The rationale behind anti-draft is that it avoids the frustration of passing a lot of great cards while still creating some natural color balance, and improving the overall deck quality relatively to sealed. We were five people, and two put together decks they were happy with, but the other three had trouble building their pools and decks..
Apparently, there are three main issues with this way of drafting:
1. Multicolored cards of combinations that no one was using were passed very frequently, to the point of almost locking the rounds when they approached the end, as no one wanted to pass a good card of a color someone was playing.
2. The table order affected too deeply the cards available - no one could go to a color that their "back" neighbor was playing, as no cards of that color were passed at all. Therefore, if your neighbor was drafting two colors, you were pretty much forced into the other three.
3. Nearly no bombs were passed, restricting each player to the ones he opened.
The final standings were:
- WG Control (4-0, 8-3)
- RG Beatdown (3-1, 6-2)
- UB Aggro-control (2-2, 5-5)
- WUG Control (1-3, 4-7)
- RB Control (0-4, 2-8)
Which was probably the first time we had a tournament with "transitive victories", that is, for any A, B and C, if (A won B) and (B won C), then (A won C), suggesting a higher power disparity between decks. The two that did better are detailed below:
Hand of Honor
Cage of Hands
This deck controls the early game with white removal (Pacifism, Wing Shards) and good blockers (Phantom Centaur, Steel Wall), then sets up some inevitability engine such as Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Orochi Hatchery and Phyrexian Processor. Some nice internal sinergies include equipping Phantom Centaur and Phantom Nishoba making them immortal, or resetting them with Stormfront Riders.
How great Elspeth was actually worries me. The only planeswalker I had was Chandra Ablaze, which, despite being maybe the worst planeswalker printed, was an OK card. I just added Elspeth and Tezzeret the Seeker, and while I suppose Tezzeret is too situational to be dominant, Elspeth is a powerhouse. I don't want to do the first ban for power reasons, but the lack of answers for planeswalkers makes me worry they will kill the control archetype in the cube entirely.
Modern control decks require extremely general removal like Volition Reins, Maelstrom Pulse and Oblivion Ring. While I could improve on that category of removal, it's not numerous enough in the history of Magic to balance a singleton cube.
City of Brass
Tin Street Hooligan
Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
This deck is a beatdown that, even without strong turns 1 and 2, is capable of growing fast on turns 3-5 and dealing lots of damage suddenly with powerful burn (Browbeat, Staggershock, Quenchable Fire and Earthquake), equipment (Vulshok Gauntlets) and auras (Boar Umbra, Elephant Guide and Rancor). The mana base is dangerous with 37% of lands, and the suicidal City of Brass and Barbarian Ring, but that extra damage did not matter much when the opponent was the one under pressure.