It looks like the MTGO cube is adding the Power 9 and signets to their cube (list here.) I’d argue that their argument that aggro is behind isn’t because of signets/power 9 – in an article I did a while ago, I talked about how my meta didn’t really change that much with the addition/removal of signets and I feel the same way with this update. What I mean is that if aggressive decks aren’t supported well before and they are unfavored after, it isn’t because of mana rocks, it’s because of weak support and even though my recent video on SCG is a Boros Aggro walkthrough, aggro is unfortunately very under-supported in the MTGO cube.
“Briefly, there’s not a ton of mana fixing because too much mana fixing tends to make every deck at the table the same sort of three-color midrange deck that just wants to gain raw resource advantages via long, boring attrition fights.”
Patently false. I had this happen when my cube was mono-midrange and control in the early days, but when I made aggro a viable contender and aptly supported, this wasn’t true at all. In fact, I found that I was actively hurting aggro decks when I was making fixing weaker, since they were the decks that needed to hit their mana drops ASAP (T1 Gravecrawler, T2 Ash Zealot, etc.) and without good fixing, those kinds of openers were harder to achieve and aggro suffered a lot. In other words, it wasn’t that good manafixing made aggro worse, it was the environment itself that made aggro worse. Also, I didn’t notice that it went to 540 cards (thanks Hyphen Jones, Third Power Composer, because I missed it) which should help, although it is pretty awkward to see the bad cards like storm cards remain, but honestly, they’re pet cards and if you’ve ever consulted on making changes to a cube list, you know how hard it is to cut pet cards, especially if they have entertaining stories to go with them.
Regardless, it should definitely be interesting and should at least give some data to those who think that mana = always broken openings and skill-less magic (“I lost to Black Lotus – power is dumb and requires no skill,” etc) and should give some more data on how power affects cubing. I wonder what it’ll do regarding whether people will want to cube more/less with it, but honestly, I don’t see it happening that much aside from people who are on the edge (“Oh, this cube has power now? Whatever, I’m done.”) Thankfully, it looks like a lot of the more awkward changes like removing Vampire Nighthawk and the pro-black swords have been undone with this update – or the updated list is behind.
In other odds and ends, Anthony and I will be recording an episode of The Third Power on Wednesday (ideas? We’ll probably discuss the new Gatecrash spoilers amongst other things. I haven’t had much time but, assuming that they’re real, Domri has been solid in green-based creature-heavy midrange decks and Aurelia has solid potential to deal a ton of damage out of nowhere; not as much damage throughput as something like Craterhoof, but nice. This comparison being done by Kenny Mayer, as I wouldn’t have given it a second look if not for him.) If I don’t get on a soapbox on Domri and Aurelia, I may talk about it more here (and I do wish I had transcribed the soapbox for Angel of Serenity which unsurprisingly, has been bonkers and Desecration Demon which has been about what I expected – better than what most people think, but not dumb by any means.)