If you recall, last week we went over the white, blue, black, and colorless cards from Strixhaven that I thought would be great additions to Cubes, but specifically my Vintage Cube, which you can find here. Admittedly, there weren't that many good colorless cards... or any, really... but the rest of the colors had some great potential additions.
This week we're going to finish up the set and talk about the Red, Green, and Gold cards from the set that I think would be perfect additions or replacements. There are a lot of sweet, powerful cards in Strixhaven, so buckle in!
Crackle with Power
Is this better than Banefire? I don't think so. Is it cooler? Oh man, yes. This card is pretty wild, and has a definite Cube feel to it. The only problem is that when you're typically casting this to kill someone, you're going to have infinite mana to do so. That being said, if you want to deal 20 damage with this, you only have to spend 14 total mana, as opposed to something like Banefire, where you'd need to spend 21.
This is a really interesting spell and it scales in a way no other spell ever has. Since it deals five TIMES X, you actually can't cast it with X as 0, because 5 x 0 is still 0. So, your cheapest mode is for five damage to one target. Then you have for 10 damage to two targets. Finally, you have for 15 damage to three targets. Anything higher and you're likely winning the game. So, despite being an X spell, Crackle with Power only has about three possible options before death.
This could be great or it could be an absolute blank, unfortunately. It's a card that's adjacent to a card like Storm's Wrath, but that also hits planeswalkers (which could be good or bad) and doesn't need you to jump through any other hoops. On the upside, however, is that you can typically have X be two or three, if need be. This has more customization and you can draft creatures that are able to survive it better.
Rowan, Scholar of Sparks
I think what the MDFC's lack in power, I think they make up for in versatility. The cost discount on Rowan is already great, and the odds of her +1 ability dealing three damage is pretty high in Cube. Everything from Sylvan Library, to Thirst for Knowledge, to Ancestral Recall will enable it. Being able to copy any spell with her ultimate is also good, when we're talking about anything from Lightning Bolt to Time Walk. All for three mana seems like a bargain.
As for Will, he has the same static ability which is nice. His +1 is very similar to Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and protects him nicely. He can also draw us two cards, and his -7 can exile five of our lands to put 20 power into play. Both sides of this cards have a lot of uses.
This card is very good. Compare it to something like Quirion Dryad and it's very apparent to see that the Dryad will never be played again. Unfortunately, I don't know if this has a place in a powered Cube. But then again, it has a real Delver of Secrets / Tarmogoyf feel as a creature that comes down early, then grows turn after turn as you play cheap instants and sorceries. For two mana this is quite the deal.
Gifts Ungiven for creatures is pretty awesome. For six mana, you can get something like Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Eternal Witness, Tireless Tracker, and Hullbreacher, for example. Getting four different Titans and putting two onto the battlefield is a pretty sweet deal for nine mana. This card has a lot of potential, and you can set up some really versatile toolboxes with it, the same way Gifts Ungiven could.
This is a seven-mana 4/4 Dragon, which usually wouldn't get any of my attention. However, it does two very specific, and very powerful things. The first is that the ability that produces pests does so on each upkeep, which is a big deal. This means you'll already have two pests when you untap with it. The other is pretty big deal in a format where mana is often the bottleneck: untapping all of your lands. Palinchron is also a seven mana card that can untap all of your lands, so that's likely the closest card to compare this to. The difference is that Beledros allows you to do this at any time, given that you have ten life. So, assuming the Elder Dragon survives, you could potentially have 16 mana to work with on the following turn. That's a pretty impressive amount.
Blot Out the Sky
I really don't know where this could fit, but it's a super cool design, and it's kind of like a reverse Martial Coup, giving you fliers instead of non-fliers, and destroying all non-creatures instead of creatures.
Body of Research
Another card that I don't know where it could fit, but boy is it cool. This is more likely to be something like a generic 20/20 for six mana in Cube, but that could still be decent? This is definitely a more subjective pick.
This doesn't have the body that Plaguecrafter does, but the effect seems better. Being able to return any permanent to your hand for one less mana seems better to me than the random 3/2 body. Liliana's Triumph, while an instant, doesn't provide any card advantage. If your mana can support it, this could be a solid upgrade.
This is the kind of card that fits into the Dreadbore, Anguished Unmaking, Bedevil, Despark category. It's very versatile, but still can't kill creatures, which gives it a lot of tension. Make no mistake though, a Disenchant that can kill a planeswalker for the same mana cost is a steal.
Yet another awesome, expensive mythic with a unique effect, that I have no whether it fits into the Cube or not. But it's cool, and I want to note that.
We've not reached the portion of our Cool Card World Tour. Apply the same feelings toward this one as the other three. Only Lorehold remains!
While I think this is worse than Kolaghan's Command, I do think it's of a similar power level, if not a little bit weaker. I think it still deserves consideration in the Cube, but you may want to cut Kolaghan's Command for it, since they both do very similar things. While this can't return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand, it can put one in the graveyard for you if you're trying to reanimate.
This is another versatile command, especially with so many artifacts and enchantments in the Cube. Being able to bounce something expensive, while countering a Myr Battlesphere or an Opposition is great value for two mana. With my Cube having the full cycle of Court cards, I like to have a higher than average number of answers to artifacts and enchantments, so this could help there.
There are a ton of gold cards in this set that feel like great upgrades to mono-colored cards. In this case, if your mana base can handle it, Rip Apart is a fantastic upgrade for Abrade, allowing you to target enchantments and planeswalkers where Abrade can't.
This is another strong two-mana instant that deals with a lot of cards. I would definitely find room for something like this, as most of the permanents in the Cube are mono-colored. The fact that it exiles is also a huge upside.
That does it, but this has been a good amount of cards. Across the two articles, we have 27 cards from the set to consider, and that's a lot! I'm not sure which will or won't make the cut, but Strixhaven sure has a lot of fun options to consider and I'm really looking forward to sitting down and picking and choosing what goes where.
But as always, let me know what you think. Did I miss anything? Are any of these cards homeruns? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you guys so much for reading, I hope you guys are staying safe, and I'll catch you next week!