Missed Cards

Senate Guildmage > Dovin's AcuityShort Sword > GingerbruteCryptic Serpent > Cold-Water Snapper

Throne of Eldraine Colorless and Multi Update

After a couple of weeks wrangling scheduling we managed to complete the remainder of the cube review! The colorless and multicolored sections received some fairly extensive changes and a couple of mono-colored changes were made in response to feedback from our most recent draft, which my co-editor Tim won with an excellent UB tempo deck featuring some of the cards from the mono-color update. Let’s dive in. +Colorless+ This section received the largest overhaul without a doubt. The colorless cards available in my chosen card pool aren’t fabulous despite the fact that Kaladesh and Eldraine placed varying degrees of emphasis on artifacts. That said, we are pretty happy with the changes we managed to make. Firemind Vessel was cut for Heraldic Banner. Even the hardest ramp decks had much better options than Firemind Vessel and Heraldic Banner offers way more utility as an anthem effect for midrange token decks. Dagger of the Worthy is basically Marauder’s Axe and was cut for Scalding Cauldron to add a piece of colorless interaction. It will probably not be good enough long-term but it provides UG decks with more removal options. Daredevil Dragster isn’t a bad card but it just didn’t fit anywhere. Tim is a huge fan of Howling Golem and it was added in its place. If your average card quality is better than your opponent’s this can generate advantage. It can also be made asymmetrical with Narset, Parter of Veils and plays well with the cards we’ve added that care about drawing multiple cards per turn. We swapped Icy Manipulator out for its cousin Edifice of Authority. Edifice has similar utility but is slightly powered down. People HATE playing against Icy and it was a pretty clear first pick almost any time you opened it. Its ability to interact with lands and keep people off their splash color was also obnoxious, and we considered this change to be healthy for the gameplay experience of the cube. The artifacts in the cube aren’t good enough to merit packing a lot of artifact hate, so it was also very likely to stick around if resolved. Rampaging Monument ended up looking pretty narrow and was cut for Weapon Rack. This card looks fairly mopey, but +1/+1 counters are a big thing in our current configuration and once you consider that the counters on Weapon Rack can be proliferated to provide constant value it gets a lot more interesting. Finally, we cut Juggernaut for Enchanted Carriage. Juggernaut just looks kind of terrible next to something like Snare Thopter and I never wanted to include it. Enchanted Carriage provides its own crew and the three bodies are relevant for both the Ascend mechanic and go-wide +1/+1 counter distributors. +Multicolored+ Azorius saw two changes. First, we cut Senate Guildmage for Dovin's Acuity. Senate Guildmage is a fine card but Dovin's Acuity provides similar value while dodging removal and offering a more interesting play pattern. Acuity is also a card that an Izzet or Dimir control deck featuring a lot of instant-speed removal would be interested in splashing for, promoting overlap between guilds that previously didn’t have much. Tim convinced me that Cloudblazer is a better card than Elite Guardmage since it provides actual card advantage. We don’t have access to a lot of blink in this cube, but I do like that it occupies a different space on the curve than Spire Patrol. In Dimir we cut Psychic Symbiont. The card is pretty awesome as a 3-for1, but neither Black nor Blue was really hurting for another expensive control finisher. We opted to replace it with Drown in the Loch, which is a much more interesting and flexible card. We are not running mill themes in this cube, but if you are playing a normal Dimir game you are putting cards in your opponent’s yard. Even at 3 cards, a 2 cmc spell that kills a 3 drop OR counters a 3 cmc spell is a pretty good card. If you top deck it in the late game, it basically handles any one card your opponent can throw at you. We will see how it performs without mill support, but I suspect it will be very good regardless. In Gruul we knew Grumgully, the Generous would be an easy inclusion. Not only is it just a house on rate, but it promotes a number of cross-guild synergies. Boros token decks do not want Rhythm of the Wild, but Grumgully is absolutely insane in these setups as it provides counters to any non-human. The vast, vast majority of tokens in the cube, although ostensibly humans, do not have the creature type. Grumgully, the Generous into Heroic Reinforcements is insanely gross. The card also promotes Jund synergy with Winding Constrictor, and is exceptional as a splash in the Simic counters deck. Ultimately we decided that Sunder Shaman was the cut as it is a rock solid beater but not particularly interesting. Grumgully occupies a similar space to Rhythm of the Wild but they provide more or less value to different styles of decks. This card was a massive addition and I’m very excited about it. We cut Regal Bloodlord from Orzhov in favor of Basilica Bell-Haunt. The lifegain theme has been chipped away so thoroughly that we’re no longer sure about repeatedly triggering the Bloodlord. I love Bloodlord and it pairs very well with token decks playing Blood Artist style effects, but I think we need to see how common it is for the Orzhov decks to gain life post-update before considering it again. Bell-Haunt is just the kind of built-in 2-for-1 that midrange decks want. Most of this Orzhov section is devoted to tokens, whether aggro or sacrificial, so we decided to throw a bone to those players who end up in WB but primarily get passed midrange cards. This into Serra Angel or Vampire Sovereign is a pretty great sequence against any style of deck. In Simic we cut River Hoopoe for Maraleaf Pixie. I didn’t think much of this card at first but realized that it’s a 2 cmc mana dork that stays relevant after your ramp doesn’t matter. Even in a less rampy midrange deck you can use this to power out your 4 CMC Green beater on turn 3 and just start swinging for 2 in the air the remainder of the game. Hoopoe is a good card but the guild already has plenty of ways to spend its mana, and after cutting Elfhame Druid in the mono-color update we thought giving Simic this excellent dork that other green decks won’t poach was a good move. Izzet has been having an issue where spells-matter stuff is basically the only thing you can do. We cut Goblin Electromancer for Improbable Alliance which adds a new dimension to the guild. It will be good in control decks, but will also play well in sequences like Alliance into Cloudkin Seer. Curious Obsession also says hi. We cut Enigma Drake, feeling that 2 drakes was too many and that Izzet had a glut of spell payoffs between red, blue and the gold section. We added unknown card in its place. This is just an excellent card, and will be a little insulated from getting poached if you’re fighting another blue or red deck for instants and sorceries. We were also finding that building creature-based tempo was tough in Izzet because every gold card wanted you to play spells. You’ll happily jam unknown card in an aggressive red creature deck that’s touching blue for tempo plays and hand reloading. The fact that it can go face is also great for more aggressive strategies. The final multicolored swap we made was Boros Challenger for Justice Strike. Three 2-drop creatures in Boros felt like too much of the same thing and the others are simply more synergistic. Justice Strike is good in an aggro deck that needs to clear out that 4/4 blocker cheaply but is also highly splashable for Jeskai control decks. +Mono Color+ Some swaps were made after feedback and theory crafting. Run Away Together has very different flavor than the other bounce spells in the cube, allowing you to re-buy your ETB creatures while bouncing your opponents creatures in the process. We cut the decent but less interesting Perilous Voyage. We had a glut of 4 CMC draw spells, with 3 of them in a 51 card Blue section. Tamiyo's Epiphany got the cut. It is probably better than Glimmer of Genius in a ramp deck, but Glimmer is still great in ramp while being much better in control strategies with counter magic. Epiphany was replaced with Radical Idea, which is a pretty weak card on its own but triggers spell-matter cards twice and works well with some new draw-2 interested cards like Improbable Alliance. Finishing up blue, we swapped out Spellkeeper Weird for Sailor of Means. Good ole Sailor of Memes was a staple in Rivals of Ixalan and is a fun callback, in addition to being a similar 3 drop that’s significantly less narrow. Blue control decks still like the ramp and fixing, and the card is much better in UG ramp or UW midrange than Spellkeeper is. Outside of blue we cut Herald of Faith simply because three 5 CMC flyers in white was too many. We added Faerie Guidemother // Gift of the Fae to provide the color with more high-quality 1 drops. I finally cut The Flame of Keld. This card is really powerful, but ultimately I don’t think our cube supports it well. Most of your red aggro decks end up pretty evenly split with another color, and our face burn options are really limited. It’s probably gross with Makeshift Munitions and a bunch of ammo, but it always felt too narrow in test drafts. Merchant of the Vale // Haggle offers another spells-matter trigger in red while offering card selection. I’ve been pretty impressed with this card in the slower red decks of Eldraine limited, and it plays well with the new draw-2 payoffs we included. To those of you who actually made it to the end of this insanely long post, congratulations! You are fucking champs. Feel free to add any feedback in the comments!
Firemind Vessel > Heraldic BannerProphetic Prism > Golden EggDagger of the Worthy > Scalding CauldronDaredevil Dragster > Howling GolemIcy Manipulator > Edifice of AuthorityRampaging Monument > Weapon RackJuggernaut > Enchanted CarriageElite Guardmage > CloudblazerPsychic Symbiont > Drown in the LochSunder Shaman > Grumgully, the GenerousRegal Bloodlord > Basilica Bell-HauntGoblin Electromancer > Improbable AllianceEnigma Drake > Ral's OutburstRiver Hoopoe > Maraleaf PixieTamiyo's Epiphany > Radical IdeaPerilous Voyage > Run Away TogetherHerald of Faith > Faerie Guidemother // Gift of the FaeBoros Challenger > Justice StrikeThe Flame of Keld > Merchant of the Vale // HaggleSpellkeeper Weird > Sailor of Means

Throne of Eldraine Mono-Color Update

Over the past couple of weeks I've had the pleasure of working closely with my friend Tim Zaccagnino to review the cube structure. I'm happy to report that the combination of his Limited expertise, having a second set of eyes and the release of Throne of Eldraine has resulted in a very substantial improvement to the cube. This mono-colored update alone represents changes to 12.5% of the non-land cards in the cube, a figure that is likely to increase when we finish updating the multicolored and colorless sections later in the week. We have some play experience with the updates and are pleased with the results, the list feels substantially tighter in all colors at all points in the curve. Throne of Eldraine added some truly great new toys for under-supported archetypes, a cycle of sweet new uncommon legends, and generally patched up some noticeably weak areas in the environment. The addition of the adventure mechanic also brought an influx of powerful, flexible new cards with interesting play patterns and built-in card advantage. Below we will discuss the changes made to each mono-colored section, highlighting some incredible new prints and changes in archetype support. For the sake of brevity side-grades and other minor alterations will not be touched on. +White+ Early in the process I decided that I didn't like the inclusion of "fake" cards that are technically in sets as part of a supplemental product but never appeared in their draft environment. The more I thought about it the more I felt it undermined the purpose of the cube, which was to highlight excellent cards from their respective draft environments and serve as a history of limited formats from throughout my personal Magic history. The biggest change that resulted from this was cutting Twinblade Paladin, arguably the most powerful of our mono-colored lifegain payoffs. Cutting Twinblade Paladin resulted in a domino effect: once we started picking at the lifegain subtheme it made less sense to include cards like Angel of Vitality and Famished Paladin. The cards were replaced with the excellent Ardenvale Tactician // Dizzying Swoop and Shepherd of the Flock // Usher to Safety, both bolstering the tempo theme in white and proving the color with some virtual card advantage. Teyo, the Shieldmage was finally cut. I never liked it but noticed its inclusion in other peasant cubes. Tim’s added perspective confirmed that we didn’t want to play it, and it was replaced by On Serra's Wings as a powerful tool for white midrange decks. Syr Alin, the Lion's Claw is a truly excellent creature that stands on its own while providing the same effect as the mediocre Inspiring Unicorn, which was an easy cut. Finally, Sunblade Angel and Bellowing Aegisaur both looked extremely mopey at the top end. Sunblade Angel was cut for Oketra's Attendant, which provides built-in card advantage, and Bellowing Aegisaur was cut for Flight of Equenauts, which is a better go-wide payoff in addition to being the largest flyer in the cube. +Blue+ Blue received some solid upgrades at both the low and top ends. Nightveil Sprite was cut in favor of Faerie Vandal. I like Nightveil Sprite but Tim correctly noted that it loses a substantial amount of power without surveil synergies. Faerie Vandal is an excellent tempo play with flash while pairing better with the +1/+1 counter synergies in green. Augur of Bolas was cut since it often whiffs, being replaced by Hypnotic Sprite. This card is substantially better in tempo decks in addition to being solid in control decks. Blue 5s were not well-designed and were solidly upgraded. Watcher in the Mist was cut for new legend Syr Elenora, the Discerning and Salvager of Secrets was cut for Eternal Skylord, which plays better with the counters theme in green while being a powerful card in its own right. We didn’t want to lose access to spell recursion with Salvager of Secrets being cut so we swapped Dimir Informant out for Spellkeeper Weird. +Black+ Grasping Scoundrel looked incredibly weak at 1. Throne of Eldraine brought more recursion to black and Stitcher's Supplier was introduced as a graveyard enabler in its place. Tim confirmed my suspicion that Wanted Scoundrels is a trap card, and it was swapped for the incredibly powerful Order of Midnight // Alter Fate. This card is a good aggressive play on 2 and acts as a Gravedigger later in the game. It’s good enough to be tested in full-blown rare cubes and its likely one of the best cards I have access to in black. The paring down of lifegain synergies in white made Bloodthirsty Aerialist a lot less attractive. We introduced Plague Mare in its place, which is good against go-wide strategies but does double duty in black attacking strategies as a way to nerf your opponent’s board. Vengeful Rebel is powerful when enabled but was cut for Banewhip Punisher, which is a self-contained removal spell that works better generally in black decks not exploiting sacrifice effects. Urgoros, the Empty One suffers from the same problems as Sunblade Angel (6 mana, dies to everything) and was cut for Undercity Scavenger, which is a great top end in aggressive sacrifice decks. Finally, the middling Orzhov Racketeers was cut in favor of new black legend Syr Konrad, the Grim. This card does EVERYTHING and may be the best card in the entire cube. It works well in a huge variety of archetypes and I can’t imagine a black deck that does not want it. Black spells received a number of updates as well. Cry of the Carnarium was cut after the addition of Plague Mare as we were concerned that black had too many trump cards against go-wide decks and it was essentially a duplicate effect. Golden Demise was kept in over Cry of the Carnarium because it has applications in go-wide decks AND control decks, in addition to not completely hosing aristocrats-style strategies with an exile clause. Spark Harvest was introduced in its place as a removal spell that deals with planeswalkers while being actively great in sacrifice decks. Duress was swapped for the more flexible Drill Bit, as hard control decks are happy to play 3 cmc discard that gets anything and Drill Bit is much better in aggro decks than Duress. Memorial to Folly was cut as it was the only colored utility land in the cube, and the highly efficient Epic Downfall was introduced in its place. +Red+ There has been an unfortunate trend in recent sets of railroading red into a parasitic tribal theme, and that continues in Throne of Eldraine with knights. The majority of our changes involved swapping out bad cards for things we already had access to. Raptor Hatchling looked fairly alone without enablers and was cut for Thriving Grubs, which is a great beater for any red aggro deck while synergizing well with +1/+1 counters in green and the energy sub-theme in Gruul. We had two extremely mopey cards at 3 cmc in Reckless Racer and Raging Kronch. They were both included to give Gruul access to some red 3 drops, but we reinforced the color pair elsewhere and cut these cards for Guttersnipe and Thrill of Possibility to reinforce aggressive spell decks. Bonded Horncrest was cut for Needletooth Raptor, which is excellent in control strategies but is also good with counters strategies and, it turns out, sacrifice decks. Incidental synergy with Mayhem Devil was discovered over the weekend, allowing you to target Needletooth Raptor with Mayhem Devil’s ping ability to mow down the opposing board. It also synergizes extremely well with the new legend Syr Carah, the Bold. This card provides both a pinger and a card advantage engine in red, and was an easy substitution for Charging Tuskodon. Charging Tuskodon is pretty good but you would always take Charging Monstrosaur over it and Syr Carah, the Bold introduces powerful new utility in red. +Green+ Green underwent a number of changes to improve the quality of its beatdown decks. Elfhame Druid was easily our worst mana dork and was cut in favor of Longtusk Cub, which synergizes with the counters theme in green while further bolstering the aggressive, energy-assisted subtheme in Gruul. This theme was further enhanced by cutting Defiant Greatmaw for Thriving Rhino. Defiant Greatmaw can be an enormous beating with the right board state but we do not have -1/-1 counter synergies. Thriving Rhino does its thing without setup while adding support for +1/+1 counters at a spot in the curve that had payoffs but no enablers. Elvish Rejuvenator was cut for Beanstalk Giant // Fertile Footsteps, which is both an enabler AND a payoff for ramp decks. We were looking to get additional card advantage in green and Throne of Eldraine did not disappoint. Vine Mare, which we did not like as a hexproof creature that incidentally hosed black decks, was cut for Oakhame Adversary. Crested Herdcaller, while generically good, was cut for Keeper of Fables. Both of these cards provide card advantage to green beatdown decks and should be exceptional in Gruul stompy and Simic tempo decks. We were looking to give more aggressive green decks another beater so we made room at the 4 slot for Crocodile of the Crossing. We had 3 +1/+1 counter payoffs in this slot so the cut needed to be one of them and ultimately we landed on Armorcraft Judge since it requires more setup to be acceptable than the others. We will be keeping an eye on how easy it is to enable, if the right board states exist for it consistently then we will revisit it as the ceiling is high. Scaled Behemoth was introduced as a hexproof payoff from ramp decks to help them not get stuffed by cheap black removal. Sifter Wurm is easily the best ramp payoff we have and we liked Thundering Spineback as a mana sink/engine so Howling Giant got the cut. This may be revisited if we find that missing the reach on Howling Giant is too painful. Finally, Sprouting Renewal got the axe. Any time I saw it in a pack I just didn’t want it, but I was keeping it in due to its inclusion in a number of peasant cubes I follow. The artifacts and enchantments in this cube are not amazing, however, and it just wasn’t necessary. We introduced Bond of Flourishing in its place as a unique effect in green, providing some card selection and lifegain. +Notable Exclusions+ Queen of Ice // Rage of Winter looks like a potentially solid blue control card but we are waiting to see if it impresses in Eldraine draft. We gave the slot to Spellkeeper Weird to offer blue some spell recursion but we'll be keeping an eye on it. Revenge of Ravens is obviously very powerful (and has sweet art) but we were concerned that it is too hateful to go-wide strategies in a color pair that already has Golden Demise and Plague Mare. If black control has a serious problem with go-wide aggro this card will definitely be revisited. Once and Future is obviously good and is definitely in the back of our minds. At 360 cards we didn't want to run Pulse of Murasa AND this, but when the cube expands I will definitely be looking to squeeze this in. Belle of the Brawl is a card I see several peasant cubers that I follow finding room for. We are going to wait and see how common it is to have knights in your black aggro decks before moving to test this card, however. +Conclusion+ So much for brevity. This was a massive overhaul of the cube and likely the largest update it will receive for some time. I feel much better about the cube’s baseline makeup and am looking forward to build on this superior foundation going forward. Working with Tim on this project has been a pleasure and I hope to continue collaborating as this cube evolves.
Famished Paladin > Shepherd of the Flock // Usher to SafetyLoyal Pegasus > Venerable KnightAngel of Vitality > Ardenvale Tactician // Dizzying SwoopTwinblade Paladin > Master SplicerInspiring Unicorn > Syr Alin, the Lion's ClawTeyo, the Shieldmage > On Serra's WingsSunblade Angel > Oketra's AttendantBellowing Aegisaur > Flight of EquenautsNightveil Sprite > Faerie VandalAugur of Bolas > Hypnotic Sprite // Mesmeric GlareDimir Informant > Spellkeeper WeirdWatcher in the Mist > Syr Elenora, the DiscerningSalvager of Secrets > Eternal SkylordKasmina's Transmutation > FrogifyVampire of the Dire Moon > Foulmire Knight // Profane InsightGrasping Scoundrel > Stitcher's SupplierWanted Scoundrels > Order of Midnight // Alter FateAmmit Eternal > Banewhip PunisherBloodthirsty Aerialist > Deathbloom ThallidVengeful Rebel > Plague MareUrgoros, the Empty One > Undercity ScavengerOrzhov Racketeers > Syr Konrad, the GrimCry of the Carnarium > Spark HarvestDuress > Drill BitPainful Lesson > Foreboding FruitMemorial to Folly > Epic DownfallRaptor Hatchling > Thriving GrubsReckless Racer > GuttersnipeRaging Kronch > Thrill of PossibilityBonded Horncrest > Needletooth RaptorCharging Tuskodon > Syr Carah, the BoldChandra's Triumph > Scorching DragonfireOpen Fire > Slaying FireElfhame Druid > Longtusk CubElvish Rejuvenator > Beanstalk Giant // Fertile FootstepsDefiant Greatmaw > Thriving RhinoArmorcraft Judge > Crocodile of the CrossingVine Mare > Oakhame AdversaryCrested Herdcaller > Keeper of FablesHowling Giant > Scaled BehemothBand Together > AmbuscadeSprouting Renewal > Bond of Flourishing

First(ish) Draft

This cube is a Peasant rarity project drawing from sets from Kaladesh block to today. This range of cards represents the pool of cards legal in standard and contemporary draft enviroments since a majority of my play group (myself included) started regularly playing this game. My aim is cultivate a fun, archetype-driven environment loaded with cards we loved/remember from their respective limited environments or standard tenures. Many of the anchor cards were all-stars in their limited environments so the cube should play like a tighter, significantly juiced retail set of recent memory in terms of power level. As more sets are incorporated I expect the glaring weaknesses in certain sections (like the top end of black creatures in the current pool) to be patched up with incoming cards. When things progress to a point where each section feels like I'm having to cut good options, the cube will expand to 405 then 450 cards. Over time it should start to approach something closer to a modern peasant cube in terms of power. After a lot of agonizing over bad cards, expanding the set range I wanted to draw on, and generally obsessing I arrived at this list just before the release of Throne of Eldraine. That looks to contain a lot of cards that I'll want to consider so this is hardly nailed down, but the archetypes are there and the card count is right going into the next set. Tweaks have already been made in response to feedback from the cube's first run and more careful consideration of archetype streamlining. A breakdown of intended color roles and multi color archetypes: Mono Colors White Primary: Aggro Secondary: Midrange Archetypes/Themes: Tokens, Lifegain, +1/+1 Counters Blue Primary: Control Secondary: Tempo Archetypes/Themes: Flyers, Spells Matter, Hard Control Black Primary: Control Secondary: Aggro Archetypes/Themes: Sacrifice, Tokens, Graveyard Recursion Red Primary: Aggro Secondary: Midrange Archetypes/Themes: Spells Matter, Sacrifice, Hard Aggro Green Primary: Ramp Secondary: Midrange Archetypes/Themes: Counters/Proliferate, Hard Ramp, Tokens Guilds Azorius: Flyers, Tempo, Controlling Midrange Dimir: Hard Control, Tempo Rakdos: Sacrifice Aggro, Grindy Midrange Gruul: Stompy, Ramp Selesnya: Midrange Tokens, Counters/Proliferate Orzhov: Sacrifice Tokens, Lifegain Control Golgari: Attrition Tokens, Recursive Midrange Simic: Counters/Proliferate, Ramp Izzet: Spells Matter Boros: Aggro, Tokens Hoping to play this thing more regularly and get actual data, designing it has been a lot of fun and I look forward to its evolution.