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 avoid 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 and 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 or hose your persist creatures.
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

Ikoria Update

Shark Typhoon: It's meme o'clock somewhere! I love the flexibility of Sharknado's 3 modes: cycle, make an uncounterable X/X flash flyer that draws a card, or a durdly value enchantment. I'm including it because it's strong on its own and memey, but I wish Shark Typhoon fit more neatly into this Cube's blue archetypes of blink, mill, or spells matter. In theory the enchantment mode could fit into the spells matter or the enchantments archetype, but in practice there aren't many situations where you would rather have the six mana enchantment over an uncounterable flash flying 4+/4+ that draws a card. Heartless Act: I hope this already strong removal spell will generate cool interactions with persist creatures and this Cube's deep +1/+1 counters theme. Triomes: Basic landtypes and cycling are both excellent upgrades to the old Trilands. The most important improvement is that they are fetchable, but there are also corner benefits such as working better with Vedalken Shackles or Utopia Sprawl. I'm a little worried that having 5 wedge Triomes and 5 shard Trilands will create undesirable draft incentives (players may hesitate to draft a shard because they know the mana is worse), but on the other hand perfect balance in Cube is overrated. If you love Grixis or it's open, draft Grixis! Yorion, Sky Nomad: Yorion slots perfectly into the existing Azorius blink value archetype. Gyruda, Doom of Depths: Gyruda has multiple uses across many blue and/or black archetypes as a reanimation spell, a graveyard filling enabler for other reanimator cards, a powerful ETB effect to reuse with blink or panharmonion, a mill spell, and a 6/6 finisher. Companion mechanic: When companions were first spoiled I wanted to test how doable the restrictions were in Cube draft. So I took the challenge of forcing each of the 10 companion restrictions when drafting this Cube here on Cubetutor. Some companions were difficult (I'm looking at you Keheera, the Orphanguard) and some were too easy (Lutri, the Spellchaser's restriction is a joke), but each time I managed to make a 40-card (or in Yorion's case, 60-card) deck that met the companion requirement on the first try. So if you first pick a companion, it should usually be possible to make the companion clause work if you force it, although if you see a Gyruda in pack 2 or 3 you'll probably have to evaluate it as if the companion clause isn't there. I'm a little hesitant to put two companions in this Cube because having an 8-card hand with at least one great spell in it is extremely powerful, so giving 1-2 players in the draft access to this 8th card that no one else can have might lead to unbalanced situations. I'm hoping that the 60-card restriction of Yorion and the even-only restriction of Gyruda are the right level of difficulty to hit in a Cube draft, but even if you don't get there on the restriction I think both of these cards are good enough to include in a deck without the companion ability. Mutate mechanic: The fun thing about mutate looks to be that you can stack multiple cards with mutate up to get a whole lot of triggers at once. However, to do that in Cube would require a ton of slots and some of the most exciting mutate cards like Vadrok are multicolored, so it's hard to imagine what colors a mutate Cube archetype would focus on. Overall, I think mutate looks awesome for limited but may be a little too parasitic for this Cube.
Jhessian Thief > Shark TyphoonUltimate Price > Heartless ActDovin, Grand Arbiter > Yorion, Sky NomadArtisan of Kozilek > Gyruda, Doom of DepthsNomad Outpost > Savai TriomeFrontier Bivouac > Ketria TriomeOpulent Palace > Zagoth TriomeMystic Monastery > Raugrin TriomeSandsteppe Citadel > Indatha Triome

Get ready for Yorion 2

Pillory of the Sleepless > Oath of Kaya

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