More NPH Updates!

A few more changes since my last update:

I forgot to officially say this, but Karn, the Released went in the last free artifact/colorless spot as soon as he was spoiled. He actually isn’t super exciting to me- I’m not really looking for more planeswalkers in the cube- but he’s been good, of course.

Justin and I have been playing some MTGO beta, and realized in the process that Life’s Finale is a huge bomb. It’s probably the Wrath you’re most likely to concede to, and just feels very unfair. We’re trying it out in the place of Tombstalker, which is considered a cube staple, but has never been good for us at all. Maybe we run more reanimation than most- I’m not sure of the reason for this. It felt like everything had to go right to make him even a bit undercosted, but many black decks still don’t want the drawback.

Masticore is out of our cube for now (with no replacement). His ability just doesn’t do enough to justify the drawback in practice, and power creep in creatures has been really hard on him. Basically I felt that without a way to abuse or negate the discard (either through reanimation, Squee, or lots of card draw), he couldn’t compete with other four drops, which makes him pretty narrow in practice. Razormane has an easier time competing with other cards, and I personally like the free damage (and often the ability to attack when Masticore can’t) enough to keep him in instead.

Molten-Tail Masticore is in a totally different position, since hitting faces is rad, and is in no danger.

Finally, Squee is out in favor of Urabrask the Hidden. He has a splashy ability and has been so good in normal limited that we felt he was worth a try in the cube as well. It doesn’t hurt that red has approximately one other five-drop, either. Squee is a card that is really cool in theory, but didn’t come together with the right pieces often enough to earn the spot.


6 responses to “More NPH Updates!

  1. Those all seem like fine changes. I like Masticore, as he fits fine in any number of decks, but that’s a judgment call. I’m more interested in your statement about Planeswalkers. You added in Karn, even though I get the sense you feel you already have enough Walkers. Your decision to limit the cube to 1 in each color is great. Otherwise cube ends up revolving around them completely. That said, I do think there comes a point where you just have enough already. Assuming each of the multi-color combos ends up getting one playable walker (and not a narrow one like Agent of Bolas), then you’ll be playing a cube of 16 Walkers! That seems like a bit much to me.

  2. Do you have any resources for discussions/articles on planeswalkers in cubes? My group is having a discussion on the number to include as well.

    Karn is an interesting one… One of my friends had suggested we keep him out because his ultimate could be quite groan-inducing at times, especially if everyone else is waiting for the game to finish. Another person argued that the restarted game shouldn’t even be close, seeing as the player with Karn likely exiled a bunch of good stuff.

    • My impression of Karn so far is that the ultimate, while flashy, isn’t actually something you’ll want to do very often. If you can keep Karn on the board, you should win with just repeated Vindicates, so I think it won’t be a big problem. And yeah- as long as the person playing isn’t making crazy choices, the restarted game should be pretty lopsided.

      As far as the number in the cube, I’m not sure there’s been a lot of discussion. Most people include more than one (or even all four) in white. It’s tough, because I don’t have any desire to exclude cards for power-level reasons, but also don’t particularly like how different games involving planeswalkers feel compared to “normal” magic. I currently have ten in my cube, and we often have matches involving two or three planeswalkers. That makes adding more unappealing (for me) but at the same time I’m sad to not run Gideon, for example, which I think is one of the best white cards.

  3. Two great inclusions with Urabrask and Life’s Finale. On a side not, the winner out of 14 drafters Sunday ran Life’s Finale with Lilliana, Ink Eyes, Animate Dead, Reanimate and Necromancy. It was absolutely sick.

    My opinion on planeswalkers, which is the opinion of our entire 12+ person playgroup, is that they all should be included with the sole exception of Chandra Ablaze and Nissa (and my friend even runs Nissa and her 2 drop in his 800 card cube). In a 900 card pool with so many players, this number fits great since it adds additional early picks to the pool, which is what large cube lists seem to lack. I can definately see where too many can convolute smaller lists, so hopefully there will be more hexmage/hex parasite/despise effects printed in upcoming sets to balance it a bit.

    I’ve also been working on a new cube format that addresses this issue. I’m calling it the Multiples Cube. The idea behind it is that the rarity needs to be addressed, bombs should be made more valuable and the possibility for multiples of key commons and uncommons to be drafted, giving the cube the feel of an actual draft of a printed set. Now, with the goals of balancing pack power, upping the value of Planeswalkers and Power, and allowing multiples to be seen of commons and uncommons, Im going to pack cards as follows:

    1 Mythic Rare (Power 9, Planeswalkers, Bombs like Nightmare, Survival, Tinker, ect)
    2 Rares
    4 Uncommons
    8 Commons (1 from each color, 1 colorless of multicolor, 2 random)
    1 Dual Land (Revised or Fetch land)

    In the list I’m utilizing 6 of each common with 15 different cards per section and 2 of each uncommon with 20 different cards per section. This allows for cards such as Squadron Hawk and Nissa with her Chosen ones to be drafted effectively, although I’m not exactly sure how certain picks are going to work until I get it built and try it. Hopefully I’ll have it done in the next month or two, I’m just waiting on 2000 more sleeves of the same color/type as my current Singleton Cube.

    Yes, making packs in this manner will be a royal pain in the arse, but I expect this new format will be more of a possible once a month event, rather than our weekly or bi-weekly singleton draft, and I’m willing to go through the pains to try this out. I’m hopeful that it will end up giving the cube draftr an entirely different feel seeing multiples of Rancor, Counterspell, Lightning Bolt and several other great commons and uncommons.

  4. After posting that I did catch your article on SCG a while back. I do agree with your point about color balance right now… Things are pretty skewed in white’s favor. I’m currently toying with a “two ‘walkers per color, max five multicolor/colorless” restriction but the rest of my group has some valid reservations. One of these, much like yours, is a reservation to exclude powerful cards just because of their card type and how they effect the game. And yeah, I get that. Perhaps making sure there’s an adequate number of ways to deal with them is the answer for the time being. Adding Beast Within and Faith’s Fetters will become a priority.

    I think the most important thing for us to do at this time is just play the damn thing more instead of over-analyzing it. Small playgroup = hard to arrange meetings. Such is life 🙂

  5. Hey,

    I noticed PV’s draft a while back on I was wondering if I could get in on some of these drafts. I love cube drafting (we have a cube around here, but we only cube draft twice a week). It’s my favorite magic format of all time.

    I was wondering if I could get in some of these drafts. If there’s a post about this that I missed, I apologize. I’m trustworthy and won’t jank your cards on MODO, I actually just made an account recently.

    Please let me know, my email is

    Thanks so much!


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