Another Massive Cube Update

Another big update, and this one has actually been in place for about a month- just very much slacking on the updating front. Anyway, this update was focused on a couple things:

1. Altering the curve, especially in green and red.

2. Adding more artifact destruction.

3. Switching out the five enemy signets for more interesting stuff.

A few other changes were made along the way, of course, but that was basically the goal.

We wanted to get another piece of artifact/enchantment destruction into white, and Feudkiller’s Verdict was the obvious cut. Poor Tarmogoyf!

I kind of love Palinchron, but Justin loves him less. Frost Titan got great reviews from our buddies Max and Joe, so we decided to switch him in. I don’t think he’s shown up yet.

I’ve been wanting to try Miscalculation for a while.

I hate losing a morph, but I reallllly missed Condescend.

I’ve talked before about how much I like Ashling, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t on the weaker side. Necrogen Scudder has been good so far.

Another casualty of the attempt to push black aggro. Kagemaro had some really good showings, but other times she was a six-mana Infest, which seems bad.

Visara is another card I really like, and she may come back if Geth doesn’t work out, but at the moment she’s a known quantity and we wanted to try something new.

Ashling was such an unbelievable bomb in Lorwyn draft, but we were finding it hard to have all that red mana.

I like Rorix a lot, but we decided there were enough dragons in red, and he’s hardest to cast. We really wanted to make red easier to run in a two-color deck with this update. That part has been really successful, by the way. And Geopede has been great.

Stalking Yeti was a pet card, but he’s pretty outclassed these days.

Another change to the curve, and finally cutting another pet card. Firewalker has been really good so far.

Forked Bolt is something I’ve been wanting to add for a while.

Seems like an upgrade in most situations.

Another hard-to-cast guy cut for a great limited card.

Artifacts are the real problem here, and we wanted to get a little faster.

Man. I love cycling. Vigor saw very little play, although it was pretty much fireworks when he did show up.

Sprout Swarm is one of those cards that was won Justin… probably hundreds of games. Me? Never. Anyway, it’s getting switched out for a more aggressive card.

Squall Line was supposed to help green, but it didn’t do enough. River Boa seems like it might work better.

I like the Sphere, but it got cut a lot for just being so slow. Mass has been great.

Mimic Vat is so unbelievably unfair. Maybe the second best card from Scars? I’m serious.

Trying this out. Most of the signet-replacers are on a trial basis.

Tangle Wire hasn’t actually done anything good yet, but I’m down to keep trying it as most people seem to love it.

Yep… still good.

Copper Tablet is pretty underwhelming (see my article on starcitygames.com for details!). I think this will become Perilous Myr, but on that note: any other suggestions for artifacts/colorless? Do you all run All is Dust? How’s it been for you?

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7 responses to “Another Massive Cube Update

  1. White
    +Seal of Cleansing: It took my group quite a while to value artifact/enchantment destruction high enough, but these cards make the game a lot more fair, since you no longer just scoop to some noncreature thread that you can’t handle otherwise.

    Blue
    Blue finishers: I like Palinchron more, even if it is not used as a combo card, since a free dragon with protection from regular and mass removal is quite a beating. On the other hand: even if the Titan is worse than in T2, I would pick him over 6/8 of your 5 drop creatures in this color.

    RoR is worse than Clone if you cast it for 4 mana, but kicking it is just so much fun and in your slightly slower cube there is a good chance in doing this on a regular basis.

    That being said, the 2 counters are both great early and unlike other softcounters, they are still useful in the lategame. (Bonus: if you mindslaver someone, you can counter their spells for U)

    Black
    +Necrogen Scudder/Foul Imp : Scudder is playable, but all the lifeloss in black can sum up to a point where you rather don’t want to play the cards in your hand.
    The Imp on the other hand doesn’t have the best stats and I would recommend Liliana’s Specter( card advantage, easier to cast) / Vampire Hexmage (has about 40 targets in my 450 card list, including cards like the walkers, persist creature, Chimeric Mass, Ob Nixilis, Tangle Wire, Powder Keg…) for that slot.

    Red
    red aggro update: nice changes- red decks can be scary fast with the right support.

    4/5 mana artifact destruction guys: IDK, it almost feels that you have too much artifact destruction in that color, but maybe I am just wrong.

    Thunderblast was one of my pet cards, but in retrospective, I am glad that my group has convinced me to replace it with something better, but I still think that giving the card trample or another point of toughness would have made the card crazy good.

    Arc Trail: Cheap dividable damage is always welcome in a color without card draw. If the card is working out well for you, I would also take a look at Arc Lightning, which we are playing with a lot of success.

    Green
    -Wickerbough Elder: i don’t think that this has to be an exclusive OR, and you can pay the cost distributed over multiple turns / aren’t forced to blow up your own stuff.
    If you really want to cut an expensive naturalize, I would remove Indrik Stomphowler, but I think Thelonitte Hermit(unlike the original hermit you don’t get the token army unless you pay an additional 3GG and your creatures also come down a full turn later) would be a better cut.

    “Vigor saw very little play, although it was pretty much fireworks when he did show up.”
    I remember casting Firespout with Vigor + SGC on the board – man that was brutal! (Still there are way better big green cards available)

    River Boa: both snakes are amazing, since they come down early, have evasion against 40% of the field and have a cheap regeneration ability that can be used multiple times a turn if necessary

    Artifacts:
    -offcolor signets: I think it is fine to give the allied colors a slight advantage, but that is already +1 gold card +1 artifact and +1 land in that color pairs.

    Mimic Vat is very aggressively costed compared to Soul Foundry, which also required you to spend a card and was restricted to the creature s in your deck.

    Mana Vault is basically a colorless Dark Ritual.

    Tangle Wire give you a +2 mana advantage over 4 turns, which you want to slow down your opponent.

    MTM can deal 12 damage to your opponent before you even have to discard your first card, dodges the new removal spells that all seem to allow regeneration and can also act as a colorless answer to planeswalkers.

    I would also replace Copper Tablet with a better aggro card – how about Grafted Wargear (significant p/t boost that turns your knights into stuff that can’t even be blocked by a Dragon anymore. Works especially well with haste creatures)
    Ankh of Mishra (Amazing on T2, or in combination with LD or against fetches, this card can deal 10 or more damage for 2 mana)
    Winter Orb (some players consider the card “unfun”, but mana denial like Armageddon is only the equivalent to sweepers like Wrath of God, that can just destroy some aggro decks)

  2. -Feudkiller, +Seal of Cleansing: Good change, I ran Feudkiller for ages but it never quite panned out. I was hoping for it to be super Loxodon Hierarch but it ended up just being not that great.

    -Palinchron, +Frost Titan: This is actually a change that I’ve been considering lately, myself, since I cut Inkwell for Palinchron. Seems like it should be a good change.

    -Rite and Dragon, +Miscalculation and Condescend: Huge upgrades, both are stellar counterspells that I’ve been very impressed with. Soft counters, but they almost always hit the mark and counter something. Their benefits are also solid in blue decks since they help dig for finishers/removal/etc. The cuts are good, both are pretty inefficient cards, especially dragon. Rite was pretty good in its time in my cube but it ended up on the chopping block. I definitely liked it better than Clone, but I think Shapeshifter’s better for a clone effect.

    -Ashling (B), +Necrogen Scudder: People who have ran Scudder ended up cutting it after some time. Seems like it should do well, though, as black aggro decks don’t care about their own life totals and evasion is really nice.

    -Kagemaro, +Foul Imp: Good on cutting Kagemaro as it was way too inconsistent in my experience and it can’t compete with other 5 drops. However, I’d much rather add Dark Confidant, one of the best (if not the) best black aggro card for cubes. Foul Imp also seems pretty suboptimal when compared to other 2 drops in black like Vampire Hexmage, but not bad.

    -Ashling (red) and Rorix, +Goblin Patrol and Geopede: Definite upgrades. Hyper-efficient beaters which should perform well.

    -Obsidian, +Firewalker: I ran Firewalker for ages but it never could quite get there. I remember it becoming a 3/3 once but most of the time, it awkwardly looked at the blockers on the other side of the table. It was much better in theory than in practice. I’d suggest running Jackal Pup in its place, its drawback is mostly irrelevant in red decks. I wrote about it in my “aggro in cube” article and how it’s definitely an amazing card, even if it’s, stats-wise, worse than Isamaru.

    -Jeska, -Yuki, -Blust for +Arc Trail, Forked Bolt and Ingot Chewer: Definite upgrades as well. The former two have been very good burn spells and chewer should help to cheaply kill all of the robots that have come in Scars.

    -Yeti, +Hearth Kami: Definite upgrade.

    -Vigor, Sprout Swarm, Squall Line for +Basking Rootwalla, +River Boa and +Wild Dogs. Huge upgrade, I also ran Vigor for some time but it was another card that was much better in theory than actual practice and the other two cuts are definitely good as they’re overcosted for their effects. River Boa (and Mire Boa, which should come in ASAP, over Thelonite Hermit) and Wild Dogs are absolute staples in green aggro decks (and the Boas being wonderful in just about any deck with forests) and Rootwalla is pretty solid as well.

    -Wickerbough, +Uktabi Orangutan: Orangutan is definitely awesome, but cutting Wickerbough is something that I wouldn’t do as I’d consider it a staple (and BFFs with Indrik Stomphowler, its partner in crime) – as Eidolon said, Thelonite Hermit’s definitely the cut. Costs too much, can’t be abused with cards like Mimic Vat and Recurring Nightmare.

    All of the artifact additions are good, sans Copper Tablet, which I found doesn’t have a very good effect and doesn’t really provide that much reach. As Eidolon said, something like Grafted Wargear is much better in aggressive decks.

    I’d consider this: -Copper Tablet, -Pilgrim’s Eye, -Darksteel Pendant, -Scrabbling Claws and -Wayfarer’s Bauble for +Myr Battlesphere (provides an insane amount of power for the cost, can attack for 12 if uncontested or even 10 by leaving a Myr behind to chump block), +Grafted Wargear (its drawback almost never matters), +Ankh of Mishra, +Ring of Gix and +Smokestack.

  3. excellent update!

    i agree with most of the advice above, i can’t believe you don’t already run dark confidant. if you’re giving black aggro a boost a good way to continue that would be by adding some one drops.

    i think wickerbough elder, indrik stomphowler, and uktabi orangutan all make the cut here.

    frost titan is a fine card, but i’d rather my expensive finishers pass the vindicate test. palinchron does very nicely, and it enables some fun combos too.

    tangle wire has been unreal here, two of my players are very casual and dislike mana denial in general and even they like the card. the better aggro is, the better the wire will be but in general it works in any kind of deck, unfairly tapping a ton more things on their side. it’s been close to a time walk several times.

    i think copper tablet –> perilous myr is a good idea. the myr is on deck for my cube as well. and i also highly recommend grafted wargear.

    enjoy mimic vat, it’s been crazy here.

  4. Feudkiller’s Verdict to Seal of Cleansing
    Seems like a strict upgrade. White has tons of options for great finishers — ones better than FKV. I do love that card, though, and tried cramming it in my own cube because I have a foil, signed one, but it never works out long-term.

    Palinchron to Frost Titan
    Again, this seems like a good choice. I love me a Palinchron, but he rarely gets there in whatever various combos he can create, so a more versatile blue fatty has better overall impacts on the cube.

    Rite of Replication to Miscalculation
    You won’t regret this.

    Quicksilver Dragon to Condescend
    Or this. (Any other blue counterspell staples you’re missing? :p)

    Ashling, the Extinguisher to Necrogen Scudder
    How have I missed Necrogen Scudder? I keep saying that I need more three-drop aggro creatures in black. This seems like the perfect solution! Thanks 🙂

    Kagemaro to Fledgling Djinn
    There’s a million other black fatties I love more than Kagemaro (but he is pretty cool). Fledgling Djinn is awesome. Adding evasion to black’s early drops is pretty key to making it playable as an aggressive color.

    Visara to Foul Imp
    I would probably not put Foul Imp in my cube unless I expanded its size. I try to keep as many of each color’s early drops as color un-intensive as possible to encourage splashing or multicolor decks. Again, adding evasion to black aggro is a good idea.

    Ashling to Goblin Patrol
    Seems fine if you need to lower the curve. I try to avoid the echo one-drops just because I know my players don’t really enjoy them.

    Rorix to Geopede
    Regardless of my “I try to avoid color intensive costs” comment, I love Rorix. He’s so iconic to me that I just can’t cut him.

    Stalking Yeti to Hearth Kami
    You won’t regret this, though I have to admit Stalking Yeti’s also a pet card of mine.

    Obsidian Fireheart to Slith Firewalker
    Another good upgrade and curve-lowering maneuver. Also, I thought the sliths were siths for the longest time.

    Jeska to Forked Bolt
    Forked Bolt is awesome in Cube

    Yuki to Ingot Chewer
    Seems like a strict upgrade

    Thunderblust to Arc Trail
    Arc Trail will NOT disappoint

    Wickerbough Elder to Uktabi Orangutan
    How did you not have Orangutan in the cube? He’s such a staple card for me.

    Vigor to Wild Dogs
    I love Wild Dogs

    Sprout Swarm to Basking Rootwalla
    I love Sprout Swarm decks. Compromise?

    Squall Line to River Boa
    Again, seems like a solid upgrade. And let’s face it: Blue could use a few more haters in the cube.

    Chimeric Mass is awesome

    Signets
    Cutting the enemy colors? Interested to see how this works out. I have a hard time cutting Ravnica cards.

    Vat is nutso

    Mana Vault is worth it if you have enough tricks for it, which I do. It’s also probably good enough without tricks.

    Tangle Wire will not disappoint. There’s so much insanity you can do with it. I love drafting Master Transmuter decks in Cube.

    Masticores all need to be in the cube.

    Copper Tablet
    Hrmm. Perilous Myr probably is better.

  5. Great changes Thea.

    I won’t go through all of them since that would be pretty boring. I love pretty much all of the cards that you’re bringing in except Copper Tablet, which seems like weaksauce. One fairly large aggro support omission I see is Grafted Wargear, which is as good as a Sword in the hasty red deck.

    I love all the signets too and aren’t planning on cutting them any time soon.

    Please keep us updated on Frost Titan. I theorised that his ‘untargetability would be too weak in cube due to most removal being so awesome and undercosted, but he seems pretty awesome in a vacuum. Let us know how he turns out.

    Wickedborough Elder I would try to keep. I ran Thelonite Hermit a while back and cut him for not having enough synergy with really anything else, although I loves me a morph as much as you do. Or cut Viridian Zealot, or Rampaging Baloths.

    • Frost Titan has been really good so far. I think it’s unfair to say that he doesn’t pass the Terminate test- he’s no Keiga but he does something. I ran him this past weekend in a U/B deck where he was tapping down blockers to get my Shadowmage Infiltrators through. In another game, he tapped down Chameleon Colossus, letting me swing in for card draw and discard (again) and giving me some breathing room for the next turn.

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