In a format like this, you’ve gotta be gruul to be kind.

Magic the Gathering post. Here be dragons, rah rah rah. If you don’t have Autocard Anywhere, it might come in handy. 

Last night I had the pleasure to once more play my friend’s Ravnica cube. If you don’t know cube drafting, it’s a singleton selection of at least 360 cards evenly distributed by colour from which to draft. Cubes started as a way to find a place for the power nine and other dominant cards that’d never find a home elsewhere. Not everyone gets the chance to use these unbelievable cards and having a format whereby they’re available to put together well tuned decks on the fly is exciting to say the least. Cubes, however, can be customised to any particular theme. I’ve seen legendary cubes where each card is a legendary permanent. This cube, which I’d tried before, was composed of cards from both Ravnica blocks and any peripheral cards that were based in Ravnica lore. Things like Gigantoplasm or Mizzix Mastery found their way in. It’s a fun cube that’s also tied together by a rule that cuts the top 20%. Cards deemed too powerful are pruned in favour of fostering more interactive gameplay and building more creative decks. Cards are double sleeved, so players are invited to paste googly eyes onto any art that looks like it’d benefit from it, or if they think of any clever captions, it’s all game.

I went in with an agenda to draft something Selesnya (WG), but with the idea that perhaps I’d be swayed into a more Naya (RGW) configuration. I like big mid-range green cards and aggressive builds, what can I say? In reality I picked a few green cards off the top and toyed with Selesnya before being pulled into Gruul (RG). A few Boros (RW) cards were impossible to ignore and once I nabbed a Sunforger having a build around suite was too important to pass up. Hell, why tell if I can show. Here’s the deck I sleeved up:

Lands
Stomping Ground
Sacred Foundry
Plains
6 Mountain
7 Forest

1 Drops
Birds of Paradise
Elves of Deep Shadow
Experiment One

2 Drops
Burning-Tree Emissary
Gruul Guildmage
Tin Street Hooligan
Skinbrand Goblin
Vinelasher Kudzu
Ground Assault
Flesh//Blood
Lightning Helix

3 Drops
Goblin Rabblemaster
Civic Wayfinder
Pyrewild Shaman
Savageborn Hydra
Slaughterhorn
Wild Beastmaster
Sunforger

4 Drops
Deadbridge Goliath
Krenko, Mob Boss
Savage Twister
Warleader’s Helix

5 Drops
Indrik Stomphowler

Look at that mana curve. Isn’t that nuts? A heavy stream of creatures kept my opponents on the back foot and removal helped me clear the way. How do you deal with this kind of assault without mass removal? Furthermore, how do you build to mass removal if you don’t have the time? Is the format even set up for that? I had Savage Twister, some of the best mass removal in the set. Sucked for my opponents. My stuff was fast, strong and had a few internal synergies to send it over the edge. I can tell you, a turn two Goblin Rabblemaster off a Birds of Paradise or Elves of Deep Shadow is pretty hard to top. Without backup that’s four damage on turn three, six damage on turn four. Can you handle being at ten life on turn four? Most couldn’t.

Thing is, I had backup. My bloodrush creatures (Skinbrand Goblin, Slaughterhorn, Pyrewild Shaman) put in work, either keeping my creatures alive or forcing damage through. Bloodrush fit absurdly well with Savageborn Hydra to ramp up the damage or Wild Beastmaster to boost my whole team. In more than one game I attached Sunforger to either of the aforementioned creatures to cinch the game. Wild Beastmaster meant even my mana elves were getting in for five or so damage. Insane. Speaking of which, Blood (of Flesh//Blood) is a top notch card that shows just how insane Fall of the Hammer was. I had goblins aplenty from Goblin Rabblemaster and Krenko held his own keeping the number of tokens up. Deadbridge Goliath was an insanely solid beater. Efficiently costed with a great scavenge ability in the event they actually killed it. Sunforger is solid enough on its own, but when it can fetch a Lightning Helix or Warleader’s Helix to do those last few points of damage or clear the way, it’s unreal. Civic Wayfinder was an MVP, allowing me to keep unfair hands I would’ve had to mull otherwise. Seriously, how many creature types does that guy have?

The deck was goddamn ridiculous and it swept the field. I lost one game out of the ten or so I played. I drew a poor hand and it was still reasonably close. I can’t imagine a more ideal deck for me to run and I suspect that every deck I make from here on out will be a pale shadow of this perfection.

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