Between the Magic Pro League, testing for Mythic Championships, and streaming, I’ve found that I never have time to draft, and my Cube has been sitting, untouched, for weeks. At GPs, I make sure to pick up some sweet foils from the new set to keep updating it, and today I decided to put in the time to see which cards from Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance are worthy of being added to my Vintage Cube.
I won’t be noting which cards to take out since that really depends on the iteration of your Cube. If you want to build a Cube from scratch, then taking the one from Magic Online isn’t a bad place to start, but I personally differ from that list by over 100 cards, so I can’t really get into too much detail.
Today I’ll go over cards that have potential from the past two sets—which ones I like, and which ones I don’t.
Let’s start with Ravnica Allegiance:
Prime Speaker Vannifar
While this card is a big deal in Modern, I don’t think it will be good in Cube. If it’s too hard to make Birthing Pod work in Cube, Vannifar doesn’t stand a chance.
This card is a big deal. Not only in Standard, but in Cube too. U/G Ramp is one of the strongest combinations, and this will be a welcome addition. The fact that it’s a 0/0 makes it also a juicy target for Recruiter of the Guard and Imperial Recruiter, which become better than usual if they can pick up a late win condition.
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
This card is great in Vintage, which could lead you to believe that Lavinia will be just as solid an addition to the Vintage Cube. Not everyone has access to 5+ Moxes and delve cards in this format, so Lavinia will be a pretty weak addition to your Azorius Hatebear deck. I wouldn’t add it.
I love this card. I have Destructive Revelry in right now, and Cindervines might just replace it. It’s great versus Storm, and it can chip in damage against other decks. It’s also a 3-mana disenchant. Cindervines will be a good addition to both aggressive decks and green-based decks.
Deputy of Detention
Detention Sphere remains a better option, but even while Collected Company isn’t in the format, effects like these are still welcome in white aggressive strategies. Blue is the best color in Cube, and white aggro often splashes blue for Geist of Saint Traft, Spell Queller, or some other powerful blue cards, so this one will be a good pickup for that archetype.
Light Up the Stage
This is card draw for red aggressive strategies that can also be played in some Grixis variants. It can rank from a 1-mana draw-two to a bad Divination, which makes it swingy for sure. Cube is full of those kinds of cards, which will make Light up the Stage a perfect fit.
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice and Tajic, Legion’s Edge
The two Boros leaders from Guilds of Ravnica did make a splash in my Cube. The group I play with is in love with Boros and there’s always a Boros Drafter. We tend to prefer 2-color combinations over mono-colored strategies. When you draft with four or six people, you often end up unable to play 23+ cards of the same color, so splashing for a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or a Stoneforge Mystic is actually necessary for your red deck, and vice versa for White Weenie.
I’m not sure if Aurelia and Tajic are powerful enough to make it in Vintage Cube, but they look like strong creatures if played on curve.
Runaway Steam Kin
Speaking of creatures that fill the early curve well, Runaway Steam-Kin will be a great addition to your red decks. It grows fast, and later helps you cast those 5-mana Dragons even if you short on lands. This is a great Cube card.
Goblin Cratermaker replaces Torch Fiend easily. It’s just better on so many levels. You could make an argument to keep both, as you need 2-drops in those decks, and would love to have some that are live draws even in the late game. Cratermaker is not only able to kill artifacts, but also small creatures and large Eldrazi as well. Perfect for Cube.
I saw that Magic Online has this card in the Holiday Cube. I tried it in Storm and didn’t like it. The mana curve is usually too high to make Frenzy broken. It will be good in some scenarios, but there are too many situations in which you need too many things to go your way.
In red strategies, I believe it’s the same. There are too many expensive cards and a high number of lands in Limited, making Frenzy much worse than it is in Standard or Modern. You never run out of good 4-drops in your Mono-Red decks, and I’m sure there are better options out there.
Ral, Izzet Viceroy
Your bread-and-butter 5-drop planeswalker. Our Cube is blue-heavy, hence we chose to add this one, but if you want to have a more balanced Cube, there are way more powerful 5-drops in the history of Magic than this.
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Golgari isn’t a pushed color combination in Cube. This will usually just end up being filler in the green ramp deck when you spend so many picks on dual lands and your fixing that you end up short on playables. A turn-2/3 Vraska to kill an opponent’s Signet is actually a good start, but her +2 is bad enough that I passed on adding her.
For some reason this mythic rare was in the Magic Online Cube at Christmas, and I even saw Luis Scott-Vargas maindecking it. I can’t see playing this card in my Cube, as its power level is very low compared to other 5-drops.
It must be said that Selesnya is probably the weakest combination, and I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone playing Savannah, so this will skew my evaluation of this card. But I stand by my reasoning and wouldn’t add Trostani.
March of the Multitudes
Another Selesnya card. This one’s tough. It has slightly more potential since it’s a good mana sink for those green mana ramp decks with various splashes. I still think you can do better in Cube, and would rather play a Sphinx’s Revelation or Villainous Wealth.
We’ve had Niv-Mizzet for quite a while in our Cube, and at this point I think it’s time to cut it. Its triple-red casting cost is problematic in a format where mana bases are not the best, and seeing this card as a reanimation target doesn’t exactly excite me.
We’ve put Niv-Mizzet in our decks often and rarely put it into play. I don’t think this is a good Cube card.
Expansion // Explosion
A good, versatile card that is a fine early play, as well as a good win condition later in the game. Cube is a format where most decks are mana ramp, so any mana sink is great, especially in my Cube that has more mana rocks than usual.
I’ve actually never tried this enchantment in Cube. I saw it was in the Magic Online Holiday Cube, and I’m excited to try it. Every card that add some punch to Storm is welcome in my Cube. This is a weird one though, and I’m really excited to try it as soon as possible.
This is a good black 5-drop that can fuel the graveyard for various strategies. Doom Whisperer is a good addition to the Cube and one I’m happy to play in mostly every kind of black deck, from control to combo.
Knight of Autumn
This is versatile enough to get into the Cube despite its weak color combination. Reclamation Sage and Acidic Slime are super powerful in green decks, and Knight of Autumn does all that in addition to being good versus red aggressive strategies. Much like in Modern, its versatility pushes it over the top.
Abrupt Decay is surprisingly weak in this format, as it doesn’t hit the most important things and its uncounterability is mostly irrelevant. I’d replace it with Assassin’s Trophy as hitting larger targets is more important than giving you extra lands, especially in the late game.
Thief of Sanity
This card is broken in Cube. Blue-black is the strongest color combination and Thief of Sanity is incredibly good. A flyer is hard to block, and its power level in Cube makes it so that you can get a ton of value out of it. You might consider not putting this card into the Cube because of how good and frustrating it is to play against. It’s much better than Nightveil Specter and Hypnotic Specter, whose slots are now in danger.
I love the Oblivion Ring effect in Cube. There’s always an annoying permanent that is worth getting rid of.
This removal is perfect for Boros since you can really maximize the value of convoke.
Brain Maggot, Kitesail Freebooter, and Mesmeric Fiend are superior discard effects. Surveil 1 isn’t worth the cost of paying two different mana costs to play a discard effect. I’m actually not a fan of Inquisition of Kozilek, so I can see doing the swap, but for the most part I’d rather not add this to my Cube.
I think I’ve covered the best possible additions to Cube. If you have anything else from Guilds of Ravnica or Ravnica Allegiance that you feel need to be added to the list, don’t hesitate to comment down below. I’ll be ready to talk about them and give you my opinion!