Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cube Blog: Rejecting Jace, the Mind Sculptor

As crazy as this may seem -- for the good of the Cube -- I spent a good amount of time yesterday debating whether or not to click a "but it now" button on eBay for Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I've never owned a copy, I've always wanted to play with one, and the last time I checked he was valued at roughly $100 a piece. If you go on eBay right now, you can pick one up for $50-60. Oh, Jace, how I loathe thee.

He's just too powerful for the Cube. For that matter, I've also decided that Elspeth, Gideon, and Garruk aren't going to make the cut. Even though they all fit tribal themes (soldier and beast), they're just too powerful for what my Cube wants to do. As it stands right now, Venser is the lone planeswalker in the Cube and he reigns supreme over everything... and I think that's the way it should say. Until WotC prints another planeswalker that directly interacts with morphed creatures, he's going to remain the sole survivor.

Let's talk about Venser.

As much as I like Illusionary Mask, Venser, the Sojourner may be my top pick in the entire Cube. He has an early game ability that can repeatedly flip any morphed creature you put onto the battlefield. He has a late game win condition, making your entire team unblockable, which is especially effective in this creature heavy format. And he has a super-late game win condition that forces your opponent to deal with him immediately. Not to mention that this format really has few answers for planeswalkers (which is a big reason I decided not to include any of the other walkers). There are very few fliers, most burn only deals 2 amage, and the spells which can target planeswalkers directly are slim to none (Beast Within, Rescind, Necrotic Sliver).

But back to Jace;

As much as I've been pushing for a viable UW control strategy which would include cards like Voidmage Prodigy, Eternal Dragon, Mutavault, Akroma's Vengeance, Miscalculate, Complicate, Decree of Silence, Decree of Justice, Echo Tracer, Willbender, Venser, the Sojourner, and maybe even cards like Whetstone, Jace would have just been nuts. Jace would enter play and all of a sudden you'd be drawing 2 cards a turn and leaving your opponent in the dust. He would be out of burn rage, he'd be able to deal with any immediate threat, and he might even be able to fateseal your opponent to victory. Combo Jace and Venser together and then it just becomes un-fun. If you drafted both of them and not even half of the supporting cards I listed above, I would bevery surprised if you didn't just crush every opponent you came across. I spent a lot of effort into *attempting* to make this format slow enough for cards like Ixidor, Reality Sculptor to the point where cards like Jace would trump almost anything your opponent could do against him.

As much as I like Jace, he would almost certainly unbalance everything, all by himself.

And then we come to Nissa Revane who would be perfect for the Cube. Not only does she become that one card "worth going elves for," but Nissa's Chosen are nothing to sneeze at either. The chosen are 2/3 creatures for 2 mana which automatically makes them great in a format full of 2/2 morphed creatures. And yet... I'm still going to reject Nissa and her chosen both. For as long as I can help it, I'm going to keep Venser as the only walker in the Cube.

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