Nanonox's 1vs1 cube

This new card from MKM has me really excited. It's a cheap, self-contained mana engine with a high ceiling that ties several themes together. I think it deserves some spotlight!

We just talked about Imotekh, the Stormlord that has a similar trigger counting artifacts leaving the GY rather than creatures. I was surprised at how easy it was to trigger the ability and this isn't very different.

With zero modifications, we have the following in BG

To help visualize what the payoff looks like, here are what multiple triggers look like:
1x: one 1/2 mana dork
2x: a 1/2 and a 2/3 mana dork
3x: a 1/2, a 2/3 and a 3/4 mana dork

So a growing board and mana advantage for no additional mana. I'd want at least two dorks before I am happy with the output.

Which decks are going to want this?

1. Aggressive decks with recursive creatures. This is one I drafted that you could slot in the Insidious Roots into and get good results.

There are only 4 ways to trigger the ability (Cauldron, Gravecrawler, Vengevine and Lurrus), but they are all repeatable! You also have a lot of token producers for the mana ability and Reyhan, Last of the Abzan for some counter shenanigans to boot.

2. Midrange GY value piles. Here is a Jund deck that would love to get its hands on Roots.

Red offers some good ways to clear creatures from the GY with Lavamancer, Mutt, Pyromancer and Kolaghan's Command. The incidental tokens will give mana for your X spells too.

3. Grindy artifact piles. This Abzan one drafted by Erik showcases how good White can be combined with the enchantment.

All the extra mana would be nice for looping Scrap Trawler, Lurrus and Serra Paragon effects. There is The Ozolith in the SB that could make its way to the main too.

Do you have any suggestions to further enable Insidious Roots?
I love it! I'm going to incluce Insidious Roots and hope that my players will figure out ways to use it.

I think my list has a few more repeatable graveyard exile effects, such as Urborg Scavengers and Cemetary Prowler. There's also Masked Vandal and Shigeki, Jukai Visionary but the standouts have to be these ones:

I included the cat oven "combo" as a little achievement unlocker with Urza's Saga (also Asmo and the Book) and it has been fine so far. The other two are very high pick for all the selfdiscard decks running around.

Does Mosswood Dreadknight work with this? I think that Oskar, Rubbish Reclaimer and Containment Construct should work, but it's a bit more fiddly.

That's what I got after a first quick look, I'm sure there is more (also in other colors)!
I've been considering Cat/Oven ever since I added a few more food support cards (Astrid Peth, Samwise Gamgee, The Underworld Cookbook and Tough Cookie). I haven't quite pulled the trigger but you saying it's played out fine is a nice endorsement.

The Dreadknight should work, but I already have so many Golgari cards I want to run! Tough finding room at smaller sizes. One card from your list that I have overlooked is Masked Vandal. I am in the market for more enchantment/artifact interaction and I love that it helps Gravecrawler which I could use more help with.

A bunch of changes that involves killing some darlings (temporarily at least):


This is experimental, but I’ve noticed I am lacking some SFM targets. The big ones to get are Nettlecyst, Skullclamp and Embercleave. Beyond that, some solid role players, but not the density. So either increase the quantity or cut the not so reliable payoff. There is also the fact that I have 4 artifact payoffs at 2 mana in White, which I am not a fan of (Ethersworn Canonist, Astrid Peth, Oswald Fiddlebender and SFM).

As for equipement to add, I really like the reconfigure cards, but don’t really have room for them. Blade of the Oni and The Reality Chip are the standouts.

I’m not a big fan of Kaldra Compleat because it tends to rot in SBs if no SFM.

Jitte is too easy/powerful to be interesting.

Bonesplitter and Bloodforged Battle-Axe are fine but unexciting to me currently.

Tidebender takes Ertai's spot as a disruptive beater with Flash.


Another little push for the counters deck. I like the Apprentice for its ability to transfer all of its counters to someone else. No waste here and solidifies the sacrifice and counter merging of themes.


I've been wanting to give Red control decks a little push, but don't necessarily want another sweeper. The Pyromancer is a fine way to do this I believe as you can take over the board, but not in an oppressive way. You have to get creative to trigger twice in a turn cycle which I like and it also acts as a finisher by going face.

Berserk is a very sweet card especially with the go-tall aspect of the counters deck. Outside of that however, there are not a lot of decks that can make use of it. I would want to push a Berserkers theme more explicitly before I add it back in.


I've been liking Orzhov reanimate with self-binning threats. Solitude, Grief, Angel of the Ruins, Troll of Khazad-Dum put in a lot of work. Red now has Fury and Oliphant to make it a Rakdos deck too. It's also nice to have a late game mana sink that doubles as a mana fixer early.

Recommission’s extra counter and ability to targets artifacts is great, but 2 mana is rough. Especially now that I have Helping Hand.


I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t need more 3 mana land matter engines. Instead, I am happy to give an instant speed draw 7 for combo decks.


BG isn't my favorite color combination, but it sure has a lot of really cool designs for which I don't have space (Baba Lysaga, Night Witch says hi!). I just posted about the Roots, but just to reiterate: it's cheap, hard to remove, can produce tons of mana and ties a lot of themes together. Roots has me dreaming about crazy decks on the same level as Agatha's Soul Cauldron.

Here is a 4 color Selesnya one with a Lurrus companion that has artifact and counter synergies. The Roots allows you to dump a ton of mana into your X spells or use the Cookie to animate all of your artifact tokens. Lurrus is perfect for triggering the ability on Roots and I would love to pilot this one.

Grist is obviously great. Milling, tokens and sacrifice on a 3 mana walker is quite something. Especially one that can be Reanimated. So why am I cutting it instead of the more obvious Reyhan, Last of the Abzan? Because I think it's less critical for archetype support. The counter decks are a little light on payoffs (Basri, Rishkar, Ozolith, Agatha's), so another that is decent on its own is welcome.


Discussed above as part of the Black artifact package.


In addition the Angler, I have Tasigur, Kroxa, Hogaak, Woe Strider, Yawgmoth's Will that all want to exile the GY. And that is just in Black! I figure I can use this slot to diversify my archetype support with another discounted beater who instead cares about artifacts.
I am keeping Tasigur over Angler because of the cheaper cost and mana sink. I don't think the extra point of power is worth the extra mana.

I was able to naturally draft a UB artifact cheat control deck with some of these new additions and it looks promising:

Sail into the West is very cool. Didn’t know about that card! May need to toss that into my list

I too recently cut Berserk. RIP

I like Tezzeret, but I’m not a fan of Herald personally. I much prefer Necron Deathmark or maybe Noxious Gearhulk for them having artifact bodies to tinker, weld, etc

Disciple feels a little narrow, but at least it triggers on both sides of the board. Not sure I like that inclusion tho

Interested to hear how insidious roots works for you. I initially dismissed it as being a bit noodly…but it can definitely get out hand if given a couple of turns
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I like Tezzeret, but I’m not a fan of Herald personally. I much prefer Necron Deathmark or maybe Noxious Gearhulk for them having artifact bodies to tinker, weld, etc
100%. This is an experiment in trying to make explicit artifact payoffs in Black available rather than it being either a support color (with incidental artifacts) or a "hidden" artifact deck (colorless payoffs and open-ended Black cards that can use artifacts).

Right now it's not looking great, but I want more test drafts.
GY decks

I’ve been focused with individual card choices for a bit and while helpful in polishing a cube list, sometimes you need to zoom out.

Before I do though, I’ve noticed there are two enablers that I haven’t yet added and will probably increase the power level and explosiveness of these GY/discard decks.

These enablers are important to my goals because they are free. Why do you play Gitaxian Probe or Mishra’s Bauble? Because they really help your Prowess and Artifact decks pop! You get an immediate token from Young Pyromancer really turbocharging what a deck can do.

Wraith let’s you get a 2/2 for a single mana with Currency Converter, or 1 mana 3/4 with Reanimate or get a token the turn you play The Racen Man.

The Troll really puts to good use all of the looting and rummaging in Blue and Red allowing you to mill huge chunks of your library. That in turn speeds up your Delve/Escape cards, catching up to what nonsense other decks are doing.

Simic color combinations

Zooming out, I’ve been drafting a lot of Jund aggro discard and Izzet tempo spells/discard but have had a tougher time drafting Simic, Sultai and Temur. Basically Blue and Green based GY decks. The exception is when you pick up an early Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. It's a great pull into the UG GY deck.

When you boil it down, I’d like my GY theme to be more of a deck not cards rather than cards not decks as it is now (original post by Grillo: My understanding of decks not cards is the that your cards lack the ability to finish off the game by themselves and necessitate you to build an engine that is greater than the sum of its parts, regardless of power level.
I've tried doing this for most of my cube, but some power outliers exist that will win the game: Urza, Lord High Artificer, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker or Orcish Bowmasters as examples. I am fine with that as they give you a clear entry point into a color and these still have some synergy potential. I believe Uro is such a card, but I don't want it to be the only entry point into the Simic GY decks.

So what do my Simic color GY enablers and payoffs look like?

Blue GY decks have powerful Delve spells, longer game payoffs and some combo potential. There are some very tempo-oriented enablers that work wonders with counterspells.

Green’s contributions to discard decks are aggressive, but its GY matter cards are on the slower side (mostly lands stuff).

Green’s side of things definitely lack the ability to win with a single card, but a fully assembled lands theme is a beast of a deck. With all that mana, you can keep the cards flowing thanks to the draw 7s and card draw in Blue.

On the flip side, Blue has great tempo threats that fill the GY which Green complements, but also supports with cheap threats (free for Vengevine and Rootwalla). Cheap bodies, card selection and disruption is a good recipe for success.

The pieces seem to be in place, so what I think is missing are basic effects that each color wants and tying them with the GY. Essentially more generically playable GY enablers/payoffs, naturally “forcing” players into the option of a GY deck. This means more cantrips for Blue and more bodies for Green. My top candidates:

- Mental Note is a safe cantrip that will fill the GY. It’ll go into most Blue decks, GY interaction or not.

- Study is a lot more narrow, so likely to go to the decks that want it. It is great in those shells and I am somewhat short on Blue discard enablers with only six.

- Crab is on the list because of how well it goes with Green’s land theme. Aftermath Analyst with a Crab in play sets you up perfectly for a Nexus of Fate! Even without Green, double fetch mana base lets you go hard on the mill plan. The issue? Not really a card that fits everywhere.

- Druid's ceiling is literally mill your whole deck, which is certainly appealing. Its floor isn't great though and doesn't really fit the generically playable description I was going for. Mentioning it here because I always forget it exists and I think it could be a future addition.

- The Spelunker is a scalable value dork that plays well with my themes. Gives you land drops, fills the GY and puts counters on itself. It would also be played in both fast and slow decks.

- Likewise, Call of the Herd seems like a nice bridge between both speeds of GY decks and can be pitched/milled for value. It also goes well with the heavy spells matter theme in Blue. I’ve cut it a while back when I was lowering the overall curve, but I think it was a mistake.

Back to Black

I tried the artifact payoffs in Black, but wasn't thrilled, it felt a little too forced. With that out of the way, I have a few slots to work with and I would like to bolster the discard theme (plus Street Wraith which I mentioned before):

Dimir GY/discard decks need a clearer entry point IMO. Oskar is back in as a cheap body that offers card advantage. Working to get a 2 mana 3/3 isn't ideal, but the discount condition is easily met and the card advantage potential is nice.

What I like most about the Imp is that it comes down before my discard payoffs. So you can get immediate value from Inti or Rielle. It is also a zombie that can play in the same decks where Gravecrawler is good.

Dread Return is either a more fair reanimator piece or a more busted one depending on your deck which I really like. It's a safety valve for aggressive self-milling or a win condition with Thassa's Oracle.



Big update, with a hopefully even bigger impact!
100%. This is an experiment in trying to make explicit artifact payoffs in Black available rather than it being either a support color (with incidental artifacts) or a "hidden" artifact deck (colorless payoffs and open-ended Black cards that can use artifacts).

Right now it's not looking great, but I want more test drafts.
In my experience, black is great as artifact support. It has a few interesting cards that happen to be artifacts, it provides basic tools such as removal, discard and ways to fill the graveyard but it just doesn't have any good engines or other big cards that draw you into artifacts like Goblin Welder or Urza, Lord High Artificier do.

The biggest draws into black artifacts I've found are:

Everything else is to weak or narrow. And Bolas's Citadel is mostly here because of Tinker and cards like Grim Monolith. Tezzeret works, but it's yet another Dimir card and not a very interesting one. You are better off without it.


Regarding Hermit Druid the potential is here. However, I wasn't too happy with it. First, it all hinges on whether it lives or dies. And second, it's so good that it makes all other ways to fill the graveyard, like Stitcher's Supplier, look dumb. It's either all you need or nothing, no in-between.
Changes look fun.

Green’s contributions to discard decks are aggressive, but its GY matter cards are on the slower side (mostly lands stuff).

I really, really like this comment, it succinctly sums up why I eventually abandoned green as a primary discard color in my own list. I maybe have too much of a focus on inter-color harmony (or at least, my personal perception of it), and while I am sure it is possible for both to coexist just fine, the tension in Green between my aggressive discard enablers and my slower, grindier Graveyard Matters payoffs just frankly pissed me off haha.

That aside, I have many times considered Golgari Grave-Troll, but I eventually opted for:

I don't have any games with it under might belt with it yet, but on paper I really like what it has to offer. I have observed you don't run as many 'Man-lands' as myself, so maybe it would be a misleading include. But I am curious if you had considered it for your GY theme in green.

Reading your ethos on GY themes, about how you are aiming for decks to come together as a greater threat than any of their individual parts, I couldn't help but think of:

Although potentially outdated and fragile, I think this guy has potential in satisfying your overall goal in Sultai. I don't think it would work in your current list, I don't see too many activated abilities for him to benefit from. But Blue and Green offer a vast array of utility creatures with strong activated abilities he can utilize to create varied and unique engines. Off the top of my head, looters, dorks, Waterfront Bouncer, Fauna Shaman, Hermit Druid, Dryad Greenseeker, etc.
I like all the points made in the last couple posts and had similar thoughts on some aspects as well. I was wondering why I kept cutting green from my red madness decks and it happens that rummaging is just much better than discarding for a temporary stats boost. In red I think I have over 20 effects that rummage, making madness decks incredibly aggressive value machines. Unfortunately red does not have many good discard outlets outside of rummaging, Burning-Fist Minotaur is one of the best. You definitely make compelling points why green has a difficult time playing in the discard space.

When you were asking for cards that interact with Insidious Roots I also thought of the creature dredgers, as they are not in your list atm! They are very strong in the right decks but on the bright side you always have ways to tone down as we have cards with dredge 1-6. One problem I had so far is that dredge is not very intuitive and newer players just don't understand how they work.

Too bad Herald of Anguish didn't live up to your standards. Oskar is usually fine but unfortunately quite a bit worse than Containment Construct and although he is also in my list I'd prefer my power level to be gold cards > mono color > colorless, nit the other way around.
the tension in Green between my aggressive discard enablers and my slower, grindier Graveyard Matters payoffs just frankly pissed me off haha.
Absolutely! I've found it tough to bridge that gap to keep drafting interesting. The two best options I've found that both decks can play are Call of the Herd and Hooting Mandrils. That is slim pickings though!

I did consider it and I think it's a very sweet card, but it doesn't fit with my current design goals for this cube. I am going for cheap, explosive enablers and payoffs and the Tortoise needs multiple turns to really get going. Plus it got seriously overshadowed by Aftermath Analyst for me. If you have a bunch of creature lands or maybe even an Awaken the Woods that would be a lot of fun.

It is outdated and fragile for this cube, but you are spot on about the crazy engines it can enable. I value this effect and I've decided to go with Agatha's Soul Cauldron as a 2023 Magic alternative. Thanks for your suggestions, they absolutely fit with the spirit of what the cube wants to do!

I was wondering why I kept cutting green from my red madness decks and it happens that rummaging is just much better than discarding for a temporary stats boost.
This is a great point that I hadn't explicitly formulated in my mind. You need some way to translate that stat boost into either a kill (Berserk, Voldaren Thrillseeker) or actual value (Basking Rootwalla, Inti, Seneschal of the Sun). I think I have almost all of the most appropriate discard payoffs and free creatures for my cube, but I removed the Berserker package.

I've been meaning to update the Berserker package (maybe a post for another time) because some new tools have been released, namely:

Oskar is usually fine but unfortunately quite a bit worse than Containment Construct
That has been an annoying factor. Seeing these two in a pack highlights how much worse Oskar is. To the point that I decided to cut it, screw signaling.

A few Insidious Roots brews:

This first one is a Scrap Trawler deck. You have a ton of ways to get creatures out of the GY with Myr Retriever, Lurrus, Samwise, Paragon and Rallier. Once you start recurring, you generate value from Roots, Samwise and Beastcaller. Samwise is especially important making artifacts for Academy and Saga, but also for Channel! You can't quite get infinite with Channel + Scrap Trawler, but close thanks to the foods and Zuran Orb. Turns out Insidous Roots is a hidden artifact matters payoff :p

This second one uses the large amount of recursion to spam the board with growing Plant tokens which can be used to fuel Gaea's Cradle, cast your fatties (including Hogaak) or as fodder for Dread Return or Woe Strider. If you manage to cast the enchantment on turn 2, your game plan will naturally trigger off it.
Berserkers in 2024

I've been cutting pieces of the Berserker package regularly with my updates because it didn't really fit with the power level I am promoting. I am thinking I should revisit the theme by incorporating some new toys. As I was browsing Scryfall, I've noticed that I was drawn away from the traditional RG deck to a RW one instead. The archetype has more toys than ever and is less isolated than in the past thanks to some cross-pollinisation into other themes.


I love artifacts, so it's usually the first place I look. There have been a bunch of relevant ones released for the Berserker archetype.

Double Strike

I am not 100% sold on the 3 mana creatures, even though they do provide some nice upside. Thresher is really good when blinked and the Dragon Engine loves a Helping Hand or Recommission for solid card advantage. Lizard Blades and Embercleave are amazing equipment to fetch up with Stoneforge Mystic or another new one in Kellan, the Fae-Blooded, who conveniently has Double strike himself.


These allow you to grow your Double strikers to really threatening heights. The equipment cards are again relevant here, as are random artifacts to sacrifice or grow your board.


These are classic artifact matters payoffs that spit out huge Constructs which are great targets for Trample or Double strike.

I am actually surprised at how easy it seems to support this.

How about a more traditional build?

Red power doubling

There are two categories here, creatures and noncreatures. I feel you have to make a choice: do I want my creatures to have Double strike and then boost their power? Or do I want to grant Double strike to a big creature? My personal opinion is that the creature approach is safer. You don't have to open yourself up to a 2 for 1 with a pump spell for your creature to hit hard. A single +1/+1 counter or equipment is enough to make a difference. Conveniently, there are some Double strike creatures that also grant the keyword, meaning you get the best of both worlds.


I mentioned Blades and Engine in the artifact section and they are decent dudes. The Backup creatures bring something new to the equation though and have a lot of potential IMO. The counters are especially punishing if added to a Double striker and there are a bunch of synergies with them that you might be supporting.

I've often wanted a Fling in cube as a splashy way to finish off an opponent. The Thrillseeker also brings 2 +1/+1 counters that add up to a lot of damage (+2 normal damage, +2 Double strike damage, +2 Fling). The floor can be pretty abysmal if your opponent responds to the Backup ability, but otherwise, you have a 3/3 for 3 that has some reach.

The Champion can convert any old creature into a menace for a turn and then take over himself. The Dash adds an interesting dynamic where you can repeatedly buff your team or trigger your ETB payoffs.

Shout out to Devilish Valet who fits the spirit of the deck, but is more of a token card than a Berserker one.


Trample and Double strike are a very strong combination making Embercleave and Battle Rage great options. Twinferno is a less narrow, but less powerful Battle Rage. Eater of Virtue is generically playable, but to really make it worthwhile, you would ideally have a few Double strikers in your deck already. At which point it might be a bit redundant.
Overall, I think that Embercleave is a fantastic option at my power level, but the other effects can be replaced by creatures with the keyword rather than narrow spells.

Reckless Charge is still a nice pump spell even if it doesn't necessarily double the power output of a creature.

What about Green?

Green is less interesting than it was for my vision of the Berserker archetype than before. It still has an important role to play with powerful pump spells that end the game in short order. What it lacks are the targets with Double strike, but makes up for it with big creatures.

Power boost

These have the benefit of being cheap to cast with a big impact. It gets even better when you combine them! The Trample from Rancor and Berserk make chump blocking a losing proposition and with the right targets the power boost is very scary. Become Immense gives Green decks something that uses the GY that isn't lands matter which I appreciate. Mutagenic Growth isn't super impactful, but the free nature of the card makes up for it with surprise damage. I like the gameplay these cards offer as your opponent lives in fear.

The challenge is finding home for these outside of the Berserker deck.

- Rancor is a fine addition to most aggro decks, so that isn't an issue.
- Become Immense would be right at home in the aggressive discard decks and maybe randomly with a Dreadhorde Arcanist or Nested Shambler.
- Mutagenic Growth might see play in an aggressive prowess deck with Monastery Swiftspear and the Arcanist, but the density of Prowess threats isn't quite there I think. Adding Abbot of Keral Keep, Elusive Otter and others might be a reasonable approach.
- Berserk needs a big creature to really be worthwhile, but thankfully Green is the color of large targets.


Double strike

A 2 mana 1/1 with Double strike is very mid for my cube. One that can grow and fill they GY if targeted is more interesting. This would be more at home in GW deck with all the aforementioned pump spells. A little too narrow I think for my power level.
Combat Thresher is also a little underwhelming if you don't have some way to pump it or blink it. Sure it replaces itself, but hitting for 2 off your three drop is awful.
Trostani is a stat monster with some mana sinks and huge damage potential. For my cube, I am not a huge fan of pure beaters that don't have some kind of synergy, but if I do push the archetype, it could fit.
Finally, Boros Charm is a classic for aggressive decks. All the modes can be relevant, but it would use a multicolored slot for an effect I could get in Red.


I haven't been super impressed by White's ability to buff your Double strikers outside of equipments. The Aspirant is fantastic and the Saga can be too, but is more deck dependent. There might be an alternative to get White more involved though.


What is this post? Humans? Berserkers? I am back 3+ years ago!

Now this is a Berserker enabler and a nice human payoff. Theoden has immediate impact provided you have a 2 drop and keeps the beats going as long as you can find humans. This has the advantage of providing a body with Double strike, while also giving the ability to more impactful targets.

You jam him in with these other humans payoffs

The first two are classics that go tall, which makes them perfect targets for Double strike. I am big on +1/+1 counters at the moment so that is added layers of synergy. The Vanguard offers protection which is really valuable when trying to load a creature with buffs.

Synergistic cards

These are cards that gain value from growing a creature or receiving Double strike.

There are so many new options to consider, this is a very short list. I'd love to hear suggestions here while I search Scryfall.


I am thinking of reintroducing the Berserker archetype with a focus on Double striking artifacts and Human matters as a RW archetype rather than a RG one.
- Red goes harder on artifacts
- White is stronger with humans.
- Green plays a supporting role by buffing your team.
I haven't implemented a zerker archetype in my own cube, or at least a dedicated one with all the moving parts you lay out here.

I do, however, support some humans you listed as in Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant. A great double strike enabler in white for humans is:

If you wanted to pivot humans into supporting a general "pumping" strategy that double strike can leverage, I prefer Prowess.

Cards like Gather the Townsfolk and Increasing Devotion can be great ways to pump your human count while also triggering Prowess. A few Prowess cards even allow for double strike shenanigans themselves:

Best part is, Prowess works with your existing plan to leverage Artifacts as well. I know this focus would technically lean this strategy deeper into Jeskai than Naya, but I thought I would share regardless.

Oh, as another final pump spell, Fists of Flame seems like it has some potential for shenanigans.
I don't have good advice since I have a few pieces in my cube in gruul but it did not come together as a deck yet. Some cards I include are:

But they tend to rot in Sideboards (although a friend of mine complained that there are no combat tricks in the cube ;).

It could be that the archetype is not supported well enough through creatures but instead of doing that I might cut the green cards for some cheap protection spells and the red ones for something else.

So.. sorry this is not too helpful but I thought it at least tangentially relevant and I like the idea of including white in it!
Thank you for your suggestions and sharing your experiences!

The Prowess angle is an interesting one, especially Shu Yun for this cube (cheaper MV). I don't mind spreading the theme around to Jeskai as well, especially since I was already considering this package in which Fists of Flame would be perfect:

I was also thinking that Leonin Lightscribe would be a cool way to go off alongside the Double strikers. I haven't fleshed out that package yet though.

The issue is space, what do I cut?!

Mulling on the Berserker idea, I think that it has merit as it brings more aggro-combo to the cube which is a boon for a self-proclaimed "explosive synergy cube". It fits neatly with the artifact aggro cards already present and I find it exciting to smash face for big numbers.

What will set this experiment apart from the last time I tried to support the archetype are the Double strike creatures. Instead of having effects that grant Double strike to a big creature, I will be trying to grow a card that already has the ability. This opens up the range of relevant cards that work in conjunction with the creatures: +1/+1 counters, equipment and pump spells.

The way I see it is as a Pivot archetype in Red, which will contain all of the Double strike creatures. Then White will have some counters and Green creature pump. If this goes well, I'll consider adding a Human subtheme, but this would necessitate more fiddling around.

In order to make room for this theme, I need to make some painful cuts. Since this will have artifact synergies, my first thought is to cut some of the existing artifact matters cards.


The Metamorph kind of chills there in the cube, but I don't have a compelling reason to keep it. It's versatile and never bad, but doesn't really advance any of my themes explicitly.


I don't think I am quite done with the Pyromancer as it is a solid controlling card. I don't have another cut right now though, so something has got to go. The Dragon Engine will shine with Red's recursion and can be discarded for value in a pinch.


Since I am adding two 3 drops and I want to keep the curve down, I figure I need to cut either Breya's Apprentice or P&K. I am keeping the cheaper card that is also an artifact since it can be recurred with Goblin Engineer, Helping Hand and the rest. If I do add the Human theme, the Dash ability will come in handy for triggering the payoffs multiple times which is nice.


Recommission is a fine enough spell that gets even more valuable when the counter is placed on a Double strike creature. There is a new equipment in the Fallout set that does something similar that will likely take this spot. You know your Double strikers will get killed, so bringing them back for cheap is a nice effect to have.


It didn't take much for me to add SFM again. With how critical some of these equipments are to the archetype, I think is warranted to be able to tutor them up. Oswald is sometimes a really good card for a deck, but more often than not a SB card.


My aggressive discard decks will likely be able to make use of the instant and so will Lizard Blades and company.


Pod has its moments, but I need slots and Berserk's ceiling seems more impactful. Cutting Oswald also removes some of the redundancy of Pod's effect.


I am short on cuts! I like the Imp well enough, but the effect is replaceable. If I find a better cut, then Imp might come back. Rancor's Trample ability is really great for such a cheap cost and that's why it gets the nod over Bonesplitter right now.


Golos is fun when you can grab a Tolarian Academy or something, but you need to reach 5 mana in the first place. I don't particularly care about supporting a 5 color payoff, so it's a pretty painless cut. The Growth being free has fun surprise value even if the effect is pretty marginal.

Keep the feedback coming, it's super helpful!
Small Berserker update. I've found that the four Green pump spells are just too much.

I will be cutting Mutagenic Growth for sure, because while free, it is also the lowest impact of the four. Rancor is staying for sure as the power boost and trample for a single mana is still great.
Not sure about Berserk and Become Immense. I have reasons to cut or keep each, so for now they stay, but one might be on the chopping block.

Which would you play in this deck? Become Immense on Lizard Blades or Voracious Hydra seems bonkers, while Berserk on Mawloc or Quirion Beastcaller seems great.

I do like what this package offers and will be adding


The Bunnicorn is a huge creature that really benefits from Trample and Berserk/Embercleave. I like the simplicity and you are essentially paying 2 mana for a bigger Urza's Saga token. Thalia gets cut due to curve reasons. I have so many White (and W/X) three drops that one has to go. Thalia lends itself the least to other archetypes so I am cutting it for now.


Speaking of curves, I have so many artifact matters two drops (+the Bunnicorn), that I want to diversify. The Inpsector is always solid as a White cantrip and I really hate the look and style of Astrid, so happy to have a reason to cut her.


I've found that my sacrifice decks usually aren't all in. They do some artifact, GY or counters stuff. In those decks, sacrificing 2 creatures is a pretty big ask. Instead, I'm trying a cool hybrid that lets double up on your sacrifice effects, give you an army of evasive beaters, wrath protection or just a cheap and crappy cantrip. Luminous Broodmoth has been fantastic in my MP cube and this is a similar effect, though a lot less potent, but obviously a lot cheaper.

I also have a bunch of cards I am looking to replace for various reasons:

Mother of Runes: Since I cut back on my removal density a bit, the power of this one drop has increased. It's too easy to protect a creature and blank interaction.

Cataclysm: I've found it tough to make use of this in a way that isn't very similar to Balance. It usually involves Lotus Field to gain a mana advantage, a Basri's Lieutenant type creature to take advantage of sacrificing your board (Titania, Protector of Argoth, Mayhem Devil, Greater Gargadon, ...) and whatever value artifact or enchantment you have. Sometimes you have a Parallax Wave or a Lurrus of the Dream-Den to benefit further, but it's still essentially a harder to use Balance in my eyes. If I do keep it, maybe a Flagstones of Trokair would make it a little less narrow.

Sevinne's Reclamation: The new Pre-War Formalwear supplants this for me, especially in the context of the newly added Double strikers. I love the flexibility of the Reclamation, getting back lands, artifacts or enchantments, but it lacks a little "oumph" for 3 mana. I could see this coming back in especially if I decide to add more removal.

Everflowing Chalice: I am not sure if I want to replace this for a similar more synergistic or powerful effect or something else entirely. I'm positive that I want to cut it though as it just isn't very exciting and I very rarely need to kick it for more than 1 counter.

Mutagenic Growth: Not impactful enough especially compared to the other options added.

So what to do with the free slots? I'd like to bolster slower decks a little. I've been thinking of adding a tight mill package consisting of Mesmeric Orb (which I run) and these two (which I don't):

Milling people out appeals to me as a win condition. And that includes self-milling myself out for Nexus of Fate or Thassa's Oracle!
With Fastbond and Aftermath Analyst in the cube, Crab can dump a lot of cards in the GY. Jace is a slow value engine that can win a game by itself if left alone. The protection isn't oppressive and there is a real incentive to fill the GY to draw 3. The -X is a little scary since it can randomly mill 12 cards for 4 mana, not sure that it's a problem though.

Are there other cards you would add to complement this package?

For slower White decks, maybe a Planeswalker would be a good pull into that direction.

I know the Emperor is amazing, but maybe too much? Basically any White deck would play it, making it harder for control decks to draft it. Gideon doesn't suffer from that problem as mostly midrange or control decks would draft it. It's a bit absent of synergies though which I am not too keen about. Has anyone tried out Gideon before? I have zero experience with it.

Also open to some suggestions!
Gideon of the Trials is a fair, playable version of Icy Manipulator. In fact, it's one of the few planeswalkers that don't provide any card advantage but are still worth playing.

It normally sees play in control decks, particularly those with Stax or Wildfire effects. It's not a creature, so it survives any nasty symmetrical effects, and it provides two roles at once: Protection and a beater for when you control the game.

The Worship minigame is a lot of fun. It's never oppressive (you can remove it by attacking or with any spell), but it provides a different angle to the game than just getting more cards and playing more removal. It's by far the best version of the effect and I recommend it.

The Emperor is cool in that it has Flash and it doesn't provide removal+one card per turn. But at 4 mana you have plenty of choice and it doesn't strike me as the most compelling.
I really like Emperor. I redux the amount of instant speed removal in my list in general, so she gains some added 'oomph' in the environment I try to curate.

I personally like how she plays into White's "Bag of Tricks" at 4-cmc. Restoration Angel, Settle the Wreckage, and The Wandering Emperor make open white mana pretty tricky to attack into.

Although a tad slow, the way she interacts with non-land permanent bouncing interests me as well. I enjoy the prospective tension of your opponent's decision making being affected by a known Emperor existing in your hand after a bounce.
Wandering Emperor is a lot of fun but is also a very powerful card - she's comfortably an all-star in my high powered list. That's not to say she'd be too strong here, I'm not familiar enough with this environment to make that judgement, but it's worth being aware of it. Just a very versatile and powerful card. If your environment can handle her, though, she's an utter delight.

You can blink her at instant speed, too, if that's something in your cube.
Wandering Emperor would definitely be reasonable in this cube. It would be a high powered card, but that is fine. I am just wary that it's a little too generically good. I've been trying to stay away from those types of cards because they detract from synergy decks. The biggest argument for me is that it's like a combat trick, which is rare in higher powered cubes.

I decided to try a few drafts with Gideon and Jace. Turns out, I really like what a few planeswalkers add. Not sure they are 100% the right ones yet, but it looks promising:

The issue with my heavy artifact theme

I have a very heavy artifact theme in the cube, to the point where I run more colorless cards than cards of any individual color. I have 2 kinds of artifact payoffs:
1. open-ended (think “whenever you cast a noncreature spell” for example)
2. Artifact exclusive (think Cranial Plating).

The artifact exclusive payoffs almost all demand a certain density of other artifacts to be worthwhile. This makes it akin to a kindred deck, where once you get a few of the payoffs, you start prioritizing artifacts above all else.

Thankfully, there are two factors preventing the draft from feeling completely on rails:
1. The variety of artifact themes (discard, counters, cheat, sacrifice, tokens, berserkers, ...).
2. There are plenty of colored artifacts or colored artifact producers.

Still, most of the best artifact payoffs are colorless, leading to the feeling that it's a colorless deck splashing a color rather than a color with an artifact theme. Look at the following, they make mana efficiently, make huge bodies and feed off each other creating crazy engines:

I love these high powered cards and want them in my environment. However, I am thinking that in order to give the colored artifact payoffs a chance to shine, I could cut down on a few of these, forcing players to commit to a color rather than playing it safe by sticking to colorless cards.

In my mind, the least essential ones are Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender, Myr Retriever and Krark-Clan Ironworks.

KCI + Myr + Scrap Trawler is one hell of an engine, but most decks end up looking somewhat similar with Baubles, Stars, Moxen and some mana sinks. Even without those two, Scrap Trawler decks would still exist but rely more on the colored payoffs for recursion (Lurrus, Welder, Emry and a ton of others). KCI making colorless mana further exacerbates my issue of staying “mono-colored” artifact.

Considering Syr Ginger as a payoff might be pushing it as it’s a perfectly fine card with nice stats, and some random artifact/counter synergies. It might be more of a symbol that I’m thinking of dialing down the artifact density than anything else.

Another avenue I could take is to increase the number of colored artifact payoffs.
While they may not be at the peak of power level, some payoffs offer interesting choices during the draft. In White,

Offer the tools for a grindy artifact deck. I've replaced some of these for more efficient options that don't necessarily work with artifacts and maybe that is a mistake. Instead of Pre-War Formalwear and Helping Hand, I could have the Recommission and Reclamation.

I am supporting a Berserker package that would definitely take advantage of these buffs. The aura is a little iffy, but the Saga has the merit of being safe and giving relevant board presence down the line.

Going down this route for each color has merit I think, but I would still need to lower the amount of colorless payoffs that outshine the colored ones.

Has anyone else experienced these similarities or am I going off the deep end?
I haven't come across this exact conundrum as I don't support artifacts as heavily, but in general I have toyed with cutting powerful colorless top-end options to let weaker ones shine in my colored-sections. I don't think you are by any means going off the deep end in applying this to your Artifact Archetype, but at the same time I prefer including colored payoffs that flex into multiple supported archetypes if at all possible.

Out of all the options you listed, I feel like Sevinne's Reclamation falls into this category the most. It is a bit slow, but for strategies that support stuff like Sacrifice, Discard, Artifacts, and Lands, it can be an excellent role-player that helps eke out some extra value. You support a lot of those strategies from what I can tell, so I feel as if something like Sevinne's is a better include than both Recommision and Helping Hand.

I know you try to keep your cmc generally on the lean side, but in the same vein as Sevinne's I think Sun Titan is a great White-payoff for a grindier Artifact-sac strategy. It also would play well with recurring lands in Selesnya. It also plays well with blink. Its just a gosh darn good and versatile card that would both supplement the colorless options you listed while also remaining distinct and desirable for other synergies as well.

And this isn't to say that I think there isn't a time and a place for 'narrower' options. I think Oswald Fiddlebender looks super fucking neat as an archetype payoff. Much more so than the two Enchantments.

Have you thought about potential inclusions in your other colors as well if you were to trim down on colorless?
Thanks for the feedback, great stuff as usual.

I was actually eyeing Sun Titan despite the high mana value. As you say, it fits pretty much in all grindy decks and I've been liking the few control/slower oriented cards I've added recently. I actually like it more than Sevinne's Reclamation right now because the Reclamation is a little too similar to Pre-War Formalwear that I like more. So for diversity's sake it makes sense. Since I have a counters theme, Guardian Scalelord was in consideration. Backup is a great mechanic and being 5 mana instead of 6 is a huge plus. However, not hitting lands is a big strike against it, to the point I won't run it.

Have you thought about potential inclusions in your other colors as well if you were to trim down on colorless?

Top picks right now:

Circling back to slower decks, I want a non-conditional sweeper in Red to give it some tools that aren't just one for one removal. Especially for Izzet control decks that have a tough time using Devastating Dreams (but use Firestorm just fine). So Fiery Confluence is a forerunner. Rolling Earthquake is another one that is up there and much more likely to get to the control deck which is important.

Harvester is another sweet control option that has a good buyout clause early. Putting itself in the GY is a great boon in decks playing Black.

Otherwise, the introduction of Pre-War Formalwear, Sandstorm Salvager and Legion Extruder kind of make me want to bring back Birthing Pod + Oswald Fiddlebender.

Zubat on Cubecobra drafted a really cool tempo/control deck featuring Geralf, the Fleshwright + free spells and is a great example on why I think he works. I also like the use of Yawgmoth putting all those tokens to good use.