Rant of Valakut: Cube Route pt.5 – The Final Push Ben Iverach-Brereton June 8, 2020 Rants of Valakut You can find the full Cube Route here: Part 1 – Finding the Beginning Part 2 – Counters and Counters Part 3 – Sorted by Colour Part 4 – All Things Being Equal And now, the conclusion…. After a bit of procrastinating, I hunkered down to complete the rest of my Cube. I don’t know if it’s been the general isolation, or the scope of this project, but it feels like an eternity since I started working on my Cube, and I was looking forward to being done so I could move on to something else. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’ve enjoyed building this Cube, and despite my ennui I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of random cards in a box and toss it on a shelf labelled “Finished.” If I gave up before the end it would be such a waste of effort, so I took the time I needed and carefully considered my final picks. I wanted to make sure that I was satisfied with my list before giving it my seal of approval. A Soft Landing Picking what lands to include in my Cube was relatively straightforward; I’d already set aside several cards to consider back when I tried building my Conspiracy-themed Cube, so I had minimal decisions to make. I knew I wanted to avoid Guildgates, but the reason was largely an aesthetic one. I was on the fence about including the “Gainlands” that give you a life when they come into play; while they would be a big asset for the life gain archetype, I didn’t feel that they were strictly necessary. Instead, I pieced together the ten-card cycle of generic tapped lands using parts I had from Oath of the Gatewatch, M19, and Rivals of Ixalan. In this cube they’re functionally identical to Gates, but they wouldn’t be thematically tied to Ravnica. This cycle of cards could either represent segments of a variety of planes, or could all be from some as-yet-unknown other world, which I found to be far more satisfying. A lot of Cubes will typically include a combination of Shocklands and Fetchlands for better mana fixing, but that mana base can be expensive, and I certainly didn’t want to steal any lands from my Modern decks to build my Cube. I was already planning on using the cycle of generic tapped lands, but that wouldn’t be enough, especially with all of the CCDD creatures floating around. With all that in mind, I decided to add all ten of the tri-colour lands from Shards of Alara and Khans of Tarkir. These lands would make the mana fixing better than just adding a second cycle of two-colour lands, like the Gates: effectively, any two-colour deck looking for more colour fixing would have access to one two-colour land and up to three different tri-colour lands. For instance, a player drafting white/blue could pick a Meandering River (white/blue), an Arcane Sanctum (white/blue/black), a Seaside Citadel (white/blue/green), or a Mystic Monastery (white/blue/red). As an added benefit, the tri-colour lands also open up the possibility of splashing a third colour, which is traditionally one of the big draws of Shocklands and Fetchlands in a Cube. Melissa De Tora’s Cube article allocated room for thirty land cards, and so I still had room for ten more in my Cube. The Vivid land cycle seemed like it a good choice for more versatile mana fixing, since each one could fit into four different two-colour decks, and also helped with the ability to splash additional colours. I also thought those lands would be interesting to have alongside cards like Soul Diviner and Plaguemaw Beast, so that was a plus. It was also a smaller cycle of cards, which meant I still had room for five other lands. I’ve talked at length about how much I prefer draft formats with Evolving Wilds or its lonely cousin Terramorphic Expanse, so I naturally tossed both of them in. As for the last three land slots, Holdout Settlement would interact well with the assorted Inspired creatures, while Cave of Temptation would be especially strong with the +1/+1 counters archetype, but could fit into pretty much any deck. I wanted to fill the last slot with a creature land, and while Mishra’s Factory was a tempting option, it broke the rule I established early on about never referencing creature types. Instead I decided to include Dread Statuary; I’ve wanted to find a suitable home for this land for a long time, and it felt like a good fit here, so in it went. Taplands1 x Meandering River1 x Submerged Boneyard1 x Cinder Barrens1 x Timber Gorge1 x Tranquil Expanse1 x Forsaken Sanctuary1 x Foul Orchard1 x Woodland Stream1 x Highland Lake1 x Stone Quarry Tri-Lands1 x Arcane Sanctum1 x Crumbling Necropolis1 x Savage Lands1 x Jungle Shrine1 x Seaside Citadel1 x Sandsteppe Citadel1 x Opulent Palace1 x Frontier Bivouac1 x Mystic Monastery1 x Nomad Outpost Vivid Lands1 x Vivid Meadow1 x Vivid Creek1 x Vivid Marsh1 x Vivid Crag1 x Vivid Grove Other1 x Cave of Temptation1 x Dread Statuary1 x Evolving Wilds1 x Holdout Settlement1 x Terramorphic Expanse Buy This List An Artifact of the Past The last piece of this grand puzzle was to figure out what colourless cards to include. I didn’t really want to add any Eldrazi, and by omitting them I could make sure all of the colourless cards in the Cube could be artifacts. This had a couple of benefits: if I was teaching anyone how to play Magic with this Cube that would make things a bit easier, and it would reduce the need to read the type line of a card. If you’ve been following this project from the beginning you might have noticed that I didn’t include any coloured artifacts or enchantment creatures, despite the number of these cards that have come out recently. The reason I decided to leave these cards out is pretty much the same as why I made sure all of the colourless cards were artifacts; by making things just a little bit simpler I could make my Cube more accessible to a variety of players. Streamlining this wouldn’t really impact gameplay, either. Enchantment creatures and Eldrazi can be cool, but they are by no means required to have a good draft environment. CMC 11 x Heap Doll1 x Sparring Construct1 x Captain’s Claws1 x Traveler’s Amulet1 x Trusty Machete1 x Voyager Staff CMC 21 x Diamond Mare1 x Myr Sire1 x Perilous Myr1 x Runed Servitor1 x Alchemist’s Vial1 x Key to the City1 x Prophetic Prism1 x Scroll of the Masters1 x Sphere of the Suns CMC 31 x Farmstead Gleaner1 x Filigree Familiar1 x Howling Golem1 x Pilgrim’s Eye1 x Skittering Surveyor1 x Arcane Encyclopedia1 x Pristine Talisman1 x Tumble Magnet CMC 41 x Etched Oracle1 x Saheeli’s Silverwing1 x Sword of the Paruns CMC 51 x Stuffy Doll CMC 61 x Will-Forged Golem1 x Arachnoid CMC 71 x Mage-Ring Responder Buy This List One of the big goals I had when choosing artifact cards for my Cube was to find interesting cards that would fill some of the gaps the archetypes might have. If they could fit into two or more archetypes, that would be even better. That said, I made sure to include several catch-all artifacts that would support the nonbasic lands as ways to fix your mana, like Skittering Surveyor, Pilgrim’s Eye and Sphere of the Suns. These would be useful in pretty much any deck, but wouldn’t be so powerful as to overshadow any of the non-artifact cards. Thankfully, even with several colourless Cube slots dedicated to mana fixing, I still had plenty of room leftover for archetype-specific cards. For instance, Farmstead Gleaner could slot into the green/blue untap deck or the black/green +1/+1 counters deck, and Filigree Familiar could fit into the white/black life gain deck or the black/red sacrifice deck. I added some artifacts with fairly specific decks in mind: for instance, Stuffy Doll, would be interesting in a deck with Truefire Captain, Spitemare and a bunch of fight spells to deal damage to them. Similarly, Howling Golem and Runed Servitor would be fun in a deck with Notion Thief. A couple of the cards I added were there as a foil to certain archetypes, like Heap Doll to help fight reanimation and other graveyard strategies, or Arachnoid to slow down opposing fliers, but for the most part I wanted to enable each archetype rather than find ways of shutting them down. It’s Done! When I put my full list together I discovered that I was missing a single red card (thankfully I had a Stormblood Berserker to fill that gap), but otherwise everything looked ok. I’m sure that I’ll find some glaring imbalance once I get the opportunity to test the Cube out with friends, but given the state of the world right now that’s clearly going to have to wait. Still, it’s nice to have something that’s ready to go for when it’s safe to get together again, and I’m looking forward to finally trying it out. Thanks for following along on this tremendous journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did! If you’re interested, here’s the full list: THE CUBE ROUTE White1 x Dauntless Bodyguard1 x Gideon’s Lawkeeper1 x Healer’s Hawk1 x Sacred Cat1 x Ephemerate1 x Moment of Triumph1 x Recruit the Worthy1 x Scout’s Warning1 x Adanto Vanguard1 x Ajani’s Pridemate1 x Gust Walker1 x Leonin Skyhunter1 x Serene Steward1 x Steward of Solidarity1 x Stone Haven Medic1 x Graceful Reprieve1 x Intangible Virtue1 x Mighty Leap1 x Raise the Alarm1 x Angel of Vitality1 x Attended Knight1 x Devoted Crop-Mate1 x Emancipation Angel1 x Pegasus Courser1 x Sergeant-at-Arms1 x Shield Mare1 x Vizier of Deferment1 x Aerial Assault1 x Banishing Light1 x Forsake the Worldly1 x Repel the Darkness1 x Gallant Cavalry1 x Glimmerpoint Stag1 x Healer of the Pride1 x Tah-Crop Elite1 x Vizier of the True1 x Anointed Procession1 x Eyes in the Skies1 x Faith’s Fetters1 x The Wanderer1 x Conclave Phalanx1 x Oketra’s Attendant1 x Settle Beyond Reality1 x Take Up Arms1 x Bellowing Aegisaur1 x Subjugator Angel Blue1 x Cloudfin Raptor1 x Pteramander1 x Wall of Runes1 x Chain to Memory1 x Panoptic Mirror1 x Preordain1 x Shared Discovery1 x Spell Pierce1 x Vapor Snag1 x Deepwater Hypnotist1 x Lore Broker1 x Quickling1 x Sigiled Starfish1 x Skyship Plunderer1 x Surge Mare1 x Void Stalker1 x Arcane Denial1 x Call to Heel1 x Favorable Winds1 x Logic Knot1 x Strategic Planning1 x Think Twice1 x AEther Adept1 x Frost Lynx1 x Jhessian Thief1 x Soaring Show-Off1 x Sprite Noble1 x Vizier of Tumbling Sands1 x Wake Thrasher1 x Zephyr Scribe1 x AEther Tradewinds1 x Compulsive Research1 x Countervailing Winds1 x Verity Circle1 x Cephalid Broker1 x Fallowsage1 x Merfolk Skyscout1 x Tower Geist1 x Aetherize1 x Hieroglyphic Illumination1 x Illusionist’s Stratagem1 x Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor1 x Experimental Aviator1 x Prescient Chimera1 x Metallurgic Summonings1 x Angler Drake Black1 x Carrion Feeder1 x Cruel Sadist1 x Night Market Lookout1 x Pilfering Imp1 x Spark Harvest1 x Tragic Slip1 x Ulcerate1 x Vampiric Rites1 x Butcher Ghoul1 x Ghoulcaller’s Accomplice1 x Mire Triton1 x Oathsworn Vampire1 x Pain Seer1 x Qarsi Sadist1 x Zulaport Cutthroat1 x Agonizing Remorse1 x Grave Strength1 x Shadows of the Past1 x Ultimate Price1 x Vicious Offering1 x Bloodthirsty Aerialist1 x Dutiful Attendant1 x Hooded Assassin1 x Lawless Broker1 x Plague Mare1 x Royal Assassin1 x Skymarch Bloodletter1 x Weaponcraft Enthusiast1 x Dark Deal1 x Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage1 x Read the Bones1 x Tribute to Hunger1 x Bone Picker1 x Corpse Traders1 x Skeleton Archer1 x Vampire Outcasts1 x Vindictive Vampire1 x Vulturous Aven1 x Blood for Bones1 x Moan of the Unhallowed1 x Morkrut Banshee1 x Nested Ghoul1 x Orzhov Racketeers1 x Murderous Cut1 x Endless Obedience1 x Gurmag Angler Red1 x Ghitu Lavarunner1 x Goblin Banneret1 x Grim Lavamancer1 x Monastery Swiftspear1 x Rigging Runner1 x Barrage of Expendables1 x Devil’s Play1 x Fiery Impulse1 x Titan’s Strength1 x Warlord’s Fury1 x Battlefield Scavenger1 x Burning Prophet1 x Goblin Cratermaker1 x Lightning Mare1 x Nef-Crop Entangler1 x Stormblood Berserker1 x Vengeful Devil1 x Dragon Fodder1 x Goblin Oriflamme1 x Lightning Strike1 x Thrill of Possibility1 x Twin Bolt1 x Ahn-Crop Crasher1 x Ahn-Crop Invader1 x Fervent Paincaster1 x Frilled Deathspitter1 x Reckless Racer1 x Spikeshot Goblin1 x Goblinslide1 x Rush of Blood1 x Tibalt, Rakish Instigator1 x Volt Charge1 x Emberhorn Minotaur1 x Keldon Raider1 x Pyre Hound1 x Skirsdag Cultist1 x Dance with Devils1 x Inner Struggle1 x Stoke the Flames1 x Cyclops Electromancer1 x Trueheart Twins1 x Flurry of Horns1 x Press into Service1 x Markov Warlord1 x Devil’s Playground1 x Chaos Maw Green1 x Copperhorn Scout1 x Loam Dryad1 x Pelt Collector1 x Spore Frog1 x Young Wolf1 x Burst of Strength1 x Prey Upon1 x Reclaim1 x Ambush Viper1 x Baloth Pup1 x Deeproot Warrior1 x Noose Constrictor1 x Saddled Rimestag1 x Voyaging Satyr1 x Whisperer of the Wilds1 x Woodland Champion1 x Aim High1 x Fertile Ground1 x Return to Nature1 x Saproling Migration1 x Ainok Artillerist1 x Blossom Dryad1 x Brindle Boar1 x Highspire Artisan1 x Hyrax Tower Scout1 x Ranging Raptors1 x Tajuru Stalwart1 x Ulvenwald Bear1 x Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter1 x New Horizons1 x Squirrel Nest1 x Cacophodon1 x Greenhilt Trainee1 x Pack Guardian1 x Peema Outrider1 x Pheres-Band Tromper1 x Saddleback Lagac1 x Vine Mare1 x Outmuscle1 x Predator’s Howl1 x Conclave Naturalists1 x Plaguemaw Beast1 x Somberwald Stag1 x Scatter the Seeds1 x Elegant Edgecrafters1 x Greater Sandwurm Gold1 x Deputy of Acquittals1 x Lyev Skyknight1 x Sphinx of New Prahv1 x Vanish into Memory1 x Cloudblazer1 x Soul Diviner1 x Siren of the Silent Song1 x Nightveil Predator1 x Notion Thief1 x Soul Ransom1 x Fireblade Artist1 x Blood Cultist1 x Blazing Hellhound1 x Rakdos Firewheeler1 x Swift Warkite1 x Apocalypse Hydra1 x Zhur-Taa Druid1 x Khenra Charioteer1 x Savage Smash1 x Sunder Shaman1 x Selesnya Evangel1 x Good-Fortune Unicorn1 x Wayfaring Temple1 x Conclave Cavalier1 x Glare of Subdual1 x Tithe Drinker1 x Drana’s Emissary1 x Basilica Bell-Haunt1 x Call to the Feast1 x Regal Bloodlord1 x Grisly Salvage1 x Winding Constrictor1 x Corpsejack Menace1 x Golgari Findbroker1 x Rhizome Lurcher1 x Kiora’s Follower1 x River Hoopoe1 x Bounding Krasis1 x Weaver of Currents1 x Frilled Mystic1 x Bloodwater Entity1 x Enigma Drake1 x Winterflame1 x Crackling Drake1 x Thoughtflare1 x Honored Crop-Captain1 x Justice Strike1 x Resolute Survivors1 x Heroic Reinforcements1 x Truefire Captain Hybrid1 x Somnomancer1 x Turn to Mist1 x Fate Transfer1 x Whisper Agent1 x Footlight Fiend1 x Rakdos Shred-Freak1 x Kamahl, Pit Fighter1 x Firespout1 x Medicine Runner1 x Growing Ranks1 x Beckon Apparition1 x Gift of Orzhova1 x Slitherhead1 x Desecrator Hag1 x Gilder Bairn1 x Snakeform1 x Blistercoil Weird1 x Frostburn Weird1 x Double Cleave1 x Spitemare Colourless1 x Heap Doll1 x Sparring Construct1 x Traveler’s Amulet1 x Trusty Machete1 x Voyager Staff1 x Diamond Mare1 x Myr Sire1 x Perilous Myr1 x Runed Servitor1 x Alchemist’s Vial1 x Captain’s Claws1 x Key to the City1 x Prophetic Prism1 x Scroll of the Masters1 x Sphere of the Suns1 x Farmstead Gleaner1 x Filigree Familiar1 x Howling Golem1 x Pilgrim’s Eye1 x Skittering Surveyor1 x Arcane Encyclopedia1 x Pristine Talisman1 x Tumble Magnet1 x Etched Oracle1 x Saheeli’s Silverwing1 x Sword of the Paruns1 x Stuffy Doll1 x Will-Forged Golem1 x Arachnoid1 x Mage-Ring Responder Land1 x Meandering River1 x Submerged Boneyard1 x Cinder Barrens1 x Timber Gorge1 x Tranquil Expanse1 x Forsaken Sanctuary1 x Foul Orchard1 x Woodland Stream1 x Highland Lake1 x Stone Quarry1 x Arcane Sanctum1 x Crumbling Necropolis1 x Savage Lands1 x Jungle Shrine1 x Seaside Citadel1 x Sandsteppe Citadel1 x Opulent Palace1 x Frontier Bivouac1 x Mystic Monastery1 x Nomad Outpost1 x Vivid Meadow1 x Vivid Creek1 x Vivid Marsh1 x Vivid Crag1 x Vivid Grove1 x Evolving Wilds1 x Terramorphic Expanse1 x Holdout Settlement1 x Cave of Temptation1 x 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