M19 Update

Rivals of Ixalan notwithstanding, recent sets have had quite a few gifts for the cube. Some of these changes are pretty speculative, but I'm confident the 3 upcoming Ravnica sets will have some good one-drops. Perhaps even enough support for a lifegain theme? Novice Knight A 2/3 defender is already great in this format, and it gets really scary for the low cost of doing what white often wants to anyway. Flavorful design, great card. Ardent Recruit was a consistently late pick, and that's not what you want from a build-around. Isolate Well, it didn't take long but WotC printed something even better than Fatal Push for this environment. The only cards that might be better 1st picks than this are Mental Misstep and Ancestral Recall, and within the category of removal this is pretty much as good as it could ever get. In the interest of keeping up a robust suite of removal spells, this and Push are in right now, although both have raised some debate as to how the "strictly worse" rule should apply when new cards are better than a whole host of current inclusions. Nightmare's Thirst This is a speculative pick as I suspect lifegain will see more representation in the coming sets. Even without a boost, Thirst has the benefit of speed as compared with Dead Weight. The art also makes this a bit of a pet card for me. Rustwing Falcon Evasion is great, and giving white more ways to interact with flyers is another benefit here. As compared with Glint Hawk, this loses a point of power in favor of sweet unfiltered castability. As cool as Launch the Fleet is on its face, it hasn't lived up to expectations. It would be a much more permanent inclusion if it didn't require an attacker per token, but sadly one creature can't launch multiple boats itself. Fountain of Renewal Another speculative addition, although for now it does a decent job of protecting against burn and pairs nicely with something like Elixir of Immortality to let drafters live forever. Cycling means this is never a dead pick. Shuriken is fun, but as much as I love chaos it was always left out because drafters wouldn't want to activate it. Stitcher's Supplier So much graveyard velocity! Payoffs for this sort of card are something I'm looking to increase in the future (Return to Shadows Over Innistrad: Delirium and Investigate Forever 100 Years pls), but there are already enough ways to use this that with the proper support it can do a ton of work. Carnophage is outclassed by the vampire beaters right now, so losing a bit of zombie tribal is the only downside to this change. Gearsmith Prodigy Blue could still use more creatures, and it's pretty easy to make this a nice 2/2 for 1. Seal is a relic of the past, as there are plenty of unsummon effects and an enchantment-based one isn't necessary, when multiple instant-speed ones aren't currently included. Additional Changes Worldly Tutor While Traverse the Ulvenwald is on the bench for now, a direct creature tutor is great in this cube, further encouraging build-around strategies as well as simply being fantastic when each creature in your deck is particularly impactful. Scythe Tiger doesn't encourage particularly interesting gameplay, as it doesn't really require any support or strategy other than having an extra land. Green has enough beef at the moment and this particular piece of beef is low on synergy. Ghitu Lavarunner A spells deck pretty much exists already, and cards that complement the Nivmagus Elemental strategy are great includes. This is also fine as an occasionally lethargic Goblin Guide with no downside. And of course Jesper knocks it out of the park again. Erase might come back, but with so many new cards to test recently I'm dialing back sideboard hate cards in favor of trying more things out. Sorcerer's Wand Upon counting up the wizards in the cube, there are actually enough that this seems like a pretty great wincon for a more controlling UR build. Bola is another equipment that drafters were finding lackluster, and the cube has plenty of tappers at the moment. Mutagenic Growth Another one of the freebies, this allows for some tap-out shenanigans that tricks like Blossoming Defense and Hunger of the Howlpack don't allow. Hornet Sting is far below the power level that green currently offers, and the effect is one that no green deck is ever really desperate for. Insolent Neonate A decent attacker that holds equipment well, plays into vampire tribal, and enables additional synergies with the graveyard makes for a great addition to red's creature suite. Scrapper is getting cut in favor of color balance more than anything, although the remarks above concerning sideboard cuts pertain here as well. Guul Draz Vampire BUFFs vampire tribal and black aggro (which has lost Carnophage and Sarcomancy from prior incarnations). Making your creatures better by burning your opponent is an interesting line this also opens up. Gift of Tusks is a bit redundant when both Pongify and Rapid Hybridization are currently in, with the ability to buff your own attacker at instant speed being the only real upside. Lots of changes, and I suspect there will be plenty more additions printed in the near future. Looking forward to Ravnica!
Ardent Recruit > Novice KnightGO TO JAIL > IsolateDead Weight > Nightmare's ThirstLaunch the Fleet > Rustwing FalconShuriken > Fountain of RenewalCarnophage > Stitcher's SupplierScythe Tiger > Worldly TutorErase > Ghitu LavarunnerLeonin Bola > Sorcerer's WandHornet Sting > Mutagenic GrowthSeal of Removal > Gearsmith ProdigyElvish Scrapper > Insolent NeonateGift of Tusks > Guul Draz Vampire

Dominaria Update

Fungal Infection Getting -3/-3 instead of -1/-1 is sometimes relevant, but in this environment the extra body makes it a much more interesting card than Ulcerate. Dauntless Bodyguard Strict upgrade over most Savannah Lions here, and since the cube doesn't even run the vanilla ones, Soldier of the Pantheon is the worst of the bunch. Multicolored cards are pretty rare, so it's effectively vanilla as well. Mardu Woe-Reaper is on the watchlist, but exiling a creature from a yard is surprisingly relevant so it stays for now. Adventurous Impulse After playing this card in constructed I'm a big fan. Great selection for green, and Traverse was so often getting lands that it will need more delirium support before it can be added back. Side Quest Coming off the Unstable bench, excited to see this one in action. Form of the Squirrel is just not very interesting. Either they have a removal spell and you lose, or they don't have any left in their deck and you win. All this while you wait for someone to mill out. GO TO JAIL Trying this out, although the styling of the card name is still tilting. Smelt is a pretty boring cut; the cube can probably stand to dial back the artifact hate a little in favor of more maindeck picks. Honorable Mentions: Ghitu Lavarunner Love some Jesper art, and this can be a nice 2/2 beater in a spells deck, but it needs a little more support before it's ready to save anyone. Sorcerer's Wand It's Viridian Longbow but with a wizard bonus instead of the ability to target creatures. That's enough of a loss to stay out for now, but if the wizard support is there this could make it in, perhaps in a 360 build.
Ulcerate > Fungal InfectionSoldier of the Pantheon > Dauntless BodyguardTraverse the Ulvenwald > Adventurous ImpulseForm of the Squirrel > Side QuestSmelt > GO TO JAIL

312 Update

The goal here is filling out the ranks so that new adds and edits can be paired with cuts, keeping card quality high. Now the cube supports 8 person drafting with packs of 13. Perhaps 360 will be a goal soon? Form of the Squirrel Unstable prompted me to review the other Un-sets for worthy inclusions, and sadly this is the only one that came up. It's a bit more nuts than the Unstable additions, but if not too powerful I can see it becoming a great way to determine if drafters truly know who the beatdown is. It may prove too boring of an interaction, as I can see it being pretty easy to win with it in play barring any kind of removal. High risk high reward? Gitaxian Probe Mental Misstep is a literally format-defining card in this cube, and both Noxious Revival and Gut Shot have been solid. Glenn Jones has mentioned that too many "freebies" like these leads to uninteresting decisions, but at least for the time being the power of the Probe warrants its inclusion as part of the 312. Arbor Elf More mana dorks feels right, and this one enables some extra value with Genjus, Awaken, and other land interaction. Slumbering Dragon Great with Ulvenwald Tracker and Hunger of the Howlpack, this can make for a terrifying defensive card. The flavor is so strong that it might paradoxically encourage attackers though. Porphyry Nodes White can already be controlling enough, but this is a unique enough effect that it deserves a spot. Strengthening Bogles as an archetype and adding creatures like Scythe Tiger makes this even better. Scythe Tiger Essentially just an efficient, hard to kill beatstick, the ability to pressure decks low on creatures makes this a powerful pick. Not very synergistic, so time will tell if it earns its stripes. Wingcrafter Blue creatures = good. Transferrable evasion = good. Young Wolf Besides wild fun like pairing this with Ruthless Sniper to make it immortal, the wolf laughs in the face of removal while leading the charge in an aggressive green deck and fits nicely in a black deck with sacrifice and recursion themes. Ethereal Armor Enchantment-based strategies are getting a boost, and this enables Bogles as an archetype. There's support in multiple colors, but this is a classic. Piracy Charm A strange card. At worst its blue removal, but the range of options makes it an exciting pickup Wax // Wane A split card where both options cost 1, great. Being a decent pump spell in addition to enchantment removal means this has a home outside of sideboards. Obligatory mimicking of the Wax pose upon casting of course. Rapid Hybridization Essentially Pongify, testing should determine if a duplicate is too much. Frog Lizards and Apes are currently unsupported tribes anyhow. Midnight Charm Less exciting than Piracy Charm, the flexibility once again gives this some decent play. Signal Pest All it asks is that you turn multiple creatures sideways. Sylvan Safekeeper Stone Raining yourself to counter removal in green is powerful and fun, perhaps too powerful? Legion Loyalist An aggressive card that fits in nicely, with an anti-token ability that shores up a weakness of creature-based aggro. Spoils of Blood The dream is of course playing this post-sweeper, but it remains to be seen how frequently the payoff is there. Hyena Umbra and Spider Umbra Enabling Bogles while being powerful enough without an enchantment-based strategy makes these solid adds. Masterwork of Ingenuity Not the most exciting card, but it can replicate the best equipment on the field while still requiring some building around. Helm of the Gods Enchantment-based strategies could use payoffs other than Ethereal Armor, and this allows the armor to be swapped around. Curse of Opulence The biggest wild-card of the bunch, this shores up the cube's lack of curses. It remains to be seen how powerful receiving lotus petals is when the deck playing this will likely be an aggro deck anyhow. Perhaps leveling and awaken become easier, or it serves as unique fixing for aggressive decks?
Form of the SquirrelGitaxian ProbeArbor ElfSlumbering DragonPorphyry NodesScythe TigerWingcrafterYoung WolfEthereal ArmorPiracy CharmWax // WaneRapid HybridizationMidnight CharmSignal PestSylvan SafekeeperLegion LoyalistSpoils of BloodHyena UmbraMasterwork of IngenuitySpider UmbraHelm of the GodsCurse of Opulence

Unstable Update

More or Less Very excited about this one. The most boring use for it is simply changing toughness to 0 on a creature, making it solid blue removal. More interesting uses include discounting kicker and leveling, giving Skullclamp an equip cost of 0, making 2/1 tokens or adding +2+1 counters, etc. Cards where imagination is the primary cap on utility make for great additions. Hangman The perfect addition. Very fun, wacky enough to lead to varied and interesting gameplay, and yet entirely reasonable in terms of effects within the context of a black-bordered cube match. Time will tell whether "hangman" proves to be the most or least likely word to be chosen. Reminiscent of Fruitcake Elemental and a great Led Zeppelin tune. Blurry Beeble The glasses clause is the sort of Un-fun that I consider unfun in a largely non-silver cube, but as the first 1-drop Looter Il-Kor this is a powerful add. Perhaps the answer is to blur out the Blurry ability? Honorable Mentions: Side Quest Decently powerful and very fun, but it requires multiple games to be occurring simultaneously. If this cube gets some sort of multiplayer sideboard I can see this coming in, but having to remove it anytime 2 people are drafting, or at least playing it based on the progress of a nearby game, makes it too much of a pain to add right now. GO TO JAIL This is an interesting take on white exile, and has a level of variance that could lead to very exciting gameplay, but the name in all caps is so profoundly irritating that until I get an altered version this stays on the bench.
More or LessHangmanBlurry Beeble

Ixalan Update

Siren Stormtamer Blue still needs more creatures, and the ability to protect a suited-up attacker or a powerful token-maker makes this a solid addition. With equipment being a major theme in the cube, evasive bodies to hold them are great and the ability to protect lone threats in a removal-dense format is gravy. Shapers' Sanctuary Very excited to see this one in action. This cube is removal-heavy, and aggressive decks without some sort of evasion can lose to control decks pretty handily by being one-for-one'd until they run low on cards. This provides a great way for creature-based decks to reload regardless of how aggressive they are. Sadly it does little against sweepers, but that's certainly flavorful given the fact that the Sanctuary is a cluster of bushes and a Blazing Volley would make short work of their protection. Perhaps the jungle is just humid enough to put out individual Flame Jabs? Rigging Runner A 2/2 with first strike is great in this format, and enabling more aggressive red creature decks is sweet. The flavor text makes this an even higher red pick than it might be otherwise. In a sea of X/1's and X/2's, this gobbo should feel quite fancy indeed. Legion's Landing A 1/1 with lifelink holds equipment quite well, and lets Rakdos Vampires band together into Mardu Midrange without sacrificing tribal synergies. A more mainstream use for this will be cranking out tokens with lifelink as a great way to keep up the pressure after your go-wide tokens deck gets wrathed, and the power of Adanto makes me think it's more of a Jamestown than a Roanoke. Deadeye Tracker Of all the IXN additions this is the one I'm the most suspicious of. Testing will tell if the ability is too slow, but depending on the matchup this should be able to accrue some solid treasure. It would be strong in a dedicated mill strategy, but that is one of the few archetypes this cube is steering clear of due to the difficulty of keeping mill fun and balanced in an environment with 30 card decks and absurd 1 CMC mill cards.
Siren StormtamerShapers' SanctuaryRigging RunnerLegion's LandingDeadeye Tracker

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