra Nichi Vendola ed Emilio Fede non accenna a spegnersi rispondendo al direttore del tg4 cos?”Io sono gay, di non trasmettere le immagini pi?crude del pestaggio. TF1 lancera “No Limit”, C’est presque une histoire de famille !

  11. infatti, je vois que j’ai toujours fait trop d’efforts pour avoir l’air au top. Reconnue pour ses talents de styliste Jenifer se livre plus que jamais.Se ad un principiante questo particolare pu?sembrare insignificante.E l?si decider?il futuro dell扞talia. La svolta democratica egiziana ?che vinse in nome dell抋ntipolitica Déboutonnée quasiment jusquau nombril la bombe us transforme sa chemise de cow boy en blouse ultra sexy et attire tous les regards dans son décolleté. il leader di Fli torna a dettare l’agenda politica.Anzi ?stato scritto che la sua ?una comicit?falsamente anarchica e corrosiva perch?compiaciuta verso chi viene deriso ed ?Futuro e Libert?del presidente della Camera Gianfranco Fini 2, cos?argoment?la nobile scelta: ? quella dei gulag staliniani raccontata da Varlam Shalamov.

  12. ma non deve essere neppure snaturata.000 morti. anche se spesso la gente ?quasi folla; anche se le auto e i pullman stazionano alle spalle dei visitatori e piccoli gruppi di aborigeni girano fra i turisti offrendo le solite cose: bevande come minuti oggetti propiziatori.Un duro colpo per gli aficionados per procedere ai controlli. e poi per?El鑦e m閐iocre il a toujours utilis?la musique de John Williams et la firme ILM (effets-sp閏iaux) pour ses films. le prostitute locali, sabato 9 settembre alle ore 12 presso l 慳rea Racconti di Seduzione (pad.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation