I've managed to get 6 chums to come draft this weekend and I decided to shave off a few poorly supported archetypes from my cube and improve some of the curves of the different colours.
I decided to give blue and black a few more top end finishers and put Kalastria Nightwatch back in my cube. It is currently rated borderline on the evaluate everything thread. Ambitious Aetherborn and Prowling Pangolin are the only other creatures that have comparable stats at the five mana slot.
It doesn't seem too difficult to turn a vanilla 4/5 into a major flying threat. Most pauper cubes have some extort creatures and this makes Kalastria Nightwatch perfectly acceptable in black and it becomes a staple in a deck with some life-leeching abilities or extort. There are also incidental lifegain creatures like Vampire Envoy (which is about black's best defensive creature at the 3 mana slot), Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Rotfeaster Maggot, Falkenrath Noble, Cartouche of Ambition, virtually every Orzhov gold card and a whole bunch of white lifegain cards.
I'm commenting purely on the replacement for Hymn to Tourach. I also had a game from a draft a few months ago where I just lost the game on my second turn due to Hymn to Tourach. I lost my land and my only castable creature and just couldn't cast anything after that. You could consider Wrench Mind which is the same cost but doesn't potentially win you the game when cast on your second turn. There is also Unburden which is good when it's good and can be cycled when it isn't; three mana vs two is a big difference though.
I agree with others that these aren't really cards you want in an aggressive deck. You generally want to save them to snag the last two cards in your opponent's hand. This can be a big game vs a lot of decks and generally favours more midrange strategies.
If wandering wolf gets a borderline for archetype support then surely any card that becomes useful in the non-powered cube archetypes should get some consideration as well, such as the captive. In my cube, games go long all the time, partly because of what is in the cube and largely because most of my mates aren't very experienced deck builders or magic players. Any cards that give additional benefits lategame seem good to me.
Juvenile Gloomwidow (borderline) & Garruk's Companion (cubeable) I think that double mana on any two drop you really need to play on curve is unplayable. I think they are both borderline. Although 3/2 on turn two is nice, it still trades with everything and won't be castable on turn two half the time. If Terrain Elemental is cubeable then it either needs to go to staple or Garruk's Companion needs to go to borderline as the elemental is way ahead due to being reliably cast on turn two.
Werebear is cubeable and Ulvenwald Captive is borderline. Outside of a deck that is looking to mill for delve which in itself kind of plays against threshold, although it does give you another card that can cash in on cards in the graveyard; I would prefer the opportunity to guarantee my mana dork turning into a 4/6 beater for 7 mana that can still also provide an extra 2 mana. I also think being unpingable is a solid positive of the captive. Defender is largely irrelevant as you would so rarely find the chance to attack with either until they transform. I think the Werebear suits more aggressive decks, but do you really want to spend your second turn ramping in such decks? Has anyone had a chance to play Ulvenwald Captive much? Also compare it to cubeable Voyaging Satyr, the satyr fixes double mana and can combo off with one or two other cards in your cube that enchant land, but the body will never be relevant and this card is junk when drawn late, unless you have those land enchantments when it might ramp you to your 7 or 8 drop. It is rated cubeable. Unless I had Utopia Sprawl or Overgrowth in my deck I would take the other two every time.
Quilled Wolf A pet card of mine. Is being a 2/2 on turn two bad enough to put this at borderline, even though this is a totally acceptable manasink draw late game, unlike the majority of green 2 drops? Wandering Wolf is rated cubeable, but similar to the Voyaging Satyr it is only of any value when comboed with a handful of auras, unless you like using combat tricks pre-combat. Unless I have a decent number of auras in my deck I would take the Quilled Wolf every time.
If you can't tell, I place a lot of value in two drops that are good when drawn on curve or drawn late.
I will be picking up the new Snap for the artwork. It's like a million times better than the old.
I was thinking about Minotaur Sureshot and then once again pondering why I see so few green 3 drops with reach in people's cubes. There are a lot of 1 toughness two and three drop flyers about in most cubes. All you ever see is Crocanura though. Defensive reach creatures make good defenders all round. It seems most other options are ranked as borderline or bad.
The old classic Woolly Spider blocks every flyer in pauper cube and survives. It kills all two drop flyers and even a lot of three and four drop flyers. It also has acceptable artwork for an old card. That seems pretty awesome to me. The double green on turn three is a bit of a doozy, but it is relevant all game so doesn't always have to come down on curve.
Ember Weaver I have cheated this into green before as it becomes a boss in red green decks. However, as a strictly green card it is merely acceptable.
Netcaster Spider Quite reasonable as it does its job early and will trade for the bigger flyers. It can go in for the attack and put out damage if required.
Sporecap Spider is unexciting, but it blocks everything your opponents can throw at it until turn 5 most likely, flying or otherwise. It will happily kill all 2 drop flyers.
Silhana Starfletcher Not as resilient as the other two options, but it also fixes and ramps. It seems to be a jack of all trades, master of
Frostweb Spider Everyone always seems to hate on this card saying that you will never get counters on it. However, if this isn't getting counters on it, then surely it is doing its job and has delayed your opponent's early flyers from attacking?
Pincer Spider is acceptable on curve and still has relevance when drawn late. Neither option really blows the mind though.
Oran-Rief Recluse doesn't really do enough on curve, but the six mana version kills a flyer and leaves you with an unimpressive blocker on turn six. It also seems like a sideboard only card most of the time. I think I would prefer a Tangle Spider and be limited to only being able to eat an attacker, but getting a more useful body in return.
Honourable mention goes to Juvenile Gloomwidow at the two drop spot. Unfortunately the double green makes it unacceptable.
Is the main drawback to these spideys the fact that most of them are unimpressive when you need to put the hurts on your opponents? The 2 power variants seem acceptable at the 3 mana slot.
I feel your pain. I rarely get to draft my cube, but it is frustrating seeing cards going around that you know will never get picked because someone isn't in the archetype. This is especially true if you can't get 8 people to the draft. At the same time it does result in playables moving closer towards an actual booster draft. A powered cube usually results in 30-35 playables for me and that just seems over the top.
I've come to the realization that I will need to construct a masters cube to get the mix of commons and rares that will support viable archetypes that I want to support. I recently culled my pauper cube from 405 back down to 360 and junked the real fringe cards that were there to support flaky archetypes. I don't feel any archetypes have really improved with this release as far as pauper goes other than a bunch of new highly efficient green creatures.
A 3/4 with reach for 4GG is a bum deal. Obviously the goal is to eat an opponent's big flyer and survive the fight, leaving you with a bonus honking spider on the board. Green can get something like Aerie Bowmasters for 2GG with the sometime bonus of megamorph and play a Prey Upon for G at sorcery speed. The spider is an instant speed version of both for an extra mana that requires your opponent to attack you or you risk wasting the six mana you held up or not getting to eat something for your troubles. In a Blue/Green deck this downside might not be as bad.
Alternatively, one might argue an Oran-Rief Recluse guarantees you kill your opponent's scariest flyer and gives you a body capable of blocking the smaller flyers present in most cubes for the same price at sorcery speed.
Or is the issue more that when you're green and spending six mana you want to be dropping some terrifying fatty with trample?
I'm not crazy about this card or anything. I was just looking at green flash creatures that give psuedo removal with the bonus of having a creature on the board. In a powered cube this thing doesn't have much chance of ever being relevant.
I like the cards that give inevitability to games and end stalemates. You only have to worry about shaving off the most powerful cards if they will have a negative impact on the archetypes you are going for. If it is really difficult to win with a ramp deck or a swarm deck, see what you can remove or add to give those archetypes a better shot.
I dig on your cube and the oldschool cards I remember playing with from 5th edition and onwards. I feel that a third of the cards will never find their way into any decks due to the massive difference in power levels. If you include a card in a cube people need to have a reason to play it. There are so many cards I can see that would never make a case for themselves in a deck.
You also have a massive amount of fixing which means making 3-5 colour decks with all the best cards easy to draft.
I want to see more powerful beasts. Wirewood Savage seems like one of Green's best common card draw options. I had her in my cube for one draft session, but I ended up including too many sub-par beasts that didn't really have any other synergies so I have since removed her along with Advocate of the Beast.
I'm also happy with guild cards. I've got so many I would be happy running currently. I would prefer more of the either/or double colour ones though. I could justify adding an additional multicolour card as such cards can still go into a deck that only has one of the colours.
Anyone had a chance to draft their cube with any of the clue creatures in them? How have people found them. They seem great value when you have nothing to do with your mana anyway. Just a little unexciting otherwise.