Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cube Blog: Decrees of Annihilation & Silence

I've decided include the last two remaining decrees to the Cube. There are a few cycling cards that are underwhelming, the Cube needed a few more non-creature bombs, and the remaining decrees seemed like a good fit:

- Choking Tethers
- Scrap

+ Decree of Annihilation
+ Decree of Silence

Let's talk about removal a little bit.

I know I wrote several paragraphs about "catch-all" removal spells in Mighty Morphin' Blog #9 and how Vindicate, Confiscate, and Beast Within were necessary for the Cube. Well, guess what? Vindicate and Confiscate are gone and of those removal spells, only Beast Within remains. It's a tribal card after all (and I like the idea of living the dream and instantly creating a beast to instantly sacrifice to Ravenous Baloth, surviving death, and then cracking back for the win). I forget exactly what I replaced them with, but they got the axe mostly because after much play testing, it seemed that there was more than enough spot removal without them.

Long story short, I think the spot removal in the Cube is fine. It's the mass removal that needs a little help.

Right now, there are 4 converted mana cost spells (Powder Keg, Engineered Explosives, Ratchet Bomb, Pernicious Deed), 3 cycling spells (Akroma's Vengeance, Starstorm, Decree of Pain), and 1 morph spell (Bane of the Living), and that's about it. In a 360 card Cube, there were only 8 mass removal spells. This might have been okay in a creature heavy format where creatures are supposed to be doing the heavy hitting, but I think it could use a few more. Decree of Annihilation will be a welcome addition.

I initially resisted the decree because even thought I liked it as a mass removal spell, I didn't really want it to be used as an Armageddon. There isn't exactly a land destruction theme going on here. In the end, there were three ideas that convinced me otherwise:
  1. The Cube needed more mass removal.
  2. The Cube has a total of 25 mana rocks as well as a handful of mana elves to help against Armageddon.
  3. There are too many potentially fun scenarios that can happen when Decree of Annihilation is paired with permanents that have been temporarily exiled by either you or your opponent.
When there are cards like Changeling Berserker, Changeling Hero, Changeling Titan, Fiend Hunter, Parallax Wave, Worldgorger Dragon, and Venser, the Sojourner, there are many opportunities for to annihilate almost every permanent from the game, returning many other permanents to play from exile in the process. The chance for something game changingly crazy which involves this interaction is just something I can't resist.

Decree of Silence makes it into the Cube just because I think Voidmage Prodigy needs some help in keeping the control strategy alive. Mass counter spells definitely isn't a focus of the Cube, but I do still want to keep it an option, even if it is just a remote possibility. And yeah, I'm aware that this opens up a very un-fun combo with Venser, the Sojourner + Decree of Silence but... I think I'm okay with it. If a player is lucky enough to draft both cards and if they're able to hard cast the decree for 8 mana then, I think it'll be alright. And if it's not, then I can always cut it again later.

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