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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
 
Word of Command: Un-believable
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    Quote from Leelue »
    I came to say that I didn't think the 9 drop was a 3. I switched into playing worn powerstone and even basalt monolith and it didn't really impress me.
    9 mana is just forever, and it still could be a 1 for 1 (when answered) if used in reanimator.

    //

    Woah
    I love trophy hunter more than most but I'm surprised we put it at 3. It's probably partly my fault...
    Yep, I think it was your fault Smile
    Quote from guitarspider »
    Trophy Hunter is maybe not a typical 3, but I do think 3 is fair.

    Pathrazer at 11 isn't playble imho.
    Yeah, I think it is probably the 'best' reanimation target if your opponent has no answer, but if they don't have an answer then many of the other Eldrazi would also win those games; but they also get to win games where you can ramp to 8 or 9 instead of dying with an 11-drop in your hand.
    Quote from calibretto »
    Quote from Leelue »
    I came to say that I didn't think the 9 drop was a 3. I switched into playing worn powerstone and even basalt monolith and it didn't really impress me.
    9 mana is just forever, and it still could be a 1 for 1 (when answered) if used in reanimator.


    Nine mana is a lot in a 'normal' deck, but for ramp, that shouldn't be hard to reach. That's especially true if you're including the big artifact ramp cards as well as the green ramp spells and mana dorks. Maybe my version of peasant is different from others around here, but I do include a lot of mana rocks and I make sure that ramp is a supported archetype. On more than one occasion I've had drafters tell me Artisan was "too powerful" for peasant. A 9/7 with annihilator 2 that also brings something back is pretty frickin' good, imo, and about the best you can ask for at uncommon and colorless. Just this past weekend my friend played a UG ramp deck and cast Ulamog's Crusher against me. I was able to answer that quickly. He then cast Artisan, brought back his Crusher. The next turn he cast Clone copying the Artisan. Ridiculous.

    I couldn't see myself ever building a peasant cube that didn't include at least the two older Eldrazi as my big colorless ramp targets.
    I still think 9 is a decent amount for a ramp deck. Certainly achievable, but you can 'ramp out' and be in top deck mode with less than 9 mana. Given the other feedback, let's keep that one at 2. I took a glance at your cube, and my initial impression is that it is heavy on artifact mana, so is probably better in your cube than the average case.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    I'm not as sold on all of the Eldrazi being rated so highly, but I've bumped them up by 1 as suggested in the absence of any other comments.

    I thought there was some discussion on Lashweed Lurker initially but hadn't heard much about it lately. I've given it a 1 and a description, but maybe my description doesn't do it justice. I've got... one of the emerge guys in my cube but I don't know if it has seen play since being added given my dearth of playing over the past year or so. It just seems a hard ability to evaluate. You CAN ramp out the creature early, but I see sacrificing a 2 or 3 drop as a very real cost... but it is optional and you can pay full price if you want to.

    Geistcatcher's Rig... I suppose I could see it taking out a Serra Angel or equivalent every now and again. 6 mana is the main sticking point for me, as well as needing a target at the time you cast it. Trophy Hunter is a 2/3 for 3 which isn't great, but at least isn't too far below the curve, and can still shape the game later. Maybe a 1.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    Most of the big artifact creatures. A few more here than I thought there would be that are at least worth consideration.


    4 - Staple - Cards with enough base power that your cube is less powerful from their omission. They are cards that are likely to never rotate out of your cube unless you ban them for being too good.
    3 - Strong - These are solid cards that get the job done. Their exclusion is probably an indicator that you are actively not supporting a popular deck / archetype / effect.
    2 - Playable - These are good cards, but they are either interchangeable (e.g. lots of removal, aggressive red 2-drops) or are build-around cards that need a little support to be good (Favorable Winds).
    1 - Niche - These cards aren't usually considered great, but might be included to support some obscure archetypes, specific interactions, or if going deep on a particular type of deck / archetype / effect.
    No reason to cube - There isn't a reason to cube these over options. You might find some perfectly 'playable' cards here, but there is little reason to put them into your cube in the first place unless you are intentionally depowering an effect.

    Artisan of Kozilek - 2
    Description - 9 mana is a lot, but the payoff is also high. Assuming you hard cast it, even if it gets countered or dies to removal at least it brings something else back with it. And if it does stick, it becomes a must answer threat. If you support reanimator you might also consider it; if they don't have immediate removal, the game is probably effectively over after the first swing.
    Anchors - Ramp
    Supports - Reanimator

    Bane of Bala Ged - 2
    Description - Compared to Ulamog's Crusher, only having 5 toughness means it is going to die more frequently when it goes into the red zone. The opponent gets to choose the permanents, so a reasonable scenario is it trading it off for 1 or 2 creatures and a couple of lands that are unlikely to matter. 7 is less than 8, but if you are supporting ramp you should probably just cube the other Eldrazi.
    Anchors - Ramp
    Supports - Reanimator

    Breaker of Armies - 3
    Description - It's expensive, but your opponent also can't just chump it all day long if they don't have removal. It usually presents a couple of scenarios; they have enough power to kill it, but you get to choose the order in which their creatures die usually offering a good set of trades; or they don't have enough to power to kill it, which can signal the end of the game, because they won't be able to mount a defense after that. Notwithstanding, you can also get through with everything else on your board. Solid ramp target, and if you can reanimate it it demands an answer.
    Anchors - Ramp
    Supports - Reanimator

    Darksteel Sentinel - 1
    Description - It can be an ok stabiliser, hopefully taking something out on defense with the flash. Cube it as support for control decks.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Deathless Behemoth - 2
    Description - 6/6 with vigilance at colorless is decent. That said, the main reason to cube it is if you just want some beef for any color. Eldrazi scion synergies are probably pretty thin in most cubes, but nice if it happens.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Drownyard Behemoth - 2
    Description - It's going to kill most things it blocks if you flash it in, and you can also do so without fear of reprisal. It's just vanilla after that, but you can 'ramp' it out early with emerge and cast it on your opponents end step.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Lashweed Lurker - 1
    Description - You might not always realise its full potential, but setting the opponent back on board can be worth if you can accelerate it out by sacrificing a non-relevant creature.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Pilgrim of the Fires - 1
    Description - It's expensive, but 6 first strike power is notable. It blocks well, is difficult for the opponent to trade with, and the trample means the opponent can't just chump with tokens. It doesn't compete with green ramp targets and you'd probably cube Eldrazi as colorless ramp targets, but slower combat heavy cubes have enough to like here.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Razor Golem - 1
    Description - If you paid 4 mana for it, you probably wouldn't be thrilled but it might be acceptable. The main reason to play it would be in support of either artifact synergies in white, or to complement draw / go control decks.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    I think Spectral Procession is probably closer to 3 than 4, but I also think most cubes white sections would be stronger if they included it over a lot of other cards. So I'm ok with it going to 4 at the moment.

    And raised Triplicate Spirits up to 2 and modified the description to suit.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Peasant]] The Peasant Cube Discussion Thread (C/U/)
    Let's take Leelue's example to the maximum extreme. I think from memory my 360 cube has something like 58 cards per colour, 3 guild cards per colour pair, with about 40 colorless / land cards. Essentially this gives you 119 coloured cards that fit a colour pair.

    The vast majority of decks are 2 colour, so you could argue that "2 colour cards are more powerful, why don't I just cube all gold cards!". If you keep 40 colorless cards, you only end up with 32 cards available per colour pair instead of 119.

    I don't know if that exercise is actually USEFUL, but I think it demonstrates that the more gold cards you have, the less flexibility you have with deck construction. I wonder what the 32nd best Boros card looks like...
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    A few white spells in 6cmc+ range.

    I wrote my comments a couple of weeks ago; we raised up one of the other miracle cards recently, so maybe Banishing Stroke is worth considering?


    4 - Staple - Cards with enough base power that your cube is less powerful from their omission. They are cards that are likely to never rotate out of your cube unless you ban them for being too good.
    3 - Strong - These are solid cards that get the job done. Their exclusion is probably an indicator that you are actively not supporting a popular deck / archetype / effect.
    2 - Playable - These are good cards, but they are either interchangeable (e.g. lots of removal, aggressive red 2-drops) or are build-around cards that need a little support to be good (Favorable Winds).
    1 - Niche - These cards aren't usually considered great, but might be included to support some obscure archetypes, specific interactions, or if going deep on a particular type of deck / archetype / effect.
    No reason to cube - There isn't a reason to cube these over options. You might find some perfectly 'playable' cards here, but there is little reason to put them into your cube in the first place unless you are intentionally depowering an effect.

    Feudkiller's Verdict - 2
    Description - 10 life is a decent chunk, but you really need to get the Giant to be worth it. It might be occasionally bad against aggressive decks wehre you can't retaliate early, but it can be a decent stabiliser in a control deck.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Spectral Procession - 4
    Description - If you pay 4 mana for it, you are getting a very good deal and that isn't hard to achieve. It's unlikely any non-white deck would be willing to pay 6 mana for it, so it is usually considered a white card. Good in most scenarios, but if you play any cards that boost flyers, tokens or other team pump, you should definitely be cubing it.
    Anchors -
    Supports - Tokens, Skies, Sacrifice

    Triplicate Spirits - 2
    Description - It's a decent token creator in it's own right, as it can come down early if you curve out. Not as consistently good as Spectral Procession, but a good additional token creator in white.
    Anchors -
    Supports - Tokens, Skies


    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [UST] - Unstable spoilers for Peasant cubes
    I put Umara Entangler in my cube but it was a mistake for the reasons stated above. I never wanted to play it. I think it might be an overstatement that you can 'easily' get the minotaur to 4 power. I don't know how often I've cast 2 non-creature spells in a turn. It certainly isn't impossible, but even in the decks where that might happen, the other conditional red 3 power 2-drops are still likely to perform better on average.

    I don't get what this card is doing in Unstable. Even the name doesn't seem funny to me. Maybe there are some black-border cards that say 'Target Minotaur gets...' that make this silly or something?

    EDIT: only Anaba Ancestor which doesn't do anything different than normal.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    Quote from Squirrely »
    Quarry Colossus is also not a great target to cheat out.
    Can you explain this? I'm assuming you mean playing it a lot earlier than you otherwise could. In which case, wouldn't your opposing targets be smaller, and therefore make Quarry Colossus potentially larger when than Phyrexian Ingester when it hits the table? I assume you are referring to the fact that you will have less plains and they can get the creature back sooner, but if you are cheating out a 5/6 I assume the opposing early drops aren't going to be too threatening, and it is still a 2-for-1 because they still have to draw it.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    On the Serra Angel / Zhang Fei, Fierce Warrior comparison, I wonder how often flying vs horsemanship makes a difference in most game situations. Flyers get blocked by other flyers / reach, but can block flyers; horsemanship gets through more but can't block flyers. I think it scales; horsemanship might be better at lower costs / power which are more likely to be played in aggro decks (see the Soltari and Dauthi shadow creatures), and flying is better at higher costs when the additional stats means other flyers / reach creatures are less likely to profitably block it. So you are probably right at 'no reason to cube'.

    Sentinel of the Eternal Watch to 4.

    Lairwatch Giant to 0. Optimistic spitballing...

    How about Quarry Colossus? It doesn't seem too far away from Phyrexian Ingester, but I've never heard of anyone playing this card or making that comparison (or hearing about it at all). It's probably a little worse as you can't remove a bomb creature permanently, but getting rid of something for 3+ turns still seems solid.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    White 6+cmc Creatures.


    4 - Staple - Cards with enough base power that your cube is less powerful from their omission. They are cards that are likely to never rotate out of your cube unless you ban them for being too good.
    3 - Strong - These are solid cards that get the job done. Their exclusion is probably an indicator that you are actively not supporting a popular deck / archetype / effect.
    2 - Playable - These are good cards, but they are either interchangeable (e.g. lots of removal, aggressive red 2-drops) or are build-around cards that need a little support to be good (Favorable Winds).
    1 - Niche - These cards aren't usually considered great, but might be included to support some obscure archetypes, specific interactions, or if going deep on a particular type of deck / archetype / effect.
    No reason to cube - There isn't a reason to cube these over options. You might find some perfectly 'playable' cards here, but there is little reason to put them into your cube in the first place unless you are intentionally depowering an effect.

    Quarry Colossus - 2
    Description - It bears comparison with Phyrexian Ingester. This may end up bigger on some occasions, and it is effectively as 2-for-1. The downside comparison is that it doesn't remove a creature critical to the opponents game plan permanently. It's also in a colour that has permanent removal a lot cheaper (unlike blue) so you don't need to reach as far.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Sentinel of the Eternal Watch - 4
    Description - One of white's best control-oriented creatures. It locks down an opponents creature every turn, you can change the target each turn, and the vigilance, stats and lockdown ability usually give you a decent opportunity to attack. Excellent top end and a reason to draft a control deck.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Seraph of the Suns - 1
    Description - The stats aren't huge for what you pay, but it can block everything (sans some trample damage), and survives a lot of removal. Still vulnreable to aura-based removal and tap down effects, so you might consider it lower if your cube is heavy on those.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Subjugator Angel - 2
    Description - It can act as a finisher. It can let you swing in for the win the turn you cast it, but unlike other cards that do only that, it can just be a creature to block with if you are behind, or contribute to an evasive follow up attack.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Urbis Protector - 1
    Description - On it's own merits, it isn't great compared to many other flying creatures. The only reason to consider cubing it is if you are heavy on the repeat bounce / flicker. Getting a 4/4 flyer each turn is good, but at 6 mana (plus whatever other investment you need to make) it isn't the most efficient.
    Anchors -
    Supports - Bounce / Flicker

    Wispweaver Angel - 1
    Description - A reasonable option as a sizeable creature that supports your bounce / flicker archetype. You are probably sacrificing a small amount of raw power if you cube this over other 'Angels' but not a significant amount; a regular deck should still find some value to get out of the flicker effect.
    Anchors - Bounce / Flicker
    Supports -

    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    Might Makes Right = 0.

    Slice and Dice up to 3.

    Pyrokinesis up to 2.

    Spreading Flames to 1. It is something I have in my cube at the moment, but I've had limited time to play this year so I don't think it has had a fair shake. I can see it being too slow, but I like the blowout potential.

    Thunderous Wrath - to 1.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    6+cmc red spells.

    4 - Staple - Cards with enough base power that your cube is less powerful from their omission. They are cards that are likely to never rotate out of your cube unless you ban them for being too good.
    3 - Strong - These are solid cards that get the job done. Their exclusion is probably an indicator that you are actively not supporting a popular deck / archetype / effect.
    2 - Playable - These are good cards, but they are either interchangeable (e.g. lots of removal, aggressive red 2-drops) or are build-around cards that need a little support to be good (Favorable Winds).
    1 - Niche - These cards aren't usually considered great, but might be included to support some obscure archetypes, specific interactions, or if going deep on a particular type of deck / archetype / effect.
    No reason to cube - There isn't a reason to cube these over options. You might find some perfectly 'playable' cards here, but there is little reason to put them into your cube in the first place unless you are intentionally depowering an effect.

    Fireblast - 3
    Description - There are certainly more efficient versions if for the hard cast mode, but the point is it rarely gets hard cast. Aggro decks love it on critical turns to cast a threat the same turn as removing a blocker, and it isn't unreasonable to get an opponent down to single digits and fire this off alongside another direct damage spell. You can always hard cast it if you have the mana. Some cube owners may not include it as free direct damage is a very powerful effect. It's far from the reason you'd consider it, but it does add lands to your graveyard for threshold / delirium.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Flame Javelin - 1
    Description - Probably only worth cubing if you really want to give non-red ramp decks a 6 mana burn spell, and 2RR instant deal 4 isn't totally unreasonable either.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Flame Wave - 1
    Description - It's a powerful effect, but the intensive mana costs make the decks it will fit in narrow. It's most likely home is a Gruul ramp / control deck that can consistently ensure there are enough red sources to cast it. If you have the right support for that deck, this might be an include.
    Anchors - Sweeper control
    Supports -

    Pyrokinesis - 2
    Description - Fireblast is the free burn spell of choice, but being able to divide 4 damage without paying mana can be a massive tempo play early in the game or swing combat in the midgame.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Slice and Dice - 3
    Description - If you want to support sweeper control as an archetype, this is the red card of choice. Will clear a decent number of creatures, and sometimes you can cycle to get a 2+ for 1 in the right board state.
    Anchors - Sweeper Control
    Supports -

    Spreading Flames - 1
    Description - It's expensive and sometimes you might die with this in your hand. It can have a powerful effect on the board when cast however. Cubing it will depend on the make-up of your cube; if you have the tools for red decks to go long, this might be worth it. If your aggro decks would consistently kill you before you can cast this, it's a trap to cube it.
    Anchors -
    Supports -

    Thunderous Wrath - 1
    Description - The miracle cost is awesome, though it is offset by the fact that the timing can be awkward, and if you draw it in your opening hand it is pretty bad.
    Anchors -
    Supports -


    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on Evaluate Everything
    We haven't done 6cmc+ gold cards yet. I don't think I've updated the 5cmc gold cards yet, they would be somewhere within the last 10 pages.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [[Peasant]] The Peasant Cube Discussion Thread (C/U/)
    I was experimenting with some free land pools at the end of a draft to provide some additional support for some archetypes so they didn't have to fill up the cube. I sleeved up some artifact lands for this purpose, but haven't expended the effort to add an 'artifact matters' theme to my cube yet. So affinity / artifact matters might work if you give players some free lands at the end of the draft, or some other modification to your draft, like pick 1, get 4 artifact lands of your choice or something.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
  • posted a message on [UST] - Unstable spoilers for Peasant cubes
    I haven't done a gatherer search, but is Super-Duper Death Ray the first 3 mana instant deal 4 at peasant? At least without a drawback? Even if it didn't have trample I think that is still fairly significant.

    I'd drop Searing Blood from that list, but only because I'm such a fun of synergy; Volt Charge is the only card that I cube two copies of because I love the proliferate opportunities it presents at instant speed, even if Searing Blood might be the better card in a vacuum. Pumping up your unleash creatures while clearing a blocker is solid for aggro.
    Posted in: Pauper & Peasant Discussion
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