Vivien’s Arkbow looks like a fun cube card that will act in a Birthing Pod like manner. It enables the trading up of resources similar to Pod. In Birthing Pod, a creature is traded for a better creature that can be tutored. Vivien’s Arkbow does not have the tutoring ability, costs more, and has the potential to miss. However, it does gain by being instant speed and, more importantly, allows the exchange of non-creature cards into creature cards. These two factors are huge. It is improbable that the Arkbow will be a better card, certainly not in constructed where decks of sixty cards can pack many one offs and tutoring is incredibly powerful. Cube is a different story. There are less cards to go through and games play out differently. This should indicate that the power of the Arkbow will hinge on how reliable it is at finding a creature every time. The table below shows how likely it is for a creature with a converted mana cost equal to or lower than X to be found versus how many creatures in the deck satisfy that condition.Continue reading
A listener of the podcast asked for an expanded edition of our 2018 Path to Cube awards. This will allow more detail on the honorable mentions than was done during the episode. As a reminder, eligible sets are Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, Magic 2019, Commander 2018, Battlebond, and Unstable. So, although a little late, here it is.
Most Overrated Card:
This was touted as the red Snapcaster Mage. It is not. It ends up being much too situational and dependent on the opponent’s actions to be powerful unlike Snapcaster Mage that allows the player to build their deck to optimize its power. Flash is a more powerful mechanic than first strike on a 2/1 body as well as on a value cards like Snapcaster Mage and Dire Fleet Daredevil. I would say Abbot of Keral Keep is still the best red 2 drop in a vacuum with Young Pyromancer passing it in certain situations.Continue reading
Currently, there is no consensus on how to create the best commander cube experience and it continues to be a challenge in part due to the problem never being laid out in a clear way. The goal of this article will be to have a clear goal and guidelines for designers to begin to bring fresh ideas to the table without having to struggle with a vague notion of the problem and to knowingly tackle all problematic aspects of the commander cube.
First, let us define a commander cube. A commander cube is a cube that is meant to be played with commander rules. That includes one commander, singleton, and commander color identity (all cards in your deck must be the color of your commander’s color identity.) What changes from regular commander is no banned list, as the cards to include are up to the cube owner, and the deck size will have to be smaller than 100 cards. Since constructed to limited is 60 to 40, commander to limited commander can be 100 to 60. That allows for decks mana bases to piggyback off already know land counts. If a number other than 40 or 60 is chosen, land counts will be less intuitive as there is no format to compare them to and having to be based on raw percentages instead.Continue reading