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40 Cents and Below: The Cube Update!

Written by Ezra Sassaman on . Posted in Casual Magic, Cube

40 Cents and Below:  The Cube Update!

Ezra Sassaman

Ezra Sassaman has been playing Magic since he got a sweet Ravnica theme deck for his 12th birthday. Since then, he has been an avid follower of all aspects of the game. In his free time, he enjoys Cube-drafting with his friends in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Dear readers,

It’s been quite some time since my last “40 Cents and Below” Cube update. 

If you’re a first-time reader, hello! My name is Ezra and I am an avid cube brewer from Maine. 

A few years ago, I realized I wanted a way for new players to build a cube without spending too much money. 

A simple solution to this problem often comes in the form of limiting a cube to just commons (Pauper) or just commons and uncommons (Peasant), but I wanted to challenge myself to create a new type of cube instead.

Thus, the “40 cents and below” cube was born. Using the online MTG database Scryfall as a resource, I decided to find the very best cards available for $0.40 or less. Looking through Scryfall, I was pleasantly surprised at the amazing cube staples which fell in this price range across the color spectrum, from Glorious Anthem to Hellrider to Thragtusk.

Since my last update, many new sets have come out, including War of the Spark, Modern Horizons, Core Set 2020, Commander 2019, Throne of Eldraine, Mystery Booster, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria, Commander 2020, Core Set 2021, Jumpstart, and Double Masters!

Between the release of new cards, reprints, and price fluctuation, let’s take a look at new possibilities for this cube.


White gets some more aggressive creatures in the form of Selfless Savior, Venerable Knight, Seasoned Hallowblade, and Adanto Vanguard. There’s also cheap new disruption in the form of Giant Killer and Vryn Wingmare alongside enters-the-battlefield value from Thraben Inspector, Shepherd of the Flock, Blade Splicer, and Flickerwisp. Monowhite aggro gets a big boost from Glorious Anthem and Force of Virtue, while white-based control can slow down the board early with Seal Away and Omen of the Sun before closing out the endgame with a huge Myth Realized.


Blue gets great disruptive creatures like Hypnotic Sprite, Nimble Obstructionist, and Voracious Greatshark. This color has more new tools to assemble a flying army, such as Spectral Sailor, Riddleform, Talrand, Sky Summoner, Tide Skimmer, and Thryx, the Sudden Storm. When it comes to disruption, blue picked up the counterspells Daze and Neutralize. For card advantage, one of the color’s biggest strengths, turn to old favorites like Fact or Fiction and Future Sight.


Black gained a bunch of card advantage engines: Foulmire Knight, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Order of Midnight, Dreadhorde Invasion, and The Eldest Reborn. Blacklance Paragon and Cast Down can help stymie aggressive attackers, while black-based midrange decks will be excited to make use of Skirsdag High Priest, Hunted Nightmare, and Clackbridge Troll.


Bolt Hound, Phoenix of Ash, and Skewer the Critics can help aggressive decks finish the game even more quickly. Red-based midrange and control decks can add Abrade, Dualcaster Mage, and Sarkhan the Masterless. Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge can join its other legendary red friends, Captain Lannery Storm and the two Pias to capitalize on artifact-based synergies. 


Green’s power often comes from its creatures, and this update is no different. Nessian Hornbeetle, Lovestruck Beast, and Deathgorge Scavenger are perfect fits for grindy midrange decks. Thorn Lieutenant, Troll Ascetic, and Masked Admirers also fit well into midrange strategies, matching up particularly well against opposing removal spells. 

If you’re interested in attacking with big creatures, Wildborn Preserver, Nightpack Ambusher, and Shifting Ceratops can all get in a bunch of damage out of nowhere.

Green also picked up some ramp in the form of Veteran Explorer, Beanstalk Giant, Migratory Greathorn, and Cultivate. Once you assemble a board full of lands, cards like Ravenous Gigantotherium, Terastodon, and Primal Might can take over the game.


White-blue’s update includes a mini “flying matters” theme with Watcher of the Spheres and Jubilant Skybonder. Control players will be happy to see the mass-removal spell Time Wipe, which can also combo with other WU cards like Elite Guardmage and Cloudblazer.

Blue-black got disruption in Thought Erasure, mid-game card advantage in Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths and Enter the God-Eternals, and a tough-to-kill finisher in Wydwen, the Biting Gale.

Black-red gets to stick to its strengths– killing creatures on both sides of the board. Judith, the Scourge Diva pairs perfectly with existing BR staples Falkenrath Aristocrat and Murderous Redcap, while Angrath’s Rampage serves as a versatile removal spell.

Red-green adds a second enormous X-spell threat in Apocalypse Hydra — a great combo with green classic Channel.

Green-white fills in some early creatures with Bronzehide Lion and Loxodon Smiter, both great tools against disruptive control decks.

White-black gets Kunoros, Hound of Athreos, a mana-efficient threat which slows down aggressive decks and can offer added disruption against cards with Flashback and black reanimation strategies. Magister of Worth is a welcome midrange or control stabilizer — with two players, the Will of the council vote will be tied and the angel will always destroy all other creatures when it enters the battlefield.

Green-black offers various options depending on your preference: Boneyard Lurker, Vulturous Zombie, and Deathsprout are all recent printings that can improve midrange strategies.

Green-blue gets to assemble a “card-draw aggro” strategy with Vedalken Heretic, Cold-Eyed Selkie, and Lorescale Coatl. For a flexible removal option, look to Incubation//Incongruity.

Blue-red gets to improve on its “spells matter” synergies using Saheeli, Sublime Artificer and Lorescale Drakkis. UR control players can look to finish out the game with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind.

Red-white gets another aggressive option from Swiftblade Vindicator and more control sweepers in Deafening Clarion and Solar Blaze.


Crystalline Giant, O-Naginata, and Hall of Triumph can improve aggressive decks of any color.

For slower decks, Ratchet Bomb can protect from tokens and cheap creatures in the early game, while mana-rocks like Everflowing Chalice and Pentad Prism can help ramp to big threats like Sundering Titan.

Mimic Vat and Soul Foundry can get great value from “enters the battlefield” creatures like Blade Splicer, Riftwing Cloudskate, Shriekmaw, and Flametongue Kavu. They can also completely dominate the late game if paired with cards like Voracious Greatshark, Thragtusk, Terastodon, and Sundering Titan!


Ash Barrens, Field of Ruin, and Myriad Landscape are all mana-fixing lands that can slot into decks of any color.

The enemy-colored scryland Temples are now in the desired price-range and are auto-includes in this cube.

Mobilized District joins other budget-friendly colorless creature-lands: Dread Statuary, Gargoyle Castle, and Mishra’s Factory.

The current iteration of the cube has one extra utility land of each color: Windbrisk Heights, Memorial to Genius, Ifnir Deadlands, Ghitu Encampment, and Treetop Village.

Feel free to check out a visual spoiler of my “40 Cents and Below” cube here and draft it here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments and happy cube brewing!

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