Pictures of my cube with Dark Ascension behind the cut.
Overall changes (from the last time pics were posted) :
-Shrine of Loyal Legions, -Eight-and-a-Half Tails, -Paladin En-Vec, Knight of the White Orchid, -Weathered Wayfarer
+Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, +Loyal Cathar, +Midnight Haunting, +Honor of the Pure, +Blade Splicer
Not much in terms of structural changes, with mostly changes in 2-drop white creatures. I’ve been lately not as impressed with Paladin En-Vec for it having a relatively small body (even with double protection) and Midnight Haunting has been decent as a cheap way to get more guys. I may end up taking out Loyal Cathar as it’s yet another value guy, but I’m going to see how he performs, especially in aggro mirrors. Similarly with Honor of the Pure, which should fit like a glove in the token strategies.
-Thieving Magpie, -Into the Roil, -Repeal, -Wake Thrasher
+Thirst for Knowledge, +Memory Lapse, +Trinket Mage, +Dungeon Geists
I’ve lately been shifting blue and these changes signify keeping efficiency first and foremost in mind, Thirst is a really solid card advantage machine, Memory Lapse should fit the tempo decks better than either bounce spells and Trinket Mage has been better since pushing blue tempo, as blue decks now don’t necessarily mind getting a Trinket Mage and stuff like Bonesplitter/Cursed Scroll. I’ve had Thieving Magpie in my cube since day 1, but I’m trying my cube without it; it seems like it has a much lower board impact than all of my other 4-drops. It’s a nice draw engine but again, I think the other 4-drops are better and I definitely don’t have room for Dungeon Geists, despite it being a very solid creature. I ended up cutting Wake Thrasher because there were a ton of 3-drops (10) and as much as I want to support blue tempo, 10 is just too many 3 drops. Dungeon Geists should be solid as removal on a guy, I think that the worst-case of it dying isn’t going to happen as often as people fear.
-Blind Creeper, -Fume Spitter, -Contagion, -Entomb
+Gravecrawler, +Geralf’s Messenger, +Gatekeeper of Malakir, +Inquisition of Kozilek
I’m taking out some cards that never did much like Contagion and “I really wanted this to be a good combat trick/reliable answer to small creatures,” aka Fume Spitter and some others like Entomb. I actually think Blind Creeper’s underrated and that people way overstate its drawback (but I think that’s an over-arching problem when it comes to card evaluation, not necessarily just for cube) but it had to go for some other stuff. Geralf’s Messenger and Gatekeeper of Malakir are coming in to try to encourage more black-heavy beats deks and Inquisition has been solid as another discard spell like Duress and Thoughtseize.
-Moltensteel Dragon, -Goblin Patrol, -Flame Javelin, -Pyroclasm
+Hellrider, +Torch Fiend, +Stromkirk Noble, +Smash to Smithereens
I’ve never been too huge on the 1-mana echo guys in cube but I’ve used them to keep a critical mass of aggressive beaters, alas they’re generally the first guys to go when I need to cut a 1-drop from my aggro decks and, as 1-drops are the bread and butter of that archetype, that’s not a good thing. Pyroclasm felt unneeded with both regular earthquake, Rolling Earthquake, Arc Trail and Arc Lightning and Smash to Smithereens comes Kenny Mayer approved; it should fit nicely in the red aggro decks. Hellrider coming in for Moltensteel Dragon feels odd, but Moltensteel was sadly the weakest 4-drop, despite having a LOT of potential for damage.
-Pouncing Jaguar, -Moldgraf Monstrosity, -Hornet Queen, -Birthing Pod, -Albino Troll, -Bramblecrush
+Wolfbitten Captive, +Strangleroot Geist, +Vorapede, +Pelakka Wurm, +Terastodon, +Nantuko Vigilante, +Avenger of Zendikar
These changes are to help ramp decks in green from including Terastodon and Pelakka Wurm, as well as increasing the power of green aggro decks with Wolfbitten Captive (easily the best Rootwalla) and Strangleroot Geist.
The latter two changes with the Troll and Bramblecrush leaving, are because Albino Troll never really impressed me very much; alas, the echo was pretty awkward even if it was to make the troll a great bargain and it frequently sat in sideboards. Nantuko Vigilante was originally taken out and when it came back in, it replaced Bramblecrush as it’s generally a more efficient artifact and enchantment removal effect – I’ve not had the problem of planeswalkers taking over my cube and even then, Bramblecrush was just inefficient and not used very often. Cards like Smash to Smithereens have shown the power of efficiency and I’ve been happy with Nantuko Vigilante – arguably the worst out of the “naturalize on a stick” effects but I still think it’s great.
-Aether Vial, -Precursor Golem
+Chrome Mox, +Jinxed Choker, +Contagion Clasp
This section has an additional add as I’m going to 455 cards to add more multicolor in and as Wild Nacatl is going back to multicolor, I needed an artifact (Chrome Mox.) Jinxed Choker may look odd but it does a LOT of work as a Sulfuric Vortex type of effect that deals a lot of damage to an opponent, especially in the early stages of the game when the opponent can’t afford to take counters off of Choker. Contagion Clasp has been solid as a Squee-type of synergy card (whose base effect is pretty bad) that works with a lot of cube cards, obviously including planeswalkers (which work very well with Clasp.)
-Caves of Koilos, Stillmoon Cavalier, -Sulfurous Springs, -Sarkhan Vol, -Wall of Denial
+Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, +Lingering Souls, +Olivia Voldaren, +Huntmaster of the Fells, +Geist of Saint Traft
+Maelstrom Wanderer, +Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, +Crime//Punishment, +Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Most of these changes were easy, Sorin’s stupidly good and Stillmoon was the weakest BW card, Caves went for Lingering Souls (an extremely powerful and synergistic token generator.) Since using Olivia, I’ve been very impressed with her, as well as Geist, who puts an opponent on a very quick clock. The other 4 tri-color cards are to complete a cycle to represent each color twice (white twice, blue twice… and so on.) Maelstrom Wanderer looks to be insane in ramp-style decks, etc. As an experiment, I’m going to see how it affects my cube.