The Pauper Cube saw its first incremental update in a while with Streets of New Capenna which adds some great new cards to the cube. A lot of these are going to be straight replacements in their respective packs, but some of the updates, specifically red, are going to need a bit more re-tooling.
As always you can find the Pauper Jumpstart Cube’s pack lists on Cube Cobra.
WHITE — BLUE — RED — GREEN — GUILDPACKS
White – Flicker / Blink
First up is an easy swap for White – Flicker / Blink. Overseer is a lot squishier than Riftwatcher, but its card draw provides more value when blinked vs the lifegain Riftwatcher offers. We found that many times we had better targets to blink which meant Riftwatcher’s Vanishing resolved. Ultimately making it a three mana gain 4 life over three turns, which just felt bad.
We’re losing Whitemane Lion in this update. In it’s place we’re pulling Ordinary Pony (and yes, it’s a silver border card) out of the Reserved Pool since it can flicker another (very specifically non-horse) creature. This is a little feelsbad as Whitemane’s flash was very useful for protecting your stuff, though the tradeoff here is you don’t need to recast whatever you target with Pony.
White – Equipment
We’re really pumped about Deftblade Elite! This was immediately slotted into White – Equipment for obvious reasons, Provoke plus combat damage immunity means this is a much more viable creature to gear up. Codespell Cleric is hitting the bench as Elite is a better one drop by a few miles.
White – Prison
We’re losing Law-Rune Enforcer which is a shame because, in our opinion, it’s the best of the three tapdown creatures in the cube. But it also means we can swap one out of the Reserved Pool to replace it. Goldmeadow Harrier and Gideon’s Lawkeeper are mechanically identical, so we’re going with Lawkeeper since the art is less off-putting than ol’ squashed head.
White – Reserved Pool
For those new to the Pauper Jumpstart Cube, we always mirror The Pauper Cube card-for-card, even if those cards aren’t currently assigned to packs. As such, we have a Reserved Pool for cards that exist in the Pauper Cube, but don’t have a home in a pack at the current time. Sometimes, as you already saw, we can pull cards out of the reserved pool when we update.
We’re getting Raffine’s Informant into the cube, which is replacing Stalwart Valkyrie, currently in our reserved pool. This makes Informant a free agent. We contemplated giving it a home in White – Equipment, but couldn’t really see a beneficial swap due to its lack of any evasion. Additionally, we don’t feel that connive is a powerful enough mechanic as a blink target so it’s going to stay reserved for now.
Next up, heading to the reserved pool is Ainok Bond-Kin since Ordinary Pony is coming out for White – Flicker / Blink. We love this card, but for now it doesn’t have a home. None of the white packs rely on +1/+1 counters at this time, which makes its first strike buff only useful for itself once you spend another turn, and two mana, buffing it. Tapping to buff at sorcery speed-only makes it a little wonky. It’s a shame this card isn’t green as green is rife with counters. That being said we want to avoid inclusions in packs that require very specific pack combinations in order to be useful.
Blue – Flying
Nothing to see here, just a Legitimate Businessperson. A nice piece of one mana interaction for blue is coming in the form of Witness Protection. It’s a little odd to see it take the place of Thunder Drake, though we agree with the Pauper Cube’s sentiment, four for a 2/3 was a fairly big ask, and its counters were rarely relevant. We’re going to keep this as a 1-to-1 swap for the Flying pack since Witness Protection grounds any blockers and the pack is already creature-heavy.
Blue – Bounce
Ghostly Flicker is an awesome card. We’re super happy to have it, though believe it or not this was really tough to place, and to be clear this was a case of “where” not “if” – this is absolutely going into a pack, but where? It’s clear this is a better Displace as it also hits lands and artifacts, but do we replace it, or add it alongside? And if we do, what do we cut? It being slotted in for Silent Departure, currently in the Reserved Pool, means it can go anywhere.
In the end we made two moves here. We’re moving Blink of an Eye out and adding Ghostly Flicker in to the bounce pack.
Blue – Tempo
…and we’re moving Blink of an Eye to Tempo and benching Callous Dismissal. We never really liked this card, sure it leaves behind a 1/1 token, but Sorcery speed for a spell like this feels really silly. Instant speed interaction with the upside of card draw just feels more “tempoey”.
Red – Buff
Lots going on in Red this update. Buff was a new pack we put in the last update in place of “Haste”. And of course, right after we make the pack, The Pauper Cube goes in and changes everything. Well, we finished shaking our fists and found Buff needed some reworking anyway, and its looking pretty good.
First up is Mayhem Patrol coming in for Inner-Flame Acolyte. We like this swap as Mayhem Patrol is kind of a side-grade. With menace it’s likely going to get in for 2, then replace itself if you Blitz it, but works better than Inner-Flame when hard cast. It’s cheaper to boot!
Next up is Incinerate, Bolts younger, slower brother, in for Arc Lightning. This is an easy 1-for-1 swap since the extra mana for Arc wasn’t really worth the extra targets and sorely lacks Incinerate’s instant speed. It’s a bit strange to include something that prevents regeneration when nothing in the cube does, but … meh.
Next on the chopping block is Dueling Rapier. We barely knew ye! This recent addition to the cube is already getting kicked to the curb. Of course we used it as the image for the Buff pack. Oh well! It was a fun little combat trick that stuck around as equipment, though we found it was never really useful since equip 4 was too painful. In its place we’re adding newcomer Underworld Rage-Hound. Rage-Hound may be squishy, but that’s kind of the point, right? Late game it comes back with a vengeance and even though it has to attack every turn we’re making a couple more swaps to make it work.
Tuskeri Firewalker is going to take a seat here. We weren’t sold on it and our fears were confirmed in practice. This pack isn’t priced for an exile-and-play-this-turn-only ability. Also, needing swing in profitably and pay a mana to find out we wasted a spell was all-around disheartening. We’re subbing Goblin Heelcutter to help our headstrong Rage-Hound connect. Technically a 3-drop due to its dash, Heelcutter will be handy in making blocks more profitable.
Lastly we’re going to add in some more blocker interaction by removing Flurry of Horns and replacing it with Quakefoot Cyclops. Flurry was nice, but five for a couple 2/3 dorks with haste that die to bounce didn’t feel like the late-game payoff this pack needed. Instead Quakefoot Cyclops is going to help with those peksy blockers when it comes down, and isn’t a dead draw early on.
Red – Go Wide
When Witty Roastmaster was spoiled we were hoping it would be included into the cube as its perfect for our Go Wide pack. And here we are! The sad part is we’re losing two token-makers in Goblin Instigator and Dragon Fodder. We’re confident that the pack still has enough creatures entering to make it worthwhile.
Like we mentioned, we’re losing Dragon Fodder too. Another two for two dorks. We had two swaps in mind. On the one hand, Flurry of Horns is now a free agent, which technically makes sense in this deck as a top end threat to help Go Wide close out games – something the pack needs sorely. With so many squishy creatures you often run out of gas in the late game, so the pack needed something to help it go over the top. But a five mana sorcery is a lot for a pack like this, so we thought if you’re going to spend five mana to do four damage, why not just cast Fireball? Being an X spell means it’s useful as a way to close out games, or if you have the mana a very expensive way to clear the board of chump blockers.
Red – RDW
RDW is going to win even harder now that it has burn-staple, Fireblast. This card is famous for closing out games, and was an insta-include in this deck for reasons you already know if you’ve ever played with, or against, mono red burn. Fireblast in. Forked Bolt out.
The last addition to red, as if there weren’t enough already is, Lightning Strike. Magma Jett is going to hit the benches in the Reserved Pool since Pillar of Flame is getting the axe. Magma Jet is nice as scry two for burn is very useful, but if you’ve ever done math in burn you quickly realize that three damage for two mana is higher than two damage for two mana. In this archetype one damage is a lot.
Green – Tokens
Last up is green! If you’re wondering where the updates are in black, we don’t know either! It kind of makes sense, black felt pretty underwhelming in SNC. Anyway, we’re retooling the tokens pack since it had a few swaps.
First up, Prize Fight is in and Band Together is out. We’re fine with this since Prize Fight is cheaper interaction and gives us a treasure token. We realize we’re swapping a fight for a bite, but with so many creatures that replace themselves for value we’re okay with it trading.
Speaking of things trading, we thought we’d give Pulse of Murasa a go. Life gain plus bringing something back to die again for more value sounds nice, and since it’s only three mana instead of six (minus a few in the right circumstances) for Deepwood Denizen to draw us (hopefully) more threats, we’re having them take a dip in the Reserve Pool.
Last up for green is another one of our favorite new cards from SNC, Jewel Thief. We could gush about how good it is, but you probably already know. Jewel Thief in, Ivy Lane Denizen out.
Green – Reserved Pool
Lead the Stampede is replacing Track Down, though for now this going to be a 1-for-1 swap in the Reserved Pool. At present time we dont really see a green pack with the right creature density to make Lead the Stampede worth the slot.
YES! Let the bodies hit the floooooooooooor. Body Dropper is too good not to be included so we’re happy to see it being swapped in. Body Dropper in, Augur Spree out.
Drawlands > Gainlands
We’re happy to see the drawland cycle from SNC being swapped in for their respective gainland counterparts. All five are in – not just the one pictured below.