We did it!
Over the weekend I had the immense pleasure of playing Magic with about twenty people I’m privileged to call a friend. With their help I not only managed to get the cube updated, but test all of the Dominaria cards in multiple Draft formats.
— Squash. Alcatraz. (@squash86) April 29, 2018
Eight players all drafting and playing and willing to drop honest feedback made this update so much easier. (Spoiler Alert: Everyone liked the cube and the new cards.)
|Call the Cavalry||Tah-Crop Elite|
|Academy Journeymage||Deadeye Rig-Hauler|
|Blink of an Eye||Winds of Rebuke|
|Stronghold Confessor||Baleful Eidolon|
|Deathbloom Thallid||Crow of Dark Tidings|
|Fungal Infection||Ghastly Demise|
|Keldon Overseer||Undying Rage|
|Keldon Raider||Manticore of the Gauntlet|
|Yavimaya Sapherd||Phantom Tiger|
|Baloth Gorger||Sentinel Spider|
|2||2/2 Knight (Vigilance)||Call the Cavalry||Add|
|7||1/1 Saproling||Deathbloom Thallid; Fungal Infection; Saproling Migration; Yavimana Sapherd||Add|
Sergeant-at-Arms is a fun little kicker card, giving white token decks another “six-drop” to consider and adding a little nudge for them if they flood out. Humble has been a fine spell, but its utility as a slightly more expensive (and powerful) Diminish wasn’t as helpful as I’d hoped.
Call the Cavalry is a nice little four-drop, making 2/2 Knights with vigilance that pick up Equipment well, pushing white tokens even further. Tah-Crop Elite is a fine card, but the exert has been less-than-impressive with how fast and powerful other commons are. There’s other white pump effects to consider, such as Supply-Line Cranes which is a long overdue card to revisit.
While bouncing a creature after combat was an interesting tension for a blue creature, bread-and-butter bouncing upfront is just what blue players need more. Academy Journeymage has a reasonable number of Wizards ahead of it in the converted mana cost line, meaning it’s not out of the question to pay Deadeye Rig-Hauler rate for it instead. Being a 3/2 as well made this a no-brainer.
Winds of Rebuke is great. Blink of an Eye is better. It’s not similar, or close but just a fact and that’s awesome. (Who doesn’t love Into the Roil anyway?)
One of the recent, interesting discussions I’ve had with other cube players was around black was how “black aggro decks are a trap” and most cubes are better without it. Stronghold Confessor is a bit of an odd duck as both its sizes— a 1/1 with menace for one mana, or a 3/3 with menace for four—are totally fine and feel good to have for swinging. Rancor and Equipment make this terrifying, and it was a standout in the Winchester Draft I knocked out Saturday. Baleful Eidolon has been hanging on for a long time, but with so many one-drop 1/1 deathtouch creatures around that we cut one in the last update I think it’s time to sunset the last bestow card.
Crow of Dark Tidings was a stranded card from the now-defunct “Sultai colors card about filling the graveyard” theme. Deathbloom Thallid trades better and nets you a Saproling on the way out to boot.
Ghastly Demise isn’t a bad removal spell. In fact, it’s excellent for controlling decks and anything that will end up with a full graveyard as the game goes on. What a control deck can use now is two-for-ones, which Fungal Infection can be way more often than you might think. It’s not just a one-mana answer to two-mana token making spells, it’s also an instant and therefore silly powerful combat trick to mess up combat math. It quickly proved its prowess in game play!
I’ve wanted Undying Rage to be a cheaty way to add another Vedalken Morningstar to the cube. +2/+2 is huge, and attacking is exactly why a red deck hulks out a creature. Ultimately, thanks to feedback from Usman Jamil and other cubers, I decided to let it got and drop in a solid haste creature that can also go big in a ramp deck. Free Act of Treason seems okay, and a haste creature is generally serviceable in red. Thanks kicker!
What’s better than random discard? Choosing what you pitch, and still getting a sizeable creature out of the deal. Keldon Raider isn’t as iconic as Baulduvian Horde, but 4/3 is big enough to hit, trade, and be a solid threat without the risk of pitching your best card in hand. Manticore of the Gauntlet was a nice body and effect for the cost, but more burn isn’t really needed and finding the right creature for a -1/-1 counter could be tricky.
Saproling Migration is tokens! It’s got kicker to make even more tokens! It’s got sweet fungus art! Ambuscade is a fine fight effect, but there’s enough of these to go around that not all of them are seeing play. (Spoiler: Ancient Animus isn’t making the update here today.) More creatures and tokens will be welcome for those that like going wide.
Phantom Tiger is excellent with Equipment or Moldervine Cloak. But its excitement as a draft pick has diminished over time. It dies to all sorts of -2/-2 nonsense like Disfigure, and hasn’t been the impact on the battlefield that it used to be. Yavimaya Sapherd is a pretty safe (and redundant to cards like Jungleborn Pioneer) swap and one that’s always going to feel good for green decks.
While I’ve been aware that Sentinel Spider is a color-intensive flavor of Bitterbow Sharpshooters, the pressure to have flying blockers has shifted from big flying idiots to a wide swath of 1/1 bird tokens. The Spider just doesn’t carry the weight it used to. Baloth Gorger is shiny, and new and comes with kicker to be a 7/7 when it wants to be, which all seems like a good way to push green’s curve down a little and beef it up a little more.
3/3s for three are fine, particularly as far as artifacts go. Cathodion was serviceable, which is about as good as most artifact creatures get at common—except when it’s not. Sparring Construct is an awesome one-drop that can attack fearlessly and set up the next attacker to be even better. Unlike modular which puts +1/+1 counters on artifact creatures, pumping anything from a Germ token to Ulamog’s Crusher is a payoff that works.
Expect all the new update decklists over on TCGplayer.com soon after the Pauper cube Google Sheet is updated tomorrow. Tonight, rejoice that we’re 100% caught up with all sets (and patrons can expect these cards in the mail with other goodies by next week).
Tomorrow, hit the Pauper cube Discord server to dish you feedback, ideas and angry rants at my mistakes. (It happens!)