Commander Legends Update

Commander Legends Update, featuring new Monarch and Enchantress packages: Court of Grace: This is one of the best repeatable card draw effects in white and it plays nicely into white's token theme. Court of Cunning: I love giving blue players ways to win that don't require attacking. Aside from dedicated mill control decks, it can also be a self-mill enabler for Reanimator/Dredge/Thassa's Oracle strategies. Court of Bounty: The cut, Harmonize, is generically powerful, but doesn't really work with any particular themes in green. Supporting changes: Feed the Swarm: This is to give mono-Black, Rakdos, and Dimir a cheap way to deal with powerful enchantments. Setessan Champion: I wish it was better on its own, but I want to increase the density of enchantress payoffs and there aren’t many non-aura enchantment payoffs with an acceptable floor.
Aerial Responder > Court of GracePatient Rebuilding > Court of CunningHarmonize > Court of BountyDoom Blade > Feed the SwarmWarden of the First Tree > Setessan Champion

Chainweb Aracnir > Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood

Zendikar Rising Update

Luminarch Aspirant: Now this is my kind of snowball! — The effect costs no mana and does not require the creature to tap. — It’s great all by itself as an ever-growing aggro beater. — The effect starts the turn you play it, so the counter can go on other creatures to give the stat boost haste. This play pattern means you also get lasting value if your opponent has sorcery speed removal. — It doesn’t require you to attack or connect to get the trigger, so in a board stall you can just sit back until your biggest thing gets big enough to attack through. — This is one of the cheapest ways to repeatedly spread counters around your team, so it feeds the deeply ingrained +1/+1 counter theme in my Cube (Abzan Falconer, Basri’s Lieutenant, and Grateful Apparition love this card, and that’s just in white!). — It can reset a persist creature once per turn. Nighthawk Scavenger: An almost always better Vampire Nighthawk that acts as a payoff for mill. It has strong synergies in Vampire, mill, and lifegain decks, and acts as a counterpoint to Golgari dredge. The existence of this card in the Cube makes opponents have more interesting delve and escape decisions. Nullpriest of Oblivion: A cross-archetype card that will feel at home in aggro, lifegain, Vampire tribal, or reanimator. Modal Double Faced Cards: My general thoughts on the flexibility of MDFCs in Cube: -- Cube players tend to enjoy decisions that give them a feeling of agency over the outcome of the game. -- MDFCs let you keep land-light hands. Mulliganing feels bad and decreases your win percentage. -- Mulligan decisions aside, the MDFC lands decrease the percentage of unfun non-games due to mana screw. Sometimes you keep a reasonable two or three land hand but just don't draw the third or fourth mana source you need to enact your game plan. -- I think the Mythic bolt MDFC lands should take up a land slot, not a spell slot, in your deck. Thus running a Mythic bolt MDFC lets you play one fewer land in your deck, allowing you to use more of the cards you drafted (I'm always looking for excuses to cram in that janky 24th pet card that would otherwise rot in the sideboard). Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave This is just a really good land. Not much to say synergy-wise except that it works with Lyra Dawnbringer (well, it half works with Lyra), and the cut Windbrisk Heights wasn't doing much synergy-wise either. Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt This card points more toward a go-wide-but-small reanimator strategy than the usual get-one-bomb-back-fast reanimator strategy. It's best home will be in Golgari/Sultai ramp-animator/dredge decks. Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary This is the only enters-the-battlefield-tapped MDFC I am including in my Cube for the moment, and I had to think a lot about whether to cut Regrowth for this. Overall I think the pros outweight the cons. Pros: -- (All the points about the flexibility of MDFCs I outlined above) -- Bala Ged Sanctuary is good in the early game before Regrowth would have a target. -- Regrowth effects are naturally better in the late game, so the extra 1 mana may not matter as much as it would for an effect you always play on curve. -- Even in the late game when your graveyard has some mid-game level Regrowth targets, there may be situations where the 7- or 8-mana bomb in your hand (Craterhoof, Ugin, etc.) is significantly better than anything in your graveyard, so you would still rather play the land to get that bomb out faster even though you're giving up some value. Cons: -- Bala Ged Recovery costs 2G instead of 1G. This is a big deal, because the extra mana means you may not be able to immediately play the card you just got back from your graveyard. -- Your deck has a land that comes into play tapped instead of a basic that would come into play untapped. Turntimber Symbiosis//Turntimber, Serpentine Wood I really like the design of giving you three +1/+1 counters if you find a small creature, because it means X costed creatures like hydras or Walking Ballista are still good hits. At the time of posting Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood is not available on CubeTutor, but I will swap it in for Chainweb Aracnir when the card becomes available.
Windbrisk Heights > Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered SkyclaveSecure the Wastes > Luminarch AspirantVigor Mortis > Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the UndercryptVampire Nighthawk > Nighthawk ScavengerSling-Gang Lieutenant > Nullpriest of OblivionRegrowth > Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary

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

1   2   3   4   5   next   last