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  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The Pauper Cube Discussion Thread (Commons Only)
    Man, I was really worried that Al was kaput for good thanks to the Great MTGSal Deletion of 2019. Most of his stuff lines up with what I was gonna say. Just pretend I said it again so you know it's not a one-off Grin

    I just removed Leonin Skyhunter for the same reasons. IMO, this + Silverbeak Griffin should really only be run if you already run both Pegasi + Soltari Trooper and need more evasion. This would probably only be for larger cubes at this point. If we eventually get a common white devotion card on the same level as Gray Merchant of Asphodel, these guys could get a new lease on life. But I feel safe in saying that, for 360 to 450 at least, they're pretty much dead.

    RE: red pump - pretty much only if you want to deliberately kneecap red at this point. There's too much burn to really want to play a more restrictive removal that occasionally doubles as creature protection.

    Deprive I like as a landfall enabler and for larger cubes like mine, but even there blue spells are stacked. I'm ok with countermagic having a slight premium attached to it by having a bit less of it. (y'all might find this weird, but I find the trinket text on Rune Snag in a singleton format really cumbersome, and if I had to add another countermagic slot, Quench would be in serious contention against Deprive).

    Also fun to see someone else try to be slightly more statistical about their inclusions. I've done the exact same notation for how many cubes run which cards, yet somehow I'm still over the limit because cuts are hard lol.

    As for other cuts:
    Paralyze! Soft removal in a color full of hard removal.

    Everything else in that list of potential cuts I like too much to recommend cuts. You can take a look at my list in my sig and see which ones I don't run if that helps your decision-making Grin

    Anyway, this will be my last post for the foreseeable future. I'll be going on hiatus from the forums for many reasons, mainly for my mental health, diminishing returns from discussion here, and now the Great Deletion of 2019 that just invalidated years (decades?) of work.

    Cheers, and happy cubing!
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The Pauper Cube Discussion Thread (Commons Only)
    Hussar is more a case of Azorius not being particularly great. If you really want to be critical, some cubers might point out that Azorius still has this issue all the way up to regular powered cubes (Oblivion Ring / Detention Sphere, Wrath of God / Supreme Verdict). To me, it's more a case of wanting extras of that effect. The body is good at holding off attackers and the ETB puts you ahead on card selection. But its stock would probably go down dramatically if we got a second Oracle (Dimir Informant didn't cut it, sadly).

    RE: Augur of Bolas - as the joke goes, this card's text really says: When Augur of Bolas enters the battlefield, look at the bottom three cards of your library. Then again, I consider Delver a bit of a miss for most cubes, but if cubers really want to contort their blue sections into something that can accommodate more of a spells-matters theme, I suppose it's possible to make it work.

    Quote from Waymarsh »
    I'm also looking at supporting a Sacrifice subtheme a bit more.

    I know some cubers have enjoyed success with the sac bears, stuff like Sultai Emissary, Doomed Dissenter, Butcher Ghoul, maybe more niche stuff like Abyssal Gatekeeper. You can overlap a bit with green/white thanks to stuff like Young Wolf/Brindle Shoat and Martyr of Dusk/Doomed Traveler/Hunted Witness, plus all of white's Raise the Alarm-type spells. It looks like you already have two premium sac outlets in the form of Carrion Feeder and Plagued Rusalka, but I think Phyrexian Ghoul / Nantuko Husk are sort of the poster boys for this kind of deck at common. If you really want to signpost it you also have Golgari Rotwurm in GB. Grim Harvest used to be a strong card (it might still be, but the Recover rules text was far too much of a hassle for us), so bringing back essentially double the creature in the form of sac bears could do some work.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The Pauper Cube Discussion Thread (Commons Only)
    No, dude. Ivory Giant is super overcosted and slow at this point. It has corner cases where it can shine, but that doesn't make it 360 worthy. It's the definition of a role-player. Similarly, I might recommend Acridian to players looking for an early control creature in an aggro-heavy cube, but I won't pretend that it's 360 material.

    Whatever problem you have with cubetutor, I hope you get over it someday. It's far too useful to just ignore.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    Quote from Humphrey »
    what a weird bunch of cards. kinda hard to wrap my head around them because nothing stands out really.

    I think the only card I consider for my T1 is the Frenzied Arynx. As said I have to cheat on the guildslot then though, but somehow I want to replace Ill-Tempered Cyclops. oh and Skewer the Critics ofc

    Oh yeah, I was looking at Ill-Tempered Cyclops for potential inclusion. I still see it in quite a few lists online, but it seems very meh. No haste, under-curved, no real abilities to speak of aside from a late-game mana-sink.

    Ill-Gotten Inheritance is a interesting card for the grindgames, but i dont think it does enough. Sanitarium Skeleton seems better for those

    I dunno, I like the fire-and-forget style, but it is overcosted by about one mana. Sanitarium Skeleton was far too overcosted to be worth it either unless you were pairing it with spellshapers or something.

    Plague Wight pretty good if you want to support black aggro and are not shy to run x/1s.

    I don't know if this is actually better than a 2/1 with real evasion. That's almost my entire black 2CC section at this point.

    Wrecking Beast really good, but 7 is too much for the powered cube. For ramp it seems nice.

    Trample and haste is a great combo. At the very least, it could push out Havenwood Wurm for anyone still running it.

    Impassioned Orator finally a playable soul warden

    I wouldn't be so sure. It only triggers on your own creatures, so I question how often it'll even be better than something like Bishop's Soldier.

    Justiciar's Portal a blink effect that also works as combat trick

    A bit overcosted as a trick, but to rebuy ETB effects, untap a creature, or save a creature from removal, I think two mana is still mostly acceptable. I'm really curious how often you can combine that with the first strike to do real damage.

    Summary Judgment semi decent removal

    Aside from hitting mana dorks, I don't see how it's better than Gideon's Reproach - semi-decent sounds about right.

    Knight of Sorrows doenst even have a big butt. Pretty meh

    Yeah, it's very bad on this guy and the 5/3 Thrull in black. I think they both needed at least a small bump in toughness before they could be considered.

    Tenth District Veteran indeed seems interesting. but beside 2 exterts there is not much payoff and i think we already have a similar card. *the aven right.

    Dauntless Aven and this guy could form a sort of tag team package with the exerters, but it seems iffy. There's actually three exerters in white that see scattered inclusion (Gust Walker/Oketra's Avenger/Tah-Crop Elite) but red and green have their own and it might actually be ok considering the other tappers in these colors (I'm thinking Fireslinger, Gideon's Lawkeeper, Sparksmith, mana dorks...)

    phantom monster cost 4, much better

    People ran Aven Surveyor for a while and Chillbringer seems better, since it gives you both effects and is slightly easier to cast (bounce is usually seen as better, but it allows opponents to replay an untapped blocker/haster and rebuy potential ETBs, so I would consider it a wash). Don't underestimate having a critical mass of these fellows either. Getting every threat you play nailed down or bounced turn after turn while your opponent curves out is pretty backbreaking.

    Undercity Scavenger seems reasonable for sac

    Seems extremely reasonable, especially with token makers like Fungal Infection, Wakedancer and Moan of the Unhallowed now in black.

    Ghor-Clan Wrecker overcosted by 1. meh

    I actually like it a lot. Seems better than Ill-Tempered Cyclops and at least a little bit better than Hostile Minotaur. Could use the testing.

    Storm Strike those cc1 combat tricks that give first strike are really good, but red can just play burn

    Haha yeah, I don't even have room for actual burn at this point.

    Rampaging Rendhorn its okay. cc5 slot is pretty tight though

    Yes it is. We've never seen haste on such decently sized bodies in green though. It's got potential.

    Lawmage's Binding dont need more enchantment based removal that also occupies a guild slot tbh, but its good

    I actually cut Arrest recently in favor of Cage of Hands (a card I highly recommend since I ran Prison Term in my regular cube and both were great) since three mana is a lot to ask for this effect. Getting flash changes the evaluation though.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The Pauper Cube Discussion Thread (Commons Only)
    Yeah the average cube can be a pile, but with enough data it averages out. That's the whole point.

    Case in point:

    On cubetutor, there are 3,401 cubes with Pauper in their name at the time of this post.
    Out of those, 58 of them run Dash Hopes.
    Out of those, 20 of them can be considered recent (updated since 2018).

    In total, only 1.7% of all pauper cubes on cubetutor run the card. That's a fraction of the playerbase.
    If we're talking about current, updated cubes, the number drops to 0.58%. That's a fraction of a fraction.

    I don't know about you, but that seems pretty much in line with my previous conclusion. Like I said, opinion doesn't need to be taken as factual, but I think the data speaks for itself. And it's an essential tool in these conversations because now our ideas can be supported by evidence. It can help confirm what we already knew, or disprove an old idea and force us to rethink inclusions.

    The best part? This work took me all of five minutes. How would you even begin to collect this data without a site like cubetutor?
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    Full spoiler is up: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/card-image-gallery/ravnica-allegiance-2018-12-17

    Cards I think might be worth discussing:

    Justiciar's Portal - more blink support.
    Impassioned Orator - interesting take on lifegain.
    Knight of Sorrows - looks like afterlife is a way for bigger butts to bring value.
    Tenth District Veteran - could be interesting? Exert fans might want this.
    Chillbringer - detain mechanic appears higher up the curve. Could be an interesting choice if you run Phantom Monster.
    Sage's Row Savant - stronger than Sage of Epityr but weaker than Omenspeaker.
    Ill-Gotten Inheritance - interesting take on the bleed mechanic.
    Plague Wight - better Ashmouth Hound in black.
    Undercity Scavenger - nice sac payoff.
    Ghor-Clan Wrecker - definitely the kind of creature red wants. Might be good enough.
    Storm Strike - this is the first Sure Strike variant that makes me think about inclusion.
    Rampaging Rendhorn - I'm really liking the choices that riot gives. Better than Hollowhenge Beast, and that card needed at least one keyword to be playable.
    Wrecking Beast - straight-up better Duskdale Wurm.

    Green getting haste for its fatties is a significant buff. Hopefully a good sign for future sets. Riot is also a natural way to support +1/+1 counters.

    Applied Biomancy - might be an ok trick. Should really be +2/+2 to stand a chance though.
    Azorius Knight-Arbiter - good combo of keywords but seems slow and overcosted. Doesn't look much better than Hussar Patrol.
    Lawmage's Binding - instant speed Arrest.

    The hybrids all seem very meh. Overall, multicolor was weaker than I expected. I was hoping to fill out the second half of the guilds with some goodies, but aside from Frenzied Arynx for Gruul, the other guilds lost out.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The Pauper Cube Discussion Thread (Commons Only)
    Let's not dogpile on the fellow, my dudes. If you're getting that tingly feeling in your fingers that says it's time to post some drama, why not head over to the This or That discussion and help me make some cuts instead?

    I played with Dash Hopes when it first appeared in Planar Chaos, and I loved the concept, despite getting burned on punishers with Browbeat before. I played it in black-counters.dec (alongside Withering Boon, Imp's Mischief and Muck Drubb). I played it in Rakdos burn. I played it in its original draft format, where it was theoretically designed to be played. It was bad. And I struggle to imagine a game environment where it would be playable. Maybe if your games started at 15 life or a Squadron Hawk pick where the player got multiples of the card just for drafting it. The kind of gymnastics you'd have to pull off to accommodate it aren't worth it, imo.

    Dash Hopes is not some hidden gem that's gone overlooked for years. It might be a fun card, but it is not a good card. And that's tough to explain to someone without that person feeling like they're being personally attacked for their choice.

    So if it floats your boat, by all means keep it. As a rule of thumb, if I'm soliciting feedback and at least two people tell me the same thing, I would at least consider where they're coming from and if it has merit. I don't feel obligated to make changes, but it helps to keep an open mind.

    Quote from Kamino_Taka »
    I know that it's not a valid argument but look at most other Pauper cubes and you wont find dash hopes in there, now ask yourself why that is.

    I think this is absolutely a valid argument. It's usually used in reverse to find which cards are popular, though.

    Part of my considerations in cube management are data-driven - and cubetutor's treasure trove of data has been a godsend in that regard. It only takes me a handful of clicks to get a good idea of what's currently popular or falling out of lists, when I had to manually go through cubelist threads on MTGSalvation before, or try to collate between the three different decklist databases that cubers used. I can't state enough how amazing of a data-gathering tool it is, even if it's trendy now to poop on its lack of updates or whatever. Point being, we have the tools to do this when we didn't before, and we have an actual place we can point to when we need hard data.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    From skimming pauper lists online, it looks like Rift Bolt is on its way out of 360 lists, and it's on the chopping block even at 540 for me as my weakest burn spell (I've cut Lava Dart/Geistflame, but I'm keeping Flame Jab around because it seems really good with my recent additions of Thermo-Alchemist and Firebrand Archer). I don't see this card sticking around, even if it looks good on paper. The quality of red burn at common is just too good.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The Pauper Cube Discussion Thread (Commons Only)
    Running Rogue Elephant and Acridian is very brave in this day and age Grin There's so much removal running around that the Elephant turns out to be a liability more than an asset. And Acridian will throw off your curve in all kinds of ways. That said, I run both and I think they're still relatively ok to play. Acridian in particular might actually become more relevant as the number of Savannah Lions and Borderland Marauders increase in pauper. Since you're already running those two, how about going whole hog and throwing in a Phyrexian War Beast too? Grin

    Humphrey is right about banding and infect though. If I had to level one criticism at banding, aside from the (in)comprehension issues and time issues it brings up, it is this: Magic is a game which already comes with a defender's advantage (the defender chooses what to block, how many creatures to block with, how to most efficiently block to maximize trades, etc). Banding takes that advantage and amplifies it to a point where it messes with the game's flow. It bogs the game down because, instead of the constant flow of back-and-forth, attack-defend-counterattack that the game encourages (and this in-game dynamic is so incredibly sophisticated that most of us players never really notice or think about it when it's working smoothly) banding almost completely removes any incentive to attack by making combat math difficult or even impossible to solve for the attacker, thus discouraging one of the most basic avenues to victory in the game.

    What's interesting to me is that a mechanic which is kind of the reverse (provoke) hasn't made a comeback either (I notice you have more provoke creatures than average in your list). I'm a big fan of this mechanic and I keep hoping it'll make a comeback in a more efficient or fixed form.

    At any rate, it looks like you really like things that can mess with combat math. Have you considered other ways to mess with combat? I know certain cubes (used to?) run Infantry Veteran. Other stuff like Heavy Ballista. Maybe more creatures that can self-pump like Ursine Champion or Knight of the Skyward Eye? Black has several Looming Shade-like cards. Oh yeah - the Kor creatures from Tempest block were essentially fixed banding, now that I think about it. If you like banding, you would probably like Nomads en-Kor and Spirit en-Kor. Zealous Inquisitor is a similar card. I also have Lancers en-Kor and Warrior en-Kor on my personal shortlist of cards I think will be downshifted eventually.

    RE: Rot Wolf - Green gets its card advantage through ramp like Cultivate and Skyshroud Claim, or pump like Wildsize and Sylvan Might. Rot Wolf almost seems worse than Generous Stray, since the cat gives you a card up-front and threatens the opponent better than what is essentially a 0/2 on offense for four turns until it morphs into a 20/2 (I can see how you could use Rot Wolf defensively to discourage small attackers or as pseudo-removal for bigger creatures though). In a magical world, you could just slap Elephant Guide on it and swing twice. I don't know if things usually work out that well in regular games, but I guess if you or your fellow drafters like the all-in, win-or-lose-with-one-play approach, you can have at it. Consider creatures like Wandering Wolf or Aura Gnarlid that also benefit from the Voltron theme without using a parasitic mechanic like infect or being too obnoxious like hexproof.

    Thanks for putting up the list - it's definitely interesting to see how a newer player might approach a cube and why. There's some things that kind of go against common knowledge, but it's also a way for viewers to rethink why we do things a certain way.

    P.S. I'm really curious how Ghostly Flicker "ruins the game" for you. In my experience, it's usually just an okay value pick that goes into Ux blink/value decks, the same way that Momentary Blink does.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    Seeing as how there aren't enough hybrids to categorize in pauper, I'm curious to hear your solution on where you'd put Gift of Orzhova - if you even have a solution at all.

    You may find it irrelevant to give your lifelink creature evasion. That's a major component in my evaluation since it helps win the race when your lifelink creature that puts you ahead gets to, you know, actually connect.

    I haven't played Shrieking Grotesque since 2011. That's what usually happens when you get obsoleted by a monocolor card.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    Unlike an enchantment, Tithe Drinker still presents the threat of attacking/blocking. It also comes down way earlier than Grasping Thrull, so even if it's not particularly good at surviving, it can still get some licks in and trigger extort multiple times before the Thrull even shows up. He's a fifth card at best, while Tithe Drinker is solidly in the top four for me. Don't forget Gift of Orzhova is probably a top three card that's missing from the list above.

    Also, I keep seeing Harsh Sustenance pop up in some lists, even though it looks super bad compared to the stacked removal in both black and white. Is it mostly win-more, throw-at-the-opponent's-face rather than actual removal? Because that card looks to me like a case of cubers maybe trying to go a little too deep on the bleed theme Grin
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    Quote from Merovingiann »

    3 life bleeded would've been enough maybe.

    I agree, although that probably would have put it a tiny bit over power level for current standards. I might have taken it if the lifeloss trigger was an ETB and the lifegain trigger was a deathrattle (sort of dovetailing with OG Orzhov's haunt mechanic). Sad, because Seb McKinnon's art really knocks it out of the park.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance Spoiler
    I agree with your assessment of Blade Juggler, but not with your proposed changes. I think it would be at least borderline playable with an up-front cost of 2BB instead of 4B. It looks like (for commons at least) the casting cost of spectacle cards is far above what it should be, while the spectacle cost becomes what should have been the normal cost for the effect. It's a bit out of whack with what I would expect from a cost-reduction mechanic (make the upfront cost slightly higher and the reduction slightly cheaper). It's the equivalent of a supermarket marking up its grocery prices and then discounting them in a "sale" (when the discount is really the same retail price as everywhere else Grin )

    Burning-Tree Vandal - I was considering Azra Bladeseeker, this is potentially a lot better.

    Titanic Brawl doesn't offer much compared to Pit Fight, and even being twice as castable isn't playable these days. Throw this on the pile of +1/+1 matters cards that are not quite good enough to support the theme.

    Grasping Thrull is the first real contender we have. Blind Hunter is definitely better, but I like that this further pushes Orzhov into the bleed territory while providing a playable threat. It feels bad that this is multicolor when Bloodhunter Bat is black though.

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The "Evaluate Everything" Project
    Quote from Humphrey »
    Quote from PyreDream »


    Don't misunderstand me. I'm not sacrificing power for flavor or mechanics. I'm just applying a secondary filter after the powerlevel filter to help in decision-making.

    It's a common misconception that larger cubes suffer from lower power level. That hasn't been true for some years now. I look at 360 lists and see monocolor sections of 40 or 50 cards that could easily be expanded by 20 or so cards each, without suffering an appreciable drop in power level. If you were to actually go and count the number of cubeables in the Evaluate Everything project, you'd find that the number of cubeables far exceeds the limits of a 360 cube, even accounting for misevaluations. There is a significant luxury of choice that seems to have crept in at common. One of the main benefits of smaller cubes will always be the consistency and strength of the archetypes you choose to include, but even that distinction is fading as more and more functional replacements appear. That's where the secondary filter of "how does this play to the color's strengths?" comes into play.

    Ambuscade - call me a fan of discussing marginal cards. It wouldn't be much of a discussion if we all agreed where this or that spell fell on the scale, would it? This spell gives green some play at instant speed, where an aura like Cartouche might open you up to the good old 2-for-1. I don't run nearly as much hexproof as some - I prefer to relegate it to finishers like Benthic Giant /Cold-Water Snapper - so Cartouche might not be the guaranteed value you think it is.

    Celestial Flare - I can sort of see the appeal if hexproof is an issue, but it seems a bit corner case when cubes are littered with so many cheap, efficient creatures and token generators. I'm still not certain it's much better than Reproach.

    Striped Riverwinder - Yeah, I expected a lot of its value came from the one mana cantrip. It's interesting how its costs were balanced vs the other cycling fatties (Granitic Titan / Rampaging Hippo / Greater Sandwurm) which mostly have more castable fronts but more expensive cycle costs.

    Kujar Seedsculptor - will likely make my shortlist for possible aggro inclusions, alongside Nettle Sentinel/ Rhonas's Stalwart. It does have a semi-haste ability when passing its +1/+1 counter on to ready beaters, with an extra toughness to help fight on the ground. Like Marl said, I'm also a fan of above-curve stats, although I don't think the 1C 2/3 vanilla statline is particularly relevant at common with Centaur Courser at 2C (I don't see the hype for Shambling Ghoul either, but I am a fan of Extremely Slow Zombie Grin )

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Pauper]] The "Evaluate Everything" Project
    Thanks for going deeper on this. In the past, regular cubes had dedicated number-crunching people who could set this up as its own thread with mod support. Usually they solicited participation from forum members first - that might help if you're casting about for more 360 cubes. There's several cubers like Usman, Marl or Izor who probably have 360s lying around somewhere, plus possible lurkers who could donate their lists to such a project Grin

    EDIT: In the interest of discussion, there were some other interesting results I noticed:

    Beetleform Mage was one of only two gold cards that saw near-universal adoption. It's a way to sneak Air Elemental into common cubes, so it makes sense. You'll need some pretty strong stuff out of Ravnica Allegiance to dethrone it, I think.
    Cartouche of Strength's popularity makes me wonder again why Ambuscade isn't included more. It's not a question of mana cost. Is the addition of an aura that much of an improvement over instant speed?
    Why is Celestial Flare so popular at 75% adoption? It's a CC cost instant, which makes it harder to cast - not a huge deal for noncreature spells since you don't need this to come out on curve, but still doesn't offer much for the increase in difficulty vs, say, Gideon's Reproach. There aren't that many big hexproof creatures running around, and white already has an excellent removal suite without it.
    I can't see the interest in Striped Riverwinder. You're almost never going to actually cast it. And the kind of control deck that would want this finisher probably can't afford to cycle it away and lose one of its few threats.
    Lastly, I noticed a lot of Kujar Seedsculptor running around in the cubes here. Can someone explain the card's value to me? As far as I know, it was mostly ignored on release - seems more or less on par with Ironshell Beetle.

    Spined Thopter - I cut this card recently. Not because it was bad, although it's not great either. It's under par compared to blue and white's flyers. I cut it to help reinforce some of Magic's color themes. Green gets the biggest creatures. White gets the most keywords (call it martial prowess or something). Red gets the fastest creatures. And blue gets the most flyers. Haven't considered black yet, but black might be a catch-all, do-a-bit-of-everything-for-a-price to help reinforce the price of power thing it usually runs with.

    I realized that I don't really want or need this card to help shore up a perceived weakness in green or red decks, for example, because I'm OK with those decks being really really good at what they do (being the biggest gorilla on the battlefield, and being the most aggressive respectively). Am I the only one who manages their cube somewhat along these lines?
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
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