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Cube Update – Planechase 2 and Miscellaneous Changes

August 24, 2012

I made some changes recently to my cube, adding in cards from the latest Planechase set, plus a few other additions that I’ve been wanting to make for a while, having finally acquired the cards:

Land

NEW –> Thawing Glaciers

Every now and then I like to throw a bone to control decks, and this is a nice source of slow source of card advantage. After adding it in the latest draft, it already saw interesting play with Venser, the Sojourner enabling a much faster source of lands.

Artifacts

NEW –> Chrome Mox

Chrome Mox is just a cool card that can enable some fast starts by aggro and control decks alike.

Multicolor

Wall of Denial –> Moorland Haunt
Simic Signet
–> Shardless Agent
Nemesis of Reason
–> Baleful Strix
Oona, Queen of the Fae
–> Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
NEW
–> Maelstrom Wanderer

What we have here is removal of a few “boring” cards and additions of some narrower cards to help support specific archetypes. Wall of Denial, while a generally powerful card, is just not interactive. Moorland Haunt supports the blue-white aggro/tempo plan and still provides a few chump blockers for more controlling decks. I didn’t really want to remove Simic Signet, but it’s the weakest of the options in its color combination, and Shardless Agent is going to be a nice option for card advantage in the same sorts of tap-out blue-green decks that would want to play the signet. Nemesis of Reason and Oona are both great finishers, but I’d like to support the artifact deck more with Baleful Strix (also wonderful in any blue-black control deck) and Tezzeret. I may even find myself adding back Tezzeret the Seeker back in to the cube at a later date. Maelstrom Wanderer is a wonderful card that will give players a reason to play big green ramp decks.

White

Ghostly Prison –> Mikaeus, the Lunarch

Ghostly Prison hasn’t been used in a while, and for understandable reasons – at its most effective time, early in the game, your opponent has probably already played a threat and can either pay the mana, destroy the enchantment, or do other things with the mana. In exchange, you have cast a three mana spell that doesn’t do anything to improve your own threats or card advantage – unlike, say, a Man-o’-War or Blade Splicer, which have similar applications as defensive cards. Mikaeus is a way for aggro and token decks to gain some reach, as well as give them a decent variable cost threat.

Green

Yavimaya Elder –> Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Mire Boa 
–> Caller of the Claw
Albino Troll
–> Master of the Wild Hunt

I’m removing a few old staples here, so there’s got to be an explanation, right? Well, Yavimaya Elder is a fine card, but to get the most value out of it, you have to spend quite a bit of mana (for the equivalent of an awkward Harmonize). I’m replacing it with Avacyn’s Pilgrim, which will serve a similar but more aggressive role in ramp decks and green-white aggro. Mire Boa is sometimes evasive, and sometimes hard to kill – but there are plenty of spells that will deal with it, including the incoming Tragic Slip. Caller of the Claw is going to give green yet another flash creature, adding to recent and incoming additions Wolfir Avenger and Yeva, Nature’s Herald. I’ve been very happy with the way green is transforming into a more tricky color with these creature options, and I hope more get printed in the future. Master of the Wild Hunt is another card that I’ve been wanting to play with for a while, and have finally gotten the chance. This token creator will have a bit of an impact for green midrange and control decks, and while removing Albino Troll is sort of efficient, echo is always a feel-bad mechanic and I don’t think I or my fellow drafters will miss it much.

Red

Crater Hellion –> Goblin Welder

While I like having some control options in red, I’m making way for a future addition of Thundermaw Hellkite and allowing myself an easy change for now. Goblin Welder has already done awesome work as a busted card in an already busted Tinker deck, bouncing Wurmcoil Engine and Sundering Titan into and out of play over multiple turns, proving its going to have a home in my cube for quite a while. It’s narrow, but justifies its inclusion by helping to create a more consistent artifact-based control deck.

Black

Fume Spitter –> Tragic Slip
Fallen Askari
–> Yawgmoth’s Will
Nameless Inversion
–> Terror

Black is getting a fairly simple update this time. Tragic Slip performs a similar role to Fume Spitter, while also sometimes ridding the battlefield of larger threats. Fallen Askari is removed for Yawgmoth’s Will, trading a simple aggro creature for a combo and control finisher. And Nameless Inversion moves out for Terror – Inversion is cute, but Terror is a bit more useful at killing larger creatures (and it has awesome Foil art!).

I’m starting to shift black a little bit away from aggro and more toward control – though it is less about removing aggro than it is about removing aggro creatures that don’t “do something,” whether that means having activated abilities or triggers that improve board position or card advantage. Straight 2-power beaters with drawbacks are going to start making way for more useful creatures and spells.

Blue

Capsize –> Tradewind Rider

Tradewind Rider is a card I got a chance to play both with and against in the MTGO Cube events, and I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would. I run plenty of creatures in my blue section, so it’s definitely worth the inclusion. It’ll replace Capsize as a similar repeatable removal option, but one that doesn’t require spending a whole lot of mana to keep up once it’s online. And in the meantime, is a fine blocker in the same control decks that would play Capsize.

Additional Cards I’m Testing

Alchemist’s Refuge
Cathedral of War
Academy Ruins
Havengul Lich
Ethersworn Canonist
Geist-Honored Monk
Birthing Pod
Bind
Skyshroud Elite
Krenko, Mob Boss
Bloodhunter Bat
Opposition

These are simply additional older cards I’m testing out. There are some Magic 2013 cards in here I’m not sure about yet as well. Birthing Pod has already seen play in a 4-color Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker deck that could combo off with all three infinite combo options in my cube (sadly, it only got to perform it once in the draft – but it did all three ways in one turn as a consolation!), and I think it will probably find its way in as a permanent addition to the cube in the next few updates. Cathedral of War seems to be a decent “value” card that has low opportunity cost.

That’s it for this update. Magic 2013 changes will come as soon as possible. There aren’t too many cards, but there are some gems. I’m also really looking forward to some Return to Ravnica spoilers, as there are bound to be interesting cards in a new multicolor block.

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