Saturday, 12 June 2021

Preliminary Reviews Modern Horizons 2 Part X


Blazing Rootwalla 6

An upgrade to Basking Rootwalla being in a better madness colour and being rather more economical to make threatening. Sure, it is more vulnerable but so what? It was free. I'll take aggression and threat on a card like this over durability of comparable power. I don't have a sufficient quantity of loots in my cube to make this good but I am not that far off. A couple more good red looters and this could start to see some actual draft cube play. As far as madness decks go this is a huge boost. Play this in all them, even if you can't really red! Which you probably should what with red being one of the foremost madness colours. These are the cards that really empower an archetype.

Thraben Watcher 1

Pretty sure I like Celestial Crusader more as it buffs tokens and can be used as a combat trick. Crusader has not been able to get into the drafting cube for quite some time and so I can be fairly happy not testing this. 

Fast // Furious 1

A kind of mass removal with card quality mode. Like a Sweltering Suns but apparently less effective and nearly twice the cost. Granted Fast is rather better than cycling but Furious is so much worse! Fast can be draw two when hellbent which is really the biggest pull to this card. I think you have to play it with Fast being the half you want to cast which makes this very narrow, It also puts it quite a long way down a line of generally better red looting spells. Don't see this getting much action. 

Strike it Rich 6

Delightful. Very glad to have this exist. It is like a Faithless Looting, same cost structure and paying card disadvantage for an efficient cheap early perk elsewhere in the game. Cards for mana early? Sounds good. A great way to get setup. This will make red storm options rather better with one or two extra mana on their big turn. Or a couple of cheap storm counts for little to no mana. This can easily generate mana the same turn as you play the halves with enough things like Birgi in play. This has a wide array of uses in both combo and synergy decks. What I cannot say however is if it is good enough for the cube. My rational self is unconvinced but my gut remains unconvinced. I think that is just my bias talking as I like this card a lot! I like the curve of this turn one, three drop on turn two, flash it back on turn three while riding the wave of your three drop and leaving you five potential mana on turn four. Feels like Rabblemaster Glorybring or any tempo or snowball cards would win a lot of games by themselves when ramped by Strike it Rich. 

Batterbone 0

Seems very low power. The best thing about this is two permanents for low cost but with an equip cost of five I'll not struggle to find better options on really anything this might do. 

Moderation 1

This seems shockingly bad to me. Just asking to get murdered. If you try and use it with counterspells they will just wreck you with a counter of their own or doing the old double spell in a turn trick. If you don't run counters you are probably forcing yourself to play a tap out sort of deck which isn't great. A lot of those decks pack walkers and they generally give you card value which is not what you need when you are locked to one spell a turn. This is overkill when good and a disaster when not. If it were Izzet it might be pretty broken. You might be able to make a hard hitting burn list with it. Seems like a narrow and risky card but there is absolutely power on offer, just incredibly hard to procure. 

Nettlecyst 3

An All that Glitters living weapon. Cranial Plating with legs and backside. Cost is reasonable both to play and re-equip. It is less good than plating being slower and more midrange. Plating is good thanks to evasive dorks much of the time so the germ token adds less than you might hope. I might play this in several places. The power is plenty high but I am not sure it is going to be optimal all that often. Payoff in just vanilla stats is rarely exciting. This will only be good thanks to the evasion of Nexus, Signal Pest, Ornithopter etc.  

Scour the Dessert 0

Holy hell this has some scaling potential. Now this card isn't good and you shouldn't both playing or supporting it but you can certainly get a lot of birds for your five mana if you want! 

Archon of Cruelty 3

This is no good to play normally. Eight is just too much for the amount of stabilizing this offers. This feels more like a value play than a proper top end threat. Where I like it more is in things like Sneak Attack where you can get two triggers right away. Then you are doing some serious work and I am a lot more interested. Probably a bit narrow and outclassed but some potential. Drain six, Mind Rot, Divinate and Edict twice does start to feel like annihilate levels of power. 

Tireless Provisioner 6

A big Lotus Cobra come Tireless Tracker. This is versatile and generally pretty relevant. It doesn't grow making it less of a threat than Tracker. Generally this is at it's best early while Tireless Tracker gains in power as the game goes on. The option on life or mana as required adds good option density and utility. I class this as a support card though. It is a bit late and fair to be a pure ramp card and it is obviously underpowered as a food producer. I want this if I want to specifically make either of those kinds of tokens or if I want fodder to sac or if I know I am going to be triggering landfall an obscene amount. This is a very cube card but I think it probably just doesn't pack the power when there isn't decent synergy. I will certainly test but I suspect cards with more raw power just edge it out most of the time. 

Vile Entomber 2

Expensive for a setup tool but deathtouch makes for a relevant body to pair with an easily abused tutor effect. Too slow for most reanimator builds and so really quite the narrow card. We need a midrange iteration but then this probably lacks in power instead. 

Necrogoyf 2

Playable in madness decks but rather clunky. Kind of an enabler but more of a top end threat in practice. Either way, I am pretty much exclusively playing this in madness decks and those that consistently mean I play this for it's madness cost. I am not excited by it either, a lot of this card is just stats. 

Skyblades Boon 3

Basically a Gryff's Boon with some minor pros and cons. In drafting cubes this is in competition with Maul of the Skyclaves which is much more punchy and threatening. Boon does more in a longer game offering that extra resilience to answers. Really Boon lacks the power for non-budget cubes but does have a real good shot at aura decks.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Preliminary Reviews Modern Horizons 2 Part VI


General Ferrous Rokiric 2

Interesting little dork. Feels like a Niv-Mizzet Reborn support sort of card. This has hexproof from a lot in cube, most abilities and spells. Only the premium gold removal and mass removal really hit this guy. At that point low toughness is a very small issue and you have a three drop than can get involved in combat for three if the coast is clear and will churn out 4/4 dorks if supported. That is pretty serious in a deck with lots of gold cards. One trigger makes this good, two makes it nuts and more should be game over. Most cubes will (quite sensibly) not have the gold to support this guy and so this is a build around only card. Certainly one I will try in a Niv deck. Lots of power here, just contained behind narrowness.

Filigree Attendant 1

A kind of mini Broodstar. This hits hard in the right deck and doesn't diminish your artifact count. Sadly it is quite a vulnerable card and very costly as far as that archetype goes. I cannot see this making the cut even in constructed decks but there is an outside chance for this pre Plated flyer. This certainly has some strong aspects. 

Svyelun, God of the Sea and Sky 7.5

Lovely looking and feeling card. Powerful too. At base this is a 3/4 for 1UU which draws a card when it attacks. That puts it very much in the same camp as Brimaz for me. Svyelun is less tempo and less good defensively but she generates better value than Brimaz. When you get to compare a blue dork to a cube playable cheap white beater then that in itself should tell you something! Svyelun is very robust for a blue card. I am just happy playing this. The value side make it urgent to kill and the hefty stats make that harder to do. Being so big it will do a lot of work in combat and threaten to offer great board control and tempo on top of the value. It is not even impossible to have two merfolk in play, it is in fact likely in a constructed fish deck! Giving ward is handy. Gaining indestructible is beastly. A very solid card indeed. Midrange is best suited to play it but I think this looks good enough that I am happy playing it in any non-combo deck I draft in cube. 

Flay Essence 1

Cheap, broad, unrestricted and exile. Potential life perks too. Sadly this is just a clunky sorcery competing in a world that has things like Murderous Rider and Baleful Mastery. Flay Essence is a fine and playable card but it is very dull and fair. Being sorcery is a real turn off and as such is simply outclassed by too many alternatives that do the same things. 

Dragon's Rage Channeler 7

This is quite the cute card but I think it gets there for me in cube. It is a bit of a mashup card that is all over the place but for only one mana it seems too much of a bargain to turn down. A one drop is nice and might get in for a bit of early damage and help develop your position. The surveil is great. It is super scry on prowess giving you a lot of ongoing card quality as well as extra gas in the form of graveyard fuel. This could easily put the Phoenix of Ash in the bin as well as enough cards to escape it! It can just mill over flashback cards. All very nice. Lastly, this can turn into a scary flying 3/3 beater at no extra cost. Like a Student of Warfare that needs no mana. The surveil makes this more likely and rapid and it is a fairly easy thing to achieve in cube anyway. A bit of attention towards doing so perhaps but not detrimental. I feel like this is a Gilded Goose sort of card but very red. More of a support tool than a beater, although abviously much more of a beater than Goose! None the less quite playable in a wide spread of decks despite appearances. 

Ignoble Hierarch 9

Finally! I have wanted this card for so long. Not much to say here. This is great. It is even slightly better than Noble as it fixes for colours that are more commonly and more powerfully paired with green. Especially when it is all three of them! Jund >> Bant presently in my cube. We know all the reasons this is powerful as a stand alone. That is true in cube of course too but it is even better than that as it is premium one drop core support. It is doing what green does and doing it well which gives me room to expand the cube if I want to. It eases the tension on other one drop green ramp which is generally the bottleneck in the colour. A very welcome addition for sure. 

Lonis, Cryptozoologist 5

Mostly this is a two drop gold 1/2 that investigates when you play a dork. A bad Beast Whisperer if you will. You really need to sac a lot of clues before you are able to steal things consistently and that are worth stealing. We are talking at least four clues for a shot at like a 3 drop, more like six clues to have a shot at getting a serious threat in the 4+ CMC range. Mostly I think I am going to want to draw off my clues before getting the levels that high, or more likely Lonis is well dead. The steal ability is a minor part of this card, it is wishful and likely win more. Much as this is a bad Beast Whisperer it is still a two drop and this could do some very powerful things to support the likes of Urza for example. Token generation and card draw that cheap is not to be sniffed at. Too narrow for drafting cubes but doubtless a card with some uses, all be it synergy based ones. 

Obsidian Charmaw 7

If you hate tron and you know it; Obsidian Charmaw. If you hate tron and you know it; Obsidian Charmaw. If you hate tron and you know it and you really want to show it....If you hate tron and you know it; Obsidian Charmaw. Much as this is designed as a modern sideboard tool to combat tron it seems like it might well just be good enough for my cube and likely many others. A five mana Stone Rain on 4/4 flying legs is pretty serious. Acidic Slime is mostly a Stone Rain and it is a meagre 2/2 dethtouch by comparison. Charmaw can also cost less than five making it very scary. At four it is a big tempo swing on top of value and threat. At three it is getting unfair. I don't suspect that will happen often in my cube nor that early in the game when it does. Four on four however could be pretty common. I have a relatively low count of lands that tap for colourless in my cube, around six presently, however I also have a full suite of pain lands in addition to some filter lands which takes the count to around 20. Charmaw is the new Avalanche Riders. Quite a midrange card but suitably useful and powerful that it is worth testing at the very least. 

Graceful Restoration 1

Not very cheap but able to be improve with a variety of things. If using the right dorks you can get out some fairly impressive stuff despite the restriction. Bit too unexciting for a build around and far too weak and narrow for anything else. 

Harmonic Prodigy 4

This helps about 30 dorks in my cube to be rather better. It does this while being a 1/3 prowess for two which is fine. You want robust on things that buff and prowess works with the kinds of thing this works well with and really puts the 1/3 base stats to good use. This is not a small irrelevance like most 1/3 dudes and cannot just be ignored as so many one power dudes can. I am not sure 30 cards is enough things that are improved and so this is probably just not there for cube. Shame as it does some cool stuff but in practice too bad as a stand alone and too wishful and overkill when good. 

Calibrated Blast 4

Erratic Explosion improved rather significantly! If they print a 20 CMC card anytime soon we might have a proper deck on our hands. Might be best that they don't. 

Mental Journey 2

This is the best card of this cycle by quite a margin. Sadly I don't think this is even better than Boon of the Wish Giver. Boon is cheaper to cycle and packs more punch late. Instant is a big win but a card this pricy you have to assume the majority of the uses will be in cheap mode. As such this looks significantly worse than Boon. I guess you can run this as fixing but there are alternatives, you have to be pretty eager on exactly this pairing of effects. Hard to ever rate such a well rounded cycling card low but there are just better alternatives. Two not bad things doesn't equal a good thing. There is no tempo to be found in this card at all. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Preliminary Reviews Modern Horizons 2 Part IX


Kaldra Compleat 4

As a Stoneforge Mystic target this seems superior to Batterskull in most ways. Lifelink was always a huge stabilizing factor on it but Kaldra Complete is sufficiently threatening that you should be able to power through and race if needed. The issue is whether this is viable as a standalone. Batterskull isn't great without Stoneforge but it is fine in the right deck. It is slow but it gets the job done eventually. This being 7 mana makes it rather less of a thing you can toss into a deck. Especially given how aggressive it is. Stabilizing with this as a seven drop is going to be very hard. This is a sort of super Hazoret. One to test but one that I suspect will be a little out of place. Given that it is likely no kind of fun with Stoneforge I can't see how this is a good thing to put in a cube if the only way it is playable is when you also have the Mystic. 

Geyadrone Dihada 5

This is powerful but it doesn't seem three colour powerful. It is hard to get value out of Geyadrone. The +1 is a drain and some protection and the -3 is a threaten with the same built in protection. Geyadrone is pretty hard to kill in combat for decks that have a lighter or pricier dork count. You want lots of cheap dorks or spot removal if you care about killing her. Unless she is going ultimate however she isn't very scary. Yes, there is a drain aspect which is a clock and slows down aggression but it is slow and a poor return on the mana. Geyadrone is low tempo, low value, and low urgency as far a commanding an answer as a threat. She just doesn't do useful things like drawing cards, making a board, or answering threats. She is OK at handling opposing walkers sometimes with the threaten but it is rather situational and can be played around fairly easily. I suspect Geyadrone either dies without doing much or gets ignored as you die. The cube just has too many threats from too many angles for Geyadrone to be all that secure. A vehicle or manland gives her fits. Cool design but seemingly not particularly suitable for cube play.

Endurance 4

Well this certainly is a fair card in contrast to the Esper ones. The EtB effect has two uses, either turning off some yard cards of the opponents or gaining a load of extra action yourself in a super long grindy game. The latter happens infrequently and the former is situational and rarely all that powerful. Not often will I want to hold up 3 mana or two for one myself to stop your Snapcaster Mage triggering. This is a powerful card but much like Force of Vigor in MH1, this seems to be better suited as a sideboard card against the likes of dedicated yard decks, such as dredge, than it is a general use card. For cube play this is mostly just a 3/4 reach dork with flash. Fine but not good enough. 

Damn 8

This is a direct upgrade to Wrath of God. I guess technically it is worse in the face of Inquisition of Kozilek but then it is better in the face of Pelakka Caverns. There will be some other nuanced interactions where it doesn't work exactly as a Wrath but it is fair to say that this is Wrath of God with the option of it being a BB spot removal spell instead. It is all very colour intense so not that many deck will be able to use both modes but they didn't need to for this to be a fine card. What this does best is allow midrange decks access to mass removal without being dead. You need access to both of those colours but that isn't impossible even if you are effectively mono black. I would play this over better spot removal in a black deck if I had some reasonable chance of being able to Overload. This is more playable than Supreme Verdict and more powerful than Wrath of God. Hard to go far wrong from that point. I'll play this anywhere I would play a Wrath as well as a bunch of places I wouldn't want, or be able to play the Wrath. 

Flame Blitz 4

I have no idea what to make of this as we have seen nothing quite like it before. I don't even know if it would be better if it was just a one off deal 5 to a walker for R with cycling for 2. This handles multiple walkers at once, as well as future walkers. It is going to be hard getting more than one activation from a walker with this in play. Pure planeswalker removal cards have not gone down well in cube as there are not enough targets. Most decks have walkers but they are not in play most of the time. This means that most of the time walker removal is dead. It is also inherently bad as walkers get to activate before you can kill them so a clean kill card leaves you behind on value. Cycling on Blitz ensures it is never a dead card and the ongoing removal can make it extra value. The issue is that it kind of rules out your own walkers somewhat. Once this is down your walkers are bad draws. I would play this in a deck with a couple of walkers, like an Immortal Sun, and just use information and control to skew the symmetry. The thing is, I would only want this for the kind of midrange deck that leans hard on walkers and has somewhere in the 4-6 region of them. This all makes me think I just don't want this. Not knowing when the removal will be good, and knowing that even when it is good the card won't be doing all that much. Cycling prevents it being dead but it doesn't stop it being a tempo void when you do which in turn makes it bad if you have to do it at all often. Cycling to find land is one thing but cycling because your card is a blank is another rather weaker thing to be forced into. The upside has to be significant to offset that and I don't see it. When you can pay 3 to deal five to a walker or a creature at instant speed without ever having to consider your own walkers then I am not buying. I think this is more of a sideboard tool and the cycling just disguises that somewhat. This is very powerful and incredibly cheap. It will see play I just don't think draft cube is that place. It may one day be but for now it is more about the dorks. 

Said // Done 1

The release image of this was Portuguese or something and read Dito / Feito, which when I first tried to read sideways as such cards appear on screen appeared to say Dildo / Fellatio which simultaneously raised and eyebrow and caused a doubletake. Beyond surprise smut potential the card is terrible. You might want Said but there are many better options. You never have to want Done. All very narrow and low power stuff. 

Sanctifier en-Vec 6

This dude really hates on red and black although likely not as good as Auriok Champion at such things. The stats are better here but the life is generally a very strong counter to the kinds of decks you want protection dorks against. This disrupts more than it protects. Black and red do love yard synergies so this does a lot of work. It is a bad bear against other colours and a trip to no fun land for black and red. Black does have some answers in Edict and Wrath form but red can't do much to shift this. Forcing a block and using a card that stops damage prevention is all red has in my cube. This may well be good enough but it absolutely isn't the kind of card that makes for a good environment. As a constructed sideboard tool then fine but taking up a slot in a draft for such a polar and hateful card, no thanks. The power might well be there but when a card is so evidently not going to play in an enjoyable way then I would give it a miss. A bit of incidental hate on a card that does something else interesting is fine but when it is pure hate as it is here then there is no real redeeming features. 

Abiding Grace 2

A little push for Soul Sister archetypes in modern. Get back any of the key dorks or at least do something on theme. Too narrow for drafting cubes but getting a look in with constructed lists.

Sudden Edict 3

Split second is not what Edict effects need to not suck massively. If this had a clause like a non-token creature must be sacrificed if possible or the classic highest CMC or power or something then I would be interested. As it stands this is just incredibly unreliable and low value spot removal. This might have some sideboard applications but you really need to know that Edict style removal is working for you. 

Lose Focus 7

This has some real potential. It is unlimited target range with a very high probably of hard countering something all the way into the mid game for just two mana. It then has the ability to scale up quite nearly into a harder counter if needed. At 1UU it is getting most relevant stuff even into the late game. It is pretty rare that you won't be able to ensure this is a hard counter for almost any card relevant to that point in the game. It might be tricky to stop something two or less mana late but then that is likely not a very threatening card. I certainly think this is better than Miscalculate. This retains it's use as the game progresses while Miscalculate quickly becomes dead and requires you to cycle it away. For me this sits around Condescend and Mana Leak. A little below both I strongly suspect but that is a reasonable power level to be for such a rounded and playable counter. Far from broken but convenient and playable. It is more blue than it looks at first glance. Mana Leak and Condescend are the far more splashable cards. This is to Mana Leak what Thassa's Intervention is to Supreme Will. Worse at floor but still fine with superior ability to scale with extra mana. Given all three of those cards are fine cube cards I feel this can't be worse than OK and could easily be better than that. 

Monday, 7 June 2021

Preliminary Reviews Modern Horizons 2 Part VIII


Breya's Apprentice 7

This sits very close to Pia Nalaar in terms of power and general role. Pia doesn't look amazing but she really over performs and is generally a bit underrated as a cube card. They just bring a bit of all the things you want. Some tempo, some value, low risk, a broad spread, and very high option density. Apprentice is a little more powerful but a touch clunkier too. The effects are more significant but more demanding, resulting in a card that likes a bit more support. Pia can use a Chromatic Star and that is cute, Apprentice however relishes having that Star as fuel. Having a total of 3/4 in stats is a nice big tempo play and gives good immediate board presence. This rather offsets the slower coming online of the utility. All told this is a very cube looking card. Very playable and liable to over perform but also pretty fair and generic. 

Prophetic Titan 1

This only gets a 1/10 because of tribal potential. Really this has no hope. It is just a value card where you need a proper threat. The power level here is impressive but it is just the wrong sort of power for the cost of the card. 

Scuttletide 2

A cute support card that has some minor potential in places looking to discard cards and make dorks. This is a bad Call the Bloodline really. Crabs are a little way off a tribe but if they get there this is probably something they want. 

Esper Sentinel 8

Somewhere between Thalia and Mystic Remora. This is a tax but it isn't disruption as the opponent can always do what they want if they are happy to give away cards. This is one of the very best ways you can get value in white. It feels quite like a Bomat Courier, get in for some nibbly beats and sometimes get some cards while always being annoying! White makes it very easy to scale this up such that you are far more reliably drawing card. White just has a lot of pump effects and wants to play them in decks with cheap dorks. It will be hard to play around this properly. Sometimes you will need to pay the taxes and go slowly and other times you will need to concede card advantage to keep pace on tempo. I do like a nice little skill tester, we see too few at low costs, or in white. I very much like the weighting of this one. I suspect it will win a lot of games but unlike Ragavan it is a well designed and balanced card. 

Solitude 9

Wow. Poor old Shriekmaw looks embarrassing next to this. Terror? How about Plow? Two to evoke, I like zero better. Sorcery speed? I think I'll go with the flash... This is just an all round fantastic card. Probably the best creature removal spell as far as cube play goes. I am very happy calling this the white Force of Will. It gives them real game and interaction while tapped out. You will always be thinking "do they have it?" when you go to attack down planeswalkers while they are tapped out. Other times you will attack into five open mana and eat a savage two for one while dealing no damage at all. This is good in all the same ways Subtlety is good. It is pure tempo when you need it to be or it is good value. Both halves of the pitch card are good and that has never before been seen. This is also now one of the absolute best white flicker targets. Previously white was a little patchy on such things while tediously having a really strong set of flicker effects. Solitude is a great help with that. As far as removal goes this ticks every box perfectly. It is cheap, it is instant, it has not target restrictions, it exiles, and it has no conditions. It just gets most things dealt with. I will play this in any deck with sufficient white more than happily. I like the design on this member of the cycle most. It is a reactive tool unlike the black iteration and it afford more counterplay and action (EtB effects) than the blue. This is about as powerful as a card can be before it is looking broken and no fun. 

Timeless Witness 3

Very clever. This is not as good as the three mana Witness which itself has rather fallen by the wayside of late. The eternalize cost is sufficient that is is only late game. I like this for a discard or graveyard based deck much like a Champion of Wits but not so much for other builds. As a general value card the initial cost makes this underwhelming at best. The tempo is pitiful. I can also see this in Pod decks where being a four drop is actually an advantage but that is pretty narrow. 

Master of Death 6

A kind of Dimir Squee. A useful tool to fuel cards that want discards. A better body than Squee too which is substantially more relevant on an easily recurred dork. This is a persistent attacker or relentless blocker with reasonable power. Master certainly has some uses in the places that like a Squee but I think there is a chance it may just be good enough on its own. Like a meld of True-Name Nemesis and The Scarab God. Worth a test for sure.  

Sanctum Weaver 7

This really doesn't need much in the way of support to be insane. As soon as you consistently have one other enchantment this is absolutely top tier ramp. This is likely a lock in to any green enchantment based decks and it has a real shot at making it in a drafting cube. I only have 31 enchantments in my cube presently but 8 of them are green and most of those are cheap and very playable. More could be added if desired. Weaver probably isn't quite there yet nor worth forcing but a couple more good cheap green enchants and I think it will become so. Not only a lock in for most enchantment based decks but a card that gives those archetypes quite a significant boost. 

Lazotep Chancellor 1

Not overly powerful but cheap and plausibly useful in the right kinds of place. Perhaps some kind of zombie bidding aristocrats list. 

Chattering Auger 7

I think I prefer the ability to block to the four man recursion on this meaning I prefer Dusk Legion Zealot. Four is just a stupid amount of mana, you are only using it very late game. There are lands that do a better job of generating value or board presence. Still, a two drop cantrip body is great. Equipment love them, sac outlets love them. Everything seems to love them and so perhaps this just makes it in alongside Zealot and Callous Bloodmage without needing to be better. 

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Preliminary Reviews Modern Horizons 2 Part VII

Fae Offering 2

Love the resultant effect, want to see more of such things. Sadly this is over priced and rather too hard to trigger with any consistency. Even at 2/10 I am pretty sure I am overrating this. I might like it but where and how are we really abusing this? Mostly I am just really glad to see clues, treasure, and food getting the love and attention they deserve as mechanics. 

Feast of Sanity 1

Over cost and very narrow. I can see this in a deck that cheats out Yawgmoth's Bargain (and thus might be able to cheat out this too) and some sort of outlet such as Zombie Infestation. Beyond that I don't really see it at all. 

Persist 8

Premium Reanimation. The only thing keeping this off the top spot is non-legendary. The price is reasonable and the effect is calm. Reanimate itself often hurts too much, Exhume can give opponents things, and Animate Dead comes off easily. Persist is direct and non-fuss. Any deck supporting this archetype should look to run it. I also think the non-legendary clause is good. It forces deckbuilding choices and varies it up from just being Griselbrand...

Academy Manufacturer 4

Clearly loads of infinite combos with this dude. These are fairly easy tokens to make and you can do all sorts with them. This card pleases Urza. It pleases Ironworks. It very likely pleases Clock of Omens. Too narrow outside build around combo decks but a lot of potential in such places. Quite possibly useful in decks themed around one of the token types too. Food is the cheapest to make so doing so with this out will overpower a lot of things. 

Piru, the Volatile 2

You might cheat this into play with some effect or other (Through the Breach etc) as it is quite big and quite impactful. Even so, there are generally better options out there. This is not at all exciting at 8 mana. More of a Wrath in fatty form than a proper fatty.

Legion Vanguard 6.5

A kind of Carrion Feeder that can block, starts a bit bigger, and offers potential card quality and value in addition to growing. The only real downside of this is the mana cost on the sac which is minor but still worlds larger than that of Feeder. I feel like this is a lot better suited to cube play than the likes of Blood Throne Vampire and so in cubes supporting aristocrat / Blood Artist strategies I can see this dork working out as a support tool. It might be a little fair. If it lasts in cube it is entirely down to being a good blend of desirable stuff rather than power level, which is low as far as cube goes. 

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth 7

It is a green Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Great. Lovely type of card and really useful effect. Rofellos gets a lot better. As do cards like Beacon of Creation, Nissa, Who Shakes the World / Worldwaker. The elf lord who gives forestwalk (Elvish Champion) also perks up a bit too. Probably a little narrow for draft cubes but a card that has loads of uses and will wind up in tonnes of constructed decks. 

Territorial Kavu 4

Very powerful but a bit too narrow. In the right deck you make this as a 3/3 or 4/4 and attack as a 5/5 consistently while doing something useful. Five colour Zoo gets a big push from this. Yard disruption is always nice to have as an ancillary perk. Rummaging is great period. Needs too much support to be worth including in cube although the power level is likely there. 

Herd Baloth 0

Too needy and narrow for a top end drafting cube card and too pricy and vulnerable to use in a synergy constructed list. 

Archfiend of Sorrows 0

Just a little bit to pricy for the effect at either end on this card. The unearth make it interesting but those mana costs stop it being all that playable or useful. 

Dermotaxi 3

Cards like this make this set feel like a mashup between a commander product and a silver bordered one. I can only assume the copy is effectively crewed and able to attack. As such this is quite a cheap and interesting tool for recursion. I can imagine a self mill and recursion target heavy deck using a card like this to great effect. You get to Animate Dead something but keep it fairly safe from other removal effects. Being both creature heavy and a reanimate deck is not common but it is certainly not impossible. This is super narrow but both interesting and potent. 

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer 9.5

Presently this has my vote for most powerful card in the set which is pretty nuts considering the rest of the set so far. This is foolish. I love a one drop and I love all the things this does but it is all way too much. Snowball cards are typically some of the weakest in design and this dude feels rather that way. He is a Dark Confidant and Birds of Paradise, for one mana. Fuck it, throw in dash, why not? You wouldn't want this utter bomb to be a bad draw late  now would you? This feels like it will dominate a game real fast. All you need to do is keep connecting and that is pretty achievable in red. Burn away a few early blockers and you have yourself an easy win. I imagine cards like Smouldering Spire and Frenzied Goblin are going up in their cube worth rapidly! The comparison to BoP and Bob are not even all that close once you are connecting. In discussions about Gonti etc I have covered in depth why in cubes the vast majority of cases you will find your opponents cards better than your own ones are on average when against that opponent. There is also the disruptive aspect of exiling opponents cards, which is significant in 40 card singleton. Exiling a threat from a threat light deck or a key answer card can simply end the game, combo decks obviously have fits about this kind of thing. You don't pay life either! Sure, you don't draw the card to pad out your hand nor do you have access to it outside of that turn but still. We are comparing one ability on a one drop to the ability on the best two drop in the game at doing that. Foolishness. As for Birds, this just does have it beat. Treasure can be stockpiled or used as an artifact rather than as a mana. Once this is connecting it is a substantially better mana source than Birds, which is the best mana producing dork in the game. Utterly utterly foolish. There really is only one good solution to this card and that is killing it. Making blockers is just so risky given the payoff when this connects. It is very hard to counterspell this early and so you just need to be able to kill it. This will put a big premium back on one mana removal spells. The issue there is that the answer is something that generally you don't want much of. Red is totally fine of course as it has burn which is always good. Other colours however struggle to play more than a couple of one mana removal spells. Either there are just not enough of them or playing too many makes you too weak against other things. Not much in the way of one mana removal for Ragavan out there that does much against planeswalker for example. It is pretty common for a card like Kari Zev, Robber of the Rich, Rabblemaster and other scary red cards to effectively win the game when they go unanswered. I am pretty confident Ragavan will do far more winning by himself than any of those cards. This card looks format warping. His existence forces your hand a little when considering cards and building decks and I consider that to be far too much. There are a number of oppressively good one drops but Ragavan manages to be oppressively good while also being generally very playable and suitable. You don't need to be doing anything all that niche as a card like Goblin Welder or Lacky requires. Any sort of red cube list will suit Ragavan nicely.