Cole: Righteous Cause – Convoke
Garrett: Ashnod’s Altar – Casting cost reduced to 
Rob: Grim Flowering – Given Flashback for [B][G]
Rob: Added Honden of Seeing Winds
Rob: Embodiment of Fury – Given Haste
Jake A: Added Ghostly Flicker
Dan, Jake A, and Jake R: Banked their points
Recently, some friends and I put together a cube. It was built with input from all of us. After each draft, depending on your record, you can make changes to the cards in the cube. I will go into more detail about the cube and the point system that allows for changes in a future update. I will use this post to describe the changes so far.
Garrett: Grapeshot casting cost reduced from 1R to R. Using Grapeshot as a wincon for storm is still a tall order and reducing the cost to cast Grapeshot by one does not make a huge difference. What it does do, is make Grapeshot a respectable pick in virtually any red deck. If you play one spell, you have Forked Bolt, which is a fine card. Two spells gives you Arc Lightning, so on and so on. I like this change because it broadens the appeal of a card, while still making that card stronger in its intended deck.
Chris: Trostani’s Summoner makes a 5/5 White Giant in addition to the other creatures. The 5/5 is a giant because Fuedkiller’s Verdict already makes a 5/5 giant token. The 5/5 syncs up with the 4, 3, 2, 1 design of the card and follows the keyword on even-stated creatures pattern too.
Adam: Dark Ritual has Rebound and Jotun Grunt mills the caster for 2 on ETB. Giving Dark Ritual rebounded sounded too strong at first. On closer inspection, it is a very interesting change that does not actually increase the power level of the card too much. Finding a way to take advantage of the bonus three mana during your upkeep is no easy task. It still adds to your storm count if you cast it the turn before you go off, but does not give you the mana. This change also broadens the appeal of the card. I can imagine decks that would run it just for the extra mana over two turns. Jotun Grunt’s change is also very interesting. It guarantees you one turn to pay for the cumulative upkeep, giving this card more longevity. It also fuels your own graveyard if you are playing a self-mill strategy.
Cole: Rakshasa Gravecaller has Unearth 2B. A very nice value addition to an already great card. From the graveyard, you can just exploit itself giving you two 2/2s for 2B which is a great deal. If you have a death trigger you need, you can exploit something else and attack for 3 haste.
Greg: Brain Freeze has Flashback 3U. Adding flashback to Brain Freeze helps a storm deck that wants to win over two turns. Or just as your only mill card, you could built up enough storm to us it as your control win-con. Casting it and flashing it back on the same turn seems unlikely, but if a storm deck is able to generate a ridiculous amount of mana, flashback will provide that deck a much larger win-con.
Rob P: Jungle Shrine is a Gate. This subtype lets Jungle Shrine be fetched by Gatecreeper Vine. The defender deck is focused in Naya, so Jungle Shrine seemed like the right change.
Carl: Phantom General has Convoke and Triplicate Spirits is an Instant. Both of these changes were to cards in his draft winning G/W tokens deck. Giving Phantom General convoke is a great flavor win. Making Triplicate Spirits an Instant is a raw power increase that does not change how the card is played too much.
Jake: Take Possession has Flash and Reckless Wurm has Cycling 3. Also, flavor text to Circular Logic. I’ll come clean. I had already assumed Take Possession had flash. Adding flash to it makes the 7 mana enchantment much more playable. Adding cycling to Reckless Wurm is a great choice. It adds two new ways to cast the card (see Ichor Slick). It also helps the R/W cycling deck. The option to add flavor text to a card is one that any player can make once per draft. I like that it makes My First Tome better and dynamic while allowing players to express themselves or memorialize particular moments.
Rob P: Doomed Traveler Investigates on ETB and Goblin Heelcutter has Haste. I drafted an aggressive deck to see if it was viable in this cube. The changes I made were to help the deck’s long-game. Investigate grabs you a card while haste naturally on Goblin Heelcutter helps keep the pressure on during late turns.
Cole: Blast of Genius has Cascade and Scry 1 and Sphinx’s Tutelage is a Shrine. These changes make Blast of Genius one of the most Izzet-y cards imaginable. I like the unpredictability the card has now. The Scry 1 helps craft your draw for the Blast of Genius when you are trying to dig for a high CMC spell or something else desirable. The Shrine change to Sphinx’s Tutelage is a speculatic one right now. There are no Hondens in the cube yet, but Sphinx’s Tutelage with Honden of Seeing Winds is a nifty combo.
Ryan: Pelakka Wurm has “If an effect an opponent controls would exile Pelakka wurm from the battlefield, draw 2 cards.” While the exact wording of the ability could use some work, the meaning is pretty clear. Ryan was playing Pelakka wurm and was tired of it being exiled and not getting the card value from its death trigger.
Rob A: Cloudgoat Ranger has Haste and flavor text to Radiant’s Judgement. Cloudgoat Ranger is a great curve topper for almost any white deck. Giving it haste helps close out the game quicker. I like that the Kithkin don’t have haste, meaning that the giant can get in for damage while the Kithkin defend.
Greg: Mulch has Scry 1. A simple change to a card, but gives you more control over what types of cards you put into your graveyard. I like scry on Sultai colored cards, since those decks most want Cellar Door and scrying allows you to track what cards are on the bottom of your graveyard.
Angelic Purge: Finding a way to get value out of the sacrifice may be the hardest part of this card, but not insurmountable. In white, the best creature it sac is Doomed Traveler or some token. Red and Black has creatures with death triggers and all colors have ways to benefit from things in the graveyard. It does not suffer from the same vulnerabilities that Oblivion Ring et all suffers from. What puts this card into consideration for me is the flexibility. Having a main deck answer to Pestilence, Flood, opposing O-Rings, etc is a big boon. I am always a fan of cutting a more narrow card from the cube (like Dismantling Blow) for a more versatile and interesting card. In this case, I will remove Dismantling Blow, move Momentary blink to the Azorius section of the cube, and add Angelic Purge.
Dauntless Cathar: I originally panned Dauntless Cathar, but after reading some other opinions on the card and reflecting on it further, I do think Dauntless Cathar is at least worth testing. The body is decent and the value in the graveyard makes it close to a two for one. White is the color with the least graveyard synergies, but Dauntless Cathar does not require extra work to be good. Dauntless Cathar will replace Ballynock Cohort for now. The Cohort is a strong card, there is no doubt about that. But it does not synergize well with anything besides more white creatures.
Inspiring Captain: The double white cost in Ampryn Tactician was keeping it back from making the cube. Since Inspiring Captain doesn’t have that problem, the likelihood of making the cube goes up immensely. There are already too many Trumpet Blast effects in the cube. I think that the Captain will replace one of them nicely. Of the three white trumpet blast effects (Fortify, Sanctified Charge, and Kytheon’s Tactics), I value the instant speed options over Kytheon’s Tactics. Inspiring Captain will replace Kytheon’s Tactics.
Just the Wind: I love Madness. Just the Wind is a flavor win, the madness cost is cheap enough and easy enough to take advantage of in blue that I should have no problem finding room for Just the Wind. I might even try and find some room for Circular Logic too. Reap the Seagraf has failed to impress. I will move Mystical Teachings to Dimir, remove Reap the Seagraf, and bring in Just the Wind.
Pieces of the Puzzle: Black and Green have always been better at getting cards into your graveyard with selection sorceries (like Commune with the Gods, Corpse Churn, etc). The cards like this usually put them at the bottom of the library. I have been looking for Blue cards to fuel the graveyard for some time and I think that Pieces of the Puzzle fits the bill. It drops five cards in the graveyard and grabs you two relevant spells. Pieces works better in the Blue/Red decks that can play 8-10 instants and soceries and that can put flashback cards into the graveyard. Whispers of the Muse has not impressed and blue control decks already have plenty of ways to get card advantage late in the game. I will cut Whispers of the Muse for Pieces of the Puzzle.
Stitched Mangler: This card compares favorable with Frost Lynx. The downside of coming into play tapped is worth the extra toughness and the relevant creature type. The real question is whether I replace Frost Lynx with this card or just boot something else. Spellstutter Sprite is a relic of older lists that more closely emulated constructed pauper decks. Spellstutter Sprite is out for Stitched Mangler.
Niblis of Dusk: This will be one of the easiest replacements. The cube does not need two Jeskai Windscouts. I like the card, but it is not a good enough rate to warrant two copies of it in the cube. The Niblis has a much more relevant creature type, granting it protection from Soul Rend. Niblis of Dusk replaces Jeskai Windscout.
Stormrider Spirit: Cutting Spellstutter Sprite makes Faeries an irrelevant creature type. Stormrider Spirit is also immune to Rend Flesh. The Invaders had stayed in the cube as a finisher that the Mystical Teachings decks could tutor for. Faerie Invaders will be removed for Stormrider Spirit.
Nephalia Seakite: I prefer the art of Nephalia Seakite over Sentinels of Glen Elendra. The Seakite will replace the Sentinels.
Ghoulcaller’s Accomplice: A bear with upside in black, graveyard/self-mill synergy, sacrifice value, and a relevant tribe? Sounds like a great deal. Most of Black’s 2 drops 1 power, so another more aggressive creature at 2 will help the black decks that want to turn their creatures sideways. Syndicate Enforcer is a bit expensive, which makes its Extort much worse.
Crow of Dark Tidings: This is another easy replacement. Necromancer’s Assistant was more a necessary evil than a card I liked running. The crow gives you a better body and mills you more cards across its life cycle. Necromancer’s Assistant will be removed for Crow of Dark Tidings.
Twins of Maurer Estate: A 3 mana 3/5 would make the cube easily. A 5 mana 3/5 is pretty much a joke. So the value of this card comes down to how often it can come into play for its madness value. Putrid Imp, Vampire Hounds, Looter il-Kor, and Merfolk Looter are some of the enablers already in the cube. Black 5 drops has gotten pretty crowded recently. If I bring in more enablers, the Twins will be a nice fit. Until then they will remain on deck.
Murderous Compulsion: A cheaper Assassinate that can be at instant speed with some work? This seems like the best common black madness card in the set. To really take advantage of this card, I would need to incorporate more discard outlets than are in the cube right now. Two of the discard outlets in black are creature card only (Tortured Existence and Vampire Hounds) so until I bring in more cards like Undertaker or Thought Courier, I will leave Murderous Compulsion as a maybe.
Sanitarium Skeleton: The skeleton has a lot of potential and this is a unique effect at pauper. It really shines when working with Tortured Existence. Like Ghoulcaller’s Accomplice it works well with self-mill and sacrifice strategies. It is even a decent rate for a 1 drop. I will try the Skeleton. Strangling Soot will be moved to Rakdos, Augur Spree will be cute for Sanitarium Skeleton.
Bloodmad Vampire: Even without the option for casting it without a discount, Bloodmad Vampire would be a decent inclusion for the cube. It works well with Temur Battle Rage. To really make the card shine, the cube would need a critical mass of discard outlets. Red has Mad Prophet, Faithless Looting, and Gathan Raiders. The Bloodmad Vampire is in the same place that the Twins of Maurer estate are. There are not enough discard outlets in the cube as it stands, but if I brought in cards like Tormenting Voice, we would reach a critical mass of outlets.
Voldaren Duelist: The ETB falter creatures are ones that I have underrated in the past. Fervent Cathar should be in the cube as it is. Voldaren Duelist is similar to Goblin Heelcutter. Many times the Heelcutter is enough to close out the game the first time it attacks, so the Duelist might be enough. Gorehorn Minotaurs has been a big guy with no evasion. Plus the harder casting cost makes it a less appealing choice. Voldaren Duelist will replace Gorehorn Minotaurs.
Pyre Hound: Before Pyre Hound gets any counters, it is not a very impressive creature. But in the U/R spells deck, the Pyre Hound can be a more reliable finisher than the Kiln Fiends when you have to play a longer game. Finding creatures that are relevant in this deck has been hard, so I will surely be able to find room for Pyre Hound. Spikeshot Goblin has not been very impressive. Red does not have any enchantments to make it larger and red also does not have much incentive to pick equipment cards.
Kessig Dire Swine: In most decks, the Swine will be worse than Vulpine Goliath. In the B/G decks where turning on Delirium is much easier, the Swine becomes a better Vulpine Goliath. The Fox did not fit into any particular archetype very well, so replacing it with the Swine is a no-brainer. Kessig Dire Swine is in for Vulpine Goliath.
Moldgraft Scavenger: The comparison of the Scavenger to Werebear is interesting. Both provide value in the early game, the Werebear for mana while the Scavenger is a better blocker. With threshold, the Werebear is a bigger creature, but delirum may be easier to achieve than threshold in a deck built for it. Green could use more creatures to play into the graveyard matters theme and the Scavenger will fit nicely. Priest of Titania did not impress as I hoped it did. Same can be said for Timberwatch Elf. If more elves make the cube (beyond just mana elves) I would be more inclined to support a elf tribal subtheme. Moldgraf Scavenger is in for Priest of Titania.
Stoic Builder: Stoic Builder is just a better Cartographer (with the exception of the art). I would like to find a card to replace with Stoic Builder, but this effect is a bit narrow. In the Red/Green lands deck, Sakura Tribe Scout is not statted aggressively enough to be a good inclusion in that deck. Stoic Build fits into the same archtype and has better synergies with other archetypes than Sakura Tribe Scout. Stoic Builder is replacing Sakura Tribe Scout.
Solitary Hunter: Flip cards are inherently cool. The art of this one is sweet too. Those things aside, the stats are pretty good. A 5/6 can attack through anything in the other colors than Noble Templar and Hexplate Golem. Werewolves at the higher end of the curve seem better, since you’re more likely to have a turn without casting a spell later in the game. Green 4 drops are pretty stacked, but finding room should be possible. Solitary Hunter replaces Timberwatch Elf.
Rabid Bite: This is one of the best pieces of green removal in pauper. Fall of the Hammer and Tail Slash have rarely made people’s cubes since they were printed, but they have to compete with red’s excellent burn spells at common. Green does not have the same embarrassment of riches that red does, so Rabid Bite can find a home. Crushing Vines is included in the cube for its versatility, but there are not many artifacts that are so strong or oppressive that the destroy artifact mode is not relevant. Rabid Bite will replace Crushing Vines.
Vessel of Nascency: At first glance, I disregarded this card. After further investigation, I am sure that it will replace Commune with the Gods. It has a couple down sides, it dumps one less card in the graveyard for delving purposes and it costs a total of one green more. But the upsides are more plentiful. You can activate it at instant speed instead of being limited to sorcery. In the aura deck, it can sit around and count towards your enchantment count for Ancestral Mask or Ethereal Armor. Its easy to get in the bin for Auramancer and Griffin Dreamfinder. It can grab you a land if you need it (and even an artifact, though I imagine that will easily be the least used mode). The benefits greatly outweigh the downsides here and I will be making this change as soon as I can get my hands on this Vessel. Vessel of Nascency replaces Commune with the Gods.
Warped Landscape: I was hoping for a renamed Evolving Wilds reprint, but Warped Landscape is another spin on the same thing. Coming into play untapped is nice and there are times that I have fantasized about a fetch land that could tap for mana until I wanted to crack it. Including Warped Landscape would be easier than finding room for the Panorama cycle and each fetch that gets added to the deck makes the landfall deck better, makes fixing better, and makes playing Brainstorm more feasible. I still don’t think that Warped Landscape will make it in, but I will keep it in mind in case I make any major changes to the lands section.
Ancient Grudge: In an effort to tidy up the multicolored section, Hull Breach will be removed and Ancient Grudge will move to the Gruul slot. Fervent Cathar comes in for the slot that Ancient Grudge vacated.
Hand of Emrakul: Hexplate Golem was included as a pay off for Etherium Sculptor and Vedalken Engineer. The UW artifact deck is more aggressive and does not want to play Hexplate Golem or the Engineer. Hand of Emrakul can be played in any deck and is another creature worth reanimating. Hexplate Golem is removed for Hand of Emrakul.
Benthic Giant: Benthic Giant is the biggest Hexproof creature you can get in pauper. Its big, it blocks well, and it wears auras well. Blue does not have a lot of been at the end of the curve and I hope Benthic Giant can help give blue a better late game creature. I have seen the giant in many other lists, but this will be my first time giving it a try. Benthic Giant replaces Vedalken Engineer.
Khalni Garden: Khalni Garden fit in the Green utility land slot while there wasn’t a better alternative. Turntimber Grove fits in with the landfall deck much better. For that reason, Khalni Garden is out for Turntimber Grove.
Cube List: http://www.cubetutor.com/viewcube/16870
Its been a while since I made an article about my updated Pauper Cube list. With Oath just out, here are the cards I am considering for the cube.
Searing Light: Most of the conditional removal in white is too inefficient or too conditional (Smite the Monstrous, Pillar of Light, Divine Judgement, Kill Shot). The O-Ring types of effects have long been the king of white’s removal in the cube. Celestial Flare has been a bit of an exception since it can hit the hexproof deck. Searing Light is efficiently costed and plays well vs defenders.
Shoulder to Shoulder: Being a sorcery keeps this from having the blowout potential that Common Bond has and Travel Preparations packs more value. Having said that, I have been very impressed with this card so far and it may find a place in the cube. More +1/+1 counter matters cards would make this better. More commons along the caliber of Ainok Bond-Kin and Sporeback Troll would be nice.
Blinding Drone: Blinding Drone is the only <> mana card that I am considering for the cube. Currently there are only six cards in the cube that make <> mana (Quicksand, Haunted Fengraf, Mindstone, Prismatic Lense, Kozilek’s Channeler, and Desert) with a seventh under consideration. As a tapper, it does a good job. The tapping ability is cheap and non-conditional. The body is nice (it can tap or block Guardian of the Guildpact too). If I were to include the card, I would need to consider how or if I would like to include wastes. Having some number on hand to hand over to the player that drafts blinding drone isn’t a satisfactory way to handle it. On the other hand, the list is already pretty tight and finding room for another land that would only be played with Blinding Drone is similarly unsatisfactory.
Slip Through Space: I currently run Artful Dodge (and to a lesser extent, Apostle’s Blessing) to allow the fiend creatures to get through. I think that Distortion Strike is better than Slip Through Space, so I don’t see myself putting this in the cube.
Comparative Analysis: At worst its Inspiration, which hasn’t been in the cube in a while, at best its an instant Divination. It still can’t compete with Compulsive Research or the other niche card draw spells. If I need to bring in another draw card to the cube, I can see myself bringing in Comparative Analysis.
Containment Membrane: This card has been pretty good in Oath limited. It gets even better in this cube where there are plenty of tap effects that can preemptively tap a creature. There are only two of this type of enchantment in the cube now, so perhaps I could stand to add another of this effect.
Kozilek’s Translator: This card fits well with black control decks. Its body blocks well and help generate extra mana to pull ahead with kickers, X spells, and other hay makers.
Corpse Churn: Black has strong graveyard synergies with multiple colors in the cube, but finding cards that milled you that were worth playing have been difficult. Corpse Churn being instant speed is great here. I am confident that I will find room in the cube for Corpse Churn.
Vampire Envoy: Vampire Envoy is almost a two card combo with Kalastria Nightwatch. Its stats are great, flying helps block. The Envoy doesn’t have enough synergies for my liking. The only “whenever you gain life” triggers are Kalastria Nightwatch and Nirkana Assassin, the latter is not good enough for the cube. Perhaps the Envoy will shine if more of those triggers are put at common.
Goblin Freerunner: Freerunner is close enough to a two drop 3/2 menace with relevant creature typing that he will have no problem making the cube.
Zada’s Commando: In the long history of red common 2 drops, red has never had a Youthful Knight. Riot Piker was the closest, but frequently enough found itself being blocked by 2/3s or 1/4s. The commando does not have the same downsides, while still being a relevant creature type with a great body.
Scion Summoner: Scion Summoner is efficient and synergizes well with the morbid cards in Green and the trumpet blast cards in White. The cube is full of X/1s which makes the Scion token a very capable blocker. Green could use some help in the three drop category.
Lead by Example: Lead by Example is best compared to two cards already in the cube, Travel Preparations and Common Bond. Compared to Travel Prep, you get instant speed but lose the flashback. Common Bond is harder to cast and more expensive, but you can put both counters on the same creature. If I make a cut, it will probably be Common Bond, but the Selesnya section of pauper is not particularly deep for the Auras deck.
Loam Larva: Loam Larva is the best blocker in the mana related green 2 drops. But putting the land on the top of the library is a very real downside compared to a card like Sylvan Ranger.
Tajuru Pathwarden: Pathwarden is big and having Vigilance on your finisher is huge. I’ve been impressed with Oakgnarl Warrior and the Pathwarden does a similar job. It is a more relevant creature type. Green five drops are pretty solid as is, but I am sure I will find some room for the Pathwarden.
Vines of the Recluse: When I am considering a combat trick for the cube, it needs to be one of three things. One option is a combat trick with good potential for a 2-for-1. Tandem Tactics and Symbiosis fit this bill. Another type of trick is a bloodrush creature. The third combat trick I would consider is an exceptionally efficient combat trick, like Swift Justice. Vines falls into the third category. When you play it, your creature is likely to survive combat and beat the opponents creature, sometimes ambushing an attacker. Green decks can make good advantage of combat tricks like this.
Crumbling Vestige: This land has been making some waves in constructed pauper, but without a need for colorless mana, I don’t see this land making the cut.
Holdout Settlement: This land is much more likely to make the cut. There are enough ways to make tokens to mitigate needing to tap a creature. The cube can always use more lands that tap for five colors.
Hand of Emrakul: Hand of Emrakul may make its triumphant return to the cube. Kozilek’s Channeler makes casting this more reasonable for non-green decks. Hand is another good reanimator target. I was hoping for another large eldrazi getting printed at common in Oath, but Kozilek’s Pathrazer doesn’t quite cut it.
Dread Drone: Emrakul’s Hatcher did not impress and felt pretty out of place in the cube. RG is less of a ramp deck now, so the hatcher does not have a place in the cube. Dread Drone provides drones which work well with both Morbid and the sacrifice themes in black. Unfortunately black 5 drops is already pretty stacked and I’d bring in Predatory Nightstalker before Dread Drone.
Fiery Temper: I’ve been eyeing Fiery Temper for a while now. I’m partial to any removal spell that becomes premium with a little bit of work. Both Blue and Red have looting effects and using a Fiery Temper to flip a Gathan Raiders sounds incredible. Plus the incoming reprint in Shadows Over Innistrad hints at some more support for red madness (plus the new art is super sweet).
Cuombajj Witches is replaced by Corpse Churn
Returned Centaur is replaced by Predatory Nightstalker
Shadowcloak Vampire is replaced by Dread Drone
Generator Servant is replaced by Zada’s Commando
Emrakul’s Hatcher is replaced by Goblin Freerunner
Volcanic Rush is replaced by Fiery Temper
Glade Watcher is replaced by Scion Summoner
Elvish Aberration is replaced by Tajuru Pathwarden
Magic Origins has been out for a couple weeks and I’ve been able to form some opinions about the commons in the set. As I watch the Pro-Tour coverage I thought I would write down some of my thoughts about what will be brought into the cube.
Aerial Volley: Flier specific hate (Plummet, Pistus Strike, etc.) has been phased out of the cube in favor of fight cards and cards that can hit artifacts and/or enchantments too (Return to the Earth, Crushing Vines). Aerial Volley might have what it takes to make the cube, since its very possible to make this card a 2 for 1. Even if you shoot all 3 at a single creature, its a one mana answer to the majority of the fliers in the cube. Pauper doesn’t have access to the huge fliers (angels, demons, dragons, sphinxs) that are outside of this card’s damage range, so this is probably a better card in the cube than even Magic Origins limited.
Akroan Sergeant: 3 mana red 2/2s with upside seem a dime a dozen for the pauper cube. The sergeant is competing directly with Blur Sliver, Ghitu Slinger, Inner-Flame Acolyte, Inner-Flame Igniter, Minotaur Skullcleaver, Manic Vandal, Ronin Houndmaster, Splatter Thug, and Suq’Ata Lancer. Of those cards, the one I am most likely to replace is Inner-Flame Acolyte. Of course if the Sergeant gets a hit in, a 3/3 first strike for 3 is better than most of the aforementioned cards, but getting in seems to be the hard part.
Ampryn Tactician: Ampryn Tactician is like Inner-Flame Igniter in that it works best in the R/W deck and helps replace a trumpet-blast type card for a creature that has a similar (albeit lesser) effect. The mana cost is definitely a turn off, but I don’t know if it would be an auto-include at 3W either.
Artificer’s Epiphany: I briefly considered this card as a pay-off card for the W/U artifacts deck, but it seems like a terrible payoff card.
Boggart Brute: See the entry on Akroan Sergeant. There are some bad red 1 drops still linger in my cube, so some room might for the brute. Goblin is a relevant creature type.
Caustic Caterpillar: I think the argument between this card and naturalize is pretty interesting. Green doesn’t need another naturalize effect and I think that Nantuko Vigilante and Wickerbough Elder are both better than this. If you wanted to play this just as a naturalize, the extra mana to cast the caterpillar is a big deal. On the other hand, being able to attack, block, come back from the grave yard, be soul bonded, etc. does represent a ton of upside for being a creature. I think the caterpillar will replace Naturalize.
Deadbridge Shaman: Deadbridge Shaman fits perfectly into the new B/R sac deck. It has impressed me in Origins limited and I think will fit nicely into the cube.
Enlightened Ascetic: White only have five ways to deal with enchantments right now in the cube. I would like to find a place for Enlightened Ascetic, but I’m not sure what it would replace. If only War Priest of Thune were a common.
Fetid Imp: Flying and deathtouch is an excellent combination of keywords. The need to keep one black up for multiple turns can be rough or laughably easy, depending on your curze. I think the imp is better than Deathgaze Cockatrice and Pestilent Karathi, but I don’t think it is better than Hand of Silumgar (which is currently absent).
Fiery Impulse: Fiery Impulse is only on this list because I have had a lot of people ask about whether I am including it in my cube or not. The answer is no. While it is an excellent card in Magic Origins limited, it has to compete with Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, Chain Lightning, Shock, etc. and I don’t think it stands up well against them. If you want to reduce the strength of the removal in your cube, this card is a worthy replacement.
Ghirapur Gearcrafter: This is the easiest inclusion in the cube. It slots right into the W/R archetype and its strong on its own. Finding something to replace will be the hardest part.
Grasp of the Hieromancer: In the G/W auras deck, the Green auras are the auras that really buff your creature while most of the white auras are the sweet removal auras (Pacifism etc). Grasp of the Hieromancer is a good white aura that buffs your creature but also gives it pseudo-evasion. White has a ton of creatures right now. I might cut some creatures for some nice more auras.
Knight of the Pilgrim’s Road: The 2 toughness is a deal-breaker for this card. White already has a glut of 3 drops and the knight doesn’t cut it.
Kytheon’s Tactics: While a sorcery, I think the discount and potential spell-master upside make this a better card than Inspired Charge. I haven’t seen many defensive Inspired Charges in the cube and if you’re casting your trumpet blast spell to win the game, it doesn’t seem to matter much if it is during combat or first main phase.
Reave Soul: This is another example of a removal spell that is good, but not good enough for the cube. If you want to nerf your black removal, this is a good alternative to Doom Blade types of spells.
Rhox Maulers: Rhox Maulers is a respectable beater and I have seen some people include them in their pauper lists, but its competition at 5 cmc Green creature is pretty stiff. Nessian Asp, Sentinel Spider, and Stampeding Elk Herd are all better than the Maulers. If I were to open up a slot at 5 CMC for Green, Rhox Maulers would be in contention with Ghor-Clan Savage and Rubbleback Rhino, depending on the type of card I’m looking for.
Ringwarden Owl: The Owl is another decent creature at a contested spot. Right now, it is competing with Faerie Invaders, Prescient Chimera, and Mulldrifter. Aven Surveryor isn’t in the cube yet, but would fit in this slot. Chasm Drake, Gryff Vanguard, Killer Whale, and Sky Eel School are cards I have seen people put in their cube that are competing with Ringwarden Owl. The Owl fits best into the UR Stormish deck, where the owl would be able to beat any of these other fliers. I don’t think that the UR deck wants a 5 drop creature all that much, but the Owl is at least worth considering.
Separatist Voidmage: Wizards seems to be printing a new Man-o-War around once a block now and it starts to become a question of how many can you really play in the cube? I currently play Man-o-War, Aether Adept, and Mist Raven which is a pretty light amount of these creatures given other cubes I have looked at. Aethersnipe is big enough to warrant playing and Aven Surveyor is probably good enough. I don’t love Voidweilder’s stats and won’t make the cube. The Voidmage is still probably good enough to make the cube as an easier to cast Aether Adept and a worse Man-o-War.
Shambling Ghoul: Being a zombie is relevant in the cube, so the question comes down to whether the 2/3 that ETBs tapped is a good enough body. With Butcher Ghoul, Shepherd of Rot, Sultai Emissary, and Nightscape Familiar, there are relevant 2 drop zombies in the cube already. If Slivers are removed or scaled down from the cube, that will free up some space at 2 CMC for Shambling Ghoul.
Stalwart Aven: The only 3 CMC white flier in the cube right now is Skyhunter Skirmisher. A 1/3 doesn’t block a lot of the red 3 drops, but if it can get a hit in and be a 2/4, but can block much better.
Suppression Bonds: A Faith’s Fetters that doesn’t gain you four life is still pretty relevant. It fits well into the G/W auras deck, helps give White more main deckable answers to Pestilence, Flood, Escape Routes, and Tortured Existence, and while pauper doesn’t have problem equipment like Swords or Jitte, sometimes turning off the Vulshok Morningstar is very relevant.
Topan Freeblade: Topan Freeblade is a boogeyman in Origins limited, but I’m not sure if it is good enough to make the papuer cube. In Magic Origins, this card becomes difficult to interact or trade with in any quick way after becoming renown. The power level of removal and creatures is much higher and the cube and it is harder for this card to run away with a game.
Wild Instincts: While Wild Instincts is a decent removal spell in Magic Origins limited, it is hard to compete with Green’s other fight spells. I think that Epic Confrontation, Savage Punch, Prey Upon, and Pit Fight are all better for various reasons. Hunt the Weak, Mutant’s Prey, and Time to Feed are all about the same power level as Wild Instincts, so not good enough for the cube. I think that Wild Instincts is the best of those bunch, but doesn’t fit into the cube yet.
Cards coming in: Caustic Catapillar, Deadbridge Shaman, Ghirapur Gearcrafter, Kytheon’s Tactics, Separatist Voidmage, Suppression Bonds.
Kytheon’s Tactics replaces Inspired Charge
Suppression Bonds replaces Cenn’s Enlistment. Cenn’s Enlistment was the least impressive of the token makers and Icatian Crier gives the deck better legs at the end of the game.
Triplicate Spirits replaces Captain’s Call. This replacement is pretty much a strict upgrade. Captain’s Call will usually be cast for around four mana and the flying gives these tokens a huge edge when casting the trumpet blast effects.
Ghirapur Gearcrafter replaces Mogg Conscripts. Mogg Conscripts is not a great 1 drop in cube and goblins isn’t as supported as it used to be.
Snakeform brought back in to replace Winged Coatl. Snakeform and Winged Coatl are basically both removal spells in most situations. Snakeform gets the edge because it cantrips.
Deadbridge Shaman replaces Carnophage. Carnophage has been in the cube since its inception, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it actually played. There isn’t a critical mass of aggressive black low drops to support a really good black aggressive deck that Carnophage would fit into. Perhaps one day I will reconsider, but until then I think Deadbridge Shaman is a better fit.
Separatist Voidmage replaces Cloaked Siren. I like Sentinels of Glen Elendra over Cloaked Siren since it is a better ambusher and is a faerie for Spellstutter Sprite.
Caustic Caterpillar replaces Naturalize.
Common Bond replaces Scion of Vitu-Ghazi. While Scion is a big beater, it doesn’t really fit into the G/W decks ideas. Common Bond is a great combat trick and G/W are the colors that would most benefit from a few more combat tricks.
Every supplemental product is exciting for a curator of a pauper cube. These products don’t usually get most cube designers excited because they don’t add new cards to the card pool. Maybe some new art, but no new cards. But for a pauper cube, every new duel deck, remastered set, MTGO exclusive release, brings with it the possibility of new cards for a cube. This is why I made an update for the cube for Tempest Remastered and Modern Masters 2015.
“Rarity Downshift” is one of my favorite phrases in all of Magic. In this post I will look at the new commons thanks to Tempest Remastered and Modern Masters 2015 and consider whether or not they will be part of the cube.
Bottle Gnomes: Maybe if the life gain was a death trigger, this would be of consideration. I can see where this card was much better when damage was on the stack, but as is I don’t think it makes the cut.
Armor Sliver/Mnemonic Sliver/Barbed Sliver/Horned Sliver: I’ve been thinking more and more about the Sliver deck in the cube. I’ll probably need to write a second post about my changes, but long story short, Horned Sliver will make the cut, maybe Barbed Sliver, no to Armor and Mnemonic Sliver.
Staunch Defenders: Better than Tireless Missionaries, but I suppose that is not a ringing endorsement. Right now the 5 drops in white are either specialized cards (Griffin Dreamfinder, Lymph Sliver, and Totem-Guide Hartebeast) or some of the best white creatures in the cube (Custodi Squire/Supply Line Cranes). White is a very aggressive color in my cube I don’t want to add a new five drop to it. Compared to Seraph of the New Dawn, I would rather have the angel in almost every scenario. I think it is a pretty apt comparison.
Whispers of the Muse: Blue already has Capsize as a powerful endgame buy back card, but I can see the case for Whispers of the Muse. One of blue’s strengths in Pauper is that there are many decent card draw spells. Oona’s Grace already got some play in constructed pauper and had been considered in the cube. I think the discussion of Whispers of the Muse vs Oona’s Grace is one I will have to think about more to decide. I could see cutting one of the weaker draw spells (like Inspiration) in favor of one of those spells.
Elven Rite: Its amazing what used to be an uncommon sometimes. This spell is a real poor man’s Travel Prep and I can’t really imagine playing this card.
Verdigris: This was once an uncommon? A more expensive shatter. Jeeeeeeez.
Patchwork Gnomes: Maybe if they print some more Madness cards and I need a discard outlet.
Skyshaper: Why even?
Telethopter: A bit too fragile for a four drop artifact.
It seems like the Peasant cubes were the ones that got the most out of Tempest Remastered with Soltari Champion and Hermit Druid.
Modern Masters 2015
Conclave Phalanx: This card compares interestingly to Staunch Defenders. Less power than the Defenders, but with the potential to gain more life and be easier to cast. The white token decks don’t really want this creature as a finisher.
Skyhunter Skirmisher: As is, I would want Leonin Skyhunter most of the time. If I want to support more equipment (more on that later) Skyhunter Skirmisher might be a better inclusion. At the mana cost it is competing with Wingsteed Rider. Wingsteed Rider is more resilient to Red damage based removal and Green fighting cards. On the other hand, the Skirmisher’s damage dealing potential goes through the roof with something like Armadillo Cloak. I think I will take out the Wingsteed Rider and try Skyhunter Skirmisher.
Telling Time: Blue already has Preordain, Serum Visions, Brain Storm, Sleight of Hand, and Anticipate, all of which are some degrees better than Telling Time. Even then, they don’t all make it into the cube. This is a pretty easy pass.
Vigean Graftmage: +1/+1 counters is a neat theme that I’ve considered for a while in Bant. What I’ve really been waiting for are some more lord-ish cards like Ainok Bond-Kin and Spore Back Troll to make the archetype supportable. Vigean Graftmage is a bit behind the curve as a 3 mana 2/2, but the untap ability is very interesting and could be combined with some instant speed counters to ambush attackers.
Thrummingbird: Thrummingbird is an interesting card. There are plenty of +1/+1 counters to proliferate, a few -1/-1 counters, and even some neat counters like Arrowhead counters. I don’t know if there is enough of a concentration to support Thurmmingbird in the cube though.
Ghostly Changeling: Right now, Changeling matters for Goblin Matron, Sparksmith, Timberwatch Elf, Priest of Titania, and various Zombie cards. Its a fine card. Perhaps not as big a threat a perilous shadow in the late game, but threat of activation might help it get in for damage during the midgame. As the cube stands, I don’t think the tribal synergies makes the card better than Frozen Shade.
Plagued Rusalka: Worst case scenario, its a Festering Goblin that requires some extra mana, but there is so much room for more interesting plays. This card fits perfectly into the new R/B sacrifice archetype. It can make combat math a nightmare for your opponent and turn your token spells into removal spells. I’m very excited about including this card.
Thief of Hope: There are only three creatures Thief of Hope could actually soulshift into right now. There are even fewer arcane spells. A spirit archetype is more viable now thanks to Thief of Hope, but I’m not interested in bringing it in now. I would work best as a G/B or W/B archetype, but I am pretty happy where both of those are right now.
Dragonsoul Knight: I took out all the Domain cards from the cube a while ago and don’t imagine bringing the archetype back anytime soon. But if I do, this card will definitely be in consideration.
Viashino Slaughtermaster: A two mana 1/1 double strike is already worth considering. I imagine this card will replace Jund Sojourners as the Jund card in my cube. I just wish it were a goblin.
Inner-Flame Igniter: This card fits nicely into the R/W decks. Having what is basically a reusable trumpet blast is great. The Igniter is a bit of flood insurance, so that even if you’re drawing your ninth land, you tokens will still pack a punch.
Gut Shot: Gut Shot is poised to be the most influential card in pauper constructed from Modern Masters 2015. I don’t think it will make the same ripples in the cube. While 1 damage will kill many creatures in the cube, you don’t have the same demand for a turn 1 answer to Delver that Pauper constructed does.
Scion of the Wild: This card would better suit my cube as the white version (Crusader of Odric), due to the R/W token making decks. Green decks (outside of those with Sprout Swarm) don’t usually make a ton of tokens and even if this were a 3 mana 5/5 or 6/6, I don’t think its anything insane in the cube. The lack of evasion really limits this card’s quality and it is an abysmal top deck into an empty board, where a card like Wooly Loxodon or Vulpine Goliath would shine.
Alloy Myr: I already play Scuttlemutt in the cube, where it is a solid role player with some nice corner case applications. If I wanted a (mostly) second copy of Scuttlemutt, I would play the Alloy Myr, but as it will not make the cut.
Cathodion: The 10th edition rule changes made this card really solid. A 3 mana 3/3 is good in any deck and a clever player can take advantage of the death trigger. This card fits very nicely into the R/B sac deck that was just introduced into the cube. Casting Vulturous Aven, sacrificing Cathodion, and being able to cast one of the drawn cards seems sweet.
Runed Servitor: In comparison, you need to jump through some hoops to get an advantage from this guy.
Rusted Relic: Getting two other artifacts in play seems easy enough in a dedicated artifact deck. The pay-off isn’t great. In the cube this may be better than Myr Enforcer. Say you have 3 artifacts (enough to make their casting costs equivalent), the enforcer is a 4/4 but the relic is a 5/5. Relic will most likely probably replace Myr Enforcer or another creature in the archetype.
Sickleslicer: Until Sicklesliver, pauper only had Flayerhusk as a living weapon and Sickleslicer’s evaluation is pretty similar. Both are sub-par creatures, but not unplayably so. As equipment, the equip costs are a bit steep (Lenonin Scimitar and Vulshok Morning Star for comparison). But the fact that they can be creatures and equipment helps turn them into a playable package. Plus the art is awesome.
Sphere of the Suns: I am playing Darksteel Ingot in the cube right now and Sphere of the Suns is almost certainly better. Its ramps, unlike prophetic prism, but doesn’t cantrip. There aren’t a whole lot of ways to recharge the counters, but at least it sticks around to count towards metalcraft, which helps give it the edge over Traveler’s Amulet.
Nameless Inversion: I was aware of Nameless Inversion’s existence for a while, but I did not include it in the cube for a while. I am not sure what I was missing about it, but it seems like a good replacement for Last Gasp. It is true that Last Gasp will be a better removal spell in some circumstances, but the interactions with Goblin Matron, Ghoul Raiser, Cruel Revival, and Ghoulcaller’s Chant and the cases where you cast it on your own creature make it much more interesting in my estimation.
Bladed Bracers: Maybe I enjoy equipment too much, but I think Bladed Bracers could be very interesting in the cube. Paying 2 to equip for +1/+1 seems a bit much when compared to Leonin Scimitar, Vulshuk Morningstar, or Bonesplitter. Granting vigilance to humans and angels is pretty relevant. 61 cards in the cube are Angels or Humans. I didn’t play Avacyn Restored limited but a Seraph of Dawn with Bladed Bracers seems terrifying to stare down. There are plenty of humans with tap abilities where the vigilance would be relevant, pingers, tappers, among others.
Auriok Glaivemaster/Kitesail Apprentice/Leonin Den-Guard/Skyhunter Cub/Sunspear Shikari: In previous Gatherer searches to find cards for U/B, I had searched for artifact creatures and colored cards that references artifacts. Something I totally forgot to search for was cards referencing equipment. I could see replacing some number of the creatures in the W/U deck with these creatures. The cube currently has Leonin Scimitar, Bonesplitter, Vulshok Morningstar, Flayer Husk, Viridian Longbow, and Cranial Plating. Adding Bladed Bracers and Sickleslicer would create the critical mass of equipment needed to support these creatures.
As the cube has really started to come together and the archetypes are getting better defined, the B/R archetype has become the least defined and least interesting. It was supposed to be an aggressive goblin tribal archetype. The red part of the color pair did most of the work. The only black goblins were Festering Goblin, Goblin Turncoat, Frogtosser Banneret, Warren Pilferers, and Facevaulter. Goblin Turncoat is bad. Facevaulter is not great and is similar to Goblin Sledder and Mogg Raider, but less versatile. Frogtosser Banneret was helpful, but a lot of the goblins were one mana to begin with and it did not help reduce the cost of the goblin token making red cards. There were also no great candidates for multicolored B/R cards to push a player to that archetype. Goblin Outlander and Goblin Deathraiders aren’t strong enough to justify their difficult mana costs. For all these reasons, I’ve been trying to find a different theme for B/R.
The idea came from two main places. The first was the new Exploit mechanic from Dragons of Tarkir. The other source of inspiration as the Sac deck from M14. There already existed some cards in the cube that would support a sacrifice centered deck. So I started looking at some cards and divided the pieces of the archetype into three subsets of cards, cards to sacrifice (the food), cards to sacrifice to, and auxiliary cards that supported the theme.
Cards to Sacrifice to:
Silumgar Butcher, Vulturous Aven, and Qarsi Sadist: The effects from the Butcher and the Aven are both worth a card, while the Sadist is not. The Sadist is the best to combine with an Act of Treason effect, but I’m not sure if that makes it worth including.
Fling, Collateral Damage, Altar’s Reap, Bonesplinters, and Innocent Blood: Fling is already included in the cube as a finisher in the R/G or U/R decks. Collateral Damage looks pretty silly in a pack next to Lightning Bolt. Sorcery speed really limits how good Bonesplinters can be. In a normal deck, you might get some value by sacing a creature that has been pacified or something similar. Not being able to sac a creature that is being targeted by removal limits its strength. The same reason is why Altar’s Reap is included. Innocent Blood is a good edict effect for black decks to combat the auras decks. The cube currently has Diabolic Edict and Geth’s Verdict and I have been trying to find some space for Chainer’s Edict (thanks to Vintage masters), so I’m not sure if Innocent Blood has a place.
Viscera Seer, Blood Bairn, Nantuko Husk, Phyrexian Ghoul, Dimir Houseguard: Viscera Seer (infinite combos aside) is not a great card. Maybe if we has a 2 mana 2/1 or 1/3, bit might be worth playing. As is, I don’t think it has a big enough effect. Blood Bairn, Nantuko Husk, and Phyrexian Ghoul are all almost identical cards. The Husk and the Ghoul are better than the Bairn due to relevant creature types. Of the two, Nantuko Husk’s art is much cooler. I could see including both though. Dimir Houseguard’s effect is about as bad as it gets, but the rest of the card is interesting. Being able to transmute for Pestilence and Evincar’s Justice is great in the decks that have those cards. Most interestingly, you can transmute for snuff out and still be able to cast it.
After getting in a few more drafts with the cube, I’ve made a few changes.
Out: Hearth Charm, Midnight Charm, Vision Charm, Icatian Javelineers, and Wirewood Herald
In: Hexplate Golem, Mind Stone, Darksteel Ingot, Lurking Automaton, Whispergear Sneak
After a few more drafts I’ve gotten the feedback that it has been hard to get the critical amount of artifacts needed for the U/W artifact deck. The cards taken out are cards that weren’t really pulling their weight. The Charms are the remnants of a failed attempt to find charms worth including in the cube. The Wirewood Herald is also a card included from a much earlier draft of the cube that tried to support a mono-green elf deck. I wanted to cut a card from each color so I could keep the color distribution and Icatian Javelineers seemed like the card that would be least missed. Hexplate Golem is there so that control decks has access to a strong defensive creature that can double as a win-con. Its big enough to survive the fight cards and damaged based removal. It is very expensive, but the next two inclusions help mitigate that somewhat. Mindstone and Darksteel Ingot are two cards that I just didn’t realize were common. Every Mindstone printing (after the first) has been uncommon, so that was one I didn’t realize was eligible for the cube until recently. Similar situation with Darksteel Ingot. Lurking Automaton and Whispergear Sneak are two more conspiracy cards I wanted to include with Cogwork Librarian and Sentinel Dispatch. Knowing that there is only one in the cube makes Lurking Automaton more interesting than in a regular Conspiracy draft. Whispergear Sneak suffers a bit since you can’t crack a pack when you case it. We will see how they go. It may be better to include Cogwork Spy since it is a better body, but I think Whispergear Sneak adds something more interesting to the draft.
Out: Leaf Arrow
In: Return to the Earth
If Leaf Arrow did 4 or 5 damage, it would be a more defensible inclusion. When it comes down to it, Leaf Arrow doesn’t kill Supply Line Cranes or Spire Golem. Green already has plenty of reach creatures and some fight cards, so Leaf Arrow didn’t really have a place in the cube. Return to the Earth makes up in flexibility in what it loses in mana cost.
Out: Gleeful Sabotage
In: Nantuko Vigilante
In the situations where you want to conspire Gleeful Sabotage, taking out two targets seems awesome. Draft scenarios include hitting Myr Enforcer and Armadillo Cloak or something crazy like that. But being a sorcery really makes it suffer. Nantuko Vigilante is a card that is already considered a staple in many pauper cubes. Since I started supporting more morph, including the Vigilante seemed like a no brainer. In addition to that, I generally prefer to have ETB spell like effects on a creature instead of a spell.
Out: Lys Alana Huntmaster
As mentioned in Wirewood Herald, Lys Alana Huntermaster is left over from an attempted Mono-Green Elf deck. It was taken out because there was not a great way to take advantage of the Huntmaster. The CMC of 4 really hurt it. Every other elf (besides Elvish Abberation) cost less than Huntmaster, so the best case scenario for Huntermaster was that he made top-decking a mana elf later in the game less painful. The other Elf Lord-ish cards (Priest of Titania and Timberwatch Elf) can function on their own without being embarrassing while casting Lys Alana Huntermaster as a card to case 4 mana 3/3, is pretty embarrassing. Werebear is just a sweet card. Its mana early and a beater later. There are ways to fill your graveyard in Sultai so getting to threshold is not impossible.
Plummet is too narrow a card for the cube. Green already has access to fit cards and has flying removal with Crushing Vines and Return to the Earth. That is all on top of Sentinel Spider, Somberwald Spider, Nessian Asp, Deadly Recluse, Court Archers, and Penumbra Spider. Trollhide was included to give some more green auras for the White/Green aura deck. I took out Pentarch Ward in favor of a green aura. At common, it doesn’t get much better than Trollhide.
Out: Assault Strobe
In: Temur Battlerage
While Battlerage is not a strictly better Assault Strobe, the one mana difference does not always matter. The situations were you get the trample or use battlerage as a removal spell are much more common that the games that you were able to go off with Assault Strobe because it was only one mana. Temur Battlerage is also a much better card in a pack when there isn’t a Fiend deck at the table.
Out: Seething Song
In: Goblin Heelcutter
Goblin Heelcutter has impressed me in FTF draft so far. Seething Song was rarely a wise card to play. Only the most dedicated stormish/fiend decks wanted Seething Song and it was a dead card in every other deck. Heelcutter has much broader appear. It also helps that he is a goblin.
Out: Goblin Warstrike
In: Mardu Scout
Massive Raid was not good enough to include in the cube and Goblin War Strike is not too different and probably worse than Massive Raid. If the War Strike could hit a player, it would be worse considering. Mardu Scout is another FTF card that has impressed me so far. Dash is surprisingly strong in the late game. A RR 3/1 is pretty good, being able to dash it is better, and being a goblin makes it just good enough to be included.
Out: Thunderscape Apprentice
In: Kuldotha Ringleader
Red at common does not have many stand out cards outside of various burn spells and hasty creatures. Kuldotha Ringleader is a card to include that gives Red something a little big bigger at the top of the curve. It also supports the Red/White tokens theme.
Out: Frogtosser Banneret
In: Sultai Emissary
Reducing the costs of your goblins by 1 looks a lot better than it actually is. A large amount of the goblins in the cube are already 1 mana goblins. The reduction of the cost of rogues is interesting (3 mana for Balustrade Spy or Syndicate Enforcer is more appealing), but not relevant either. Sultai Emissary is most comparable to Butcher Ghoul, but Emissary has the upside of sometimes manifesting a creature. The Emissary going to the graveyard, instead of being bought back like Butcher Ghoul, is also relevant for cards like Ghoulraiser, Ghoulcaller’s Chant, and Cruel Revival.
Out: Gempalm Polluter
In: Shepherd of Rot
If I had an infinite amount of space, I would include both of these cards to help support zombies. Since the Shepherd is a repeatable effect, I think it edges out Gempalm Polluter.
In: Dead Weight
In most situations, Disfigure is the better card. It is difficult to balance the strength of the removal in the cube against the strength of the creatures in the cube, so nerfing some removal is something I am okay with. Dead Weight becomes better in White/Black when you can bring it back with Auramancer or Griffin Dreamfiner or when you can tutor for it with Heliod’s Pilgrim or Totem Guide Hartebeest. Those interactions, in addition to the willingess to lower the power level of removal made this a pretty easy switch.
Out: Cloud of Faeries
In: Looter il-Kor
Cloud of Faeries is not as broken in cube as it is in the pauper constructed decks. In ideal scenarios, you would be above a mana or two, but you still played a 1/1 flying. Looter il-Kor has better evasion and another looting effect helps the Sultai graveyard decks.
Out: Ideas Unbound
In: Treasure Cruise
When people would ask if I included Treasure Cruise, I would say that it isn’t great in the cube because there aren’t a lot of cantrips or fetches that make it excel in older formats. It is still dominate in paper pauper and is pretty good in limited, so I am giving it a try. It is pretty similar to Ideas Unbound, but with the potential upside of drawing three cards without having to discard any.
Out: Vedalken Aethermage
In: Deranged Assistant
Vedalken Aethermage was included more as a novelty than anything. Being able to bounce a sliver has never mattered in any game in the cube yet (though you can construct some situations where you bounce an anthem silver of some sick value). Wizard cycling was helpful to find an Archaeomancer of Izzet Chronarch to help put together some sick combo. Deranged Assistant helps load up your graveyard in the decks that love it or can just help make some quicker mana to play Rotfeaster Maggot, Sentinel Spider, etc.
Out: Ashes to Ashes
In: Sandsteppe Outcast
Kor Santifiers is a better two-for-one artifact removal than Ashes to Ashes is. Ashes to Ashes is just another victim of niche card being taken out for a more accessible card. Sandsteppe Outcast is another great white three drop that makes two decent creatures. The card is great in the R/W decks, but is perfectly fine on its own.
Out: Pentarch Ward
In: Totem-Guide Hartebeest
The Totem-Guide was taken out in an earlier update in favor of Heliod’s Pilgrim. I have come to realize that having both in the cube is perfectly fine. It excels in the same areas as Pilgrim, it helps get removal like Pacifism or Bonds of Faith while grabbing awesome auras like Armadillo Cloak or Rancor. Pentarch Ward was taken out in favor of the Hartebeest because the ward was among the weakest if the auras in the cube. So taking it would for Hartebeest basically gave the decks that would play Pentarch ward a second copy of their best enchantment.
Now that Khans of Tarkir has been fully spoiled, I can start considering cards for the Pauper cube. Compared to M15, there are less cards under consideration. None of the three-color commons are under consideration either. Both because 1) the cards aren’t good enough to warrant a slot and 2) In general I am reducing the number of three color cards in the cube. None of them were high picks and did not bring the power level that would warrant taking the risk of including a three color card.
The easiest new inclusion is the cycle of ‘Refuge’ lands. The cycle is strictly better in a cube without any gates matter cards. Having said that, the pP cube currently has less lands than the MTGO cube of the same size. I think there is enough room to include the refuge and the guildgate cycle. The only question became what to remove to include the new refuges? I have been pretty happy with the lands in the cube as is, the Cycling lands are the ones I am most likely to cut. I also thought about cutting the Ravnica Karoos, but their beneficial interactions with the Jund spell lands, the cycling lands, and now the refuges, there are too many ways to take advantage of their ‘down side.’ I will be cutting to obelisk cycle from Shards of Alara to make room for 5 of the lands. That cut was easy. The cards were among the worst fixing in the cube and with my trends towards removing triple color fixing, taking out the obelisks was easy. I briefly considered the banner cycle from Khans, but that cycle isn’t worth include. This conclusion made me think about why I include the obelisks at all. The removal of the obelisks frees up 5 slots. The other 5 slots for the lands will come from each color (1 card per color).
Ainok Bond-Kin: The bond kin is the only outlast creature that has caught my eye so far. There have been multiple pauper cubes toying with the idea of a +1/+1 counters matter theme. Mostly using graft cards from Guildpact and cards like Sporeback Troll, Helium Squirter, Aquastrand Spider, and Cytospawn Shambler. Now with Ainok Bond-Kin and Longshot Squad, it would be a hold easier to put together a +1/+1 counters matters theme. Green/Black already has ways to create +1/+1 counters on its creatures, so making some kind of Abzan counters deck is possible.
Jeskai Windscout: Jeskai Windscout is a creature I would include for the R/U Storm-ish deck. While the worst of the four, it has built in evasion and is probably the best of the creatures when you are not storming off. It helps add the balance of storm-ish creatures to R/U.
Singing Bell Strike: Singing Bell Strike might come in to replace Claustrophobia. Singing Bell Strike is better in aggressive blue decks (R/U, W/U, and some B/U) than Claustrophobia. I am interested in testing Singing Bell Strike, but a case could be made for either.
Bloodfire Expert: Bloodfire Expert is a maybe-but-unlikely. It would go in for the U/R deck, but if suffers from having no evasion. The high power is great, which helps off-set that it only gets +1/+1 when you case a non-creature spell.
Mardu Warshrieker: Warshrieker is another maybe-but-unlikely. The card will be included if I think the fixing option of the mana it generates from raid is worth it. I already don’t play Coal Stoker, which is basically just a mono-red making Warshrieker.
Valley Dasher: Valley Dasher is just another aggressive option for a red deck or red/white deck. It doesn’t have any particular synergy with any archetype, but a 2/2 haste for 2 its just find. The downside is a real downside, but with tricks and removal backing it up, the downside should not be too relevant.
Hooting Mandrils. I may just be a fool for a card with ‘Hoot’ in the card name, but I think this creature is the one Delve creature with the most potential for the cube. A 4/4 Trample is a pretty large creature. It works with some of the blue self-mill cards, the b/g dredge cards, or any other cards in your graveyard.
Savage Punch: The cube already has Pit Fight and Prey Upon for fight cards. Hunt the Weak and Time to Feed are a bit too weak to be included. Savage Punch is sitting right between those two groups of cards and might be worth considering. Plus the art is super sweet.
So if you see any of the listed cards at the pre-release (particularly the new lands) grab em’ up so I can trade them for the cube.
Good evening all. Below is a list of commons from M15 that are currently under consideration for the pauper cube.
Generator Servant: I really like this card because of its unique ability. Most of the red creatures in the cube are aggressive beaters and adding a bit more variety to what red creatures can do is great. I like this card in Red/Green stompy decks where the ramp is helpful and the haste may allow you to get a free hit in. I also like this in other aggressive red decks, where after he is no longer useful you can cash him in for a haste creature (or two if they are cheap enough). This creature also help the storm-ish decks in a couple ways. It can allow you to surprise your opponent with a hasty Kiln Fiend/Wee Draconauts/Nivix Cyclops or it can be a saved amount of mana to help you go off. While I want to see this guy in action first, I think he will find a place in the cube.
Aeronaut Tinkerer: This card fits nicely into the White/Blue Artifact deck. It helps give the deck some needed evasion. It is also not an embarrassing creature to main deck even if you can’t take advantage of the flying. The 2/3 body will block most aggressive early creatures. I am on the fence about this creature, but we shall see if he gets a spot.
Carrion Crow: I probably wouldn’t consider this creature if it wasn’t a zombie. Wind Drake isn’t a creature good enough to make it in the cube, so it may seem odd that Carrion Crow is under consideration. Zombie is a great creature type to have and the flying gives the Zombie decks some evasion that it does not really have besides Stitched Drake.
Unmake the Graves: The raise dead effects in the cube are constantly in consideration, since there are many good candidates whose minor differences make it difficult to pick amongst them. What I like about Unmake the Graves is that it is instant speed and the convoke gives your blockers something extra to do. The instant speed is huge for this card, since the decks that really want this type of effect usually want to keep up a counter or some removal during their opponent’s turn.
Heliod’s Pilgrim: I really like this effect to support the G/W Auras deck but also to search up Pacifism like removal. Totem-Guide Hartbeast is included in many people’s pauper cubes, but the 5 mana never impressed me. At 3 mana, this creature is a much better deal. You can usually follow up the pilgrim with a Pacifism and 2 drop on turn 4. Like the Generator Servant, this card is probably an auto-include but I want to see how it performs first.
Shadowcloak Vampire: There are currently three CMC 5 Mono-Black creatures in the cube (Gray Merchant, Warren Pilferers, and Spitting Sliver). Both this card and the next one are considerations to bring in for another 5 drop black creature. Shadowcloak Vampire has a big body, particularly for a flying creature. 4 power in the air is about as big as it gets in pauper. The life cost will be relevant in the more aggressive black decks that are paying life, but much less of a consideration in the W/B decks that are draining life. I am very on the fence about this card, but it has the potential to be a very good card for the cube.
Rotfeaster Maggot: This 5 CMC black creature fills the opposite role of Shadowcloak Vampire. Instead of finishing the game like the vampire, the Rotfeaster Maggot helps keep you in the game. A 3/5 blocker is a great body that blocks all but the biggest creatures on the ground. The life gain may be relevant, though I can imagine situations where you have set up chump blocks and don’t want to remove a creature from your graveyard. Whether I chose the Maggot or the Vampire will be determined by whether Black needs some better defense or offense.
Necromancer’s Assistant: Whether I include this card or not will be a good indicator of how hard I am trying to push a graveyard theme. A 3/1 body is good to attack with and it is a zombie.
Coral Barrier: My love of a squid token is probably clouding my judgement a bit here. It is not the best defender but you could also do worse for 3 mana. If I decide to push a American colored defender deck, I could see this getting included.
Tyrant’s Machine: Tyrant’s machine is a maybe because it is the closest pauper gets to Icy Manipulator. Having said that, it is a far cry from the power level of Icy Manipulator. Giving access to psuedo-removal to all colors it not as important in the cube as it is in a regular limited format, since all colors do have access to some of their best removal at common. Of the cards on the list, this is least likely to make it.
Radiant Fountain: I love the ETB effect lands at common, since they provide small spell like effects without taking up a card slot in your deck. Radiant Fountain is best used in a White/Blue bounce deck that I have been considering. So if you see this brought into the cube, it is because I am trying harder to support such an archetype.