Welcome back, I’m here again to talk more about my “40 cents and below” cube. Last week, we discussed the colors black and red. This week, we will discuss green and begin the multicolor section by talking about the ally color pairs.
In any cube format, the color green is known for its one-mana ramp “elves”. In cheap cube, Noble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise are not allowed due to their prohibitive cost, but many other “mana dorks” pass the test:
Narnam Renegade, Kessig Prowler, Skarrgan Pit-Skulk, Dryad Sophisticate, Sylvan Advocate, Untamed Kavu, Yasova Dragonclaw, and Iwamori of the Open Fist are all creatures that can help you get off to a fast, aggressive start, especially when supported by a second aggressive color or effects like Overrun and Curse of Predation. In very cheap cube, Iwamori’s downside is practically non-existent, as there are few legendary creatures your opponent could have, and no threatening Eldrazi titans for the cheap price tag of 40 cents.
When I was starting to build this cube, Assault Formation caught my eye, but it was unfortunately a bit two expensive to get the nod. With its recent reprinting at uncommon, however, its price fell enough to warrant an inclusion and I decided to build around it with other green defenders. Glade Watcher, Overgrown Battlement, Thallid Shell-Dweller, Ulvenwald Captive, Wall of Roots, Axebane Guardian, and Carven Caryatid all have a role to play by themselves, while the Battlement and the Guardian support the “defenders matter” theme by rewarding you with heaps of mana.
Temur Sabertooth is an absolute bomb and a perfect “build around me” inclusion for green in this cube. It can generate recurring value with “enters the battlefield” cards like Elvish Visionary and Carven Caryatid in the early game, and as the game progresses, being able to recur huge threats like Wolfbriar Elemental and Crested Herdcaller every turn should allow you to take over the game.
Green is also a great color for “ramp” strategies, utilizing cards like Khalni Heart Expedition, Harrow, and the namesake Rampant Growth to generate mana advantage over your opponents. As these cards all allow you to search for any basic land, green is one of the easiest base colors to start with when branching out into three or even four and five color decks. Ramp strategies in this cube can finish off the game by casting Sylvan Awakening or Rude Awakening, turning your board full of lands into 2/2 beaters and ending the game in a single turn.
ALLY COLOR PAIRS
Multicolored cards are some of the most valued section of any cube. Because there are so many great multicolor options to choose from, even with the budget restriction, I can imagine my personal configuration of cards will be unique. I welcome constructive criticism and discussion about what cards and themes I should be choosing for each multicolor pair.
Thunderclap Wyvern supports the “WU skies” deck, which seeks to pair cheap flying creatures with countermagic and white removal spells to leave your opponent’s board empty while attacking for lethal damage in the air. White creature support for this deck includes Mistral Charger, Stormfront Pegasus, Kor Aeronaut, Celestial Crusader, and Midnight Haunting. Cheap white removal to complement this aggro suite takes the form of Oblivion Ring, Banishing Light, and Stasis Snare. Blue also has a large role to play for this strategy: the flying creatures of previously mentioned tempo suite: Dungeon Geists, Mist Raven, Riftwing Cloudskate, and Angler Drake all fit perfectly in this deck. Cheap countermagic like Force Spike, Censor, Miscalculation, and Mana Leak all do double duty of protecting your flyers from removal and keeping the board clear of opposing threats.
Cloudblazer and Aethermage’s Touch belong in the same style of deck, a great WU-based strategy that takes advantage of creatures with “enters the battlefield” effects. In white, Stonecloaker and Cloudgoat Ranger complement this objective, while blue has Man-O’-War, Aethersnipe, and friends to gain value from. Splashing for a third color in this deck is also beneficial. Black gives you access to Nekrataal effects along with Makeshift Mannequin and Phyrexian Delver. Red contains, Ghitu Slinger, and Keldon Champion, and Pia (and Kiran) Nalaar. Green has Elvish Visionary, Ridgescale Tusker and the excellent Temur Sabertooth.
After a long, grindy UB control game, where you have a ton of cards in your hand and even more in your graveyard, one of the best ways to win is Psychatog. Blue and black are the perfect color pair to destroy any blockers in the way and counter any hope your opponent has to stop it. This toothy Atog sits on the battlefield in the early game and gets in for one damage at a time, daring your opponent to leave their shields down. In the late game, don’t be surprised if this creature ends up dealing 10 or more damage to your opponent at once! For best results, pair with Mesmeric Fiend or Brain Maggot to make sure the coast is clear before going for an all-in attack.
Shadowmage Infiltrator belongs in the same kind of deck as Psychatog. Just use blue and black cards to make sure it survives on an otherwise empty board, and slowly but surely grind away the game, one point of damage and card at a time until your opponent is left with no resources and no life left to spare.
Rakdos Guildmage, Unlicensed Disintegration, and Bituminous Blast all represent a kind of midrange excellence at which the black-red color combination excels. These cards can be aggressive or defensive as needed, taking on whichever role the matchup requires. Bituminous Blast can be the top end of an aggressive Jund midrange deck, cascading into Iwamori of the Open Fist or Yasova Dragonclaw, or it can be a card-advantage blowout in a Grixis control deck, cascading into a Deep Analysis or even something like Dismiss if cast in response to a spell.
Gruul is here to be aggressive! Tattermunge Maniac, Gruul Guildmage, Scab-Clan Mauler, and Ghor-Clan Rampager come down quickly and push damage as quickly as possible. Don’t forget that half on-color hybrid cards like Rakdos Cackler and Dryad Militant both fit into this deck. When assembling this strategy, look for aggressive one-drops, red burn spells, and the double-curse combo of Curse of the Stalked Prey and Curse of Predation.
Green and white is a versatile color combination that ranges from the aggressive end to the midrange and even controlling end of the spectrum. Renegade Rallier shines in midrange decks, combining with early drops like Elvish Visionary to draw more cards, or simply bringing back a 2/1 for one beater after it traded with your opponent’s creature. Dromoka, the Eternal and Behemoth Sledge are a great way to break parity, especially in a creature mirror. A deck relying on red for direct damage and removal, for example, will have a hard time beating either one of these cards. Both of these threats pair well with white’s ability to make tokens through Raise the Alarm, Midnight Haunting, or Cloudgoat Ranger.
Thank you for reading! Let other readers know in the comments what your favorite 40 cent and below cards and if you know of any cards I have missed when creating this cube. You can view my cube at here. Tune in next time as we finish up the cube by talking about the enemy color pairs, artifacts, and lands.
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