A deceptively bad cube

Discussion in 'Cube Blogs' started by CaptnIrony, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Hey guys,

    Over the last three-four weeks, I've finally made a draft of my first cube. I'm going to be heading to work soon, so I just want to put it up. I'll come back later to add my thoughts, but here is a quick summary:

    Heavily influenced by Grillo's cubes (Ninjas and bounce-lands are the most obvious example).
    Low-ish power
    Not singleton
    I've actually split the categories as follow:
    -5 Colors
    -Hybrid (Can be in either color. This includes cards with alternate flashback color in a color that might be able to discard/mill the card.)

    362 cards (the UG Hybrid section has 2 two many cards, I'm getting them all, and deciding while playtesting which to keep).

    Here's the list:

    And draft:
    Kirblinx, Fulcrum and Grillo_Parlante like this.
  2. I didn't look at the list before drafting and I ended up with this. P1P1 was between Drake Haven and Toxic Deluge. Toxic Deluge seemed much more powerful so I ended up going that route. I think it's probably too strong for the list and makes Pestilence and Rags // Riches seem pretty mediocre. I liked that I was able to draft a primarily 2 color deck that gets rewarded for also running mountains through Jilt and Mystic Retrieval. In pack 3 I saw an early Secrets of the Dead that I really really really wanted to take but I didn't because I was sure that it would wheel. It didn't. I wish I was able to pick up Elixir of Immortality too but that's how it goes sometimes.

    I ended up with 3 ninjas, some fliers, and a splicer in my sideboard which I think would be an interesting sideboard plan. I didn't feel like I had enough creatures to make it my mainboard plan since I wasn't trying to pick them and ended up with them accidentally.

    From what I saw during my draft I really liked the list outside of Toxic Deluge which again seems way too powerful.

    UBr Control from CubeTutor.com

  3. Thank you for the feedback!

    I am actually a bit worried that Secrets of the Dead and Drake Haven and both too weak (more like they don't have enough support). I was wanting to do something with Toxic Deluge that might have been a bad idea. I wanted to make Black control hemorrhage life. A large Toxic Deluge would end up killing you with the pay life for draw, and removal, adding another color would help with the control by saving you life, and WB control might have less card advantage, but would have the life gain to ofset the life loss. I think that this might not be a great idea though.

    I'll write more when I get home!
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  4. Grillo_Parlante Contributor

    There is a lot of tech in here that I like, and the list looks solid.

    Few thoughts:

    -About drake haven specifically, I've not been overly impressed by the card from a min/max perspective. Its still in the list mostly because its a card that people just seem to enjoy playing, and its blue, which is a color that can afford to sacrifice some slots for some more narrow but fun card. Bad spike card, good johnny card.

    -The reanimation suite looks brutal. The thing with reanimation, is that it dosen't just allow for ETB abuse, but it also stresses removal suites (blink has the same effect), which is why its so powerful in these fair lists. There is a reason that I have reanimation priced at 4cc+, in sparse density in my list, conditioned, or shifted away from black (hymn of rebirth/resurrection/bishop of rebirth), and thats to prevent it from overwhelming the other colors. Its prone to creating repeative sequences that are very difficult to beat.

    In PP1, one of the easiest ways to win games was the draft as much reanimation as you could, and see how many times the opponent could kill pelakka wurm. Its particularly brutal in combination with unburial rites. In this list you have two copies of honored hydra, and one pelakka wurm, which means (when combined with the density and quality of black reanimation) you can draft decks consistently able to string together 3+ removal check bodies. And honored hydra can be hitting as early as turn 5 with bounceland support, while being much easier to cast than wurm.

    -A couple places that are fun to break singleton on are master splicer and rusted relic. Having two copies of those cards really gives the splicer deck some draft consistency, and allows for some big dramatic plays. Another one that might be fun would be two copies of life from the loam.

    -I would probably consider nights whisper > skeletal scrying read the bones. A lot of these lists have important things going on at 3cc, and I've found one of the big problems with putting too many utility effects or removal effects at 3cc, is it starts to fatten out the curve in ways that are not desirable. As a whole, I think you've done a good job avoiding that though. Usually where its a big problem is 3cc red direct damage, or unconditioned (usually multi-color) removal.

    -Also probably want one more red token maker. Something like a mogg war marshal--basically just a cheapish and consistent 2-3CC card that can go wide and help get ninjas in on something like a curve. Also maybe lava dart > flame jab.

    Other cards that I suspect will quickly reveal themselves either too outright strong for the format, or too good stuffy resulting in less interesting synergy drafts:

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  5. I think the idea with Toxic Deluge and the other black paylife spells is a valid one. I remember there being a discussion here, somewhere about designing WB and or GB decks that can offset the life loss and that one of the dangers of doing that is that you would end up with UB Control decks that try to use those black cards but actually just end up killing themselves. I definitely had that in the back of my mind when I saw Skeletal Scrying and thought, this is good but this is probably not for me. I remember thinking, is Ribbons of Night enough to make this work and then I decided that it probably wasn't.

    I just think Toxic Deluge is too efficient and has too much effect on the board. Like, If I pay five life to 3 for 1 my opponent, I think I'm ok with that exchange.

    This is definitely why I almost first picked it. Reckless Wurm and another red madness card were in the pack so my thinking was that, I could probably do something with this pile of cards.
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  6. Thank you, I'm glad.

    As for Drake Haven, I guess it'll stay in for now, while I solidify the idea of what I am doing with the cube.

    I guess you're right about the reanimation. I was originally thinking I'd have weaker creatures, but went back and added a few stronger ones since I felt the cube didn't really have any big cards that a player might want to ramp into or use as a finisher. I added Pelakka Wurm since it's ETB effect didn't game breaking. Following this, I assumed the life loss from Life / Death (along with all the other black life loss) might make it weaker. In addition, the other removal was either to be more expensive or be attached to enchantments, which were meant to be more vulnerable. However, as you've said, this might be op. I'll need to rethink the reanimation suite, I expected it to be less strong (weaker creatures, and bigger drawbacks/vulnerability of the reanimated creatures).

    The reanimation was a big part of the Black identity in the cube. I didn't give black a lot of discard effects. Red and Blue would give it looting while Green and Blue would allow a self mill strategy. I wanted it to be difficult to have a monoblack reanimation part of a deck.

    One of the Honored Hydra was a Roar of the Wurm. I wanted it because of the self mill. The idea of tokens worked well with white, the fact that it worked from the grave worked well with blue and red. I then realised Black/Green was getting a "Number of Creatures in Graveyard" theme, which, along with the fact that I was worried that the lack of trample would make the Roar of the Wurm unplayable, I decided to replace it with another copy of Honored Hydra

    I did want some EtB for the Simic Blink deck.

    I had two Master Splicers earlier. I might go back (I'm also missing Blade Splicer, and I've cut Maul Splicer for Pelakka Wurm when I was trying to add big creatures). I'll have to rethink this.

    How would two copies of Life from the Loam work? I'm already feeling I might not have enough lands that would end up in the graveyard. I also don't want the lands engine deck to be too powerful. I had cut from two to one Magma Vortex.

    I quite like Skeletal Scrying, so I'd hesitate to cut it, but I can add Night's Whisper instead of some of the reanimation.

    I'll get a copy of Lava Dart.

    As for Token producers, I had Mogg War Marshall which became a second Young Pyromancer. I'll have to change red's token suite with the following:

    I wasn't happy with the Falkenrath Aristocrat (for other, unrelated reasons), but I was having a hard time with the RB gold section. But this all makes sense. I'd be fine with switching these. (suggestions for the Kitchen Finks replacement could be nice). Pia and Kiran Nalaar had replaced Beetleback Brigade Beetleback Chief.

    I think I remember reading that as well. I'll find a replacement for Toxic Deluge, thank you.
    Grillo_Parlante likes this.
  7. Grillo_Parlante Contributor

    I quite like skeletal scrying too, when I wrote that, I meant read the bones. My apologies, I corrected the post. I just got the two cards mixed up.

    So, here is basically my thoughts on the lands deck. I'm sorry that I wasn't more articulate before. When I saw the vortex and the loam in the same cube, my mind went back to my own experiences with vortex, and shifted down the lane of further developing the Green Baron deck--which 2nd loam would be great for, hence its suggestion.

    I found vortex to be quite bad. The main problem with those decks, is binning lands has to be better than playing them--and I found that a hard sell, with lackluster results even when decent shells were assembled. Vortex itself sets you back a card, and because it does nothing on its own, has all sorts of consistancy problems when its drawn out of sequence with its support. Because discarding lands often times runs counter to what a lot of R/x based decks want to do, it was difficult to grok, and prone to all sorts of misdrafts.

    That being said, I think the environment where it would be most happy would be one where the ramp decks are less about getting ahead on mana, and more about consistently hitting their land drops. More satyr wayfinder than llanowar elves; or you can think of them as Baron ramp decks, self-milling for mana, recyling whatever they need back into the library, and using the self-mill as a sort of smoothing effect by reprograming the library. In that environment, life from the loam is a powerful ramp card with a clear identity, and the more narrow molten vortex can poach off of all of those support pieces to make a comfy home for itself.
    CaptnIrony likes this.
  8. Hey there! I think that my list is a slightly higher power level than yours but is running a lot of the same themes, which is very interesting! I recently added a Deaths Shadow package to my cube that runs as an interesting aggro parallel to the slower pay life gain life control decks you're trying to promote. Gonna do a draft and report back.

    Mardu 2 Power Tokens from CubeTutor.com

    Very cool tokens deck came together. First picked dusk // dawn to build around and was not disappointed. That + Flesh Carver or Hangarback Walker are notably sweet. Being a 3 color ideally aggressive deck feels a little bad with only taplands, but the deck has enough reach that it might not be an issue.

    What is Leave // Chance in the list for? Seems like a really narrow effect.
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  9. Laz Developer

    Fire Covenant! Sorry, that is the first thing I thought of when I saw Fulcrum's comment:
    There is a lot to digest in your list, but I like a lot of what is going on. I haven't had time to stew over it, but I suspect I will be referring to it for card ideas in future.
  10. Add to the list of cards that stand out as being too strong:

    Cube looks good, will be interested to see what direction you take it in when you start tuning it.
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  11. Judging by some of your other g/w choices would it be right to assume that green should be "going wide"? From that perspective here's a list of suggested replacements for Finks. Loxodon Hierarch (protects your board while going wide & gives Finks' lifegain), Juniper Order Ranger (rewards going wide), and Selesnya Guildmage(helps you go wide & rewards) perhaps even Asmira, Holy Avenger(some insurance while going wide).
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  12. Noted.

    This makes sense. RG can do things similar with the plethora of cards that want to be discarded/in the graveyard, and the Stormbind/Meteor Storm.

    I wanted the Mystic Elf equivalents because of the idea of a ramp/reanimate deck (which I think PP1 had) and some UG tempo required them. However, with the recent gripe with Reanimate effects, I think I could double down on BG's graveyard deck, and UG's can get a bit stronger too. I'd be happy with another Satyr Wayfinder, and a Life from the Loam.

    For the Baron deck, I've included only one Gaea's Blessing, but two Memory's Journey (subject to change).

    Dang, I even had Gifts Ungiven in it at one point. I felt the FoF would provide a cool mini-game, and some self milling in blue, which had less than I liked. Thank you though. I might have to look for some replacement self-milling.

    The idea for GW was twofold:
    - White has Tokens, which tends to be "Go Wide" (This work better with red for the Rally the Peasants). Green can make tokens, but not a large number. So the idea is that GW gives tokens in both colours, with token buffs (W) and populate (WG). Green, however, provides much better tokens. So a Green White deck might populate 4/4s or 6/6s rather than 1/1s.

    -White has a lot of creatures that bounce one of your own on EtB. Green has a few (I think two currently), but green has more EtB effects you might want to recycle. This is sort of like a Blink deck, that is also present in Blue.

    Tbh, I had a hard time with the GW archetypes. I considered Flash/Tricks, +1/+1 Counters, Humans, Tokens, Blink, Enchantress (the cube had more enchantments. Enchantress + Auras that reanimate (B), or count as removal(WBug), gain control(U), ramp(G) or buff(GR) was to be an archetype in various colors.) So I would not be surprised if this seems weak/needs improvement.

    Thoughts on the suggestions:
    I like all of these except Asmira (I'd like to avoid cards that have not received new printings in a while, I want the cards to do what they say, Asmira has old wording and is missing her creature type).

    I'd like to also avoid Regeneration if possible (for newer players), but the Loxodon Hierarch might work. I like that it is not repeatable and that it has a decent EtB effect that isn't game breaking.

    I quite like Juniper Order Ranger, the only worry is that people might think GW +1/+1 counters is a deck.

    Selesnya Guildmage is an odd one. I've always thought her abilities were too expensive to be good, but she apparently takes over games. I like that she can give wide buffs in monowhite.

    I'm hesitating between the last three. Selesnya Guildmage might be the way to go though.
    I'll have a look at your list for inspiration as well!
    Death's Shadow is unfortunately fairly expensive atm (I'd assume you'd need two), but that sounds really cool, I'll keep it in the back of my mind. I'd like the possibility of having something like a BW life managing or BR suicide as two themes that stem from black's life loss.

    This is good! Grillo recently ditched the 2nd set of bounce lands from his PP2 cube, thereby going singleton. I'm wondering if doing something similar to add ETB untapped lands might be worth it, but I'm also worried this might make the format a bit too quick and agro a bit too strong.

    I hope that you have enough reach. It might have been Grillo, but I remember reading that someone said that aggro decks should not try to go under the other deck, as this makes boring games, but should rather deal early damage and finish up with a combo finish, or by an interesting reach plan. Red has this with direct damage, and I was hoping to recreate this in other colours with mass recursion, Blood Artist, or direct damage. Of course, red is still king in this category.

    Leave / Chance exists for white "blink" decks as a mean to save your creatures and reset EtB Effects, in red decks as discard fodder than can also exchange your bad cards late game. Red was supposed to have enough graveyard interaction that this would actually work as a weird type of red Think Twice. I do agree it is a weird inclusion. I might want to replace it. I was thinking I should maybe have a second:

    To make RW Life Gain more a deck, but the Sun Droplet makes me nervous.


    I actually was fairly against having multicolour only removal. I feel this could work if you're wanting to push a certain type of deck (Supreme Verdict as a wrath only WU can run to push Azorius Control was an example I've seen). However, I wanted multicoloured cards to encourage certain decks, and removal doesn't push in any direction (except for, arguably, goodstuff midrange). I feel like there could be a lot to discuss about the topic, like how it might encourage three colour control, how I see removal as support that I think should be as available to all as possible and so on.

    I'm pleased :)
  13. Set of changes:Out->In
    Read the Bones->Night's Whisper
    As discussed above.

    Pelakka Wurm->Maul Splicer
    I've now got enough big beaters that I can add the Splicer back in. I think this is a power down, but I'm uncertain.

    Kitchen Finks->Selesnya Guildmage
    As discussed above.

    Llanowar Elves->Life from the Loam
    Elvish Mystic->Satyr Wayfinder
    To try a more Land-Grave green.

    Hero of Oxid Ridge->Hellrider
    I think this is a power down, but I'm not even certain. I like the Hellrider though.

    Toxic Deluge->Evincar's Justice
    Either this or Black Sun's Zenith, which might be a bit too strong. I do like the idea of a Transmute + BSZ engine (I'd cut Dimir Cutpurse for a second Dimir Infiltrator, which I had been considering, and add more transmute to Black). This keeps in theme for Life Loss black, but might be too weak. This could also work as a control finisher with Sun Droplet and a bit more life gain.

    Falkenrath Aristocrat->Tymaret, the Murder King
    I rather like this. Keeps the Aristocrat theme (even in title!), but not a vampire, in case one day someone tried to make a Vampire deck work.

    Animate Dead->Vigor Mortis
    Fairer reanimation that can work with BG +1/+1 counter deck.

    Hedron Archive->Rusted Relic
    Hedron Archive had been added as the last Artifact card while I was looking for filler. I was also worried ramping for 2 at 4 might be too much. Also as discussed above.

    Edge of Autumn->Crushing Vines
    Return to the Earth->Crushing Canopy
    With Satyr Wayfinder and Life from the Loam being doubled, I now feel confident enough in my ability to bin lands. Don't need Edge of Autumn as a weird ramp. I'll miss the Cycling, but this didn't play well with the Abandoned Sarcophagus. I have a special restriction on Artifact/Enchantment Removal I'll elaborate on later, but these fit while giving green one more way to deal with flying, which I felt it was lacking.

    Necromancy->Grim Return
    This is a test. Seems fairer. Might be too weak. I should maybe just cut one reanimation spell.

    Flame Jab->Lava Dart
    I'm not certain about this. I might want to keep it for the Burning Vengeance synergy, or just remove it outright.

    I had Jilt in my hybrid section, but a mono-red deck can't play it. Fixed. Sorry Fulcrum.

    Epic Experiment->Marauding Looter
    I realised the Epic Experiment would never work how I'd want it to. In my head, it worked as a piece of self-mill you'd use semi-late in the game as a way to stabilize, and generate enough value to then win. I don't think a control deck that gets to 7 mana is in that bad a shape. I considered switching it to a second Mindswipe, which I just love, but I saw the (quite pushed) Marauding Looter. This would fit into a weird UR Aggro, for which I had included Dragonshift as a card that will probably often be last picked, but that might make magical moments. It might be too strong though. I had also considered Call the Skybreaker.

    These are cards I'm currently thinking of possibly switching out:
    Pia and Kiran Nalaar
    Molten Vortex
    Lava Dart
    Fact or Fiction

    -Pia and Kiran Nalaar: (I want to keep testing it, I love the Artifact synergy, as I feel my WR Artifact deck might be a bit weak)
    -Lava Dart: As discussed above.
    -Fact or Fiction: As discussed above. But I really like it.
    -Dragonshift: Seems weak, and I doubt it'll ever see play. I just hope. But I considered cutting it, Epic Experiment/Marauding Looter for Enigma Drake and Spellheart Chimera as a weird Vore deck (Which would play differently than normal UR, which normally would cast the Instants and Sorceries in its graveyard).

    And some I'd like to add in:
    Beetleback Chief
    Moment's Peace
    Gaea's Blessing
    Makeshift Mannequin
    Master Splicer
    Mogg War Marshal
    Call the Skybreaker
    Oona's Grace

    -Beetleback Chief: Placeholder Pia and Kiran Nalaar replacement. Lacks Artifact Synergy though.:(
    -Moment's Peace: I feel this could help a Green control deck, it's also a fog I can stand.
    -Gaea's Blessing: 2nd copy, I might then remove both Memory's Journeys.
    -Makeshift Mannequin: Weaker reanimation. Might be too weak.
    -Master Splicer: 2nd copy. As discussed above.
    -Mogg War Marshal: Extra red Tokens.
    -Call the Skybreaker: Interesting finisher for Red or Blue. Can be milled/discarded. Might be overwhelming late, especially with green.
    -Oona's Grace: I wanted to fit that in. Could maybe replace Drake Haven in the future.
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  14. I think Hellrider is quite a bit stronger than the Hero. Something like Heart-Piercer Manticore is sweet

    Fact or Fiction is extremely strong. You already have Careful Consideration, which is my goto stand-in for FoF at lower power levels, so I'd say you can do something entirely else with the slot. Maybe something like
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  15. I had the Heart-Piercer Manticore in an earlier version, where Red/Green cared about creature's power. I felt I was lacking a way to buff tokens though, which is why I wanted Hero of Oxid Ridge or Hellrider. I was also thinking Ogre Battledriver, but he seemed too strong, Pursue Glory seemed nice, but I'd feel low on creatures. I liked Scourge Devil, but the 5 slot is fairly full already while the four mana one is lacking.

    I just realised Lightning Surge doesn't have the reminder text for Threshold.

    Lightning Surge out. Scourge Devil in.

    Hellrider out for being too strong. Quicksmith Rebel in.

    Now that I have another piece of Artifact interaction, Pia and Kiran Nalaar can come out, Beetleback Chief can replace to keep the token creation.

    Commit // Memory is an interesting one. I don't like how Memory can act as grave-hate (which is another topic I'll address), but maybe the thought of refilling the opponent's hand might be enough of a drawback. I don't like how it can undo the work a Spider Spawning or Baron deck has done though. I did, however, just read on MTG cube about a deck that used it to go through its deck twice with lots of draw in ramp which seemed very interesting.

    I'm worried about blue's lack of filtering to the grave and CA. Since FoF seems to be way above power level, I'd be fine with switching it to a second Careful Consideration for now, before I get a feel for how blue runs.

    Fact or Fiction out. Careful Consideration 2 in.
    sigh likes this.
  16. Two CC is also strong. Digging that many cards is quite strong.

    You might want to consider buffing your filtering to the grave at different CMCs. A very useful pair of cards to consider:

    Both sorcery speed helps keep them from being degenerate, and they cleanly fill GY synergy roles.

    Another 4 CMC card that has worked very, very well for me, and signals the decks in the proper colors

    I'd say that Memory isn't that hard of grave hate, especially since it does draw them new cards. I've similarly really grew fond of struggle // survive for its survive half, which is proving far more useful than I thought. It slows down the GY plans, but doesn't permanently lock out their game, and it recycles important cards for you too. Memory feels similar.
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  17. I wanted to differentiate blue and red looting by giving Red smaller looting, more suited for madness, while Blue's would be more conditional, time restricted and expensive. I originally had Faithless Looting, which I had removed because the discarding of two cards made it harder to use with Madness, but seeing how red has moved towards casting from the grave I might re-add it.

    Frantic Search doesn't really fit with these restrictions, but I really wanted to test some of Blue's untapping.

    I had considered Ancient Excavation but I was worried it might get snapped up by random decks wanting the land cycling. I do however quite like it. I'll see if I can make a cut for it.

    Thank you!

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