vennythekid's [WAR] Cube

If you couldn't tell from my numerous posts in the WAR Spoilers thread, I've had a blast drafting this format and want to take some of the designs from WAR and create a cube around them.

This is a rough draft of what I think of the format, what's important, how it translates to Cube and what needs to be done to convert this format to a sweet cube environment.

I. WAR of the Spark Limited
I have some notes I keep with me when drafting online, as a rough outline of what some of the successful archetypes look like. I drew heavily from LSV and Marshall's Limited Resources Podcast to start with. An important note is that this focuses primarily on the common rarity, since that's what drives limited drafting.

U/R Spells
Gain value from the excellent removal spells alongside all-starts Spellgorger Weird and Burning Prophet
Key Cards:

Sac. Package

Proliferate Package
7-0 on Arena (best of 1), by /u/newbslayer

5-1 on Arena, by vennythekid

Grixis Spells

G/B "Rainbow Ramp"
Powerful fixing allows you to play any bomb you open, which is key in a bomb-oriented format. You get easy access to all of the Planeswalkers which is a huge advantage.
Key Cards:

Black has incredible removal in this set, which allows the deck time to gain access to its bombs

Sac. Package

Proliferate Package
5-1 on Arena by vennythekid

G/B Rainbow

B/R Sacrifice
"The Heartfire Deck"
Key Cards:

Spells Package
Utilize great removal in R/B alongside Heartfire. A lot of the Amass spells produce great sacrifice fodder.

U/B Control
Leverage black's great removal and blue card draw to get wins
Key Cards

Amass Package

3-0 on Magic Online, by /u/xxpashuxx

G/W Proliferate
This archetype isn't as deep as some others in my opinion, but can be back-breaking if it gets the right pieces going.
Key Cards
5-0 on Arena by vennythekid

G/W/u Proliferate

II. Key Cogs
Some of these cards are self-evident from the provided archetype overview and sample decks. The important thing here is that I love the play-style that these cards enable, and I want them to be strong roleplayers in the Cube.

Red's Never Felt This Smooth
These cards are simply amazing in tandem. Prophet does everything you could want a defensive two-drop to do, while generating some pressure of its own with a high spell-velocity deck. Jaya's Greeting is sweet removal as well.

The amass spells are awesome. They make the spells matter gears turn, enable sacrifice packages, and keep decks consistent. They provide good effects while commiting to the board at the same time, and play great with proliferate.
I like how Toll in particular helps check bombs while being expensive enough not to ruin games out of the gate.

The (Uncommon) Planeswalkers
It's probably time to address the elephant in the room: the planeswalkers.

Teyo plays very poorly unless you can put +1/+1 counters on the 0/3s, or can get big value out of sacraficing them. Worth noting, he produces 3 fodder. Not a keeper.

The Wanderer plays like an expensive removal spell with rebound if you can protect him, and a backbreaker if you can get a third activation. The passive is really good against the red decks.

Kasmina is value incarnate, and does everything you could want transitioning from the early game to the late game. Smooths draws, makes blockers, and protects your creatures during the earliest turns, then helps mitigate flood and dig for bombs in the later stages of play.

When Narset hits twice, she's an amazing Divination. Otherwise, she's not great, and doesn't impact the board at all. I don't like the passive at all. Skip for me.

What Davriel has going for him is that many decks don't have a proactive two-drop, and if you can plop him on an empty board on the play he can pressure a player's hand quickly and effectively. The passive can generate pressure if players are top-decking. If you get 3 activations off, it's strong, otherwise, it's a strange Mind Rot. His inclusion depends on what the final two-drop situation looks like, I think.

An odd-duck piece, for sure. You almost never want to kill an opposing creature if you don't have to, as gifting two cards to the Villian in exchange for their best creature is rarely worth it. So I see this as an expensive sac outlet that can wear out the opponent if it sticks around. On the fence.

Shock with rebound, and a passive that boosts your Jaya's Greetings and gives red creatures +1/+0. I like that you have to have the right deck for this to shine, but it's playable everywhere.

The perfect card for any sacrifice deck. Creates 3 excellent fodder, and the tokens can pick off small cretures, block x/2s, and be just plain annoying. Great role-player.

Curve-topping bomb, especially with proliferate.

Solid utility role-player for the rainbow decks, ramp decks, and exceptional with proliferate.

A speed bump mostly, buys time against 1 big threat but can't beat 2 large creatures. If a deck has a plan, he can help execute it, but Dovin needs to be played with a plan in mind or else you're thowing away a card and 3 mana.

Ashiok serves as a "commit to the board" or "push through some damage" check. If the Hero drops them on 3 and the Villian has been durdling around, it can steal a victory easliy. But it's a double-edged sword, as Ashiok doesn't impact the board by itself either, meaning it's useless in an aggressive match-up. Exile can matter sometimes. Ultimately I think it makes for an interesting sub-game; I will start with Ashiok and cut if it proves un-fun.

Great in aggressive decks, great in controlling decks, great with proliferate. Amass 2 is small enough that it's not oppressive, but if the Hero gets to minus twice a 4/4 menace for 4 is nothing to sneeze at. I also like that it can serve as a stall-breaker.

I'm not sure how to value Samut. I haven't played with it much, but the +2/+1 isn't amazing. Aggressive decks usually don't want to skip playing their 4/4 for 4 on curve. I'd love to hear about this one from everyone else.

Huatli doesn't do it for me. I'm usually not interested in a butts deck much, and her minus is hardly playable.

Plays like another expensive removal spell with rebound. I don't love hexproof so I double the passive will ever be relevant in my cube. Still, a kill their best 2 creatures isn't bad for six mana.

I love this card as a spells-matter payoff, and it plays nicely in the sacrifice decks too. The minus can make some crazy combos happen with the right creatures. 100% include.

V. A. L. U. E. Once of the few uncommon planeswalkers that really protects itself well, without being too much. An unchecked assassin can become a headache for the Villian.

Plays like a very flexible Cone of Flame, which is solid. I haven't seen the passive matter too much, nor am I looking to incorporate equipment at the moment.

If you can get a card out of the passive, its usually worth it. Two makes this great. Can combine with New Horizons to make a formidible big-mana play. At worst, gives a beater vigilance for a few turns.

Rare Gems
Some rares I've really enjoyed playing with. I just like their play-patterns, and want to see them have some kind of home in my cube.

Bomb Cuts
These cards were not fun to play with or against, on principle of GRBS. Unless the power level of the cube is appreciably higher than retail draft (which is possible), these won't have a place.

That pretty much concludes my review of my experience with War of the Spark limited. My next post will be outlining archetypes, and figuring out what the Cube fundementals will look like.
Ral, Storm Conduit is really fun, unlike the rest of the GRBS cards you've listed. I think he might be worth providing a higher power level to a WAR cube to facilitate. That's just my opinion, though. I have only a little experience playing against the card in limited. I should note, however, that he has never been particularly amazing in my experience with him. He's definitely a bomb card, but I don't think he's on the same level as Ugin, Liliana, or the two God-Eternals you listed.
I'm just going to spew some thoughts:
Do you plan of fixing the other archetypes to balance them? In general, what do you want to change about the environment besides removing bombs?

White specifically needs a lot of help, close to a complete overhaul, in my opinion.
To be fair, I don't love combat tricks in general, so some of the cuts are colored by that. I just think they're weak and don't do enough. (Feather, the Redeemed and Tenth District Legionnaire might change my opinion)
A list of (in my opinion) unplayable/chaff white cards:

White Draft Chaff

I'm not sure where I want to push white. The unique anchoring cards to me are:

White Build-Arounds

Specifically, W/R gets this engine:

But without Feather how does this stand on it's own? Is it even interesting with Feather in the mix?

And can we talk about Parhelion II? This card looks awesome but it just seems... out of place? Maybe some amount of build-around could go towards this card.

I think I want to do something about the Finale cycle as well

So few decks are getting to X=10 (12 mana) that there's likely more interesting options out there.
Promise looks fun and Glory seems fine, Devastation is pretty unplayable. Eternity plays like a Plague Wind so it might be too strong without being interesting.

Related to the God-Eternals, I haven't seen or played against Ilharg, the Raze-Boar, so I don't know how obnoxious it is, but I'm suspicious based on rate. I like God-Eternal Bontu a lot. Not sure about God-Eternal Rhonas, but I think it's fine.
I hit Diamond in M21 this past season on Arena. I love this set, it's such a good bread-and-butter Magic experience. I'm starting to understand what I like about Magic, and the longer I play this game, the more I like Core sets. This iteration of the Core Set is a shift from War of the Spark, a complex format dominated by card advantage engines, to combat-focused trading punches format defined by curving out and squeezing the most out of micro synergies. But there's some parallels between these two formats. It's another Spellgorger Weird format with a strong spells-matter theme. GW plays with a heavy +1/+1 counter theme.

The standout difference to me is that White is very strong in M21, whereas it's quite weak in WAR. (My previous post complains about White lacking direction in WAR.) What can we learn from this?

M21 White Commons/Uncommons

Wow we get some upgrades:

The play pattern in Chorister feels so nice. Early game, Chorister is a 1/1 on turn 1, in the mid-game it's great with your buffs and anthems, and late game it can be a hard to race 4/4 Lifelink on turn when you want the bigger body.

Turns out Adanto Vanguard is a good Magic card. 4 toughness is a big break-point in M21 because of Seasoned Hallowblade, and even then a counter makes this thing play like Baneslayer Angel.
Daybreak Charger is arguably sideways, as first strike is more important against the token-spam that WAR board states tend to produce versus the extra damage from the Charger.

One of the things M21 does well is that the early drops scale naturally into the mid-game, forcing both players to engage with the board on turns 2 and 3 or risk falling too far behind. In a lot of Magic contexts, you play your 2-power two drop and the attack gets stonewalled by an opponent's 2-mana 1/3.
This format offers so many ways to break through that while curving out

At (mostly) common:

This idea isn't really present in the black commons (an perhaps as a result, black is considered the weakest color in the set).

vennythekid's M21 GW Aggro (7-1)

This deck gets on the ground early and pushes through damage with Pridemalkin
and the fliers. At the point in the game where the 3/1 Charger usually gets stonewalled, Gale Swooper picks it up for one last crash.

Something that feels very intentional is the fact that the 4 and 5 mana cards are clunkers compared to the 2 and 3 mana cards:

Alex Nikolic said:
In many formats, brick-walling the aggressive decks is as easy as just playing larger creatures, but so many of the good aggressive cards scale with the game, while the more expensive ones are static, staying around the 3/3 or 4/3 range. This means your opponent’s 2-mana card can often trade with your 4- or 5-drop, leaving you with your head in your hands asking “why the hell did I put this Blood Glutton in my deck?”
-The Ultimate Guide to Core Set 2021 Draft

Just look at the options that impact the board at 4-mana:

There are only 5 creatures which immediately can block (and survive) a Daybreak Charger immediately for 4-mana! If we relax to 4-or-less mana, we add Thrashing Brontodon, Wall of Runes, and Indulging Patrician.

White's tools are often centered around attacking, combat tricks, finishing with curve-topping flyers.
In order to develop a format where this works, careful care has to be taken in keeping the 4 and 5 mana cards from invalidating the 2 and 3 mana cards.

Two ways to do this:
1. Limiting the toughness of 4 mana cards gives 2- and 3-mana cards an extra turn to play.
2. Give the 2- and 3-mana cards the ability to grow or scale to match the later cards, including strong pump spells and +1/+1 counters.
i haven’t seen this cube before but it looks really interesting! going to draft it a couple times.

Thanks, I appreciate it! At the moment, the list is nowhere near draftable, I'm more musing about my limited ideas and experiences in the hopes of eventually synthesizing it into a cube. I do have a long weekend ahead of me so perhaps I'll finally get a rough draft done.
Just drafted this on Arena and it was a lot of fun. Obviously this chock full of premium cards for the format which helps, but I the subtle lands-theme that this got to play while beating down was a delight. In particular The Weatherseed Treaty has a really fun play pattern and combines so nicely with Sprouting Goblin which dovetails seamlessly into Uurg, Spawn of Turg. Reminds me of playing the rainbow Jund decks from WAR.

7-2 Jund Aggro

This combo is also sweet