“Son,” my father used to say, “one of my favorite things to do, every time there’s a new Commander set, is to take a look at it and see if there are any new cards that fit right into my Cube.” And that’s just what we’d do. He’d sit me on his knee and we’d go through those new Commander cards, looking for gems that might be fun to play in a Cube. “But don’t forget,” he’d remind me. “Everyone’s Cube is different. And while certain cards may stand out and look cool for your Cube, they may not necessarily fit as well in someone else’s Cube.” Wise words…
Today I’m going to harken back to those childhood memories, take a look at the Commander 2017 release, and see if there any options for Cube within. This set seems a little trickier than most because, along with having a ton of Commanders-matter cards, it also has a lot of creature-type-matters cards as well. In fact, when I was going through the mono-colored cards, I could barely find any that didn’t have to do with Commanders or creature type. Lucky, the multicolor cards were filled with some treasures. I’m looking for typical cards that can stand on their own, like Scavenging Ooze or True-Name Nemesis.
As far as Cube power levels go, this guy fits on the neat-but-not-broken part of the… scale. That’s a little Dragon humor there. As a 5-mana 4/4 this guy isn’t breaking any records, but the fact that your opponent often can’t remove this without having a potentially useful permanent destroyed is encouraging. An extra way to kill planeswalkers or enchantments is always appreciated, especially when it comes on an evasive body. This also can’t be targeted by abilities, and it extends to any other Dragons you might have.
These first two cards also fit extremely well into Cubes that have a creature type subtheme. Control Magic has historically been a powerful card in Cube, whether it’s in the form of Mind Control, Control Magic, or Treachery. New Blood brings that effect to black, and should be relatively easy to cast if you have any sort of Vampire subtheme, like Vampire Nighthawk or Vampire Hexmage—and the Sorins also do a great job producing Vampires for you. (But don’t confuse them with the popular sitcom about the zany Romanian family located in the midwest, The Sorins.)
This is easily one of my favorite cards in the set. It kind of does a little of what the first two cards on my list do, only better in a way. In Commander, this is going to give several people something powerful. In Cube, however, this is going to exile any nonland permanent and you’re going to get it. It’s basically a Confiscate for 5 mana that can’t be Disenchanted or removed. It also removes bounce as an option since it won’t go back to your opponent’s hand. This card is a powerful tool in the U/W Cube arsenal.
Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist
If your Cube has any sort of white-green aggro deck, this is perfect for it. As a 3/3 for 3, Mirri’s stats are reasonable, but her ability to affect both attacking and blocking is great. Limiting your opponent to blocking or attacking with only one creature is a serious restriction, especially if their plan involves something like making tokens with Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. This is a great form of “reach” for a white-green deck. Mirri is also going to fit perfectly into your Cat Cube. This is the part where you go and pretend like you don’t have one—just stop. We all know you do. This is the internet.
Mathas, Fiend Seeker
Good old Mathas. I remember back in college, this guy would always be chasing people around with his branding iron. It was all fun and games until… well, until someone got branded, which was frequently. Because of the branding iron.
That being said, a 3/3 for 3 with menace is a good deal—not to mention a Vampire that can help you cast New Blood. Mathas also has an amazing ability that you should get value even when the opponent removes him (as long as they don’t remove him before your end step). Unfortunately his ability doesn’t stack, so you do want your opponent to have multiple targets for your bounty counters, but if they do, the life and the cards should start flowing once you start removing creatures with your Mardu deck.
Kess, Dissident Mage
Ooh, Grixis. Okay. Even in Cube, 4 toughness is usually a safe spot. It’s rare that people are packing Flame Javelin or Grasp of Darkness. Occasionally you’ll find a Flame Slash, but that’s fine. As a 3/4 flyer, her stats aren’t the important part anyway. The important part is her interaction with Riptide Laboratory!
No, just kidding.
Arguably there’s no better place to get a second use out of your instants and sorceries than in Cube, where you get to play with powerful cards like Cruel Ultimatum, Ancestral Recall, or, you know, New Blood (why isn’t this a Vampire?!). Heck, even getting a second use out of your Lightning Bolts and Doom Blades is good. One caveat is that you won’t be able to counter spells with things like Cryptic Command or Mystic Confluence simply due to Kess only allowing you a rebuy on your turn. Ultimately, having a creature that turns your entire graveyard into Snapcaster targets could be a pretty strong addition.
Wasitora, Nekoru Queen
I think in lieu of using this thing’s ridiculously long name, I just call it “Cat Dragon” for short. And because it’s a Cat Dragon. If I was a Cat Dragon, I would just be like, “call me Cat Dragon.” That would be my name. End of story.
Okay, you could also call me “C. Dragon.” Or “Cat Daddy.”
Names aside, this is a sweet Jund card. A 5/4 flyer with trample for 5 is reasonable, and being able to make the opponent sacrifice a creature every turn is great. If they don’t have any creatures, you get 3/3 flyers instead! Did I mention they’re also Cat Dragons? I mean, I know I didn’t—this section is only about two paragraphs long. It isn’t that hard to remember. Anyway, they’re Cat Dragons.
I also like cards like this in Cube because they encourage players to stick to or draft certain color combinations, which can help make the Draft run more smoothly.
Let me know what you think of my Top 7 cards in the comments, or whether you have any picks from Commander 2017 for Cube that I didn’t mention!