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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
 
Word of Command: Un-believable
  • posted a message on After Urza cube comes? aka Help me decide on my next block cube project
    If I'm honest, Invasion is on the top of my list as well. It has a lot of nostalgic value and really cool and powerful cards. Multicolor theme is also something I haven't done before, and I love how iconic some of the stuff is. The biggest problem with Invasion block draft has always been the abysmal mana fixing for a multicolor block, but that problem is solved when I get to do the distribution myself. My starting point would be 4 of every tap land and painlands, and 2 of every Lair.

    Innistrad is great, but my peasant cube has a substantial graveyard theme with some of the fun build-arounds present in Innistrad. Also, I'm afraid the build-around nature of the set will make it feel similar to the Urza Cube if I make a block cube out of it. But, I'll take it into consideration, because it was indeed one of my favorite draft formats as well.
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on After Urza cube comes? aka Help me decide on my next block cube project
    A while ago, my best friend and I set out to build an Urza block cube. It was the block we started playing with, so there's a lot of nostalgic value there.
    You can find it here: Urza cube on CubeTutor. It's 600 cards, and has a 4/2/1 Common/Uncommon/Rare split, with even distributions per color. We looked at every card individually for rarity and then at what the cube needed. You'll find some pretty aggressive rarity changes to the original distribution.

    We have so much fun playing and building it, that I'm thinking of building another. So far we have 2 cubes: a peasant cube and the Urza block one. Both are pretty powerful and both have a certain constructed feel about them (with the Urza one taking it even further because you can get multiples of important cards).

    What I'm looking for now, is a cube that is built the same way as the Urza cube (4/2/1, block style) but with a different play feel to it. I think I probably want something a little less powerful and more limited-y. I might go for additional restrictions like pauper or peasant (still with the 4/2/1 distribution), but I don't want to start there.

    I'm deciding what kind of block I want to build, but I'm having trouble deciding. So, I thought I'd ask you guys for advice. Anyone have experience with or otherwise opinions on cubes built around these blocks:

    Mirage block
    Tempest block
    Invasion block
    other
    --
    Ravnica block
    Kamigawa block
    Zendikar block
    other

    I prefer to go old borders, but I'm interested in hearing about newer stuff as well.

    Thanks for the help!
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    Quote from bacchus2 »
    Quote from Squirrely »
    Quarry Colossus is also not a great target to cheat out.
    Can you explain this? I'm assuming you mean playing it a lot earlier than you otherwise could. In which case, wouldn't your opposing targets be smaller, and therefore make Quarry Colossus potentially larger when than Phyrexian Ingester when it hits the table? I assume you are referring to the fact that you will have less plains and they can get the creature back sooner, but if you are cheating out a 5/6 I assume the opposing early drops aren't going to be too threatening, and it is still a 2-for-1 because they still have to draw it.


    That's what I meant, especially in decks without access to a lot of white mana. Mainly Reanimate, because that's our main way to cheat creatures out (whereas rare cubes can have Show and Tell, Sneak Attack, etc). Ramp less so, because casting it probably means at least 1, probably 2 Plains. This makes it a better bounce spell, which is a fine ability.

    You're right that Colossus' body is likely to be bigger than Ingester's. I think this is probably a toss-up between Ingester actually removing the target and sometimes being bigger and Colossus always being a 5/6 and only soft removing it.

    My reasoning on Colossus vs Ingester: I don't want to play a lot of natural curve-toppers that cost 6+ mana. Outside of green, I have 12/555 cards that cost 6 or more mana that do not have a way to be useful in the early game 'by themselves' (cost reduction, cycling, stuff like that). The only true 7+ drops outside of green are 3 colorless Eldrazi, Inferno and Flame Wave (both of which are questionable but fun).

    In most decks, I don't expect to be able to cast 7+ drops consistently. So, the high drops in my cubes are reserved for super controlling decks, ramp, or reanimate.

    Cast @ 7 mana, normal speed: Similar effect. You get a large creature while removing something of theirs. Ingester is better if you want to remove big and/or higher value targets, Colossus is better if you just have to remove something to stabilize. Colossus wants to be in at least half-white decks, preferably more. Ingester can be splashed.

    Ramped out: I guess they're somewhat similar as well. Ingester is easier on the mana, which is definitely a plus if you're playing ramp. Ramp decks either have a lot of colorless mana or (more likely) a lot of green mana with 1 or 2 support colors. Only needing a single blue means you can also play it if you're short on ramp targets in your GR deck, whereas Quarry Colossus can't be splashed. Quarry Colossus is probably bigger if it comes out earlier, and putting a random 3/2 3rd from the top might even be better than removing it because it's likely to be outclassed on turn 7.

    Reanimated: Slight advantage Ingester. Reanimate, in my cube, is every color BUT white. B/U, B/R, B/G or a combination of them. Some cubes do run Unburial Rites, but that's less of a reanimate card than it is a value card and usually the white flashback is cast off of a single Plains or dual on the splash. Granted, Quarry Colossus still puts a card on top if you don't have a Plains, and it's bigger. Ingester is hard removal though, and you can hardcast it if necessary.

    Typing it out (also for myself), I guess it's closer than I thought. I can see arguments being made for both.

    On a related note, I think Ingester is a solid 1-1.5 as well.




    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    Quarry Colossus is also not a great target to cheat out.

    That said, I do think it's playable but I would probably give it a 1.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Enchantment Cube
    Quote from Brainz »
    Firebrand Archer (Yeey a red creature that cares about noncreature spells)


    Doesn't prowess care about non-creature in general?

    Bloodfire Expert
    Mage-Ring Bully
    Nimble-Blade Khenra
    Sanguinary Mage
    maybe even Thorned Moloch

    All seem decent enough if you can follow them up with cheap enchantments every (other) turn. With enough non-creatures it could play out like this cube's variant on landfall.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Peasant]] [Peasant Cube] This or That
    Tuskguard would be my cut without looking at the cube.
    I've never tried it, but here's my theory: Aggressive RG +1/+1 counter decks do not really want it (2/3 for 3, yuck). Midrange ones might, but the body is still very medium and outlast being sorcery speed means I can rarely find the time to actually put a counter on. Personally, I run Bramblewood Paragon in this slot, which has the added bonus of being a bear if you need it and is a soft build around for warriors (not hard to do). Crowned Ceratok might also be an option if you're not interested in a 2-drop.


    All of them are cuttable though..

    I really want to like Maulfist Revolutionary, but in practice he rarely works like I want him to. In my head I was playing it after a red 2-drop with +1/+1 counters, smashing for 4+ on turn 3. Triggers on EtB AND death, It's a Warrior for the Paragon, has a decent baseline p/t, trample makes him even somewhat appealing for the pants or Berserk pump deck. Looks great on paper, but his double green mana cost just makes him too awkward. The decks that want him the most are aggressively slanted Rg or Wg and those can't reliably cast a GG card on turn 3/4. I'll probably try him again sometime soon, but MAN was I frustrated with him when he was in my cube. I've seen a lot of +1/+1 counter decks, but he was mostly left in sideboards because of mana cost reasons.

    Thriving Rhino has been in my cube for a good while, but is really underwhelming. A 3/4 attacker for 3 is above curve, but not enough that having a 2/3 when he can't attack is really worth it. I'll probably swap him out for Crocanura myself.

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Average MTG Salvation Peasant cube
    I can only answer these from my standpoint, but:

    - A lot of us regular peasant cubers have gotten into the habit of powering down to create a less swingy format. Some of the 4 or higher cards are either too oppressive for most (Skullclamp), have too high variance (Hymn to Tourach can randomly win the game on turn 2), are just too hard to deal with for most decks (Maze of Ith), are too good against certain kinds of decks (Propaganda), etc. Also, too much efficient 2-for-1 removal doesn't really make a format healthier either.
    - I'm sure online or obscure legalities matter a bit.
    - Not sure on the Harrow thing, but I know people value variation over power sometimes. Yavimaya Elder is great but slow, so it depends on the cube. Mana Tithe and Force Spike are cards I always want to include, but when I do I find them lackluster because of how situational they are. I'm sure I'll keep testing them more than once.
    - Bounce over gainlands: this discussion pops up now and then. Personally, I would rather play the bouncelands and did for a long time. Thing is, getting value is easier than getting good mana in the early turns. We don't have great options for early mana fixing, and in that world I'd rather have the land that allows me have better mana on turn 2 than having to wait another turn. It's not even that I need to cast double colored 2-drops often (like most, I've cut all but the best couple). Just the higher probability of having the right color mana regardless of the color my other lands have. For me, that's the only reason.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Peasant]] [Peasant Cube] This or That
    I prefer Otherworldly Journey because it is good outside of a dedicated flicker deck. I also support +1/+1 counters as an archetype, and many of the staple creatures for that archetype gain additional synergies with flickering. Add that to being able to remove blockers and dodge AoE spells, and Otherworldly Journey is well worth the extra mana.


    I don't disagree Journey is more versatile, but Cloudshift is definitely not only good in a dedicated flicker deck. You can rescue a creature from removal with it, and 1 mana is a lot easier to keep up if that's what you need it to do.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [UST] - Unstable spoilers for Peasant cubes
    What about 9th edition Loxodon Warhammer?

    I must admit it's a fun thought experiment how much, and which, cards you can change so that Knight of the Kitchen Sink gets a little less (or more) busted.

    8th edition Pyroclasm
    Unlimited (or other) Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares obviously.
    Unlimited (or other) Control Magic (this sounds especially fun)

    I like going Knight, white border Giant Growth into Unlimited Berserk as well.


    Also, Edicts and -X/-X effects are good ways to deal with it as well.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [UST] - Unstable spoilers for Peasant cubes
    Quote from haganbmj »
    Quote from Squirrely »
    I'm still not sure how many silver bordered cards I want in my cube. Cards like Amateur Auteur or Old Guard are only slightly better (if they even are) than what's available in black border Magic. So they improve the cube a bit, but it's also like playing with cards that are less like Magic cards.


    A card like Ameteur Auteur doesn't have a silver-bordered effect so I don't really mind including it in my list as if it wasn't. I'm not sure I'll go with some of the watermark or flavor text or longest name stuff. I had Frazzled Editor in my cube at one point and it was just a confusing pain.


    Agreed, but it's not really about the gameplay for me. As long as cards don't have a silly spoken command or any weird physical dexterity involved, I don't have a problem with cards doing something unusual. Knight of the Kitchen Sink is, ahem, borderline.

    For me, it's the whole feel of the card. Silver border cards just 'feel' silly. I know esthetics shouldn't matter when selecting cards for my cube, and in normal cases they don't, but Un-sets just ooze silliness. It's so Un-like 'normal' Magic that it almost feels - to me - like playing with proxies, gold-bordered cards or printouts of my own made-up cards. All of which I have no problems with, except that I don't like to do so in my own cube.

    I understand that it's totally not a based on rational thinking, so yeah. I'm definitely going to run More or Less, and include Booster Tutor again. And, probably, if I get used to the fact these silver weirdos are in, I might as well run a couple others as well if they make sense gameplay-wise.

    So that means Amateur Auteur as well if I decide to put that effect back into my cube.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [UST] - Unstable spoilers for Peasant cubes
    Cards I'm at least likely to buy:

    Amateur Auteur
    Knight of the Kitchen Sink
    Old Guard
    Crow Storm
    More or Less
    Novellamental
    Sly Spy
    Common Iguana (don't we have something like this?)
    Hammer Helper
    Super-Duper Death Ray
    Ground Pounder
    Slaying Mantis
    Cogmentor
    Proper Laboratory Attire

    I'm still not sure how many silver bordered cards I want in my cube. Cards like Amateur Auteur or Old Guard are only slightly better (if they even are) than what's available in black border Magic. So they improve the cube a bit, but it's also like playing with cards that are less like Magic cards.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [XLN] Ixalan in Peasant Cubes (Uncommons/Commons only)
    Has anyone here tried out Adanto Vanguard?


    Haven't cubed in a while so the testing is not extensive, but it's been fine in the couple of drafts it's been in. The biggest reason I've put it into my cube, though, is the presence of auras in my cube. Being able to protect itself without being terrible without pants is a great thing.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Peasant]] The Peasant Cube Discussion Thread (C/U/)
    After checking the average list Phitt made, I noticed a couple of cards that hadn't really been on my radar (anymore), but still are in the average list.

    Trueheart Duelist
    Belfry Spirit
    Blessed Alliance
    Oketra's Monument

    Labyrinth Guardian
    Illusory Ambusher
    Rise from the Tides

    Weapon Surge

    Maulfist Revolutionary

    Should I be running these?
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Average MTG Salvation Peasant cube
    This is great!

    Personally, comparing it to my own cube made me aware of which 'average' cards I cut over the years for specific archetype cards. And that some should be reconsidered.


    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [UST] - Unstable spoilers for Peasant cubes
    I hadn't really considered adding anything before, but after reading this More or Less looks awesome. Man, Booster Tutor should come in again as well.







    .. Now if only I could find time to cube again in the near future.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
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