Updating Vintage Cube with Hour of Devastation

For a short amount of time this month we had Vintage Cube Draft on Magic Online, and apparently, everyone loved it. Friends who never play MTGO did a bunch of Leagues, and streamers had way more viewers and subs than normal.

Now Vintage Cube Draft is gone, and I get that we just can’t have Cube every day of our lives because people won’t draft as much Hour of Devastation as they normally would, but I kindly ask Wizards remove any thoughts of Legacy or Modern Cube they have in mind. Vintage Cube Draft is the most popular Cube Draft overall, and I’m sure you would find that data backs me up if you ran the numbers.

With this being said, with Amonkhet I’ve started doing a Cube review, where I show you which cards in the newest set can update your own Vintage Cube.

You can find my Vintage Cube here and here after my changes in Amonkhet.

Before heading into Hour of Devastation, I would like to point out 3 cards from Amonkhet that I didn’t cover in my last analysis but that would easily make the cut now.

Commit // Memory

I had the pleasure to try this card in Vintage Cube Draft on MTGO, and eventually I played it in almost every one of my Drafts, usually along with Leovold, Emissary of Trest.

Venser, Shaper Savant’s effect is just great, as you can both answer permanents or spells. Adding Memory to that is just insane! Timetwister is great for archetypes like Storm, decks with Fastbond or lots of mana rocks, and here you get another copy.

Sweltering Suns

While Toxic Deluge is a great 1-of especially if you have tutors, I’ve never been a fan of Radiant Flames. This one is just much better, since with cycling it will never be a dead card against decks without creatures.

I loved Sweltering Suns in decks like U/R Control/Twin, and I’ll definitely add it to my Cube.

Cut // Ribbons

Seeing that MTGO Cube still had Mizzium Mortars made me feel bad. And it made me reflect on how good Cut // Ribbons is. Decks in Cube usually are a melting pot of colors, and removal spells that gain advantage in the late game are excellent.

This is also a great win-con for unfair decks that exploit infinite mana with Palinchron. I found myself often playing Crater’s Claws or Rakdos’ Return, but I would have been much happier to have Cut // Ribbons.

Now let’s head down to Hour of Devastation cards!

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

We might have found a replacement for Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, even if the old Bolas +3 ability was probably the best thing ever. Costing 1 less makes this comparable to Garruk, Apex Predator and Karn Liberated, and I like having a 7-drop better than an 8 in general. Without double-black in its mana cost, it becomes way more splashable as well.

Despite Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh having a weak ultimate, his loyalty is very high and his effects are powerful. I would switch the old Bolas for the new one in a heartbeat.

Razaketh, the Foulblooded

Reanimator is an unfair archetype and people are always looking for better creatures to bring back. This one reminds me of Rune-Scarred Demon, a creature that I loved whenever I drafted Reanimator. It won’t be hard to find a creature to sacrifice, since Putrid Imp, Looter-il Kor, and Oona’s Prowler are all cards that easily fit into this archetype.

A cool trick that you can do with Razaketh is to sacrifice a creature with an enters-the-battlefield ability and go tutor for another reanimation card, just to trigger the ETB again.

Razaketh, the Foulblooded will never be as good as Griselbrand to reanimate, but it’s a good candidate.

Ramunap Excavator

Crucible of Worlds does combo with Strip Mine and Wasteland, and Ramunap Excavator gives you another piece of the combo. While it dies to removal, it can be tutored with Green Sun’s Zenith, and can attack or block.

I’m personally not a fan of the Crucible of Worlds + Strip Mine combo because in some games it’s too slow to matter, but if you like it, here you have another card that enables it.

Doomfall

Like Sweltering Suns, Doomfall gives you great versatility, as it’ll be a removal spell versus decks with creatures and a discard spell against decks where removal isn’t good.

Exiling is also relevant in Cube Draft, since many decks use their graveyard as a resource. I like this better than spot removal like Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, or Diabolic Edict, as versatility is huge in a such a large format.

Supreme Will

While Supreme Will gives you options as well, it’s a different kind. Mana Leak is one of the better cards, as countermagic is super important in Cube and Supreme Will costs just 1 more. You’re rarely going to Impulse with this—only when your opponent has tons of mana in play already.

I don’t like Supreme Will much, as I don’t like putting more countermagic in Vintage Cube Draft.

Reason // Believe

Reason // Believe is just another way to put your large creature into play for cheaper, though it might be too expensive. I added Champion of Rhonas from Amonkhet and I was moderately happy with it, though putting creatures into play means that Eldrazi don’t get their cast triggers, so you’ll need cards like Woodfall Primus or Craterhoof Behemoth to make these cards work.

Usually once you’re green you’re also blue, so Reason // Believe might fit pretty well in that strategy, though without Sylvan Library, Sensei’s Divining Top, or Brainstorm in the deck I wouldn’t play this card because you need to set up the top of your library, and paying the full 6 mana isn’t ideal.

Overall I don’t think Reason // Believe deserves a slot in Vintage Cube, but it’s a fine way to get a cost reduction on your creatures.

To sum everything up, my latest version of Cube includes the following changes:

Add

Cut

This is all for Hour of Devastation! Catch you back in Ixalan!

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