0 - unplayable in 40 card singleton
1 - effectively unplayable
2 - has low tier constructed decks it might go in
3 - has mid tier constructed decks it does go in
4 - pretty powerful stuff with several potential homes, able to perform well in lower powered cubes
5 - powerful stuff that is either just too narrow or has too many superior alternatives
6 - fringe cube worthy
7 - cube worthy
8 - cube staple
9 - unpowered cube bomb
10 - powered cube bomb
Feed the Infection 0
Ancient Craving etc. Lots of these around and none getting much love or doing much work. The card is fine but you can do better in black. The corrupted perk is a joke. I am unlikely to care much about life loss and poison counters, it will be one or tother...
Unnatural Restoration 2
Clearly proliferate is getting quite a push in this set. They really seem to have dropped the mana-price on having it on a card compered to any previous time we have seen the mechanic. Most notably on cards that do not provide tempo which makes sense. It is a lot easier to power creep those when the general meta trend is doing a good job of making them worse relatively speaking. Anywho, is this card good? No, Regrowth isn't and while I of course like this I struggle to think of a place I would want it. Redundancy is just better than getting a thing back to reuse. I guess if you need a draw card proliferate effect and you are not blue this has some game.
Expand the Sphere 1
I like this more than most big ramp spells as you are not beholden to running basic lands sufficient to support them. This can hit duals, manlands and other utility lands, all while not being an imposition on your mana base. Where this comes unstuck is that you simply don't want proliferate as the if you miss compensation. Draw a card might get it done, but this doesn't. Six isn't deep enough to ensure you hit two consistently enough and the proliferate ensures you are pretty unhappy when you miss. I don't see this with much build around potential either as the kinds of deck wanting to proliferate are not often those looking to flop loads of lands out.
Gleeful Demolition 4
Not really a cube card as it needs too much supporting however this will do some good work in those cute one hit go wide combo decks like 8-whack. This is better than Rebirth by a good margin and provides some really juicy redundancy for it. Easily the sort of card that either births a new archetype in a format like modern or indeed just one to make an existing archetype the hot shit for a bit.
Hexgold Halbard 6
This is another For Mirrodin card that is real close to the mark. A two mana 2/2 with first strike and trample is decent. It works very well with any kind of buff and is fairly awkward in combat. Just an annoying little curve play. Being able to give those abilities to dorks further down the line for a mere three mana is an impressive amount of reach and utility. Overall I suspect the late game aspect is a little low power and situational to make up for a fairly low power and unexciting front end. Strong card and sufficiently so that I will test it. My expectation of this to fail to make it in most non-budget cubes is just testament to the depth and power of magic cards these days and no slight on this card.
Vraan, Executioner Thane 7
Super Zulaport Cutthroat. Essentially both power/toughness and effect magnitude doubled. Imagine Sheoldred for 2BB that was an 8/10 and affected a 4 point life loss/gain on card draw! How much would you care about that only triggering once a turn? That isn't really a fair comparison as Sheoldred is already well statted and Cuttrhroat really isn't. Even so, with Cutthroat being a fine cube card and cube leaning more on grindy games than big one turn one shot kill you combos I reckon this guy will do fine. Not exciting, mostly a filler sort of card for the aristocrats builds. Being a vanilla 2/2 makes this pretty unimpressive in combat and thus the board in general. Equally being able to just die to basically any removal and do nothing is a bit of a turn off. I can absolutely imagine some Aristocract builds where I would just rather play a Lazotep Reaver than this.. If you support a lot of life costs in black and aristocrats this probably works in your cube, if not then it is probably not enough card.
Planar Disruption 6
This is the boost Arrest and Pacifism needed to properly come in line with modern removal standards. This is not a bomb at all, it is fairly close to Ossification in power level. They are both two mana sorcery speed enchantment based broad removal tools. Both can be undone with enchantment removal. Disruption can deal with artifacts which is a perk for sure. It can also avoid retriggering EtB effects should it be removed which is minor. What Disruption cannot do is anything about passive effects. You are still just going to die to a Sheoldred if this is your answer. And for me, that probably rules this out for cube. Unless you have a real aura synergy thing going on this is probably a bit too dodgy for non-budget cubes. Good to see old staples getting modernized as far as power level goes though.
Surgical Spellbomb 2
Repulse meets Aether Spellbomb and likely worse than both. This is not tricksy nor is it mana efficient in any mode. It is cheap and has some utility so it may well get some fringe play but it is not a great card. Nor are any of the Spellbombs in this set for that matter. This seems like the most rounded of the lot although the red oil counters one is probably most likely to get any significant play, just not in singleton formats.
Exuberant Fuseling 7
A 1/1 trample for one that grows whenever you bin dorks or artifacts. Hmm. Very bad on its own or as a late game top deck but as soon as you are throwing synergy anywhere near this card it starts to look good real quick. Red is the colour of treasure and it is also the home of the Goblin Bombardment. Goblins in general love to sacrifice themselves and red dorks have this need of being killed else they kill the opponent. All in all the Fuseling looks like it stands to get fairly big and threatening fairly quickly and consistently in most cubes. It feels a bit like a Stromkirk Noble that has a wider range. Both want to be early plays and both can be lacklustre however both can also offer a lot of value and threat for one mana. Being a card in need of some support may end up hurting Fuseling too much but absolutely a card worthy not only of testing, but also one worthy of revisiting should a meta change in a favourable direction for it.
Phyrexian Vindicator 6 (7+ really)
Power wise this is obviously there comfortably. It is overstatted for the cost and flying. It then has an ability which just utterly shuts down combat and swathes of removal spells as well. This card asks a question and if there is no answer that is generally just going to be game. It is really whether we want a WWWW card that is so polar in play patters in cube. This is not going to provide interesting options in draft and deck building nor is it going to lead to interesting game play. So, even if this is powerful enough, is it something we should be putting in cubes? Obliterator didn't pose such existential questions as mono black decks have not been so viable over the last decade in cubes. Mono white however has always been viable. I'll give this a little run but I fully expect I will be cutting this once I have had a little play regardless of how well it performs. Even takign the WWWW cost into account this is still realistically at least a 7/10 as far as cubes go, it is just the wrong sort of thing to encourage. I used to excusively balance my cube on performance as pertained to win percentage. The more I play the more I lean towards cards that encourage good games. There band of cards that are good enough for cube and not too good for cube is not only fairly thin these days, it is also fairly well padded out. Meaning, the worst card in my cube is not a lot worse than the best card, further more, there are still plenty of cards just outside that range, and also within it, that I do not have in my cube for one reason or another. It makes it increasingly easy to just skip cards like this and not feel like any disservice is being done. If this came out 10 or so years ago and I rocked up with my cube people would simply expect this card to be there and be bemused or annoyed if it wasn't. That is very much not the case any more and so I am fairly happy to not give this too much time to impose on things!
Ichormoon Gauntlet 3
This is one of those cards that gets my creative juices flowing. I want to theorize and brew with this. I want to build around it and have fun with it! Too narrow for cube but always glad to see a card that gets me excited about the game. Such cards are fewer and fewer in number these days.
Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus 4
Looks like one of the weaker Dominus cards. A narrow passive, a relatively low impact body, and an awkward means to make it indestructible. I don't think blue wants this nor do I think it is sufficiently powerful even if it was wanted. Good fun in a proliferate deck I imagine however! This does make me want to make a commander deck that focuses on proliferate. That in itself is good design. It is doing a good job with the fundamentals that will grow the game and thus profits not messing about with slash and burn business tactics. This set has some risky and scary cards but it is also doing really well as far as being exciting and alluring and that feels like another win in general. If a card can get me playing commander that has to count for a lot!
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