Too many changes to enumerate!

This is going to be a color-by-color summary of what’s been changed and why, because… well because I don’t have all day.

White

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We wanted to use the new cards from Innistrad to really push a token theme in white. Fiend Hunter and Cloistered Youth would have been included even without that strategic shift, but the others are all a good fit for that archetype.

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The cards that are dropped are ones that are too redundant – we just didn’t need another 5+ mana Wrath – or just less powerful than the other options, like Prison Term and Return to Dust. Sacred Mesa is a somewhat painful cut for me, but it just wasn’t making the cut in many decks, and I think the token-making cards we’ve added will be just as effective.

Blue

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The changes in blue reflect a couple things. First, blue was a bit top-heavy and we’ve tried to correct that. Secondly, some cards that are super, super powerful just weren’t consistent enough for us in a mostly Winston environment. If we start drafting with a big group in the future, they’ll probably come back. See you in Seattle, Tinker and Tezzeret.

Some of the cards coming in still aren’t completely solid- Azure Mage and Mindshrieker definitely need more testing. But they’ve been at least good so far, and we’ve seen a lot of really fun, tempo-y blue decks. Sleight of Hand is pretty placeholder, but we wanted to push consistency in card filtering

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Black

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Innistrad is a really impressive set for black and especially for black aggro. We’re also trying out Fallen Askari as a potentially better two-drop. We’re also trying a slightly different set of four- and five- drops, though I do miss Puppeteer Clique. And as usual with a new set, we get a removal upgrade (or at least a different option).

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Red

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Crater Hellion is a good guy, but one that our red decks don’t usually want. Mogg War Marshall was very disappointing, and there’s been some nice one- and two- drops to replace it and others. Instigator Gang is still in trial mode, but it’s a scary, scary card if it sticks. Blistering Firecat probably won’t be a popular cut, but we found that the combination of fragile and hard-not-to-telegraph made it less than impressive.

Green

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This is probably the biggest shift in our cube as a whole. We’re not supporting green aggro anymore- it was never very good, and mostly just diluted the quality of green in the card pool. Instead, we’re supporting ramp more heavily. The combination of this shift in focus and some nice green cards being printed is huge. For the first time since I’ve been cubing, there’s a point in every draft where I wish I was in green if I’m not. Green does an excellent job of being a helper color, and we’re letting it do that a little more now.

As a side note, we’ve been thinking about Mayor of Avabruck. Anyone have a strong recommendation one way or the other?

Colorless

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We haven’t been able to find artifacts that stick to fill out the last few spots, so for now, this section is just smaller than it was. Some of the cuts are experimental, and some are cards that performed well on occasion but weren’t consistent enough. We’ve been pretty happy with Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox, and Spellskite is probably auto-include at this point.

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Multicolor

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These are some of the most exciting changes to me! I really love Geist of St. Traft. It may not make it in the long run- it’s problems are obvious – but it’s been very successful for us thus far. I’m hoping that with the additional support of blue aggro, it’ll continue to perform well. I do miss that blue Keira Knightley a little, though.

Olivia was a harder inclusion simply because we like Sarkan the Mad a lot, but she’s just super powerful.

Kessig Wolf Run is still pretty untested, but I think it has a lot of potential. As always, lands are tough to deal with and the effect is powerful.

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11 responses to “Too many changes to enumerate!

  1. Cutting Cap’n Tickles? CUTTING CAP’N TICKLES?! :(

    *sniff*

    Sure…it’s okay…just a four mana 4/1 trample haste shroud…

  2. PlatypusPlatoon

    Those look like FANTASTIC changes!!

  3. not genesis Noooo! sigh :/

  4. sexyindiancurry

    The only changes I have a problem with is your blue switches:
    I think I’d rather keep Tinker and Upheaval over Azure Mage and Slight of Hand. I’d also rather keep Jwar Jwar over Mindshrieker, although Mindshrieker is the more fun card.
    I also wouldn’t cut Wheel of Fortune, especially not for Stormkirk Noble. Have you not have success with it?

  5. sexyindiancurry

    ps, I’ve had plenty of success with Tinker in Winston, but more as a toolbox card than a bomb-win card.

  6. Thanks for the list of changes. I’ve been wondering how you’d handle Innistrad. Cutting green aggro support seems to be a common trend in cube. It’s definitely giving me food for thought. Your other changes all seem reasonable, though a few cuts are pet cards I love (Hystrodon). Blue was definitely top-heavy, though I still like Future Sight and Gifts. I’m considering adding Telekinesis to support blue aggro. What’s up with Wheel of Fortune? It’s been so good for us I’m considering adding Time Twister. Are you still running all ten signets?

  7. White:
    Imo Midnight Hunting doesn’t have enough impact on the game for a 3 mana card. If you want to push the token theme, why not just add Battle Screech instead, which gives you twice as many fliers for 1 more mana?

    I would play Rout over any other 5+ mana sweeper that isn’t Catastrophe.

    Serum Visions is strictly better than Sleight of Hands (unless your opponent has a Consecrated Sphinx out).

    Riftwing Cloudskate / Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Frost Titan are all way worse high drops than the Sphinx. A small tempo swing is nice, but 1 removal spell later and your opponent is back in the game again.

    You don’t need to find a 8 mana monster with Tinker – simply getting something like a Sword, Masticore, Shackles, Crystal Shard,… is already very powerful.

    Sure, Gifts Ungiven is way better in regular draft, but I can’t believe that it has become so bad, that you want to run some filler cards like Frantic Search, Dissipate or the above mentioned Slight of Hands over it.

    Black
    Imo Black Kinghts abilities give you enough extra value to justify the more restrictive casting cost compared to Fallen Askari.

    Bloodline Keeper is a limited bomb but in cube you have access to more and cheaper removal and even if it lives 1 turn, all that you got was a 2/2 at the cost of missing an attack with your 4 drop.
    I would rather keep Puppeteer Clique, which gives you some immediate value when it comes into play and once again later in the game when it dies.

    Red
    If you look at the red cards that you don’t want to play in an aggro deck compared to the blue cards that only fit into aggro, it looks like red has the edge, even though there aren’t any other good control only creatures in that color, which makes Crater Hellion look a bit out of place, even though there is enough support for the card.
    I would strongly advice against the exclusion of Wheel of Fortune, which is firstpick material for red decks, since they can quickly drop their whole hand on the table and use this card to restock afterwards. It is even better in decks that have many burn spells, since they are very cheap, but generate card disadvantage.

    We have been very happy with the removal of the typical green aggro cards, since there just aren’t enough of them available to build a focused deck, while the extra slots gives the other green strategies the extra punch that they needed to stay competitive. (btw: counting the number of basics by type in all decks is a very easy way to get some feedback about which colors are popular.)

    With the addition of more 1 mana ramp creatures, the 2 mana creatures become less valuable, so I would rather keep Call of the Herd instead of adding Jade Mage, given that both cards are slightly below the curve, but both give you some additional value when you have mana to spare later.
    I don’t understand the removal of Genesis, especially when you are adding another 5 drop with below average power that gets better with other creatures in the yard.

    Explore is a very unreliable card for Ramp strategies (see Rampant Growth vs Explore in Constructed), since not hitting your land drops early is much worse for these decks than drawing a ramp spell later in the game, after you have already played a few big spells. A card that gives you the best of both worlds is Edge of Autumn, since it gives you the mana acceleration and fixing early and business spells later when ramp spells are dead cards.

    I would keep Sundering Titan and Memory Jar around until you actually need the lots in your colorless section.

    Multicolor
    I really like the removal of Giant Solifuge- the card is just so bad once there are other creatures on the other side of the board.

    • Battle Screech is more like a second Spectral Procession, but we’re trying Midnight Haunting specifically because it’s instant speed and splashable.

      I like Frost Titan much more than Sphinx, and Shapeshifter/Cloudskate aren’t competing for the same spot.

      Jade Mage is very much on a trial basis. We saw it in Tristan Shaun Gregson’s cube, and it seemed interesting enough to give it a try. But it’s likely to end up as Mayor if we try that card anyway.

      I’m not sure what you mean about Explore/Rampant Growth in constructed, since Explore consistently saw play when both were available. It’s a different card, for sure, but we’re running Rampant Growth as well and I’ve been very happy with it.

  8. Midnight Haunting isn’t really something that you would want to splash, but in a 2c deck, with only 9 colored sources that produce W, like for example a 6 Plains, 6 Swamps 3 duals 2 colorless utility lands, it is only 9% harder to cast Battle Screech once you hit 4 lands, assuming that you were able to cast Midnight Haunting T3.

    Cloudscate will be a 5 drop or a dead cards in the games where you don’t draw it early and while you have the option to cast Shapeshifter for 3+2 mana, you will not be able to get value out f the etb effects that way, which drastically reduces the number of good targets drastically (3 months after the addition.

    Explore +Rampant Growth both saw play, but there were some pretty good article about the perfect mix of these cards based on the win percentages and chances to hit your critical spells, which heavily favored the original ramp spell.

  9. Take out Victim of Night and put in either Rend Flesh or Eyeblight’s Ending. Both are better options and cost only 1 B to cast.

  10. In my C/U cube, Riftwing Cloudskate is surprisingly good. This has to do with the fact that UW Skies is featured very prominently and that the card finds its perfect home in this tempo-oriented, flyer-heavy deck, but still. It’s a lot better than it looks at first sight.

    Also, blink is king. Opponent is tapped out, so Flickerwisping a Utopia Sprawl-ed Rupture Spire is like double-LD on a 3 mana 3 power flier. Yaay!

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