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Multicolor Mixup – Orzhov

February 11, 2012

I’m excited to start the second half of my multicolor cube evalutation today. You can now follow my progress in my card-by-card evaluations and updates using this handy index page, which also serves as my original “design document” that started this series.

With Dark Ascension finally out, prerelease and release events completed, cards traded for, and time taken to think about the new cards, I’m ready to make some more changes to my cube.

We begin with my current Orzhov loadout, which is a mixture of disruption, aggro support, and control finishers:

Marsh Flats
Fetid Heath

Caves of Koilos
Orzhov Basilica

Angel of Despair
Desolation Angel
Gerrard’s Verdict
Stillmoon Cavalier
Vindicate

I’m happy with the current crop of lands. However, I have a few new spicy cards that I’d like to fit into my cube from Dark Ascension (what could those possibly be???). I will first take a look at each of the cards in my guild section to see which ones I could cut.

Angel of Despair – Seven mana is a lot. Four colored mana in a casting cost is a lot. And yet, I really like this card. Perhaps it’s the potential for reanimation, or for bounce and blink shenanigans. Considered as a 5/5 flier for 2WB with an additional cost of Vindicate, it’s not a bad deal. It is still large enough to deal with almost all of the other fliers in cube (if it didn’t deal with one on the way in), and is a solid size for attacking. Due to its mana cost, it doesn’t usually see play outside of dedicated control decks, reanimation strategies.

Desolation Angel – Like Angel of Despair before it, Desolation Angel is largely a control-only finisher. Its got a huge drawback if you just cast it for its traditional mana cost, used only as a last resort. With a winning board state, however, Armageddon strapped to a 5/4 flier is one way to seal the game in your favor.

Gerrard’s Verdict – This is a cool little card. It works well in a multitude of deck speeds, aggro and control alike, for its ability to 2-for-1 your opponent for very little investment. In aggro, it makes it a lot tougher for your opponent to answer your initial assault of creatures by either taking away the spells that deal with them, or the lands that allow them to be cast. In control, you take out your opponent’s reach or gain a few life. All in all a solid card that feels less like a shadow of the premiere discard spell Hymn to Tourach, and more of its rightful multicolor cousin.

Stillmoon Cavalier – Hey, look, it’s a hybrid of Paladin en-Vec and the jump knights! Usually a solid guy that’s immune to a lot of spot removal and can wear a piece of equipment well. Its hybrid cost makes it welcome for black and white aggro decks alike.

Vindicate – The granddaddy of all removal spells. There are very few cards with this effect, and nearly all of them have drawbacks, cost a lot of mana to use, or take multiple turns to build up to the effect. Vindicate is special, for being a simple removal spell for three mana.

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for!

This spell lingers around for more action.

Sorin, Lord of the Aggro Mirror

What’s that? TWO cards?

Yep. Dark Ascension clearly brought some powerful cards to cube. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is quite an impressive card. Like many other great planeswalkers, he has the capability to protect himself. In an aggressive deck, you also get the option of changing the rules of the game in your favor, by pumping up up the power your creatures.

So what am I removing?

Firstly, Desolation Angel. Now, hear me out on this, because I have my reasons. Like I wrote above in my summary, Desolation Angel is an expensive control-only finisher. There really isn’t any other place for it. Additionally, it is only useful when you have a better board state than your opponent. In other words, the game has gone long already, and the other cards in your deck have been doing the hard work to get you there and in a position that can win you the game. You might be likely to win even without the angel. For these basic reasons, I’m cutting it, in favor of a better early- to mid-game card that keeps the game moving (Sorin). Other cube owners might decide to cut Angel of Despair instead, for essentially costing the same for the same body creature, with a smaller effect on the game; I respect that, but I would like to keep Angel of Despair available for the other interactions it has with bounce effects and reanimation effects that I have in my cube, which are… problematic with Desolation Angel.

Second, I’ll be taking out Stillmoon Cavalier. Stillmoon Cavalier is also a great card, and one that I typically would never want to leave my cube. Double protections and evasion on-demand are pretty nice, and I like these sorts of things on aggressively-costed beaters. On the other hand, it costs three mana for a creature that spends most games with two power, and requires a hefty investment of mana to do anything else. Lingering Souls is notable for its ability to make a small evasive army quickly. On its own, it is 4 flying power in one card, paid in installments. I’ve seen the power of this effect in both constructed and limited, and 1/1 fliers are deceptively powerful when combined with other effects, whether they be equipment or anthems. Due to those synergies, it gets the nod over the resilient knight.

Desolation Angel –> Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Stillmoon Cavalier –> Lingering Souls

That wraps up Orzhov’s update! If you have any thoughts on

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