Trying a Life with no Reanimator

There is nothing wrong with Kefnet, but I always find myself prioritizing the low-cmc spells much more highly than mid and high cmc spells. Sleight of Hand is not a great cantrip, but it goes in any deck and makes it more consistent. You want multiples of cards like Sleight of Hand but you need very few Kefnet style cards. Many cube designers seem to take this as an unavoidable fact of cube: cheap, flexible cards are what you take highly because there are always plenty of finishers going around. However, I don’t see this as an immutable fact of the format and am interested in pushing the limits: if there actually are very few finishers in the cube and lots of card selection and flexible cards then I expect the finishers to become high picks again. Ideally, they would be flat “power level”, both in the quantities that you want to see. Forbid is a bit of foreshadowing. I don’t need the discard outlet any more and the “Forbid Lock” is hard to come by. When it’s just a cancel it’s quite bad. Force Spike is both more flexible and more conditional. Any blue deck wants it (tempo doesn’t want Forbid) and it’s lower-cmc, giving players more options. Life from the Loam is too slow as a value engine in my environment and too narrow as a combo with Strip Mine effects. Manglehorn is a bit narrow itself, but I have been considering running more “sideboard” effects considering how easy it is to get enough playables in cube, and also considering the tutor effects in green and white. Sometimes, Manglehorn is a much better rec sage, and I think that’s good enough. Goreclaw doesn’t really fit with my cube. I currently have plenty of “big stuff” that doesn’t actually have 4 power, which means it doesn’t always give a discount. Garruk Relentless gives green some more interactivity and can also just pump out wolves. With LftL cut, Harrow, which was already on the fringe of playable, lost whatever chances it had left. I’ll miss the old-frame foil, but 3cmc and potentially getting blown out by a counterspell is not where I want my ramp. Voracious Hydra is an excellent addition to green. On 2 or 3 it just plays like a Ravenous Chupacabra most of the time, and obviously it just scales up from there. Now some big changes too black. I’m testing out removing the reanimator package. I don’t really support what I would consider “unfair” stuff in my cube, so the occasional turn 2 Griselbrand is really out of step with the tempo of the environment. Most of the cards I am cutting will not be missed, and if I change my mind about these changes I can always go back. Cabal Therapist didn’t really work out. Very swingy. Without combining with other hand hate or a token producer it’s a super underwhelming 1/1, and when you do get to combine it with a Thoughtseize or whatever it’s just disgusting. You don’t really have THAT much control over when it’s good vs when it’s bad, which I don’t like. Fatal Push is back in as cheap, early interaction. Griselbrand is the card I will miss the most, but without a reanimator package he gets even more narrow and just cannot justify his slot. He will be missed dearly. Kalitas is back in for two reasons: I’m trying to push midrange more in black, and the life gain makes him a “combo” with Bolas’ Citadel, which I would like to be a strong card in my environment. Necromancy is out with the package. Won’t miss this one. Noxious Gearhulk is more removal and lifegain for midrange and Citadel. Mind Rake was too narrow, Shriekmaw is back in because I missed it and it’s flexible and powerful. Reanimate I will actually miss. I wish I could just include it in the cube for value, but I know if people see it they will think reanimator is a supported deck. I don’t want to trick people, so even though I would love to just jam it in a midrange creature deck, it has to get the axe. Liliana is more lifegain and midrange goodness. Divest was the worst hand-hate card I had left and only got the edge for also being a discard outlet in reanimator. With reanimator gone, so is it’s. Curse of Shallow Graves is a powerful token producer in aggressive black decks that is difficult for many decks to answer. Happy to get rid of Animate Dead. Such a clunky, awkward, inelegant design. Mardu Strike Leader should perform well in black aggro and midrange strategies, and I love dash/haste for setting up unexpected turns. Midnight Reaper has been pretty underwhelming, so I am cutting it for now mostly because of all the other three drops I added. That slot is starting to feel a little full. Call the Bloodline is a weird addition but I really want to test it. Seems quite good against aggro to just turn as many cards as you want into Sacred Cats, and even though I don’t have reanimator any more, there are still things to be discarded for value, like all the self-recurring creatures. Just curious to see what it does, really.
God-Eternal Kefnet > Sleight of HandForbid > Force SpikeLife from the Loam > ManglehornGoreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma > Garruk RelentlessHarrow > Voracious HydraCabal Therapist > Fatal PushGriselbrand > Kalitas, Traitor of GhetNecromancy > Noxious GearhulkMind Rake > ShriekmawReanimate > Liliana, Heretical HealerDivest > Curse of Shallow GravesAnimate Dead > Mardu Strike LeaderMidnight Reaper > Call the Bloodline

Narset has been getting higher praise than I would expect from other cubers. The difference in my perceptions and their experience is that it seems to me like the static ability on Narset will be mostly flavor text, where many people report that it can be quite backbreaking. I'm not super thrilled about two Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin activations for 1UU at sorcery speed, but if the static ability does end up being relevant I can definitely see that putting it over the top. I suppose another way of thinking about it is a somewhat limited Dig Through Time across two turns, which is a much more appealing evaluation. We'll see! Inkwell Leviathan was one of the narrowest cards I had left, and even in Reanimator it was quite boring. I don't think I'll miss it. Deep Forest Hermit is just better than Deranged Hermit. I would run both if it wouldn't constantly irk me with how similar they are. Kind of sad to lose another old-frame card.
Inkwell Leviathan > Narset, Parter of VeilsDeranged Hermit > Deep Forest Hermit

Big Eldrazi?

Ulamog, the Ceaseless HungerIt That Betrays

Westvale Abbey

Lifelink? Good with Citadel?
Cavalier of Night

1   2   3   4   5   next   last