M11 Cube Update!

Sorry for the delay, but it’s here and it’s ready to get serious! We’ve got all of the M11 cards I’m ready to include–and NOT include. Let’s go!

Status and Goals

First, view the new cube via Google Docs. The cube is now up to 602 cards.

Second, the cube is growing by ZERO cards this go-round. Yay! I’m happy that I resisted the urge to keep it growing.

In my last cube update for Rise of the Eldrazi I noted a few goals for my cube. Let’s see how they did:

Continuing Existing Themes – Check! This has worked very well so far. I’m really happy where my cube is right now in terms of archetypes and push/pull.

Lessen Blue Control – This is somewhat taking place. I feel like blue control is always going to be top tier in the cube unless you nerf the entire color, which is essentially the rub. Everyone likes drawing cards and controlling permanents, but you try to look for ways that WotC hated on these effects and emphasize them. One of the reasons I think Great Sable Stag will be in the cube for some time.

More Green Fixing, More Colorless Options – This one didn’t work very well. I added Trip Noose and Bottle Gnomes, both of which promptly left with this update. The fixing didn’t really stick, either. Joraga Treespeaker, while rocking ROE draft like nobody’s business, is not that great in the cube. Growth Spasm got out-Kodama’s Reached, as it were, by Cultivate, which replaced it. So there’s Awakening Zone that stuck, but colorless accel / chump blockers isn’t exactly “fixing” anything.

Design Goals for Scars of Mirrodin

Observe and Keep Track of Top Tier decks – While I have an idea of what’s Top Tier from countless cube drafts, I don’t actually keep track of any of this data. I think it’d be neat and would help influence decisions.

Look at the Power of Red: Red’s getting a little ridiculous as of late, and the mono-red drafter has been stomping pretty thoroughly lately. This goal will tie in with the first. There may be some red hate coming in soon.

Review Artifact Answers: This is where I think the influx of powerful artifacts from Scars of Mirrodin will need serious cube answers to boot. Note that Keldon Vandals made it over Manic Vandal from M11, but with the Scars of Mirrodin update I wouldn’t be surprised to see both. Wurmcoil Engine IS a card that needs an answer, as does Steel Hellkite, Myr Battlesphere, etc.

Let’s see what made it from M11:

White

M11 Tested: Sun Titan, War Priest of Thune

M11 Included: Sun Titan, War Priest of Thune

Adds: Sun Titan, War Priest of Thune

Drops: Loam Lion, Captain of the Watch

Now, as a man who loves Captain of the Watch, this was a tough cut for me. I didn’t like it, but I like my six drops powerful and scary, and while Captain is plenty powerful, scary she isn’t. Just remove her and they’ve wasted their six drop in a few measly 1/1′s?

Sun Titan, of course, doesn’t need a whole lot of introduction but does do some amazing stuff in the cube. Allowing you to sacrifice things with wild abandon plus playing extremely well with Wrath of God effects, he’s a house. War Priest of Thune is of course an upgraded Monk Realist, now with a sweet optional “may” in his text. This is nice when your deck has Faith’s Fetters and the like.

Re: Loam Lion, I certainly wanted the white Kird Ape to work, but unfortunately W/G Aggro isn’t anywhere close to the power of G/R Aggro. Awesome card, wrong cube, I guess.

Blue

M11 Tested: Frost Titan, Aether Adept, Jace’s Ingenuity, Preordain

M11 Included: Frost Titan, Preordain

Adds: Frost Titan, Preordain, Miscalculation, Inkwell Leviathan

Drops: Lighthouse Chronologist, Mnemonic Wall, Ethersworn Adjudicator, Mark of Eviction

So with this, we lost some crappy creatures (pretty much all of the drops were found to be bad after initial positive reviews). Mark of Eviction, while being a wonderfully open-ended card, isn’t enough in the long run when compared to the powerhouse spells surrounding it.

That said, the bar to get into the blue section of the cube is probably higher than any other. EVERY spell has to do something amazing or it’s just out. Preordain is, of course, one of those high watermark spells that is reaching into Vintage and seeing 4x play in Standard all over. Frost Titan is quickly being recognized as one of the best Titans (if not -the- best!) and is awesome in the cube.

As for the non-M11 additions and losses, Miscalculation is a card I’ve wanted in my cube for some time now, and it’s nice to get it officially in there. Inkwell Leviathan is there for the Tinker players out there. We need another sick blue fatty for both reanimation and Tinker decks.

Black

M11 Tested: Grave Titan, Liliana’s Specter, Dark Tutelage

M11 Included: Grave Titan, Doom Blade

Adds: Grave Titan, Doom Blade

Drops: Inquisition of Kozilek, Kagemaro, First to Suffer

So in this pretty straightforward: Grave Titan is the best black card printed in a long, long time (yet black still sucks these days– so sad), and Doom Blade is simply a staple Magic card and the new Terror. In zey go!

As for the tests, Dark Tutelage sucks (even Dark Confidant is sometimes hard to get rid of, and he’s the easiest to do in the cube), and Liliana’s Specter just isn’t powerful enough. Hypnotic Specter isn’t the most exciting duder, and this one is way, way worse than that rare.

The drops included Inquisition of Kozilek, who got sided out and blanked far too often. Kagemaro, First to Suffer is this weird creature where you want a fatty but usually only have a 2/2 or 3/3 and then by the time it gets impressive you have to sacrifice it to Wrath…yeah, awkward. Grave Titan is feel good 100% of the time, and I like that option much better.

Red

M11 Tested: Ember Hauler, Inferno Titan, Manic Vandal, Destructive Force

M11 Included: Ember Hauler, Inferno Titan

Adds: Ember Hauler, Inferno Titan, Destructive Force, Flame Rift

Drops: Lord of Shatterskull Pass, Tuktuk the Explorer, Sonic Burst, Hammer of Bogardan

Ah, Red. It is so good at what it does. Destroy, disrupt, burn, and Pillage. The fastest and most damage efficient creatures and the land destruction to back it up. It needs very little finesse.

That said, Inferno Titan is the sickness and needs a slot. Ember Hauler is in here and is an all-around awesome Shock on a stick.

Destructive Force is Wildfire #2 for my cube. All cubes have some form of redundant effect, and mine is no different (Ancestral Vision and Ancestral Recall, etc). Redundant effects allow you to influence what archetypes you find players building around. A big splashy effect like this one will drive a player down the road of fatties and control rather than the fast red that’s so dominant in my cube these days. We’ll see if another Wildfire helps.

As for what was cut, I think most can agree that Lord of Shatterskull Pass, was, in the end, Just A Duder. No more, no less. Tuktuk the Explorer was a 1/1 haste for three mana, and that’s terrible.

I switched Sonic Burst for Flame Rift, plain and simple. I cut Hammer of Bogardan for Destructive Force, because it was the worst burn spell in the cube and red wasn’t really hurting for those.

Green

M11 Tested: Fauna Shaman, Garruk’s Companion, Mitotic Slime, Obstinate Baloth, Primeval Titan, Sylvan Ranger, Cultivate

M11 Included: Fauna Shaman, Mitotic Slime, Obstinate Baloth, Primeval Titan, Sylvan Ranger, Cultivate

Adds: Fauna Shaman, Mitotic Slime, Obstinate Baloth, Primeval Titan, Sylvan Ranger, Cultivate

Drops: Joraga Treespeaker, Pouncing Jaguar, Growth Spasm, Moment’s Peace, Search for Tomorrow, Mire Boa, Ant Queen, Mycoloth

So this is another big green move. Green is so hard to get right! You move stuff in, you move stuff out. Here’s what happened, first of all:

Krosan Tusker and Ant Queen were left off the rolls by mistake. So I actually had 77 Green cards for awhile. Oops. People asking me how in the world did I not have Krosan Tusker in the cube were right to do so–and it was thanks to a clerical error ;) Now thanks to my cube audit, I’m able to keep track of each and everything I am running (expect it to get an update shortly after this one.)

That said, holy cow was M11 good to green cards. They juiced em up nice and sexy-like, and wow was the result amazing. Fauna Shaman is your second Survival of the Fittest (remember what I was saying about redundant effects just a few paragraphs ago?), Primeval Titan is, well, amazing. Obstinate Baloth goes a long way to halt the red deck’s dominance, but it still probably isn’t enough.

I dropped the controversial Growth Spasm for the much-adored Cultivate, another redundant effect via Kodama’s Reach that works very well in multiples. I also have a real love for Sylvan Ranger, as I want to really emphasize that green is the mana fixer in the cube.

The drops were many, but necessary. Mire Boa I think would be better in a larger a cube. Mine doesn’t have black being a force, and as such River Boa Islandwalking is about 300% better than Mire Boa‘s Swampwalking. Mycoloth just wouldn’t see any play, and when it did, you’d usually get blown out with a Wrath of God effect, losing your devoured creatures AND the Mycoloth. No fun, outcha go.

Pouncing Jaguar, man, Pouncing Jaguar. Wanted this card to be good just like I want Wild Dogs to be good but they’re just not. At least in this cube, red is the king of the early drops and if you’re looking at two drops and higher, Albino Troll is still a fine man that sees plenty of play. His smaller cousin, notsomuch.

Search for Tomorrow was a tough cut because I like this card. I like Suspend and I like how this card is a supercharged Rampant Growth but in the end I liked Cultivate far better. Moment’s Peace is a card that just doesn’t fit into the feel of green in my cube right now. If you’re Green/Blue, green is giving you the beatsticks. If you’re G/W, you’re probably not control. If you’re G/R I know you ain’t. If you’re G/B, you kill things you don’t fog up the board. If you’re mono green you don’t play this either. It had nowhere left to be played, and so it is not.

Lastly, Joraga Treespeaker may be a fine woman in constructed or ROE limited, but in this cube she’s Just Another Mana Dudette, and the Sol Ring like status she enjoys in Rise of the Eldrazi limited is not seen here. Not enough in this format.

Artifacts

M11 Tested: Crystal Ball, Brittle Effigy, Sword of Vengeance

M11 Included: Crystal Ball, Brittle Effigy, Sword of Vengeance

Adds: Crystal Ball, Brittle Effigy, Sword of Vengeance

Drops: Bottle Gnomes, Smokestack, Trip Noose

Here is where I get to show the inverse of my love of redundant effects: Puppet Strings is a perfectly fine card that does what it does with efficiency. Trip Noose gives another tapper to control decks who didn’t need it, and doesn’t have the fun combo possibilities as Puppet Strings.

M11 sure does have some sweet artifacts, no? All of my inclusions made it, and I think they’re pretty self explanatory. Crystal Ball is a wonderful card for all sorts of decks, aggro or control. It provides reach when you really need it. Brittle Effigy has been stellar every time I play it early, as it keeps them from playing their best man until I use it, or late, when it saves my butt against some amazing creature.

Lastly Sword of Vengeance makes all of my dorks little Akroma, Angel of Wraths, and that’s never a bad thing. G/R decks fall over themselves to cascade into this from Bloodbraid Elf.

Multicolor & Lands

There were no updates to either of these sections of the cube. Got a recommendation, I’m listening! :)

Conclusion

So that’s another update. I apologize for the lateness of this post, but hey, it’s here and the changes I’ve made I think have made my cube more balanced and most of all more fun. M11 has given some fantastic tools for new decks (Destructive Force), amazing creatures (Primeval Titan, Fauna Shaman), and great utility cards (Crystal Ball).

I for one look forward to now throwing in my Scars of Mirrodin purchases into the cube and seeing what sticks!

Here’s a sneak peek (not pictured: Steel Hellkite):

Until then, happy cubing!

- Evan

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29 Comment(s)

  1. Mystifying maze has been pretty good for me.

    Bryang | Oct 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. I think this is the best update in a while. I like that the cube didn’t grow, which forces tough choices but will have a nice pay-off in the end. The worst thing I can hear during a draft is, “Meh, this pack is weak.” I want to stay current and include the newer cards but not at the expense of the power level of the cube. I think this update was successful in that regard. Just from memory, I think my M11 update was card-for-card the same with the exception of preordain, which I had been considering adding anyway. Cheers.

    Nathan | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. good job.

    I didn’t add preordain for the same reason I didn’t add ponder. I like actual card drawing far better, and I prefer actual cards that do something over utility cards. I mean I do have some as they are necessary but I stopped adding more at some level I felt comfortable with.

    Also you harmed GW really much by taking 2/3 kitty and the jaguar, this deck really needs this kind of cards. Unless that is you want to keep it only midrange or ramp then its perfectly fine.

    Piechu | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hey looks like you are indeed looking at the comments :-)

    - Loam Lion: Hm, GW trades the reach that it gets from burn for amazing cards in the 4 mana slot and a hand full of lifegain cards, that makes it strong against other aggressive builds. Even if you are the control deck in this match, a 2/3 for 1 mana just stops 90+% of your opponents 1+2 drops, while still being a great early attacker.

    0 Aether Adept: The double U wasn’t rally a problem here, and blue decks have very few early drops, so a second (third if you count Venser) Man-o’-war is always appreciated.

    0 “Liliana’s Specter just isn’t powerful enough. Hypnotic Specter isn’t the most exciting duder, and this one is way, way worse than that rare.”
    Less than 8% of your creatures are fliers (or creatures that can get flying) for 4 or less mana, so you just need a removal spell for a black creature or he is going to rip your hand apart.
    If the original Specter is mediocre in your list, it is probably because he eats too much removal, but the M11 one gets around that drawback, since it makes them discard stuff no matter what. Also you have to consider that black based aggro has very few 1-3 mana creatures compared to WW.

    0 Manic Vandal destroys > 10% of the cards in your cube as an etb ability and leaves a body behind.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back in with SoM, since the reduced casting cost makes him a lot more valuable than his big brother.

    - Mire Boa: Even if the players are bit splashing for black, Mire Boa is unblockable against 40% of the field and it would already be a fine creature without the landwalk ability. Regenerating for 1 mana is great and can be used multiple times a turn if necessary. It can attack into / hold of other 2 drops and stay on defense against bigger creatures without trample that you had to chump otherwise.
    The cheap cc, evasion and regeneration makes it the optimal creature (other than Troll Ascetic obv.) for your equipments.

    There are more cheaper answers to Joraga Treespeaker than in RoE, but your chances of winning the game just increase drastically if they can’t immediatelly remove your T1 Treespeeker. How many of your games did you lose, where you cast the t3 Plow Under / Bribery / Planeswalker of choice with 2 creatures on the board?

    - Smokestack + one of the engine cards, like Bitterblossom, Life from the Loam, Crucible, Squee, Elseth 1/2 or just one shot token producers like Cloudgoat Ranger / Siege-Gang Commander tends to rape people in our group and even if you just sac your lands without the combo cards, it keeps both players off mana , which ultimately favors the aggro deck, which can bash the whole time.

    eidolon | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  5. “The drops included Inquisition of Kozilek, who got sided out and blanked far too often.”
    Even in your slower cube, the Inquisition has 20% more targets than Duress, so you probably were just a bit unlucky.

    eidolon | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  6. If you’re looking for anti-red cards, I’d recommend finding a cut for Purity. It’s been an excellent finisher for us.

    Control decks often have the problem that they manage to gain control of the board, but still lose to getting burned out. As a 6/6 flyer it puts the game away fast, and is big enough for the red deck to have a hard time killing while being able to beat or trade with most other finishers.

    It’s shuffling back in also helps keep the control decks threat density up, which is another of their weak points.

    I put it in though because I have a soft spot for synergy and love how it encourages the mid-range W/R decks with earthquake like sweepers. We had someone the other night totally turn a game they were losing around by casting a 5 point Roiling Earthquake while they had both Purity and Swans in play.

    Caleb | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  7. Other anti-red cards to consider:

    Death’s Grasp: as big as your multi-color section is this should be easy to find space for, maybe over the harder to cast Unmake.

    Ribbon’s of the Night: Often overlooked card. It’s a very solid piece of removal, card advantage, and life gain rolled up into one.

    Pelakka Wurm: I keep dream of having this guy one one end of a Recurring Nightmare chain. Perfectly respectable fattie who I’ve seen Standard decks use as a sideboard card against burn.

    High Market: Every bit of lifegain helps, and this doesn’t even take a spell slot. Really powers up Shackles and other effects.

    Ivory Tower: I’m not a fan of how narrow it is, but it is a classic that does what it does pretty well in the control vs. aggro match up. Black control decks can, especially if they’re also in U/artifacts, appreciate being able to offset Arena and other life suckers.

    Caleb | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  8. White has a life-gain subtheme in my cube, so you’ll find things like Battlegrace Angel. It looks unusual and doesn’t seem particularly strong on paper, but my folks draft it highly and play it with great success, so I have kept it in. It’s power shows when it gains you life the turn it comes into play. I would cube it over Pristine Angel.

    Another odd card I’ve grown to love is Sun’s Bounty, which I also find it easier to wield/re-use than Pulse of the Fields. Costs an additional mana to re-use, but it works when you’re behind and ahead. In a pinch, you can throw it on a Scepter.

    I also play Solemn Offering over Disenchant.

    If I had a choice between Lone Missionary and Blade of the Sixth Pride, I would probably choose the former, but I don’t run either.

    I also like Bottle Gnomes, but I see that they went away with this update.

    Nathan | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  9. joraga treespeaker is a crazy powerhouse in cube. it doesn’t make sense to me that it would perform badly anywhere.

    loam lion is a staple, cutting it doesn’t make sense at all.

    at almost 700 cards aether adept is an autoinclude. i don’t understand why you aren’t including it or why you’re not explaining why.

    liliana’s specter and hypnotic specter have been really good here.

    at this size manic vandal should be in.

    losing treespeaker, pouncing jaguar, and mire boa sabotages green aggro. why bother running river boa, wild nacatl, or wild mongrel at this point? if you don’t run enough early drops green aggro is going to be bad. it’s a self fulfilling prophecy: in such a huge cube, you try wild dogs and then you say it’s not good. well it’s not going to be unless you actually support green aggro which is going to require a ton of additional cards you’re not running. if you like midrange/control vs midrange/control at all times, then don’t worry about it, though.

    @caleb: how has purity been good at all? it costs 6, is hard to cast, and dies to almost everything. in my cube purity would die before it ever achieved anything the majority of the time just as visara the dreadful did.

    quitequieter | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  10. i just realized that you included flame rift which is a sorcery speed burn spell that doesn’t hit creatures and hurts you. other than in multiplayer, this is going to be a truly awful spell. what is the reason for its inclusion?

    quitequieter | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  11. Flame Rift is 100% efficient: Two mana, four damage. It’s the best at what it does, even if what it does hurts you as well. Red doesn’t mind hurting itself for advantage.

    Interesting points about the green aggro. I’ll keep a close eye on it.

    Evan | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  12. The question with Flame Rift is, if the additional point of damage is really worth not being able to hit your opponent’s creatures and sucking in the aggro mirror, compared to Rift Bolt / Volcanic Hammer.

    As anti aggro cards that aren’t dead in the other matchups, I can only recommend Lone Missionary (= the creature version of Lightning Helix) + Brion Stoutarm.

    Something else that might be worth considering is Zuran Orb, sine it is playable in all decks and prevent you from getting burned out at a favorable board position. If necessary this card can gain a control player 20 or more life during the game and make (mass) land destruction less painful for you + with Life from the Loam / Crucible, you can alwys get to replay your lands.

    eidolon | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  13. “The question with Flame Rift is, if the additional point of damage is really worth not being able to hit your opponent’s creatures and sucking in the aggro mirror, compared to Rift Bolt / Volcanic Hammer.”

    yeah, let’s evaluate exactly what you gain and lose compared to volcanic hammer:

    + extra point of damage to your opponent
    - doesn’t hit creatures
    - deals 4 damage to you

    that seems like a pretty minor upside for some really major downsides. red doesn’t mind hurting itself when it’s worth it but i don’t think that’s the case here.

    quitequieter | Oct 12, 2010 | Reply

  14. @quieter: 3WWW is about the same to easier than getting 2WW, as they both require 50% white sources, but you have more time to get your fixers online with the former. I’d never go out of the way to stretch my mana base for Purity, but usually the mana’s already there to support cards like Wrath, Elspeth, Day, and Ajani. White’s usually played as a main color here, not a splash.

    Yeah, if they’ve got hard removal it’s not the best. They don’t always have the hard removal though, in which case Purity often has size/evasion over other finishers.

    Red has A LOT of burn in our cube, causing many players to get burned out after they gain board control, even if it’s just to a splashed Fireball. Purity was specifically put in as an answer to that, and it’s performed well in that role. My goal with the cube isn’t necessarily to maximize power, but to have an interesting and balanced environment, and a big part of that is including answers to common problems.

    Caleb | Oct 13, 2010 | Reply

  15. @quieter: I think a big difference in our evaluations may have to do with cube environments: I’ve seen a lot of cubes where almost every deck ends up mid/range control. My cube is not one of those.

    I love me some aggro and tempo, and my cube supports them. For example, the U/B deck in our last draft wasn’t control. I saw it open one game w/ Lightning Greaves into Arrogant Bloodlord into Nether Void with Force of Will back up.

    This results in removal often being used earlier just to stay alive instead of having the luxury of saving it for your opponents finishers. Against that U/B deck, when he got out Oona I already had used up all my removal and had to win through the resulting fairy swarm using Sword of Light and Shadow.

    With removal getting used up earlier, more games come down to whose finisher trumps the other, and Purity being a 6/6 body and flying can make the difference; it wouldn’t be uncommon to see two players going into the end game w/ their removal already used up, Player A getting out Purity, Player B getting out Yosei or Kukusho. Player B chump blocks with their dragon to stay alive and buy some time, but doesn’t top deck anything to stop Purity and ends up losing to it.

    So, at least in my cube, the greater presence of aggro decks looking to finish with burn, and the resulting need to use removal earlier to avoid falling behind on tempo, makes Purity a decent finisher for us. Others results may vary depending on how their cube plays.

    Caleb | Oct 13, 2010 | Reply

  16. “3WWW is about the same to easier than getting 2WW, as they both require 50% white sources, but you have more time to get your fixers online with the former.”
    You are doing the math wrong: For something like Wrath, you have to find 2 white sources in your first 11 cards (chance on the draw: 80%), while You only have a ~60% chance of getting to 3 white sources on turn 6, not to mention that even reaching that much mana is more difficult.

    Purity is just a suboptimal answer to burn, like you wouldn’t try to sell someone Repeal as an answer against Reanimator decks. Sure it works, but unfortunately not in time.

    “This results in removal often being used earlier just to stay alive instead of having the luxury of saving it for your opponents finishers.”
    I don’t know, maybe you should use your lifepoints more as a resource and try to blank their creatures with bigger threads or X:1 them with a sweeper? Cube isn’t that different from regular drafts in that way.

    6/6 flying for 6 mana are excellent stats for a finisher, but they can print 6 mana 8/8s (=Terra Stomper) and I don’t care as long as they just trade with my 1 or 2 mana removal. Also like already stated earlier, the 3 colored mana symbols can delay your finisher by 1-2 turns, especially if you want to power them out with artifact mana.

    eidolon | Oct 13, 2010 | Reply

  17. I will agree with eidolon that 3WWW is definitely harder to achive on time than 2WW is.
    also if I am paying 6 or more mana for a creature I want to get something out of it along the lines of kamigawa dragons or meloku or the titans
    I agree as well with quitequieter about supporting green aggro

    mebegod | Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

  18. “You are doing the math wrong: For something like Wrath, you have to find 2 white sources in your first 11 cards (chance on the draw: 80%), while You only have a ~60% chance of getting to 3 white sources on turn 6″

    You misunderstood. I’m only interested in comparing _how easy they are on the mana base_; curve is a completely different issue when deck building. And Purity is easier on the mana base because early in the game you don’t have as much freedom with fetching and can’t always take a turn to develop your mana because you’ll fall to far behind on the board.

    It’s precisely _because_ Purity is more expensive that it’s 50% W is easier to cast (in terms of odds of playing it when you are at 6 compared to when you’re at 4) because by that point you’ve had more flexibility on what to fetch and more likely to have turns where you can afford to fix your mana.

    “Purity is just a suboptimal answer to burn, like you wouldn’t try to sell someone Repeal as an answer against Reanimator decks. Sure it works, but unfortunately not in time.”

    This comparison is not apt. Reanimator jumps to phase 3 turn 3 regardless of what you’re doing, while there’s a ton of defense you can mount against aggro-burn which causes their phase 3 to occur later. If your mid-range/control deck doesn’t suck you should be able to last long enough for Purity to do it’s job. In fact, this is what I like about Purity; if you’re playing it right it tends to come online right before the burn deck can finish its phase 3.

    ““This results in removal often being used earlier just to stay alive instead of having the luxury of saving it for your opponents finishers.”
    I don’t know, maybe you should use your lifepoints more as a resource and try to blank their creatures with bigger threads or X:1 them with a sweeper?”

    Heh. I have a notorious reputation in my playgroup for winning by an exacties attack while at 1 life. I love me some blocking with my face to race or develop the board, but you also need to know when not to. If the opponent is on burn for phase 3, it’s often better to give up cards to preserve life.

    Or say your opponent is pressing your on the offense and drops a creature that if it connects you feel will significantly decrease your chance of being able to stabilize in time. Your 2 choices are either drop a blocker to trade with it or use removal.

    Sometimes it’s correct to use the more valuable removal, because if you play the creature and your opponent has removal you’ll get blown out so much on tempo that you’ll fall to far behind to recover.

    “Cube isn’t that different from regular drafts in that way.”

    The cube keeper can make it different by having a lot more burn, haste, and aggressive tempo support. I think the tension of the game is at its best when tempo matters, and my goal is to have it relevant in almost all games, and the deciding factor in at least half. I personally can’t stand cubes where tempo doesn’t exist and it’s all about whose 5-color-mid-range wages the best attrition war.

    I’m probably overreacting because I feel like I’m being a little talked down to. I do have some play experience with this game though. I can qualify for Nationals in Seattle playing a meta-gamed deck I’ve built myself. It’s not uncommon for me to Top 8 or make the top half of Day 2 at PTQs and Grand Prixs, both limited and constructed. I play limited at the mid-1900s level. This isn’t to say I’m a good player; I consider myself a bad casual player who makes lots of mistakes, but I’m not a total newb either, and usually have pretty thought out reasons why I do certain things in the game:)

    Caleb | Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

  19. “I’m probably overreacting because I feel like I’m being a little talked down to”
    Sorry, I was never saying that you were a bad player (and in retrospective, I think that I have already heard that name in some cube related podcasts), but that first posts about Purity just looked like a very naive assessment of the situation.

    Exaggerated that would read something like 2/4=3/6, so you can cast it just as easy as Wrath, the card is a solution against decks that want to win on turn 4 and against other decks you are trading removal until my bigger dragon trumps your dragon.

    Ignoring the artifact mana, which profits the 2WW cards, decks with 10 or more lands that tap for W have even a higher chance of having 3 white sources among 6 lands than 2 white sources among 4 lands.

    The goal of the aggro decks in our cube is to kill the opponent until turn for, or before they reach 4 mana, if you are playing some mana denial. So you might understand, that adding cards that do something against these decks once you have reached 6 mana (that also have a tough casting cost that you can’t power out with the colorless/ offcolor mana artifacts) isn’t really attractive for us.

    In Evan’s cube, the average red card costs 3.7, so it is not a surprise, that red decks can often just overrun some really good control decks, so adding even more 6 drops might not be the solution for this “problem”.
    I said “problem”, because it actually isn’t a problem at all, because the deck with the significantly lower curve tends to be favorable in the same way, that the decks with a slightly higher curve have a higher chance of winning a match.

    eidolon | Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

  20. “Yeah, if they’ve got hard removal it’s not the best. They don’t always have the hard removal though, in which case Purity often has size/evasion over other finishers.”

    what other finishers are inferior to purity? i don’t run a single finisher in white that could be dropped for it.

    “So, at least in my cube, the greater presence of aggro decks looking to finish with burn, and the resulting need to use removal earlier to avoid falling behind on tempo, makes Purity a decent finisher for us. Others results may vary depending on how their cube plays.”

    my cube has plenty of aggro, and for that reason purity would never be useful. by the time you play purity aggro should have killed you and if it hasn’t it will easily have an answer for it. this isn’t hypothetical, this is based on my experience with 6 cost finishers with no removal protection. when i say aggro i’m talking about decks with a lot of one and two drops that top out around 4 mana.

    quitequieter | Oct 14, 2010 | Reply

  21. Hey Evan,

    Just wondering… why haven’t you included Dark Confidant in your cube? I’d just like to hear the reasoning behind why you chose to not run him.

    Thanks! =)

    Seph | Oct 18, 2010 | Reply

  22. Hey Evan to help green aggro have you ever thought about extending a small elves subtheme. I know yours isn’t a tribal cube but you naturally have 8 elves (11 if you count bloodbraid, nath, and wilt-leaf leige) (12 if you throw treespeaker back in)

    Maybe an arbor elf for an additional utility elf and archdruid to top it all off. The nice thing is all of these cards are useful on their own(ok, archdruid would be a bit weak) but when drafted together it would just give your cube another angle.

    Also to hit on the flame rift question, i think it makes the cube more interesting to have a burn spell like flame rift that is going to really good in some decks (mono red burn), ok to questionable in other decks (G/R aggro), and unplayable in other decks (control that splashes for red)

    Cards like this make for a more fun draft environment than something like volcanic hammer which has about the same draft value in control, midrange, and aggro

    gent0047 | Oct 20, 2010 | Reply

  23. Is anyone else coming up with 602 and not 677 for Evans cube?
    75 White
    75 Blue
    75 Black
    75 Red
    75 Green
    60 Artifact
    87 Multicolor
    80 Lands
    Maybe Im missing something or looking at the wrong list.

    Andrew | Oct 20, 2010 | Reply

  24. @seph: when your cube’s average converted mana cost is 3.35, dark confidant is probably not that appealing. he’s going to get out of hand much more quickly on average because the average cc of each deck is going to be higher. evan’s black section is actually relatively low (3.07) but unless you’re doing monoblack the higher averages among other colors make the guy a suboptimal choice a lot of the time. will he be amazing in some decks? sure. but maybe not consistently enough to warrant inclusion in this cube.

    @gentoo: “Also to hit on the flame rift question, i think it makes the cube more interesting to have a burn spell like flame rift that is going to really good in some decks (mono red burn), ok to questionable in other decks (G/R aggro), and unplayable in other decks (control that splashes for red)

    Cards like this make for a more fun draft environment than something like volcanic hammer which has about the same draft value in control, midrange, and aggro”

    narrow cards are fine when the card in question is necessary for an archetype to function. jackal pup, for instance, is narrow. but aggro won’t work without cards like that so it’s a fine inclusion. and narrow is fine when the card is explosive and wins you the game by itself, like nicol bolas, planeswalker or tinker. but aggro and burn decks will function just fine without flame rift, which also does not support an archetype by itself. so its narrowness is less justified for me, because it means more useless cards in the draft which means it’s harder to build decent decks. the more i removed narrow, unnecessary cards from my cube, the more fun the drafts were for me. and there’s still plenty of exciting build-around cards in there.

    quitequieter | Oct 22, 2010 | Reply

  25. I’m sorry, I didn’t know where else to put this. Why do you have arrest in your cube over journey to nowhere? It still stops it from attacking, blocking, and using ANY abilities, but is a full mana cheaper. Please respond.

    Q | Oct 23, 2010 | Reply

  26. Also, although it’s only a sorcery, think about shattering spree for artifact destruction. Its one less mana than rack an ruin to kill 2 but can potentially hit every evil at once.

    Q | Oct 25, 2010 | Reply

  27. @Andrew:
    I’m also getting 602. Guessing Evan counted one of the colors twice?

    More on-topic:

    I really like the updates this time.

    I am looking forward to the SoM update. I think there will be some brutal inclusions.

    Bachster | Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

  28. Fixed the 677 mistake – it’s now correctly 602 – thanks guys! :)

    Evan | Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

  29. In my opinion, the cards I have found to be more fun for my cube are the cards people can cast more frequently. That being said, I have been meaning to push a bigger mono-colored theme for my cube for a while. If your cube has significant mono-colored support, I can think of few cards better for it than the incarnations, because they all create interesting game states (with the exception of Hostility, which I think is counterproductive for most red decks. Then again, hilarious if you need to Earthquake to live.) I have found out that supporting archtypes that are fun for your group is, ultimately, more important than being “correct” in your cube composition. For example, I can’t stand dedicated mill cards, but the group loves them as a whole so I can never cut them. I also find that experimenting with clunky reject cards can sometimes add an element of awesome to my Cube. For this reason, every update or so I include some random rare I want to see people find a use for. Sure, most of them wind up back in the trade folder or used as coasters, but every so often one picks up steam and becomes Cube canon, like Pain’s Reward. I have, to date, not seen the bidding end below ten life provided a player could pay it. It is hilarious in multiplayer, absurd for aggro decks, and also humorous to cast when taking your opponent’s turn for them. “Hmmm, I bid your life minus one, tap you out, and discard the goods. On my turn I cast Lightning Bolt. Game two?”

    My point is, just as every cube is unique, so must we evaluate every card uniquely for a given cube. So stop fighting over one card, because in the end, the debate is worth less than simply suggesting something else, even if that something is off the wall or underpowered. Because a unique suggestion gives us all something to think about, while bitching doesn’t help anybody, especially not poor Humility, who really is just trying to help anybody that isn’t Red.

    Babbs | Nov 4, 2010 | Reply

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