Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cube Blog: Scion of Darkness

I've been resisting including Scion of Darkness into my Cube for the longest time. But now that I've finally cave'd, I don't remember why I was resisting in the first place:

- Slice and Dice
- Solar Blast
- Mother of Runes
- Soulcatcher

+ Scion of Darkness
+ Dark Supplicant
+ Scrap
+ Planar Guide

Okay, so a lot of things going on with these changes.

The headlining change is inclusion of both Scion of Darkness and Dark Supplicant into the Cube. The scion has cycling and plays well with clerics, which makes him perfect for the Cube. It wasn't as if black was lacking for huge creatures. In fact, black was probably only behind green in that department. But the cleric tribe was a little more lacking than I would have liked. In this singleton Cube format, getting both the scion and supplicant in the same draft will be a rare event, but you don't need the supplicant to make the scion worth playing and when it does happen, it'll be great. And that's all I wanted in this bomby rare. I was perfectly happy with the Cleric Tribe remaining a fringe tribe, but at least now it has something to work towards every once in a while. It's just another one of those rares that you can first pick on your first pack and have some fun and go from there.

But with the Scion of Darkness in, that meant a cycling card had to come out. I know I don't retain perfect color balance within the Cube, but one of the things I do try to maintain are the ratios between types of cards. There are exactly 45 cards with cycling in the 360 card Cube (1 in 8 cards) and if at all possible, I want to keep that count the way it is at all times. And it just so happens that there were a pair of cycling cards that I've had my eye on for some time now: Slice and Dice and Solar Blast.

The greatest sin committed by Slice and Dice and Solar Blast are their abilities to deal 1 damage instead of 2. I've always said that I want to make "2 damage" as significant as possible in the Cube. There are 90 creature with morph and all those 2/2 creatures define the format in more ways than one. Slice and Dice and Solar Blast's ability to deal 1 damage just wasn't worth while especially when there are so many spells and effects that deal damage the right way. (Scrap gets in by default, all in the name of maintaining the cycling card count.)

The change from Mother of Runes to Planar Guide is an interesting one. On their own, Mother of Runes is a much better creature than Planar Guide. Sure, this whole morph theme increases the value of the guide, but I still think the mother has it beat. I made this change mostly because I realized that one of the ways to make "creature types matter" is to make sure other things -- like creature color -- don't matter. In other words, Mother of Runes would be perfect in a Multi-color Cube where gold cards made up the majority of the Cube, there were color hosers of all shapes and sizes, and protection from colors was commonly found on many creatures. The way my Cube stands now, the only creature in the Cube that has protection from anything is Akroma, Angel of Fury. And she gets to be the exception to the rule for many reasons. This is the same reason why cards like Goblin Piledriver isn't in the Cube. He's a great goblin that can end games and he would have made the cut... if he only didn't have protection from blue.

Similarly, this is the reason why cards like Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is missing. Undying is an awesome ability. Unyding on morphed creatures is even better. Mikaeus' ability to give undying makes him a juicy candidate for the Cube... if he only didn't have human hating abilities. The Mighty Morphin' Cube only wants to feature 7 lesser tribes, slivers, the occasional dragon, and that's it. I only want players to be focusing on those types while they're drafting, mostly in the name of keeping things elegant. I think there's value in how stream lined your Cube can be. And I think people who play your Cube will appreciate these things the more familiar they become with the format.

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