I have a cube that is still in the building stages, where I am going to run Accumulated Knowledge and Kindle as four of, which could be very interesting, seeing as how both are easily splashable, and can go in a lot of different decks.
This submissions operates on many designer’s base instincts when thinking of ways to break singleton within a cube environment. Start with the question “what cards go well in multiples in a deck”, and take that idea to the cube level. The same type of thinking leads to designers turning to cards like Rune Snag and Squadron Hawk. Even multiples of Birthing Pod arguably come from the same concept.
One litmus test when looking to break singleton with a card is “would I play this card if I only had one copy of it in my deck?”. Cards like Steppe Lynx, Gravecrawler and Rune Snag are sufficiently playable on their own, but improve in multiples.
By contrast, Accumulated Knowledge is pretty terrible when cast for the first time. Compare to random value cantrips like Gitaxian Probe, Quicken and Twisted Image. We don’t start to yield value from it until casting it for a second time in the game, meaning, realistically, we likely need at least three of the four copies in our deck before it’s worthwhile to run them (this may change with cube power level, of course). Even in Pauper constructed, Think Twice often gets the nod over Accumulated Knowledge anyways. The result is that we don’t really have competing demand for the card. There’s no use to having only one or two, so if I don’t get my hands on one in Pack 1, the only reason I would select them later in the draft is for the sake of hate drafting.
Is this an interesting drafting mechanic? Maybe. I suppose it could be fun to play a 40 card deck with 4 Accumulated Knowledges, but I don’t know that it warrants the design space you’d have to allocate to it to pull the concept off.
Kindle needs to be cast a third time before gaining a power edge on the already marginal Searing Spear.
As someone who runs a playset of Rune Snag, I fully agree with Jason’s assessment that the first copy of the card needs to not be embarrassing. Rune Snag passes that test, if only barely. People in my cube sometimes run the only copy that they nab, and while it won’t win any awards for efficiency, sometimes you have to make them pay 2.
My biggest problem with Kindle is that Magic has printed a lot – a lot – of interesting burn spells over the years, but a two-mana Shock variant isn’t one of them. Shock itself isn’t playable in most people’s cubes, so the power level of a cube would have to be pretty low before a drafter is interested in ponying up an additional mana for it.
With blue, the issue again is I feel like there’s a lot of cheap drawing and sifting cards for one or two mana, most of which do something interesting. The other problem is that as a cube designer, you can’t waste too much space with do-nothing durdly draw spells, and four Accumulated Knowledges eats up nearly all of the room you would normally allot for such an effect. I think this one is more defensible than Kindle, but as a drafter, I wouldn’t be particularly excited to start accumulating (ahem) them.