Pre-Scars of Mirrodin Update

In the past, I’ve been super religious about not making any swaps until a new set is completely spoiled. I guess I’m getting impatient in my old age, because no freaking way this time. Here’s what we’ve changed so far (a few non-SOM changes are included).


I’m excited to have the Mystic in with all this good equipment appearing. I like all the Shadow guys, but Visionary is the least bang for buck and I believe his ability has triggered exactly once.

Stoneforge Mystic

Seraph was sometimes good, but I have loved Stormfront Pegasus since it’s been back, and wanted more.

Guardian SeraphMistral Charger


Could have cut Keening Banshee here, but I still like her a lot, though I know she’s a cube anomaly. Ob is sometimes good but sometimes not enough and/or chumpable and/or just dies. It’s a fairly big change curvewise as well, since Ob is really a six drop.

Mistral Charger

Laquatus has won a whole bunch of games, but I think Geth will be just a bit more backbreaking and I’m kind of a sucker for reanimation. I think the other six-drops are too strong to cut.

Mistral Charger


Red Akroma has been underperforming for a while now, and in the spirit of adding more artifact destruction, we decided to cut her instead of just replacing Yuki-Onna.

Red AkromaMistral Charger

This is the first time the one planeswalker thing has kind of hurt. But while Chandra is very, very good in the cube, she doesn’t really support a traditional red strategy-it’s more like, here is my control deck that is playing red. Koth is clearly bananas, on the other hand.

As far as the one planeswalker thing, I think when green has another cube-worthy PW, we might let two in per color. But it seems insanely unfair to me let every busted white card in while denying the already-weakest color one of the most powerful card times.



Speaking of green, we just haven’t been happy with where it’s at. Twinblade Slasher was a big hit, so we’re continuing on that path by lowering the curve and cutting a few of the amazing-on-paper high end critters. Also, we wanted more Naturalizes, and Nature’s Claim is solid.

Mistral ChargerMistral Charger

Mistral ChargerMistral Charger

Mistral ChargerMistral Charger


This is the fun part! Grim Poppet is an easy cut, though I liked her pretty well.

Mistral Charger

Phyrexian Processor is another card I like that will be getting worse from now on in our cube (by design), the dudes you make don’t swing until turn six, so curve-wise this feels ok.

Mistral Charger

Justin loves Mask of Memory, but it didn’t see much play, whereas everyone loves Bonesplitter. I’m excited to have this in my decks.

Mistral Charger


A bunch of people have said that they aren’t happy with Venser in their cubes, but I definitely want to give him a try. That’s a bit of bias, because he fits into my favorite deck, but I also think that even “conditional” planeswalkers can be awesome. Sarkhan the Mad, for example, has been a huge bomb in our cube. We’ll see!

Mistral Charger


I’ve never really loved Reflecting Pool- it’s usually a worse filterland in my decks- and I kind of love LD. Plus, Judge Foil!

Mistral Charger


11 responses to “Pre-Scars of Mirrodin Update

  1. krosan tusker and ob nixilis are staples and you really shouldn’t cut them. briarhorn, masked admirers 😦 , master of the wild hunt, hystrodon, thelonite hermit, vigor, rampant growth, sprout swarm, squirrel nest, or overrun could go instead of krosan tusker (who is uncounterable instant speed card advantage in green). ashling the extinguisher, keening banshee, okiba gang shinobi, ink-eyes, and especially visara the dreadful could all go instead of ob nixilis. visara is hard to pay for and easy to get rid of.

    i think cutting reflecting pool and phyrexian processor aren’t great moves either. i don’t like cutting chandra but i understand the reasoning behind your walker rule.

    i love the other changes, especially adding llanowar elves and jungle lion (i can’t believe elves wasn’t in already!). if you’re not happy with green, as you say, i’d continue on the path of enabling green aggro. my green section focuses mostly on noncreature permanent destruction and aggressive strategies, and i love it. i’d try and reduce the number of 4 and 5 cost midrangey guys (but keep the 187 noncreature killers) and add more one and two drops.

    i, too, love the pegasi and will be playing both very soon.

  2. I get that I’m in the minority here, but I don’t see Ob or Tusker as staples. Ob has been fine- if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t be in, but he’s really a six-drop and most of the time Laquatus does his job better. I like Krosan Tusker too, but I’m not going to cut repeatable card advantage or creature removal in green. Maybe I support reanimator less, and that’s making the difference? I’m not sure. But my experience is that both cards are fine but not critical.

    I do think that Vigor is on his way out, though. He is very good in removal-light mirrors, but that’s not really green’s problem in the cube.

    Sprout Swarm is one of those cards that never does anything for me, but I have lost to about a hundred times. Some decks can’t deal with it all, and it has a few really nice synergies. I do find it funny how that happens, though. Abyssal Persecutor is another card like that, though in the opposite direction- I have won a lot with him, but Justin never has been able to play him.

    Anyway, I get that I’m not going to change anyone’s mind there.

    I’d be interested in your reasoning regarding Reflecting Pool- it’s been fairly mediocre for me. I run it if I have it, but it doesn’t make decks work the way that the filter lands do. I’m much more excited to have the LD. Maybe this is because I’m not running any 5 color lands. I’m genuinely interested to hear.

    Processor is very good, but I’m adding more artifact destruction and it is fairly slow. I could see it going back in if end up going down to five signets or if something doesn’t work out.

    I’m really excited about making green more aggressive. The new guys have already been good, and I definitely want to continue on that path. But I really want to hang on to card draw and the few combat tricks in green.

    ps. When I said bomby in the other thread, I meant very good 🙂

  3. tusker is way above the curve even if you only take its cycling into consideration (which is typically how i play it). what other green cards give you uncounterable instant speed card advantage?

    ob nixilis doesn’t give your opponent back the life he steals when he dies and he’s not as easy to kill. laquatus essentially costs 7 if you want to make sure he doesn’t fail the terminate test. ob nixilis is a 6 drop that costs 5 (basically). the instant 6 damage is cool but i think ob nix is a lot better.

    reflecting pool is like a super filter that doesn’t need a particular color of mana available to work well. i don’t really have any secrets to report, it’s just been good. is there a reason you don’t run stuff like city of brass and gemstone mine? those have been fantastic in my cube. i don’t usually have them out with pool, though, if that’s what you’re wondering. i do think wasteland and the like are better, but if it was me i’d lose the tri-lands and the filters and free up some space for 5 color lands and more mana denial like dust bowl and rishadan port.

    card draw (especially awesome draw like tusker 😉 ) and pump/tricks are great in green. you just need to cut down on some of the midrangey guys and get a full section of 2 drops going.

  4. I mostly agree with what quite has said –

    RE: Things like Hystrodon and Masked Admirers being better due to being repeatable card draw, I don’t think that it’s true at all. I’ve ran both in my cube for a while and found that it takes a LOT of time and resources for either to out-card advantage Tusker.

    The argument itself sounds like a time when I was making recommendations to someone’s cube and suggested cutting Defiler of Souls to put in Murderous Redcap. His argument was that “Defiler is a 6 mana 5/5 flier that is The Abyss, redcap is a 4 mana grey ogre.” Statements like that are just awful since looking at one card in the absolute best matter vs the other in the absolute worst isn’t really analysis at all, it’s just the person asserting “I like card X more than Y and that’s final.” Similarly with saying that Admirers and Hystrodon > Tusker because they are repeatable card advantage, because while they can be, they’re terribly inefficient at said task.

    I honestly don’t remember times when Hystrodon connected twice, usually it just connected once and died and I spent a ton of mana in the process. When compared to other options at 3 and/or 5 mana (depending on where you consider it on the mana curve) – it’s just inefficient compared to other options. I REALLY wanted it to be something like green’s exalted angel or something like that, but it never really panned out. I’d probably consider Vigor worse, but I definitely consider cutting Tusker a big mistake.

    Similarly with Ob Nixilis, I never got the mentality that it has to be dropped on turn 6 with a land. The only time that I would consider this the optimal play is versus a red deck or if you know your opponent has Last Gasp/Nameless/Skinrender or something like that, but I’ve never had problems with it dying and even if it does get chump blocked, it deals a ton of damage via land drops, even if they’re just plain land drops as opposed to things like fetchlands or green-based acceleration like Harrow/Reach/STE. It’s especially good as a curve-topper in aggro since it’s pretty similar to something like a Vortex – deal with it or just die due to low life.

    I’d definitely consider it better than Geth, who seems like a bad version of Oona. I also definitely consider Silent Specter and Visara to be pretty easily cuttable and very much worse than Ob Nix.

  5. Hystrodon can certainly die and stop drawing cards, but in the mean time he has evasion and is pretty must-answer, or you just win by having a million cards. It’s not like decks have infinite removal…

    With Masked Admirers you don’t even have to work to draw cards. I can’t think of a game where it hasn’t drawn at least two. If you’re just playing Tusker to cycle (as happens most the time, in my experience and according to QQ as well), that’s a two-for-one. Which is exactly what happens when you get ONE card off Hystrodon or Masked Admirers. So basically I totally disagree there. I’ve played with Tusker for about a year, then without it for a year. I’ve had it back in for a while, and it’s the definition of fine. Like I said, I like the card but there’s no world where I will miss it.

    So when it comes to Ob, you are suddenly ok with having a 3/3 for 5 mana tha doesn’t pass the terminate test? That’s the situation if you aren’t waiting until you can drop a land the same turn. Ob has won a few games in our cube, and I don’t hate him, but again, he’s just not a card I will miss. Like I said, Laquatus’s Champ does more if you are just looking to burn your opponent out in black. Obviously they can gain the life back there, but my experience is that 95% of the time you win on the spot. I feel like you are shaping your assumptions about which creatures will be removed and which won’t to fit your conclusions.

    I also don’t really get the disregard for Silent Specter. Discard is better in multiples, and Silent Specter hits pretty hard and early. It certainly has an extremely high win percentage in my cube.

    As to Geth, I’m open to the possibility that he won’t work out, but that doesn’t make Ob any better.

  6. Hi Thea, great updates. To chime in on the discussion first, I think that Silent Specter and Hystrodon are both great, and while I found Masked Admirers to be a tad underwhelming, I think she’s definitely cubeable because of her ‘hardened’ nature and ongoing incremental card advantage. She’s kinda like a crappy planeswalker. I also agree that ObNix isn’t an omgomgomg autoinclude. He’s in that same sort of marginal camp when you can include him or not and it’s largely up to the preference of the individual cube owner.

    I was surprised to see Krosan Tusker cut however. When I evaluate green’s mana fixing/ramp I guess the tucker might be a relic of a bygone era. I’m not prepared to cut him yet but he’s now on my watchlist.

    Have you had a chance to evaluate Mimic Vat? That looks like a very fun little card, since the imprint doesn’t cause card disadvantage.

    And I’m not really a fan of either mask of memory or darksteel axe. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather run Molten-Tail Masticore in that slot instead?

  7. I like everything except the tusker cut.
    And I Know how you feel about Chandra, but it was always my belief that you shouldn’t pigeon hole a colour into a deck. I’m sure there’s all sorts of “all in” red aggro cards in the cube that wouldn’t make it in a control deck, but your cutting the one red card that makes it into a control and -maybe- not aggro?

    But if it’s too slow for your cube it’s too slow I guess.

    Tusker is tooooooo much fun! it has made me feel so much safer in deck building soooo many times.

    • Yeah, I agree with you about Chandra being good. Once green catches up in terms of cubeable planeswalkers, we’ll go up to two in each section, and I’ll be happy to have Chandra back.

  8. Oh and please keep this site going! This is like the thing I liked most about magic since I realized I needed to stop buying cards!

  9. hey, just wanted to ask you a question about Koth. I have a 720 card cube that me and my friend have been updating together for each set lately. I say that Koth should be included and he disagrees on the basis that you are not going to have enough basic mountains to get enough use out of his abilities. Decks in my cube are usually 2-3 colors and i have never actually seen a monocolored deck. We still haven’t come to an agreement on Koth. What are your thoughts?

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