Throne of Eldraine Update

Charming Prince: He works as both payoff and enabler for the Azorius blink archetype. He has ETB lifegain for fighting aggro and for the Orzhov lifegain triggers archetype. If none of those things are your cup of tea, then he also has a default value mode of ETB scry 2. He is: The most charming man in the world. The cut, Nyx-Fleece Ram, is a casualty of Alela, Artful Provocateur replacing Zur the Enchanter. Kenrith, the Returned King: I love that Kenrith is super flexible during the drafting portion and should play really differently between drafts depending on your colors. He could be a mono-white card or a 5-color card, but I think the average case will be that he is a flexible two- or three-color card in W/X or W/X/y decks. In any two color deck, just having access to the white ability and one of the other abilities is very strong — for instance Selesnya has a deep +1/+1 counters matter theme in this Cube and Azorius always loves to draw cards. Of the two-color decks, Kenrith is probably most powerful in Orzhov, where not only can the white ability trigger lifegain payoffs, but the repeatable reanimator effect is reminiscent of The Scarab God’s activated ability without the drawbacks (I always disliked that The Scarab God cuts off future reanimation shenanigans by exiling the original creature from your graveyard, limits the maximum size of your fatties to 4/4, and lacks proper tokens to represent the correct power and toughness of random eternalized creatures. Although to be fair to The Scarab God, TSG can pump up the size of small reanimated critters, is annoyingly recursive, has a zombie drain effect that can act as a clock on a stalled board, and can reanimate your opponent’s creatures. I assume the wording on Kenrith’s black ability was designed for Commander politics, not for Cube — don’t try to reanimate your opponent’s creatures with Kenrith!). Regardless of your base colors, drafters with Kenrith in their pool should value random 5-color lands, off-color trilands, and off-color duals very highly because having access to Kenrith’s entire suite of activated abilities can be useful in a variety of situations: The red or green ability can be good when you’re ahead, the green, blue, or black abilities can be great when you’re at parity, and the white or black abilities can be lifesaving when you’re behind. A downside of Kenrith is that if you cast him with no extra mana available he can just die to removal without affecting the board, but overall I think playing with Kenrith, the Returned King in Cube is going to be a blast. Brazen Borrower //ADV// Petty Theft: Reactive decks that like to pass with their mana open love having access to multiple effects that they can use depending on what their opponent does, and Brazen Borrower //ADV//Petty Theft provides two pretty good options for one card. I like that the Adventure mechanic lets me squeeze in more Izzet creatures that can trigger spells matter cards like Thing in the Ice, Young Pyromancer, Thermo-Alchemist, Gelectrode, Ral Storm Conduit, Niblis of Frost, Murmuring Mystic, and Niv-Mizzet Parun. Neither half alone is perfect (I wish Brazen Borrower could be a reliable surprise blocker to save a planeswalker or remove an opponent’s small-to-medium attacking threat. I wish Petty Theft could be used to save your own permanent or rebuy your own ETB effect and I wish it counted as an instant in the graveyard for Snapcaster Mage, Torrential Gearhulk, Emrakul the Promised End, and New Player’s Sanity). Nevertheless, the versatility of having access to bounce, a threat, or both seems pretty strong. The cut was Treasure Cruise, which is a strong draw spell, but I always disliked the anti-synergy between delve and other graveyard based mechanics, plus Treasure Cruise is a sorcery and there are enough instants in this Cube that Blue control decks really want to leave their mana open during their opponent’s turns. Into the Story: I love instants that draw lots of cards, both because they pair so well with leaving your mana open for a counterspell and because I just love getting ahead on cards. Blue and Dimir have a light mill theme in this Cube and I like that Into the Story synergizes beautifully with Sphinx’s Tutelage in both directions. I welcome having another payoff for intentional or incidental mill that is still relevant in non-mill go-long Control decks and Izzet/Jeskai/Grixis Spells Matter decks. At the moment Golgari/Sultai strategies that intentionally dredge or self-mill to reanimate fatties act as a check on the hardcore mill deck, so I think a random mana discount on Into the Story could act as interesting counterplay in the Mill vs. Dredge matchup. The cut, Opportunity, might be cheaper on average, but Into the Story gives you a fun quest. Murderous Rider //ADV// Swift End: This card is powerful, flexible, and provides multiple effects that are highly desirable, so in the Cube it goes. As an aside: while I love the value-y nature of the Adventure mechanic, I dislike the unintuitiveness of the cardframe. To me the Instant part looks more like an activated ability of the creature than a split card, and I think the reminder text doesn’t do enough to clarify how Adventure works. Even if a player unfamiliar with the mechanic could intuit that either part is castable from their hand like a split card, how would they know that they can’t recast their exiled Murderous Rider out from under their opponent’s Oblivion Ring? Bonecrusher Giant //ADV// Stomp: This is a well-statted 2-for-1 aggro creature that can also be an any target burn spell, which are two things that Mono-Red (and almost every deck with red in it) really wants. I like that Stomp can trigger spells matter cards in Izzet, that the Giant is 4 power and on curve for Shaman of the Great Hunt, and that the damage trigger still gives value against Control decks that rely on targeted removal rather than trading with blockers. Magma Jet seems like a fine cut because both Stomp and Punishing Fire fill a similar role of poor rate burn plus potential card advantage. Robber of the Rich: A 2/2 haste for 1R that can create card advantage is exactly what Mono-Red wants. I expect the ability to be on more often than not because Red is good at emptying its hand early, plus I love abilities that incidentally contribute to the Grixis mill plan. He’s not perfect: 1) I dislike making players track which cards are Rogues and 2) Reach, while flavorful for an Archer, is going to be easy to forget. Most importantly, I think Robin’s attack trigger will lead to fun stories when Mono-Red gets to play some very Not-Mono-Red effects off the top of their opponent’s library (let your imagination run wild!). I’m OK with the cut, Stormbreath Dragon, because I recently added Backdraft Dragon and I dislike the random color-hosing aspect of protection effects in Cube. The Great Henge: I think the “high-power creature” hoop is eminently jumpable, as Green excels at ramping fat creatures into play early. The dream curve will lead to paying 4 mana for the Henge on turn 4 (T1 Elf into T2 whatever into T3 Poulukranos into T4 The Great Henge). However, even if you don’t draw your fatties or if your opponent removes them, playing The Great Henge mid-to-late game for six or seven mana will still be a good way to gain life, pump creatures, and draw cards. Like The Immortal Sun, different decks will want The Great Henge for different reasons. All four of the effects (+1/+1 counters, ramp, lifegain, and drawing cards) on The Great Henge are excellent on their own and work with other synergistic payoff cards in this Cube. For instance, my favorite niche Cube archetype is Persist Combo, so I love it when they print more persist enablers that are Cubeable in their own right. Garruk, Cursed Huntsman: I like that he makes multiple tokens per turn, I like the removal plus actual card draw, and I like the overwhelmingly powerful ultimate. I am a sucker for little synergies, so what pushes this card over the top for inclusion in this Cube is the way it works with sacrifice outlets and with the other Garruks. While he’s not the well-costed self-mill, reanimation, and +1/+1 counter focused Golgari planeswalker I’ve been dreaming about for years, I think Garruk, Cursed Huntsman is synergistic enough to fill the Golgari planeswalker slot for now. Alela, Artful Provocateur: I love buildarounds. While cutting my longtime pet card Zur the Enchanter may cause me physical pain, Zur’s buildaround strategy (<=3 mana enchantments) is much narrower than Alela’s three buildaround directions (flying, artifacts, and enchantments). Alela works with the lifegain matters theme, the go wide with tokens and anthems theme, and generally interacts with a much higher percentage of cards in this Cube. My justification for cutting Zur is that if you love drafting enchantments, Alela CAN also reward you for drafting them. Maybe I’ll squeeze Zur back if Theros: Beyond Death introduces enough cheap enchantment payoffs or if my Cube someday balloons back up to 720 cards. Fabled Passage: This Cube was previously running Prismatic Vista, Evolving Wilds, and Terramorphic Expanse to help support fetchland synergies and all types of greedy 3+ color decks. Fabled Passage is a strict upgrade to Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds, so I’m replacing the less iconic Terramorphic Expanse with Fabled Passage (and feeling a little irked about still running Evolving Wilds side-by-side with the strictly better Fabled Passage).
Nyx-Fleece Ram > Charming PrinceCollective Effort > Kenrith, the Returned KingTreasure Cruise > Brazen Borrower // Petty TheftOpportunity > Into the StoryRuinous Path > Murderous Rider // Swift EndMagma Jet > Bonecrusher Giant // StompStormbreath Dragon > Robber of the RichBow of Nylea > The Great HengeGrim Flayer > Garruk, Cursed HuntsmanZur the Enchanter > Alela, Artful ProvocateurTerramorphic Expanse > Fabled Passage

More M20 Updates

Consul's Lieutenant > Ajani, Strength of the PrideNecropolis Regent > Knight of the Ebon Legion

Commander 2019 Update

Charmbreaker Devils > Backdraft Hellkite

Pull from Tomorrow > Rain of Revelation

M20 Update

Hanged Executioner: A reasonably priced blink target in the color that wants it the most. It’s too bad I’m adding a card that makes two flying bodies at the same time I’m cutting an anthem creature, but I disliked Angel of Jubilation’s 1CCC casting cost and forgettable negative static ability which randomly hosed fetchlands, shocklands, horizon lands, and other sacrifice strategies that I actively want to encourage. There still are plenty of other anthems available in white. Cloudkin Seer: This is what blue wants to do. Cloudkin Seer 1) is a flying threat, 2) gets good value immediately by cantripping, 3) works with the repeating ETB effects theme (Flickerwisp, Brago, Soulherder, Angel of Condemnation, Panharmonicon, and Recurring Nightmare), and 4) triggers card draw matters effects like Sphinx’s Tutelage and Niv-Mizzet, Parun. I dislike decreasing the density of morphs by cutting Kheru Spellsnatcher, but leaving up 6 mana to unmorph was always a tough sell. Vilis, Broker of Blood: Black had room for one more giant reanimator target, and Vilis is excellent in that role. Vilis is an 8/8 flying Demon that comes with repeatable removal and card draw. Converting ANY life loss into new cards is a very powerful effect when you already want to pay life for your fetchlands, shocklands, horizon lands, Yawgmoth, Bitterblossom, Phyrexian Arena, Cryptbreaker, Asylum Visitor, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Wretched Confluence, or Night’s Whisper. Plus, anything that can damage “target player” suddenly gets new utility with Vilis — reconsider who you want to target with your Blood Artist triggers or your burn spells (for instance Lightning Bolt can be Painful Truths at the price and speed of Ancestral Recall). Vilis can also act as a rattlesnake to make your opponent hesitant about attacking you for non-lethal chip damage. The cut, Profane Command, was a great toolbox, but the recent addition of Finale of Devastation moves the role of inefficient-reanimation-spell-with-other-utility into a color that is better at making X huge. Voracious Hydra: This is a green removal creature that synergizes with both of green’s deeply ingrained themes: ramp and +1/+1 counters. Plus, it’s a new trampling friend for Corpsejack Menace and Kalonian Hydra to boost — I just love effects that double counters!
Angel of Jubilation > Hanged ExecutionerKheru Spellsnatcher > Cloudkin SeerProfane Command > Vilis, Broker of BloodWinding Way > Voracious Hydra

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