Return to Ravnica Pauper Cube Update
Ah ha! You weren’t expecting this so soon, right? Given the latency issues with both the Avacyn Restored Pauper Cube update and Magic 2013 Pauper Cube update, an update for Return to Ravnica wouldn’t be expected for another month.
I got ambitious. You get content. I think we’re both happier this way.
Since this update isn’t revamping the entire multicolored and land sections of the Cube—though there are some updates to each—it was straightforward to iterate through what I wanted to change. Here’s the summary:
The big winner is the unleash mechanic, particularly for red. If red is blocking, it’s probably losing. Presenting powerful creatures, attacking every turn, and using burn to keep the path clear is the original path to victory carved by Sligh decks. This is how I want it to happen in my Cube.
Other changes include adjustments for support U/R as a control deck, tuning the curve and potency of green decks, and replacement improvements across the board. Because I’m planning to retool every color pair’s deck with Gatecrash, I’m holding on and gathering several cards that may make the next update. Many are from Return to Ravnica, but more are from all across the multiverse. If you want to be ahead of the curve for Gatecrash, you can start today.
For all the Return to Ravnica details, keep reading.
You read that right. I didn’t make any changes to white. While there are a few Return to Ravnica cards on the Pick Up List, I didn’t feel that any were just the card needed now.
This was a very straightforward swap. While dropping from 3 to 2 toughness opens up vulnerability to a few more removal spells, the additional point of power is far more valuable on the offense.
Dross Golem is a fine card. Fear is an outdated ability, but it still does a lot of work. The low count of artifact creatures ensures that fear and intimidate work hard. However, Dross Golem effectively costs
Who knew a 2/3 could be so exciting?
A guaranteed 3/2 attacking on turn three seems much sharper than an unlikely 3/2 attacking on turn three.
I don’t have to attack if it’s somehow a bad idea? Deal.
Traitorous Blood is easier to cast and adds a dangerous 2 power to the stolen attacker. The blowout potential of Traitorous Blood is higher, but more two-for-one blocks will happen with Traitorous Instinct.
Traitorous Instinct also happens to be freshly downgraded from an uncommon in Rise of the Eldrazi. Nice!
A 3/3 with first strike for just 3 mana is another powerful way for red to rock. I love Fault Riders, but I’m confident the consistency of Splatter Thug will work better. Attacking for 3 with first strike on turn three is . . . appealing. This is the change I’m least confident about since Fault Riders could do some wonderful things holding back a 4-toughness fatty. We’ll see if a faster red makes that a moot point.
Sylvok Replica was a boring and oft-ignored way to deal with artifacts and enchantments. Rubbleback Rhino will give players counting on targeted removal plenty of fits, just like its Magic 2013 cousin Primal Huntbeast.
“You don’t have to put a whole bunch of value on a 2/2 for it to matter.” – Aaron Forsythe on Drudge Beetle at Grand Prix: San Jose 2012
I haven’t been very happy with aggressive 1-mana creatures in green, Jungle Lion being the foremost available at common. Conversely, a 3/3 creature is massive. Centaur’s Herald is a great way to have “an aggressive green 1-drop” that becomes a valuable 3/3. I look at it as a one-time payment to permanently pump Basking Rootwalla. Different? Yes. Strong? I believe so.
U/R needs defenders. While the recursive value of Izzet Chronarch is high, the second-turn blocker than can transform into a reasonable attacker (or trade for a much larger creature) works much harder for control decks.
As an evasive creature for red, Noggle Bandit is fine. As an evasive creature for blue, Noggle Bandit is poor. As a useful creature for U/R decks, Noggle Bandit wasn’t even on the radar. Goblin Electromancer carries the same power and toughness, but it comes attached to a much more compelling ability and a slightly cheaper body.
Racing with red decks is fun! While the Henchfiend of Ukor would occasionally slam in mimicking a Fireball, it often fell prey to being inefficient. Rakdos Shred-Freak is fast and furious on turn two and supports B/R as an all-in aggro deck.
Artifact and Land
The Pick Up List
I’ve formatted this as a decklist so you can see each color section individually. Also, it makes a nice hover image appear. If you want to snag the likely suspects for the next update now, this is every card I already have in hand.
“The Gatecrash Pauper Cube Pick Up List”
Enjoy shopping, playing, and speculating. We’ll see you after Gatecrash with a whole new wave of curves, cards, and discussion like I shared for Avacyn Restored.
It’s going to be a wild ride.