Oh good, another sword

Here’s my New Phyrexia update. I’ll add pictures once they are officially available.

Serra Avenger -> Porcelain Legionnaire

One of the best new cards for cube, going in for a pet card whose time has come. I’m running this in white for ease of sorting and because it’s best there in terms of archetypes and flexibility, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sorting these in colorless either.

Eternal Dragon -> Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Eternal Dragon is a cool card, and one I’ve really like since I started playing. But it’s really at its best as a reanimation target, simply because paying five at your upkeep is often a problem. I think it’s gotten creeped out in recent years, and Elesh Norn is a cool effect that I’m interested in trying out. If that doesn’t work, Sunblast Angel will likely be next on the list to try.

Clone -> Phyrexian Metamorph

I love Sculpting Steel a lot. So excited about this!

Timetwister -> Shelldock Isle

I like having Time Spiral a lot, but don’t feel that we really need this effect in a harder-to-abuse form. Shelldock Isle has been on my to-try list for a while.

Silent Specter -> Sheoldred, Whispering One

I love this art, and the card is no slouch either. It may end up costing too much, but I think it’s another one that is worth a try.

Fledgling Djinn -> Despise

About the cut- I’ve often found that my black decks had too many life-loss effects.
Despise is a card that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, probably because Ostracize is pretty unplayed in cubes. But this hits another really powerful group of cards as well, and creatures are getting better and better. In my cube, this hits over half the non-land cards in the cube, and it’s effectively a little more than that since most decks run more creatures than non-creatures. But the more important number (in my opinion) is that I counted 150 of those targets that are either difficult for black decks to deal with once they are in play, or have already done their damage by the time they can be hit by removal. Think Mulldrifter, Great Sable Stag, Inferno Titan, or Nekrataal.

In summary, I think it’s worth a try.

Keening Banshee -> Dismember

Dismember pretty much needs a spot, and Keening Banshee is the weakest card with a similar function. I still like the uniqueness of Sudden Death well enough to keep it.

Dwarven Blastminer -> Words of War

Should have done this in the first place, really. Whipflare is a good card, but I don’t see the need for another sweeper in red. On a side note, I’ve been very happy with Slagstorm.

Mold Shamber -> Beast Within

This is a card that is hard to evaluate, I think. The drawback is real for green decks, but the ability to hit creatures is special too. And if you need a 3/3 haste, you can have that too. I think this’ll be a card like Gilded Drake that isn’t always exactly what you want, but does a useful thing.

Stuffy Doll -> Sword of War and Peace

Yep. No surprises here.

Brittle Effigy -> Batterskull

One of the best cards in the set for cube. Living Weapon is a cool mechanic, and I’m glad it looks like a cube mainstay.

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Conservation of Proxies Update

We’re getting a Nether Void in the mail today, so I figure that’s about the right time to proxy another Legends card.

Straight from suggestions on this very blog!

One control card for another. I errated Moat to be Tribal, though- wouldn’t want to nerf that Tarmogoyf.

This is win-win: I don’t have to see Skizzik in drafts, and Skizzik doesn’t have to listen to me complain.

We thought about this and Words of War. Opinions?


Don’t know why we didn’t do this earlier. Tumble Magnet is a great card, and Triskelion has gotten worse and has gotten a lot more competition.

I have been so happy with this change. Darksteel Axe can’t really be more than ok, but the Lifestaff is surprisingly strong. We’ve seen it be very good in the aggro mirror, and also in control decks. This is one of those cards that is weaker in its limited environment than it is in the cube, so I’m glad we gave it a try.

Precursor Golem goes in the second-to-last artifact spot we had yet to fill. The last one is earmarked for Sword of War and Peace, but Justin wanted to try out the Golem.


Swans is my favorite U/R card ever, but it was time to swap in something more playable in U/W. Mistmeadow Witch may not be the final choice, but it’s a card I’ve been interested in trying for a while, and it fits into a deck that’s very well-liked.


We didn’t used to run any off-color kicker cards, but these days I’m more interested in running good cards than being overly concerned about white maybe-kind-of having an extra card. Unsurprisingly, this has already been very good. Legionnaire was fine, but the cost is awkward and in even in R/W, it’s harder to play.


I like Void a lot, but Bit Blast is fun and I always miss it when I see it in other lists.


That’s been a long time coming, but is pretty obvious in terms of power level, and I think will be played much more often.

Cards I Like in Constructed Update

I’ve been wanting to find a spot for Sea Gate Oracle for awhile. I imagine this isn’t too controversial.

Justin’s unconvinced but I’m playing the “I want to try it for myself” card. Poor Masticore, by the way.

Crap, how will I Reveillark combo now. I liked Body Double pretty well, but it’s clearly not a staple, and seemed like a reasonable cut while we try quite a few changes in blue. Also, I hear you should always put cards in your cube right after they get unbanned and then finally see a top 8. It’s just fiscal responsibility.

quitequieter recommended this. I can’t say no!

I really love Cunning Sparkmage, and can’t wait to play it in cube. It’s just one of those cards that, in my opinion, appears to have a very specific application, but is actually solid basically all of the time.

Justin pointed this out, and it seems like a great swap to me. The only bummer is losing that Jason Chan art, which is one of my favorites ever. I got absolutely destroyed by this card last night, by the way.


Spitting Image hasn’t seen much play lately- unsurprising as my cube has gotten faster. I love Cold-Eyed Selkie an undue amount, but I also think it’s a card that can be really powerful on occasion, enough to make up for its fragility on others. And even if it’s weak compared to the rest of the cube, there’s nothing wrong with swapping a strong but unplayed card for one that is really likely to be played.


Justin’s not a fan of Psychatog in limited, but there’s no question it is an interesting card, and I do love a discard outlet. Dimir Guildmage is a card I like to play, but underpowered.

A Trying-Things-Out Styled Update

Coralhelm Commander seems to be working out well for those who are trying him, and Echo Tracer has been teetering on the edge for a while.

Justin loves the crap out of Willbender and I’m a big fan too, but it literally hasn’t done anything in over a year. That’s just a poor record, so here we go. Actually, the last time I played it my opponent had ultimate Chandra Nalaar the next turn, so I played Willbender face down. My opponent read Chandra’s ability again and then killed Willbender before using the ability. Le sigh.

Mirri’s been perfectly fine, but Stronghold needed a spot.

With the addition of Go for the Throat I think we can stand to lose this, and Sinkhole probably should have been in already. For once, this isn’t about the Judge foil, either- I like the original art much better.

Really want to have combat tricks in the cube, but I just haven’t been excited about Vines. I still like Briarhorn a lot- flash is exciting, and having the effect strapped to a body means it’s never dead. I get that Vines can do a different thing, but it hasn’t worked out that way in practice. Maybe this will come back, but I’m fine with leaving it out for now.

I’m looking for a replacement for Miraculous Recovery. Any suggestions? I like the card, but I feel it’s become too slow these days.

Valentine’s Day Update

Well, not really. If this was truly a Valentine’s Day update, it would be because Justin had finally decided to give me the best gift ever, namely letting me put Hand of Cruelty into our cube. I have a foil and everything! But no such luck.

We wanted to find a spot for the little Zombie and I still like Mirri a little more. I feel like we are hitting a critical mass of reanimation and don’t really need this anymore.

Transcendent Master has been surprisingly good, but it was always in on a trial basis and I’ve really wanted to get Lone Missionary in, as it feels like a really good card for B/W aggro which is one of my favorite decks. I’ve been really happy with Lone Missionary in my online cube, though I’m sure it will be outclassed eventually. White isn’t exactly overflowing with two-drops that cost 1W, though, which is something to keep in mind.

Oh- I should mention the excellent Cube Card A Day, which recently had a nice post about Transcendent Master (along with a less-than-glowing review of Missionary, but oh well).

These two are going in with no replacement – I’m still filling spots that were available after we cut back multicolor.

This is not a good card in Cube MoJhoSto. Otherwise, probably pretty solid. I expect it to be a little worse than in most cubes, however, since we do run some dedicated graveyard hate.

I just keep forgetting to put this in.

Pauper Daily Events 2/7-2/13

Reid Duke’s Extended Metagame article on StarCityGames last week made me want to do the same thing for fringier online formats. I’m starting with Pauper, and if there’s some combination of interest on your side and time on mine, I’ll do something similar for Block or Legacy.

I’ve completely followed Reid’s methods, except that I didn’t like the term Popularity for what is really the fraction of a given deck among other winning decks, not in the field as a whole. In the future, I’ll probably go look at some events as they happen to see what the breakdown of the field is.

Here’s the stats:

Goblins

One interesting thing is that while Goblins is technically the most winning deck, it’s not racking up a lot of 4-0s. I’m not sure what the reason is- maybe people are more likely to pick it up and play it, since it’s a well-known beatdown deck. Or maybe it’s such a big part of the meta that you’re guaranteed to run into some dedicated hate decks. If you’ve got an explanation, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

If I can copy Kibler (premium) for a second, I think it’s fair to say that Goblins is the Level One of this format.

Familiar Storm

This deck has the opposite record- it actually has more 4-0s than 3-1s. This column has some text about the deck.

Mono Black Control

Not much to add here except that some lists run Befoul, and some don’t. Very open to suggestions as to which archetypes deserve subdivision.

Affinity

Storm

UR Cloudpost

Gerry T said that the UR version had fallen out of favor, but
I’m still seeing lots of it. This is another one that could be subdivided, I think- there are also versions with Teachings.

Mono Green Aggro

Wow is Rancor unfair at common. Geeeez.

Mono Blue Control

Mono Green Ramp

Another one that Gerry T wrote about, and here’s an article about the deck from PureMTGO.

Infect

White Weenie

Burn

UWR Blink

This deck (and the ones following) had just one appearance. I thought I might as well include the lists, though, for those who are either curious or want to check out something rogue-y.

RUG Blender

Jacob Van Lunen wrote about a very similar list in his Building on a Budget column. I’ve played this list a little, and liked it, but it seems extremely vulnerable to LD.

Jund

I don’t know if this is good, but I do love Blighting.

Dredge

And a Final MBS Update

Hero of Oxid Ridge was going in for sure, and in the process of figuring out what to cut, we decided that Grab the Reins could go as well…

So that brings Spikeshot Elder back, as the most recent cut that seemed like it could use another try.

I guess it’s a little weird to cut an anti-control card for a control/midrange card, but that hasn’t been the direction of the other changes, and Adamaro was the least-liked card in red, I think.

Cutting a card that is undoubtedly pretty close to being just obsoleted for the green Zenith. This card has really grown on me over the last couple of days, and I think is an excellent fit for decks with creatures at a range of costs. It’s already shown up and been really, really solid.

Just trying things out here, and cutting the most similar card. A few people suggested Body Double as a better cut, but I still like that guy- it lets you double up on reanimation targets, and it’s splashable and unique. Whenever WOTC decides to print blue cards for the cube again, it may go, but the last few sets haven’t offered much.

Upgrade upgrade upgrade.