Solset: Toxic can be distracting here, but for aggro, duelist can swing confidently against most colors for quite a while.
Omni: I think this is one of the better bears with upside for just turning things sideways. Agree on the toxic being additive distraction.
Phizzled: I’m mentally allergic to toxic, just because it’s something else to track. Youthful Knight has been considered as a fair creature, and better toughness could make the Duelist a desirable turn two threat.
Neveron: The conditional first strike might be an upside if we’re looking to improve aggro rather than control.
Usman: A worse Youthful Knight but I think that’s still fine in our world – unsure how often the 2 toughness will matter outside of being pinged, and this is much worse on defense for when you need to hold back small creatures.
Neveron: I’ve been not-so-secretly arguing in favor of Gobsmacked for a while, so it’s nice to just be able to pick a black-bordered equivalent. While this doesn’t hit Pestilence, beggars can’t be choosers.
Solset: White’s strength with enchantment removal is its versatility, but this card is just amazing. We don’t have enough Oblivion Rings to make this endangered anytime soon for me. Just remember to draft something else to deal with Pestilence.
Phizzled: I’ve been willing to play some pretty weak pacifisms in cube in the past. I’m all in here.
Usman: An easy add.
Omni: Mites aren’t actual normal 1/1s but great googly moogly we’re getting close to a common Cloudgoat Ranger. I’m not sure if this is the version that gets in, but my interest is piqued for sure.
Neveron: This card is not quite five power for five mana, since two of that is easily blocked and can’t itself block. However, it still looks like a pretty good card.
Solset: I love cards which signal different archetypes. For all the cards that can signal go wide and flicker simultaneously, this one definitely has just the best stats.
Phizzled: Mites bother me, mainly because of the toxic issue, but I’ve come around on decayed tokens over the last two years, and the Shepherd itself is a reasonable body. All three bodies carry swords reasonably, and you could do worse for a top end in a mono-white deck.
Usman: Not bad at all for an army in a can at common. Mite Tokens being unable to block is wonky and is more of an offensive tool than a defensive one, which is where a lot of these kinds of creatures historically play (by being able to gum up the ground.) Still, this isn’t bad for making a 3/3 flier with some added benefits – I think I like this over Angel of Mercy types of cards that I’ve seen.
Solset: Without some sort of evasion or clear aristocrats synergies in white, these types of cards consistently disappoint me. Maybe if it started as a Savannah Lions or ended as a bear like Young Wolf, but pass for me.
Omni: agree on this being underwhelming. I just can’t see Toxic here as an upside.
Phizzled: I get that toxic hypothetically means each body hits for a tenth of your life total each time, but poison counters are not thrilling to me on their own.
Usman: I’m only interested in this if we’re maxing out on Doomed Traveler variants, since this looks to be the worst of the variants at common. Making an artifact or adding poison doesn’t seem relevant here either.
Neveron: Being able to block twice is pretty important for this type of card, so the mite doesn’t impress me.
Phizzled: At instant speed, exiling a premium permanent feels like a bargain. Unfortunately, I think most of what you’re hoping to exile will be creatures, and at 6 mana you’re likely trading too much mana for a 3 or 4 mana threat. I’m not sure how often this would hit Pestilence and be a great deal. I’m interested, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only one.
Usman: I think this looks better when you think of it as a Disenchant+ for 3 mana, rather than a wonky kill spell/Vindicate (ish) for 6. I’m still unsure how much we need a Disenchant+ though, with O Rings and a pushed Pacifism in the mix.
Neveron: I like this, but it’s probably too expensive for the cube. If the modes were flipped it would be a different story, maybe.
Omni: I don’t like this one. I see the value of this being a surprise 3/2, I get that this is just a frost lynx unless you’re using it offensively, I just don’t see this being worth it.
Neveron: If this flew or was a 2/3 I’d like it a lot better – or both, since a three-mana Sentinels of Glen Elendra would be kind of amazing. I’d also maybe play this if it just actually froze the thing, since that’s a nasty combo with Flash, but currently I don’t know that it’s what we’re looking for in a blue creature.
Solset: We had some discussion in the discord about this as well, but I’d probably take almost any of the other flash blue creatures over this. Pass.
Phizzled: I think this has got to be someone seeing the best in the Flash ability here. Seeing it on the list made me look up Queen of Ice // Rage of Winter again to make sure I wasn’t overvaluing the freeze. I’m left wondering what I’m missing.
Usman: I love flash more than I should, but this trading down with 2/2s ain’t great. This does have some legs for counter mirrors as a way to pick a fight at EOT but even then, I’m unsure how often the tapping a creature is relevant.
Omni: I want Impulse in the cube before I spend more than 20 seconds considering this. 4 cards vs 3 is way more important than fringe proliferate value.
Neveron: Blue doesn’t have enough counters for this to be relevant. Pass.
Solset: On a lot of cards in the set, proliferate is almost free or modal addition, but not this one. Too many better options for what this card is going to do most of the time.
Phizzled: Augury does some interesting things, but, like Omni said, none of them are looking at 4 cards. Easy pass.
Usman: it may change in the future, but I don’t think we have enough things to proliferate for the upside to do much… at least, at this moment.
Solset: For a long time we’ve asked how good would an air elemental be in the cube. Obviously this is different, but it’s the closest I expected us to get. It might even be better than Air Elemental in plenty of situations when you pitch a land. I feel this might be a good fit, but I think I’m in the minority here.
Phizzled: I can see where you’re coming from. This dies to a lot of removal, but there are worse things you could want in your control deck finisher. I could be fine with this over something like [scryllink]Watcher in the Mist[/scrylink].
Usman: I like this significantly more than Watcher, even if it isn’t great against bolts (side it out in those matchups.)
Omni: We’re getting so close to Bone Splinters being playable. This being able to use a random utility tokens (treasures, food, clues, etc) is pretty neat but I think we need this pushed just a bit more to not be “kinda bad murder”
Neveron: Annihilating Glare is the latest in a long line of Bone Splinters iterations, this time being an upgrade over Spark Harvest. Personally I prefer the discard-a-card cost of Bone Shards, however, and even then I’d probably prefer just your typical Doom Blade variant.
Solset: The floor on these effects are so bad over Terror and its ilk. I think we need a higher ceiling for the aristocrat player to actively want this, before I want to find room for one.
Phizzled: Bone Shards is still the best version, to me, but there are few creatures I thought needed to die on turn 1 without Disfigure. I’m not sure when or how this becomes the kill spell of choice rather than “a choice.”
Neveron: While I initially liked this as compared to Blood Fountain, I’ve come around to disliking the skullbomb. The blood token is incredibly relevant in a way that the cheaper activated ability and draw vs. raise dead doesn’t make up for. Being sorcery speed also hurts in a color that runs so many instant-speed removal spells.
Omni: This one was positive for so long, but I wanted to say that this is not Blood Fountain, it really tries to look like it’s similar but it just isn’t as good.
Solset: This is only for a mutation that cares about artifact synergies and needs a second but worse Blood Fountain. We have so many better or interesting recursion options in black.
Phizzled: Agreed. There are easier and cheaper ways to Raise Dead, and some of them even include drawing a card.
Usman: I think this is just super medium of an effect, which is essentially what a lot of Spellbomb-type effects are, but the effect of a Raise Dead from this one just isn’t that great.
Solset: I feel weirdly excited for this one, but I know most of the time it’s going to crash into a token. Still if this thing can kill Jewel Thief and draw a card off it, it seems great. Late game, it can just take chunks of life too if you keep their board clear. I’m such a sucker for incidental graveyard synergies.
Omni: I really wish this had something more to it, but treating this as a slow, soft removal that draws a card makes it more appealing than first blush.
Neveron: Interestingly, I’m not sure if they’ve ever printed a cantripping edict. That’s what this is most similar to, I think, assuming that they don’t just ping it.
Phizzled: I think when you place it in that context, it feels like Guildsworn Prowler does more of the edict+cantrip job. I’m disappointed by the fragile body, which is perhaps not the dream. If we tweak Golgari to support self mill a bit more, this becomes a stronger support card there, but as a potential finisher it’s underpowered.
Neveron: Red likes 3/1s for 2, and leaving behind an equipment when it inevitably dies is very nice. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t play nicely with the 1/1 tokens that red likes so much, unlike Ancestral Blade, but if there’s any color that would be willing to trade a point of toughness for a point of power it’d be red.
Omni: I love how much material this represents. A 3/1 isn’t the world’s greatest body but when that 3/1 maybe buffs something else and becomes a 2/2, I see possibility here.
Solset: Very excited about this one. I have found that the 3/1s with upside are a key part to giving the aggressive deck some late game options. I especially like how this plays well with blue spells in a way that some of the other 3/1s don’t. Flicker and prowess endorsed.
Usman: One of the better 3/1s for 2 in red at common; I like how it’s a good clock up front and punishes the opponent for killing the rebel by being something that can pump other things. Big fan.
Phizzled: I think the only thing that could make me like this more would be if it granted evasion. I adore this improved living weapon, and the potential late-game play of making a rebel and equipping a hefty green trampler is a dream I’m excited to live.
Neveron: It comes in sprinting and brings a slower friend along for the aristocrats/go-wide party. This card feels like one of those where the hardest part is just finding what card to cut for it.
Omni: sidegrade Beetleback Chief is an interesting proposition. Haste feels good for closing out games, but to echo Neveron, I’m unsure what this would replace.
Solset: For an unfocused deck, this is probably better than a lot of options that we have in. Yet, it is slightly worse than those options when I really think about what each archetype and optimal deck is trying to do. I certainly wouldn’t be upset if it went in, but I’m not sure of the cuts.
Usman: More a junder than a red aggroer, although it kinda emulates Lava Hounds… kinda. A Jack of all trades in a mostly focused color is weird.
Phizzled: A Lava Hounds reference in 2023, positively. I dig it. Unfortunately, I’m not enamored of the warrior. I appreciate that the big body has haste, and two years ago I would call it a slam dunk. I couldn’t tell you what it’s missing, beyond my fear that including it would be solely because it’s a shiny new toy and not because we need it.
Neveron: Furnace Strider is fairly big, as far as red creatures go, and also pleasantly modal in how it plays. Do you want it to be a 4/5 haste that later hastes another creature, or are you running a more grindy green/red deck where you’re fine just having it stay put for a turn before you haste out two more big creatures?
Omni: I know other committee members will take umbrage with this, but man, I really like this in the place of Flurry of Horns. It’s a point of toughness less, but it being just a brick of a creature is so appealing.
Solset: I’m one of the stronger proponents of Flurry of Horns, but I can’t deny that this thing has a much better eye test. This is a case where the “cute synergies” and niche applications probably aren’t enough to outweigh all this gas…or oil.
Usman: To be honest, I’m good with this over Flurry. It’s at least very *big* for the body and giving future creatures haste is nifty for representing alpha strikes.
Phizzled: Flurry is a fair comparison. Flurry is better for Izzet decks, and maybe only Izzet decks. I’m not sure what deck is excited to follow the Strider up with another non-hasty threat, but maybe it doesn’t matter. The threat of a second haster changes combat decision, and maybe helps close the game out by itself. I can join the future.
Solset: I probably would like it with one more keyword like haste, trample, or first strike. Still on team Balduvian Rage for a cantripping trick in red, but I get that this one is just so effective at what it does.
Omni: Just make these things draw cards, they’re already not stellar and an impulse draw isn’t the convincer WotC thinks it is in our context.
Phizzled: I think this is going to be neat in some constructed pauper decks. This being one of only a handful of red buff effects would make it stand out, especially where most of the others buff a team. This is probably not right for the cube at this time.
Usman: The question I always ask myself with non-creature spells for aggro is whether it’s better on-rate than something like a Lightning Strike. In theory, it’s a Lightning Strike… ish, which draws a card, even if it’s a “yolo draw” style, and lasting until the end of next turn is nice.
Still, I don’t think the average red aggro deck would want this over a lightning strike… and non aggro certainly doesn’t want this at all.
Neveron: We noticed recently that green’s three-drop section was lacking, and a 3/3 for 3 that can either fetch you a land or proliferate feels like it’s something we’d like. You seem to agree, too, since as of writing there’s only a single dissenting vote in the polls!
Omni: Biggish Pig is a very welcome addition, it’s just a reasonable body with a reasonable trigger attached to it. I’ll take it.
Solset: This kind of modal card is what will make the counter archetype work. We’ve got to try it and that’s without even considering curve benefits. Too bad the cards go to the bottom instead of the yard.
Usman: I’ve heard comparisons to this and Corpse Appraiser and I’m unsure how well it compares, but I do like this as a weird Civic Wayfinder that has a good body (and isn’t symmetrical like the Battlebond one.) Unsure how much proliferate will matter but I’m not really concerned on that fail case.
Phizzled: I’m surprised every time they print a green 3/3 for three mana that has an upside we haven’t seen yet. On my first read through, I ignored this because the proliferation felt like flavor text – green has too few counters at one and two mana. This is actually better later, and the “may” has a better chance at doing more work. I’m not in love with it, but bridging us up to four mana isn’t unreasonable.
Neveron: These cards are definitely interesting, if nothing else. I’m not sure that they’re better than the one-mana cycling lands we have available to us (e.g. Forgotten Cave), but if we ever get around to including mono-color utility lands I could see us using one of these.
Omni: These are really weird, but neither fixing mana, nor coming in untapped feel so slow for cycling lands.
Solset: If we had these in I’d probably pick them but there’s probably a full cycle or composite cycles that excite me more if we’re looking to add mono colored lands. .
Usman: I like cards like Tranquil Thicket more than this, the cycling lands essentially have their utility locked in when you play them tapped, but they’re much better at doing what the cycling lands are best at – being bad topdecks.