Thursday 22 September 2022

Warhammer 40K Commander


Given how much I have complained about too much product of late this is quite a nice easy opt out for me. I have no problem with the idea of the 40K cards or even the implementation of them in this commander release. I just have less time and enthusiasm for new cards. More product contributes towards burn out and so skipping some will help stave that off. As such I will be skipping this release much like I did for The Walking Dead Secret Lair and other unique cards in Secret Lairs. This skipping is simply a pragmatic one rather than a dislike of the way the product is presented and marketed. The 40K cards are just different enough for me to to be able to not bother and ease the tension on rates of new cards. I will likely do the same with the black bordered un-set cards too. Certainly I could include the cards I like in the cube and one day I might well do that but for now I am going to pretend like these new cards don't exist. That obviously means I will not be doing reviews for them in the short term but perhaps more relevantly it means I will not be taking them into account going forwards which will certainly mean my meta is different to those wishing to use the cards.

That is the main reservation I have about skipping this release - that my cube will start to be less relevant. If I play and test every card I can be somewhat informed and comprehensive in my writing and opinions about cube. As soon as I start leaving stuff out the value of my opinion decreases. This has been happening in a subtle way for years. In 2005 there was only really one way to build a cube as there were only a cubes worth of good cards to put in one! Now we have so many cards to chose from we can build a cube however we like. Cubes can be as diverse as decks in constructed! Over the last couple of years I have built and played with a powered cube, a budget cube, two synergy cubes, a combo cube, a pre-modern cube, a down powered cube, a colour pie informing cube, and all alongside my main cube which still got more play than the rest combined. There is no right or wrong way to build a cube and it is very much dealers choice. I would like to be able to remain comprehensive in my ability to dole out advice on cards and formats but in practice that ship has likely already sailed. So, rather than try and keep up and expedite burn out I am instead going to be skipping some releases I feel like I can get away with, and this is one such set. 

In hindsight I somewhat wish I had opted out of all the commander product and the Modern Horizons sets. Basically everything that doesn't go through being standard legal. I think the cube would be a healthier calmer place if I had. Almost all the most egregious cards are to be found in sets that didn't need to pass the bar for standard power levels. As I have already acquired and tested these cards, as well as really liking some of those that came in these releases I am unwilling to retrospectively make that change but it does at least make me more willing to do it going forwards as I am with the 40K and un-finity. 

I didn't bother reading the cards on the Secret Lair product I boycotted. I didn't want to be gutted about cool cards I couldn't play. It was a protest not a pragmatic call. This 40K commander set is the latter and I have been reading the cards. They interest me. There are a bunch of interesting things I would like to play with in the 40K commander sets and for the most part I don't think the art is all that different to a wide selection of recent sets and cards. Anything I wished to include would not seem at all out of place in the already highly varied worlds of MtG, certainly more so than the un-finity product (which seems like the black bordering of is a cynical marketing demand ploy). I will just have to settle for banking these releases for a time when I am suddenly desiring of more MtG content than is being released! I hope you all have fun with your 40K cards. I will just have to be sad about and overly ignorant of them, but for now it certainly seems like the right choice. 

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Conclusions and Additions from Dominaria United


For the first time in a long while, perhaps since Kaldheim, I am excited for the release of this set. I do not know exactly why either. It is not so much the cards but more the feel of the set. I think it hits the nostalgia vibe well while looking the part. Yes, I still have all the same old criticisms of Magic that I have held recently; too much product and too much power creep alongside some cynical product in the Modern Horizons and unique Secret Lairs (such as the walking dead). These are all still big turn offs for me but Dominaria United is not those things. It might contribute to card overload but you need some new cards! Beyond that the power level isn't offensive and it isn't price gouging player with otherwise unavailable cards or higher power levels. Dominaria is just a solid looking set with good core design that leans on the original and main IP of the game giving it a very classic and rounded feel. It has a lot more cards that have made me want to build with and around them than has been the case for most other sets over the last couple of years. I would like to put that down to good design but I actually think it is mostly down to me and my enthusiasm for the game. If I am into it I will find cards to build around and if I am not into it so much then I will not. I imagine I am just more into this set and so the cards look more enticing and fun. 

I do not expect to ultimately be adding that many new cards from this set to the cube. While I will test out a bunch most should fail to last. I do like most of the cards that I will be testing and look forward to playing with them. Most are well designed cards that will improve games and none have an oppressive power level. A lot has been added to the toolbelts of a number of tribal builds so that is always fun for the more constructed minded folk. 

I think I would like to see 3 releases like this a year and then one "other" release that could take any form from an un-set to anything else that isn't a Modern Horizons like set! I think that would have me in an ideal spot for Magic. I presume however that this is mostly just me being old and wizards being a company. We can't get cross at companies doing sensible things like price gouging if they can get away with it. That is just what market forces do! I imagine most players quite like the rate of release as it is, companies tend to be quite good at getting that sort of thing right what with it being so very much in their interests to do so! Still, wise to err on the side of caution in regards over printing and player burn out. A lot of the sales in Magic are driven by the confidence that cards will retain some value and that confidence comes from a stable player base. If too many old people with their sizeable old collections find themselves quitting the game and the secondary market has any sort of crash that will absolutely hit singles sales on the primary market. Not sure how I moved onto economics on this set review.... Obviously nothing more to say about the set. Good job. Cards. I like the lands.... 

To Add

Leyline Binding

Aether Channeler

Tear Asunder 

Rona's Vortex

Cult Conscript 

Jaya, Fiery Negotiator 

To Test With Some Hopes

Ertai Resurrected

Electrostatic Infantry

Tail Swipe

Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim 

Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator

King Darien XLVIII

Karn's Sylex

Serra Paragon

Phoenix Chick

Guardian of New Benalia 

Resolute Reinforcements 

Llanowar Loamspeaker

Evovled Sleeper

Shivan Devastator 

General Marhault Elsdragon*

Torsten, Founder of Benalia*

Tiller Engine*

To Test With Minimal Expectations

Ertai's Scorn

Llanowar Greenwidow

Shore Up

Vodalian Mindsinger

Balmor, Battlemage Captain

Rith, Liberated Primeval

Haughty Djinn

Anointed Peacekeeper

Drag Below 

Joint Exploration 

Cut Down

Golden Argosy 

The Phasing of Zhalfir 

Nishoba Brawler

Herd Migration 

Sphinx of Clear Skies 

Squee, Dubious Monarch

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

Verrak, Warped Sengir*

Unite the Coalition*

Rosnakht, Heir of Rohgahh*

For the Constructed Reserves

Combat Research

Llanowar Stalker

Floriferous Vinewall

Shadow Prohecy

Valiant Veteran

Vesuvan Duplimancy 

Knight of Dawn's Light

Smash to Dust

Defiler of Instinct

Relic of Legends

Shadow-Rite Priest

Prayer of Binding

Baird, Argivian Recruiter 

Vodalian Hexcatcher 

Thrann Portal

Leaf-Crowned Visionary

Defiler of Flesh

Quirion Beastcaller

Sprouting Goblin

Timeless Lotus

Rundvelt Hordemaster

Walking Bulwark


Temporary Lockdown



Urborg Lhurgoyf

Defiler of Filth

Inscribed Tablet  

Founding the Third Path

Defiler of Vigor 

Tolarian Terror 

Writhing Necromass

Braids, Arisen Nightmare 

The Raven Man

Defilver of Dreams

Ramirez, DePietro Pillager*

Rohgahh, Kher Keep Overlord*

Mana Cannons*

Emperor Mihail II*

Historians Boon*

The Lady of Otaria*

Shanid, Sleepers' Scourge*

Dihada, Binder of Wills*

* Commander Product cards 

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Preliminary Review: Dominaria United Commander Decks Part II


Baru Wurmspeaker 1

Stranger things have happened than a card like this becoming playable. With wurms being so highly costed this is more of a changeling lord potential than anything else but who knows, perhaps a pile of cheap wurms see print at which point this is a very strong card indeed! Obviously a hill giant that buffs the two most expensive dorks in your deck to be a little bit still the biggest dorks is rubbish which is all the card can really be currently in cube.

Unite the Coalition 6

For seven mana this is a very dull spell indeed and mostly unimpressive. Draw five is pretty weak. The disruptive capacity is limp for a card so costly. Really we are only talking about this as it can do 10 damage. That will close a lot of games or keep the board fairly real. It is like a big silly mix of the good Confluence cards. Just 10ing people in the face is a legit strategy and sadly is the kind of thing that makes this somewhat playable. Big gold decks are very much a thing in cube at present. Golos into this is very easy to do in a number of ways. A little narrow still but despite looking limp it is sneakily good. Seven is not a lot to just flop out ten damage. If the jump from Lava Spike to Lava Axe is 4 mana for 2 damage Unite is looking very efficient!

Two-Headed Hellkite 6

Powerful but not devastating enough to jump through the hoops of how narrow it is in cube. I want a game ender not a card that is just good tempo and value simultaneously. This card is rather a midrange affair and it is sitting in a spot where you should be playing a card tasked solely with ending the game. When this is no effort to include such as a deck that has ways of easing out dragons or is already five colours I like it a lot. It is more powerful than the Kami War due to being so immediate, but it is less what you want from a top end card than Kami War and the saga is hardly a bomb. 

Tiller Engine 7

This is cute, a kind of super Lotus Cobra tapper. While a no mana tapper sounds good it is offensive use only as getting landfall on the opponents turn is not a thing to rely on. I am not wholly sure where I play this but the power seems too much to ignore. Two mana ramp is slow and the thing of bigger controlly decks however on a dork that has an aggressive tap aspect you are looking in the other direction for something a bit more pressuring. Perhaps this has no actual home although I doubt it. Lotus Cobra is still amazing and it is restricted to green. The biggest issue with Cobra was the single toughness which this gets well past. I suspect this is designed to be a tool to make Amulet of Vigor things in EDH more consistent but I think it is over tuned to the point of being a powerful tool in several places for several things. 

Primeval Spawn 0

No ways to cheat value out of this and as such no way to assure the on death trigger which is needed to make this anything other than a big fat waste of mana. 

Mana Cannons 2

Too narrow for most builds and cubes but in the right deck this is an obscene card. Adding a Shock onto most of the things you play rather increases their tempo and value and efficiency. This pays for itself in at most two triggers, one if it is a hit of five damage! 

Iridian Maelstrom 0

Lol, this is backwards. You should play a 4 mana Wrath then lay your all the colours dork and win with it. Not play your all the colours dork and follow it up with a Wrath that allows it to live. No, it and you are already long dead while you piss around with your silly five mana Wrath of awkwardness and overkill. 

Fallaji Wayfarer 2

A very cool enabler for the likes of Coalition Victory, all be it not for commander... Wayfarer is too narrow for general use, who cares about all the colours there? The convoke is nice but not enough to make up for the vanilla body, and mostly a build around tool as well. 

The Reaver Cleaver 1

I like this but it is very hard to justify putting it anywhere, even a build around list. Six mana is just so much, I need so many treasure back before this can be said to have done much of anything of good value.

Verrak, Warped Sengir 5

While this is rather narrow it does turn out that this works rather well with sac lands and for that sad reason alone it probably needs testing. The body is fine and the ability can be great. Hopefully this fails testing however as it is a kind of messy and polar card. Beyond sac lands there are not a tonne of things that work with Verrak in cubes and those that there are mostly draw cards making the doubling of them rather redundant. 

The Peregrine Dynamo 2

Too narrow despite the reasonable costings. Yes, I want to fork planeswalker abilities. No, I don't ever want this when I can't, be that lack of walker to activate or lack of mana to use on this. 

Moira, Urborg Haunt 1

Looks good but it is conditional and vulnerable making it just weak overall. 

Gerrard's Hourglass Pendant 2

Useful little tool but too narrow and/or situational to be a rounded cube draft card. This will crop up here and there but very rarely in cube things. Probably a really cool thing to keep commander games from getting tedious. 

Cadric, Soul Kindler 1

Fun, but the kind of fun you need to have in commander. 

Zeriam, Golden Wind 2

I think we are some way off a tribal griffin deck! This is OK as a stand along but quite a way off cube level, you need to have some good expectation of a trigger on the turn you make this before it moves into the realms of good and we have far too few other viable griffin for that. 

Hazezon, Shaper of Sands 1 (for now!)

I like this card a lot and it makes me want to play deserts. As it stand however you struggle to play more than 10 deserts in a singleton deck and it hurts you a lot to do, especially with a key card that has no colourless in the cost. Either way, lovely flavour, and a nice thing to keep an eye on  going forwards. Gates was a joke archetype at first and they have become good. Lets see if deserts are in for the same journey. 

Rohgahh, Kher Keep Overlord 2

Yup, I would play this in a kobold deck and it makes me want to build and play kobold decks. Are they good yet? No. Are they good enough to get a game? Yeah, just about now it seems like they might be! Impressive number of cards that make me want to play and build tribal decks from this set and lovely to see some of the lesser tribes getting interesting pushes. 

Stangg, Echo Warrior 0

Cute, good flavour and modernizing but not good enough. Not threatening, too vulnerable, and too hard to maximise. On average this is a 6/4 with a trample like ability. No deal. 

General Marhault Elsdragon 4

This might be obscene. I don't think it is but I am going to give it a little test just to be sure. A +3/+3 buff is huge and cannot be ignored. Sure, worst case this is a 4 mana 4/4 but best case it effectively prevents all but chump blocks and even those are not viable on trample dorks. This is a boring card but if you are in the market to arrack in Gruul (which is kind of their thing, as well as cubes thing these days) then Marhault might be your boy. I especially like this with Toski as they are almost certainly letting it and all your mana dorks connect! Rather overkill at that point but a lot of fun.    

Monday 12 September 2022

Preliminary Review: Dominaria United Commander Decks Part I


A couple of the cards from this side of the release got reviewed alongside the main set. Some dimir pirate and one other that I noticed.  

Sivitri, Dragon Master 0

Too few blue and black cube worthy dragons and even if it were the -3 ability is not exactly exciting. It is close to, often worse than "draw a card" which for a three loyalty cost is a big no no. The +1 is interesting but sadly gives too much choice to the opponent and doesn't gel well with how planeswalkers play. So for your four mana you get to not affect the board in any way and then probably die due to having such a rubbish card. 

Jared Carthalion 2

Well, if he lives a couple of turns you can have a pair of 8/8 Kavu. Congrats. For a card so colour intense I want more immediate impact than this offers. I want game swinging plays, not a pocking 3/3 kavu. Trample is nice and goes a long way but most mono green planeswalkers do a better job of impacting the board. 

Dihada, Binder of Wills 3

The +2 is not only narrow but a little but poo as well. It can allow you to race and pressure effectively if you have an appropriate legend in play. Good luck with that. The -3 however is very tasty, potential card draw but also potential mill and huge mana influx. Three cards in the bin, one in hand, and three treasure is amazing. Dihada can literally be a 0 mana mill 4 that leaves a somewhat relevant planeswalker in play! Feels like you can play this in a legend (historic) deck and a self mill deck. Not many self mill decks are white and not many decks at all are legend focused but cards like this go a long way to helping reverse those trends. Interesting if nothing else.

The Mana Rig 3

This can just be an Arcane Encyclopedia. Indeed you can pay 6 and draw 2 each turn if you want making it strictly better. You can even pay 21 mana and have this mimic the effect of a Dig Through Time! It is then better than Arcane Encyclopedia for a second time thanks to producing powerstone tokens. Sure, powerstone tokens don't help much with casting gold cards but they do help a lot with activated abilities, such as those found on the Mana Rig. So, you don't need artifacts to play with this nor do you entirely need gold cards to trigger it. Certainly the more you have of the latter the more interesting this becomes. It is a bit slow and narrow for most cubes but it is somewhat close to the mark and certainly something I would look at in a variety of more build around decks. 

Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer 3

This is competing with the likes of Wisperwood Elemental and Biogenic Ooze and I like this least of those offerings. To get instant value with this you have to play it off curve and have lands, and ideally a supply of them for the next few turns at least. Certainly this has seemingly some good upper scaling on the others but we want to look at floors first when evaluating and there Greensleeves is less good. Powerful and playable certainly but too many better alternatives to have much impact. 

Torsten, Founder of Benalia 6

This does what?! All of them? Then that as well?! OK. So, for seven mana we are going to draw about five cards as well as making a 7/7 that in turn dies into an army of 1/1s. This is a very very serious card but it does cost seven. And it is gold. And it costs seven. I see this more as an impressive source of value than a threat. You are playing it for the huge refill on gas at no tempo cost. The threat of Torsten is in this huge influx of gas rather than the body. The 7/7 has no evasion or other abilities making it rather hard to get good results out of. It will get chumped a lot and do very little actual damage. It is super awkward to answer however, it is more effective Wrath protection than it is a threat. People will not be able to risk facing off seven 1/1s if they are foolish enough to kill Torsten and so they will have to bounce or exile him before they can Wrath. Generally having Torsten in play will make things awkward and annoying for the opponent and most of that is due to the on death trigger. There is a decided wiff of the Griselbrand about this card. Obviously less universally playable and less threatening and less powerful, but still, that sort of card in that sort of ballpark which is potent and merits testing. 

Shanid, Sleeper's Scourge 2

Perhaps a bit 4 mana to be a great value card but it is too cool for me not to play this in a legends deck if I do one any time soon. It just means that deck will be a pretty low tier one!

Jedit Ojanen, Mercenary 2

Mediocre power level and not great colours for a legendary subtheme synergy card. Perhaps good with the mercenary tribe from Masques block in some way? 

The Lady Otaria 3

Finally some proper payoff for dwarves. A little awkward on colours with most dwarves being white or red but none the less too powerful to overlook for the tribe. Dwarves happen to have a "Recruiter" as well meaning this Lady can setup to hit for 4 with ease. So, the ceiling on this is making a 5/5 on turn two (on the back of three one mana dwarves) and then instantly hitting four more dwarves there after every turn! Spicy. This makes me want to go and build some dwarf decks. Sadly not much place for this elsewhere. 

Historian's Boon 2

Build around only card but pretty fun. You need high saga count and high enchantment count and are likely better off with Sigil of the Empty Throne but this is cheaper and does do something itself right away. Perhaps there is a build where you want both.

Emperor Mihail II 3

A solid enough top end merfolk that helps plug a few of the holes in the tribe. The power level here is fine but the suitability is such that I will certainly be playing this in singleton fish decks. Typically they lack good sources of value and token production both of which this does pretty well. What this doesn't do quite so well is being low cost or all that impressive of a body. You also have limited slots at the top end, you mostly want cheaper merfolk and so the bar is rather raised for those few costlier fish you can run.

Rosnakht, Heir of Rohgahh 6

This might be legit good both as a build around in a couple of directions and even as a card you might just play in some decks. First build around style of deck is the 8-whack aggro combo lists and the second is a Feather the Redeemed heroic style list. This guy does a lot of good work in both of those. As for just putting this in a deck, it would need to have some things I would want to target Rosnakht with as well as an aggressive lean and a heavy count of cheap dorks. A one drop dork with battlecry is good but with no power itself it can be somewhat of a dud draw. I might even play this in a list with nothing that can trigger the heroic if I had a lot of cards that improve with pump such as Dreadhorde Arcanist. Verdict on this is that it can be very powerful and has a lot of potential homes but that it is insufficiently able to stand up alone to be a card you want in cube drafts.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Preliminary Review: Dominaria United Part XI


Silverback Elder 3

Cast this and then cast more dorks? If I wanted modality or any one of these effects I would find a card with EtB triggers. The card that stands out most as a thing I would play over this in most situations is Cavalier of Thorns. Titan of Industry is another. As is Workshop Warcheif and Acidic Slime. This list is not a short one so we will stop it there. This is certainly a fine card but it is a bit big and dumb and rather unreliable. This is just another one of the many answers to the question "How do I lose to Doom Blade?" Basically I want my dig threatening things and my modal things to work fully without needing follow up support. This does have good power but it comes with too high a risk. 

Combat Research 4

Lovely to have a third Curiosity for building around in singleton. The legend part probably won't crop up loads but it is a delightful buff to have on a precious aura-ed up dork. A build around sort of card but a powerful one and certainly one you could now support in a draft cube.

Impulse 10/10! (it is actually just a 7/10 card but...)

Lovely to see this back replacing turdy Anticipate and the art is divine too. 

Ertai's Scorn 6

Pretty solid as far as the three mana options for hard counters go. This is top five of such things along with the scry one, the foretell one, the one with a stifle, and the surveil one. And most cubes support one such card at best so there is that.  

Urza Assembles the Titans 1

Without planeswalkers this does nothing, and without good ones in the right places at the right times this card quickly goes from good value to dodgy to shocking. I really like this card but you can't be going round putting things like this in a cube. 

Ertai Resurrected 7

Versatile doesn't even really cover it! This does it all. It is Disallow or Hero's Downfall on legs. That is five different things covering you for most situations. Once we get past the insane versatility we get to a pretty fair card. Yes, we have two three mana cards on the back of our 4 drop however the card draw for the opponent ensures this is just a one for one trade and the four mana price tag feels like it is coming out about right for a fine three mana spell and a 3/2 body in the mid to late game. So, is a fair but versatile card worth it? In just one colour then very much so. As a gold card I am less sure. I feel like you might want things to abuse this with like Narset or Crystal Shards before it is really looking worth it. It feels a bit like a Hostage Taker that has a much higher floor and a much lower ceiling which is really where you want to be as far as design goes. Lacking that tempting tempting raw power could well leave this dangerously low on play though. 

Ghitu Amplifier 2

Sure, I might play this as a backup Kiln Fiend. Probably not though, in such decks the kicker is of little use and so I am more likely to play something with a little more innate power. There are a lot of dorks to chose from now with prowess like affects and you can never play that many of them due to needing to support that prowess! 

Pixie Illusionist 2

Cheap support card with a selection of places that might consider it for a number of reasons but ultimately probably wont due to low power levels. 

Crystal Grotto 4

What a nice little consistency card. I might play this in budget cubes. 

Llanowar Stalker 4

Elves and green get themselves a Foundry Street Denizen. The dorks entering don't even have to colour match making this technically a strict upgrade! In practice this is a combo style all in beater and that is not something green usually does. They are more about cards and mana when comboing. Absolutely you can try and deploy this and then combo off behind it and do a load of damage. Or you could play cards like Ezuri and Allosurus Shepherd and have a good stand alone card that doesn't have to come down first and survive and does other useful things. Then when you combo off you can win with those good cards instead of a Willow Elf... (go on, look it up, it is a real card, and you thought Norwood Ranger was looking tired!) Overall this is fine, a fairly powerful card that likely will not get nearly as much play as the red counterpart. 

Floriferous Vinewall 3

A floriferous name if you ask me. Mostly I want the consistency and attacking capability of a Sylvan Ranger over this. I am also probably pretty happy taking the lower hit rate of Satyr Wayfinder to get that attacking ability. The yard filling is generally a significant positive. If however I really didn't want to mill or I really wanted to search for specific non-basics, then sure, this will be the best dork for the job. Playable. 

Hammerhand 1

This does a lot and it is cheap. Can't think where I would ever want it, certainly not in any cube draft deck. Creature auras are just fundamentally dodgy and this does nothing to address those core issues. As an aside, paying mana to give haste also really takes away from the benefits of it. 

Flowstone Infusion 6

This is a lovely new twist on an old classic Immolation. Broadly I think the change to a one turn effect instant from an aura is a win. It makes it an interesting combat trick as well as a better removal spell. In many ways this is a fancy Shock that mostly does what Shock does but is way way more interesting and quirky with some upsides and scaling that you have to pay for in consistency. This kills a bit more effectively than a Shock taking out the likes of pesky Adanto Vanguards. Getting face damage in with Infusion is a bit rougher as you need an unblocked 3 toughness dork and you then need them to not have an answer to it. Getting to do filthy things with Kari Zev however make me want to run this! I rate it higher than Disfigure in terms of power, it is just that red has so much more playable one mana removal than black that Disfigure seems more interesting. 

Shadow Prophecy 3

This is a lot of card but it is not often what you are in the market for. Not many decks want raw card draw and not many decks have domain. Those that do have all the other options on card draw and likely don't want to pay life or have no tempo. There are cheaper ways to fill up the bin as well. That all being said, taking 2 cards from 5 and putting three cards in the bin for three mana is massive. That is some Dig Through Time Gifts Ungiven levels of juice. 

Phyrexian Vivisector 1

Lol, look, it is a common that is better than Weatherlight Compleated! And it still isn't cube worthy. Awkward. 

Knight of Dusk's Shadow 3

Just got that this is a harkening back to Black and White Knight. Very good. Well implemented. Shame this is just a fairly vanilla beater and thus not all that well suited to cube. Power level is fine but it just isn't the sort of card you want. 

Battlefly Swarm 2

This might be stealth good. It gets in a bit and does annoying stuff but also just threatens to take out any attacker. Good as this looks it can't be cube worthy. Holding up mana for the activation on blocks is going to ruin this. 

Shore Up 7

Probably better than Dive Down as a blue protection spell. Untap is nice and power lets this be a combat trick as well as a counterspell for removal. Other colours have been using cards like this in cube for a while now so perhaps blue should get on the band wagon. Some dorks that are worth protecting might be a good start....

Destroy Evil 1

I liked Valorous Stance and I probably like this more. Stance however is old now as far as spot removal goes and is a long way off the mark. It was cute rather than great even back when it was first released. Removal just needs to be reliable and the hit rate on this is low. Most one mana removal spells have it well beat for % of viable targets. 

The Cruelty of Gix 1

Despise, Grim Tutor, Zombify. Relevantly better than Zombify in fact, more of a Reanimate without the life loss as you can target a dork in any bin, which combined with phase I gives some inbuilt synergy. Even so, this card is a bit of a mess. It is a lot of value and can even be mana positive for you. It is just all very slow and somewhat conditional. Read ahead is a big help here but I suspect it mostly just means people will be firing this off in phase III most of the time and doing so out of necessity. A five mana Despise is late in the day, the tempo loss is savage and there is a good chance you hit nothing. Phase II is also a tempo void and isn't all that impressive in cube. Even in combo cubes that is a bit slow to be tutoring things up usefully. In non combo cubes the value of a tutor is lowered, generally to the point where you don't play any as the cost of them outweighs the benefits and simple card quality cards are way way more efficient and well suited. Phase III isn't even very good, you have to have gotten a fatty in to a bin and kept in there. Most good cube fatties are five and six mana as it is so you are not even saving yourself much mana with phase three of this card that often. Plenty of things also disrupt yards now and they are not trivial to fill, certainly with the bigger cards you want to hit with this which you cannot just cast and naturally have die first. All in all this is a pretty big wiff of a card as far as cube is concerned.