40-Cents-or-Less Cube Update

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

40-Cents-or-Less 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.

Hello LegitMTG readers, I’m back with a 40-cent-and-below cube update. In preparation of for the release of War of the Spark, I’m going to share what’s happened with this super-cheap cube variant since the last article.

First and most importantly, I’ve decided to use the price calculator offered by the Scryfall database to determine whether cards meet the $0.40 threshold — the price estimates of other sources were sometimes wildly off or outdated, so I’m switching to a more stable guide. Scryfall also has slightly lower price estimates for some cards, allowing me to better fulfill one of my other goals: adding more rares to differentiate this cube from other cubes with mostly commons and uncommons.

Looking over the cube’s visual spoiler, I worried it wasn’t different enough from a Peasant cube — a collection of the best commons and uncommons of Magic’s history. Using Scryfall as a helpful search engine, I decided to find more rare cards of the desired price range to better differentiate the 40-cent-and-below cube from a Peasant cube.

Finally, Ultimate Masters and Ravnica Allegiance have both been released since the last update. UMA increased the supply of cube staples like Shriekmaw and Murderous Redcap enough that their prices are now within the desired range. RNA included many cool new multicolored cards we can consider adding to the cube.

Here’s a summary of the most recent additions to the cube:

WHITE

White gets a couple more efficient threats in the form of Glory-Bound Initiate and Imposing Sovereign as well as the token-producers Emeria Angel and Regal Caracal.

W/x control decks also gain a lot here, with cheap interaction like Unexpectedly Absent and Declaration in Stone and improved sweepers in the form of Phyrexian Rebirth and Martial Coup.

BLUE

For aggressive firepower, something usually lacking in this color, Serendib Efreet and Bident of Thassa can help push a U/x tempo deck over the top.

For card draw and card selection, a much more ubiquitous mainstay of this color, Sphinx of Foresight, Sphinx of Lost Truths, and Precognitive Perception can help a midrange or control deck win the card advantage fight and find the cards it needs at the right times.

BLACK

The new additions in this color pretty much all fall on the midrange/control end of the spectrum.

Gurmag Angler and Abyssal Persecutor are great additions to a black deck that wants to finish off the game quickly after attacking an opponent’s hand and board, running them out of resources.

Rare creatures Tomb Robber and Braids, Cabal Minion threaten to take over the game by themselves if left unanswered.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Shriekmaw, Dark Hatchling are all amazing creatures with enters-the-battlefield effects. These cards are great for stabilizing the board and pulling ahead in card advantage. Gonti is especially interesting, allowing you to cast cards from other colors that you wouldn’t normally get access to in black. Counterspell? Fireball? Your opponent won’t know what to expect.

Pure control decks will love Yahenni’s Expertise and Profane Command as well, cards that show black can easily compete with blue in card advantage. Profane Command to return like Dark Hatchling or Murderous Redcap can put you very far ahead in the game. Alternatively, if you’ve dealt some damage to your opponent, a huge Command to dome your opponent for six or so and give all your creatures fear can win the game on the spot!

RED

Using Scryfall as a price source unlocks some great early aggressive options for red, including Zurgo Bellstriker, Abbot of Keral Keep, Harsh Mentor and Kari Zev, Skyship Raider.

Going up the curve, the hasty threats of Captain Lannery Storm and Hellrider can catch opponents off guard and push through all sorts of damage. Look for the synergies between the Captain’s treasure tokens and the Nalaar legends; recurring treasure tokens means a recurring source of damage for Pia and Kiran, or just a way to stop your opponent from blocking using Pia Nalaar.

Red also gets some utility creatures like Dark-Dweller Oracle, Dismissive Pyromancer, and Goblin Dark-Dwellers. In red, Goblin Dark-Dwellers often reads “3RR, 4/4 Menace. When GD-D enters the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to any target.” Paired with other colors, you can even rebuy a Compulsive Research, Doom Blade, or Putrefy — the possibilities are many!

GREEN

Deeproot Champion and Quirion Dryad pair well with blue or red instants and sorceries. For a G/U build, seek to draw cards, counter your opponent’s spells, and bounce your opponent’s creatures with cheap instants while growing your green threats at the same time. For an R/G strategy, just throw burn spells around — at your opponent’s face, at their creatures, who cares? Meanwhile, your green 2-drops will be growing out of control.

Sylvan Advocate and Enraged Ceratok are great midrange options; they have high enough toughness to effectively block aggressive creatures and high enough power to pressure control decks to come up with an answer quickly.

RNA gifted this cube the 40-cents-and-below green finisher it needed: End-Raze Forerunners. The cube had lots of ramp cards, but not too many big threats to ramp into. This gigantic boar helps your early mana creatures become formidable threats. A welcome inclusion.

Finally, I realized I overlooked a very powerful green card — a card so broken, it’s banned in practically every format (which means it’s quite cheap)— Channel! This cube obviously won’t have Emrakul or Ulamog to ramp into with this super-unfair sorcery, but Channel + Myr Battlesphere or the classic Channel + Fireball is a much more fun way to win!

MULTICOLOR

The Azorius split cards from RNA, Warrant//Warden and Depose//Deploy, both give WU the option to bide time in the early game or a way to close out the game later on — exactly what a control deck is looking for.

Orzhov control gets a huge boost from Consecrate//Consume, Ethereal Absolution, and Angel of Despair. The Angel is such a quintessential cube card — I was really excited to see the rarity downshift in UMA. The other cards from RNA are great: Consume can answer a large single threat, while Absolution can make sure token decks won’t be able to do much of anything against you.

Zhur-Taa Goblin and Murderous Redcap are some aggressive options for red-based decks. The Redcap can also easily slot into UB control or BG rock — it’s very versatile.

UB gets access to many interesting cards. While cards like Agony Warp are okay in this slot, I’d really prefer to have cards with unique effects like Duskmantle Seer and Evil Twin. Silumgar’s Command is a card advantage all-star, and with the edition of War of the Spark, there may even be some planeswalkers to do away with.

Speaking of War of the Spark… the addition of uncommon planeswalkers to the 40-cents-and-below cube will be great! I’m excited to try out miniature card-advantage engines like Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor and Tibalt, Rakish Instigator. I’ll talk more about this upcoming set next time.

As always, let me know what you think in the comment sections and you can follow the evolution of the 40-cents-and-below cube here.

Thanks for reading!

Ezra

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