Jumpstart Update

Emiel the Blessed: Emiel offers repeatable blink on a body like Eldrazi Displacer, Angel of Condemnation, or Mistmeadow Witch. The creature comes back right away and doesn’t require the Unicorn to tap, so you can immediately retrigger any ETB effect as many times as you can pay 3. Emiel is arguably the best repeatable blink after Soulherder and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, which I put ahead of Emiel because I value blinking for 0 mana above repeatability. Emiel can also spread counters around to support the +1/+1 counters matter theme. It costs mana so it won’t go infinite with persist creatures and sac outlets, but you can still get as many Redcap triggers as you have W or G sources.
Angel of Condemnation > Emiel the Blessed

On average, Cathartic Reunion is worse than Wheel of Fortune or Faithless Looting, but a little redundancy is nice and there are some situations where Cathartic Reunion can be better. For instance, I’d rather have Cathartic Reunion than Wheel of Fortune in my hand if my opponent has a lot fewer cards than me, and I'd rather have Cathartic Reunion than Faithless Looting in attrition matchups where the raw number of cards you have really matters (because Cathartic Reunion is card neutral whereas Faithless Looting puts you down a card). I like that this kind of discard-then-draw effect can contribute to multiple archetypes: — Rakdos/Jund/Grixis Reanimator — Jund Dredge — Izzet/Jeskai/Grixis Draw-to-Death (featuring Tutelages, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Thassa’s Oracle, and/or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) — Mono-Red (Cathartic Reunion is not great in Mono-Red, but it's OK as a way to turn lands into gas) The cut, Ire Shaman, suffered from 1) being the only Red morph (the fun part of morph is the mystery of the shell game, and when a color only has one morph it’s pretty easy to guess which one it is), 2) from not saying the word “draw” for the card-draw-matters payoffs, and 3) from red being the color that cares least about +1/+1 counters.
Ire Shaman > Cathartic Reunion

M21 Update

Basri’s Lieutenant: I enjoy this style of +1/+1 counters matter lord. On its own, it’s is a 4/5 vigilance with protection that usually dies into a 2/2 vigilance, which is a fine value creature. It's much better in the synergistic +1/+1 counters deck that is actively supported in my Cube. Most excitingly, Basri’s Lieutenant works as a combo enabler with one of Metallic Mimic, Rhythm of the Wild, The Great Henge, Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit, Master Biomancer, or Good-Fortune Unicorn, any free sacrifice outlet (Goblin Bombardment being the best), and any other creature for sacrificing repeatedly to generate infinite sac triggers. Since this combo doesn’t require a persist creature, Basri’s Lieutenant may take the pressure off of finding either Murderous Redcap or Kitchen Finks early during the draft to make a combo deck function. As an aside, while I don’t love the protection mechanic in general, I think the protection from multicolored clause on cards like Basri’s Lieutenant, Soldier of the Pantheon, and Stonecoil Serpent nicely avoids the random swingy feel bad problem of protection from one or two colors (Swords of X and Y, Stormbreath Dragon, etc). No one’s entire deck gets hosed by protection from multicolored unless they are playing greedy gold soup, and I think cards that keep greedy gold soup in check are a good thing for Cube. Barrin, Tolarian Archmage: Yes please! I always wanted Man-o’-War to be a may or for Exclusion Mage to let you target your own creatures. Well, here’s Barrin for the low cost of a 1UU instead of 2U, plus multiple other upsides including bouncing planeswalkers. In the early game you can use Barrin like Exclusion Mage to keep your opponent’s aggression off balance, but what I love about this card is the flexibility of its final triggered ability. You can rescue something incapacitated by a Temporal Isolation effect, and draw a card. You can reset an ETB creature, plus draw a card for your trouble. You can give your other bounce spells an expensive form of cycling by bouncing and replaying your own cheap creature. On top of that, Barrin can act as a Flagbearer for your opponent’s bounce spells. I think Barrin is an awesome utility creature and buildaround that will slot well into any blue tempo deck but will shine brightest in the ETBs-matter Azorius-centered blink deck. Ghostly Pilferer: A 2-power evasive looter is generally useful in most decks, even if the card draw costs mana. Unlike other looters, Ghostly Pilferer’s free instant speed discard means your opponent’s removal can’t stop your Griselbrand or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger from hitting the graveyard, which is valuable in Reanimator decks. Both the Reanimator deck and the Card Draw Matters deck (with Sphinx’s Tutelage, Teferi’s Tutelage, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Thassa’s Oracle, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, and Wharf Infiltrator) care about their enablers being as cheap as possible. Sublime Epiphany: Flexible super-Cryptic Command fun! Always a 2-for-1, usually a 3- or 4-for-1, and retell the tale of that time it was a 5-for-1. Even if it costs 4UU and the average case is a 3-for-1, its modal flexibility makes it stronger than a guaranteed 4-for-1 like Opportunity or Into the Story. Worth testing. Teferi's Tutelage: I enjoy it when Cube decks (especially blue decks) have alternative ways to win that don't rely on attacking. Ever since the printing of Sphinx's Tutelage, I've loved the idea of converting the already incredibly desirable effect of drawing cards into a no-additional-mana win condition. The payoffs (Tutelages, Niv-Mizzets, Thassa’s Oracle, and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) create a fun direction to draft around where you pick everything that says "draw," especially when you live the Wheel of Fortune dream. One of the main reasons I run Clever Impersonator over other clones is that it's one of the only playable ways to double up on Sphinx's Tutelage. Now with the redundancy of Teferi's Tutelage, it's possible to triple this effect, and maybe that's enough for this archetype to move out of the fringe and into the mainstream. I expect Teferi's Tutelage to also shine in dimir/grixis mill decks that rely on mill-for-value cards like Thief of Sanity, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, Ashiok, Nightmare Muse, Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, and Patient Rebuilding. I also speculate Teferi's Tutelage might have a place in some reanimator shells as a mediocre discard enabler, or a backup alternate win condition to board in against control. Some people dislike mill because it's hard to interact with, but I think there enough Cube strategies that are great against mill like Reanimator/graveyard recursion/Dredge (thanks for the help, mill deck!) or fast Aggro (Aggro loves to play against don't-affect-the-board cards like Teferi's Tutelage... Mono-Red doesn't need to remove an enchantment when it can just remove the opponent), so I think mill is balanced enough in this Cube. I did receive negative feedback a while back on how it was unfun to play against Jace, Memory Adept because he milled so fast and didn't require any additional building around (I like to ask for feedback about what people liked or didn't like after drafts, and somehow Jace, Memory Adept and Sol Ring are the only two cards I've ever cut because of high power level complaints). I like that both Tutelages can be strong effects but require some deckbuilding to work. Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose: Soul Sisters has been my pet deck for over a decade, and Vito is the cheapest version of the gain-to-drain effect to date. It’s not the most powerful archetype but with a high density of lifelinkers, premium payoffs (like Archangel of Thune, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Ajani, Strength of the Pride, Dawn of Hope, Karlov of the Ghost Council, and Resplendent Angel) and some second-tier payoffs (like Cliffhaven Vampire, Crested Sunmare, and Ajani’s Pridemate) this archetype can be a lot of fun in unpowered Cubes looking for guild identities. I’m not sure yet how strong of a payoff Vito is, but he fits perfectly with the lifedrain identity Orzhov has in my Cube. Also, Vampire is a relevant creature type for cards like Bloodline Keeper, Patron of the Vein, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, and when the stars align Falkenrath Gorger. Terror of the Peaks: It’s worse in Aggro than the 3RR Dragons that have haste, but I’m already running three of those (Thundermaw Hellkite, Glorybringer, and Skarrgan Hellkite). To me Terror of the Peaks is most exciting as a second copy of the Purphoros, God of the Forge effect for R/X token decks or as a combo finisher for otherwise nonlethal infinite persist loops. Neither of those decks necessarily needs to attack to win, so lacking haste isn’t a big deal in those contexts. Conclave Mentor: I am a sucker for this style of synergistic +1/+1 counter card. Conclave Mentor is in better colors for +1/+1 counters than Winding Constrictor or Corpsejack Menace, but I plan to run all three (these effects stack after all!). I also like that unlike Winding Constrictor, Conclave Mentor doesn't make an opponent's Skinrender better, hose your persist creatures, or have useless text about counters on players.
Ainok Bond-Kin > Basri's LieutenantExclusion Mage > Barrin, Tolarian ArchmageImpulse > Ghostly PilfererTamiyo, the Moon Sage > Sublime EpiphanyGyruda, Doom of Depths > Teferi's TutelageGraveshifter > Vito, Thorn of the Dusk RoseVolt Charge > Terror of the PeaksSong of Freyalise > Sylvan LibraryTamiyo, Field Researcher > Conclave Mentor

Perilous Myr > Stonecoil Serpent

Thrill of Possibility > Bomat Courier

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