Building the Full Ravnica Cube, Part 5: The Final Frontier
Welcome back the final installment of my series. This week, I’ll be looking at the unguilded cards and making updates from Dragon’s Maze. Be sure to check out the sidebar if you missed any of the earlier parts. I can’t wait to actually start building this Cube. I’m done with school until August and I have Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm sitting next to me, a fully rebuilt bankroll on Magic Online (thank you, Gatecrash), and a pile of other video games that have gone neglected all year—and all I can think about is what 3-drops blue needs. First, let’s tackle the unguilded cards. I’ve thought about a few ways to implement this, and I think the simplest is to treat it as a sub-Cube and build it as I would any other Cube with a few caveats. I’m going to use two main criteria for selecting unguilded cards: objective power and synergy with guilds. The first one should be fairly obvious. These are cards that are always good, the likes of which you will typically see in normal Cubes—cards such as Dark Confidant and Faith's Fetters. If a card makes the cut or is close to making the cut in a typical nonthemed Cube, it should be an auto-include here. The second criterion selects cards that work particularly well with a specific guild. Take a card like Belltower Sphinx for example. It’s not a card you would expect to see in a typical Cube, but because it has very good synergy with Dimir, it’s a good candidate for this Cube. Beyond that, my standard criteria of “sweet rares” or “high-pick commons and uncommons” still apply.
I’m actually going to start with artifacts and lands. I’m not expecting that I’ll want too many of them, and once I have them pinned down, I’ll know how many cards I can allocate to each color. Here’s a quick list of cards I want at first glance: Artifacts – Bottled Cloister, Chromatic Lantern, Pithing Needle, Prophetic Prism, Sword of the Paruns, Volatile Rig Lands – Transguild Promenade I have two hundred cards to allocate among the unguilded cards, and in the interest of having the same number of cards in each color, I’m going to cut two of the above cards. Transguild Promenade is an easy cut since it has never been a card I’ve been happy to play, even when it was called Rupture Spire. The other cut is debatable, but I think it’s Sword of the Paruns. While powerful, it is a bit clunky. During the course of figuring out what unguilded cards to include, I found that I was often stretching for playables. Once I made it to the point at which I was asking myself if I really needed Gutter Skulk and Tavern Swindler, I saw a problem. This seemed silly to me when I had the opposite problem with the guild cards: too many to choose from. For that reason, I’m going to increase the allocation of guild cards in the Cube and go up to thirty cards each. I’ll go over new additions to each guild in the next section. That leaves me with a hundred fifty-five cards to split among five colors, or thirty-one cards each. I won’t go into too much detail in each color, as it should be fairly straightforward by now. The only thing left then is to update the guilds with cards from Dragon’s Maze. Since I’m adding four cards to each guild, the new cards don’t have to be strictly from the new set, and in many cases, cards from previous sets that were previously close to making the cut have made their ways in. One change I made across the board was cutting Keyrunes altogether. Honestly, they kind of suck, and there’s plenty of mana-fixing already. I was already planning on not including the new Cluestones, and I couldn’t really come up with a good justification for including Keyrunes over them. Let’s just quickly go through the updates. For reference, you can find the card lists in previous articles. Check the sidebar at the top. Dimir was covered in Part 1, Boros, Golgari, and Selesnya were in Part 2, Izzet, Gruul, and Orzhov were in Part 3, and Azorius, Rakdos, and Simic were in Part 4.
DimirNew cards – Woodlot Crawler, Duskmantle Seer, Haunter of Nightveil, Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker Cuts –Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, Dimir Keyrune Woodlot Crawler is a nice little beater, and protection is a pretty good ability in a multicolored Cube. One of my readers rightly pointed out that I missed Duskmantle Seer, so I’m including it now. Haunter of Nightveil is a great defensive card against Boros and Selesnya decks, and Mirko Vosk is a great finisher. The cuts I made were pretty easy, as Circu’s ability is mostly irrelevant, and Lazav is just an awkwardly-costed Hill Giant ninety-nine percent of the time.
BorosNew cards – Viashino Firstblade, Tajic, Blade of the Legion, Wear // Tear, Arrows of Justice, Warleader's Helix Cuts –Boros Keyrune Viashino Firstblade is a very exciting creature and is pretty close to Skyknight Legionnaire for the title of Perfect Boros Card. Tajic reminds me of Konda, Lord of Eiganjo except way more threatening. Adding a few more removal spells should help with rounding out the guild.
GolgariNew cards – Varolz, the Scar-Striped, Korozda Gorgon, Abrupt Decay, Drown in Filth, Gaze of Granite, Deadbridge Chant Cuts – Svogthos, the Restless Tomb, Golgari Keyrune Dragon’s Mazebrings some interesting spells such as Deadbridge Chant. Cutting Abrupt Decay didn’t sit that well with me, so it’s back. Svogthos is a decent card, but I had to make a cut, and it seemed to be the worst noncreature.
SelesnyaNew cards – Voice of Resurgence, Loxodon Smiter, Bronzebeak Moa, Scion of Vitu-Ghazi, Common Bond, Unflinching Courage, Advent of the Wurm Cuts – Siege Wurm, Selesnya Keyrune, Eyes in the Skies There were a couple Return to Ravnicacards I managed to sneak back in. Loxodon Smiter was among my last cuts previously, and it was easy to include him this time. I wanted to add a pump spell, and I felt that Common Bond was the best available option, although I was close to including Gather Courage as well. I was a little sad when I cut Siege Wurm, as it was one of my pet cards back in the day, but these new-fangled creatures are just better.
IzzetNew cards – Frostburn Weird, Melek, Izzet Paragon, Dragonshift, Turn // Burn, Ral Zarek, Blast of Genius Cuts – Izzet Keyrune, Vacuumelt Ral Zarek is a no-brainer, but Izzet saw a lot of other goodies from Dragon’s Mazeas well. Melek might be a little ambitious, but who doesn’t like a Future Sight? I’m also glad I made room for Frostburn Weird, as it was a card I really didn’t want to cut last time.
GruulNew cards – Zhur-Taa Druid, Pyrewild Shaman, Rubblebelt Maaka, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, Armed // Dangerous Cuts – Tin Street Hooligan Again, there a lot of great new cards from Dragon’s Maze. With the removal of all the Keyrunes, Tin Street Hooligan becomes a little worse, so I’m fine with cutting him.
OrzhovNew cards – Tithe Drinker, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Pontiff of Blight, Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts, Pillory of the Sleepless, Profit // Loss Cuts –Vizkopa Guildmage, Deathpact Angel Child of Night with upside? Sign me up! Tithe Drinker is pretty amazing and an easy addition to the Cube. The other cards are just the standard huge bombs, which is something this guild was somewhat lacking. I cut Vizkopa Guildmage because like Orzhov Guildmage, it’s not very exciting. Deathpact Angel is a card I’ve been consistently underwhelmed by, and it made sense to cut it for the new late-game cards.
AzoriusNew cards – Deputy of Acquittals, Lavinia of the Tenth, Dramatic Rescue, Render Silent, Protect // Serve, Beck // Call Cuts – Isperia the Inscrutable, Azorius Keyrune I’m listing Beck // Call under Azorius since the Call part is the more relevant half—in this format anyway. There weren’t that many other Dragon’s Mazecards worth including, but that made it so there was room for Dramatic Rescue.
RakdosNew cards – Spike Jester, Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch, Master of Cruelties, Sire of Insanity, Demonfire, Riot Spikes, Auger Spree, Toil // Trouble Cuts – Chaos Imps, Rakdos Keyrune My Rakdos list from last week only had twenty-four cards for some reason, so I actually have a lot of room to work with here. That works out pretty well since Rakdos made out like a bandit from Dragon’s Maze. Top-decking Twinstrike after playing a Sire of Insanity is just . . . well . . . insane. I had to cut one of the other 6-drops for it, and I decided that Chaos Imps was a bit worse than Carnival Hellsteed.
SimicNew cards – Beetleform Mage, Renegade Krasis, Vorel of the Hull Clade, Progenitor Mimic, Give // Take, Voidslime, Krasis Incubation Cuts – Plaxcaster Frogling, Experiment Kraj, Simic Keyrune Most of the new creatures I wanted to add cost 3 mana, so I had to cut one of the existing ones. Plaxcaster Frogling seemed to be the worst one, which is too bad since he’s still quite good. There really are a ton of quality 3-mana creatures for Simic, so if you’re missing any of the ones I chose, you’ll have plenty of replacements waiting in the wings. I’m speculating a bit on Krasis Incubation. I’m guessing it will be an overcosted Arrest most of the time, but since Simic is lacking in removal, it’s somewhat necessary.
So there you have it: The Full Ravnica Cube is complete! Here’s a handy Google Docs link for you to view it in its entirety. If you’re trying to build this Cube and are short cards, be sure to check out my Cubing on a Budget article for tips. I can’t wait to put this together and start cubing away until the wee hours of morning with my friends. I hope those of you brave enough to build your own Full Ravnica Cubes will have just as much fun as I do. Until next time, Nassim Ketita arcticninja on Magic Online http://www.youtube.com/nketita << Building the Full Ravnica Cube, Part 4: The Voyager Staff Home