The question isn't whether you think Shock as strong as other burn spells, because it clearly isn't. However if the average power of burn spells was brought down in a cube would you draft Shock, I would. Shock won't be kept in the final version, but it happened to be there when I copy-pasted.
It's better to give cards labels for their general playablity. I want people to evaluate how strong these cards are for their cube. Numerical ratings imply evaluating in a vacuum. I feel it gets too easy to get caught up in finding the strongest versions of each card, rather than trying to create the "funnest" environment to showcase the best commons.
I'm making a set review for Eldritch Moon. I hope to have it live before the Pre-Release this weekend. As I was writing reviews for the new cards I realised that the judging rubric didn't represent the spectrum of power-levels properly. Bad will be replaced by with Underpowered. Borderline will be replaced with Niche. Staple has been made a little less demanding. The cards used are old examples and will be updated to reflect the current rubric standard, as well as be fitting to the set. Also it would be a good idea to include some corner cases in the examples of where the boundaries of the categories are.
Staple: Once in, this card is very unlikely to ever come out of the cube because of its power level, and in any case should be cubed with in all current pauper cubes. Examples are: Eldrazi Skyspawner, Searing Spear, Evolving Wilds.
Cubable: This card is good, but not so good that it demands inclusion. Especially in a small cube, there tend to be more cubable or higher cards than slots so not all deserve inclusion. Examples: Mark of the Vampire, Kozilek's Channeler.
I like Manic Vandal and Keldon Vandals a lot more than the bear versions. They're some of the easiest ways to build up card advantage. You get to blow something up and keep attacking! It's very rare for me to ever feel like they're stranded in hand with no targets. I agree Torch Fiends are at the bottom of the two-drops though.
I had another question for red, though. Do y'all think Martyr of Ashes has value as one of the rare (pun intended) sweepers at common? Are there any others you would put ahead of it? Aside from all the dividable burn spells, I mean
I like Manic Vandal it is fairly rare for him to not have a target even if there isn't one on turn 1. However it is not a card for aggro decks, where Torch Fiend is much better. I cut Keldon Vandals because Manic Vandal was already filling his role of creature body + artifact removal. I am trying out Defiant Ogre as a big smashy 6-drop in red, but so far haven't tested him.
Martyr of Ashes is good. It fills a niche for a big early sweep controlling Red decks. But red isn't exactly lacking board clear with it's dividable damage. If Red for you is all aggro, then it's definitely cutable. In saying that there isn't any good replacements for Martyr of Ashes as it's simply the best there is for it's effect.
Even if you don't have double red t2, dashing it is still a fine play. The true power of Mardu Scout is if you draw it up at parity or in the late game. Haste changes combat significantly, its a better mechanic later in the game than early.
Imo, it's one of reds deck 2 drops, but it isn't the strongest t2 play.
Clouldstate gives the opponent the option of waiting it out and face-tanking the 6 damage so they trade 1 for 0. It also isn't a good card past turn 2-3. I would only see myself running it in an aggro deck. Even in that scenario you are better off running Welkin Tern and its functionally reprint.
On that note I have been putting in more Welkin Tern like cards into blue. I am trying to give blue a stronger identity for being the evasion colour, whilst culling off some evasion dudes in black and white. Even though there isn't much of an identity crisis in pauper blue, it will give people a reason for drafting blue as a 2nd colour if they are looking for evasion beaters over black or white.
It depends with what you are going to fill in the gap left by tier 2 removal spells. You can replace it with more creatures, but for me that goes against blacks 55/45 creature split that I am aiming for. There are also only so many cubeable non-removal spells in black before you end up with a backlog of cards consistently not drafted or under-performing.
I am all for not over saturating the environment. But I find that slightly underpowered removal makes for more interesting draft environments. You want to kill creatures in black, but you shouldn't just be handed all the answers on a silver plater. You should have to jump through some hoops. I big part of that is toning down the removal in other colours. Green should ideally only have Savage Punchs and anti-flying cards. Red mostly 1 to 3 damage cards unless you are paying 4+ mana and not in absurd quantities like most cubes are at the moment.
Maybe it aggros problem is there are too many cheap equipments running around. It's easier to just blame the removal as a culprit.
Slightly raise the average CC of both creatures and spells in Red and possibly black. Add more double B cards in black. Basically this puts a premium on low cost aggro cards and forces then to run slower by about a turn which gives A LOT more time for midrange decks and lategame decks to set up.
If you are looking for more specifics add more control orientated creatures and token producing in for spells ex, Wall of Heat, Dragon Fodder, Dynacharge. They are weaker architypes than BR aggro for sure but help dilute the concentration of great aggro beaters and cheap burn.
In black cut most Tier 2 removal Last Gasp and replace it with Tier 3 removal Hideous End. This keeps the crazy Doom Blades that you come to expect and puts a premium on them. Then it removes cheap removal from being omnipresent in any deck that wants it. This raises the value of cheap control creatures and 3-5cc aggro-midrange creatures. Also it keeps Blacks identity of killing stuff and people will keep picking these removal spells and playing them.
All 4 of those cards provide a surprisingly robust core for the Aura deck as often the other pieces are already in a cube. It is a surprisingly low risk high reward strategy for anyone not already doing it in both cube construction and drafting. Then all that is needed is to add a couple of extra spicy auras as you have (arguably) the strongest draftable deck
Has anyone else been playing with Beetleform Mage. I'm really impressed with how good it is.
I still want to include more counters, but I don't have that many things I can cut. Another question I'm asking myself is: Remove Soul (and similar removal) vs. Syncopate (and similar removal).
The biggest threat in the cube still are creatures, while it's often very helpful to be able to counter removal. Condescend has always done very well for me. Is it good enough to include other, similar counters?
I think a possible cut for more counters could be Into the Roil. I'm nearly always bouncing creatures with it, so it's mainy just the strictly worse Repulse.
Remove Soul is stronger than Syncopate. There are just more creatures that must be stopped (with the exception of a couple of bombs) for a control deck. And it is able to stop that annoying early beat down. Decks often have excess mana late game and control decks can't always afford to hold up a bajillion mana each turn to potentially stop that one game breaking card.
Into the Roil has admittedly impressed me a lot less recently for this reason. It effectively costs more mana for the same effect. It's still a good card, but if I decide that I only need one Repulse effect, I would cut it.
Also has anyone got any suggestions of more mana sinks for the late game, because often 2 decks will trade cards until they both have a big pile of land with nothing to do and that 1/1 beater going all the way. (There is always a random 1/1 beater.) And as Rubin said, this is another reason why X Burn spells are good.
Of course you can ramp for cc5, while they can also simply be played at the end of a midrange deck without any ramp. I'm ramping them aswell, but mainly with the Elves. The cc5 creatures don't need Kodama's Reach and Cultivate. I don't like booth for limited, because they are a little bit like Mind Rot.
In some situation the Rot can be Nuts. When your opponent has only 2 cards left and definitly no lands, this card wins games, but when you cast it too early, he can discard just lands or a land and something he don't need and keep the more important cards. In this case the Rot was still +1 for you, but without quality and you tapped 3 mana in your mainphase, without any direct influence to the board. Apart from this small time slot, it's bad. Reach and Cultivate are similar. In Turn 3 you can ramp very hard and fix aswell, but if you have 5 or 6 lands in play and get this card from the top it sucks. You bind 3 mana in the mainphase and the biggest effect you have from it is, to thin out your libary a little bit.
What I did, was cutting all the over the top spells, that nearly can't be played without a ramp and in addition every "ramp more" ramp spell, that sucks later. I kept only the turn 1 mana elfs, Wall of Roots, Edge of Autumn, Krosan Tusker and of course Yavimaya Elder. The elves are a great onedrop for midrange decks and all the other ramp spells I kept got all a high flexibility, so they are never a terrible topdeck.
Agreed on the fact that 5 drops are often curve toppers for non-ramping decks.
However in ramping decks you want to load up on the 5 slot. It's actually a sweet spot on the curve for them. It's the last place where creatures are commonly costed effectively, and in those decks you have the tools to be aiming to consistently be dropping them on t5, where if unanswered will almost end a game by its own. That is the true power of ramp in pauper is to act almost like a combo deck. Often weak to removal, but it pumps of huge threats lightning fast.
I've been finding Cultivate a lot more lack-luster recently, but I still believe in them. I might have to retire one of them.
Jilt and Frostburn are must plays in Izzet in my opinion, but both Chronarch and Steamcore are actually worse than one would think. Both are value creatures and 2-for-1s, but the lackluster bodies are pretty weak sometimes. Chronarch is huge when it gets back a red XR damage spell, but otherwise it's just really slow and clunky. Steamcore has similar problems. I think it's fine to run either of those two.
Sums it up nicely. Steamcore is lacking but he's still an okay inclusion, but really it's up to you whether you want to run Chronarch or Steamcore in the 3rd card slot.