Good archetype support, if a bit boring: Barbed Spike - Good all around archetype support (aggro, flyers, pants, tokens, artifacts) and just a solid card in general Legion Vanguard - Sac outlets that don't need to combo to be good are rare Sinister Starfish - Filtering yay Arcus Acoltye - All 4 abilities sound good even if I have doubts about outlast Abundant Harvest - Filtering yay
My cube had a million 1/1 tokens so anything with 1 toughness is just bad but trample is really important is that it? I have more 1/1 flying tokens so barbed spike offers not a lot to me but cheap trample from spear is valuble.
There are very few things that can block a 2/1 flyer on turn 3 efficiently. Sure, occassionally your opponent will have a spirit token from Lingering Souls or Midnight Haunting if he's on the play, but other than that? A 2/1 flyer for two is a very playable card, not long ago most people had cards like Welkin Tern or Vampire Interloper in their cubes.
Barbed Spike is a Stormfront Pegasus (which is still a playable cube card on its own, even if it's certainly not top tier) that leaves a really bad equipment behind. Lightning Spear is a bad equipment that can also work as a really bad burn spell.
I don't think Lightning Spear is unplayable, but ultimately it's seems like a card that is 'meh' at best no matter when you play it while Barbed Spike is a good card for any aggressive white deck.
Just for the record on that card, I did add Lightning Spear but mostly because I support equipment decks and wanted them to get another card which is not hugely over-costed to make active and has a solid alternative use in a pinch. It's another card that I would see as a roleplayer but not as exciting in itself.
I, too, am adding Lightning Spear. I do not run equipment support, but I think 'equip 1' is what makes the card worthwhile. And a bad bolt is still a bolt. I'm swapping it for Thermo-Alchemist, since I feel it can be run more effectively in more different aggro archtypes. Definitely not a top-tier card by any means, mind you, but still a card I'd be more than happy to include in most aggressive-leaning Rx decks.
Also I am edging ever closer towards just changing my entire Boros section to stocky bearded guys that care about weapons. (Koll, Bruenor and Reyav)
I am head of you and since I do not expect to do all my physical updates before AFR, I already added Bruenor to go with Reyav.
It was a bit amusing when Leelue did that 'what would a really good deck for Thunderous Orator look like' test draft that they shared with us. I happened to do something a bit similar for Thraben Watcher from this set by accident just now so I figured that I should share it.
Thunderous Orator... I am still not sold on the card. I run it, but it has been terribly unexciting for us. We're likely swapping it out for Barbed Spike.
I was actually curious and checked your white low cost creatures really quickly. I think this may be about the differences there: for instance, I have a lot more double-strike with which the guy synergizes really well. So, they may well be the right cut.
Re: Barbed Spike and Thunderous Orator- I think I am like TyranidBill, where I have very few great upsides for Orator, so I was honestly valuing it as a 2/2 Vigilance that sometimes flies and I would rather have a 2/1 flier instead of it. And even the 2/1 fliers were relatively low amongst my white 2-drops, so I had Barbed Point decently above Orator.
Re: Liquimetal Torque- The New Card Discussion thread brought this up as an interesting mama rock that also turns your artifact/enchantment destruction into creature removal. It is certainly another way to make artifact removal relevant and a decent mana rock to boot. I would probably rank it over some other colorless mana rocks like Guardian Idol and Everflowing Chalice.
By the way, I noticed Flourishing Strike earlier. Anyone have any opinions on that? I kind of like how it is a passable card that does something beyond cycling in basically all green decks even when you cannot kill fliers with it. I would rather play a card that is more or less main-deckable, depending on your strategy, than something that you just cycle in bad match-ups.
Flourishing Strike definitely made my (rather long) short list of interesting cards from this set. I like pump spells a lot in green and the potential 2-for-1 upside interested me a little more than something like Tangletrap. Honestly though, most of my pump spells have their added utility in being free (Invigorate) or also protecting a creature (Blossoming Defense), so I hesitate to replace thoae with Strike.
Saw play in an aristocrats deck. Was pretty good. One thing to note is that explore sometimes gives you a land while you wanted a +1/+1 counter and vice versa and you don't know before hand. One player sacced a Reassembling Skeleton three times and didn't get the counter he needed to block profitable.
Archfiend of Sorrows
This card is soo much better then I thought. It saw play in a Grixis control deck and later in a golgari graveyard/ramp deck. In both cases it was amazing. Hard casting is really possible for these decks and the unearth can always attack favorably; all smaller fliers and reach dudes are dead and the bigger ones are now small making blocking really bad.
Say play in a Grixis control deck and a Gwr ramp deck (where it was even kicked 4 times). The RR seems restricted for aggro decks , but it didn't saw play in those. Asking the drafters, a Rakdos aggro player didn't see the card in the draft and the Boros "go wide" player did see it but picked something more relevant for his deck (didn't remember what).
Fast // Furious
I think I like this more than Slice and Dice, but not by much. The "cycle" is more relevant on a board without X/1 dudes and it's better in topdeck mode. The main mode is also one mana less which can make a big difference. However, not hitting fliers did come up. I removed Volcanic Torrent for this card and that seems like the right decision.
Saw play in a GU ramp deck and a Gwr ramp deck. Both times it was very good. The main mode is obviously Treasures, but the option for food is not irrelevant. In a long draw out match the Gwr player could not find an answer for the opponent's Jetting Glasskite but was able to out heal it by saccing three or four Food tokens and finally killing it by Firebolt + Flametongue Kavu.
Saw play in GU ramp and a golgari graveyard/ramp deck. In both cases it was vey good. The Eternalize is very relevant in longer matches and in one match it was hard to attack into it, knowing that by blocking and letting it die my opponent could bring back his Victimize from his graveyard and reanimating a Pellaka Wurm and another 5-6 drop (can't remember).
Ornithopter of Paradise
Saw play in Grixis control. Was solid, but was bolted directly at least once and also was killed by a Reclamation Sage. I like how this is color fixing outside green but it comes with the drawback of being both a creature and an artifact.
I'm not gonna include that archetype in my Cube, but due to buying this common and uncommon cards is usually cheap, at least in Europe, I like to acquire many cards just in case some day I build a new Cube or rebuild some archetypes.
Here are my thoughts about R/G Storm cards:
Empty the Warrens
First Day of Class
Fires of Yavimaya
MH2 shaped up to be an incredible set for Peasant cubes. The power level has clearly been pushed to the limit, with the commons in particular standing out, but on top of raw power we're seeing tons of quality archetype support cards. I'm leaning heavily into the graveyard, sacrifice, and +1/+1 counter themes presented with MH2 and ended up with so many changes and tests that I needed to break my review into two parts.
Part 1 (W/U/B):
Stormfront Pegasus -> Barbed Spike
Clean upgrade, and another step closer to making the Peasant equipment archetype a reality. Shepherd of the Cosmos -> Thraben Watcher
Certainly there on raw power, and I kinda like that the non-token clause can give a slightly different texture to a white go-wide build than a generic anthem effect would. Journey to Nowhere -> Piercing Rays
An interesting option for those running depowered removal (Journey being my latest victim), this is a flexible card that can play well on both offense and defense. Blessed Alliance -> Unbounded Potential
A decent combat trick on its own that also plays as both an enabler and a payoff for +1/+1 counters. Oketra's Monument -> Abiding Grace
We almost never see this type of repeatable recursion effect at our rarities, so even though the trigger is narrow the upsides seem huge. Definitely feels worth testing.
Faerie Seer -> Hard Evidence
The blue Thraben Inspector. Not much else to add, I expect this to be great. Condescend -> Lose Focus
Again, not much to add that hasn’t been said about this, excellent card. Boon of the Wish-Giver -> Mental Journey
Very similar cards but I think I'll prefer the play patterns of Journey over Boon. Instant speed is important on your late game draw spells, and overall I feel that Cycling 1 can end up being too much of a freeroll in deck construction. Bubble Snare -> Shattered Ego
The activated ability probably costs U too much, but I think that this is flexible enough at different stages of the game to be worth testing in the “blue enchantment removal” slot. Threnody Singer -> Scuttletide
A unique option for defensive blue decks, though this is definitely a card that I will need to see in action in order to truly evaluate.
Phyrexian Reclamation -> Nested Shambler
Our first black one drop that dies into another body, with some fringe upside that will be quite fun when it comes up. This seems like a solid roleplayer in sacrifice or token decks. Dreadmalkin -> Legion Vanguard
Always glad to see more viable sacrifice outlets being printed. Sometimes you’ll get counters when you need lands and vice versa, but the variance adds some spice and in many cases you’re going to be happy with either result. Gluttonous Slug -> Sinister Starfish
It’s been said already, but this is so much more enticing in black than Sigiled Starfish was in blue. A great roleplayer for slower decks, plus another way to fuel the graveyard. Zulaport Cutthroat -> Vermin Gorger
Somewhat comparable to a slower, mono-colored Fireblade Artist. The tap cost is a real restriction, but a 4-life swing every activation is big game and is going to be really hard to race. Stitcher's Supplier -> Vile Entomber
A fun new roleplayer for graveyard decks, I’ll have to keep an eye on the density of quality cards to search up but I expect it shouldn’t be difficult to get close to 1 card worth of value on average which makes this a solid rate. Pharika's Spawn -> Young Necromancer
The best (only?) reanimate on a creature body that we’ve gotten access to, which opens up a ton more interactions beyond your typical Zombify. The two-card exile clause is a real cost, one which rewards you from going even deeper on your graveyard while also preventing the Necromancer from getting truly degenerate with basic recursion. Gilt-Leaf Winnower -> Loathsome Curator
Easy swap here, adding +1/+1 of stats and replacing the very awkward (and high variance) targeting restriction of the Winnower with a much cleaner trigger that can also synergize with the sacrifice archetype. Goremand -> Underworld Hermit
This is a huge upgrade on Evangel of Heliod, 1) because black normally gets token producers at a worse rate than white, and b) the 3/3 body makes for a much more palatable floor. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect ~4 squirrels on average, which at 7/7 in stats over 5 bodies is already a great rate and the ceiling goes up from there. Plague Mare -> Archfiend of Sorrows
Probably the card from the set that I'm most excited by. The Archfiend feels like potentially the missing piece that Golgari graveyard decks have been needing to compete with some of the other top-tier Peasant archetypes, while also being excellent in reanimator and black control builds. Feed the Swarm -> Bone Shards
A big upgrade on Bone Splinters, this is a solid removal spell that also provides archetype support. I expect the discard to be the primary mode but the sacrifice option will be great when needed. Flunk -> Tragic Fall
A strictly better Last Gasp, which was always borderline playable. I don't expect the hellbent will happen often, but the play pattern of maneuvering your hand empty to take out a big threat will be very satisfying when it does come up.
Along with Bone Shards, Tragic Fall ends up ranking behind the top tier black removal (Go For the Throat, Cast Down, Heartless Act), but they are great tier 2 options for larger cubes or depowered removal.
Thrill of Possibility -> Dragon's Rage Channeler
The best part of Burning Prophet was always the scry, and this is 1 mana cheaper with a better-than-scry trigger. Even without much delirium support, the Channeler can eventually help activate itself, and flying means this can represent an actual threat. Ire Shaman -> Flametongue Yearling
Adorable, and obviously very powerful. Somewhat balanced out by the high color requirement; one of the things that always bugged me about Flametongue Kavu was how easily splashable it was. Axgard Cavalry -> Goblin Traprunner
The closest approximation to a Goblin Rabblemaster we’ve got at Peasant, though at 2 toughness it’s going to be difficult to get it to survive combat for more than one trigger. Since dice are probably going to be easier to come by than coins, I expect my group with likely shortcut the three coin flips with a single d8 roll: (1 = 0 goblins, 2-4 = 1 goblin, 5-7 = 2 goblins, 8 = 3 goblins) Sanctuary Smasher -> Gargadon
I’m surprised I haven’t seen this get more attention. Comparable to Errant Ephemeron in cost but on a way stronger creature, this represents an incredible amount of potential damage for just two mana. There are pretty much no board states where a 7/5 haste trampler doesn’t represent a huge problem for your opponent, which more than makes up for any tempo lost from the suspend. Gargadon feels like a top-tier red “2-drop”. Brimstone Volley -> Lightning Spear
I really like this card. Equipment are at their worst when you don’t have a creature to equip onto, so having a backup mode of Open Fire gives this a lot of flexibility. Equip 1 is always what you want to see, and trample is not a keyword that had appeared often on equipment. Between this, Barbed Spike and the upcoming Bruenor Battlehammer, there feels like finally enough quality support for the RW equipment archetype, and I’m at the point where I’ll be looking to actively support it moving forward. Crush the Weak -> Fast // Furious
The comparison to Slice and Dice seems apt, which I consider a positive thing. Mass sweepers are powerful but situational, so both Furious and Dice having their respective cycling+ modes goes a long way to increasing their playability. Since our format has to deal with the lack sweepers in white, I try to make sure that I present enough access to mass removal in black and red to keep swarm strategies in check.
Search for Tomorrow -> Rift Sower
Not a strict upgrade, but I've found that having a creature body on your ramp is generally more of a benefit than a liability, especially at 3 toughness. I expect having the creature will be preferable than having just the land on average (and almost always makes for a better topdeck). Imperious Perfect -> Scurry Oak
The Oak goes tall and goes wide at the same time, which usually ends up being a winning combination. Provides support for +1/+1 counters and tokens, but is really just an overall solid roleplayer. Dryad Greenseeker -> Tireless Provisioner
The peasant Lotus Cobra, at a worse spot on the curve but with a much better trigger. Not only do you get to bank the mana via treasure, but when you don’t need the acceleration three life per land is quite significant. The Provisioner seems like a slam dunk on power level. Regrowth -> Timeless Witness
Another fantastic card, my only problem with it is that now with this, Eternal Witness, Regrowth, and Bala Ged Recovery, we have four top-tier cards that all provide the same effect. One needed to go, and sadly that meant saying goodbye to the classic Regrowth. Briarhorn -> Bannerhide Krushok
Green got so many goodies and somehow this innocuous common might be my favorite. A 4/4 trampler for 4 is such a great base rate, that everything that comes on top just seems like gravy. This is a combat trick, +1/+1 counter support (x2), graveyard support, it even has cute self-synergy with Reinforce playing directly into Scavenge. Trollbred Guardian -> Herd Baloth
Normally I tend to avoid mono-color archetype payoffs that are this narrow, as this will likely function as a green/white card in most cases. However, with the +1/+1 counter archetype green specifically has not had the density of quality payoffs that white has had (Elite Scaleguard, Abzan Falconer) and I’m trying to spread around that effect. This is easily the most powerful +1/+1 payoff in green, and it only needs a single trigger to justify its cost. Song of Freyalise -> Abundant Harvest
A fantastic cantrip in green, I can’t think of a time when you would ever be unhappy to see this in your hand. Khalni Ambush -> Smell Fear
My cube has a slot for a third fight spell after Ram Through and Nature's Way , and Smell Fear seems worth a test as another +1/+1 counter payoff in green. Sometimes it’s an overcosted Prey Upon, sometimes it’s a discounted Hunt the Weak, but with a little set-up this can represent a massive swing for just 2 mana.
Good-Fortune Unicorn -> Arcus Acolyte
Another card I’m excited for, all four of its abilities are relevant and combine to make for a powerful card that has a ton of potential play patterns. The Acolyte is great on-curve as an above-rate creature that can scale with the game, and is also great off-curve because you can get value from the Outlast anthem immediately on any other creatures without favorable attacks. Lifelink specifically plays well with Outlast because it helps you gain back the life you lose from missing out on blocks. Ghor-Clan Rampager -> Goblin Anarchomancer
This is an incredibly strong effect, and gives another nod to Gruul ramp strategies while still being powerful in a beatdown deck. The goblin seems like a natural complement in decks that would want to run Svella, Ice Shaper, which has been a fun roleplayer so far. Crackling Drake -> Prophetic Titan
Delirium is certainly an odd requirement in your average cube but this is going to be solid even if you have to choose just one, and if you can manage to get both it’s going to be back-breaking for your opponent. Quality, high-mana creatures are hard to come by, so I think the Titan merits a closer look. Killian, Ink Duelist -> Graceful Restoration
My Orzhov section still has something of an identity crisis, and since I’m not ready to go all-in on white as a fourth reanimation color MH2 hasn’t exactly helped in that regard. That said, Restoration (its second mode in particular) is a very powerful effect that could potentially function without dedicated support. Ultimately my goal is a BW “attrition” archetype, leaning on tokens, recursion, and life drain to grind the opponent down. Graceful Restoration has potential in that archetype, while also opening up a unique build-around in something like a grindy Esper brew, where blue adds a number of quality <=2 power targets on top of the additional graveyard support.
Ornithopter of Paradise
It’s still kind of crazy to me that we’re getting a flying Utopia Tree… in colorless… at common. Unless you’re intentionally trying to stymy colorless fixing, this seems like the biggest slam dunk in all of MH2. Monoskelion
Comparable to Perilous Myr and Mortarpod in some ways, the floor of a colorless bear that can throw around a ping is a solid base case and it’s not hard to envision finding upside beyond that.
Whew, what a set. I don't expect all of these to make the cut long-term, but I also think that, like MH1, I'll be discovering cards worth testing from MH2 for quite a while after its release. Currently Junk Winder is on the top of my list as a potential heavy hitter that I missed on the first pass.
Gargadon - Errant Ephemeron isn't even that good in pauper anymore imho. With the cube curve having gone down and the game speed having gone up, waiting around for four turns has a much higher cost than it used to. I would look to one of the cycling fatties like Granitic Titan or Lava Serpent for comparison, since they also give you two different casting modes, but those give you an immediate investment for two mana, and they have better value in reanimator. I could be wrong, but I think this is mostly a pauper card. Bonus points if you include storm?
Fast // Furious - I love modal cards where both sides are almost good enough to run on their own, and I love big red. It depends how you want to balance your Pyroclasm effects vs your Firespout effects, but I think this might have staying power.
Scurry Oak - I overlooked the fact that this actually puts +2 power on the board with every evolve trigger. I love Crocanura in pauper and I expect this will do well in peasant.
Tireless Provisioner - seems like a great value add. My only regret is that I can't squeeze even more value out of it in my cube by enabling some sort of G/X artifact deck.
Herd Baloth - like you said, this is a de facto Selesnya card, as I don't think a deck in any other color combination will take it. It does pair very well with Arcus Acolyte from the same set, and I'm a big fan of the Rampaging Baloths callback.
Prophetic Titan - agreed that even getting one trigger is fine. This would be a slam dunk if it was guaranteed both, and unlike the Dragon Rage Channeler, you're a lot likelier to have delirium ready by the time the giant shows up, just from playing the game. This would be a good way to sneak Prophetic Bolt into my cube.
Graceful Restoration - most Orzhov sections have to decide between reanimation and aristocrats, I guess? And poor Killian is pointing to an archetype that doesn't exist for me - it's just a decent pile of stats a la Danitha Capashen, Paragon.
Monoskelion - I thought this was base p/t 0/0, so I'm happy to be wrong and have it stick around for Skullclamp and various sac outlets, or to get counters placed back on later. A colorless bear with upside that would go nicely alongside Icehide Golem in my cube.
I mean, you are adding combo potential to the Cube, but forgot that. What I want to know: is Ivy Lane Denizen a good card to run being there Renata? Is it worth to have both for the +1+1 counters archetype, or you would play with only one of them?