So I finally updated my common cube list on the blog!
I’ve trimmed colorless by 5 cards and added 1 to WUBRG to make them a round 65 each. Aside from adding NPH and M12 cards, I’m trying some new cards (mainly the ones that don’t have cards linked.) Some look interesting like Withdraw (whether it’ll be a better Peel from Reality or a case study in BCSM is unknown.) There are some things I’ll probably end up changing like the huge number of 3-drops in red, although Innistrad promises to at least bring a 2-drop in.
Which reminds me, I’ve been testing most of the RG werewolves in cube as there isn’t really a basis for comparison (who tracks how many spells are cast in a turn?) The pre-release Mayor of Avabruck/Alpha Wolfpack unfortunately spent a good amount of time as an unimpressive 1/1, but the 1RR red one and Instigator Gang have been better (the gang being the best as it’s the best when not flipped.) I’ve found that they’re overall not bad, but someone who drafted my cube found that in his red aggro deck, the Instigator Gang flipped pretty often. I’m hoping to get some more data, but it looks… interesting, at least. Whether it makes the final cut, is unknown. As for the annoyance factor, I think that they’ll play out like foreign cards where there’s unknown information (foreign language/back side information) – people will eventually learn what they do when flipped and use some kind of token to denote flipping to save time, similar to when people use dice for when Figure of Destiny becomes various forms (despite it never getting counters.) The new Garruk may be an exception since it has a billion abilities.
I’ve been erring on the side of optimism in the testing phase, as I’d rather just have more data on new cards than to just theorize about them and outsource the experience to the pre-release/release events.
Ludevic’s Test Subject has been surprisingly good, with it being able to turn into a 13/13 quickly. If cast on turn 6, it can attack as a 13/13 on turn 7 if someone goes all-in on it. Will it make the final cut? I’ve no idea, but it holds promise.
New Liliana and Garruk are, of course, awesome. Even if Garruk’s just churning out 2/2s, it’s still really good. The B 2/2 ETB tapped guy is also awesome, but that isn’t too hard to figure out. Bloodgift Demon has been solid, it’s funny how I was so meh on it as a 4/4 flier, but as a 5/4? LOVE IT! Snapcaster Mage is a snap-include, I’ve already seen it recycle things like Doom Blade/Diabolic Edict and (I kid you not) Ancestral Recall (on turn 4, no less, with its caster drawing 6 cards from Recall, Snapcaster Mage, flashing back Recall, Brainstorming and Jace Brainstorming next turn… and still losing!) Devil’s Play seems like it’s going to be the non-quake X-spell du jour in cubes, as its flashback has been already much more relevant than the upsides on prior X-spells like Banefire, Demonfire and Fireball. I initially thought that the XRRR flashback would be too much, but it really hasn’t been, especially since you’re wanting to flash it back in the late game anyway.
I’ve also been digging Mentor of the Meek, as it gives some extra gas for aggro decks. Unfortunately, it does nothing when you’re topdecking lands/other non-creatures and that may show if it makes the final cut in cubes. Cackling Counterpart looks much better when considered as a Momentary Blink (recycles ETB triggers, saves creatures from removal) than as a bad Clone, but does that make it good enough? There are obvious differences (nombos with Shroud/legendary creatures, regular and flashback costs are much higher) and I have doubts, but may end up trying it. Still, considering how tight blue is, I can’t see it making it. Similarly with Olivia Voldaren – really solid stats but may suffer from BG Glissa syndrome – not making the cut because of insane competition (in the case of Olivia, arguably not being better than 4 drop creatures in black and red.) Still, she looks impressive and in theory can just take over board states, especially those with lots of small creatures, provided that she lives.