By: Jason Waddell
I first ‘discovered’ Ludevic’s Test Subject while playing another player’s cube. The 0/3 seemingly innocuous defender appeared to be an odd inclusion. Yet, by the end of the round I’d suffered two losses at the
hands claws of an Eldrazi-sized Lizard Horror.
At first glance, Ludevic’s Test Subject seems unplayable. It teeters on the brink, with just enough power in each of its design elements. Three toughness is just enough to hold back hordes of two-power beaters that populate cube lists. The ten-mana flipping cost would likely be too steep without the transformation and addition of counters happening at instant speed. The 13/13 body would be far less effective without Trample.
Thankfully the card is sufficiently powered, as the Test Subject is one of the more captivating designs from Magic’s history. Unlike most finishers, Ludevic’s Test Subject requires some real planning and intuition to use optimally. Do you need to hold open countermagic mana for an opponent’s kill spell, or are you free to tap out four hatchling counters at the end of turn? When it correct to invest resources in counters rather than spending mana on other cards? There’s an element of planning ahead, both with and against.
Strangely enough, one of the best comparisons for Ludevic’s Test Subject is Celestial Colonnade.
While the two are by no means of equal power level, they do share a number of similarities. Both fill slots that cube control decks already need (lands and early road blocks). Both serve as late-game mana sinks that can finish off an opponent. Whereas Celestial Colonnade requires a five-mana investment on your turn each time you want to attack with it, Ludevic’s Abomination can be yours forever for only five easy two-mana payments at instant speed. If the late Billy Mays were still around, he’d be peddling it in direct-response advertisements worldwide.
“Hi, Billy Mays here with the best egg since Ped Egg.”
So put Ludevic’s Test Subject in your cube. Most importantly, put it in your cube decks. Far too many players make the mistake of leaving it in the sideboard when it comes to narrowing down the final 40.
Take it from Herm Edwards, Ludevic’s Test Subject plays to win the game.
Weigh in with your thoughts in our forums.
I took the time to read through a lot of the articles on this site since finding out about it through your channelfireball cube review of M14. I’ve had a cube with some friends for almost a year, but in the past few months have made gradual changes influenced greatly by the articles I’ve read by you. The changes have made things noticeably better. I’m definitely going to try running Ludevic’s Test Subject, but I wanted to ask you for a bit of advice. The cube we run has 10 cards for each guild, 50 for each color, and 50 artifacts. Doing our best to go by traditional cube design standards(like running one-ofs & keeping colors/color pairings even in card count), we need to improve white aggressive decks without having a bunch of commitment-heavy white cards. What are some interesting white cards/gold cards worth considering?
Hi Daryl, thanks for your comment. Without seeing your list, it’s a bit hard to say. Your guild section looks pretty massive (for reference, I run 50 of each color and 3 of each guild). My cube list (http://riptidelab.com/forum/threads/jason-waddells-cube.14/) runs all of the traditionally powerful aggressive cards, so maybe poke around there if you’re looking for card ideas.
Alternatively, you can post your list in the forums and we can give you some more dedicated advice.