Monday, 23 November 2020

Naya Landfall .dec


Naya landfall based zoo was the best cube deck after original Zendikar was released. This was the slow beginning of the creature power creep. There were a couple of outliers from recent sets like Kitchen Finks, Wild Nacatl, and Bloodbraid Elf which combined very well with the aggressive landfall dorks. This was coming from an era in cube where running dedicated creature removal was risky as it could easily have no targets, or at least no worthwhile ones for such cards. The quality of threats in the Naya zoo deck of the time just blew the socks off the opposition. If they were playing dorks they would be crushed for tempo and utterly outclassed. If not they would goldfish at such a rate that control and combo decks simply couldn't keep up. It was the spread of cards Zendikar brought to the table that really gave zoo the consistency. Lotus Cobra was foolish burst. Loam Lion and Goblin Guide bulked out the one drops giving it not only one of the most playable one drop tempo plays but also hands down the best. Other decks were still packing things like Carnophage and Jackal Pup, you were flopping out 2/3s and they were your weakest cards!





Sure, the occasional Wrath would buy a bunch of time but the manlands would generally mop up. It was also the first time we really saw cards that were reasonable tempo also providing value be that in persist or cascade, or just in popping back from the bin like Vengevine. It took a fair while for the meta to adapt and other colours to catch up before Naya zoo was dethroned. Unlike most other archetypes that have had the top spot for a period of time Naya has never got back there.

A new Zendiakar set arrives with new landfall cards and it is very much time to revisit an aggressive Naya landfall based build. I do not think this will be taking Naya back to the top spot in cube by any means but this deck is impressively punchy. It has adapted to the modern cube meta and is far lower to the ground and trying to abuse synergies far more than just having high powered individual cards. I wouldn't even really class this as a zoo deck. It is a landfall aggro deck and is probably closer to a Hardened Scales or Kiln Fiend deck. This is my take on a 2020 Naya landfall list;







23 Spells

Steppe Lynx
Akoum Hellhound
Wild Nacatl
Scythe Leopard

Wayward Guide-Beast
Sakura Tribe Scout
Skyshroud Ranger
Elvish Reclaimer

Skyclave Pickaxe

Brushfire Elemental
Plated Geopede
Fearless Fledgling
Lotus Cobra

Wrenn and Six
Once Upon a Time

Living Twister
Kazandu Mammoth / Valley
Retreat to Valakut
Valakut Exploration

Radha, Heart of Keld
Tireless Tracker / Renegade Rallier 
Wayward Swordtooth
Kazuul's Fury / Cliffs




17 lands


Horizon Canopy
Sunbaked Canyon

Rampaging Ravine
Gruul Turf
KessigWolf Run

Forest
Karplusan Forest

Arid Mesa
Wooded Foothills
Windswept Heath
Misty Rainforest / Verdant Catacombs

Stomping Ground
Sacred Foundry
Temple Garden

Taiga
Savannah
Plateau






The core hard hitting one and two drop classics in Steppe Lynx and Geopede doubled up with Akoum Hellhound and Brushfire Elemental. This redundancy in low level synergy payoff makes it worthwhile to really push the landfall side of the deck and even go above and beyond the ideal double hit. To this end I included a variety of cards that allow for extra landfall triggers and of course ways to ensure you have lands to lay consistently. In testing this list was averaging over two landfall triggers a turn for the six or so turns of the game which was pretty impressive. Hitting over four on occasion which is fairly silly but a lot of fun. I really wanted to include Atarka's Command so as to add to the means of getting extra land into play. Sadly it isn't really removal or a threat and in a synergy list this tight it is pretty hard to justify despite being really cute.

The one drop dorks that tap to put extra lands into play were very impressive and really carried the deck. All my best and most powerful games involved sticking one of them early and keeping it in play for a while. Sadly Aboreal Grazer isn't the right kind of effect. You are not trying to ramp really, you are just after the triggers. Swordtooth was decent. It wasn't uncommon to get the blessing by turn four or five and he is very big when you do. Dryad of the Illysian Grove is the safer option giving a bit of fixing and always being able to tangle in combat. Three mana 2/4 dorks are not exactly aggressive though so for once I do rather prefer the polar option. They feel pretty comparable overall but you probably don't need both as the one drops are your go to. Exploration is certainly a consideration over the more expensive options. 




A lot of nice Gruul cards that work with lands have been printed since the first Zendikar set and did a lot of work to help power up the deck. Wrenn and Six and Radha are great for helping you hit those lands while also being good high tempo and value threats. The extra Canopy land is great too and lets you effectively run cycling lands that also trigger your landfall and never come into play tapped. The canopy lands effectively wasting land drops to cycle isn't an issue in this deck as you have lots of land, capacity to get more lands, multiple land drops, all on top of a very low curve. This is why Guide-Beast is good, returning lands is often a plus. They are also much better fixing and tempo than any of the cycling land alternatives.

Spell lands are a nice little boost to this list as well. They let you play more lands in the deck without risk of flooding. The Mammoth is obviously great but the Fling Cliffs are perhaps a little cute. 17 lands doesn't sound like that many plus Once Upon a Time is 18/39 as far as opening hands go. A bounce land makes that closer to 19/39. The two spell lands bring it to 21/39 which gives much better odds on having landfall all the time. Nearly 20% more land effectively which ensures you don't dry up on the landfall. On the flip side, with Once Upon a Time, two Horizon lands, a man land, and a utility land, you are looking like you are closer to 13/39 lands and safe on flooding. It is always lovely when you can gain effective card quality in a tempo deck and the utility and function of the lands in this deck really lets you exploit that heavily. 





As ever with these test decks I design them far more towards the goldfish optimal build and neglect interaction. In practice I should have a bunch more things like good old Lightning Bolt. Boros Charm looks good for wrath protection and wiping someone out with a big double striker. Much like Atarka's Command it is just a bit too much of a luxury. Selesnya Charm and Dromoka's Command would be my normal go to for utility removal in these colours. I might be able to get away with Shard Volley in this list if Bolt and other good options are unavailable! Even Scythe Tiger looks viable but I suspect cards like Sylvan Safekeeper would be wiser uses of land sacrifices. I could also just go a bit bigger and play Felidar Retreat or top quality classics like Collected Company, Bloodbraid Elf and Ghor-Clan Rampager.

All in all the deck is just a beatdown deck but it has some impressive early game, some very high roll draws, and it has a good chunk of late game for a deck with such a low curve and high aggression. It is a little too high on the synergy to become something you can find and do in drafting cubes but it was incredibly impressive. It could just pull so far ahead in basically all relevant metrics and do so with incredible speed off the mark. Turn three kills are a very real thing! I wouldn't be shocked if similar looking things appear in modern when the meta is rip for a good old zoo style beatdown. Below are my considerations for the deck that didn't make the cut for one reason or another but easily could with certain tweaks or leanings. I also found myself tempted towards going blue for the power of Omnath and Uro but at that point you should really be going for a midrange deck and that is a whole different sort of thing. 



Spikefield Hazard
Shatterskull Smashing
Satyr Wayfinder
Harvest Wurm
Vinelasher Kudzu
Life from the Loam
Undergrowth Champion
Territorial Scythecat
Dryad of Illysian Grove
Courser of Kruphix
Knight of the Reliquary
Rhonas the Indomaitable
Renegade Rallier 
Felidar Retreat



Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Commander Legends Thoughts and Additions

 

As far as commander goes this set seems full of wins and only the odd concern. The concerns being the Lotus and perhaps the high power level in partner commanders. I think the power level for this set in how it relates to the 1v1 formats it effects is pretty reasonable too, I want these kinds of sets to have less impact than conventional sets and so while that makes this set a win in my books it does mean fairly little will be changing in cube. I do not expect much out of the test cards and so this will be quite comfortably the least represented of recent sets in the cube. By recent I means several years worth. The interesting stuff is all the synergy things and support cards. There is plenty to brew with, it just wont be high tier or draftable stuff. 

I noticed I was adding in less of the marginal stuff to these lists (which I use as my wish lists from which to procure new cards with) than I usually do. Not because the set is less powerful either. I was just less bothered about picking up the stuff I will likely only play once or twice in some novel setting. This speaks to me as an indication of some personal burnout. There is just so much new product coming out. Either I cannot be bothered to get absolutely everything that might be of use or I don't trust that things will stay even potentially relevant long enough to bother getting. 

Lots of much needed reprints are great for the community although combined with the quantity of new product it does seem to be shifting the value of cards rather towards reserved list ones. It seems as if Wizards should look to release some guidelines regarding their goals with the secondary markets. I actually think they should add more cards to the reserved list slowly and carefully over time. Not format staples or good cards, just some more cards so as to ease the growing pressure on that relatively small and select group of stuff. I also feel as if they should state some rough price aims such as when a (normal version of a) modern/pioneer card goes above a certain dollar value on the secondary market then it will receive reprints until it dips below that threshold. That would give consumers a much greater degree of confidence and security about purchases both in terms of timing and cost. 







Additions


Slash the Ranks

War Room



Tests


Hullbreacher 

Necrotic Hex

Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith 

Kamahl, Heart of Krosa 

Court of Ambition

Archon of Coronation 

Emberwild Captain 

Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Sphinx of the Second Sun

Opposition Agent 




Constructed Reserves


Impulsive Pilferer

Guildless Commons 

Scholar of the Ages

Juri, Master of the Revue 

Armix, Filigree Thrasher 

Ardenn, Intrepid Archealogist 

Prava of the Steel Legion 

Jeska's Will

Dargo, the Shipwrecked 

Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

Court of Cunning

Demonic Lore

Blim, Comedic Genius 


Sunday, 15 November 2020

Commander Legends Preliminary Review X

 


Soul of Eternity 0.5

I guess you can put this in the bin and then threaten to one shot anyone foolish enough to have a lower life total and no means to block or remove this. Hard casting this seems very poor and a nine mana ability is getting sufficiently infrequent as to be narrow as well. Not even passable as a Sneak Attack style of card any more compared to the alternatives. 






Body of Knowledge 1

Well this is a lot of fun. Aside from the silly infinite combos with Niv-Mizzet this is still a fairly silly card. It will be a medium sized dork that is unpleasant to get into combat with but incredibly vulnerable to most removal. If you want to play a five drop dork to hold things back you should play something broad and safe and reliable like a Mezmerising Benthid. If you want a dork to draw cards then run something with a better body and more reliable triggers, ideally EtB ones like Cavalier of Gales. This set has a lot of cards I want to play with which is really the best thing a card can be. They are well placed for commander speed and contexts which is good design too. Sadly many of them are too slow and hard work to be viable in any sort of competitive 1v1 cube setting. Perhaps I will do a special event for fun-but-not-quite-there cards or perhaps this is going to pull me into some form of commander play! I think I have given out a lot of 1/10 marks that really should be 0/10 but I am likely to just try and force them at some point making them played and thus meriting a rating. 







Bell Borca, Spectral Sergeant 2

What an unusual card. Play this as a card draw tool if you like. It will be worse than an Outpost Siege or an array of Chandra cards but not drastically. The right support would be enough to shift that. Alternatively try and abuse Bell by finding ways to exile really pricy things and deliver surprise smackdown. Bell is big and dangerous at the front. He can be an 0/5 most of the time and a 8/5 just the once but he will need to be treated a little more as if he is the latter. There are cheaper cards you can abuse to one shot people, or ones with less build requirements. Seems like Bell lacks places that want him but the power level is high and his threat level is strong. 





Impulsive Pilferer 6

This may look innocent but the card is pretty nuts. This will do plenty of work helping to ramp out goblins and plenty of other fancy stuff. This is just one of those perfect support cards that will randomly fit into loads of builds for one reason or another. It lacks the broad applicability of Thraben Inspector and is more of a high synergy card but it is that sort of thing. Pilferer is the mana neutral body while Inspector is the card neutral one. This ticks so many boxes as far as support cards go. It is a one drop which is always the best place to start out. It is two permanents in one, four when you start the encore. It can be a ritual in combination with other cards or just ramp. It has artifact, creature, and tribal synergy. Graveyard synergy. An outstanding partner for Skirk Prospector or just plain old Phyrexian Altar. It probably isn't packing enough punch in most drafting cube to make the cut as high synergy archetypes are hard to support. Elsewhere expect to see this popping up and doing good work. 





Court of Ire 5

These Court cards are hard to judge. Red is certainly one of the better colours at not getting attacked, both as it is great at killing would be attackers and great at applying sufficient pressure such that blockers are needed. Even so, it is not a lock in by any means and so there is still that risk that you are just giving cards away. The midway mark for Court of Ire is draw one and then Shock every upkeep is good enough but sadly it isn't ever an option. Either you get that but also concede cards which is far from good enough, or you get more cards and nuke for 7 each turn which is pretty insane overkill! This is doubly bad when behind as it is both slow to act and potentially unplayable if giving away a monarch is suicidal. So despite the average power level seeming like enough this shouldn't be a good cube card. You need that consistency from your threats. It wouldn't be out of place in cubes but I don't see it improving any of them. Shame as this art is lovely. 





Jared Carthalion, True Heir 0

Wow, this is comically bad. A 3/3 for 3 that basically just gives your opponent a whole pile of free cards. Best case scenario you still give away one card with this and the payoff isn't impressive. I am pretty confidant any other monarch card is a better play than this. The risks with this are just so silly. 





Guildless Commons 2

This is a colourless bounce land. It might have some applications in Eldrazi decks but for the most part there is little reason in cube to run this over a bounce land that taps for colours. A great addition to commander though were colour identity rules out a lot. 





Hamza, Guardian of the Arashin 1

Cool card but just a bit big for the kinds of things you wind up with in cube-like settings. You can play this easily for three or less mana in a counters deck and that makes it OK but still a long long way from good enough for a deck that focused on synergy. You need it to then significantly reduce the cost of subsequent plays to merit his inclusion. Most of your dorks are cheap and lack generic mana. Hamza gets better in artifact heavier decks abusing Walking Ballista but it still feels like too little too late. 





Volcanic Torrent 0.5

Really this only gets a mention as I will likely build a cascade deck for a laugh at some point. Mass removal isn't a thing you really want to storm up into! Without a storm component this is just dealing two which isn't all that impressive. I want this hitting for four or more before I am interested. 





Azure Fleet Admiral 0

In another colour this would be more appealing but blue doesn't really need the card draw. Much as this is one of the safer monarch card it can still easily be scuppered by a simple attack plus removal spell combo. 





Alharu, Solem Ritualist 0

Too far up the curve and too much work to milk the potential from this card. It looks like it has some infinite loops you can setup but lots of cheaper better cards do that too. 





Triumphant Reckoning 1

Powerful and easily game winning but you should hope so on a nine mana card. The main issue here is that it is so easy to get hosed with graveyard removal. You can play this as a control deck in a list heavy on things this recurs or you can play it in a self mill deck that somehow finds the burst mana to play this ahead of time. Both seem janky and unreliable. Just play a better threat or a better combo. 






Friday, 13 November 2020

Commander Legends: Preliminary Review IX

 

Hullbreacher 7

This is a much more contained iteration of Notion Thief being less mana, fewer colours, and more robust. Sure, you get treasure instead of cards with this but it is mostly about denying the draw, any perk on top of that is just gravy. You can hold this for the got ya moments or you can just flop it out and have it be a bit of a Narset, Parter of Veils that attacks. So a hatebear or a great value Spell Swindle. Both fine lines/modes. You really don't need much out of this for it to be pretty devastating and the floor is decent giving this a pretty reasonable chance in cube. Good tribes too giving it yet more chances of action if it doesn't cut it in drafting cube. 





Sakashima's Will 0

Bad Control Magic or one of the most situational effects of all time. This isn't unplayable without commanders but it is a long way from good. The frequency that the second mode is useful will be so low you might as well play better Control Magic effects instead of this.





Sakashima's Protege 1

This seems doubly random. Cascade itself and then potentially having to copy whatever you get from that or wait until your opponent makes something worth having. The high rolls are obviously high with this but the floor is bad, as is the average performance. Mostly this sits in hand not doing much of anything. 





Sakashima of a Thousand Faces 1

Do I want Mirror Gallery on a Clone? We can break that down into two questions, do I want Mirror Gallery and do I want Clone. When the answer to both of those is no then we have a solid answer for the original question. I am sure this has uses (perhaps even beyond Gyruda) and has a fine power level but not what we are looking for cube wise, especially when we have Spark Double already. 





Coercive Recruiter 2

Another Zealous Conscripts but worse. Playable but hardly desirable. Threaten is situational at best when used conventionally. Used with Kikki Jikki it is fine but not like we are short on things to abuse that way.





Reyav, Master Smith 2

Powerful in the right deck but super narrow and not even all that unique. I can find plenty of good ways to double strike up dorks and so Reyav is deck padding, good padding but still padding.





Kangee, Sky Warden 0

Powerful but narrow and too far up the curve to be the kind of synergy card you are excited about. It needing to attack to aggressively pump takes most of the punch out of this one. 





Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood 1

Nice to have a clean ramping partner commander. In normal 1v1 this is a three mana Llanowar Elf that might draw you a card here and there if you are lucky. Llanowar Visionary is orders of magnitude better. As are Llanowar Elf and Elvish Visionary for that matter. Simply put, your six drops should be getting you most of the way to winning and so you shouldn't need extra cards with them. 





Dawnglade Regent 1

Very pricey card for very little threat. This is more value and protection than it is a win condition and that mostly rules it out for cube uses. 





Ingenuity Engine 1

I like the utility of this card but I do not like the 7 mana price tag regardless of the cascade. I am simply not sure where you could play this usefully. You need things like Divining Top to ensure a good hit and even then the card is only fair rather than good or particularly powerful.





Akroma's Will 1

Without controlling a commander this isn't packing enough punch to merit the high cost and situational nature of the card. Wrath protection is nice but at four mana you can do a lot better. It can force through damage or increase the damage of an attack too but the cost is just too high for the returns. Brave the Elements laughs at this. Assault Formation won't return it's calls. Don't even ask about the Anthems and planeswalkers...





Akroma, Vision of Ixidor 1

Overcost and rather sitiational. Sure, this can be one hell of an Overrun effect backed up by a big scary flier. Without the right kind of dorks in play this is a  hard fail to the Doom Blade test and is just a slow vulnerable fatty. 





Pride of the Perfect 1

Quite a powerful Anthem for elves but elves have Overrun effects a plenty and don't need to step outside of green to access them. Being a little off theme, off colour and not an elf make this look like it isn't getting play despite being perfectly decent on power level. 





Feast of Succession 1

Cool looking card that works well with itself. It helps you keep monarch and does two controlly things simultaneously. Sadly it is a six mana Languish that fails to kill everything and probably loses you the game if they have a haste dork, survivor, or just a manland in order to steal the monarch from you. 





Mira, Thorn of the Glade 2

Cheap and useful but rather undone by costing a mana in order to turn on the trigger. You don't want to be keeping up mana and so this will give your opponent plenty of windows to shut off this value engine. Certainly a playable card but probably more in an aristocrats style deck that happens to have a high elf count rather than a tribal elf build. 





Kwain, Itinerant Meddler 1

I guess this has some potential uses when you are locking people down card draw or trying to force draws for whatever reason. Even so it is a bit of a risk as it isn't helping you all that much when you don't have your other synergy parts. 

















Thursday, 12 November 2020

Commander Legends: Preliminary Review VIII

 

Biowaste Blob 0

Ooze lord! Sadly one that isn't of any real use in commanderless games. 





Nadier's Nightblade 2

A costly Zulaport Cutthroat that only works with tokens. Playable in the right place but fairly bottom of the barrel stuff as far as sources of redundancy go. Unlikely to be needed in 40 card lists. 





Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel 0

Another momentum gaining card simply far too far up the curve to be of much use outside of commander. Sure, have this, have a bunch of tokens and a way to sacrifice them and Nadier is then 2X + 3 to your total tokens and obviously is a thing himself. Have nothing and he is an overpriced Hill Giant or more likely still, deadweight in hand. 





Rakshasa Debaser 1

Quite powerful but unreliable both in terms of what it gets back and if it gets to live long enough to try. Not too threatening of a card nor that impactful either. The encore is the best thing about this but at 8 mana it is a little late in the day to make waves. Inkeyes "quick" play costs less mana to use not more and if she isn't cube quality this certainly isn't. Power way above a 1/10 but likelihood of getting play really brings this down.





Scholar of the Ages 3

A dangerous card indeed easily setting up infinite turn loops or infinite flicker ones. Seven is too much for this as a drafting cube card but in singleton constructed this has some roles.





Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty 0

A very fun card indeed that just makes me want to Treasure Cruise all day! Sadly five mana 3/1 dorks need to do rather more than Imoti. 





Reshape the Earth 1

Super Scapeshift. It feels as if playing this equates to winning via things like Field of the Dead and Valakut. You could probably win with a big old pile of Cloudposts, a man land, and a Kessig Wolf Run. Nine mana is a big ask however, as is having ten lands left in a 40 card deck post playing a nine drop card. Reshape the Earth is probably just too big for cube even if it can win easily in an array of ways. It is just too much of a cost on a build. You need to support what it does but also casting it and surviving long enough to do so. Seems nutty good for commander though, even if it can't always beat everyone on the spot...





Elvish Dreadlord 0

Slow and unreliable. Encore looked good up to the point of costing seven mana. 





Necrotic Hex 6

A little bit costly as far as mass removal goes but certainly very powerful. 12/12 of stats spread out over six bodies combined with what will almost always be a full clear of the opponent's board including any indestructible or hexproof dorks they had. This looks like a perfect tool for Titan's Nest being extremely powerful while mainly costing colourless mana. Other decks that can stomach the high cost will be very happy to play this too. It is sufficiently swingy that I plan to test this out in cube despite the hefty price tag. I think it has some hope due to the meta slowing down. 





Nightshade Harvester 0

Poor starting stats, a shocking top deck, no guaranteed value. Don't play this in 1v1 games. 





Nevinyrral, Urborg Tyrant 1

What an odd card. Potentially make some stuff and represent like a Grave Titan. Potentially Akroma's Vengeance and act like the eponymous Disk. Or just be a 3/6 for six with some random hexproofing. Generally this is too conditional for a very gold six drop but there is a lot going on here giving it some chance to shine somewhere. Certainly not a low powered card, just a bit of an awkward one. 





Juri, Master of the Revue 3

Not quite enough scarifice support to merit this in mine or most other drafting cubes. Put this in a sacrifice deck with Mayhem Devil and all the support and you have a tasty little dork that is impressively threatening and useful. 





Araumi of the Dead Tide 4

Interesting. This is sort of value and sort of tempo and sort of neither. You don't directly gain card advantage or board presence from this. You need EtB, attacking, or on death triggers to gain value and tempo but then most dorks in cube have that sort of thing all over the shop. It isn't wildly mana efficient as you still have to pay the normal cost for your dork and then it is leaving play again. Still, Araumi should pack quite the punch in the mid to late game. Araumi certainly makes Whip of Erebos look fairly naff. Sadly I think Araumi isn't quite there. It does nothing without stuff in the bin, it is a bit of a do nothing by itself and doesn't really start being that impressive until the late game. I can totally picture her being obscene in a UB tempo deck full of Hostage Takers, Shriekmaw, Baleful Strix and other such delights. 





Commander's Plate 1

So protection from all the colours when playing without commanders then? Even so this is just far too much to equip and as such isn't cropping up anywhere that isn't a deck that cheats on equip costs as a result. In such decks this is more of a protection and evasion tool and not by any means a finisher. I imagine as such other cards will be used instead for those roles.  





Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn 0

Big potential payoff but super vulnerable, clunky and slow. You need other good targets, ways to gain life, and this four mana 2/2 all just to make something big. You can't even use this as redundancy for Heliod Balista combos as it happens at end of turn. 




Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Commander Legends: Preliminary Review VII

 

Soulfire Eruption 0

A random silly card. Sure, you can do a load of damage to a load of things and perhaps get some bonus cards into the mix. Mostly this fails to kill what you want and costs too much (probably just a full stop here..) to make use of the value mode it has. Feels like for a nine mana spell I should be able to play these exiled cards for no mana cost. On the very rare occasions you can actually play this and it isn't just a dead card in hand it is a poor removal spells and a poor card draw tool. This doesn't even feel worth trying to abuse. 





Gnostro, Voice of the Crags 0

This seems to be a Hill Giant? Sorry, my mistake, a Prodigal Sorcerer. Score. 





Armix, Filigree Thrasher 4

This needs a little bit too much support to be worth it in most drafting cubes. Once you have a really really significant artifact cube or the ability to build around Armix starts to become pretty dangerous. He can snowball out of control simply attacking and killing anything in his way every turn. That can be quite hard to recover from and will let you completely seal up a game with a planeswalker sat behind a rampaging Armix. Toss in some synergy on top of the artifact support, say things that like discard effects, and you have a most interesting card. 





Armored Skyhunter 2

Lovely in a deck tailored to suit it, say an equipment deck. Far too narrow to cut it in drafting cubes. Even in the constructed decks pretty maxed out on those types you are not always hitting and frequently not having choices. Powerful but slow and a little unreliable. 





Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist 3

This isn't there for drafting cubes due to narrowness however in the right sorts of decks ranging from Colossus Hammer combo to more standard Boros aggro equipment or even Bant auras Ardenn offers some powerful ongoing utility, likely a huge mana saving in rapid order. 





Wrong Turn 1

Donate but only for creatures. No obvious great abuses but the kind of thing that will have places.





Obeka, Brute Chronologist 1

Cool effect but on a clumsy four drop you need to untap with. Not really a card with great application outside of commander. 





Court of Bounty 3

On the pricey side with quite polar and distinct outcomes. Cheating out lands or dorks is really rather different despite both somewhat being ramp. Either will be pretty good but it will be hard to make good use of both in terms of how you build. Especially on top of having the more important build challenge of ensuring you are not taking combat damage and giving your opponent a free card every turn! While there are very much places you can sensibly play a card like this it is too random and clunky for drafting cubes. A reasonably controlling land ramp deck seems like the best fit.





Apex Devastator 1

Comic. Fun too! This is pretty free in that it is a five for one and ultimately is going to cost a net of around zero mana. All you need to do is get to ten mana in the first place... You can't even cheat this out effectively in the usual efficient ways as cascade is a cast trigger. Lacking any evasion or useful things like that the actual body of the Devastator is pretty low value and counts for little more than a Tarmogoyf. The other four cards you cascade into have to therefore be useful. You might hit a load of dorks and just get wrecked by a Wrath. You might hit a load of situational stuff that doesn't really do anything for you. Best case I suspect involves hitting multiple planeswalkers thus giving you a fairly diverse array of threats that are less vulnerable to mass removal effects. All told this is mostly a silly card that is going to be very hard to sensibly include anywhere. I do want to cast it even though trying is clearly not an optimal line. 





Rootweaver Druid 0

Quite funny if your opponent has exactly one basic in their deck, sadly you just have no control over this and it is fairly unlikely. As such, very bad in 1v1.





Hans Erikson 1

Cool design but sadly a little too much needed to make this four mana 1/4 gold card look OK. If all of your dorks are <4/>1 and you have some effects to effect the top of your deck than Hans is value and tempo, assuming he gets to attack. You can also use this as a one time affair to cheat out a big card but then why are you not running other better cards to do this with instead like an Elvish Piper or Champion of Rhonas or Sneak Attack? An OK ceiling but hard to reach and a very low floor. Four drops need to be more threatening without support, they need to do more to resist failing a Doom Blade test too. 





Plague Reaver 1

Interesting card with lots of options. It can just be a big dork for you if you have nothing else in play. It can be a discard outlet of sorts if you want. It can be used to Mind Rot your opponent or slowly Wrath them. Much as the latter two sound good they are really more of an option for your opponent than you if you send the Reaver over. Wrathing someone and giving them a 6/5 isn't great. Mind Rotting someone when you want to Wrath them is probably worse. Worth a little test as it is interesting and different but this needs to perform wildly better than it looks to come close to being a good cube card. 





Tormod the Desecrator 3

You can make a lot of zombies pretty cheaply with this. You need cards that exile or leave the bin one at a time, ideally at low cost. Withered Wretch, Scavening Ooze, Deathrite Shaman all support this well. Better yet is having a loop with Gravecrawler and Phyrexian Altar for infinite 2/2 dorks or mana as you choose. Without support this is a four mana 4/2 and is thus unplayable in drafting cubes but an interesting constructed build around tool. 





Slurrk, All-Ingesting 0

Too far up the curve for +1/+1 counters themed deck support card. Quite powerful but this needed to be a finisher rather than a momentum builder. Scale this back a bit and lower the cost to three mana and suddenly counters decks start to get interested.