Two brand new sets, with all kinds of fun new cards have been released and it’s time to update! As a reminder, before looking through this list, the committee has chosen to not include any cards with either dice rolling or the “Venture into the Dungeon” mechanics, so if there was something you thought would make it in, but it’s got one of those mechanics, that’s why.
Gust Walker is a slightly older card that was passed by at the time, but we’re revisiting, Topan Freeblade was likewise passed over on its release. These two both represent powerful 2 drops that are generally should answer options for more aggressive leaning white decks. Cathar and Blinding Beam are coming out, the first being slightly more color intensive than either of the new additions and blinding beam has never been very well like in polling
This is a pretty slim textural change, both are 3 mana white removal pieces at sorcery speed. However, while white will generally have something around to sac, we’re shifting to the one time ramp to avoid putting a deck that wants to play to the board behind on permanents. We also gain an incidental benefit of bolstering the choices for white’s aura tutoring creatures.
We were pretty lukewarm on this in the Quick Hits, kinda writing it off as part of the “great experiment with white’s color identity” that Wizards has been engaging in the past few years. However, this is pretty close to Phyrexian Rager, a cube classic. While the single point of toughness is still a big bummer, this is something we’re trying out with the hopes that the next rendition of this effect is one we don’t have to mention with caveats.
Supply-Line Cranes is a frequent flyer with the Cube, either being in or out a few times. At this point community opinion on the card hasn’t been great in polling, so we’re trying to swap it out for this new team pump/counters pay off for the Selesnya counters matter decks. Giving two different creatures counters has to be better than only one, right?
This is a funky kinda substitute. Folks had recommended the Duelist as a replacement for Carnivorous Death-Parrot, and that got it on our radar. However when we were working on this list, we noticed there was just a sightly worse, albeit more black bordered version that was in here as well. Since we want to give Duelist its chance to shine, we axed conditional flier (and poor blocker) Corsair for it.
Dimir Informant was in the lower rungs during polling about the Cube, and folks loved the crab and clue Combo. We’re super excited to try this out as a replacement and look forward to seeing how many crabs you all can make.
Naiad was a bust. Folks just didn’t find it as good as we hoped they would, and that’s fine. Lose Focus is mostly going to be something akin to Quench or other riffs in the modern era on Mana Leak, but the times it isn’t, it’ll be a blast. This being able to tackle multiple spells on the stack or late game not requiring your opponent to tap out is super good. That and winning counter battles very well make Lose Focus a card we’re super excited to see play out. We don’t have much support for creating copies, but you only need one magecraft creature to make a copied Lose Focus feel like a blowout.
YFTVL is an interesting modal spell, either being Cancel or a riff on the classic Frantic Search. We’re putting this in as a probationary add that will be reviewed, but it’s going in for the time being. Rushing River was another that just didn’t garner a lot of love during polling so we’re culling it for the time being. Bounce remains a powerful solution for several token creatures, so make sure to share how your playgroups feel about the change.
Feign Death and its entire lineage of “thing that would die comes back” kind of combat tricks have existed for some time now, but this might be the best in class. While it does bring the thing back tapped, the fact that it doesn’t care about counters like Undying Evil makes this just a bit more preferable. Enjoy casting this targeting your Mulldrifters, fellow degenerates.
Well, the day is finally here. Nightstalker has been a thorn in the side of the Cube for a while. It was a serviceable card that did the faintest impression of a Nekrataal or similar, but composed a non-zero cost to the cube and was frequently the subject of “what can I replace this with?” discussions. We’re pulling in Curator as a different version of this type of effect (limited removal on a 5 drop in black) that is at time of writing less than 1/800th the cost of the Nightstalker. Monetary cost isn’t a primary consideration when we write updates, but it certainly tilts our analysis when we’re already considering a change.
This is a bit of a textural change. Offering worked slightly better for decks that knew they would have bodies lying around to feed into it, and could handle larger creatures if need be. Fall is better on the base rate but requires a slightly different set-up to kill an Eldrazi, but can take out the biggest threats in the Cube without help.
Another older card, we’re giving Village Rites a chance to get some testing in the Cube to see how it plays out, and also trimming one of the removal spells that we feel punishes low to the ground decks more than is strictly necessary.
Ah yes, the card that the community cannot stop talking about, Aether Chaser. The Chaser is a great aggressive threat that is hard to block profitably and if it can swing even once, you’re getting a token that makes it harder to get 1 for 1’d off some removal. Enjoy turning this little first striker sideways while your opponent scrambles for a 3 toughness blocker or removal.
Rapier is a cool combat trick that converts into a fine to middling piece or equipment. Rubblefort was a somewhat speculative include that hasn’t really proven itself. Low risk swap that should hopefully provide some fun play patterns, and which won’t encourage aggro decks to hold off cating their one drops until turn four.
This is not the first time that Flunkies has been on the chopping block, but this time it’s actually coming out. While it’s unlikely to be able to be hasty super early in the game, Lavarunner is pretty easily turned into a 2/2 that you spent 1 mana for and present a pretty reasonable clock on your opponent. Say goodbye to removal 2 for 1ing your moggs!
Revelers wasn’t great, but it was a chance to include odd typed removal on a body. The Barbarian either is a functionally 2 mana 2/2 or it can eat a problematic artifact. We’re of the opinion this is just a better take on this type of card and we’re making the easy swap.
Kronch has been resoundingly “Fine” in community opinion, at one point literally having an even split in voting between positive, neutral and negative. Reaver is the same body on offense, and can block as a smaller creature if need be without needing to leave other things back. If you happen to have a way to dump it out of your hand, it’s even cheaper, so all in all a solid update.
We did run a little poll on Harvest where we asked about the other similar Cantrip-ish green cards. While it was fun to see the discussion, we realized that there was an easier option available. We’ve been moving away from fight effects on the whole and there was one sitting right there that has some occasionally relevant text, but is mostly just Prey Upon. Enjoy your good cantrip folks, fingers crossed we get more options like this.
Krushok is just an unambiguously good magic card. There’s no real part of this that any of us take issues with, and Witchstalker is just kinda a boring card. We’ll love to hear what the most common modes this gets used in are, but regardless what they are, I’m sure folks will have fun with this.
Denizen is a reasonable body, nothing super exciting but a 3 mana 3/2 with vigilance is fine, the activated ability is the real hook here. We’ll have to see how often this actually draws a card and how much it costs to do so, but honestly the base rate here is pretty reasonable. Migration is leaving as we move away from Green White being a pair that cares about going wide with small tokens.
7 Mana is so much to invest in things that die to any no-limits removal, especially when none of those cards are 7 mana themselves. Owlbear is cheaper, still a pretty reasonable trampling threat AND most importantly replaces itself as it comes down. RIP weird turkey monster, long live the Ursine Avian Hybrid menace.
Daggertooth has a lot of support from community members as a way to help bolster the Selesnya Counters deck. Other similar options such as Bloom Hulk had been brought up, but Daggertooth is the shiny new toy, and we’re gonna give it a whirl. Consider this a Probationary include where if in a few months folks aren’t feeling it’s actually proliferating that much, we’ll try some of the other similar options.
Breathless Knight has a whole bunch of words on it, but the key here is it’s a Wind Drake plus a bit extra. While you’re unlikely to trigger it’s ability more than a few times, but that’s just gravy. This isn’t Vampire Nighthawk but it’s a step or two closer to that, and Final Payment was just a kinda wonky removal spell that (sometimes literally) hurt to use.
Oh look here, this is a removal spell that feeds the color pair’s archetype. Captured by Lagacs was almost universally loved in polling and the Centaur is just a remnant of the past at this point.
Putrid Leech is a great card, don’t get us wrong. This change is more about signalling what the color pair is looking to do (a recursive oriented midrange deck) rather than just a rawly good card. This is another I’m very excited to see what shenanigans it can lead to in the cube.
Anarchomancer is a great card. It’s a dork that doesn’t tap and if you’re casting more than one spell “adds” multiple mana, on top of just being a bear. Great option for the gold slot and Savage Smash just wasn’t preforming as well as originally hoped.
Feeling of Dread has lingered in the cube for a while. It was there from back in the day and over the years the color pair has become a more focused Flicker/ETB deck. Silver Drake lets you rebuy your creatures for more ETB fun, better signalling for the color pair and making it a bit more solid.
A classic card from back in the day, Spring does require 2 colors of mana, but here we’re taking that as a plus. Snakeform was super splashable in blue decks and as a result a card that was taking up a slot for a Green/X deck was easily played elsewhere. We’re swapping to this as an attempt to limit what decks get to run the gold Simic cards
We touched on this in the Q&A, this is the will of the people. While the committee ourselves were not huge fans of this even after discussions, we’re giving it a shot to see how it does and eagerly await to see where folks are on it in a few months
Warped Landscape has come up a few times, and for ages the answer was just “well there’s not a great replacement”. Now we’ve got Shimmerdrift which is some amalgam of the Evolving Wilds/Terramorphic Expanse effect with the Thriving land cycle. While one fewer untapped land can feel rough, Landscape just wasn’t cutting it any more.
Discord and Polling Check in
Polling the Discord, while non-scientific to be sure has proved super helpful for finding out group consensus opinions on the cards both currently in the cube and those we’re considering. If you want to help contribute your opinions this is the best way to do so. We’ve gone through a few polling techniques, starting in discord and slowly moving to use Google forms to automate it, and we’re slowly working through a large number of commons, at this point having collected almost 25,000 votes on various cards!
The Next Steps
If you haven’t joined the Pauper Cube Discord you’re missing out: So many unique discussions around cards, themes, and archetypes happen daily. But better than that, it’s home to a wonderful community of supportive cube enthusiasts who offer great feedback for anyone’s ideas. The Pauper Cube wouldn’t be here without this community, and we’re thrilled you’re here with us.