A Whole New Phyrexia   6 comments

So here’s my update for my cube (some changes have been there for a while, but may as well make it all official because of New Phyrexia.)  The cube at Ogres’ hasn’t been changed yet, but considering it gets drafted once every blue moon, I’m not in a hurry to get that changed.  But yeah, changes below the cut.

White:

Weathered Wayfarer, –Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, –Glorious Anthem
+Porcelain Legionnaire, +Flickerwisp, +Blade Splicer

Mostly aggro changes, Mr. Porcelain has been great in testing and definitely is a welcome addition (with 8.5 tails making another exit as like before, it was just too mana-intensive.)  Another 2-mana beater’s always nice and Legionnaire is just so efficient.  The other 3-power additions are very blink-friendly, it’s funny because I did an article on how Flickerwisp does a lot, but I didn’t want to run it, yet here I am using it because, well, it has a ton of uses (great with and against living weapons!)  Should be really good.  Blade Splicer gives a pretty solid body of a 3/3 first striker with another body for recursion.  It feels like the weakest addition of the 3, but I’m hoping that I’m wrong.  🙂

Blue:

Wake Thrasher, –Repeal
+Phyrexian Metamorph, +Frantic Search 

Totally ❤ the new Clone/Sculpting Steel.  I’m a bit spoiled from running Vesuvan Shapeshifter because of its ability to be ran out as a 2/2 morph if there’s nothing on board, but that’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make.  With Metamorph, being a legendary creature is now a relevant (albeit small) drawback again!  Yay for originally intended design!  I would like to get more creatures in here per Kranny’s push for more tempo-based strategies in blue – if I get to pushing that more, Mr. Thrasher’s right back in.  I’d also like to get Tezzeret and Tolarian Academy in here for artifact shananigans.  Oh and a pony.

Black:

Disfigure, –Makeshift Mannequin, –Black Sun’s Zenith
+Dismember, +Drana, Kalastria Highborn, +Abyssal Persecutor

Taking out one “dis” card for another, easy change!  I think that Dismember fits the role better as while the life loss isn’t insignificant, it’s pretty solid across all modes of cost (and that flexibility is really nice when it comes to leaving mana open while still being able to kill things.)  I’ve been trying Abyssal Persecutor for a while and have been very happy with it.  I dismissed it like many based on WCSM and thinking that the opponent will always just have counterspells to counter whatever can kill it, but that didn’t happen since that assumption assumes that the blue player has a superior board position and free counterspell mana (and multiple counterspells) to counter things that could kill the persecutor.  To quote a movie that I can’t remember (I swear that it’s Pulp Fiction,) “that’s a whole lot of IFs” and that perfect storm didn’t happen that much.

Taking out Black Sun’s Zenith may seem odd but its counters thing ended up being a drawback more often than it was a boon as it typically was in the same deck with larger creatures that could survive a huge X-spell.  Its cost was also pretty annoying and thus, Zenith got chopped.  Drana was once in my cube and I’ve no idea why I took it out.  Untapping with it is just great as it can generally kill most, if not anything, that could block it in combat while gaining power.  Great creature.

I’d love to put Lashwrithe in here as I think it’s a solid card, but 4 mana is so packed in black as is.  Le sigh.

Red:

Ghitu Encampment, –Goblin Wardriver, –Demonfire, –Ravenous Baboons, –Bogardan Hellkite
+Fireslinger, +Countryside Crusher, +Moltensteel Dragon, +Keldon Champion, +Searing Blaze 

Lots of changes for red as I emphasize more of red’s aggressive nature.  Countryside was another creature that got cut a while ago but I added it back when talking to Anthony and remembering its past performance.  I’ve been very happy with it since it returned, it and Searing Blaze have both helped red aggressive strategies a lot (as Searing Blaze has almost always had a target.)  And Guilherme, you’ll be happy to see that Keldon Champion’s back.  🙂  I don’t know if this change is pushing red too far into the aggro realm and if I need to bring a card like Whipflare (which tends to play better with red-control strategies,) another X-spell or bring back the Hellkite.

Green:

Gaea’s Anthem, –Berserk, –Green Sun’s Zenith
+Beast Within, +Master of the Wild Hunt, +Brutalizer Exarch

As noted in the last post, I’m not super impressed with Beast Within for now, but I’m going to keep testing it to see how it performs vs a variety of decks.  I took out Obstinate Baloth for Green Sun’s Zenith and took that out for Master of the Wild Hunt, and I don’t know if I’m just trading sand for skins, skins for gold and gold for life  by replacing the Baloth for the Master, but Master’s been great so far.  Taking care of a weakness doesn’t a cube card make, but typically the Master does a good job of shoring up green’s weakness in the inability to directly deal with creatures outside of combat.  Brutalizer is another card to deal with planeswalkers and is an upgrade from Mold Shambler, as the ability to fetch dudes > the ability to be used as a 4 mana 3/3 in a pinch (as midrangey decks tend to run creatures that work well as silver bullets.)  The question is whether the Brutalizer’s effect, overall, is worth it and that’ll have to be seen.  All I want is a 6+ mana monster that isn’t just a Rootgrapple on a stick.  Maybe Gaea’s Revenge?  Who knows.

Colorless:

Basilisk Collar, –Phyrexian Processor, –Chimeric Mass
+Sword of War and Peace, +Batterskull, +Karn Liberated

I’ve been running Phyrexian Processor for a while and while it’s certainly one of those “go big or go home” cards, I don’t necessarily feel that it’s worth it with processor – it frequently was too slow and it lived in sideboards a lot.  I really wanted to like it, I really did.  Guilherme, wish #2 is granted.

The other cuts are essentially cards that I felt weren’t making the grade vs what was coming in.  Mass’ versatility in its size felt at the cost of being under-the-curve for efficiency and while Karn isn’t really that efficient, his overall effect has been good (although the “restart the game” mode is mostly a pipe dream, it almost never happened as by the time it got to high loyalty, winning through pressing a superior board position > winning through restarting the game.)  The other equipments are pretty easy additions.  Not much to say on those!

I’ve been considering taking out Bonehoard for Precursor Golem (or maybe taking out Bonehoard for Tectonic Edge) but I’m pretty happy with my cube’s current state.  Feedback’s welcome as always.  🙂

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Posted April 30, 2011 by Usman in Usman's Cube

6 responses to “A Whole New Phyrexia

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  1. You know, I hadn’t even considered Blade Splicer, but the fact that you keep the token even if it leaves play makes it pretty sweet with Mimic Vat, Venser the Sojourner, Crystal Shard, Erratic Portal, etc. I may have to give it a try, too. Flickerwisp looks like it might be great fun in a U/W tempo deck (among other strategies, of course).

    Metamorph is INSANE. I’m probably not going to the prerelease, but I’m going to do everything possible to go to the launch party and pick up a foil (I also like the promo art better, which is quite unusual for promo art). I’m not sure I agree with taking out Repeal, but blue is pretty cutthroat, so I could see removing it if you *really* need the space, but I’d say keeping it in would be good for tempo-based blue strategies, because it’s a rather solid tempo card.

    Drana is just a splendid critter. I did a draft yesterday, and she was one of the odd cards out, and I was very sad. I took out disfigure a while back when I realized it just didn’t hit as many creatures as I wanted it to. Dismember should be more than adequate as a replacement.

    The red section changes all look great, too. I’m still running Wardriver because I have a larger cube (680) and I want to provide some redundancy for aggro, but I can see why you’d want to remove it, especially for the other cards you listed there. Countryside Crusher is just such a beast; it makes sure you don’t flood during the mid-to-late game when you’ve got a really low curve (although more often, it just draws out removal ’cause it gets so big so quickly.) Searing Blaze is one of my favorite burn spells ever.

    I’m running both Master of the Wild Hunt and Obstinate Baloth, but again, my cube’s a bit larger. I still have to try out Green Sun’s Zenith, but I feel like it’s pretty good. I hadn’t considered the green Exarch, either, but the comparison to Mold Shambler is an apt one (the single green mana in the casting cost is also nice). I run more combat tricks than most cube-keepers, it seems, so I’d be hard pressed to remove Berserk. (Props for the Squandered Resources text. I really miss the kind of flavor text they had in Mirage block.)

    We’ve talked a bit about Beast Hunt before, but I was curious about which situations you found it to be good/bad in. How often has the drawback been significant enough to put you off running the card?

    I really like Basilisk Collar and Chimeric Mass, but all three of the colorless cards you added are just nuts, so I can’t really offer much criticism there. I’ve always been kind of ambivalent on Processor; it is a card that leads to some epic tales, but just as often the drawback *is* significant, and it’s not as helpful in the late game.

    What does this update put your equipment count at? Inquiring Stoneforge Mystic fans want to know.

    And you should definitely add the pony.

    • I think the equipment count went up by 1 and the total is somewhere around… 13ish (I think.) I do see cutting bonehoard but stoneforge shouldn’t mind having batterskull as its bff. 🙂

      Beast’s catch was more that the 3/3 was surprisingly more relevant than i’d have expected (“it’s just a hill giant!”) Stuff like the elspeth 2 example where it essentially turned elspeth into a cloudgoat come to mind. It’s a card that I REALLY want to be good – a cheap way for green to deal with planeswalkers/creatures/etc, but I’ve been not that impressed. Still, the testing season is young.

      Berserk is a card that I’ve ran for ages, but I think its time has come. Nice when it helps enable a swing ftw or to kill an opposing bob, but I’ve loved it less and less as time went on.

  2. Love this update! The NPH changes look good, but I’m even more excited to see such hits as Drana, Master of the Wild Hunt, Keldon Champion, and most especially Searing Blaze make it in. Both Drana and Master are the “deal with this NOW or die” creatures that offer enough upsides to counteract their susceptibility to a timely removal spell. Keldon Champion just does sooooo much work for aggro, and like the above poster I would say that Searing Blaze is one of the best burn spells in the cube. Only card I think I see getting added here that I disagree wtih is Frantic Search, but it’s definitely worth playing around with some to get your own opinion of the card. To me it always played like a variant of Careful Study which is not remotely cubable, and my playgroup absolutely hated the card due to it suffering the “Arcane Denial syndrome of card disadvantage on a blue spell not named Force of Will or Misdirection”.

    • Thanks 🙂 I’ve been very happy with the “deal with me now” guys, especially drana. Plenty of times, they’ve pulled their weight from having really solid abilities and even when dealt with, it’s not the end of the world either!

      Good point on frantic search – I used to run it and it feels like a very “safe card” (which I talked about last week in an article.) I probably should bring back repeal for it.

  3. -Repeal, -Makeshift Mannequin, -Demonfire, -Berserk
    I like these cards very much in cube, i don’t see them leaving mine anytime soon.

    -Glorious Anthem, -Gaea’s Anthem
    There’s a bunch of cards that can take advantage of these cards and I think you make aggro weaker by making these changes.

    +Frantic Search
    I like looting, but this is -card adv, haven’t played it, but it seems it only works late game when you have lands you don’t want to play, am I wrong?

    +Brutalized Exarch
    I don’t like cards this expensive that aren’t very good, I didn’t play Shambler for the same reason, Gaea’s Revenge on the other hand, IS good.

    Everything else I like. I just would like your opinion on some cards not included:

    Phyrexian Obliterator (I don’t think i’ll include this either, because of the harsh mana cost)
    Postmortem Lunge (I really like this card in non-black decks, specially with 187 creatures)
    Sheoldred, Whispering One (I’m not sure yet about this one, I think black has enough good cmc 6+ creats)
    Urabrask the Hidden (Haven’t tested it, but it’s going straight in mine)
    Mutagenic Growth (Love this card in Boros and BR aggro)
    Noxious Revival

  4. How do you get the links to cards in WordPress? Is there a widget you use?

    Also I think Blade Splicer is pretty sweet but I’m unsure if he is good enough in your cube. With the addition of Flickerwisp he might be though.

    Frantic Search is pretty broken and I’m shocked you weren’t playing it before. Any “free” spell has the ability to be silly and search is no joke. With bounce lands its obviously stronger than average too. As a blue control player I often find I draw a lot of cards and a lot of lands I can’t even play so a essentially free loot 2 that can find me the needed answers is very nice. It’s also pseudo color fixing.

    The artifact changes are fine if you don’t run trinket mage. As a powered cube Trinket mage (and you covered this on a few Casts) is possibly good enough to run. Cutting 2 fetchable cards would hurt him though. If he is still in your list I’d suggest that you consider giving him the axe.

    Also I added your blog to our blog roll over at http://www.captainbloggington.wordpress.com

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