Kamigawa cube: first draft

Earlier this year, I talked about putting together a one with everything Kamigawa draft cube. With just over 600 cards, this is bigger than a typical cube by a good 150-200 cards. As I discussed earlier, it’s also tilted up the rarity scale, with about 25% rares, 25% uncommons, and 50% commons.
And, of course, there’s just one of each card, so Mirror Gallery is especially worthless — but it’s in there, and we had it in today’s draft!
M, SSO, and JH showed up for a half-draft — which is what we usually manage these days (the thought of getting eight people together…well, that seems extreme). As everyone checked out their first pack, there was a simultaneous pause, followed by everyone laughing at the card selection (or, as SSO said, ” Bomb, bomb, bomb…”).
My very first pack was also full of good cards, but the best choice seemed to be Jushi Apprentice. The next big card I saw was, I think, Myojin of Night’s reach. From there, subsequent packs graced me with Kokusho, Keiga, Gifts Ungiven (how appropriate), and a Neverending Torment…along with more card draw and, fortunately, some black removal. I ended up with a quite solid blue-black, controllish deck.
We played two rounds, and I think had a fun time watching how things worked out. I really enjoyed how the one-with-everything approach emphasized the feel of the set, with big legends facing off. I also learned that, in draft, Kira is an enormous, enormous beating, especially when you copy it (him? her?) with Sakashima.
And I actually managed a Neverending Torment win. Awesome.

One With Everything: Cube drafting Kamigawa

In addition to my normal Constructed play, I’ve learned over the last year that I enjoy the draft format. Normal drafting has the significant downside, however, of requiring new packs each time. That makes it unfortunately expensive, or requires that you have the patience to buy packs (that you were going to buy anyway), then wait for the next chance to draft before you can open them. As I don’t typically buy packs anyway, this is a particularly bad option for me.
The solution here presents itself in the form of “Cube Drafting.” You can read the origin of the Cube concept here in the Magic forums, and you can learn a bit more about the format here at Evan Erwin’s site dedicated to the concept. Briefly, the idea behind a cube draft is to draft from a prearranged card pool. Simple as that.
The original cube concept involves building up a carefully balanced (in terms of distribution across the mana curve in each color) collection of the most powerful cards you can muster. We’ll quote Evan here:
Each Cube is constructed by compiling the most powerful cards you can find and putting them together. This doesn’t mean just Moxes and Mana Drains. This can be any collection of powerful cards.
Well, I really have no interest in the most powerful cards. I just want to draft, and have it be fun and flavorful. Coincidentally, in the last year I’ve really fallen in love with the flavor of Kamigawa block. Kamigawa came out at a time when I’d been out of Magic for quite a while. SSO and I split a box, and decided we were a bit nonplussed by it. A couple years later, I realized that Kamigawa works best if you have access to all the Legendary things, and in abundance — they really drive the flavor of the setting. You want to be able to say, “I smack you with Yosei, the Morning Star” and not just “Glacial Ray you.” Since that time, I’ve rounded out my collection of Kamigawa cards decently via sniping at ebay auctions for whole sets (and Kamigawa goes for pretty cheap, although you need to wait a little while to catch the Pithing-Needle-bearing Saviors set at a good price). This leads to my current plan.
I’m building a “cube” that’s a “one with everything” Kamigawa draft set. Just one of each card in the whole block, in a draft set. That’s a shade over 600 cards, and has the advantage, versus normal drafting, of enriching the draft for flavorful rares and uncommons (there are just over 150 rares in the block and just under 150 uncommons, so instead of an 11:3:1 ratio, we get to play with about a 2:1:1 ratio).
I’m really looking forward to draft games out of this pool, with big Legendary dragons and funky spirits facing off on a regular basis.