I have been prepared for Avecyn Restored's release and made the appropriate changes (and some others) to account for the new cards. On pre-release day I will put all the nice new spells in and any of the less important/powerful cards that I manage to pick up. I am putting a lot more in that I am taking out which is fine as my cube has been trimmed of the fat quite well. I suspect the next set of changes after the new set has bedded in will have much more in the way of cards removed. There is a huge colour bias in what is being added both from the new set and, reasonably understandably, the cards to support them. Red, blue and black got the most cards and the most powerful ones but this is no issue as I have no colour balancing in my cube. Below are the changes I am making:
Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded
Sneak Attack (for Griselbrand)
Pillar of Flame
Firebolt (putting in 2 one mana sorcery speed burn spells might be too much but people keep fishing out Firebolt since Faithless Looting turned up so might as well make it official)
Phyrexian Obliterator (with the power of Geralf's Messengers making heavy black decks popular this guy has been frequently called upon)
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Mystical Tutor (kind of have to bring this back for the miracles)
Show and Tell (for Griselbrand too)
Ravages of War
Sword of War and Peace
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (for Show and Tell and Sneak Attack, might need Blightseel Colossus too)
I will also throw in any of the following cards I manage to pick up so as to test them out however they will not get a confirmed slot until they have received play and not been rubbish.
Reforge the Soul
Hound of Griselbrand
Decent into Madness
Oracle of Mul Daya
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Avecyn Restored Review
Here is a monster that screams Corpse Dance or Sneak Attack. As a pure reanimator target it is quite easy to kill and quite low board impact, in addition to this to get extra value out of Grisel you have to pay 7 life which is uncomfortable in a most Reanimate decks. Just getting one attack out of this guy is upto a 14 point life swing as well as an option on a whole new hand for you to play with. This means the value you get from this guy diminishes with time but that it is pretty huge initially to be sufficiently game winning. As to whether you can play this without cheating him into play is a good question. I suspect that he will see occasional play at the top end of heavy black control decks or as weak redundancy for Yawgmoth's Bargain in extreme ramp decks. Black has a lot of good ways to power out mana and that will really help with this guys overall playability.
Treacherous Pit Dweller C cube
I want this to be good, but it just isn't. Back in the day this might have been a fantastic partner to Phyrexian Negator against decks without Lightening Bolts etc. Even against non red decks now it will mostly just get killed in combat and then beat you from the other side of the table. It is not powerful enough or complete with sufficient redundancy to build a deck around it with Brooding Saurion or loads of bounce. I like that it is a creature that is worse to Path or Plow than most others but white still has wraths and dorks enough to make this unplayable against that too.
Butcher Ghoul B cube
This made me cry a little inside. As the last set was being spoiled I was praying the obligatory one mana 1/1 undying creature was a zombie not a useless wolf and now we have this as if to rub salt into the wounds. The real tragedy is that this might well be good enough. Black has few easy or synergic two drops and this is exactly that. It is a reasonable card for Pox style decks or Recurring Nightmare / Birthing Pod brews and is also bearable filler for a zombies deck.
Demonic Taskmaster 1.5
I am a big fan of this card as it reminds me a little of Vampire Nighthawk. I don't think this will be playable in aggressive decks even with the abundance of recursive monsters in black however in classic style Necro decks or any control deck a cheap powerful threat is always welcome. This guy will just get the job done by either trading with something serious or holding back the attacks or taking out pesky planeswalkers or just quickly killing your opponent. Flying is becoming one of the best abilities to have in the cube as planeswalkers continue to see more play. This guy trumps all the other early fliers in the cube giving you control of the skies and the ability to win any planeswalker based game.
Descent into Madness B cube
Costing five, giving the choice of hand and permanents and the fact that you will have to exile cards at the same time makes this quite a lot worse than Smokestack or Braids. You don't even have control over the charging and so lose flexibility with the card. In a dedicated Pox style deck I can see this working, particularly with Academy Rector to go and fetch it however this is mostly due to there being little redundancy for this kind of effect that is available. It also gets rid of enchantments which is handy with Necropotence and Yawgmoth's Bargain. Not a mainstay but a unique and powerful niche card.
Demonlord of Ashmouth C cube
As you need to sacrifice other creatures or exile it you cannot do any clever tricks. You also need to have other creatures around to trigger the undying when it is needed. It is quite a lot of monster and you can make use of the sacrifice in efficient or advantageous ways but this makes the card more inconsistent. I cannot see this seeing play outside some combo due to Abyssal Persecutor being so much easier to use.
Appetite for Brains C Cube
One mana targetted discard is great but this one can't hit anything relevant early on making the cheap cost less impressive. This may well be good enough for other formats where 4 drops are where the real power kicks in but in cube there are far too few cards that cost four or more to make this good. Despise was too narrow but hits about 80% of what this hits as well as many many more smaller creatures that this doesn't.
Gloom Surgeon 2.5
This pesky little critter might be just what black needs. Not the most useful creature type nor offering much in the way of utility he is just a bland beater that is really hard to deal with in combat. Black really lacks all round playable two drops, the vast majority of the contenders cost BB, and this guy just fits in so well. He can attack freely without concern of losing card advantage to better blockers or chump block for a long while. This is another good point in that so may of the good black monsters are terrible on the defensive while this guy is decent as both an attacker and a blocker. Ideally this card is played with equipment or other boosting effects so as to become a real threat as the game progresses. I think Gloom Surgeon will frequently be so annoying that it will bait a removal spell which is usually going to be happy times when you follow it with Nighthawks, Confidants and Obliterators.
Predator's Gambit C cube
I hate creature enchantments that aren't Rancor or Treachery. Having said that this might actually be fine and the sort of thing an agro black deck is looking for. With Necropotence, recursive monsters and Skullclamp black doesn't really suffer to losing card advantage and so the risk or losing it due to playing creature enchantments is not such a big deal. Attacking for 4 on turn two with a serious threat and either hitting thier hand or making more threats is going to win games. As a tempo card this laughs at Bonesplitter offering a bonus toughness and the possibility of evasion for half the mana. The evasion will be pretty irrelevant when used early and then frequently game winning later on as it will be easy to get rid of surplus dorks that can't get through. I give this a C cube rating as I am wary of this sort of effect however I will try it out in mono black agro to see if creature enchantments are becoming viable.
Tibalt, the Fiend Blooded 2.0
This is a very hard card to assess. I have even played a few games with this card but am still struggling to place it. A two mana planeswalker is unique in magic and very interesting. The thing with Tibalt is that you can only do one ability with him for the first few turns and that ability has very little effect on the board in addition to being unpredictable and sometimes of no benefit. Even when you do ramp him up so as to be able to perform the other abilities they are themselves situational and don't really effect the board either. You can do a lot of damage with Tibalt or even win with an alpha strike in a locked up board but most of the time he will do nothing more than fill up your graveyard and absorb the odd hit. Lots of decks want to fill up their yards but very few want to be doing it at random. Only the decks with great redundancy can really afford to be throwing things in the bin randomly and obtaining sufficient redundancy in decks that also want to abuse graveyards is hard in the cube. Tibalt is kind of nice redundancy in red for discard with Faithless Looting and kind of helpful with miracles (although he wont trigger them ever he will be able to get rid of those you build up in hand and don't want to play for the full cost) he is just very unreliable. One interesting thing to note about Tibalt is that with continual use of the +1 ability you will improve the consistency of your draw due to the fact that you will make the optimal plays for a turn and discard from the remaining cards, you probably wont risk this if your hand is then perfect for the following turn however even if you randomly discarded regardless you would still end up on average with more consistent draws by virtue of using the best cards each turn. This minor effect (that is only worth it in decks with high redundancy) is likely not worth a card most of the time even if it has other uses later on. This leaves Tibalt only seeing play in decks that can really make use of the discard and with good redundancy.
Vexing Devil 3.5
This seems very good although not really a one drop threat like a Goblin Guide or a Stromkirk Noble. This little devil is more akin to Keldon Marauders or Hellspark Elemental which are essentially direct damage to the dome rather than a permanent threat. The vast majority of the time you play Vexing Devil early it will be four damage for one mana which is great but does not gain you any tempo. As you move later into the game there is a much higher chance or it being allowed to remain in play so choosing the best time to make the Devil will be key to getting the best out of the card. I have to say I really like the design of this dork and think it is also powerful enough to be a mainstay in the arsenal of red deck wins. Cards like Reckless Charge and Goblin Bushwhacker will make it much harder for opponents to make the right call with life payments. I also presume you can use the damage to nug a planeswalker which will be useful too. Outside of red deck wins and those decks that are essentially the same but splash a second colour I am not sure that there will be a home for this card but even if not it will still be good enough to have a home in the cube. Most cards which give your opponent control of the outcome are bad but both ends of this card are powerful and in the same aggressive vein and the mana cost is fantastic. I feel like turn three or four is about the optimal time to drop one of these so as to make the choice most taxing on your opponent, this will also make curving out more flexible as you can very effectively use spare mana to bring out the Devil.
Thunderous Wrath 1.0
I am really not sure what to make of this particular miracle. I am not a huge fan of the mechanic and it reminds me somewhat of clash but without the nice added scry for one bonus. The cube is the place to abuse miracles but red does not really have the best tools to do this. Wrath is certainly playable in counter burn style decks if they are already playing Brainstorms and Divining Tops but if the card is good enough to make you include those cards remains to be seen. The real question is if this can make it into red deck wins which I am also unsure, Faithless Looting is a real help so as to be able to ditch it when you can't cast it for one but beyond this red deck wins has nothing that can make use of the card if drawn in opening hands until it has six lands which is really bad. On top of this if you draw it you are basically forced to cast it which can hamper your curving out. These are both significant drawbacks for a card to have in a deck that craves consistency but one mana for five damage to any target is a very good deal. Without a few more ways to make use of dead cards I don't think it will be enough for red deck wins but I could be quite wrong with games able to end out of nowhere from a miracle Wrath and a Fireblast.
Dangerous Wager C cube
There are a few cool uses for this card such as emptying your hand really fast and having a decent draw spell in red or cleverly using it as a discard outlet with some manipulation of the top of your library in reanimator deck. I think it will clog up hands too much to see consistent use and will be outshone by the rather more powerful Wheel of Fortune. Either way this is instant, cheap, card draw in red and interesting redundancy for the other reasonable red draw cards and so will be worth keeping an eye on.
Reforge the Soul B Cube
This certainly needs testing before denied a top flight slot as 7 cards at 2 mana is about as good as it gets. Red does not have much in the way of card draw and this is a lot more reliable than Wheel of Fate as redundancy for Wheel of Fortune. The difficulty I am having with this card is that it doesn't seem to be better than memory jar most of the time for a red deck. It is rarely a card you want to cast off the top and so the miracle side is weaker than most of the other cards even though the cost is very appealing. I suspect most of the time this will be cast at five mana which from experience with Time Reversal is not good enough for cube and offer way to much tempo to the opponent from using five of your precious mana to give them seven new cards.
Bonfire of the Damned C Cube
Cute card and devastating effect but likely just too unpredictable to be played over reliable cards like Devil's Play and Rolling Earthquake. As with many of the miracle cards a lot depends on the support that they get and the non-blue miracle cards will need more than scry, Divining Top and Scroll Rack to become A cube mainstays.
Lightening Mauler C cube
Not offensively bad without soulbond and neatly quirky when you get to make him and another guy on the same turn. While it can be very powerful and offers some nice synergy with things like Keldon Marauders it is all rather to wishful and expensive and so the low power level of this card will condemn it to the vaults of the C cube.
Pillar of Flame 2.5
A sorcery speed shock, yummy... Sadly there are too many annoying little critters around that need to get entirely killed for this to stay in the sidelines. Path and Plow have been getting more and more valuable as creatures have gotten better and staying in play and red removal was starting to struggle to keep up. With this red will even be able to keep Wurmcoil Engines from getting much more than a 2 for 1. The printing of this will allow red to keep better pace with things but I cannot get too excited as it is such a low powered burn spell. It feels a little like Butcher Ghoul in terms of underwhelming power but still fills a big hole in the colour and will see lots of play. The list of really awkward cards this bypasses is huge and full of some of the best monsters in the cube from Kitchen Finks to Bloodghast.
Hound of Griselbrand 1.5
I can't picture a good home for this card and so it may end up in the B cube but it is a very good card. It is inherently a 2 for 1 in red which is pleasant and rare. It is also a robust red monster which is another rarity. It has all the good synergies of doublestrike and undying and no drabacks to temper these powerful effects. Perhaps it works well in a red green agro deck but the 4 slot is fiercely contended already. Big Red may also use it as a decent threat or speed bump as required that survives through Wildfire etc.
Kessig Malcontents C cube
The right power for the mana but one toughness for three mana does always make you wince. Red got a selection of interesting generic aggressive humans in this set and might be able to make some zaney fun tribal deck in which this could be quite a decent direct damage spell with a pleasant bolt on dork. Tier two would be aiming high for such a deck but it would be fun and different and offer much kudos if managing to ever win.
Kruin Striker B cube
This is one of the afore mentioned generic red aggressive dorks. The Striker probably stands out as the best on paper as it should be a 3/1 trample for 2 mana most of the time and even becomes a Ball Lightening if you make a Seige-Gage Commander. Most of reds good two drops that stay in play are RR to cast and that may allow this guy to get an A cube slot. It reminds me rather of Plated Geopede which is more robust but less consistent and less good when not triggered.
Rite of Ruin C cube
At 6 mana this would look very interesting but I think 7 pushes it out of contention for any slots. It is a good way for red to deal with big and awkward creatures but is too expensive for a niche out card. It does offer more control over the outcome than cards like Wildfire but is still way more restrictive than Death Cloud and with less impact on the board than both. A nice card though not really cube worthy.
Tyrant of Discord C cube
Funny to reanimate but basically just terrible. A card for that much mana that has a random effect that cannot be relied upon for anything much is just unplayable. Despite this it is a different and powerful effect which is usually enough for me to store one away in the C cube for the possibility of some use in the far future.
Zealous Conscripts C cube
While these are pretty good I can't place a home for them and think they are a little on the expensive side. The effect does not have good synergies with your deck and depends rather a lot on what you are facing. Still, for stealing stuff in red it comes with a pleasant body and can be game winning from nowhere.
Misthollow Griffon B Cube
A new ability! Always exciting and bolted onto a very reasonable monster for the mana. If there were more effects like Force of Will that caused you to exile cards from your hand to gain advantage then this would become very heavily played however I am struggling to think of more good uses to exile and so I think it will have to gather dust in the B cube for now. While reasonable the actual card just doesn't come close to the quality of Jace, Cryptic Command, Sower of Temptation, Glen Elandra Archmage and so forth. The dork is a bit too mid rage, in blue you want big finishers or small speed bumps usually.
Temporal Mastery 4.0
I have had a go already with this bad boy in the cube and it is very powerful. Blue has many ways to make use of dead cards in hand and more library manipulation than the other colours and so the seven mana cost is not something that you have to worry about really. As it combos so well with both Brainstorm and Jace, the Mind Sculptor which are very different cards but also very powerful and playable in almost any blue deck Temporal Mastery gains a lot of playability. Taking another go is also never a bad thing for any deck to do and so this card will tag along after Jace and Brainstorm and just get thrown into any decks with those cards. This can be ripped off the top and be good like the other decent miracles but will be much more reliable than the non-blue miracles. Unlike the 5 mana time walks Temporal Mastery is only single use due to self exiling when cast and so will not feature as integral parts of blue green combo decks. Assuming they still have the tools to abuse the miracle then it will probably be played in addition. I expect Mastery to see a lot more play but not really add much to the cube, archetypes or deck construction due to its strong ties to Brainstorm and Jace which are already commonly played.
Apprentice Alchemist 1.5
If Survailing Sprite could be called the Viridian Emissary of blue then this is the Sakura-Tribe Elder of blue. I think this is good enough to be called on in the cube as a useful speed bump. It would definitely have made the cut if the damage on stack rules had not changed. It is no Wall of Omens but then it is all blue and does have a few upsides such as killing small creatures instead of drawing cards or actually attacking. Being able to voluntarily sac a guy is of some use. Being able to draw a card when you need, unlike Surveiling Sprite is also good, particularly when you need a miracle. A low power card which is made playable for coming with few risks and offering a reasonable amount of utility.
Arcane Melee C Cube
Symmetric and way too much mana to serve any real purpose in the cube despite all the fantastic things I can imagine doing with one of these in play.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 3.0
I rather like this new member of the planewalking elite. Five mana is rather a lot for a planeswalker and I cannot imagine Tamiyo will ever see play over Jace the Mind Sculptor if that option is there. That being said she is the only other blue walker who can protect themselves, she is also fairly rounded and can work well in a wide selection of deck styles unlike Tezzeret (the Seeker) who requires heavy artifacts. Another thing I am a big fan of is the fact she does not legend rule kill other Jaces which was one of the downfalls of Jace Memory Adept. Tamiyo gains loyalty while protecting herself and although cannot ramp loyalty as quickly as the 3 and 4 mana Jaces she does have a cheaper ultimate. Tamiyo not only stops a thing untapping but also taps it unlike Ajani Vengeant which is significantly more useful. The card draw aspect is a little situational as does benefit from a reasonably high creature cont of your own but does have the potential to be very powerful for not much loyalty when compared to the 5 mana Garruk (Primal Hunter). The ultimate on Tamiyo is very fun looking and should still win most games if not as conclusively as many of the ultimates. I think Tamiyo is the 3rd best five mana walker after Gideon and Tezzeret for the cube.
Devastation Tide 2.0
I rather like this miracle, of all those out so far (159/244 spoiled cards) this is the least objectionable if not the best. Being blue allows miracles to get a higher rating than they could in other colours and this is an effect that is pretty good for blue as well. This can act as mass removal in control or as a great way to generate mana in an artifact deck. While it doesn't deal with anything for good or gain card advantage it is about as big at tempo swing as you could ask for. While you can engineer its use as an instant for extreme power it being a sorcery normally detracts somewhat from the highly fair 5 mana cost.
Amass the Components C cube
Instant speed or one less mana and were in business, as it is, no thank you.
This is a bit dull but generally fine. It deals with any permanent and with being an instant you can even deal with things pretty effectively in the long term by using in response to their using any shuffle effect. You don't lose card advantage with it either which is nice. This and Devastating Tide could bring about a new blue archetype with the added removal and tempo that they bring to blue. Not hitting lands is a shame but would make this card really tedious being randomly game winning off the top in the early game.
Favourable Winds C cube
This is getting slung in the C cube as the idea of Cloud Sprite.dec is pretty comical however this may well be good enough. Blue has a lot of gribbly fliers and both Bitterblossom and Meloku, the Clouded Mirror go nicely with it too. I will certainly try and make a deck based around this card but I am doubtful of it making the cut. Typically these global pump effect cards allow your cheap guys to measure up to more late game monsters however flying creatures are already much weaker than other monsters and so this will only help to bring power and toughness in line with other equivalent monsters on the curve. Essentially your buys will still have started out smaller and still be rubbish blockers and so you will still be on the back foot when making this card. Typically cube decks using fliers will have some tough ground based monsters to act as chumps but doing that with Favourable Winds just makes it worse. While I doubt it will see play more than once (perhaps once per regular cube player) I am always a fan of anything that helps blue to build agro decks.
Fettergeist C cube
Quite like the Demonic Taskmaster however much less playable. Both are great monsters on their own and pretty awful when you have other guys. In blue I cannot think of any place where you would want this. It is terrible in agro decks, as a threat you would play Vendilion Clique or as a speed bump you would play Sea Gate Oracle.
Ghostly Flicker C cube
This is very narrow and of low power but I just know if I don't file one away in the C cube I'll want one for some stupid reason in four years and spend several hours trying to locate one. Possible (but still weak) uses for it include untapping Grim Monoliths and Mana Vaults, triggering Sea Gate Oracles and Snapcaster Mages and to really scrape the barrels generating mana with lands after playing High Tide...
Lone Revenant C cube
When I first assessed this card I thought it had flying and I was all ready to give it an A cube slot where a 4/4 hexproof flier for 5 would have been very tidy regardless of the incidental Impulses. As it is with no evasion it it too small and grounded to be of any use to anyone in any deck.
Outwit C cube
Nice for blue to now have this but I think it is just way too narrow to ever be better than most of the existing one mana counterspells and certainly none of those in the A cube.
Silverblade Paladin C Cube
This seems to be the set for things that are situationally either blow out powerful or somewhat naff with miracle and soulbond and other random abilities. Curving out with a one drop, a Bonesplitter and this is a lot of damage and a scary army. Drawing this as a late game topdeck to an empty board has that Grey Ogre feel of disappointment. We are about 25% of the way through the released cards and this is the most interesting of the soulbond creatures so far but I think Mirran Crusader will always be the favoured card over this. Should a hyper aggressive pump strategy come to light this could be a good support card but then Berserk and other cheaper cards perform the role better.
The set is now all out and while this remains the most powerful of the playable soulbond monsters I find myself more drawn towards the one mana firebreathing and flight dorks in red and blue, both of which will probably also gain C cube slots despite not getting a review.
Banishing Stroke 1.5
This seems reasonably playable, as an instant and a control card the normal cost is more likely to get used than many miracles. As with all miracles they will follow round the Brainstorm effects like eager dogs but this one will get more play with them due to other synergies and archetypes. I don't think this spell will make any waves in the cube but it will help blue white control decks to get back on their feet a little. It offers all round removal that is generally better than destroy effects and will be a welcome top deck more often than the other miracles so far excluding Temporal Mastery. I see it contending with Oblivion Ring for slots in some decks and ultimately I suspect that not dealing with planeswalkers will work against this card most of the time.
Angel of Jubilation B cube
Tripple white is quite restrictive for a card that can help in multicloured decks. Four mana is also a big cut off in white as a lot of very powerful spells also cost four. The prevention of paying life and sacrificing things is a little bit random against some things like sac lands and somewhat of a hoser against a number of black strategies. I do not like effects that can occasionally wreak your opponents simply because of the matchup that otherwise offer little benefit to your own deck. A 3/3 flying crusade for most of your men at four does rather trump Celestial Crusader which is close to good enough and so this may see play but I rather hope not.
Six mana is a little steep for a wrath effect that hits no other permanent types. As an alternate cost it is acceptable but this implies you intent to be casting this for its miracle cost which in turn means you pretty much have to be blue as well. This puts this card squarely the standard white blue control camp where competition for six mana cards is heavy. Putting creatures to the bottom is nice as none of the current mass removal in white deals with persist, undying or indestructible. Ultimately it is the trickery you can do with instant speed wrathing that makes me think this will see play. I don't like adding cards that are pretty unplayable without a few certain other cards but for a one mana certain wrath I can't complain too much.
Restoration Angel B cube
While this looks rather dull compared to Angel of Jubilation I suspect it is the better cube card. A slightly more robust body and very convenient to cast with only one coloured mana requirement and flash. The ability it more of an occasional bonus rather than the reason to play this card. It will be good with your Wall of Omens and Sea Gate Oracles etc but certainly not worth holding back until you can use in such a way. A 3/4 flying flash monster would go very well with Vendilion Clique and the flying blue man lands in control decks as you can keeps counter magic up. That all said I am not sure this is quite up to the power of the other things blue and white has at four mana and so it gets provisionally placed in the B cube.
Avacyn, Angel of Hope C cube
I'm not a big fan of this card and can't see it ever getting played over Akroma, Elash Norn or Iona which are her competition. Elspeth's ultimate is one of the worst ultimates and so sticking it on a big dorky monster without trample or lifelink doesn't leave you with a very enthralling card.
Devout Chaplain C cube
I have been waiting for a reasonable white weenie critter that can deal with artifacts for a while now and this is an interesting offering if not quite satisfactory. Really for a three mana guy I want it to deal with the artifact in question immediately and not the turn after and I definitely don't want awkward requirements to do this. Devout Witness would be clearly better if it were not for the interesting exile aspect but this is pretty irrelevant as the card is too underpowered.
Divine Deflection C cube
I like this card, it is quite swingy and can protect against a few mass removal effects. Generally speaking it won't be too awkward to use this as a burn spell. Sadly the kind of decks that would want this will be limited on their spare mana and so Shining Shoal and Harms Way are both more playable if not always strictly better.
Riders of Gavony C cube
Yummy hill giant hosers. Not a fan at all of this card and hope it is never called upon. Not a card that makes games fun nor allowing for creative deck building. I can only ever see it being good in a humans deck against a tribal deck which is plain silly. Mostly I am sorry for block constructed formats though.
Emancipation Angel C cube
I am a huge advocate of Kor Skyfisher however the extra W mana on this dork for just one more power means this just isn't powerful enough to make the cut. Sure you can do all the same nifty tricks but they are all much worse value when you do.
Entreat the Angels no slot
Much rather have the reliability of Decree of Justice. The normal cost of this card is pretty horrific and if your messing around setting up miracles you are better off just playing better Miracles and better cards.
Craterhoof Behemoth B cube
Overrun on a fatty which means if you have the extra mana it isn't ever dead. The thing is it is three more mana than Overrun making it effectively dead at at critical times. Green of all colours can get to cast this but I don't think it will be consistent enough, even with Birthing Pod. Would be lots of fun with Living Death...
Descendant's Path C Cube
Cute card that screams Eldrazi at me. While it can do broken things it is trickier to build around than most other "do broken things" cards despite giving repeat use. I don't see agro decks adding do nothing three mana cards just to get a bit of extra card advantage. Nice with Mutavault too!
A very interesting card that I need to play with before properly evaluating. Seems like it can be insane but also inconsistent. There are few Enchantments that provide mana which increases the interest of this card for use with things like Cataclysm. In some ways it is just a bad Gaea's Cradle but I think different enough to see alternate uses.
Ulvenwald Tracker 2.0
This guy is quite unassuming but being a non mana green one drop he could find a home in the cube. He reminds me a little of Waterfront Bouncer (and a tiny bit of Grim Lavamancer) as a cheap disruptive dork in a colour that lacks ways to really deal with monsters. He is more mana to use, particularly with the need to have appropriately sized dorks in play, but will actually kill things which is massive for green. I can see this appearing in mono green agro non-elf decks which have been tier two for as long as I can remember in the cube. With Strangleroot Giest and a couple of other new green power cards and things like this Stompy may have time to shine soon. In already established decks I can see him getting play in UG Opposition decks although competition for slots is tough so not frequently. I can also potentially see him in GW Armageddon decks. Having removal is a relatively new thing to green (as I was late on adding Master of the Wild Hunt) and so the decks that will house this guy best and most frequently are not yet evolved.
Wolfir Avenger B Cube
It isn't very exciting but Troll Acetic only just lost his slot and this guy actually feels better than the Troll to me. Trading hexproof for flash and an extra toughness seems like a reasonable deal and will allow you to get free kills and spend less mana on regen. Thrun is a much more fearsome threat than Acetic and has fulfilled that niche better (as can Dungrove Elder) and so being hexproof is not so valuable any more. If aggressive green decks do pick up with cards like Ulvenwalkd Tracker this is the kind of supporty generic curve filling dork the deck will want.
Blessing of Nature C cube
I hate reviewing miracle cards as I am still pretty unsure of how they will pan out, especially the non blue ones. I can say for certain that all the green ones are worse than all of the other colours offerings. They are both too situational although this is the lesser of the two in that regard. All you need is a dork to then have a huge fatty for just one green. This isn't very exciting as it leaves you open to two for ones and isn't a favourable cost if not used as a miracle nor is it an instant. I don't see this ever getting play, pump effects have to be really really good to get slots in the A cube.
Revenge of the Hunted C cube
Pretty funny and possible Wrath of God style effect in green but mostly overcosted situational jank. They will have to print some pretty specific and rather interesting cards in order for the green miracles to see cube play.
Champion of Lambholt C cube
A reasonably priced card that can become a big threat in time that offers unusual evasion to dorks in green. Sadly a 3 mana 1/1 that requires other cards to make good is all just too optimistic, if it were an elf it might have seen play in a tribal deck but even then I doubt it.
Primal Surge C cube
Weeeeee! Its like a Minds Desire but without the need to power up with storm first. While fun I think it is prohibitively expensive enough like Preators Council to rule it out. Unless it is your only non permanent card and you can win the turn you play it (otherwise you will deck yourself) it can wiff which is utterly unreasonable for a 10 mana card. Fun but not playable really.
Somberwald Sage C cube
Three drop ramp spells are a little late on the curve unless artifacts however this bad boy gives three mana back every subsequent turn that he lives which is hard to come by elsewhere. In green you can easily cast a 7 drop on turn three with this guy and a single one drop mana critter. There are minor concerns about his cost and size but these could be overlooked if it were not for the fact you must spend the mana on dorks which makes him far less versatile and generally less useful.
Sigarda, Host of Herons B Cube
A very powerful monster that incidentally hoses black as good white cards are so fond of doing. If this were not gold, and green white at that which has the best depth of gold cards, it would probably make the cut on raw power despite not having any real home. The other two Angels in this cycle are much more combo esk and could be built around in quirky reanimator decks but are both too expensive to just be running normally. Sigarda is quite the bargain as a body but is a little in the shadow of Baneslayer Angel. In more drafty cubes this definitely deserves a slot. Hard to deal with 5/5 fliers for 5 are serious, Lone Revenant would have had a slot as a 4/4 hexproof if it also had flying and Sigarda is significantly harder to deal with.
Scroll of Avecyn C cube
5 life and a card for 2 mana split as you like with bonus artifact synergy is all rather pleasant sounding. Now we just need a deck that can assure the presence of an angel and this will become reasonable filler.
Slayers Stronghold 1.0
I hate colourless lands with coloured activation costs and I really hate those with gold activation costs. I think this only goes in one deck - boros deck wins but I can easily see it becoming a complete mainstay in the deck giving it real late game kick. Kessig Wold Run is quite a similar card, it costs more mana to use but scales more effectively as you go further into the game. The Wolf Run does see play both in agro decks and in massive ramp decks where as this will barely ever see play outside of boros. That said I think it will probably be more effective in boros than Wolf Run is in red green beats.
Alchemists Refuge C cube
Casting things at instant speed is cool but requiring effectively 3 more mana to do so is rarely going to come into play. This effect will barely ever be worth sacrificing colour consistency for and so I won't be sacrificing cube slots for cards with few homes and infrequent positive relevance in those homes.
Cavern of Souls B cube
Not many tribal decks involve more than a splash of another colour so in the cube this would primarily be a way of evading counter magic and not a fixer. Consistency is more important than evading counters in all agro decks and so I suspect this will only get used in creature based combo decks. It is an interesting card design and it is a shame that it wont see much play in the cube.
Desolate Lighthouse B cube
While this is quite expensive to activate it is exactly the sort of thing you want to be doing when games get to the point where they have spare mana. It is also noteworthy that red and blue have some reasonably good graveyard synergy which might be enough to have this see regular play in a couple of archetypes (Tinker/Welder, counter burn and URG graveyard decks).
To conclude I don't think this set will affect the cube that much beyond the miracles as is relatively low powered set. It has given green some options for mono coloured aggressive decks and blue a lot more access to tempo and tempo based removal in the miracles. The best cards tend to be archetype specific and will not see play in numerous decks like the very best cube cards. Some interesting cards with a nice theme and cool art to make up for the lack of representation it will have in the cube. So, finally I shall offer my top 5 list of the cards for the cube from Avecyn Restored.
5th Gloom Surgeon
4th Pillar of Flame
3rd Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
2nd Vexing Devil
1st Temporal Mastery
Extending this to a tip 8 or 10 would invite in most of the other blue and white miracles and possibly even Uvenwald Tracker although it could just turn out to be a dud. As it stands the archetypes that get most from this set are red deck wins and blue based control decks. Black decks get a few more interesting tools and options.
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