Journey into Nyx Pauper Cube Update
If you missed the previous Pauper Cube updates last year, here are the last six:
- 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
Of course, if you like to hang around on Twitter, you also had a chance to see it before today:
— Adam Styborski (@the_stybs) April 23, 2014
It’s also a larger update, as I have some explaining to do:
@brute_steamer Masters Edition. (One of the MEs for Fellwar Stone, the Companions, Ironhoof Ox too.)
— Adam Styborski (@the_stybs) April 23, 2014
I won’t waste our time.
A summary table is available at the end of the article as well as in the Change Log of the Pauper Cube GoogleDoc.
Let's talk about bestow again. The performance of the bestow creatures has been overwhelmingly positive, and the idea of adding a potential 1-drop that also packs bestow looks right, particularly now that the “Soul Sisters” of Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant haven’t panned out as I had hoped: The life-gain is good, but they don’t win games alone.
Alongside the new bestow addition is the almost-functional reprint in Oreskos Swiftclaw. A 3/1 for 2 mana is still a great deal as a vanilla creature.
Changing cards to help keep stalemates from happening is one way I work at making games brisk. While red, and to a lesser extent black, have ways to closing games outside of combat, most game wins are acquired through attacks. Veteran Swordsmith is an offensive lord that buffs many creatures and tokens in white; Shu Elite Companions is nigh unblockable.
Combat tricks make combat more exciting. Knowing your larger or “stronger” creature will always win is boring, so scaling tricks like Ajani’s Presence makes me happy. Surviving any combat, and extracting value from safe blocks, are things I like to see, so I just added the strive instant. Black, red, and green, and white all had their “colorless” options moved out to colorless, so here, Porcelain Legionnaire made room.
Oppressive Rays looks like a great card. Paying 1 mana for more-or-less Arrest sounds like a great deal. However, one of the issues I’ve found across many games is that they don’t end immediately. It’s often easy for decks to hit 5, 6, or more mana to play with, especially aggressive decks that curve out and don’t have an abundance of mana sinks. I definitely have my eye on it, but I suspect it will perform less powerfully than the array of Pacifism effects already in the Cube.
Is Phantom Monster a common? It’s a question I’ve seriously asked myself before, and I’d wavered on the answer for some time. While physical print runs may not include commons, ignoring the “reclassification” of cards through Magic Online leaves out an angle for drawing potential choices. Phantom Monster isn’t an exciting, overpowered creature: It’s a curve-aligned, efficient, flying body.
Consider Cloaked Siren in Journey into Nyx. Trading 1 point of toughness to gain flash makes it clear Phantom Monster isn’t overbearing. Replacing both Echo Tracer (see spell changes below) and Spire Monitor smooths the curve for blue and gives it more tempo options to work with. (And don't worry: I have a foil copy of Crookclaw Transumter sitting on deck if blue really needs another flash flier.)
“Brainstorm is the worst card in blue. It’s awful.” It’s a statement I’ve heard repeatedly across months of Drafts. The power of blue’s 1-drops and counterspells has been called into repeated question as well: The value of cards like Force Spike and Daze drop off far too quickly thanks to the efficiency of every color, as an extra mana is often trivial by turn four or five. Bringing in more “hard” counters and bounce spells makes mechanical sense.
Black remained stable with this update. Blind Zealot is fairly dull with all of black’s removal, so a more aggressive creature (easier to cast, too!) made sense. Similarly, Pith Driller was usually just a Wall of sorts, and a more aggressive option shifts the value of going aggressive in black higher.
Haste does not make waste in this Cube. The archetypical red deck applies nonstop pressure to the opponent, and more haste was what the doctor ordered. Unlike Blood Ogre, a conditional 3/3 for 3, and Ashmouth Hound—see Somberwald Vigilante above—both of these creatures will hit the table running and make every burn spell even scarier.
Multicolored and Artifacts
|Nyxborn Shieldmate||Soul’s Attendant|
|Oreskos Swiftclaw||Soul Warden|
|Veteran Swordsmith||Benalish Knight|
|Shu Elite Companions||Silverclaw Griffin|
|Ajani’s Presence||—||Replaces Porcelain Legionnaire|
|Phantom Monster||Echo Tracer|
|Cloaked Siren||Spire Monitor|
|Hands of Binding||Crypsis||I was wrong, guys. My bad.|
|Eye of Nowhere||Ponder|
|Foul Spirit||Blind Zealot|
|Wei Elite Companions||Pith Driller|
|Pharika’s Chosen||—||Replaces Vault Skirge|
|Sigiled Skink||Somberwald Vigilante|
|Inner-Flame Acolyte||Blood Ogre|
|Crusher Zendikon||Ashmouth Hound|
|Flurry of Horns||—||Replaces Slash Panther|
|Ranger’s Guile||Crushing Vines|
|Ironhoof Ox||—||Replaces Thundering Tanadon|
|Cavern Harpy||Forbidden Alchemy|
|Deadshot Minotaur||Tin Street Hooligan|
|Porcelain Legionnaire||—||Moved from white|
|Spined Thopter||—||Cube increase|
|Vault Skirge||—||Moved from black|
|Slash Panther||—||Moved from red|
|Thundering Tanadon||—||Moved from green|
|Fellwar Stone||—||Cube increase|
While I’m sad there wasn’t a pile of bestow creatures to consider, the major shift in blue and slight fixes across the rest of the colors leaves me excited for what the next several Drafts will look like.
The next set is Conspiracy, and I for one can’t wait to see what other wacky cards are coming. With any luck, a few Modern Masters–style rarity downshifts will add even more powerful cards to the queue. Catch you in about a month!