Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cube Blog: Imbalance of Tribal Lords

All tribes are not created equal... and that's a shame. Maybe in constructed where you can pack four copies of all the best tribal cards where your options are limited this is less of a problem. But here in Cube, it doesn't always work out that way. Let's start by taking a look at the best "lords" that each of the 8 lesser tribes has to offer:

Remember, I'm not talking about the "best lords ever printed." I'm talking about the best lords I've chosen to feature in my Cube based on the constraints of Cube construction. For example, I did my best to stay way from all 3cc tribal cards (the cost of morph) and intentionally chose not to include any global lords (Goblin King, Lord of the Undead, etc.). I reserved that ability and interaction for the slivers. That being said, which of the above lords are worth taking pack 1, pick 1? Which of these lords are worth "going tribal" for?

For me, Voidmage Prodigy, Ravenous Baloth, and Siege-Gang Commander all stand out above the rest. Rotlung Reanimator is good, but you have to remember that we're dealing with a format that includes 90 creatures with morph. That's potentially 90x 2/2 creatures starring you down across the field. And those creatures can trade with your few additional 2/2 zombies all day long. I also chose the three that I did because they're still very good on their own, even if you only end up picking 1 or 2 other tribal creatures of the same type in the draft. And while Voidmage Prodigy, Ravenous Baloth, and Siege-Gang Commander are very good, there's one card in the Cube that outshines them all:

She's everything this Cube wants and more. Not only does she represent two of the relevant creature types in zombies and elves, but her ability effecting artifacts is so powerful that it will effect how highly you rate future picks that will be coming your way. Once you grab Glissa, suddenly you're going to be on the look out for artifact cyclers such as Sanctum Plowbeast and Esper Sojourners. Suddenly cards like Powder Keg, Engineered Explosives, and Ratchet Bomb are your number one priority. She's easily a pack 1, pick 1 choice, and she can lead you down multiple paths during the course of the draft. She's as bomby as tribal creatures go and she sets the bar for other future cards that WotC has yet to print.

(Note: Glissa is technically not a "lord," but because she fits into so many archetypes, she doesn't need to be. She gets the ball rolling and the lords just fall in line. As far as Cube is concerned, you might as well draft her as if she's a lord.)

In my Magical Christmas Land, there would be a creature of her caliber representing each of the 8 lesser tribes. I wish is that there would be a pack 1, pick 1 type card that can lead you down those paths. While Voidmage Prodigy, Ravenous Baloth, and Siege-Gang Commander are very good, I can easily see myself taking a non-tribal card over them such as Venser, the Sojourner or maybe even a non-tribal morph like Silent Specter. It's future Glissa-type cards that I'm going to be on the look out whenever a new set is spoiled.

I haven't even touched on the on the subject of the number of tribal creatures for each tribe that are available, but I think that's a topic for another day.

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