This is a very generic 720 card Powered Vintage Cube.
Here are some modifications that are slightly different from other cubes:
- White has a much higher density of 1 drops than traditional 720 Powered Cubes. This is because competition for card slots in Black, Red and Green are much higher than White. I decided to move the 1-drops more to white and open up slots in Green/ Black and Red for other archetypes. 1 mana 2/1 are always strong (and necessary) in cube as a viable counterbalance to the powerful but slow blue decks. This allows white to shine in cube, where it traditionally was weak - it could not contribute very well to the most broken archetypes.
- Red has a mono Red Polymorph archetype. Traditionally, this was a red-blue archetype, however I moved it as a mono red archetype as it pairs better with Red's Sneak attack, Green's Eureka/ Oath as well as White's tokens. Blue did not provide much support for the archetype and competition for blue's slots are very tight. Polymorph archetype provides a second outlet for the red storm rituals which would otherwise become parasitic.
- There is the Blue-Black Inverter Combo. The cards all slot very nicely into other archetypes as Tainted Pact, Demonic Consultation are excellent tutors for other combos while Jace/ Inverter of Truth play a decent rule in
- There is the Intruder Alarm Combo to pair with the traditional UR Splinter Twin Combo. The cards slot nicely with the Twin pieces for additional untap, aristocrats cards, tokens or just midrange decks in general.
- Green has a lands package, primarily with red that focuses on playing extra lands a turn from graveyard/ off the top of the library. The deck could win through Ramp, Dark Depths Combo, Field of the Dead or recurring strip mine.
Falkenrath Pit Fighter is an incredible 1 drop on its own, but could also serve as a discard outlet for reanimator strategies.
On the other hand, Rankle's flexibility + haste means its incredibly strong on almost any board and sacrifice + discard makes it a strong Braids/ Smokestack style enabler.
Uro works as a ramp spell and a payoff at the same time, while buffering life and allows instant speed flicker shenanigans.
The problem with these cards is their powerful and flexibility allows them to essentially be played in any deck while at the same time serving as powerful stand alone cards in both fair decks/ archetype decks.
This creates two problems:
1. Weaker cards struggle to keep up - such examples the gap between cards like Heartless Act, Cultivate, Magma Jet that would otherwise be fine cards on their own struggle to keep up with the Oko/ Uros/ Ragavan etc.
2. Decks often have more playables than they should - This isn't a bad thing, but this pushes a lot of cards that are good everywhere out of mainboard play.
As a consequence, I believe cubes should be actively cutting the cards that are playable everywhere, but never great anywhere cards with more narrow cards and play incredibly well in 1-2 archetypes.
I believe in order for decks to have a fighting chance, they should play more high risk, high reward cards like Summer Bloom or Collected Company that may be narrow but are incredibly high reward to compete in a format filled with powerful Vintage level cards.
I'm curious as to how your efforts go but I think in a 720 powered cube those "knife to a gun fight" moments are going to be unavoidable. Going with more archetype support as opposed to multi archetype filler will definite raise the power of the archetype decks. My concern would be in a cube with that high of draft to draft variance you are going to have more unplayable piles after drafting. But I have absolutely zero experience with a cube that size so I could be way off base.
With a deck rounded out with cards like Heartless Act and Cultivate you're always going to be functional if often outclassed. If you have a green ramp deck (that isn't lands focused) and are staring down summer bloom and CoCo for playable 23 you're going to be in for a bad time too. Very curious to see how this feels for your playgroup.
The story I been seeing is these generic all-round cards are primarily sitting in sideboards and don't make the main deck primarily because of their power level and how these new cards are becoming more and more playable all around the cube.
I think Summer Bloom might be too narrow and the correct decision might be to go to 1 cultivate rather than 0. (My original theory was summer bloom would help storm + lands archetype - but it was a bit too swingy)
On the other hand, Collected Company has been decent - its not as narrow as most people think (especially in a more creature combo centric cube).
The third reason for this decision has to do with the new mulligan rule - I found this artificially reduces the need for enablers and opens up the opportunity for players to draft archetypes rather than fair decks.
I found creature decks need a minimum of 4 removal (including cards like Grist, the Hunger Tide). This number could go down if the deck is more combo centric or up to 5 if it a slower flicker archetype. Westvale Abbey allows this number of removal without diluting the mainboard plan by too much.
I didn't find the card as narrow as most people thought it would be and its opportunity cost isn't too high.
On the other hand, I found it provided a bit of a "fail safe" if your creature deck's curve is good, but their synergy might be weak, having a card like Westvale Abbey might help.
But either way, my playgroup will be playing this a bit more in the future and we'll see how it pans out.
Westvale abbey competing in a land slot makes it a bit different. Just a completely different opportunity cost to make a deck and I like having lot's of utility lands available.
If you are ending up with too many playables then this sort of experiment makes sense for your play group. The filler type cards definitely don't make sense in that situation. In my smaller cube we have a high density of lands and moxen (360 powered) so we usually aren't flush with extra playables so unplayable archetype cards in your colors are killer when you're short on playables. But again we are talking about very different environments so my experience isn't that comparable to yours.
Taking another look at your cube you seem to have a much higher density of 3 drops creatures than I do so CoCo makes more sense there but I'm still skeptical because it was very bad when I tested it years back. I hope it works for your group!
There is a movement towards Utopia Sprawl and Wild Growth after the printing of Ignoble Hierarch and the full talisman cycle, we could remove all 2 CMC green mana dorks and replace them with a 1 CMC mana cost counter part.
I ran the numbers after cutting all the 2 CMC mana dorks and I felt needed 2 more 1 CMC mana dorks, hence i added:
- I feel Deathrite Shaman has the required threshold with Prismatic Vista, Sinkhole, Horizon lands, mirage fetches. It's not a perfect mana dork, but he could be very strong in a 3-4c deck that has 3-4 of these lands or in an aristocrats/ burn deck where his drain is relevant.
- Jeweled Amulet has been advocated by some cube curators. Its not a perfect mana dork but it does a very serviceable job in the artifact.dec, storm or combo decks (which my cube plays a lot).
This isn't to say I don't feel they're strong cards on their own - I personally could Jeweled Amulet as half a ritual and half a mana dork.
Because Jeweled Amulet and Deathrite are only "half" a mana dork, I felt I needed to add one more and I thought about Arboreal Grazer as a possible candidate, but I felt his ceiling was too low (but also no one else in the community considered him).
The alternative, I looked in the other direction and saw Collected Company - it allows you to potentially cheat 6 mana worth of spells for 4 mana + the instant speed is also relevant for catching up on tempo + assemble your combo. (This was an idea that was brought up in the Affinity forum post Mox Opal ban such that you can circumvent the loss of Opal with Goose + Company - but it didn't go too far there.)
I also thought about Eldritch Evolution for a similar role - it may make an appearance one day.
The idea is an aggressive or combo creature deck that normally would like to have 3-5 mana dork could play with 0.5-1 less (depending on the archetype) and play Collected Company and the deck would be equally good as if it had the 1 CMC mana dork.
I also found with more removal creatures, especially for planeswalkers like Grist, the Hunger Tide, the aristocrats deck could play a more controlling game and could operate with fewer mana dorks.
I extended this idea to Westvale Abbey and the theory is the aristocrats/ flicker deck would lose a 2 CMC mana dork (and hence they would have some slower draws), but this isn't as bad as their deck could play board stalls better than before.
The idea is the majority of these decisions are based on calculations I've ran. The rough idea is have rough estimates for both the minimum and recommended number of enablers for each archetype. (Green 1-drops, Red 1-drop etc.)
1. Strong enablers but are strong everywhere (0.5 Points) - Oko, Thief of Crowns - great for the artifact deck, polymorph deck etc, but you cannot expect this card to wheel at the same rate as Tezzeret or Hordeling Outburst.
2. Strong enablers but narrow (1 Point) - Lion's Eye Diamond / Entomb - great cards for storm/ reanimator, but they are narrow and you can expect them to wheel to the player drafting the archetype.
3. Weak enabler and also weak everywhere (0.5 Points) - Desperate Ritual in storm for example.
4. Weak enabler but overall good card (0.25 Points) - Cultivate in storm for example.
* The idea is if I determined I need 18 pieces of fast mana or 8 reanimation spells for storm/ reanimator to be consistent, I would need the numbers for my cube to roughly add up to that value.
What I found interesting is there have been a lot of cards printed recently in the first category recently that allows me to cut a lot of cards in the 3rd and 4th categories and add a few more cards into the second category.
I also don't claim to be an expert - but I like exploring and trying new things.
But thanks for reading this! I really like these conversations.
Collected Company is also one of the cards that lately caught my interest. Over the last year I have fallen in love with creature centric combo and Maverick style decks in cube. I feel Collected Company will serve those decks in a similar manner as Sevinne's Reclamation does. It is an amazing tech in decks that otherwise seem a little clunky for operating on sorcery speed and rather fragile creatures. With the Adversary Cycle in Midnight Hunt I finally picked up a Collected Company alongside a Klothys, God of Destiny and have very high hopes to see those cards do good work!
Regarding the Mana Dork discussion, I think you are right concerning 2 CMC Dorks, allowing only premium 2 CMC dorks to exist. I would consider Sylvan Caryatid and Lotus Cobra (in a very loose manner) to count as premium, and at my size (about 540), I don't need to stock up with the Utopia Sprawl versions. In short, a 2 CMC mana dork needs to ramp more than 1 or provide rainbow fixing (here Sakura-Tribe Elder is an outlier - I still like it for all the small interactions though).
Also thank you for the good discussions everywhere on this forum and for your innovations!
The first time I saw the deck list I just thought "Really? This pile of cards is good?". Then I watched him play it in action and just swept the mono white humans, Season's Past, Bant Company, Bant Tokens with his Plan A/ Plan B approach.
He had a game where he nearly won against a Kalitas, Languish, Ojutai with the threat of Westvale Abby and Collected Company.
- Altar, Ashnod, Greater Gargadon, Goblin Bombardment allows the persist combo to operate in any of the non-blue colors. Losing 1 sacrifice outlet would restrict the archetype to primarily Jund/ Abzan
- Altar is much better at helping the combo go all in than Nantuko Husk
- The husk is decent if the melira combo wants to play fair
- Playable inside the Aristocrats deck
Right now I would really like another Arcbound Ravager (I love affinity) or Carrion Feeder, but I'm going to keep the Altar as I don't want the persist decks to become Abzan or Jund.
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I'm actively maintaining a comprehensive article to help explain to new cube players how some complex vintage level cards work in a cube environment.