If you missed previous Pauper Cube updates, here are the last ten:
- Gatecrash Pauper Cube Update
- Dragon's Maze Pauper Cube Update
- Modern Masters Pauper Cube Update
- Magic 2014 Pauper Cube Update
- Theros Pauper Cube Update
- Born of the Gods Pauper Cube Update
- Journey into Nyx Pauper Cube Update
- Conspiracy and Vintage Masters Pauper Cube Update
- Magic 2015 Pauper Cube Update
- Khans of Tarkir Pauper Cube Update
- Fate Reforged Pauper Cube Update (with Alex Ullman)
As always, the Change Log tab is where you can see what’s been in and out of the Cube recently. Fate Reforged introduced solid enemy-color cards and continued my push for more dynamic, fun gameplay. This update continues that trend, adjusting recent changes to balance things accordingly. It also considers downshifted-to-common cards from Tempest Remastered, the latest Magic Online–only set to mess around with rarities.
Let’s get started.
Dromoka Warrior — It’s another vanilla 3/1 2-drop, like Oreskos Swiftclaw and Blade of the Sixth Pride, and I’m quite happy with how they play out in the Cube. They trade up well and down hard thanks to tokens floating around, and they put an aggressive clock on decks that don’t cast on their curve.
One creature that’s hung on for some time is Syndic of Tithes. It’s a de facto W/B creature, but it’s usually just an aggressive 2-drop.
Center Soul — You know what’s better than one spell? A second copy for free. Center Soul is awesome, and giving ways to fight removal and push damage through is rare. It’s replacing Sanctified Charge, as there are just too many Overrun effects in the Cube.
Herald of Dromoka — While Soldiers have been supported in white for far too long in Magic, Warriors have plenty of tools from the past few sets to play with. Herald of Dromoka is as close to a Warrior lord as we have at common, and it’s worth noting if you decide Warriors are a better tribal push than Soldiers.
Misthoof Kirin — Megamorph is weird. Misthoof Kirin is a fine 2/1 flying with vigilance for 3 mana, but run it through megamorph for just 2 more net colorless mana, and you have a 3/2 flying with vigilance. It’s close enough to my line to consider, but I’m not sure it’s needed with all of the other evasion around.
Artful Maneuver — I really want to like this trick, but it’s less exciting than another rebound option I’m bringing in elsewhere.
Elusive Spellfist — U/B and U/R decks usually have all the tricks. I tried Seacoast Drake as a defensive, evasive option for decks that want to use spells, but it hasn’t been impressive. Elusive Spellfist works well in nearly every blue deck I can imagine, and turning sorcery removal and card-draw into extra damage too feels right.
Distortion Strike — Taigam's Strike is a fun echo to the Rise of the Eldrazi original, but 1 mana is so much more convenient to spend than 4. While any aggressive deck with blue will appreciate this, U/R and G/U will be able to turn fatties into lethal threats, ensuring they can close out games.
Runner's Bane was always just okay as removal, so we’ll see if it’s really missed.
Whispers of the Muse — “: Draw a card.” Just like Capsize, which requires 2 blue mana instead of just 1, the ability to go off with enough lands is real and powerful. Great card-draw is hard to find in blue, and this is at worst a cheap way to cycle a card deeper.
Quicksilver Geyser is solid, but there is a ton of bounce working its magic. Toning it back a step for excellent card-drawing shouldn’t upset anyone too much.
Like Fate Reforged before it, black left me underwhelmed this go-around except for one fantastic little card:
Vulturous Aven — Exploit is great when there are token generators running around, but that’s not what makes Vulturous Aven so nice: Drawing extra cards is often exactly what a control deck wants. Getting to keep a 2/3 flying body is fine if there’s another, less useful creature to trade in, but this is the exploit effect most players will appreciate here.
I can’t remember the last time Corpse Hauler was good. It’s good for being cut here.
Tail Slash — While it costs 1 more than Fall of the Hammer, its power is still great. R/G loves its fatties, and this turns them into removal almost as good as burn spells. While Tail Slash will never go for the dome as other options will, that fact means they’re better in—and left in the draft later for—fatty decks.
Trimming another Overrun for tokens here, it’s Goblin Bushwhacker that gets the axe. Double-red isn’t hard per se, but among the effects boosting power, it was the smallest for the most colorful of requirements.
Sarkhan's Rage — Sarkhan's Rage is Lava Axe that can hit creatures, too. And it’s an instant. And it has a negligible drawback for all that bonus. Mardu Warshrieker is a fine card, but it’s also de facto multicolored and hasn’t shined as brightly as I had hoped.
Impact Tremors — With the token theme in full swing in red, the potential for Impact Tremors to deal unfair damage in a hurry is appealing. I don’t have many build-around-me options at common outside of buyback-ramp shenanigans, and this is the first that would delight in seeing even more token-making spells appear in the Cube.
It’s interesting food for thought.
Lose Calm — Threaten effects aren’t needed in abundance in most decks, particularly at common, where there aren’t many sacrifice outlets to dump them through—and there are virtually none in my Cube. Lose Calm is an interesting twist on Threaten since it either forces a double-block or just shoves the damage through. Getting value for 4 mana is much easier that way, but I’m not sure my Cube wants it just yet.
Volcanic Rush — If it makes more sense to shift up in cost some of the Overrun effects in red, Volcanic Rush is a pretty close comparison to Overrun itself. Trample makes chump-blocking worse, and the +2/+0 is definitely on point for a common pump.
Stampeding Elk Herd — I wanted to find another fatty for green, though one that was just big rather than tricky. At 5/5 for 5 mana, Stampeding Elk Herd fits the bill and will push trample out with almost any other friend out to play.
Nyxborn Wolf has been a fine card, but I want to put more beef into the upper end of green’s curve. We’ll see if we need to bring it back later.
Epic Confrontation — Fight! Fight has been such a good thing for green, and this is quite efficient for removal that also pushes in more damage. I’ll miss Hunger of the Howlpack, but its shenanigans aren’t quite as cheeky or fun.
Conifer Strider — Hexproof is a powerful tool, particularly when there are some pants laying around to wear. Conifer Strider has performed above expectation in Dragons of Tarkir Limited, and it’s on my radar as another option to beef up hexproof in my Cube.
Hexproof is a polarizing theme, but it’s one that’s indisputably powerful when it works. Putting Armadillo Cloak or Ethereal Armor onto a 5/1 hexproof will wreck nearly anything opposing it, but it requires setup and good draws. Just ask Reid Duke how things can go sideways with a seemingly unbeatable deck.
Multicolored and Artifact
There were none to really write home about.
There aren’t any new common lands, though the foil Evolving Wilds is really sweet.
With Modern Masters (2015 Edition) and (I assume) more rarity changes on the horizon, as well as the flavor-filled stories in Magic Origins, I have total expectation that the Cube will continue to evolve well. What I’d like to do next is see what issue you’d like me to tackle most:
Let me know what you want to know about the Cube, and I’d be glad to shine a light on it. See you with Modern Masters (2015 Edition)!