Tempest Remastered and Modern Masters 2015 update
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.