Indeed. I still run Lightning Bolt, Dark Ritual which, while not a high pick, it is a great hook for people new to pauper cubing (as in, showing them a pack with dark ritual in it alongside other things works well to draw them into the format, as many have an idea that pauper cube is very low in its power level), Giant Growth (which still manages to suprise every time I think it is almost too bad to run anymore). I am trying to find white and blue "boons" that would still be decent. At the moment I am considering either Brainstorm or Ponder to be the "blue boon", as Brainstorm is a draw 3 with a downside (but has the important 3 printed on it, as well as the downside sometimes being an upside) and Ponder honestly feels very "boony" to me (it feels almost like an attempt at a more balanced Ancestral Recall). I am still unsure what the white boon should be, Healing Salve just doesn't do it for me (or anyone, I guess).
For white boons, there's Pollen Remedy which doesn't look like much of an improvement over Healing Salve at first glance, but splitting damage prevention among multiple creatures at least has the potential for a blowout in your favor. I'm testing it right now as part of a land-sacrifice cycle. Or if you're OK with a color-shifted boon you could always go with Sunlance.
I really don't know if it's right that 21 out of 22 of red's spells are removal though, I suppose the problem is that in red commons there's not many other interesting effects?
Where have you been for the past few sets, man? Did you miss the addition of looting to red's portfolio? Looting is awesome even if you aren't using it to set up flashback or threshold or Exhume. Card filtering is almost as good as proper card advantage; nothing feels quite as good as pitching a late-game land or an early-game fatty to draw gas. Faithless Looting was easily the best common in all of Dark Ascension. Volcanon mentioned Dangerous Wager from AVR, but I prefer Wild Guess myself -- it did good work for me at the Magic Celebration event.
On the Aura front, Madcap Skills works well enough in conjunction with blocker-denial and burn. Lightning Talons also turns anything into a huge hard-to-block threat that makes a great blocker itself.
PS to Volcanon: The card you're thinking of is Brute Force. And yes, it is good. It's kind of like Mana Tithe in that it catches many players off-guard; they don't expect that kind of combat trick from red.
I realised a big problem in my cube. I have too less creatures. Actually only about 50% of my cube are creatures. Followed by this problem I can often see great control-heavy decks, that are still loosing the game, because they having nothing to block or attack and their few creatures get removed, because other decks have much removal aswell.
Has anyone else had this problem aswell?
Only green (45/60) and white (38/60) got an Ok amount of creatures, but the other colors need more.
I'm going to start reorganizing my cube with black. I'm going to cut removal spells, that are low on the curve, like Vendetta, Disfigure, Dead Weight and maybe even Tragic Slip, because a deck shouldn't curve with removal spells, but creatures instead. Another point is, that the job of removal should mainly be to get rid of threats and not everything you could kill. This is the reason, why I'll keep Eyeblight's Ending and Rend Flesh above these.
Yeah, the early incarnations of my cube were a little light too, and it's definitely easy to go overboard with the removal in pauper. I think I've finally hit a good creature/noncreature balance but I'm still trimming removal to make room for other cool things like combat tricks and auras.
Regarding your cc4 and cc5 options: the best pick in each slot depends on what archetypes you want to support. Bloodhunter Bat supports the Orzhov extortion racket, but Mortis Dogs might be better for pure B/x aggro. Weed-Pruner Poplar is a good answer to G/W token spam, but if that hasn't been a problem in your format then Rotting Legion or Pewter Golem might be better finishers.
I run Auramancer, but I am not really qualified to comment on this, as I run it due to it being my pet card (favourite artwork in the history of the game), and it is solid but unspectacular. I would say that the "average" pauper cube would need maybe 7 or 8 more good enchantments before it became a widely playable card (can easily be supported if you add a sub theme, but not worth it for a normal cube at the moment, at least in my opinion).
Neat. I currently run 29 enchantments out of 360 cards, including the full Zendikon cycle and a few other land auras that don't see much play in other cubes as part of my land-management theme. After adding a few Bestow Nymphs, would you say that's enough to make Auramancer strong?
I've made great experiences with the Gnarlid. In a GW deck I often have between 4 and 6 auras (Pacifism-like stuff counts aswell) and with at least one of them the Gnarlid is already an evasive 3/3 for cc3. Even stuff like Abundant Growth and Utopia Sprawl are important.
OK, I'm sold on the Aura Gnarlid. I'll start looking for room to test it.
Over in the Theros spoiler thread we've been talking about the recently-spoiled cycle of Nymphs with the Bestow mechanic. And it got me thinking: how many enchantments does a cube have to include before cards like Auramancer, Aura Gnarlid, and Ethereal Armor become really good?
Posting it here because the question seems more like a matter of general cube-crafting theory than anything specific to just Theros.
I'm trying not to get my hopes up... but I'd really like to see a cubeable common blue kraken with the monstrify mechanic. Blue needs something better than Harbor Serpent and Scrapdiver Serpent in the Sea Monster department. For flavor reasons. Poseidon wills it!
I also like the idea of bestow for the same reason I liked bloodrush when it was first spoiled: I love cards that can be two different things, especially when one of those things is a creature. With bloodrush I could cube an extra couple of combat tricks without diluting my format's creature density. Bestow would let me do the same thing with Auras.
With Thassa being spoiled I like our odds of seeing some new commons that scry too! Here's hoping we get some new scrying commons in black and red to go with the blue stuff that everybody already cubes (Preordain, Foresee, Condescend). Then again, we might just get reprints of Putrid Cyclops and Riddle of Lightning.
Spellshapers are kind of fun: I always like having the option to pitch a dead card for some value. Here's a mix-and-match cycle I'm thinking about throwing into my own cube when I finally get around to overhauling it.
Syphon Life was just reprinted as a common in Modern Masters, too, if you want another retrace option for black. And speaking of Modern Masters, I've been impressed by this cycle while watching online MMA drafts:
Obviously Sylvan Bounty is outclassed by the deep stack of superior mana-fixing options available in green and should never be cubed. But I'm actually thinking about adding the other four to my own cube, since I do a lot of Winchester drafting and mana-fixing is so crucial in that format. Don't think of them as horribly overcosted spells -- think of them as cheap instant land tutors for each color that do something else if you topdeck them during the late game, long after other land tutors would do nothing but thin your deck.
I'll second the request for discussion on the ratio of removal spells to their targets. This is an important topic for ALL cube designers, pauper or otherwise. Finding the sweet spot is hard, and I would welcome any insights you might be able to share.
On the topic of Ryan's SCG article:
Whatever else I may think about his cube choices, it's always nice to see our format get more publicity. I personally don't like storm, metalcraft, or infect as pauper cube sub-archetypes, but he gets props for trying to think holistically about cube design instead of just jamming pauper power cards in there. And 5-color control shouldn't be too easy? Is that a real concern for other cubists? I run plenty of fixing and 5cc hasn't been particularly overbearing for me; 2-color decks of any stripe usually take the day regardless.
Crableg Shark is definitely going in over Vigean Hydropon, which has failed to impress me. Assuming, of course, that Gatecrash doesn't show us an even better Simic gold card.
What do you guys think of this one?
Creature - Illusion (C)
When Leyline Phantom deals combat damage, return it to its owner's hand. (Return it only if it survived combat.)
My first impression was that it stinks but now I'm not so sure how to evaluate it. A 5/5 body for 5 mana is certainly above the curve for what blue usually gets, but that's one heck of a drawback. Or is it? By the time you can cast this in pauper, it's not like you'll usually have much better things to do with your mana besides recasting it. It has an expensive form of pseudo-vigilance: swing in to deal 5 or eat a chump blocker, then recast it untapped after combat to discourage the backswing. Of course if you block with it you'll lose some tempo recasting it on your next turn and not being able to attack, but your opponent will have to throw a lot of chump attackers at it to keep you off-tempo for very long. And I'll say it again: 5/5 for 5 is HUGE for blue. It can't carry auras, equipment, or an encoded cipher very well, but anything that big generally doesn't need them to wreck face.
Re: Hoojo's ratings list
Wow. Just wow. I'm not saying that I agree with all of the ratings, but I shall DEFINITELY be referring back to those posts whenever I look to rejigger my cube in the future.
Re: the new card spoilers
These are siiiiiiiiiiiick, and will be tested as soon I get my greedy hands on them. Extort bear? Heck yes. Instant-speed hybrid Prey Upon? DOUBLE YES. This is exactly the sort of quality I want to see in the rest of the common hybrids from Gatecrash. All aboard the hybrid-section train, baby!
So the real question becomes: how much anti-air tech does green need? If the answer is "4 or 5 cards," then the Croconura probably makes the cut just because it can get big over time. It should grow to 3/5 quite consistently in most decks, I think.
Minor news from the Gatecrash spoiler page: they're reprinting Skyknight Legionnaire from the first Ravnica set. I don't like the new art so much but hey, it's still the second-best Boros common out there (for now, anyway). Here's hoping they reprint the best one --Goblin Legionnaire -- while they're at it.