It should be clear to everyone that Cube is my favorite format. I have my own version of the Vintage Cube, and with every set, I try to look for new cards that can either make the cut on their own, or that will replace older cards. While I may have gone over several of them before, this week I want to take a look at some of the options for Kaldheim that might find a home in the Cube, and what they may be replacing or competing with.
Usher of the Fallen
There are quite a few 1-drops that you need to make any sort of aggressive Mono-White strategy work in the Cube. Currently my own list of 1-drops is as follows:
- Giant Killer
- Giver of Runes
- Kytheon, Hero of Akros
- Mother of Runes
- Soldier of the Pantheon
- Student of Warfare
- Thraben Inspector
Before Usher of the Fallen, I also had Skymarch Aspirant in the Cube, but these two seemed pretty comparable. Both of them were 2/1's for one, but the amount of times you had the City's Blessing for the Aspirant to be a flier was so rare that it seemed like getting a potential 1/1 every so often, especially with White's desire to go wide, would just end up being a better deal. I haven't tested this yet, but I think I can count the number of times the Aspirant flew on one hand, so it should be an improvement.
Reidane, God of the Worthy
Not only is Reidane, God of the Worthy a great deal as a 2/3 vigilant flier for three mana, she also has some great abilities. While the "snow lands entering tapped" doesn't do much in the Cube, the noncreature spells costing two more is great. It does a lot of work against many of the Cube's more prevalent combos, taxing cards like Tooth and Nail, Tendrils of Agony, Time Spiral, Turnabout, Sneak Attack, Through the Breach, Eureka, most planeswalkers, and more. The fact that it doesn't affect your spells that cost four or more is also a big deal, as it will allow you to keep playing things like Cryptic Command or Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, depending on what direction you're going.
The backside of Reidane, as Valkmira, Protector's Shield, is actually quite good as well. Not only does it help prevent a good amount of damage from a Red deck or from something like a Craterhoof Behemoth, the taxing portion of the card is great against storm decks or any type of removal.
Cosima, God of the Voyage
Cosima is really interesting and it reminds me a lot of Aeon Chronicler. Every turn it's exiled, it's likely going to draw you a card, and it has some sweet interactions with things like Wrath of God or Upheaval. I can see games with Cosima having a bunch of counters, then you wipe or reset the board somehow, only to play your land drop and put a 5/7 Cosima into play. She also plays extremely well with things like fetchlands, allowing you to put twice as many counters on, and also return her to play on the opponent's turn.
The backside is less impressive as a sort of fixed Smuggler's Copter, but it's still quite serviceable, and it does functionally draw you any lands you hit, which you can play even after The Omenkeel has left the battlefield. The fact that the cards get exiled is not irrelevant though.
Valki, God of Lies
Valki is the only Black card I could see going into the Cube, with maybe a nod to Eradicator Valkyrie. Valki is extremely powerful, plays a modified role of something like Brain Maggot or Kitesail Freebooter, and makes me want to add Shardless Agent to the Cube, simply for the Tibalt cascade shenanigans. This was an immediate add.
Birgi, God of Storytelling
While the boast ability doesn't do a tremendous amount, adding a mana every time you cast any spell can get pretty ridiculous, especially in any type of storm deck, or deck that wants to amass mana for expensive spells. Having a Dark Ritual add four mana or a Seething Song add six mana can be real game changers. Birgi is also a solid 3/3 for three as well, so just like most of the other MDFC Gods, she's at least average.
The back side, Harnfel, Horn of Bounty, while a little pricey at five mana, is also great for storm decks, and might be a good replacement for something like Experimental Frenzy in Red decks. Once you hit the mana to cast this, you'll likely be able to cast most cards you draw off the Horn anyway.
I could possibly see this replacing something like Flame Slash. One mana vs three mana is pretty rough, but this does hit planeswalkers and is an instant, both of which are big upsides. You can also spread out the cost due to foretell. Not 100% on this one, but being able to kill a Jace, the Mind Sculptor or finish off an Oko, Thief of Crowns is useful. If a Cube has Shivan Fire, this seems significantly better.
I talked about this in last week's article, so I'm pretty sure I've covered why it's good. In my Cube, however, it's competing with the following other 5-drops:
Two of those are combo pieces that I wouldn't consider replacing. The other three are pretty interchangeable dragons. Considering I don't play things like Siege-Gang Commander or Goblin Dark-Dwellers, I had an extra spot for my 5-drops. I think most five-mana dragons have potential, so long as they have haste, at least 4 power, and they have a relevant effect when they enter the battlefield. Obviously Backdraft Hellkite is a card I'm trying out that contradicts those qualifications.
This is another card I've discussed here, and I think it's a solid 4-drop for a Cube. Being able to level up your Joraga Treespeaker on turn two, while also foretelling this is a good plan. I currently have Master of the Wild Hunt still occupying a slot in my Cube, so this might be replacing it. It feels a lot like what Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Elder Gargaroth having a baby would look like.
Talked about this guy too last week. It's a direct replacement for the existing card, Steel Leaf Champion. Having two Steel Leaf Champions sandwiching a ramp enchantment is simply much better than the extra power and minimal evasion.
Kaya the Inexorable
Discussed this card as well. It's great. Exiling any permanent is great. Excited to play with it.
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Barkchannel, Blightstep, Darkbore, and Hengegate Pathways
This is a fantastic land cycle, and I'm really glad they completed it so soon; it felt really weird having six with no discernable pattern. One of the things I want to have is the best mana possible when Cube drafting, and this allows my current iteration to have check lands (Glacial Fortress, etc.), shock lands (Stomping Ground, etc), dual lands (Bayou, etc.), fetch lands (Polluted Delta, etc.), creature lands (Lavaclaw Reaches, etc.), the five Triomes, and finally, the ten pathways.
The most recent Vintage Cube has pretty much the same configuration, except they use fast lands (Seachrome Coast) over check lands, they have no Triomes, and they have no pathways. So, I basically have fifteen more fixing lands, which is a preference of mine.
So those are my Kaldheim Cube picks. If you guys have interest in Cubes, or maybe have curated one of your own, let me know what cards you're thinking of adding or have piqued your interest. This is one of my favorite parts of new sets releasing, because you get to see what cards interact best with some of the most powerful cards in Magic's history.
That's about it for now! As always, love you all, thanks so much for reading, and be sure to leave me a comment below with your thoughts. You can use promo code FRANK5 to get 5% off all your purchases. Make sure you're staying safe and I'll catch you all next week!