"Fast" multiplayer cube

I've looked at the whole card pool and there are no more good green graveyard payoffs. You have the same set I do and, after that, the options just aren't that great. Honored Hydra is a bit questionable already, even. You have Genesis(too slow), Hooting Mandrils (too fair, small and can't be played from the graveyard) and stuff like Grizzly Fate and Beast Attack which are good but low-powered.
 
@blacksmithy
If the cube were just for me, the Antique Collector would be in here. But I know the other players won't be on board.

@Erik Twice
There are definitely cool options for lower power. I am pretty sure ravnic has them all in his cube (like Mother Bear). However, your comments reinforced the idea that if I want more, then breaking singleton is the way for now.



I was drafting the cube and had this deck pop up:











I didn't quite get there as the pure GY aggro, so I had to improvise and complemented the GY stuff with some sacrifice shenanigans.

This got me thinking that I may have been looking at this wrong. Lets imagine a few scenarios:

1. I get all the payoffs. This leads to a great deck. Sporadically, this is very satisfying. Having a synergistic deck firing on all cylinders is fun, but I suspect that long term, this can get stale because the deck always looks the same.

2. I don't get all of the payoffs. Then I have a few options to salvage my deck:

- Mix it up: Most cards don't work in a single theme. So if you don't have the density of GY aggro payoffs, maybe you can use your self-mill enablers to jump into a lands deck. Or maybe your recursive creatures act as sacrifice fodder now.

- Splash another color: I've tried to seed broad archetypes, spanning multiple colors in the cube. There is also a decent amount of fixing. So if the packs don't fall your way, try splashing!

- Abort!: If you've been taking an important quantity of removal/card draw/fixing, maybe you can pivot into another archetype if it isn't too late in the draft. This option doesn't feel great and leads to less powerful decks, but sometimes your lane isn't open or the cards aren't there.

This is basically a long-winded way of saying that you need to find the right density of effects (duh!). Over-representation means your decks will always get there and will look and play alike. Under-representation will test your drafter's adaptability and can be frustrating to never have your deck "get there". Like most things, the middle ground is where you want to be and will lead to better long-term cube experience IMO.

Writing this out, I realize that this is probably obvious to most, but it didn't hit me until writing this post. -_-'
 
I would like to add 5 extra fixing lands to the cube. For spoiler reasons, let’s say 5 Prismatic Vista.

I need cuts!

Syndic of Tithes is one I personally love for its reach and life gain, but isn’t essential.

Izzet Charm is too similar to Prismari Command, so it can go (or is it the other way around?!).

Dark Petition is the weakest of my tutors and because of it's mana value, actually pretty narrow in which decks want it.

After that, it gets tougher. I am thinking that the following could probably go

Ugin, the Ineffable: Nothing wrong with Ugin, but he is pretty slow to get going. I had him as a fair way to cheat big artifacts, but that doesn't actually happen very often.

Fiend Artisan: Don't like this cut as an impactful, hybrid 2 drop is great to have. However, I have a bunch of Golgari GY cards already, maybe this is the worst?

Cursed Mirror: This was a cool suggestion to help buff Goblin Engineer, however, with the new reconfigure cards from KND, my artifact density has improved. 3 mana rocks are slow in my cube, so this could get the axe even if the play patterns seem fun.

Are any cards sticking out to you?
 
Ended up keeping the Fiend Artisan out of the six cards listed. The cheap mana value, late game scalability and hybrid mana are too much to overlook.



I'd like cut a few 4+ mana Blue value cards and replace them with Blue proactive creatures. After all, games need to end!

Adds



They scale, have evasion and can be cast on the cheap.

They slide neatly into any non-artifact Blue deck, regardless of strategy. However, they are going to shine in {U}{R} and {U}{G} more aggressive shells. I naturally have a lot of cheap cantrips so casting Entity on turn 3 or 4 isn't particularly hard. 3/3 isn't very large, but at 2 mana, who cares!
In conjunction with Quandrix Apprentice who I added again, Simic spells is going to be gas.

Cuts

These are going to hurt and I will need your help to have an outside look. One I am fairly certain of is



It gets the job done, but it's a boring planeswalker: +1 defense, 0 draw, -9 win. I had it in there initially because of the thopters, but the way games played out, they were mostly chump blockers so there was no real synergy to be had.
There is also the fact that PWs are quite a bit worse in MP games so not too sad to see it go.

Other cut options include



Cryptic Command: Amazing, versatile effect, horrendous casting cost.

Gifts Ungiven: Is somewhat in competition with Fact or Fiction which I am keeping. It's more of a tutor than pure card draw and as such, creates unique gameplay scenarios.

Sublime Epiphany: 6 mana is a lot, but hot damn, there is a lot going with this spell. The interactions with things like Esika's Chariot and Torrential Gearhulk makes the drafter feel smart, which is always satisfying.

I am leaning towards cutting Cryptic, but it feels like heresy as a high powered cube staple. Even though it's never happened during our games, the tap all to alpha strike fits nicely into the proactive decks I want to promote.



Random change: (In -> Out)

->

With more fixing that has multiple basic land types, getting a chunky Kavu early is easier. Bonus points for wanting to attack to get a discard outlet or a piece of disruption.
Domri is a powerful tool for aggressive Gruul decks, but once again, a pretty boring PW.
What I really want for this guild is a 2 mana or less haste enabler.

->

Knight is a decent aggro spell that scales well, but it doesn't support any of my themes. This is a free slot in my mind. I can't find a Red cut for the Magus, so might as well try this.



I would like more Urza's Saga targets.

I am thinking this could be the excuse I've wanted to try Lion's Eye Diamond (and to a lesser extent Mox Opal). Maybe I run Soul-Guide Lantern. Any targets that would be a good fit?
 

Kirblinx

Developer
Staff member


Cryptic Command: Amazing, versatile effect, horrendous casting cost.

Gifts Ungiven: Is somewhat in competition with Fact or Fiction which I am keeping. It's more of a tutor than pure card draw and as such, creates unique gameplay scenarios.

Sublime Epiphany: 6 mana is a lot, but hot damn, there is a lot going with this spell. The interactions with things like Esika's Chariot and Torrential Gearhulk makes the drafter feel smart, which is always satisfying.

I am leaning towards cutting Cryptic, but it feels like heresy as a high powered cube staple. Even though it's never happened during our games, the tap all to alpha strike fits nicely into the proactive decks I want to promote.
A UUU cost and the the words 'Proactive Deck' aren't two things I would think go together. I feel like Epiphany fits the role of Cryptic Command enough but will always be splashy unlike Cryptic that is just Dismiss 70% of the time.
 
Those are some good options, thanks Train.

Thank you for the insight Kirblinx.

I’m going to take a page from you both and make the following changes:

Out->in

->
->

Out goes the command and in comes another piece of interaction that adds to my Urza’s Saga targets. Having an on board trick can be a nice incentive to have people go attack elsewhere.

Then I am cutting a 4 mana big vanilla guy for a cheap, snowballing aggro piece with the axe.

This Bonehord cut has me reexamining my 4+ mana creatures, which I categorized as follows

Mulldrifters: The classic for higher powered cubes, cards like Noxious Gearhulk.
Death value: This could be a leave the battlefield trigger like Reveillark or a recursion ability like Timeless Dragon
Immediate impact: The haste from Ulvenwald Oddity or the ability from Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Baneslayers: If you untap with these, watch out (Terror of the Peaks).

Where this becomes important is in the face of my efficient removal suite. With Baneslayers, you get blown out hard if it is answered immediately. So the question becomes, is the 4+ mana threat worth the risk? It helps me to categorize them, so here we go again:

High damage output: If you untap, you have a real shot at doing a lot of damage



These cards are very risky, but can win you the game. Because of this, I think they are worth including. However, I didn't realize I had 3 in Red, so maybe the Ogre Battledriver should go.

Cast off curve: You can mitigate the lack of impact of these cards if you play them alongside another card ir activate an ability. For instance Kykar + Faithless Looting on turn 5 instead of jamming it on turn 4.



Horror can be played end of turn to avoid sorcery speed removal and a cheap spell allows it to protect itself. Kenrith on the other hand is looking a little rough because it doesn't really fit into a specific archetype and the abilities cost a lot of mana. Fun card for another cube.

Do nothing: Unless you have a butt load of mana, this isn't doing anything the turn it ETBs.



Polukranos is big, is a mana sink and is well loved. But he fits no themes and threatens to squash aggressive decks with the big body and the split damage removal. So it is both suspect design and play wise.

Based on this list, I’ll be cutting Polukranos and Kenrith. I’m on the fence with the Ogre though.
For adds, I am once again considering



One semi consistent deck that appears in my environment is a Green based token ramp with Earthcraft. This would be a redundant piece for that deck as well as great in most Green decks.
The risk is having this do nothing in the face of a wrath or multiple removal spells. Possibly too easy to abuse, but want to try.

For the Kenrith, I have nothing concrete. I like the idea of replacing the king for



as a nice piece for aggro decks that introduces the monarch.

Any suggestions (multicoloured or other)?
 
In -> out

->

the worst case scenario is much better for NW, but it lacks in the gameplay department compared to PtF. PtF being instant means you can react to removal and you can mass sacrifice for aristocrat and magecraft triggers.
I’ve thought about Village Rites too because of the cheap casting cost, but I don’t like its WCS of literally doing nothing.
[/c]Fell Stinger[/c] would be a consideration if not for the 3 mana casting cost.



I’ve come to realize that I have very few creatures in Black. Which is awkward when you have a sacrifice theme in the color. I would like

1. A non-cheat creature finisher:



I'd forgotten about Ob Nixilis, but he is a rare lands matter payoff in Black. I have played him to some success in the past, when the cube was slower, but with less lands support. It's easy to trigger in the right deck, leading to some explosive potential. The trigger hopefully makes up for the lack of evasion.

Herald is a disruptive and evasive beater that can be cast on the cheap. It's rare in my environment that it costs the full 7 mana.

I honestly don't know which I like more, as they both add pieces to under-supported archetypes in Black. I think the landfall option is more unique.

2. To bolster the sacrifice theme a little, so considering three cards that play well there:



The lack of blocking from Feeder is a big turn off, but one mana sac outlet is great.

Priest is an outlet and payoff in one and has a global effect. Narrow but powerful.

Finally, Carver is a resilient and evasive beater that scales with synergy potential.

Tentative cuts

Profane Command and Wretched Confluence are options. Probably don’t need 2 big mana value spells. I’ll

->

Priest is a value removal spell in a way, so it makes sense to me to find a likeminded card to swap out. Call uses a cool MP mechanic, but it bothers me that its casting cost varies depending on the stage of the game or the cube night (more or less players).

->

I’d love to fit the Flesh Carver, but I cannot find the cut.
 
After a little break from the cube, I am coming back with a fresh pair of eyes and some sweet SNC and SNC Commander cards.

Blue aggressive decks

IN -> OUT


->
->
->

I've really been enjoying the addition of Murktide Regent and Stormwing Entity as they give Blue some creature-based spell velocity payoffs. Ledger Shredder further adds to this and plays well offensively and defensively to boot. Triggering off every player is the saving grace, otherwise I think it would be too weak.

To further add to the strategy of Blue aggressive decks, I am going to include Mist-Syndicate Naga once more. It can snowball quickly, which is what aggro needs in my format and can enhance blink or the aforementioned Shredder.

As for the cuts, Baral is purely defensive and purely instants/sorceries. Shredder has both aggressive and defensive capabilities, and just cares about spell velocity, making it more open-ended.

Thassa is great at pushing damage through later in the game, but until then she is just usually a scrying enchantment that rarely becomes a creature. I'd rather add a hard hitting Blue Rabblemaster type card instead which also encourages attacking.

I am not a huge fan of either of these ETB tapped lands, but at least one attacks. I have a lot of artifacts already, making the Bridge expendable.



Token decks

IN -> OUT


->
->

I think that Jinnie Fay has real potential as a token anthem for a few reasons:
1. It's an anthem on a body, the floor is relatively high.
2. Hybrid mana makes this playable in a lot of colors.
3. Haste on the cats makes for surprise damage out of nowhere.
4. Triggering on ALL tokens further opens ups the decks that are interested in this.
5. It's a may ability, you have all the agency.

Grand Crescendo has a lot of versatility. Wrath protection for {W}{W} is going to be sweet for aggressive decks and another instant speed X spell will be useful for all sorts of strategies.

As for cuts, Township is a card that has a low deck slot cost, but it is really inefficient. I had it here as a cool land for GW land matters decks to fetch, but it is luxury more than necessity. The creature lands, Gaea's Cradle, Urza's Saga and Field of the Dead are enough targets IMO.
Mikaeus is a scaling threat, but I don't support counters (yet) and have no untap shenanigans. Even though I am swapping an anthem out for a token maker, I think the instant will be more playable.



More aggro!

IN -> OUT


->
->
->

I've been waiting for a good Threaten effect because it messes up blockers, opens up attacks and allows some sacrifice stuff to happen. I think this one has real potential. You only really get screwed if multiple opponents have dorky little creatures, which would hopefully mean you can swing with your own stuff.

The Mardu colors are my most aggressive ones, but Black doesn't have much to do on turn one. I don't necessarily want a ton of 1 drops for the sake of it, but I think these scale or have enough upside to be worth including. Carrion Feeder is a free sacrifice outlet that can grow quite large. I hate the cannot block clause, but what can you do? Knight has played well in the past and is a great mana sink.

I am trying to cut a few narrow build arounds to include these aggressive cards. Both Birthing Pod and Niv Mizzet Reborn need you to draft them early to maximize their potential otherwise they are just wheeling throughout the draft. They are sweet to be sure, but I already have a lot of sweet archetypes. And at the frequency at which we draft my cube, novelty won't be an issue.

It might be weird to cut an aggressive equipment for these cards, but thanks to Kamigawa Neon Dynasty, I've added 6 equipment creatures. My aggro artifact decks will have to rely on Nettlecyst, Urza's Saga and Karn, Scion of Urza to get their synergy from.



So there it is. A rather big update focused on promoting more attacking strategies at the cost of a few build-arounds. I think the trade off is worth it, do you?
 
Damn it!
I always hesitate and always get it wrong. Next time, I’ll do the opposite of what my instinct is telling me
 
I'm currently on the fence about some MDFCs. I think their effects would be a boon to my cube, but the complexity cost is higher than a normal card.



Halvar is a rare equipment payoff that appeals to me. With the added Kamigawa equipment creatures, I have 16 equipments, which is a good amount. Then there is the fact that it's also decent on the back end as it encourages attacking via recursion and vigilance.

Birgi is an amazing spells velocity payoff. Adding a mana for every spell means it can go well in all sorts of decks. Mana generation is often the bottleneck when it comes to "storm" decks in my cube, so this is amazing. Add to that the fact that it can provide card advantage in a pinch on the flip side and you have a great card for my cube. I would sharpy out the Bolster nonsense, but that isn't a huge deal.

Mammoth is a chunky threat that can help mitigate mana screw. It can also up your land count indirectly for landfall decks that want a lot of triggers. I really like that this is a good attacker, but mediocre blocker which helps games end. This MDFC isn't very complicated at all IMO, which is great.

The most important one in terms of enabling decks would be Birgi and the one with the best game play potential is probably the Mammoth (threat + land is a great play pattern).

I would probably cut these:



I've soured on the 5 color decks enablers for a few reasons:
1. With my fixing lands and density, multicolored decks arise naturally.
2. I don't play my cube often enough that I need this kind of "special" archetype. This would be a cool include if I wanted some extra spice at little cost (in terms of cube slots).

As for the Slime, it's not the kind of roadblock I want to encourage right now. I will miss the artifact/enchantment/land removal aspect though. I'd also like for my 5 drops to be more impactful.

I'm still trying to fit in a few more cards like Ox of Agonas, Lion's Eye Diamond, Hermit Druid, but haven't figured out the cuts.
 
I’ve been getting some BRx decks with a lot of overlapping themes jammed together (which is exactly what I want), but sadly the decks are rarely about artifacts if it is not reanimator (thanks to Welder/Daretti).
So I'd like to remedy that by introducing these:

Out -> In

->

I absolutely hate the extra text and flip side on the Bloodcaster, so that will get sharpied out. Adding an new type of token also isn't free. Definitely loosing out in the elegance department though.
However, having an uncapped sacrifice payoff that even triggers off itself is amazing. The artifacts themselves then play in the RB GY/discard aggro decks of the cube or just smooth draws.
I don't like cutting Mire Triton as it is a workhorse. Deathtouch is solid as is the life buffer. However, I don't think slow decks need the help. The mill is often relevant in Black, but hopefully the artifacts from the Bloodcaster compensate that loss.

->

I've tried the Plunderer in the past, but didn't have as much overlap between all my themes as I do now. The fact that this triggers off of any creature (token or not) is great and the mana potential crazy. Along with the next change, I hope to enable a new sort of deck.
Celebrant is a decent one, but I already have 4 effects like it in Black alone.

->

I've never really gotten to use the AoD very effectively. It's a very specific type of deck that wants to mill itself and have big creatures. However, every deck wants mana! The hope here is that between this, Ashnod's Altar and Pitliess Plunderer a Bx sacrifice/ramp archetype can pop up.
I currently have a deck like this in Selesnya using Earthcraft and Ashnod's as the signature cards (https://cubecobra.com/cube/deck/6218f296abf3dc0fde35cff7).
However a BR sacrifice/ramp deck using Earthquake and Fireball variants alongside Chandra, Acolyte of Flame seems gas!

->

I've found that I don't really need this card in Blue to enable artifact go wide decks. Between Urza's Saga, Tolarian Academy, Nettlecyst, Karn, Scion of Urza and Urza, Lord High Artificer, the incentives are there. Instead, the slot can be dedicated to a colorless enabler to maybe help BR artifacts along the way. Bonus points because it's also an artifact and it's aggro slanting.
 
I've been looking at the cube and being less shy about breaking singleton, I'd like to try:

->

Ballista is a mana sink in hand and on board, avoids random "protection of" and is additional removal for colors that need it the most (Blue and Green). The nice part is that both Blue actively want the Ballista for the artifact type line and so do Green decks as mana sink.
It's also a way to close out a stalled board late game.



I'm very happy with my current Blue section. The addition of multiple flyers and snowballing threats enables some aggressively slanted decks in mostly Jeskai colors. There could be more though!

->

Geist has a few things going for it:
- My players really enjoy it.
- It signals at there being a tempoish UW deck.
- It is splashable in a WR or UR deck.
- The hexproof is important because of the heavy equipment theme in White and secures an attack even through removal.
- Blue has few 3 drop creatures.
- It's easier to find an open attack when there are multiple players.

The Reality Chip is in an awkward spot because the decks that want it the most are creature light, meaning it's tough to equip. And the decks able to have creatures don't want the stat line or take the time off to equip.

->

It's really frustrating when your reanimation spell cannot hit your best targets! Persist is great because of the cheap mana cost, the small downside, the fact it is a sorcery, but! it cannot get Gyruda, Doom of Depths back. Griselbrand? nope. Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis? nah. These are some of the best targets in the cube and Persist misses them.
I'll add Animate Dead back in, but I am a bit sad to target all graveyards. It makes it less likely that the reanimator player gets the card and it is more of a value play. Any alternatives you have liked?

->

My White reanimation package didn't really pan out. I had Elspeth Conquer's Death, Dakkon, Shadow Slayer and the Priest. Sometimes an Esper deck came together built around artifact cheat, but mostly ECD was clunky and Priest cost a lot of life in decks that didn't really want to pay that cost.
Instead, I am adding the Knight back in. Solid aggro piece that hits everyone and plays well with White's ETB and Black's recursion.



I also want to showcase a deck I've been very happy with. It's a Boros midrange deck with artifact and ETB synergies:











What impresses me the most about this deck is the amount of card advantage it has for a color pair that is notoriously lacking in that department:

The blink package to reuse the ETBs
Solid one drops that give you cards: Ragavan + Sentinel
Powerhouse 4 drops: Chandra, Karn, Showdown and Jailer are all amazing value cards that fit the aggressive nature of the build. They help build or reinforce board presence as well.



Still mulling on a few more changes, but it's mostly at card level rather than archetype level.

Thanks for reading!
 
I've been trying to get a bit more artifact overlap in Black and Green and I've had a breakthrough!

Golgari Baby Lasagna











Baba Lysaga, Night Witch is a perfect card for my Golgari decks. In combination with Korvold, Fae-Cursed King you have the incentives to build around sacrificing stuff. In my cube that's basically lands, artifacts and creatures which form the broad archetypes I support.

I was also able to draft this other Golgari deck. No Baba here, but she would have taken the deck to another level with the various artifact tokens to sacrifice. The artifacts here still allow for massive Karnstructs and a cheap Herald of Anguish.











I am now considering adding a few more cards to help out the Witch.

One simple swap:

->

Being able to sacrifice artifacts in addition to creatures and having a mana refund is perfect and increases the range of decks that want the effect. You miss out a bit with Sedgemoor Witch and Professor Onyx who trigger on the copies, but that is pretty fringe.

Then there are a few lands



Factory is always solid and single handedly makes Baba Lysaga work. It is relatively low impact, but creature lands have always played well in my cube.
I am not sure what to think about Treasure Vault however. I love mana sinks, but this one just makes more mana...The base case of being an artifact land is good though.

Do you have any suggestions to enhance the Witch?
 
Ohhhh...I misread Baba Lysaga....I thought it was a mandatory three card sacrifice, didn't catch the "up to" wow, that's so much better than I realized. I may have to make room for it now.

Is Virus Beetle too low-powered? It makes all opponent's discard, but it might be too low impact for the attention it draws.

I'm a big fan of factory. I like it more than Vault, but I feel like running both is good too.
 
Is Virus Beetle too low-powered? It makes all opponent's discard, but it might be too low impact for the attention it draws.
I had forgotten about the card, but it's the kind of suggestions I was looking for, thanks. You pretty much nailed it: unnecessary aggro from others and too weak to trade. If only it had 2 power!

I'm going to add a third sacrifice any type of permanent card with



I've had him in before and he plays well. Big body, evasion and hard to kill are a great baseline. The sacrifice scaling to your whole board if you want is quite appealing and would give a third piece of redundancy for the Baba Lysaga, Night Witch and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King deck.

My gripe is that he is quite similar to Korvold, as both are big 5 mana cards that sacrifice stuff and draw cards.

I'll be cutting Ob Nixilis, the Fallen. He is a nice finisher, but sacrificing is more on theme for the GB decks, whereas GWR are more centered around landfall.

I am also looking at both



To really push the ramp token deck into Gruul as well as Selesnya. I had this deck that used both Gaea's Cradle and Tolarian Academy and having a third copy of the effect is huge for consistency:











The deck would have been crazy with Tempt with Vengeance or Pest Infestation!
 
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If you want a red token producer that loves it when you ramp...

That's a great suggestion I had forgotten about, thanks!
If some poor shmuck is open, you get to double dip on triggers and can recur it.



For the first time, I kind of glimpsed over a set. The combination of product fatigue, mechanics not for me (initiative, backgrounds and die rolling) and wordiness made me overlook the Baldur's Gate set. I'm not quite ready to tackle the commander decks yet though...
Here are a few good ones I missed:



I like the idea of Myriad creatures, but they were always a little high on the mana curve. They work great with ETBs like Impact Tremors, sacrifice outlets like Priest of Forgotten Gods, ninjas like Mist-Syndicate Naga and anthem effects like Angel of Invention.

The one drop is a little more speculative, but I am convinced that the Hammers are going to be a big plus for aggro. Removing blockers while bashing them for 3 is powerful and likely insures you can swing again next turn.

As for the Kitten, it's very open-ended which I value highly, but also vulnerable. However, triggering on any noncreature and targeting any nonland is huge and allows for nice cross-synergies. We'll see if it is too fragile.

As for cuts:



Cutting a double faced-card feels good! Kytheon always played at least decently so it might come back, but for now favoring the MP mechanic.
Spiritkeeper is nice because it goes well in all type of White decks thanks to vigilance and it's resiliency to removal. However, it's {W}{W} casting cost and a more reactive card compared to the Dwarfs. There might be a place for it anyways, but I cannot figure out another cut for now.
Finally, Thassa was more of an enchantment than anything else and I try to limit those as they don't interact with many archetypes. Thassa was safe, guaranteed value, whereas the Kitten is more explosive and synergystic, which fits my goals.

Happy to have taken a second, more in depth look as these small changes as they work better for my cube's goals.
 
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