2/3/2011 Cube Changes   2 comments

On the latest episode about cube card evaluation of the podcast (which, if I don’t say so myself, went quite awesomely) – someone commented that I should be more on top of what’s in my 450-card cube.  Dude speaks the truth.  I’ve been mulling over the changes for my cube and I needed to get off my butt and finally make that change.  Here goes!


+Hero of Bladehold, –Karmic Guide : I felt that Karmic Guide was the right cut as I’ve felt that it’s over the curve for reanimation effects and while white and archetypes like WG and BW midrange got a lot of use out of the Guide’s ability to retrigger ETB triggers, I don’t think that it’s good enough when compared to other white 5 drops and other reanimation effects.  Hero has just been crazy since I’ve put her in my cube.  Sometimes dies to removal, most of the time just goes nuts.  Fits white aggro like a glove, so good.
+Leonin Relic-Warder, –Kjeldoran Outpost : I may end up putting outpost back in and taking out 8.5 tails again.  I’m giving 8.5 tails one more shot as I took it out before due to the fact that it used up so much mana.  It is nice as a early drop that can be nasty in the later phases of the game, but sooo mch mana.  Relic-Warder should be a pretty good tempo hate bear.  Yeah, it sucks when it dies in combat and your opponent gets back whatever, this is more for disruption of artifact mana, equipment, etc.
+Accorder Paladin, –Mistral Charger : The 2/1 fliers get upgrades, for the most part.  At least with Paladin, omgz.
+Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, –Stormfront Pegasus


+Wake Thrasher, –Standstill : More steps being taken to try the blue tempo thing out.  Blue definitely needs more creatures to make it work, so here’s another for it.  Definitely a solid dude for that archetype as it typically bashes for some insane amount (at least 4 on its first attack) quickly.


+Go For The Throat, –Terror : A slight upgrade, but an upgrade nonetheless.  The ability to hit robots trumps regenerators, from the looks of it.
+Black Sun’s Zenith, –Contagion : I had high hopes for Contagion as I thought that it’d be black’s FoW, making combat math really ugly.  It just ended up being an awkward removal spell that didn’t do too much.  Snuff Out is definitely the king of free removal.  Black Zenith looks like it’ll be solid, but I have a feeling that it’ll be less good than I think.  I don’t know if its ability to permanently scar creatures will be more a benefit or liability (podcast #5 shoutout!) since if done for 3 (to kill an opponent’s horde of X/3s” – it’ll turn your dragons into 2/2s and whatnot.  Still, I think it should be good, at the least.  Oh and it shuffles, which is gravy.


+Goblin Wardriver, –Fireslinger : The Wardriver’s RR, in the bit of testing that I’ve done, has been a bit awkward in something like RW.  In theory, Wardriver fits the aggro archetype like a glove.  I’ll see how it actually plays (although I think that if Wardriver goes out, it may be replaced by something like Smash to Smithereens.)
+Hero of Oxid Ridge, –Keldon Champion : 2RR hasty beater for another one.  I think Hero’s the stronger one, but I could honestly go either way.


+Thrun, the Last Troll, –Mold Shambler : Total upgrade.  Thrun is just insane, especially with equipment.  Or anything, really.  So good.  I’ve usually felt like Mold Shambler was too little, too late.  Its ability to be cast as a Hill Giant was nice, but I never was too thrilled to do it and the 4GG Rootgrapple ability just overall felt like I wasn’t getting enough.  Also, Phyrexian Revoker helps with Planeswalkers, which is the main reason that I ran Shambler in the first place.
+Green Sun’s Zenith, –Nature’s Claim : Well, that was quick.  Zenith should be best in midrange, but I wonder how it’ll be in aggro.  Probably awful, but on its midrange/ramp merits, Zenith should be solid.
+Nantuko Vigilante, –Obstinate Baloth : With Thrun coming in, something had to go at 4 mana and poor Baloth got the axe.  I ended up replacing it with the Vigilante to give another Naturalize effect.  Pretty good bang for the buck (4G buying a 1G Naturalize and a 3 mana 3/2) and upping the morph count is always nice.  “Wait, that’s not an Exalted Angel?!”


+Sarkhan the Mad, –Blightning : Honestly, I could go either way with this.  I may go back to Blightning based on pure efficiency.  I might do a poll, but Blightning’s base effect is just so strong and fits RB like a glove.  Arguably, so does Sarkhan’s ability to turn Carnophages and Bloodghasts into dragons.
+Bonehoard, –Juggernaut : 4 mana is an interesting spot in the aggro curve, right when it’s topping out.  Juggernaut, as solid as it was, didn’t make final 40s that often because of the competition at 4 mana, since only a precious few at that cost could make it and colors like white had a LOT of competition.  I’ve done a bit of testing with Bonehoard and I’ve really liked it, it’s going to be just insane in midrange (and as an aggro insurance card.)  It reminds me of the flashback cards in that the “first mode” isn’t super impressive – colorless non-regenerating Mortivore?  Yeeeeeah.  The thing is, the fact that it can be “flashed back” for 2 mana onto any dork will definitely make up for it.  I’m happy to have been one of the first people (at least the first of the people I know who thought that it’d be good) to realize its power and I think it’ll be solid in cube.
+Sword of Feast and Famine, –Sword of Vengeance : I’ve gotta say, I’ve been really disappointed with Sword of Vengeance.  I think it’s the equip 3 that did it.  It seems so impressive too – haste, 2 additional power, first strike, yada yada.  It just never really lived up though and felt clunky.  Sword of Feast and Famine, however, wow.  Even without its triggers, I love it if only for protection from black and the surprisingly relevant protection from green.
+Phyrexian Revoker, +Erratic Portal : I ❤ Pithing Needle.  I ❤ 2/Xs for 2.  It’s like peanut butter and chocolate.  Erratic Portal was a card that just got cut from being the weakest link.  Lots of interactions but I can’t think of anything weaker than it in my cube’s colorless section and the 2/1 needle’s too good to leave out.

I’m considering taking out Makeshift Mannequin for Drana but I want to try to support reanimator… but I think that its already existing pieces are strong enough and I’m not trying to support the archetype as a stand-alone type of thing.  I used to run Drana and was really happy with her performance but ended up cutting her when trimming costs, etc.  I think it may be time for her to come back, especially since my 5-drop slot in black is looking pretty scant.

I’m also considering new Tezzeret for Oona, but that’s quite close and something that I’m not really keen on doing (at least for now.)  I may just have to keep a close eye on artifact decks to see how often something like an 8+ artifact deck happens (similar to when I tested Stoneforge Mystic.)

I’m always down for feedback and recommendations.  If you think that I shouldn’t take card X out, say so (but please recommend something else to take out instead of card X, if you do that, for example.)

As far as aeshetics…


Artist Mark Poole was in town and I had him sign some things.  I pulled what I had from my cube to have him sign, including a… proxy of Ancestral Recall.  When I told him that “could you sign this too?” for it, when someone explained the idea of a cube to him (and that this was essentially a proxy) he said “oh, that’s really awesome!”  It wasn’t in a sarcastic way, but it seemed that he genuinely thought that it was awesome.  I asked him to take artistic license with the others and I really liked the Incinerate.  I wish that he did more with Balance, but considering that’s my all-time favorite card, it was nice to have it finally sigged.  😀


I somehow also managed promos Vendilion Clique and Bitterblossom.  Wait, what’s that MTGO sign?  Oh just ignore that!  But for srs, I always had proxies for V. Clique and Bitterblossom and decided to replace them with the MTGO promo art as proxies.  As for the Strip Mine…

About 4 months ago, Pringlesman on the MTGSalvation forum sent me a PM asking what my address was and also saying “btw, you should get online more, I haven’t seen you on in ages.”  I sent him my address and said that I’d try to be on more, just that I’d been really busy.

I then head out to the Kansas City “big” prerelease for Scars of Mirrodin (yeah, this was THAT long ago) and saw a package when I got back.  In it… was the Strip Mine.  I don’t know if I’ve formally thanked you, Mr. Pringles, but thank you a LOT for it.  🙂  It looks utterly fantastic and several other people commented on its awesomeness.

There are some other proxies that I’m running like the Arabic Juzam, Serendib and Library of Alexandria and some others.  I may just make a post on it later on if there’s enough demand for it, but these are the ones that I’ve been wanting to post for a good chunk of time.  🙂


Posted February 4, 2011 by Usman in Usman's Cube

2 responses to “2/3/2011 Cube Changes

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  1. I do love Keldon Champion but Hero of Oxid Ridge could prove its better…

    I really don’t like taking ouit Fireslinger. In my experience pingers can bring you victory in an aggro vs midrange matchup.

    Saša Miličević
  2. I don’t much care for the loss of the Pegasi, Fireslinger, or Obstinate Baloth.

    Accorder Paladin should be in, so I can understand losing one since they are so redundant, but I don’t think 8.5 is as good as it once was. For us, it’s turned into a control only card because we don’t see too many white heavy midrange decks and in aggro, I’d just rather have the french vanilla 2/1 and get in with some early beats. I like 8.5 still, but it’s just one of those cards that I feel like has been made worse by the recent influx of great cube cards from WotC. I’d still play it in a larger cube, but it’s getting the axe from my 555 card cube with MBS.

    Fireslinger has been ridiculous for us. He’s aggressively priced and does his job nicely. He supplements burn spells and combat damage, takes out X/1’s and can pick up a Sword or Jitte and get in the red zone if he has to. I really like Wardriver at first glance and plan on testing it too, but it’s RR scares me a bit. In your list, I might replace Magus of the Scroll with him for testing purposes. I like Fireslinger a lot more than Magus because, while being equally easy to remove, it’s more reliable.

    And Obstinate Baloth is so good, man! I understand your reasoning that the 4-drop slot was getting crowded, but that’s a tough cut. I think I would leave the 4-drops like they were and cut North Tree or Thornling before I cut Baloth. Thornling has been good for us, but Baloth has been a lot better.

    Other than that, nice update man!! I’d definitely recommend you give Drana a shot. She’s not the best black 5-drop ever, but she’s been absolutely solid here for our black midrange and control decks. Plus look at that art! She’s dead sexy (so to speak)!

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