Old School Cube

It's time for another visit from our three-time Shark winner and 2015 Pimpvitational Champion Elof Gottfridsson. This time he's setting his constructed creations aside and takes us into the world of 93/94 cube drafting. Enjoy! /Mg out  

Hi again!
Quite recently I participated in my second 9394 cube draft. My first time was a few years ago, it was former Swedish Nationals champion Martin Berlin that brought his cube with him before a noobcon. His list was a bit different from "normal" cubes as he had 4 City of Brass and 4 Mishra's Factory, to smooth peoples mana bases and to make Mishra a bit better (like it needs to be better...). He also added a few cards from Fallen Empires to make WW a little better. His list can be found here.
In that draft I messed up a bit. If I recall correctly I took an early Mishra's Workshop not knowing if it was supported in the cube or not, and to be honest with you, my experience with 9394 wasn't that big at the time. I think I played 3 colors with an awful manabase and I was of course paired against Berlin himself in round one. I think he won a somewhat, but not really, tight game one on the back of an Control Magic. The second game ended very quick with Berlin going something like land-Ritual-Mana Vault-Shimian Stalker. 5 turns of attacking later I was done.

Fast forward a couple of years and I would get another try at an old school cube, this one I even helped create! The entire list can be found here.

The owner of the cube is non other than BSK 2013 winner Henrik "Brorsan" Jerberg, famous for playing aggressive 9394 decks like WW, UR burn and RG beats. Henrik also seeded some cards in the cube, to make it a bit more balanced. All lands and power, Icy Manipulator and some other really broken cards where separated and added randomly to every pack so that each pack contained 2. This made packs more balanced and I would recommend it going forward.
The draft was going to take place at the Brorsan Invitational IV (Brorsan being Jerbergs user name on svenskamagic.com), a truly awesome event that really needs to be talked about. Henrik got the idea a few years ago and started planning. The first invitational was simple, it was a M11 draft and the winner would take it all. I got really lucky that year and drafted an aggressive UW skies, after starting the draft with taking Scroll Thief in all of the first 3 packs! The year after that the format was Modern Masters draft and after that auction of all 8 decks from Pro Tour 1996. I managed to win the masters draft and then the hole thing on the back of Leon Lindbeck's Necropotance deck, a deck that includes 4 Strip Mines, 4 Dark Rituals and 4 Necropotence. And finally, last year I was dethroned in the finals against "Kungen of Rolfstorp", famous for having the Kingvitational 9394 tournaments. That year we did Time Spiral two headed giant sealed followed by a chaos draft containing one pack each of 24 editions, starting from Mirage-block. The visions pack contained a pack fresh Vampiric Tutor! The top 4 was then decided by 1999 world championship decks auction. I managed to get Kai Budde's Wildfire but got unlucky against a horde of green stompies in the finals.
So back to this year and the 9394 draft. It started pretty good for me as I opened a really stacked pack. It contained a Mox Ruby, Braingeyser and Regrowth in addition to some other weaker cards. While it always hurt a little to pass on power I think the correct pick is Braingeyser. It's one of few sources of card advantage and it can also act as a win condition if need be. The pack I received contained a Swords to Plowshares and not much else, especially since Swords is one of the better removals (one could argue that Chaos Orb is better, if you can flip it). After picking Swords I received a pack that had a Mana Drain and a Timetwister, and pretty soon after that I had passed a second piece of power. I remember passing a Mox Pearl later, but the cards I got from the first pack was pretty good. I got a Sindbad, Rasputin Dreamweaver, Underground Sea, and some artifacts in Dragon Engine, Jayemede Tome. I didn't have much white cards but that changed in the first pick in the second pack. There was a Mox Jet that I passed and instead took the Balance sitting there. I got passed a Control Magic and the deck shaped up very well. I remember taking a Counterspell early over a Tundra but it eventually wheeled, something I thought was possible since the Rasputin wheeled in pack 1. The last pack contained a Wrath of God as well as a Mana Vault and Basalt Monolith to help with more explosives starts! I got an important late Blue Elemental Blast also as well as some filler cards.
In the first round I faced of against the previous winner Kungen. He showed during the draft (everybody faced off against the person sitting the furthest away) that he had a tough choice between Library of Alexandria and Fireball (extra difficult since we use the "fireball rule", anybody that plays Fireball and gets Fireballed have to take a shot of Fireball "Whiskey"), eventually picking the land. In game one I quickly fell behind since he played an Ancestral Recall followed up by a Library of Alexandria while I mostly drew my weak creatures. I managed to set up a crucial turn where I play a Balance, when I had 1 card to his 6 or 7, I had 1 creature to his 3 and he even had some extra lands. After the balacing part I played my last card, Control Magic on his Air Elemental. After that I managed to take the game over.

In game 2 kungen's early creatures destroys me while my few kritters don't get to play very long. I have a few outs, but find none and succumb to kungen's horde.

In the final game kungen takes 2 mulligans and still managed to put up early pressure. I managed to survive the early onslaught and get one of my many engines going. If I recall correctly I eventually Braingeyser him out.

Round 2 I face of against Adde "JummJumm" Leo, a very close friend. I have no idea what he is playing since I didn't get to scout him. Apparently he is playing green, with a lot of small creatures. I get in trouble when he has a small army but just in time I get to play Rasputin and he is a powerhouse in this situation, making sure that Adde can't attack profitably and he also allows me to untap Monolith, draw card with Tome and all sorts of shenanigans. I managed to take the game a few turns after that.

In game 2 Adde cast lots of creatures again and also a Time Walk. I try to put up some resistance but the deck won't deliver and I am once again locked into having to fight out a third game.

In the final game Adde casts lots of big green creatures like Erhnam, Ifh-Biff, if I recall correctly I Counterspell one and Wrath away another and even manged to steal one of a Control Magic. Adde has a Chaos Orb but I somehow manged to win anyway, awesome! On to the finals!
Addes deck looked really good by the way. He said in retrospect he shouldn't have splashed the red but except for that and maybe the Fastbond I think it looks awesome.

Round 3, final and the challenger is none other than all around good guy Mats, nick named -"Mys-Mats" (kind of like "Cosy-Mats"). He is playing an aggressive base red deck that I scouted in the previous rounds. In game one I get horribly crushed since he got to go first and started with a Black Vise. My hand is slow so I end up taking a lot of damage. I did manage to stem some of the bleeding by playing a Recall for 0 on turn 1 but eventually get crushed by Manabarbs since I didn't draw my Disenchant in time.
I board in Onulet, Holy Light and Blue Elemental Blast, all of them where late picks that I put to good use. I take out some of my slower cards, including Mana Vault, I just think it's to dangerous. My memory is a bit hazy, most like due to the free beer, but I think I managed to go beatdown in one of the games with a Onulet and Primal Clay and in the other Mats doesn’t draw blue mana for his Timetwister splash and his draws was sub-par. I did manage to do a great trade when Mats had a Roc of Kher Ridges, an Elves of the Deep and I think another small creature. I attack with Onulet, he blocked with Roc and after combat I played a Holy Light and traded 2 for 3. Both games did hinge on Mats playing a Shatterstorm and both times I had the Blue Elemental Blast to answer it. I think I was lucky since Mats deck is fast and having both Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune is deadly. Had his draws been better or if he managed to resolve his Shatterstorm the results might have been very different.

All in all everyone had a really nice time and games tended to go longer than anticipated and people really seemed to liked it. We also so several interesting interactions like Mats casting a Detonate for 8 on an Aladin's Ring for the game. One guy had both Sol Ring and Black Lotus but got unlucky (and also said that he build the deck wrong, splashing and taking green cards when he should not) and went 0-3, clearly power isn't everything.

That's it for this time. Next up is some Troll Disco tech, or if people are interested and want to, I'll write about another cube draft.



  1. Thanks for the report Elof, sweet! :)

    Thumbs up to Brorsan too – great to see another old school cube in action! I was wondering how long it would take before someone else was crazy enough to pull off this kind of project. :D

    How did you guys feel about Library of Alexandria? As much as I love the card, my experience is that it's nigh unbeatable and simply not fun to play against (much worse so than in 93/94 constructed), so I decided to cut it from my cube.

    1. I think that cutting the Library sounds reasonable. Sol Ring is probably questionable as well, but not remotly as unfair as the Library in limited.

    2. We have only cubed it twice and I think that the decks that got Library didn't draw it turn one that often (it's not something I have heard off) and if it's not drawn on turn 1 it's less crazy (but still crazy). I think we have to play it a few more times but I can image it being cut.

      White is also a problem since it is so aweful (except for the few really good cards)and we might have to do something about that.

      I have also an idea about adding an additional of each of the duals to help splashing but not something that I have tested yet.

    3. Yep, the white card pool is very shallow, unfortunately... I guess one could either accept a smaller card pool for white compared to the other colors, or add multiples of some cards, e.g. Savannah Lion. Both these solutions tend to disturb my sense of symmetry however, so i preferred to add FE instead. :)

      Interesting that I actually had the exact same idea of adding two of each dual, I think that's a better solution than running four City of Brass which I do now. Just have to scoop up those extra copies of Bayou, Scrubland etc....

  2. hi guys,

    another awesome article, thank you for it! :-)
    may be it is stupid to ask this way, but do you have any recommendation what list is the best for oldschool cube?
    i really want to build one too since i have quite lot of old stuff, but i am not a builder, so nice advice is very welcome.
    best regards and marry xmas too!


  3. A cool read for sure... currently in the business of updating my holiday cube (just in time for the holidays of course!) and I think I might give such an oldschool cube a chance some time in the future. Really interesting!

    Apart from that, I'm probably the biggest Troll fan over here in Germany, and I can't wait to read your article on Trolldisco!

    best regards,
    Marc "Twiedel" Lanigra

  4. So, I'm curious about some choices in the Cube. Care to share why you chose not to play them? I'm curious because I'm building a Cube and using your list as a base.
    I mean, there are a lot of important cards I feel are missing:
    Transmute Artifact
    Power Artifact
    Nether Void
    The Abyss
    All Hallow's Eve
    Time Vault
    Drop of Honey
    Ghazban Ogre
    Ali from Cairo
    Bottle of Suleiman
    Diamond Valley
    Bazaar of Baghdad
    Argothian Pixies
    Mishra's Workshop
    Force Spike
    Concordant Crossroads
    Whirling Dervish
    Firestorm Phoenix
    and a few Legends' Legends that I miss too.

    (sorry for the long list, but if you want to talk private just tell me how to contact you :) )


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