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  • posted a message on Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate (CLB) Spoiler discussion
    Way behind on keeping up with all the releases lately. At least I was able to get my update/write-up in before Dominaria United info starts dropping… *checks notes* …tomorrow.

    Hopefully this is helpful to anyone else that’s behind on their updates, or maybe just gives a fresh perspective on an overlooked card.

    In <- Out

    White
    Blessed Hippogriff <- Feat of Resistance
    I’ve been in the market for a good 1-mana indestructible trick (not a fan of the non-Human clause on Fight as One) and the Hippogriff seems to be playing well in Alchemy Horizons (access to the Alchemy Horizon’s: Baldur’s Gate data from Arena is one of the benefits of writing this so late). I like Feat overall, but it’s my last Protection card and it will be nice to not have to worry about explaining “DEBT” to newer players.

    Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant <- Odric's Outrider
    A fairly straightforward swap as they fill a similar role in the sacrifice deck, but Lulu seems more interesting, slightly more powerful, and also supports blink and flyers.

    Githzerai Monk <- Oketra's Attendant
    Attendant has been a pretty solid card overall, but it doesn’t have the best home in White. It would probably play better in, oh I dunno, maybe blue? The Monk is a very unique effect and a great way to close out games from a board stall, something I’m always happy to have more of in the cube.

    Greatsword of Tyr <- Citizen's Crowbar
    Greatsword looks like a fantastic aggressive card with cross-support for equipment and +1/+1 counters. I really like the design of the Crowbar overall, but I’m trying to cut down on the number of 1-of tokens.

    You're Confronted by Robbers <- Release the Dogs
    Who Let the Dogs Out? is another good card but with a unique (and absurdly expensive) token. I’m hoping the added modality of tapping down plus being instant speed makes up for the loss of a body.

    Banishment <- Cast Out
    Another sidegrade, but I think I prefer the anti-token upside of Banishment over cycling which I’ve found gets used very infrequently.

    Blue
    Alora, Merry Thief <- Wingshield Agent
    Alora is an interesting card that I think is worth testing; it plays well in UWg blink and UB saboteur decks which are both secondary archetypes I try to support. Notably, combos very well with Ninjutsu.

    Irenicus's Vile Duplication <- Trickster's Talisman
    The Talisman was cute but Duplication just seems better overall for my cube. Sorcery means it plays well with the spells deck, and it can go pseudo-infinite with Shipwreck Dowser, Eternal Witness, et al.

    Sailors' Bane <- Screaming Swarm
    A juiced up Cryptic Serpent, Ward 4 begins to function close to hexproof and the mana discount looking at exile means it doesn’t feel bad running this next to Delve in a graveyard/reanimator deck. Screaming Swarm’s abilities end up playing too slow which makes it mostly a 6-mana Air Elemental.

    Stunning Strike <- Witness Protection
    The ever-rotating “blue enchantment removal” slot, but Stunning Strike does seem like a step above the rest. The “remove from combat” clause really makes this interesting, as it can be cast after the declare attackers step, and in some circumstances can be used as a combat trick (e.g. double-blocking). However my eye does twitch a bit at the “isn't legendary” text.

    Young Blue Dragon <- Mind Control
    As I hinted in talking about Oketra's Attendant, Young Blue Dragon is mostly a color-shifted version and I expect the combination of effects to play even better in blue, such as the adventure half providing a free “spell” trigger. Mind Control is a veteran as one of the oldest cards in the cube; it’s powerful but doesn’t support any specific themes and has been described as a “feel bad” enough times to finally move on.

    Black
    Bonecaller Cleric <- Dread Return
    I’m not necessarily sold on the Cleric on power-level, but as someone who’s removed most of the top-tier reanimation spells for power or complexity reasons I’ve been in the market for some new reanimate effects and I feel this is worth a test.

    Guildsworn Prowler <- Vengeful Strangler
    Guildsworn Prowler has been playing well in Alchemy Horizons and I’m not surprised, this card looks great in aggro and sacrifice decks, and it even blocks well in a pinch which is something you can’t get from the Strangler. I’ve found DFCs are fun to play with in small doses, but long term I’ll be happy to trim a few of the more replaceable ones.

    Vrock <- Vampire Sovereign
    Probably a slight step down in strict power level (Vrock really could use that fourth point of toughness), but much more of an archetype signpost / payoff. Threatening up to six damage a turn, I’m hoping the bird will help the grindier sacrifice decks close out the game quickly. Also: funny name.

    Arms of Hadar <- Incremental Blight
    A really powerful one-side wrath effect, not much to say other than I’m surprised this didn’t garner more attention. Perhaps people are wary, as mentioned above, that it might be too oppressive to aggro, but I’m willing to test it.

    Ghost Lantern <- Reaper's Talisman
    Didn’t manage to get in much testing with Reaper's Talisman, but Ghost Lantern seems more relevant to the archetypes in my cube (graveyard, sacrifice).

    Red
    Gut, True Soul Zealot <- Bogardan Dragonheart
    I’m actually concerned that Gut may end up being too powerful in my environment, but that’s not going to stop me wanting to see those 4/1 menace skeletons in action. While Dragonheart is notably weaker, I do like its play patterns overall and could see swapping this back if Gut is as busted as I think it will be.

    Amethyst Dragon <- Red Dragon
    As someone who has been trying to support bigger/slower red decks (as evidenced by the fact that I was already running Red Dragon), I absolutely love that red has some more powerful top-end in the form of Amethyst Dragon. I'm in the camp that on power this will end up being a high pick and I’d go as far as to say it could be an archetype-defining card at the Peasant level.

    Inspired Tinkering <- Twinshot Sniper
    Another banger in red, happy to get more fun spells that aren’t just burn. I don’t think much needs to be said past the comparison to Escape to the Wilds, unless you’ve never played with Escape to the Wilds in which case I’ll just say that it’s a card that plays much better than it looks. Twinshot Sniper is strong but generic, and has felt dangerously oppressive to aggressive strategies. It may return if I decide to support more of an artifact theme.

    Green
    Undercellar Myconid <- Tireless Provisioner
    Undercellar Myconid caught my eye from the spoiler, and its strong performance in Alchemy Horizons convinced me to give the little fungus a test. Provisioner has been fine, but it’s another unique token producer (food) and performs a similar role as the Myconid.

    Erinis, Gloom Stalker <- Eccentric Farmer
    Erinis is one of the cards I’m most excited for (dare I say the peasant Ramunap Excavator?). A great rate for the body already, and it shouldn’t be difficult to get value with this particularly paired with B or U.

    Druidic Ritual <- Rise of the Ants
    Ritual looks like the best version of that type of effect we’ve seen printed so far, possibly even good enough to see play outside dedicated self-mill decks.

    Multicolor
    Oji, the Exquisite Blade <- Migratory Route
    Oji seems like a very fun tool for the UW blink decks, always a fan of the enabler + payoff gold cards.

    Mahadi, Emporium Master <- Fireblade Artist
    It was difficult finding the cut in Rakdos but Fireblade Artist ultimately felt the most replaceable. Mahadi I expect to have interesting play patterns in both RB sacrifice and RBx control.

    Minthara, Merciless Soul <- Markov Purifier
    I’ve had some trouble giving WB a distinct identity from BR, as the 'sacrifice' deck tends to blur between the two. Minthara (with Hidden Stockpile) supports the 'Revolt' style deck which can lean more into W flicker and B treasure than the BR deck. Unfortunately I worry that Minthara is a little low on the power-level side, and if it underperforms I’ll be tempted to mock-up a paper version that mirrors the alchemy card Minthara of the Absolute (no ward, two more toughness, trigger happens immediately but once per turn).

    Kagha, Shadow Archdruid <- Acolyte of Affliction
    I really like the design of Kagha, providing a payoff for self-mill is very unique and helps give BG decks something to build towards beyond just generic “graveyard” value.

    Colorless
    Noble's Purse <- Coldsteel Heart
    Sphere of the Suns was always close to playable and this is significantly better. Let the synergies flow!

    Rug of Smothering <- Guildless Commons
    Not quite sold on this cute little Rug, but it’s a unique enough effect at this rarity that I think it merits a test.

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Streets of New Capenna (SNC) for Peasant Cube
    Haven't gotten to cube recently so I've been a bit behind on my SNC update. As usual I ended up testing a fairly high number of cards from the set, even if I don't expect most to make the cut long-term.

    Adding:
    Citizen's Crowbar
    Raffine's Informant
    Inspiring Overseer
    Mage's Attendant
    The pair of really pushed white three-drops left Rumor Gatherer just on the sideline. Raffine's Informant looks like a slightly better Merfolk Branchwalker, with white less able to take advantage of the graveyard but also more interested in a 2-mana 3/2.

    Hypnotic Grifter
    Wingshield Agent (test)
    Witness Protection
    The Agent probably won't have a home for long, but it looks like a fun card that makes for interesting combat steps.

    Night Clubber
    Dusk Mangler

    Goldhound (test)
    Mayhem Patrol
    Riveteers Requisitioner
    Witty Roastmaster
    Pugnacious Pugilist
    Sticky Fingers (test)
    Mostly excited for the two 2-drops, which I've been eager to see improved in my red section.

    Jewel Thief
    Cleanup Crew

    Body Dropper

    Quick-Draw Dagger

    Queza, Augur of Agonies
    Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer
    I currently don't run any 3-color cards, but these two are the first ones that stood out to me as worth testing in Cube. I'm going to count these effectively as colorless cards as far as cube slots go, and I'm not concerned about trying to make sure I have a full cycle of 5 (or 10).

    And as someone who breaks rarity for fixing lands (but not fetches), I'm happy to be able to complete the Triome cycle by adding the new lands.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [NEO] Spoiler for Peasant Cubed
    Been a few sets since I’ve had a chance to put together an update write-up. Wanted to get my early thoughts down before I got my hands on the cards at the prerelease this weekend. Overall, a rather impressive haul from a set that I wasn't expecting much from initially.

    White
    Spirited Companion <- Search Party Captain
    Good doggo 11/10
    Blade-Blizzard Kitsune <- Aerial Responder
    Probably would be interested in a 2/2 double-strike for 2W already, and the Kitsune is that with some minor but fun upside (an on-color target to pair with my favorite Ninjustu enabler: Faerie Guidemother). Double-strike is a great keyword and specifically works well with +1/+1 counter and equipment archetypes in white. Nothing against the powerful Aerial Responder, but with too many creatures at 1WW the Responder is the least interesting of the bunch.
    Touch the Spirit Realm <- Faith's Fetters
    As someone who avoids functional reprints, it’s great to see a Banishing Light variant with some interesting tradeoffs (looking at you Borrowed Time).

    Blue
    Moon-Circuit Hacker <- Ninja of the Deep Hours
    Not a strict upgrade, but pretty close considering the Ninjustu hit has the same effect at half the cost and the Hacker has a hard-cast mode that isn’t a complete disaster.
    The Modern Age <- Merfolk Looter
    Sad to see the classic Merfolk Looter go, but getting an immediate loot trigger and ending with a relevant flying body I expect will often outweigh the Merfolk’s ability to loot repeatably.
    Acquisition Octopus (testing) <- Alirios, Enraptured
    Stealer of Secrets certainly wouldn’t be playable on it’s own, but staple on a free Rogue's Gloves and now things get interesting. Alirios is a fine card, if overly defensive, but it doesn’t support any archetypes outside of flicker which is something I have begun to transition away from.
    Behold the Unspeakable <- Blue Dragon
    If I squint, this card starts to look a little bit too much like Mulldrifter to ignore. I actually like the first chapter’s ability as something relatively unique; one play pattern some might overlook (since it looks inherently defensive) is how powerful the -2/-0 effect becomes if you are already ahead, often enabling an alpha strike with very little fear of a crackback.
    Mirrorshell Crab <- Mysterious Tome
    Always in the market for beefy, self-binning creatures in blue, as they slot into both UG Ramp and UB Reanimator. I was close to re-adding Striped Riverwinder but I’ll check out the Crab in that spot first. It probably won’t come up often, but I particularly like getting access to an ability-counter effect.

    Black
    Okiba Reckoner Raid (testing) <- Diregraf Ghoul
    No strong feelings about this one. Diregraf Ghoul has been a long time holdover from attempts at pushing black aggro, so it’s time to try something a little spicier in its slot.
    Nezumi Prowler <- Grim Wanderer
    I really like how many different play patterns there are with the Prowler, and I expect there to be a lot of power in that versatility.
    Gravelighter <- Umbral Juke
    Gotta love it when the swaps are this easy. I had just replaced Plaguecrafter with Fell Stinger, so it’s nice to see a (better) version of that effect coming back in.

    Red
    Rabbit Battery <- Boots of Speed
    Simian Sling <- Goblin Morningstar
    Bronzeplate Boar (testing) <- Bolt Hound

    I like all three of the red Reconfigure creatures enough to test, though I will say I think Rabbit Battery is the best and most likely to stay in my cube long-term. These cards continue to expand support for the RW equipment archetype, which feels like it has reached a critical mass of quality enablers. Quick aside here to complain about the fact that we got zero Reconfigure cards in white. Booo.
    Twinshot Sniper <- Ardent Elementalist
    The better the card the less I usually have to say, so this one will be short.
    Ironhoof Boar (testing) <- Gargadon
    Some very powerful modality here; the body is definitely overcosted but the combat trick is actually a really good rate (see Brute Strength). Seems at home in red midrange decks and particularly good in Gruul. Unlike Bloodrush that we’ve seen in the past, the Channel ability isn’t limited to attacking creatures so it can even help trade up on defense in a pinch.
    Tempered in Solitude <- Light Up the Stage
    So glad that this isn’t restricted to Samurai and Warriors like the rest of the ‘exalted’ mechanics in this set. Solitude seems like a fantastic source of card advantage in red. Attacking alone is a real restriction, one which should create interesting decisions and sequencing but will also prevent the card from having too much of a snowball effect. Once you hit your third card off of this you’ve got to be pretty happy, and that doesn’t seem difficult in your average game.

    Green
    Kappa Tech-Wrecker <- Outland Liberator
    This personal taste, but I appreciate the card design where you have the option to cash something in to get your Naturalize effect, as opposed to the high variance of either getting a “free” 2-for-1 or wasting the trigger (more Cathar Commando/Thrashing Brontodon, less Reclamation Sage/Trygon Predator). Leonardo’s ability is much closer to the former, and generally seems like it will have some interesting play patterns due to Ninjustu. I wish the Liberator was only the front half of the card, but the repeatable Naturalize on the transformed side can feel unnecessarily oppressive in certain matchups.
    Blossom Prancer <- Owlbear
    Vigilance Reach is generally going to be a worse keyword than trample, but that seems like a reasonable tradeoff for a significantly better ETB trigger.
    Edit: It has been brought to my attention that the Prancer has Reach and not Vigilance, though I think those two are fairly comparable so it doesn't change my evaluation much.
    Greater Tanuki <- Edge of Autumn
    Weighing in on the great Tanuki vs Tusker debate, and I’m coming down on the side of the Racoon Dog. I understand the Tusker’s primary appeal is its cycling mode, but the rate of 7 mana for a vanilla 6/5 is so far below the curve these days that the creature side is barely worth the card. I had previously swapped Krosan Tusker out for Greater Sandwurm and have not looked back.
    Roaring Earth <- Search for Tomorrow
    This card reminds me of Ominous Seas (a very fun card that I still cube with) as a powerful and nearly game-warping effect if cast on curve, but also with a very relevant topdeck mode once you’ve already expended your resources. Have I mentioned yet how much I like Channel as a mechanic? Search ended up being a little too redundant with Rift Sower, and I prefer the creature.

    Gold
    Colossal Skyturtle <- Gretchen Titchwillow
    Almost certainly knew this would be my favorite card from the set when it was spoiled, though that’s probably the Simic mage in me talking. I’ve primarily leaned my UG section towards ramp as an archetype, but there has never been an actual ramp payoff in the vein of a Simic Sky Swallower… until now! And the channel modes make this arguably better than the Sky Swallower which is kind of nuts. Get in here big fella!
    Invigorating Hot Spring <- Rhythm of the Wild
    As said by others, this is pretty close to being a straight upgrade. I particularly like that the modified support works with both equipment themes in red and +1/+1 counter themes in green.

    Colorless
    High-Speed Hoverbike <- Ebony Fly
    Glad to see we got at least one new playable vehicle (Imperial Recovery Unit was on my radar but didn’t make the cut) and this seems like a solid improvement on the previous borderline Sky Skiff. Ebony Fly gets booted as the last standing die-roll card.
    Circuit Mender <- Filigree Familiar
    Hey, this time we can actually use the term “strict upgrade”.
    Towashi Guide-Bot (testing) <- Tezzeret's Gambit
    Understatted for the mana cost, but it works out fairly well that “modified” creatures synergize best with the Naya colors, which are the color pairs hurting most for forms of card advantage. Another quick aside to complain about the fact that we got zero "modified-matters" cards in white, the color best suited to support it (at least in C/Ube).
    Walking Skyscraper <- Prophetic Prism
    Always on the lookout for big colorless finishers and this definitely fits the bill. I quite like this form of temporary hexproof, as you can comfortably tap out casting this to stabilize the ground but it doesn’t completely lock your opponent out from interaction once you start trying to beat down.

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Peasant]] The Peasant Cube Discussion Thread (C/U/)
    Quote from Kahboom0225 »
    I was considering switching from Boros Tokens to Boros Equipment theme. Has anyone supported their cube with Boros equipment before and how did it turn out compared to token/aggro? Also what signpost gold cards did you include?
    I've been slowly transitioning my Red/White/Boros section from Go-Wide support to more Equipment support, but so far it's mostly just shown up as incidental synergies rather than a full-fledged archetype. Now with Bruenor Battlehammer and possibly Plate Armor as powerful equipment payoffs to test out, it feels like we may finally have hit critical mass on making the theme viable. I have Bruenor and Reyav, Master Smith as the top two signpost gold cards, with Koll, the Forgemaster at a moderately distant third.

    Quick shoutout to Goldvein Pick, which has impressed in its few showings so far. The Pick has overperformed my expectations both as far as # of treasures generated, and how useful those treasures have been in practice.
    Quote from MagicFever »

    Timeless Witness: Currently I have three Regrowth effects in mny cube which are Regrowth, Eternal Witness and Bala Ged Recovery. I think four of these effects is too much. In your experience, is the Timeless Witness better than any of those cards?
    I had this same sentiment and came to the conclusion that the classic Regrowth was the one to get the cut. While Timeless Witness is certainly less efficient than Eternal Witness, it makes up for that by offering an incredible late game mode on top of an already decent front half of the card. I think both Witnesses are probably stronger than the sorceries, and I really value the flexibility on Bala Ged Recovery.
    Quote from Kahboom0225 »
    Also need suggestions on the best gold cards for Dimir signpost for graveyard/recursion/reanimator.
    Wanted to circle back to this question to add a +1 to Obsessive Stitcher and also to suggest Port of Karfell as an option, another card I'm testing that has performed well. The opportunity cost of it being a tapped island is really small when it provides you with a powerful, if overcosted, late-game spell for "free". The reanimated creature enters tapped, but unlike most of its cycle from Kaldheim, the land can be activated at instant speed which means you can hold up mana for opponent's EOT, or potentially trigger instant-speed ETBs like on another Dimir favorite: Dinrova Horror. It's not exactly a graveyard/recursion signpost, but it functions as a very solid reanimate target and also performs well in any Dimir-based control deck.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Modern Horizons 2 spoilers for Peasant Cube
    Part 2 (R/G/Multicolor/C):

    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.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Modern Horizons 2 spoilers for Peasant Cube
    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.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Strixhaven for Peasant
    Learn/Lesson seems like it's going to be a really fun mechanic for set draft, as a way to get value from picks beyond the ~23 that make your main deck. Hard to say how it will translate to cube, but looking forward to evaluating with the full set.

    Thunderous Orator is a secret "flyers" card, with some rare but fun upside beyond that and a reasonable floor even if you can't find triggers. Might be too narrow outside that deck however.

    Curate seems like the best version of the 2-mana instant cantrips if you're looking to support blue graveyard decks.
    Frost Trickster is just incredibly strong and looks to be one of our first staples from the set.

    Emergent Sequence I think is a really neat design and, as stated, compares pretty closely to Servant of the Conduit. Bonus +1/+1 counter synergies should give this a slight edge for cubes which support that.
    Symmetry Master I'm surprised isn't getting more attention, but this is effectively a 4-mana 4/4 reach, trample which is a statline we've never seen before and is just incredible on offense and on defense. Not to mention the incidental triggers you can pick up on your other creatures (Beanstalk Giant anyone?), I have this tagged as the other Peasant staple so far.

    Letter of Acceptance trades the repeatability of Bonder's Ornament for a much cheaper one-time activation, not sure which ends up being better on average.

    Lots of spicy gold cards with some new effects that are going to be difficult to evaluate. A few standouts so far look to be:
    Maelstrom Muse
    Quandrix Cultivator
    Reconstruct History
    Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy
    Decisive Rejection(?)

    Really excited to see what Orzhov Silverquill and Golgari Witherbloom have in store.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Kaldhiem Previews
    Thanks for the shoutout. I have seen a few people mention using a Equipment/Aura archetype in the Cubes and I was curious any specific cards you like for that deck. I have a bigger 512-card Cube with only 8 total pieces of equipment, although I have played a few more over the years. Also any specific non-Equipment support cards you recommend.

    I haven't gone too deep on the archetype yet, so it's mainly Boros beatdown decks that have enough ways to get extra mileage out of equipment that it becomes worth running a higher density. A couple of the better support cards have been mentioned: Danitha Capashen, Paragon, Reyav, Master Smith, Scrapper Champion.

    I'll plug Fireblade Charger again, whose floor as a Footlight Fiend is fine (still trades with X/2's), but with any decent-sized equipment on the battlefield it becomes insane. I really like of 1-drops that stay relevant later in the game, and the this one can be a legitimate threat. Also works with other types of incidental pump (battlecry, +1/+1 counters, etc).

    A few other cards that play well in the "equipment" deck:
    Faerie Guidemother
    Grim Initiate
    Sunhome Stalwart
    Ancestral Blade
    Gryff's Boon
    Nahiri, Storm of Stone - borderline on power-level but interesting
    Even Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith could potentially provide some narrow equipment synergies (I really want to see a creature gain double-strike from a rock via Reyav).
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Kaldhiem Previews
    Despite being heavy on snow and tribal elementals (two things that I don’t personally support), Kaldheim ended up providing a number of intriguing cards.

    I’m particularly interested in Foretell, as I like any mechanic that helps to mitigate mana variance. Being able to bank the cost of more expensive cards over multiple turns is a really powerful tool for helping decks that haven’t perfectly curved out or would otherwise have awkward mana sequencing. The facedown nature of it makes it somewhat unfriendly to those less familiar with the cube (similar to Morph), but I’ll have to see how that plays out in practice.

    Adding:
    Usher of the Fallen - Instant staple, not much else to say
    Clarion Spirit - Even one trigger is above rate, and in the right deck this can threaten multiple triggers pretty easily.
    Saw It Coming - Probably the second or third best Cancel+, this is a splashable hard-counter but it likely loses some value in an environment with less foretell cards.
    Behold the Multiverse - A better Glimmer of Genius and the perfect foretell to pair with Saw It Coming.
    Poison the Cup - It was only a matter of time before we got Murder with upside. Probably not knocking off Cast Down or Go for the Throat as the top tier black removal, but slots in perfectly for environments with depowered removal such as my own.
    Dwarven Hammer - I overlooked this on first pass so I’m glad this got brought up for discussion (credit to rancoredmalone). I’m definitely in the market for a “fixed” Loxodon Warhammer, and the 5-mana mode seems actually quite efficient considering what it leaves behind. Happy to give more support to the fledgling RW equipment archetype (quick shoutout to Fireblade Charger who has been overperforming here).
    Snakeskin Veil - Easy swap for Blossoming Defense if you’re trying to support the +1/+1 counter archetype.
    Sarulf's Packmate - I love seeing more efficient card draw being printed in green. This seems rather pushed for a common, and while it’s not quite Llanowar Visionary I suspect the Packmate is probably higher on power level than it’s getting credit for.
    Maja, Bretagard Protector - Somewhat vulnerable at three-toughness for five mana, but it seems like it would be difficult to lose a game where this sticks around on the battlefield. This has an immediate impact on the board in addition to providing a repeatable source of value.
    Kardur, Doomscourge - Two very unique and powerful effects on a solid body, I think this might play even better than it looks.
    Svella, Ice Shaper - Another fun and unique design, I like that this gives Gruul something interesting to do besides beat face.

    Testing:
    Kaya's Onslaught - Really powerful effect at just W if set-up with Foretell, but still has the same problems as all combat tricks.
    Giant's Amulet - The more I think about this card the more I like it. The 1-mana mode is almost never worth a card (maybe protecting Soul Herder?), but the creature mode is actually quite efficient compared to what blue gets at our rarity. A 4/5 hexproof* should stabilize the board very well in control, and you can always reequip after combat to your other blockers once you’re ready to start turning sideways. *Your creature never loses hexproof if you don’t want them to, and overall I don’t mind this type of hexproof as it leads to more interesting gameplay than the static version.
    Ravenform - Versatile removal, sorcery speed hurts but it’s nice for blue to have a permanent answer to the two most relevant card types in the format.
    Axgard Cavalry - I’ve been impressed enough with Goblin Motivator to want a second copy of the effect, and I like the card diversity of running this over Bloodlust Inciter.
    Crush the Weak - An interesting Pyroclasm variant, and I actually like the exile clause quite a bit to help counter Blood Artist type effects.
    Port of Karfell - I really like the design on this land cycle overall, but it ends up being really difficult for them to make the cut in a guild spell section (they would be slam dunks if they tapped for both colors). The Port is one of the only ones I’m likely to test due to trying to go deeper on Dimir reanimator.
    Firja, Judge of Valor - I’m always looking for interesting options in Orzhov and this actually seems like it has the potential to be really powerful.
    Moritte of the Frost/Littjara Mirrorlake - Glad to see more clone effects being printed at uncommon, and these seem like fun additions to Simic. I think it’s close between the two and I’ll probably end up testing both at one time or another, but my gut is actually leaning towards the Mirrorlake as taking the slot.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Kaldhiem Previews
    If I want to play a slower midrange build then there are generally better ways to spend my mana.

    Serious question, what are the better options in red? I'm specifically trying to support control style or "big mana" red decks in my cube, but at Peasant the options are really limited. It would be nice to have some payoffs other than big one-shot damage spells (Slice and Dice, Shower of Coals, Fight with Fire).

    I've been testing a few of the more recent high cmc red creatures: Akoum Warrior and Sanctuary Smasher have been fine but unexciting. Frenzied Saddlebrute and Dargo, the Shipwrecker haven't seen play yet, but I'll probably end up cutting Dargo to test Doomskar Titan.

    Maybe I should take another look at Rite of the Raging Storm.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Kaldhiem Previews
    I'd have to say I disagree on Clarion Spirit. Thinking back on my last several cube matches, double-spell turns happened pretty regularly each game, and that's without considering mechanic support with rebound, flashback, etc. I actually think one trigger is going to be closer to the average-case, with upside beyond that.

    Obviously Charging Monstrosaur is the undisputed champion for red 5+ drops, but beyond that the rankings get much more muddled. I personally like the Titan quite a bit more than Skizzik in anything slower than full-tilt aggro. I think Foretell will be very relevant to setting this up for an alpha strike, plus it helps provide archetype support for go-wide strategies.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Kaldhiem Previews
    A couple of cards that caught my eye so far which I haven't seen much discussion on:

    Clarion Spirit
    Getting even a single trigger makes this significantly above rate, and casting two spells in a turn is going to come up fairly regularly. Played off curve it's even possible to get a trigger immediately e.g. play this and then another 2-drop on four mana.

    Doomskar Titan
    Effectively a 5/4 haste with battlecry the turn it enters, this represents a ton of damage and has to be in the conversation with the other top-end red creatures. Foretell being able to get this out on 5-lands is a big bonus, even if you're paying slightly more total mana.

    Dual Strike
    An effect that's generally restricted to higher rarities, which might make this worth a second look. Could be an interesting option if you're pushing a spell-slinger archetype.

    Littjara Glade-Warden
    The Warden caught my eye as interesting value engine, which could be one of the more efficient +1/+1 counter generators we have access to. I'm trying to support both graveyard and +1/+1 strategies with my green section, so this would slot in as a kind-of anchor between archetypes. Probably one knob tuned too low on power-level though, sorcery-speed likely kills it.

    Lots of really interesting designs on the multicolor cards in this set between the sagas, legendaries, and spell-lands. I'll have to follow up for more thoughts once I can digest the whole set.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on MTGS Average Peasant Cube 2020
    I had some time so I went ahead and created a clone of the CubeCobra list with tags added. Here is the link for anyone interested:

    https://cubecobra.com/cube/list/mtgs2020tagged

    There aren't quite enough colors to match the number of tags, so I had to group the three highest groupings together as one color. I also set the secondary sort to a default of "Tags" (rather than "Types-Multicolor"), which gives a nice visualization to the ranking of cards within each color.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on MTGS Average Peasant Cube 2020
    Yeah, it appears that currently the only way to filter for tags is by manually typing them into the filter line. Filtering for multiple tags seems to be working for me though, for example: "tag:hybrid or tag:removal"

    One useful feature that CC does have is the ability to "sort" by tag, so for example you could primary sort by 'color category' and secondary sort by 'tag' to quickly see which are the most/least played cards in each color.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on MTGS Average Peasant Cube 2020
    Thanks again for pulling this project together, the Average Peasant Cube list is a really useful tool and it's great to have access to all the raw data.
    Quote from calibretto »

    I color coded the list on CubeTutor. The filter function on that site is much easier to use in my experience. I didn't filter or categorize the cards on CubeCobra. In my experience that wasn't something I used on CubeCobra very much just due to the interface. If you are disappointed by this and want me to categorize CubeCobra as well, I certainly can.

    I know that I personally would gain some value from having the tags applied to the CubeCobra list. Primarily for the cube-to-cube comparison tool, where CC lets you filter for tags while comparing cubes and CT does not.

    CubeCobra appears to have a Mass Edit function to add tags, but I'm not sure how it compares to CubeTutor's interface.
    Quote from ArBoR4817 »

    Other things that stood out for me in the new list:
    - Duress was in less cubes than I thought.
    - No Kor Blademaster or other cheap double strikers in many cubes.
    - Peregrine Drake is not even on the list (7 cubes).
    - Fewer people tried Malefic Scythe or already removed it.
    - Oketra's Monument in a decent amount of cubes, but Whitemane Lion is not.

    - Duress seems to be one of those cards that plays much better in rare/powered cubes than it does in a creature-dominated format such as Peasant.
    - I have Peregrine Drake sticking around primarily as a compliment to Ghostly Flicker, but outside of the combo it's much harder to justify its spot these days.
    - I've been testing the Scythe since it has a unique design and I'm a big fan of colored artifacts, but it has definitely underperformed the few times it showed up and I expect will be on its way out soon.
    - Oketra's Monument is always just on the fringe of playable and sticks around mostly due to the lack of interesting non-creature spells in white. I tried Whitemane Lion, but it generally just felt like a worse Kor Skyfisher.
    Quote from FunkyDragon »
    After looking at the data, there are a few cards that surprise me with how low their popularity is. Is this the place to discuss them?

    Scale Up (5 cubes) - dropped 12 slots
    Reality Shift (6 cubes) - dropped 9 slots
    Vampire of the Dire Moon (6 cubes) - dropped 13 slots
    Goblin Oriflamme (7 cubes) - dropped 14 slots

    - I recently added Scale Up to test and so far I've been very impressed. Once you start looking for it, you soon realize that there are a LOT of board states where an overloaded Scale Up just ends the game, even some times when Overrun wouldn't. With it being easier to cast than Overrun and having a cheap emergency mode, I'm somewhat surprised to see that it has dropped in usage.
    - Reality Shift just doesn't stack up to the premium removal we have access to in other colors. Even in Simic, I think I would rather be running fight spells or sleep effects than giving my opponent a free 2/2 (or worse).
    - I imagine that Vampire of the Dire Moon was supplanted by Foulmire Knight in most lists, outside of those with dedicated lifegain archetypes.
    - Similarly, I added Goblin Oriflamme (good) when it first released but ended up cutting it for Bolt Hound (great). I could see running both in larger cubes.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
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