Another [insert time,] another [insert pauper cube thing]   3 comments

Eternal Masters got fully shown and, as of this post, it hasn’t been released yet and doesn’t release for another few days.  But since they’re all reprints, all of the cards are in CubeTutor, so I updated my list.

I wrote my first article over 6 years ago (wow does time fly) and a few months later,  in July 2010, I created my own pauper cube to see how I would tackle that format and see if I could improve on that concept, as pauper cubes were still very new at the time.  It’s mostly been a side project as people generally don’t get as excited for pauper cube as they do “regular” cube.

I tend to update my regular cube frequently (despite not reflecting it in CubeTutor lists) and even despite decreasing numbers at ye olde LGS, I’ve been maintaining both lists regularly, as we do pauper cube at the end of the month and as Eternal Masters came out, it was a good time to update that.

In the past year, I did a big “reboot” of my pauper cube and I’ve been very happy with the results so far.  Like with my regular cube, my initial pauper cube experiences with other cubes were shaped by cubes with weak aggro support and I’d found similar things with pauper cubes that I’d drafted back then and sometimes in cases with pauper cubes that I’ve drafted in the past few years – and worked to make that not the case in my pauper cube.  Here are some examples of some 3-0 decks from drafts that I’ve had recently:

pauper - 2016 05 31 RG

pauper - 2016 04 12 Jund

pauper - 2016 02 23 RW

Pauper - 2015 12 02 GBw

Pauper - 2015 11 25 W

I don’t tend to draft this cube as much as I’d like to, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out, as cards that people tend to think of as dominant like Capsize and Rolling Thunder really haven’t been in this iteration and it feels like this iteration of my pauper cube is a significantly different iteration now from when I’d windmill slam generic value dudes like Gravedigger.  As noted by the dates in the screencaps, this encompasses many months (I haven’t really blogged about the pauper list, or really anything here lately) and as such, there are some cards that I don’t currently run, but in that time period, from November 2015 to now, it’s all pretty much the same ideology that’s been driving it.

However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to look at how I want to customize and change the format (as unfortunately, there’s a general thought process to want to say “card X is good, card Y is bad” for changes to a list rather than wanting to curate a cube as a draft environment, as a card not being in a list should not be considered as thinking of a card as bad, nor dismissal of its worth in a cube.)  Here are some thoughts and some goals that I want to look into.

  • Although I’ve liked how some of the artifact/metalcraft cards have been, I’ve felt that I could push them further.  I’ve seen those cards used more as a “side project” rather than a full-on artifact deck.  Some test runs in CubeTutor where I forced that deck left me unsatisfied with how deep that theme is running.  Some time ago, I talked with Kranny about when he creates a cube list with power as a palate cleanser, as he noted happiness with some of the artifact cards like Ardent Recruit and Galvanic Blast.  Due to that, I’ve pushed artifacts (and included cards like the artifact lands) but going by his ratios, I’ve got some ways to go to making artifacts more of “a thing” in my list.  I haven’t seen a lot of lists use artifact-centric cards, so I’m in pretty unfamiliar territory, but hey, that’s what I did in the old days – as I remember discovering Soltari Trooper for my cube back in the day when searching Gatherer for white cube 2-drops.
    • This then begs the question that, say if I want to add 20 cards, where would they come from? Multicolor’s a pretty tight ship at 2 per pair (noting hybrid as different, per blog post, as there’s 3 of each color represented by WUBRG except for black, which has 2) and there’s not really much room elsewhere.  WUBRG?  Is that worth it?  Some cards like Neurok Stealthsuit, Horned Helm, Byway Courier and Confront the Unknown can help to organically help push artifact cards, but is it worth it to push it harder?For example, the above mono white 3-0 deck had 9 artifacts.  The drafter said that Ardent Recruit was a 3/3 about 50% of the time, which is pretty nice, but I feel that I can push that further.  I’m hoping for some more Investigate cards on the level of Thraben Inspector (which unsurprisingly has been great, even in decks that don’t care about artifacts) but that’s asking a bit much; but a few solid role-players could really help.  I haven’t used cards like Sanctum Gargoyle, Faerie Machinist, Pyrite Spellbomb and some others, but these cards may help with pushing that identity.  But it doesn’t feel like I have quite enough artifacts to run cads like Faerie Machinist, as I’d want around 13 artifacts to run it in a deck, and I don’t feel like I’m at that yet.

      Still, I think this experiment for artifacts has been going pretty well and it’s a good first step.

  • Ironically, I want to make draw-go more of a deck (none of the pictures above are of that archetype; it’s a small sample size, but something I’ve noticed not just amongst 3-0 decks.)  A lot of that deck’s historical strengths – hard counters and wraths are seen much less in pauper, and I’ve been weighing what I want to do for that deck.  Re-introduce cards like Glen Elendra Sentinels, Nephalia Seakite and the 4U 3/3 flash fliers as things to do on the opponent’s turn/ways to supplement counterspells/Mystical Teachings and other things to reward the drafter for drafting a deck similar to BU Faeries (in Lorwyn x3/Lorwyn x2+Morningtide.)
    • In that vein, I’m going to look to push more “value” strategies like the aforementioned draw-go strategies.  There’s definitely ways to do so – like re-adding morphs like Skinthinner and Shaper Parasite and cards like the new “flashback” creatures from SoI (Ghoulcaller’s Apprentice, Dauntless Cathar,) and I’ll be looking to how to shape that aspect of my pauper cube.
  • Find out how far I want to push the black “aristocrats” identity in black.  I’ve loved cards like Nantuko Husk and their synergy with cards like token producers.  It’s more of how I want to support those cards in other colors, like if it’s worth putting in cards like Dragon Fodder, Krenko’s Command, Gather the Townsfolk, Fists of Ironwood (that on a Husk seems absurd) and others like Dregscape Zombie.
  • Whether cards like Siege Wurm, Living Totem and Kavu Primarch are worth using in green, especially if using the aforementioned Husk-friendly cards.

But yeah, I’m very happy with how my pauper cube’s been going; if you haven’t drafted one before, give it a sample draft or two with the Cube Tutor list.

Regarding Eternal Master’s additions to it, I’ve only had one draft with it and I forgot to seed the packs with the new cards like I usually do.  Oops.  Oh well, to the cards themselves:

Desperate Ravings saw some time in the sun and I ran it in my regular cube for a while in Izzet in place of [insert value damage Izzet spell here.]   It’s generally nice to play as a value card and people tend to get pretty scared of the random discard, but I liked it in its day.  I’m not running a ton of graveyard things but it’s gravy if that happens.  Rally the Peasants seems absurd for Boros aggro and I can’t wait to draft it in any Boros aggro deck.  In the pictured Boros aggro deck, Rally the Peasants looks like it’d fit like a glove.

Elite Vanguard and Mistral Charger were pretty easy adds to aggressive decks, especially the former.

Peregrine Drake seems like a nice creature to supplement Cloud of Faeries as I’ve been playing with cards like those two, Mneumonic Wall, Archaeomancer and blink effects in a shell for “value storm” (which I’ve seen work pretty well in a 2-1 deck, unfortunately I didn’t record it) as opposed to full-on storm, pretty similarly to how it played out in 3x Time Spiral draft.  Unfortunately, the only storm cards are Temporal Fissure and Empty the Warrens, as things like Grapeshot require a lot of setup to be worth it (at least 4 storm?  5?) and a lot of the other ones like Reaping the Graves and the land-fetching ones are kinda meh.  As noted above, I’ve been looking to bolster blue control and this could help that (it does have a weakness to instant-speed removal, which is something to note.)

Night’s Whisper looks to be a pretty obvious add as a nice card draw spell (which is an upgrade to Sign in Blood, since it fits more decks) but likely should supplement Sign in Blood.

I’m trying Wildfire Emissary as it seems to work on some axises that it used to back in the day – it gets around white removal (Pacifisms instead of STP) and dodges bolts while attacking for 2.  It may be too slow… and my initial impression is that it might be, so I’ll be monitoring how it works out.

Sylvan Might looks to be a great combat trick (trample is pretty huge) and can cause some combat blowouts (or act as a mini-Overrun.)  In the RG deck above, I was interested in seeing if he got Sylvan Might as it would have smashed my face in combat.  As it turns out, he didn’t and I got smashed anyway.  🙂  I’m a bit leery on Emperor Crocodile, as I’ve got a few Juzam Djinn types of dudes anyway and it looks pretty vulnerable.  It may be that its home is more in swarmy/mana elf decks than a generic green deck.  Odds are, I’ll end up trying it one of these days.  I’m trying Nimble Mongoose but I think I’ll need to figure out its place in my cube – as it’s pretty eh when just cast as some generic dude, and where its role will best be, but the potential’s certainly there, as a 3/3 shroud is great, as it towers over 2/2s, etc.

Thanks for reading!



Posted June 6, 2016 by Usman in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Another [insert time,] another [insert pauper cube thing]

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  1. Happy to see an update. Thanks for the insights. Do you keep an updated list of your main cube anywhere other than Cubetutor? I’d love to see what the latest iteration is post SoI.

    • Mostly just CT. I do a lot of updates on the fly and honestly slack on updating it on CT. :/ Most of my cube energy lately has been focused on my pauper cube (although I did some more changes to it and I’m happy with it, so I’ll prolly work on getting CT up to date and tweak things soon.)

      • Thanks for the reply, and my compliments on your cube. I really like it. Dan Nosheny introduced me to your stuff, and I’ve been using it to inform my own decisions.

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