Skip to content

M13 and a change in functionality for black

July 7, 2012

Another pre-release, another cube update! After the full spoiler was put out Monday, I went through my usual process of finding cards I no longer wanted in cube, and then figured out what I was looking to add from the new set, and made the numbers match. In addition to M13, I’ve also decided to bring some big change to both green and black. Black’s change is based on unplayability; black aggro never got drafted and the aggressive creatures sat in sideboards. Green’s change is based on a number of drafts I was able to participate in using the Magic Online Cube. G/x ramp is considered to be the best deck of the initial cube list. I’m going to list the changes for each color and try to focus on the M13 changes. Here we go!

Yosei has been disappointing for a while now. It’s a fine body, but the without Recurring Nightmare, the potential to lock someone isn’t there. At that point it generally only bought you a one turn window to resolve a threat in control matchups, and otherwise it was usually just a 5/5. Sun Titan comes highly recommended from the other local cube owner as well as many online cubers. It also brings the Titan count to 5/5, which is astounding for a cycle.

I recently decided to make a push to limit the amount of planeswalkers included in cube. Given the general power level of the average planeswalker, unless we start to limit the amount included, 4-6 planeswalker decks will be the usual for cube, which is too oppressive and unfun in my opinion. I’m going to be including two planeswalkers per color, with a potential third being included for testing purposes. Gideon and Elspeth are almost untouchable in terms of pure power level, so Ajani Goldman had to go by process of elimination.

On the surface, Sublime Archangel is one of the best four drops ever printed. Exalted is one of those great abilities that effectively has haste due to the way it interacts with other creatures. I’m skeptical that the Archangel is as good as it looks. It makes one gigantic creature, but similar “just a giant dude” cards have been disappointing in the past. I’m willing to give it a try, but I feel like it will be cut relatively soon.

A 6th of black’s cards are coming out with this change. I’m officially dropping black aggro from the cube, cutting all the one drops and most of the aggressive only two drops. I don’t stick to the philosophy that every color needs to have some aggro support, and black is now the premier control color. I also wanted to give a little more support to the reanimate strategy. Entomb actually works with quite a few other cards outside of strict reanimate. Masscre Wurm also comes back in in order to combat the tokens deck.

Not too many changes here. Conscripts is an obvious inclusion, stealing planeswalkers being the biggest game available. Bonfire and Thundermaw also come in to give additional support for red based control decks. Given the success of changing around the GW guild cards to support GW tokens, I’ve decided to start implementing it with other guilds. I want to try R/G as a ramp based control strategy, and both Bonfire and Thundermaw fit into that.

Call of the HerdArbor ElfMire BoaRiver BoaKessig CagebreakersThornlingGarruk, Primal HunterAmbush Viper

Oracle of Mul DayaTooth and NailExploreYeva, Nature's HeraldThragtuskAvenger of ZendikarTerastodonOvergrown Battlement


As I mentioned, I wanted to give green a little ramp love, both in R/G and just green in general. Adding more ramp, more creatures to ramp into, and a better tutor in Tooth and Nail helps accomplish that.

Thragtusk is ridiculous. The card is absolutely bonkers, and will be a cube staple for a long while. I don’t think I need to explain why, but our initial cube with him had much praise for all his abilities. Yeva seems like a fun, unique card that will help green decks fight against the control decks much like Summoning Trap did in the most recent standard format.


Unburial RitesSavage TwisterOrcish LumberjackFire CovenantLoxodon HierarchCreakwood Liege


As I mentioned in the red section, I’m taking R/G and making it more of a ramp color. I’ve heard good things about Lumberjack from the Magic Online cube, so I decided to give it a go. Savage Twister is a fine Firespout effect as well. B/W doesn’t have much available in terms of themes, so I’m just including the most powerful cards available. Unburial Rites also combos well with Entomb or Gifts Ungiven. Loam Lion never saw play, and Putrid Leech is too color intensive for a deck that doesn’t need an aggressive 2 drop.

Isochron ScepterSkullclamp

Fellwar StoneRatchet Bomb

These are probably two of my most controversial exclusions recently. Isochron Scepter is a 95/5% card. 95% of the time, it is last picked and does nothing. The other 5% of the time, its absolutely bonkers and if left unchecked, will dominate a game. I’m normally alright with build around me cards, but I don’t think Scepter is worth keeping in on that basis. Fellwar Stone comes in to better aid the ramp strategy.

Skullclamp is similar to Jitte. It was printed in a time when Wizard’s didn’t double check equipment after late changes in development. The card is an insane card drawing engine. It can take a bad deck, in any color, and make it busted with a few equips. I’ve seen too many mediocre decks get carried by this card that I’m willing to try cubing without it. Ratchet Bomb is here as a colorless answer to the tokens deck. It even combos with newly added Sun Titan!

Sulfurous SpringsKarplusan Forest

Rakdos CarnariumGruul Turf

Both of these changes are in support of these guilds being pushed towards control and ramp accordingly.

These are the changes! We’ve only done one draft with the changes, and the results were very encouraging. Black based control was drafted, as was reanimator. There were even two ramp decks included. Thragtusk was an absolute house and I can’t wait to see more of the cards included play out. The next change for me will probably be after the Return to Ravnica, where we’ll hopefully get some replacements for our multicolor guilds that are lacking. I’ll also hopefully be writing up some blog posts about conforming the guilds to the specific archetypes desired. Let me know your thoughts in the comments about the changes, whether you agree or disagree!
Kyle Engleson
@Kengy5 on Twitter

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 8, 2012 10:00 pm

    Not changes I would be prepared to make, but they’re brave, and looks like a fun way to play things out. 🙂

    Fire Covenant is a card I hadn’t seen before. Good against tokens, perhaps, and doubles as a bad Terminate against a single target in a pinch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: