Quarterly Cube Update – Magic 2013
Let’s add some cards to my cube! Today, I’m finalizing some Magic 2013 updates after testing cards for a few weeks.
NEW –> Cathedral of War
Cathedral of War has been a nice splashable card, pushing some extra damage through in any deck wanting to attack often with a solid threat. Its opportunity cost in a deck is small, and the ability can be turned on the same turn it enters the battlefield.
Silver Knight –> Serra Avenger
White Knight –> Knight of Glory
NEW –> Aven Mindcensor
I’m trying out some new options for cheap creatures in white. White Knight and Silver Knight are iconic creatures, but are honestly not all that impressive in cube. The creatures you receive for their double-white mana costs feel slightly expensive, as if it should actually be a splashable 1W. Knight of Glory does exactly that, and removal of first strike is not that big of a loss when it is replaced with exalted, which is usually decent.
Serra Avenger still costs double-white, but it gives white decks another evasive attacker, and one that is not outclassed on turn four (and not difficult to cast on turn four, either). In fact, helps to enable more dynamic turn fours for aggressive decks, and plays into a control deck’s plan of playing a cheap threat while leaving mana up to protect it.
Aven Mindcensor is more of a test card, but I’m a big fan of flash as well as tricky abilities that “counter” your opponent’s spells in white. This will also likely see play in a variety of decks. It’s not from Magic 2013, but there are no other white cards from the set that I’m looking to add and I would like to keep the update even in number across the colors.
River Boa –> Yeva, Nature’s Herald
NEW –> Thragtusk
First Mire Boa, now River Boa? Yep. It’s just that so often, they’re simply 2/1 creatures for two mana, and only sometimes evasive. Green doesn’t want to fight aggressively in exactly the same way white does, so why play a worse Stormfront Pegasus? Yeva is going to be another creature for green that lets it play a little less on its own turn (helpful with werewolf creatures and with response-heavy colors like blue, red, and black for use with counterspells and creature removal), and enabling the rest of your green team to pop in with flash is not to be overlooked, either.
Thragtusk is simply one of the best recent five-drops to be printed for green. I think it will end up being better than both Vorapede (due to casting cost) and Wolfir Silverheart (due to resiliency) on average. Interactions with blink effects are are pretty obvious, and it’s not a bad Kiki-Jiki or Mimic Vat target, either.
Crater Hellion –> Thundermaw Hellkite
Forked Bolt –> Searing Spear
NEW –> Flames of the Firebrand
Crater Hellion has seen better days. Its largest effect just doesn’t deal with the variety of large threats that your opponents can play anymore, like the titans and other common 6-toughness finishers. As with many cards with echo, that drawback is becoming increasingly more difficult to justify in a world of 5- and 6-mana creatures with great abilities that don’t require a payment encore. Thundermaw Hellkite is simply a high-reaching finisher that even aggro decks can play. It’s also easier to cast and a bit more interesting than another comparable card, Rorix Bladewing.
Forked Bolt has a fairly small effect, and is just outclassed by Searing Spear, which will kill larger creatures and provide more consistency for burn directed at players’ faces.
Flames of the Firebrand will shore up the loss of Forked Bolt by giving red back the dividable damage in a slightly more expensive, more damaging package.
Black Knight –> Knight of Infamy
Dauthi Marauder –> Ravenous Rats
NEW –> Disciple of Bolas
This update for black continues the trend of knight-cutting. Black Knight is being removed for Knight of Infamy, for the same reason I’m adding Knight of Glory.
Dauthi Marauder might be considered a strange cut, but it’s very weak to removal, and doesn’t do anything other than attack. I’m getting to the point in my cube where, for three mana, I want my cards to do something other than just enter the battlefield and wait a turn to affect the board. This is especially relevant for a creature with shadow, since it can’t block. Ravenous Rats will “do something” early an immediately, and in the right deck combined with other threats, can run your opponent on the defensive without any answers.
Disciple of Bolas is a pretty cool value engine card that lets various black decks refill their hand for the long game if needed.
Blue is the odd color out, with no new cards from Magic 2013 that I’d like to add.
Return to Ravnica is looking pretty sweet already. I’m eagerly awaiting the full spoiler list, and once it’s out I’m going to set up a review of the interesting cards from the set.