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  • posted a message on This or That discussion.
    Wall > Druid, unless you're supporting the combo.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on Set (P)review - My top 20 Strixhaven (STX) cards for the cube!
    Hello again fellow cube enthusiasts!

    This is my 37th installment of the "top 20" set (P)review articles! Just like the previous reviews, it will be in a spoiled top X countdown format, with each section having an image, a brief summary/description, and my verdict on what cubes I think it could potentially see some play in. I got a lot of positive feedback on the format from the last few articles, so I’m going to keep the “what I like” and “what I don’t like” sections.

    Keep in mind (just like the others) that this is a set preview. Similar to draft predictions in professional sports, this list is an educated guess at best. Some cards I value highly in here may turn out to not last long in the cube. Other cards that are lower down on the list (or even missed entirely!) could (well, very likely may) turn out to be great cards. Even Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round! Again, this is not intended to be gospel, set in stone or written as a review for posterity. This is simply written to be an enjoyable guess at cards I like for cubes, and hopefully it'll allow some cube managers to evaluate cards they may have otherwise overlooked and/or put some cards in perspective that may've been overhyped. Nothing more. Smile

    Strixhaven is a fun and flavorful set that has a lot to offer in terms of both powerful cards and fun/interesting cards for cubes. I think the “Learn” mechanic will be awesome in retail limited (and maybe constructed too) and returning a focus to spells via “Magecraft” is something I’m always interested in. It has a painfully obvious focus on the very popular Wizard’s School theme which some people are going to eat up flavor wise. It’s never really been my cup of tea, but I think Wizards did a good job with the theme of the set.

    Without further ado, here’s the countdown!

    Dragonsguard Elite

    A green …spells matters creature?

    What I Like: In a Bant, Sultai or Temur spell-focussed deck, this creature can spiral out of control quickly. Growing to a 4/4 or 6/6 in a spell-heavy deck won’t be an unreachable feat, and it has built-in flood protection by giving you access to the pump ability if you wind up with too much mana. The counter doubling ability can also be used at instant speed so you don’t have to walk a 6-mana investment into a telegraphed blowout; you can simply spend extra mana at the end of your opponent’s turn when it’s safest.

    What I Don't Like: Green isn’t ideally suited to support the spells shell in most cubes. It can contribute in small ways and has some cool tools to offer (even moreso after Strixhaven) but in order to take advantage of cards like this in 2-color decks, you will need to construct your cube in a way that allows cards like this to shine; not something that all cube managers do. Additionally, I wish the creature could gain evasion or trample at some threshold, because as is, it can become a big creature that is easily chump-blocked all day long. Once you’re in counter doubling mode, it would be nice if this creature could get trample or menace or something.

    Verdict: I think this creature will work well in cubes that are engineered to allow green to contribute easily to spells matters shells. In particular, cubes that also support a turbo-xerox cantrip philosophy. In a deck loaded to the gills with cantrips and green instants/sorceries, this creature can put in work. In cubes constructed outside of these principles, I don’t think it will be able to be the best form of itself.

    Velomachus Lorehold

    A big, scary, Boros monster.

    What I Like: This is a high-impact creature from the minute it resolves. A 5/5 flying haste that casts free spells immediately will provide a very quick clock, and the vigilance also makes it near impossible to outrace it. I have underrated cards like this in the past because of the instinct to dismiss cards with really high CMCs but man… it’s expensive, but it’s scary. In a deck with 9 targets, you’ll have a 92+% chance of hitting a free spell, so the trigger digging 7 cards deep makes it very consistent.

    What I Don't Like: This card is begging to be played in Wildfire shells (which just happen to be among my most favorite cube decks) and this thing being 5 power instead of 6 means I can’t rip a savage Wildfire from the top of the deck and live the dream. I sympathize with MTGS user Rosy Dumplings’ disappointment that I can’t combine these effects in that way. Plus, a spell heavy Boros deck that also wants a 7cc dragon isn’t the most common deck to surface in our drafts.

    Verdict: If you want to spice up the Boros section with a powerful and unconventional kind of card, adding a card like Velomachus will do just that. However, I don’t think it’s an ideal choice for more traditionally constructed red/white sections and decks that are commonly played in cubes.

    Clever Lumimancer

    A spell version of Steppe Lynx.

    What I Like: In spell-heavy decks that can reliably cast affordable proactive spells on demand, this might be quite the beater. It will shine in the same kinds of decks that get good success out of Delver and Swiftspear kinds of creatures. It has a ceiling of attacking for 4 or 6 in decks loaded with cantrips and cheap burn/discard spells …which is obviously very strong for a 1cc creature. In magical Christmasland scenarios with draw 7’s and storm-esque spell chains, this can hit for game-ending damage on its own. MTGS user steve_man has been discussing the spicy potential that lies with the new Magecraft triggers and Chain of Smog which will net you an infinite power creature in this case …if you want to explore those kinds of shenanigans.

    What I Don't Like: If your spell train comes to a halt, this card does nothing. For as high as its ceiling can be, it’s floor can be equally underwhelming. I mean, it’s literally a 0/1 when you don’t have spells to trigger it. Unlike cards like Pyromancer and Mentor, this doesn’t work well in decks loaded with reactive spells like countermagic, since the triggers won’t be taking place on turns where you’ll be attacking, and it doesn’t generate much in the way of value that way.

    Verdict: If you prefer to construct your aggressive creature suite using cards that are more interesting than the Savannah Lion variants, this might be appealing. In cantrip-heavy shells loaded with cheap spells that chain into other cheap spells, this creature might become consistent enough to be worth exploring.


    A decent Remove Soul variant.

    What I Like: Unlike other restrictive creature counters, Reject hits planeswalkers too. Mana Leak-style counters are pretty reliable, as 3 mana is a lot. In addition to adding planeswalkers to the pool of counter targets, Reject also exiles the spell, which adds a lot of extra value if recursive creatures, regrowth effects, and reanimation spells are common in your playgroup. We rarely see new and inventive 2cc countermagic that isn’t strictly worse than other spells we cube with, so this design is nice to see.

    What I Don't Like: Despite the advantages, its still a counterspell that is both limited in what kind of targets it can hit AND has a payment option the opponent can pay in the late game. In a world where we have Mana Leaks and Miscalculations available, it can be hard for some cube managers to justify countermagic with a pair of restrictive qualities.

    Verdict: I don’t think this card is ultimately going to shine for my group, but I think it will play better than it appears at first glance, and cube managers that maximize the number of even remotely playable 1U countermagic they can find will be happy adding this to their toolbox.

    Conspiracy Theorist

    A 2cc …discard matters value engine?

    What I Like: This creature does a lot of cool stuff. At its core, its a 2-power creature for for 2 mana that can generate card advantage, and historically creatures that match that description are worth a close look. When it attacks you can pay a mana to rummage, which is a solid effect on its own. But the real value comes from the second block of text. When you discard gas, you can exile it and cast it from exile until end of turn. Note that this works with all of your discard effects, not just his rummaging trigger. So if you play a Wheel of Fortune, you can cast one of your discarded cards. When you escalate your Collective Brutality you can get access to the pitched card. All of your other looting and rummaging effects can have their discard drawbacks partially mitigated. This is a pretty significant upside. Critically, the exile clause is a may, so you can use this as a discard outlet too.

    What I Don't Like: As a discard outlet, there are multiple problems with consistency. First, you have to pay to rummage, which is a bummer. But even more costly than that is the requirement to attack. This means that you have to run your discard outlet into the red zone in order to trigger it, and that seriously lowers the consistency of being able to use it as a repeatable rummaging engine.

    Verdict: If you have a lot of discard drawbacks you’re looking to mitigate, this creature is an interesting way to do it. But as a stand-alone creature, I think it falls a bit short. It’s on my watch list, but I’m not going to add it in to my initial wave of cards to test.

    Plumb the Forbidden

    A solid reactive draw spell.

    What I Like: There are multiple scenarios where this can play out like an instant-speed Night's Whisper variant (or even stronger). Whenever you are about to lose a creature for any reason, you can sacrifice it instead and draw an extra card from PtF. Chump blocking can turn into a life-saving venture that converts a creature already being thrown away into an extra card. If the opponent aims a removal spell at one of your creatures, sac it to this instead, fizzle their spell and get a Night’s Whisper. Save a recursive creature from an exile effect and draw some cards. If the opponent is preparing to wrath the board, you can draw a decent number of cards and recoup the value you were about to lose. Not to mention some of the proactive plays you can make with recursive creatures like Gravecrawlers and Bloodghasts …or even sacrificing a small token army for some absurd card draw. Unlike other effects in this ilk, you can cast this to draw a card at any time, you don’t need to sacrifice creatures if you just need to cycle the card to draw something else. It’s important to note that the spell copies itself instead of increasing the number of cards drawn. This is important for both triggering Magecraft and avoiding blowouts against countermagic.

    What I Don't Like: Holding up the 2 mana all game waiting for the right opportunity to cast this reactively against your opponent’s removal is a bothersome task. So it might not see much play in decks that can’t also use it proactively with tokens and recursive monsters.

    Verdict: I think this card might be one of the sleepers from this set. I think it has a high ceiling and a passable floor that prevents it from ever being truly dead. I would play this card at 720 if I could find room for it, and perhaps in cubes smaller than that if they supported an aristocrats package loaded with Blood Artist effects that would even further maximize the potential value.


    A cool Orzhov Disenchant variant.

    What I Like: I like Disenchant effects, and despite being harder to cast, Fracture adds a significant number of additional targets to the pool. If your deck is playing both white and black mana anyways, Fracture is a cool effect, and the additional planeswalker targets help make it an easier maindeck inclusion.

    What I Don't Like: Disenchants aren’t exciting maindeck cards, and dedicating a multicolor card slot to such a mundane utility effect doesn’t feel great. Additionally, unpowered cubes that don’t need the early answer to cards like Moxen and Sol Ring and the like would probably rather wait an extra turn or two and play cards like Anguished Unmaking or even Utter End or something since they can hit the entire pool of creatures too.

    Verdict: If you’re looking for an extra cheap Disenchant effect to deal with fast mana but don’t like the idea of not being able to deal with other kinds of targets, Fracture is a solid option. I think it loses a lot of its value in unpowered cubes that don’t necessarily need to prioritize cheap shatters, but in a large powered cube I could see this card cracking into deeper Orzhov sections. It might break into the top 5-7 white/black gold card range, which might make it a solid inclusion in the 630-720 range.

    Quandrix Apprentice

    A spell-triggering card advantage engine.

    What I Like: In decks that cast a lot of cheap instants Quandrix Apprentice can be very good. In a typical 17-land deck, each spell you cast will have an 81+% chance of adding an additional land directly into your hand. This will generate massive amounts of card advantage and secure all your land drops for the entire game. Drawing 2-4 extra lands off your first 3-5 spells is a bonkers amount of value for a 2cc creature.

    What I Don't Like: So if you go back to my evaluation of Dragonsguard Elite I talk about the way that cubes need to be constructed to maximize these kinds of cards. You need an above average number of green instants and sorceries, and lots of blue cantrip-style effects. Not to mention the absurdly high card quality that exists in Simic right now. If your cube isn’t the perfect home for Quandrix Apprentice, it’s going to be very hard to edge out the competition for a slot.

    Verdict: Similar to my evaluation of Dragonsguard Elite, the value of this card’s inclusion is based less on cube size and more on cube construction. If you play lots of green instants and sorceries and your blue section is loaded to the gills with cantrip effects, this Apprentice can (well, more likely will) be nuts. If you don’t, your cube might not be best suited to take advantage of this card. Pretty simple.

    Plargg, Dean of Chaos // Augusta, Dean of Order

    The Boros Dean pair.

    What I Like: Plargg is cool because it provides free rummaging and an activated ability that can generate card advantage and develop the board. So if you have a hand that will work well with some fine tuning, you can rummage. If you have mana and nothing to spend it on, the activated ability can turn your mana into something of value. The 2nd ability reminds me a bit of Grenzo, Dungeon Warden’s activated ability that allows you to spend excess mana on some permanents for your board. Augusta is a completely different kind of card. It works as a combination of battle cry triggers when you need to maximize damage, and vigilance + toughness boost when combat is complicated. The ability works immediately, and the card itself doesn’t have to attack to use the effects. It also untaps all your creatures, not just the ones that attacked, which adds random value to mana dorks and utility creatures.

    What I Don't Like: The two sides of the card don’t work particularly well together since different decks are going to want the different Deans. Plargg is best suited as a discard outlet/value engine, and Augusta is best suited for a go-wide aggro/token deck that can maximize the anthem effect. Very rarely will a deck be looking for both of these kinds of cards at the same time.

    Verdict: Plargg is good at its job, and Augusta is good at their job. If you play lots of decks in your cube that might be looking for these kinds of effects independently, you may be able to maximize some slot equity by having one slot provide both a rummaging engine and an anthem effect. However, I think the limited frequency that a deck might come around that wants both of these cards in it will reduce the value an MDFC is supposed to be providing to the deck in question. Might be worth a test in larger Boros sections that have room to test.

    Expressive Iteration

    Cheap Izzet card advantage.

    What I Like: Both card selection and card advantage rolled up into one cheap effect. Note that the effect allows you to play the exiled card, not cast it …this means that you can play lands off this effect if they’re selected to go to exile. For 2 mana, you can make a land drop, draw a card, and bottom something you don’t want, which is a nice, clean 2-for-1.

    What I Don't Like: There will be times where you don’t reveal lands, don’t have a land drop to make, or don’t hit any cards in the three that can be played in the same turn. In those instances, you’re essentially playing a sorcery-speed, 2-color Anticipate. Which needless to say, isn’t very good.

    Verdict: If you play this on a turn where you have a land drop to make, you have an 80+% chance in a typical 17-land build to hit a land in the 3 cards, which gives you a great chance to have this be an easy 2-for-1. Even if you miss on lands, you can still exile a cheap card and play it in the same turn, and put a more expensive card into your hand, also resulting in card advantage. More often than not, this will be worth 2 cards for the caster, and it only costs 2 mana. That’s a good deal, and something worth looking at if you have an Izzet slot that’s not dedicated to something more archetype-specific.

    Witherbloom Command

    A cheap, versatile Golgari spell.

    What I Like: There are three modes on this Command that are worth a card, and so there’s a good opportunity to get a 2-for-1 for 2 mana (while impacting the board in the process). It can blast noncreature, nonland cards with CMC 2 or less (which hits ~44 cards in my cube) including fast mana, mana rocks, and utility permanents. It can be used to kill 1-toughness creatures (which I have 72 of floating around), finish off damaged creatures, or cripple other creatures pre-combat. It can also spill cards into the ‘yard and regrowth a land for me, getting back manlands, fetches, and strip mines. Plus, it can provide a little reach if you want the mini Drain Life effect.

    What I Don't Like: This card would’ve benefitted in a big way from one of two easy changes. First, making the card an instant would add so much additional value to the -3/-1 effect and turned it into a legitimately valuable combat trick. Second, turning the last ability into a raise dead effect or something would’ve been a great way to add in some synergy with the self-mill aspect of the card, in addition to giving it an extra card advantage mode. Either one of those two changes would’ve done a lot for it.

    Verdict: This is a very solid spell, and it’s more interesting than one of the vanilla removal spells commonly played in Golgari sections. Despite its ability to generate card advantage with its modes, the pool of targets that it kills is relatively small for a multicolor removal spell. I would safely place this in the top 5-7 Golgari cards though (especially if you support some lands matter shenanigans) and could see this putting in good mileage at the 630-720 range.

    Callous Bloodmage

    A modernized Phyrexian Rager.

    What I Like: This is a solid card. It can always be a clean 2-for-1 if you want it by having it be a 2-power body that draws a card. It can also be a 3-power play that provides 2 bodies by generating a token when it enters play if that’s what the position calls for. It’s also a great way to shoehorn in some incidental graveyard hate which is nice since those kinds of effects are rare and can be powerful in certain situations. Looks fun with Recurring Nightmare too.

    What I Don't Like: I agree with MTGS user MadRobot’s general sentiment about the card. Yes, it can be a Phyrexian Rager variant, and yes, it can be a Yavimaya Sapherd variant. But I don’t play either of those cards, and I’m not sure being able to choose which one this is will particularly raise my excitement about it. In this era, maybe I needed to be able to choose 2 of the 3 options in order for it to be great. And as always, steve_man’s opinion is similar to my own, and he pointed out that Woe Strider kinda does this job but better. You always get the 3-power and the multiple bodies, and the escape mechanic is often worth even more than the card advantage you’re trying to leverage from this creature.

    Verdict: Solid, albeit unexciting. I wouldn’t fault anyone for running this creature because it’s never going to be a bad card. I think it’s a solid inclusion at 630, but I don’t think it cracks the smallest of cube lists.

    Flamescroll Celebrant // Revel in Silence

    A Harsh Mentor // Silence MDFC?

    What I Like: This card is super cool. Harsh Mentor was a neat effect, but both needed to hit planeswalker activations and be a little better on its own in order to justify a slot. Celebrant does both. It has a firebreathing effect and pings the opponent for ‘walker activations. Silence effects are better than people think they are, but don’t see much cube play because they’re narrow inclusions on their own. This card solves that problem by giving you access to a Silence effect that doesn’t even cost you a deck slot to include it since it’s stapled to an otherwise playable creature. Plus, Revel prevents planeswalker activations on their silenced turn, which can really bind a players actions in a creature-light deck.

    What I Don't Like: I wish the Silence side cost 1W instead of double-white, and it would’ve been killer to give the Celebrant first strike, but honestly those are pretty minor nitpicks. I do think that the card needs both sides of the card in order to really sell its cubeworthiness, so it has to compete against other Boros cards. And it does a solid job of that, honestly. This card is probably pretty good.

    Verdict: This could wind up being a #4-#6 Boros card for cubes, meaning that it could land somewhere in the 540-630 range. Decent creature, decent spell, two rarer effects that both want to be played in the same kinds of decks… a recipe for an effective Boros card.

    Multiple Choice

    A unique blue 5-drop.

    What I Like: While this card can do a lot of different things, it has one truly desirable mode, which is the 5-mana one. That gives you a 4/4 body, a bounce effect, and an Opt trigger all rolled up together. It’s important to note that the bounce effect is a may, so if the opponent has a Chupacabra out that you don’t want to let them pick up, you can ignore that mode and just take the body, the scry, and the draw. In a pinch, it can be a 2-mana sorcery speed Opt if you’re desperately digging for land #3. It can be a 3-mana edict-style bounce effect if they have a single big creature out that perhaps they cheated into play or something and you need to get rid of. It can also be a 4/4 for 4-mana if the need arises for that. But really, this will rarely ever be anything other than a desperation Opt or the 5cc value bundle. Being a 5cc “creature” that triggers all the Magecraft and Prowess kinds of cards is another nice small bonus. It’s a cool target for Spellseeker too.

    What I Don't Like: That bounce effect is just so bad for a 3-mana sorcery that the mode is almost flavor text. If that had been a Disperse trigger instead, it would’ve been situationally useful as a 3cc spell and added a lot more value to the 5cc package. Also, the fact that the spell is a token instead of a body prevents a lot of the abuse that can make ETB trigger creatures so powerful, and leaves the 4/4 body vulnerable to bounce itself. If this card was an instant, it would add a lot more value to the Opt mode and it would make the 4/4 body relevant in reactive combat situations, making it a lot more powerful.

    Verdict: Of all the creatures/cards that this card compares to in its 5cc mode (Mulldrifter, Cavalier of Gales, Shark Typhoon, etc.) this is probably the worst one. The flexibility adds some value, but if none of the other modes are ever used, it’s not adding much. Instant speed or a better bounce effect would’ve made this card for me; both would’ve made it great. As is, I think I would test this card out in 540, and perhaps see it stick in 630 or 720.

    Elite Spellbinder

    A disruptive white 3-drop.

    What I Like: 3-power and flying for 3 mana is a good recipe for a solid aggro body. Add in the disruption provided by increasing the casting cost of their most important spell by 2 mana and you have a nice package put together for a aggro creature. Ideally you play this on T3 a a part of an aggressive creature curve-out and you take your opponent’s Damnation away and make it cost 6 mana now. That gives you the time to continue to apply your early pressure and hopefully close things out before they can resolve the game-changing spell you taxed. It works particularly well in tempo shells where you can delay their critical spell until a time where you’ll have untapped mana available to counter it.

    What I Don't Like: There are bound to be situations you find yourself in where this won’t feel like it does much. Maybe their critical spell is cheap and they can afford to pay the tax without an issue. Maybe this is played late in the game and they have plenty of mana. Maybe they have redundant effects and you can’t disrupt their curve out. Hell, maybe they’re empty-handed and there’s nothing proactive you can do with the effect. It is in all those situations that people will realize why this isn’t Vendilion Clique. Flash would’ve helped a lot.

    Verdict: I think this card is quite good, and when you can use it for what it’s designed for, it’ll be awesome. But I also think that white’s 3cc creature slot is ultra competitive, and I don’t fault anyone that doesn’t want to trim from their existing suite of threats for it. It’s worth testing out because it’s unique and the ceiling is powerful, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this winds up being better suited to medium- and large-sized cubes. I would test this in the 450-540 range, but expect it to settle into the 630-720 range.

    Vanishing Verse

    Cheap, efficient Orzhov removal.

    What I Like: This card hits ~180 cards in my cube, for 2 mana, at instant speed …and it exiles them. It’s a cheap and efficient piece of removal that will be playable in every Orzhov deck that gets drafted.

    What I Don't Like: This card might be best suited for an unpowered cube environment because a lot of the cards this misses are critical targets in powered lists. Since it can’t hit artifacts, it can’t shoot down Moxen and other fast mana. And, vanilla removal is relatively unexciting for a multicolor slot.

    Verdict: This is a good card. Probably a top 3-5 Orzhov card. I think it’s slightly better in an unpowered list, where it could easily be playable at 450. It may be more of a 540+ card for powered cubes, though I plan on giving it some extended testing in my own cube.

    Prismari Command

    A versatile Izzet 3cc spell.

    What I Like: This card isn’t exactly Kolaghan’s Command (KC), but it will feel like it a lot of the time. What I’ve learned from playing KC is that shock + shatter is a great recipe in powered cubes for generating card advantage. Prismari Command (PC) retains that option. There’s a lot of targets for you to mix and match from to generate card advantage with either of the two Commands with this combination of options. KC has the advantage of being paired with two other modes that both generate card advantage, while neither of PCs other abilities are card advantage ones. But that hasn’t been a problem so far in testing. In fact, PCs other abilities have been quite relevant. Being able to use it to dig in situations where you only have 1 viable target give it uses in areas where KC might not have been stellar. It’s like a more proactive version of the two Commands, exchanging abilities that are worth full cards in some situations for abilities that provide card selection/graveyard fuel, and mana fixing/mana ramp/tempo advantage in others. I’ve used the treasure token to set up a 5cc play a turn early, I’ve used the looting to fill my graveyard with a reanimation target …hell I’ve even used the treasure token to provide a surprise extra artifact that boosted some Karnstructs P/T in the middle of combat. PC keeps the base abilities that make KC so strong, but adds a unique new set of abilities that provide value to all kinds of different decks and situations. As MTGS user Red13th points out, the draw can target the opponent and isn’t a may, so it can be pretty backbreaking with Hullbreacher and friends. The surprise instant-speed treasure can provide some Welder food that can open up unique lines. Overall, all the options have played well, and it retains the core effects that impact the board and generate card advantage from its inspiration card.

    What I Don't Like: JinxedIdol pointed out that this card doesn’t feel blue at all. Treasures, looting, shocks and shatters are all red abilities now. This could probably cost 1RR and not be violating the color pie in any way (even though the card would be insanely broken as a mono-colored card). Kolaghan’s Command is probably better. But that’s not a hurdle that most cards have to clear; Kolaghan’s Command is amazing.

    Verdict: I thought this card was going to be good and it turned out to be even better. It’s very likely a top 3 Izzet card, and I think this card is playable at 360-450 without too many problems.

    Rip Apart

    Very flexible 2cc Boros removal.

    What I Like: This effect takes Abrade and adds enchantments and planeswalkers to its list of targets. It hits ~250+ cards in my cube, which is an absurdly high number for a 2cc spell. Being a disenchant that can kill every creature with toughness 3 or less in the cube and can clear ‘walkers that are within the loyalty range is just bonkers good.

    What I Don't Like: Since we’re already adding the white mana to the cost in comparison to Abrade, I wish it could’ve kept the instant speed. But that’s really asking too much for a card that kills this many permanents in the cube for such a low cost.

    Verdict: This is in the top 3 Boros cards in the cube for sure, and is likely one of the best Boros cards in powered cubes where the 2cc answer to fast mana is so critical, and this is such an easily maindeckable disenchant because of the damage effects. In an unpowered cube this may only be a 450+ card, but in powered lists, I think this is a 360 slam dunk.

    Sedgemoor Witch

    A black Young Pyromancer variant?

    What I Like: This creature (coined the Pestomancer by Twitter user @Deadinthestreet) honestly compares pretty favorably to Young Pyromancer. For the one extra mana, it gets +1/+1, Menace, Ward, and the tokens get upgraded to the life-gaining pests (which we will all soon find out how aptly named those tokens are). That’s a pretty awesome suite of upgrades for 1 more. I’m excited about this card because I think it opens up an avenue for black to be more commonplace in the spells matters decks, and with all the removal, discard and tutors, the color is perfectly suited to complement a Pyromancer or Mentor shell …it just needed that one card to get the foot in the door, and the Pestomancer is it. The menace and ward are both aggressively slanted abilities, so it will play well in Rakdos aggro decks loaded with cheap disruption and burn. And the lifegain on the pests is a sweet upside for slower shells, and I could see UB control shells enjoying having this on the battlefield while casting their reactive countermagic and removal.

    What I Don't Like: Monastery Mentor this is not. And honestly, Young Pyromancer is probably better too since costing less mana often means more (and earlier) tokens on average. While this card will be useable in a lot of decks, there’s only a few where it will feel amazing.

    Verdict: I think the ceiling on this card is high enough to warrant testing in even the smallest of cubes. If you can run away with the game on a cantrip/discard chain and make an army of pests, this card will feel amazing. The 3-power menace creature with ward will be annoying for the opponent when you’re on the beatdown, and it allows your otherwise less aggressive spells to add power and toughness to the board instead of simply being utility spells. It may wind up being a 450-540 card for some cubes not supporting Pyromancer/Mentor spells matters strategies, but I expect even 360 cubes to find uses for it right away.

    Baleful Mastery

    A really versatile black removal spell.

    What I Like: This is a great removal spell. It’s an instant. It exiles. It has multiple casting options. The 2-mana mode plays a bit like a mono-colored Assassin’s Trophy variant that gives up a random card instead of a land in play. It feels a bit like the Arcane Denial of Hero’s Downfall effects in that it’s willing to concede some card advantage for a cheap casting option. Except, this card can also be played at full price, which is still a splashable 4-mana Vraska’s Contempt variant at worst. Imagine how good Arcane Denial is, and how incredible it would be if it had Kicker 2 that allowed you to ignore the drawback! That’s what this spell is to Downfall/Contempt variants. Also, the draw isn’t a “may”; I can’t wait to aim this at the opponent when I have a Hullbreacher or Notion Thief in play and use the drawback as an upside to make treasures and draw extra cards. And since it’s an instant, Leovold and Narset also shut off the card’s drawback. When you need an early answer to something, it’s nice to have access to the unconditional 2cc removal. Later on in the game when you can afford it, it can cost 4.

    What I Don't Like: I wish it was a 2cc card with kicker instead of a 4cc card with a cost reducing option because of Dark Confidant. But other than that? I’m sold.

    Verdict: I would add this in as one of the first black removal spells that I would play in most cube lists, so I’m pretty confident that I would find room to play this in even the smallest of cubes.

    Thanks for reading everyone! As always, please comment here or comment over on Twitter and we can continue the cube discourse!

    Cheers, and happy cubing. Smile
    Posted in: Articles, Podcasts, and Guides
  • posted a message on [STX][CUBE] Callous Bloodmage
    I think this card will be a solid performer for anyone that wants to include it. I like the versatility of being a Rager or a Sapherd variant, and maindeckabble graveyard hate is always welcome since it's super rare. This is also a good card in Recurring Nightmare decks. Cool card.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [STX] [CUBE] Sedgemoor Witch
    I like this card. Smile
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [450][Powered] wtwlf123's Cube
    I don't want to lead guest drafters down a rabbit-hole looking for storm support after they scoop up Rituals and Wills only to find out its not supported. I like the card a lot even without that deck, but it's on the bench for now while everything settles in.
    Posted in: Cube Lists
  • posted a message on [CUBE] [STX] Fracture
    Pretty cool design. I like Disenchant, and adding 'walkers to the pool of targets is decent. Probably worse than the other new 2cc Orzhov removal spell, but still a decent option for cubes with deeper multicolor sections.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [SCD] - [CUBE][STX] Vanishing Verse
    This card hits ~180 cards in my cube. By comparison, Abrade hits ~200 cards and Abrupt Decay hits ~190 cards. This is a very efficient removal spell, but it has less overall targets and misses a handful of really premium targets in my cube in comparison to other 2cc instant-speed removal.

    Good card though; I could see a lot of Orzhov sections including this piece of removal. After cards like Vinicate, Lingering Souls and maybe OG Sorin, there aren't a ton of amazing options. I like this a lot more than Anguished Unmaking, for example.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [CUBE]- Quandrix Apprentice
    If your Simic cards can function well in a spells matters shell, this card is excellent.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [STX] [CUBE] Baleful Mastery
    This card looks good to me. This is to Hero's Downfall what Arcane Denial is to Cancel, except Downfall is actually a cubeworthy card, AND this has an option to pay 2 more to negate the drawback. Don't know if it'll make it in since black does have so many other good removal options available ...but this card looks sweet.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [CUBE] - Multiple Choice
    I wish it was an instant and/or the bounce was a Disperse effect, but overall it's solid, splashable, and flexible. But at least the bounce is a may, so you can elect not to do it even if the opponent has a good creature (for them) to bounce back to their hand.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on This or That discussion.
    Cleric ≥ Spirit >> Orator

    Nexus > Epiphany

    Lorehold > Warleader
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on [STX] [CUBE] Rip Apart
    This card looks fantastic to me, and I'll be playing it for sure.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
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