Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cube Blog: The Spy Network (Part 2)

With all the recent tribal changes, I think it's time to push the morph theme a little more. The Cube is called "The Mighty Morphin' Cube" after all. I've pushed the morph theme with damage output, converted mana cost destruction, and multiple Flicker effects in the past, but now it's time to expand Spy Network possibilities a little further:


So what did I say about the Spy Network in Part 1? I said that most people who didn't enjoy drafting Onslaught block didn't like the randomness that a battlefield full of morphed creatures brought to gameplay. And I said that I was exactly the opposite and said the randomness they brought to the table was one of the main reasons it was so fun. In this Cube, I decided to split the difference and jam as many morphed creatures in the Cube as possible while also jamming in as many ways to spy the secret identities of those creatures one way or another.

There are already many spells included in the Cube that allow you to spy your opponent's hand. There are also many spells that have side effects which expose your own hand to that same opponent. And I consider both of these effects equally hilarious when it comes to morphed creatures. But now we turn our attention to the tops of both your opponent's library and your own library, exposing future draws, potentially spoiling future morphed creatures. Which brings us to the changes:

OUT:
- Mentor of the Meek
- Undead Warchief

IN:
+ Goblin Guide
+ Dark Confidant

I didn't feel that Mentor of the Meek was strong enough at the 3cc slot (the most coveted slot in the Cube) and Undead Warchief just felt like a random creature, especially when the zombie tribe isn't really being pushed. On the other hand one of the tribes that is pushed hard are the goblins and that's where Goblin Guide comes in.

Goblin Guide is widely accepted to be one of the best red 1 drops ever printed... which is exactly the reason why it took so long for me to include him in the Cube. Because the morph mechanic is front and center, the entire format is a slow one, almost by definition. I figure that at least a few overpowered goblins are going to have to be pushed if the goblin archetype is going to be viable at all. Put that on top of his spying ability and I couldn't resist. A first turn Goblin Guide in a format full of 3cc morphs is going to be rough, but hopefully there is enough removal to even it out most of the time.

The Dark Confidant is a severely underpowered card in this format as opposed to something like Jund in Legacy. In general, the converted mana costs of all cards in the Cube as a whole is above average. But you never know. Maybe someone will be able to draft a reasonable deck with only a few high CMC cards and the random loss due to the confidant might be part of the fun. He also happens to be a wizard. Put all that on top of his ability to spoil your own cards to your opponent and I think he may turn out to be an very interesting draft pick. (Sacrifice him to Voidmage Prodigy to turn him off when your life total gets too low?)

In the end, I feel that every opportunity to spoil the identities of morphed creatures is a bonus for the Cube. I think it leads to more interesting choices and decision trees both during the draft and in the games. It makes it interesting for both if you're the one spoiling and also if you're the one being spoiled.

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