Connive – When a trigger occurs, draw a card, discard a card, and put a
+1/+1 counter on the creature with connive. We only get the counter if a non-land card is discarded.
Casualty – As a spell is cast, if you sacrifice creature with power greater than the casualty cost to copy the spell.
Blitz – Paying an alternate cost brings the creature onto the battlefield with haste, and “sacrifice this card at the end of the turn.” incidentally, Blitzed creatures draw a card when they die if the blitz cost was paid.
Alliance – This just keeps track of other creatures than have entered the battlefield, and (usually) give a reward based on that.
Shield counters – Part Phantom Centaur and part regeneration shield, these make creatures harder to kill.
Hideaway – Hideaway abilities allow players to to select a card from the top of their library when a permanent enters the battlefield, place it in exile, and then cast the exiled card after some condition has been met.
Solset: There are a number of times this is better than Gods Willing which is currently a solid pick in the cube. Playing Gods Willing early to hit a land is almost always a bad decision, but the beauty of the shield counter from Boon of Safety is that you can pop this instant off early to give your creature the protection ahead of time, while searching for that much needed third land or early play. Actual protection has a few more upsides than a shield counter, especially being unblockable, but green white having some counter’s matters effects like proliferate makes this sidestep at least interesting. As we continue to get counter support, this may be worth a look to either join the ranks or replace an effect that has less guild cohesion.
Omni: I don’t know if I agree as much about this being better enough to be huge on it. The fact it’s 1 mana and feels more ok to fire off early in the game are definite upsides, but protection does a lot that this just never will.
Phizzled: Honestly, my mind kept skipping this as a functional reprint of Gods Willing that I didn’t think about how to use it aggressively. I’m definitely guilty of having kept greedy hands and fired off Willing early to try to dig for land. At least the shield counter would stick around. Unfortunately, not being able to make a creature (potentially) unblockable on the attack hurts. I also can’t imagine what this might sub in for, but I did like shield counters more than I expected the first go around.
Phizzled: This is a big roadblock for aggressive starts, and the late game activated ability trades with Gurmag Angler or closes the game pretty quickly. I think we don’t currently have a logical place to slot these hybrid three color cards while maintaining balance. I’m also not sure this isn’t weaker than some of the mono-white options for control deck finishers.
Solset: White is often a key player in our more aggressive decks. I think devoting space to something that is really only draftable in a controlling shell works against our current color identities. Plus, having to figure out how to categorize multicolor activations gives me nightmares.
Omni: I hate this and what it represents. We just cut Disowned Ancestor for being among other reasons, a huge pain for decks that want to play creatures and attack, adding a weird tricolor card that replicates that is not high on my list.
Solset: On the surface, this may seem like a good payoff for the white “Go-wide” deck and the green white counters one. However, unlike something like Champion of the Parish which comes out early and grows as you naturally play out your hand, the Fencer is likely one of the last cards that a go-wide decks will want to play. Most of the time, I think Martyr’s Soul will play out just as well if not better as a big dumb creature without evasion in both the go-wide deck and the counter’s deck. Since Marty’s Soul wasn’t good enough I cannot imagine this is.
Omni: I was shocked to see this getting as much of a positive response as it did. The dream of this into some token generator effect that triggers this 2+ times still is just giving you a reasonable body sans evasion. This is a hard pass for me.
Phizzled: This is so much less appealing than Pacifism that I feel hesitant to mention it, except that I have a pioneer legal variant of the Pauper Cube in my closet still running Compulsory Rest. This is an upgrade to that.
Omni: Outside of the niche of this being the world’s most expensive cantrip, this kinda honks.
Phizzled: This is an improvement on a card we liked enough to put in the Cube at both three and four drop spots. I really like it.
Solset: I am still unsure how many cantripping creatures we need in white weenie, but this seems to be one of the better options we may ever get. This is a great pick for any white deck especially giving the blink deck a very respectable target.
Omni: This rules, I fully expect this to be one where polling shows near unanimous approval. Cards worse than this have been great and this one will be too.
Phizzled: This isn’t as powerful as Rancor, but I like the idea of recovering a creature buff after losing a Savannah Lions in combat or looting this away. I’m not sure it’s strong enough, but I’ve really liked (uncommon) Gryff's Boon in other environments.
Solset: Any variant cube that cares about casting enchantments again and again, such as a one that sports heroic or constellation, may find this card pretty enticing. In our current configuration though , I think this is less reliable any number of equipmenst we already have passed on.
Omni: I would rather see Sentinel's Eyes from THB before this. The 3 mana cost is pretty rough here.
Phizzled: Connive seems to be priced as if you’re regularly going to give the creature the counter. A 2/1 for two mana with a one-time loot is playable, if not necessarily exciting. I’m not sure what this could displace from the cube at present, as the lack of evasion hurts.
Solset: I hear a number of peasant cubes already played Professor of Symbology without any lessons, and this is strictly better. If we weren’t trying to give a boost to counter synergies this might be on the cusp. Yet since we care about counters now, any 3 power two drop that helps you hit lands early while filtering for the best late game spell is worth serious consideration.
Omni: This rules. I don’t think that it should always be concepted as a 2 mana 3/2 but it’ll be good enough of the time in that role and enough of the time late game to filter that I’m happy to play this.
Solset: There was a time where a vanilla 3 power four drop in blue was a desperate inclusion, but we are well past those days. The four toughness on this one is a real upside in our lightning bolt format compared to cruel witness, but it is less of a “build around” option, and it really signals nothing that we are looking to do in blue. It is a close call, but this might just miss out to some other impressive blue evasive four drops.
Usman: I’m honestly unsure if this is better than a bog standard Phantom Monster, let alone new ones like Skyswimmer Koi (which 1994 me would have been *shocked* to see as a common.) It’s probably better than it looks, since blue’s a color that can find itself with lands (and if we include the new Panorama cycle, there may be times when there isn’t anything to fetch, depending on the stage of the game) but, it is blue. I dunno.
Phizzled: I kept debating with myself whether to include this on my own lost of potential includes. The body with successful connive is above rate, but 3 power fliers always feel good. Not having madness support means this is rarely going to feel unfair, and I think feeling fair most of the time is going to be too little to mess with the threats currently in Blue.
Phizzled: This being vanilla until it dies (or is looted away) hurts. I’m not sure I’d play a 1/1 unblockable creature in blue for two mana, with the current selection of equipment.
Solset: I really want my blue to blow the opponent away with its high impact, and I just don’t think the Lackey does that. If we ever retool Blue’s kit to have a fish or flying men feel, this is a reasonable early drop among others, but I am uninterested with Blue’s current role.
Omni: This does feel like a color identity mismatch, the 1/1 for 1 isn’t amazing and blue doesn’t leverage the cheap expendable bodies as well as most other colors. Pass despite being a very cool design.
Usman: Why couldn’t this be white? D: (this kinda gives me vibes of Doomed Traveler, etc.)
Phizzled: This making a 4/4 flier for a turn and drawing you a card are both nice upgrades over Modern Horizons 1 Phantasmal Form, but I can’t imagine the cube archetype that consistently wants this effect.
Solset: If this cost two, I might enjoy this type of trick. Unfortunately, the investment it takes to use this early enough to matter is too great to justify how badly you can be blown out.
Omni: This is the third version of this at common, and probably the best so far. I think this is pretty reasonable, especially for the ability to turn a random mana rock into an attacker. I think if we had a density of artifacts that was a bit higher I’d be higher on this as they’re less likely to get instant speed removed in response to this.
Omni: As the resident “Quench is probably good enough” guy, I do think this merits discussion. It’s not Lose Focus, it’s not Miscalculation, but it’s also a pretty reasonable counterspell. On turn 2 this is just an easier to cast counterspell and the ability to tax 4 (and sneak around single counterspells) in the later game feels pretty reasonable.
Usman: I’m a big fan of this, since it scales up well, and it’s incredibly hard to play around. It stays online longer than most Quench variants, especially if the blue decks have expandable bodies lying around that aren’t doing anything, and even if you’re sacrificing something with a decent body, it may just be the right call to sacrifice it if need be. Making a copy for scenarios where there are multiple spells on the stack is nifty, but I don’t see that happening often, but a cool meme bonus on an already very good card.
Phizzled: I think the two things hurting this card the most for me are that we don’t have much in the way of magecraft triggers from Strixhaven, and the current counter suite is narrow enough that you’re rarely trying to counter two spells in a counter war.
Phizzled: We recently added (sorcery speed) Temporal Spring in our multicolored section. Gaining instant speed at the cost of “non-land” might not appeal to the community overall, but Simic is one of those sections with no shortage of playable multicolor cards.
Omni: Not a huge fan here, it feels like this style of effect needs like 2-3 more iterations before I’m actually excited for it.
Usman: I’m not really sure what cost this would need to be to be one that I’d like – but this unfortunately ain’t it.
Phizzled: Unlike Expendable Lackey, this feels like the way I want my unblockable blue threat to look. Conniving incidentally speeds up the clock or digs for further protection while my unblockable threat continues to get in. Attacking alone is a real cost, but if our threat is going to just end the game in two attacks, I’m okay paying that price.
Solset: I would love to slap this on a hexproof ground pounder while taking a reasonable chunk out of the opponent and holding the ground. This is a solid plan in blue green, but I fear in most other colors, this fails the dreaded enchantment test of providing too little value upfront if they have a removal spell next turn.
Omni: Very close but Curiosity this ain’t.
Solset: I have been a big fan of Bind the Monster, but most of the time I think this is going to be a bit better for controlling decks. This plays a bit worse against counters and equipment, but I think most of the time the loss of abilities on something like Hissing Iguanar coupled with no life loss will be more relevant. Count me in.
Omni: This still has all of the “weaknesses” (read: ability for someone to interact with it) that Bind does, but neatly deals with larger creatures without you getting punched directly in the mouth. I’m a fan of both the card and the name “Legitimate Businessperson”.
Solset: As much as I want to see more aggressive white and red creatures, we have seen a serious uptick in black aggro over the last few years. Black has a number of two drop aggressive options that we have already avoided to date: Blind Creeper, Hasran Ogress, Raving Oni-Slave, Sangrophage, Skittering Skirge, and Wretched Anurid all see play in some cubes that support suicide black builds. Despite this existing pedigree, the Custodian represents a less painful option which could mean it would be drafted by more decks. If we eventually want the Mardu wedge to have more low to the ground aggressive options, this is a reasonable pick that will get played without committing too much to the archetype.
Omni: The Black aggro question becomes more and more pressing each time we see one of these style of cards. This one doesn’t hit me as “just good enough to run without more support” but it’s getting close.
Phizzled: This is a design that feels very possible in the Tempest Sligh vs black matchups. I think the two toughness hurts a lot, in kind of the same ways that Extremely Slow Zombie failed to execute a few years back. There are too many two powered blockers in every color by the time this has a chance to attack.
Solset: Another Black aggro option that can cosplay as a Savannah Lions when you need it to for the low cost of one life. Just like the Crooked Custodian, there are many in this pedigree of painful aggressive black options that already have missed the cut. Yet, it is worth noting that with each printing, the archetype becomes more consistent and promising. I am really interested in hearing what the community thinks about these aggressive options outside our traditional red white boros.
Omni: I really like that this doesn’t suffer from the Carnophage issue of “paying life and hoping things are ok”. We’ll likely include a question regarding the inclusion of black aggressive cards on the set’s polling to figure out if folks are onboard for a new experiment.
Phizzled: This is absolutely a card I love, but I couldn’t tell if I had blinders on. Glad to see someone else excited about it, even where this isn’t supporting my Death's Shadow package.
Phizzled: I don’t think a copy of Despise that costs two mana is an exceptional card, but I do think any non-Selesnya card that can be used to destroy an enchantment demands acknowledgement.
Omni: I like that we’re getting more takes on this kind of effect in black, I don’t think this this one balances out correctly for me.
Phizzled: The 4/4 body without evasion is less than inspiring, but the blitz cost comes with potentially drawing a card and creating a reasonable 2/2. I don’t know that this is better than Diregraf Horde, but it feels similar enough that I want to check in with the community before dismissing it out of hand.
Solset: The blitz on this plays pretty interesting most of the time as a 2/2 that draws a card and usually casts a Flame Lash with your opponent picking the target. This is a pretty stellar ceiling for a higher cost card with an aggressive draw. Here, anything your opponent picks is a lose lose. My concern though, is that black is often a controlling partner with blue and green, and in those situations, you are rarely following an aggressive plan. On turn four, this is a card that represents some card advantage but actually does nothing to affect the board that you are facing down.
Omni: Ah, this set’s honorary “card that people come up with 20 step analogies to explain”. I don’t know where exactly this fits, it’s a bit big for the usual fodder for aristocrats, but it does have two bodies and draws a card. I’m putting this in the “see what the community says” pile.
Omni: As a guy who enjoys a good old Giantbaiting, I want this to be good, but those bodies are fragile at that mana cost.
Usman: The floor seems pretty mediocre, and I’m wondering if it’s worth a card in a deck to upgrade a 2/2 into a 4/3. Gut says nah.
Phizzled: This is likely the best of the hybrid tricolor cards. I really like it, but it doesn’t really do anything, does it?
Usman: One thing that I could see it being used for is as a roadblock that does something if you have 5 mana that’s lying fallow in the late game, and could see some nice in grindy matchups, although it dies to a stiff wind or a token, which is annoying. Eh out of 10.
Phizzled: I’m not incredibly impressed by this, but we have Ghirapur Gearcrafter. If the cube community heavily values the treasure token option, trading the thopter for the citizen token is potentially a palatable downgrade.
Solset: If we had some bigger threats in red, I could see an argument that the treasure is a valuable option, but we really don’t. The flying Thopter from the Gearcrafter is way more valuable in my experience in our color most looking for the final few points of damage.
Omni: Numbers are just off enough for me, it comes down a bit too late to be short term ramp, and the body’s just not impressive. It does have an A+ name though.
Phizzled: This pupper really feels like a design that was supposed to be in Neon Dynasty. Menace and First Strike on your one drop are both very reasonable keywords to pack. I’m less thrilled about being asked to sacrifice the dog, but being a treasure can enable your splash bomb when you need it.
Solset: I really don’t love it, but it may be better than Insolent Neonate. First strike plays quite well when paired with burn, pump, and equipment, and red is doing well there. Neonate likely has the better sacrifice ability, but any deck playing these goons is looking to swing and the Goldhound wins there.
Omni: This is one where I’m not sure what this is better than but it does a LOT for one mana. This being frustrating to block profitably, then a decent blocker itself, then being an extra mana is quite real.
Usman: Philosophically, I’ve occasionally wondered what keywords on a 1-drop would be equal to an additional power (not counting Double Strike) since the best part of cheap 1-drops is to put a clock on an opponent quickly and to end the game before their lackluster bodies get outclassed. Nostalgic as I am for Tundra Wolves, when I played it in my white weenie deck in 1994 (since Savannah Lions was a rare), I think this is probably about as close to printable (in a Standard-legal set) for a common that isn’t a 2/1 for 1, but beats fine enough, but a concern that I have is that its keywords are pretty mediocre against decks that don’t have many creatures – since they’re not going to care about being hard to block if the deck itself doesn’t have many creatures, but Menace is nice against decks that may be relying on a single blocker to hold the fort. I’m probably biased but I like it (also agree that it’s better than Neonate.)
Phizzled: Again, menace is the big draw. The little devil attacks as a 2/2 by itself or pumps something else. Unfortunately, despite the menace, I think this body is a little fragile. I could see making room for this among our two drops, but I think this is going to be a question of flavor preference, if this gets the nod.
Solset: As far as red two drops go, this is better than the average bear. In fact, in an unfamiliar cube, I think I would pick this card over the two drops we run that produced two bodies for one card. Unfortunately, those cards are so instrumental for both red white go wide and red black sacrifice that making room for Mayham Patrol is a tight one.
Omni: If we want, there’s already a menace bear and I’m not sure that the edge cases on this one are tremendous enough to draw me in.
Neveron: This isn’t Rancor, but whenever an aura has an ability that negates the subtype’s inherent 2-for-1 the card is worth taking a second glance at. In this case the question is mainly going to be if the menace and treasure tokens are worth the card, and whether or not that makes this better than any other of the myriad one-drop options red has.
Phizzled: I like Impact Tremors quite a bit. This is more fragile than a two drop enchantment. I think it’s probably going to be fine as long as we still have our token generating cards.
Solset: I have never been a big fan of Impact Tremors, but I love my Hissing Iguanar. While Witty Roastmaster is a bit easier to remove than an enchantment, like the Iguanar, it is a serious body for the key turn when you cast a team pump spell. Overall, I think this card is going to eat a removal spell or will threaten some serious damage. Just remember, holding this guy back too much to get maximum pings is likely more of a trap than forcing through attack damage.
Omni: I think that this being fragile is a consideration, but it does also just swing for 3. The fact that this is a real body and benefits every time you have a creature enter has my attention at bare minimum.
Usman: Witty Roastmaster more like…
Wait, this isn’t bad. Wondering what the minimum number of triggers that I’d want to be happy with paying 2R for this in a game – I think it’s probably around 3. Might be 2. 4 likely means you win the game.
Phizzled: I think I’m less enamored of blitz on this card that I would like to be, but adding a combined 4 power and 5 toughness to the battlefield for 5 mana isn’t the worst rate. As ever with green threats, I wish it had trample.
Solset: There are no counter payoffs in pauper that could make me want to run this card. This looks so mediocre to me when Green has a deep bench of impactful 4 and 5 drops.
Omni: This is real rough, I’m out.
Phizzled: I’m of the opinion that 3/3 for three mana with trample is a good card.
Solset: While this does not neatly fit any of our archetypes, this is a very pushed card. I already thought Excavation Mole was playable, and this is better in everything except the most dedicated graveyard decks.
Omni: Now this is a stat monster! While this definitely just barely feeds any sort of deck, you’ll probably run it in most green decks just for the body and keywords alone and be happy about it.
Usman: One thing that I’m thinking is how often it’s going to enable turns that go T3: Jewel Thief, burn your blocker, deal with my 3/3 next turn. Vigilance is sweet too, for the creature matchups. Also, a cat! :chrono:
Solset: Green’s removal has gotten much better over the years thanks to fight and bite spells. But these cards are still a bit dangerous to use when your opponent has open mana as it is an easy two for one. Because of this, I want my green removal to be instant speed and cheap enough that I might have enough open mana at the end of my opponent’s turn. This checks both of those boxes and even leaves a bit behind as well. I also think that of any color, Green wants treasure tokens the most. While this isn’t a slam-dunk inclusion over our other options, I think it just may nudge out a slower one.
Omni: This is gonna come down to the community opinion for me, it’s definitely good as an instant speed “one mana” fight spell, but it’s not amazing enough to really get me foaming at the mouth.
Phizzled: If you need a land, this is worse than sorcery speed track down. If you’re hoping to draw a creature, this digs deeper and guarantees a 1/1 instant speed blocker. I think we keep the cards that can grab lands, but I like that this exists.
Solset: If this card was a creature itself or milled cards, I’d give it an extra look. It is a promising design for sure but below the power level I want.
Usman: “Lead the Stampede at home.” I do like that it’s at least an instant and makes a 1/1 to make the floor better but, these kinds of cards always look better than they play, at least in our format.
Neveron: It’s the first playable rakdos common in at least three years, and it even slots perfectly into the existing aristocrats archetype we have for that color pair. Being able to give itself evasion is also nice. However, given the mana cost I think you’d rather want to use Body Dropper to get incidental value from your other sacrifice costs rather than having it fuel itself.
Solset: This is both a stellar signal for the aristocrat archetype and a reasonable creature for any red black deck that can vacuum up creatures who are dying anyways. I expect this to be a welcome sight to most fans of the cube.
Omni: I love it! It’s a rakdos card that doesn’t belong in the garbage! Honestly the fact that this is just a reasonable body that can accrue Value is pretty solid to me.
Usman: I have no idea how I’m supposed to block this thing. The “threat of activation” is real nice on this.
Solset: This entire cycle is extremely interesting for any pauper cubers that want to support three or more color decks consistently. Smoothing out your early plays while having a big late game threat is just what a slow multicolor set wants. Unfortunately, that is not our cube so these interesting designs are likely a hard pass.
Omni:These are great designs, I love ‘em and they’re just very elegant. They aren’t where we want to be at the moment but they’re very rad to see.
Phizzled: If you squint, this looks like Wayfarer's Bauble. Not putting the land into play is a downside. Being an expensive Flame Slash in the late game will play well in retail limited, but 5 mana feels like too much for the current speed of the cube.
Omni: I am choosing not to squint hard enough here. I like that they’re starting to iterate on these types of cards to give them at least a bit of utility.
Phizzled: I think I generally prefer tapped duals that sac to draw a card to the campuses from Strixhaven, despite the latter’s repeatability. I also think I prefer these to the gainlands. I just wish we could have a finished full cycle.
Solset: I most definitely prefer campuses and love how they are playable even if you are only in a single of the two colors. Still, these are fantastic upgrades and will slot alongside the campuses quite easily.
Omni: I already pointed out in the discord but it bears repeating: It’s only a matter of time before we can have very tuned and specific lands on a per color pair basis, and that’s very exciting. These do also just rule, very excited to jam these for a long time.