Get your Sound of Music DVD in the player, because these are a few (more) of my favorite things (in cube)! To give you an idea of how excited I was writing this article, there are a lot of exclamation points in it! Enthusiasm! WOOO! LET’S GET TO IT!
Everflowing Chalice: I shouldn’t like this card. I have high standards for cube cards, and realistically this shouldn’t meet them. It’s a mana stone that doesn’t fix and costs an insane amount when you’re asking for more than one token. Ur Golem’s Eye is not cubeable, yet the Everflowing Chalice carries it as an option. And as someone who likes to play as many colors as possible, most of my decks probably shouldn’t have room for artifact mana that’s only OK as a “signet” and overpaid when you’re asking for more.
The versatility that Chalice offers is part of the reason I love it. It’s not ideal as you can’t cycle or use it to fix, but in Upheaval or big mana decks it ramps you the further you get into the game. You can spend a turn putting 2 or 3 tokens on it, and then when you untap next your upheaval could easily return your whole board, or you could just drop Chalice as an overcosted Sol Ring again. It’s also great in the tinker decks, not only as a signet but as an artifact you can pitch to Tinker for free/the cost of a card. It’s not ideal, but the option is there and it has been used.
One of the main reasons I love Chalice, though, is because no one else really wants it. I love playing ramp decks and decks that have signets; while I do love playing aggressive decks, I like playing 6 and 7 drops more. I’d rather not make a million small decisions that are all important and instead work towards a goal of dropping some giant beast that can win or help win the game. If I see Chalice early in a pack, I’m willing to let it slide as I’m fairly certain it will come back and instead take a better card.
Symbol Status: Up until Thragtusk was printed, Symbol Status was the best card in green if you supported it by a wide margin. Even with Thragtusk out and about, screwing things up for your wraths, bounce, and upheavals, Symbol Status is still in the talk. The ceiling for Status is so high and the floor much higher than its competition that it’s tough to put anything at the top. I know it kind of sounds like blasphemy—a silly, crazy unglued card better than Sylvan Library? Natural Order? The Garruks? Thragtusk?! Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
Symbol Status is not the card you really want to be playing off of turn 1 through moxen or black lotus or whatever. But if you cast it t3 off a signet, you’re probably going to get four tokens for 4. Add another one of your lands carefully selected from another set, and you get another token. Add a sword in there and you get another token. Add some creature in there and you get another token. See what I’m saying? I’ve seen Symbol Status drop for 10+ tokens many times, more often than not, and for 2GG that’s insane value. Add in the regrowth effects that green adds (and another symbol if you use Eternal Witness) and only wraths nullify your board.
The thing about Symbol Status is you need to support it. My brother Pete at one point went out of his way to order all these random lands from sets I hadn’t recognized. Go onto magiccards.info and search forest, see how many symbols there are; now imagine if your cube ran every one of them as an option. And for those thinking “that would take too long to sort!”…well, you’re wrong. Sure, it takes a moment, but if you lay you cards out to have your symbols clearly showing and you basics are all diversified enough, then it only takes a few moments to find the obscure symbols. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably only playing 7-9 basics anyways.
Grafted Wargear: This is one of the better aggressive pieces of equipment, next to Bonesplitter and Skullclamp. Of course Swords and Jitte are nuts, but in practice I’ve found it better to have the available mana open and to be able to equip much earlier than to have to wait to spend 2 to equip. I’ve already said one crazy thing this article, so I’m going to just jump itno the deep end: Grafted Wargear is better than any sword in an aggressive deck.
In aggressive decks, I might need to kill my opponent by turn 4 or 5. If I’m facing decks with a lot of wraths and the game has forced me to overextend through other known spot removal or what-not, playing a sword turn 3 and not being able to equip it until the next turn can lose me the game. Whereas turning my little shitty 2/1 for W or whatever into a 5/3 is kind of nuts. Grafted Wargear is great because it makes all your little dudes who become outclassed further into the game you go into monsters that can at worst trade with any of theirs. Combine Grafted Wargear with something like Bitterblossom or the shadow guys and the wins should be piling up sooner than later.
A lot of people will claim the card is horrible because bounce effects nullify it completely. While I understand, there sometimes needs to be a price to pay for the best cards. That might seem crazy in cube where power level is everything and cards like Sol Ring, Black Lotus and Ancestral Recall exist, but if Grafted Wargear existed for free, it itself might be one of the best artifact cards. Even with the bounce clause, I don’t see it as the worst, and there are some fringe benefits. You can use it as a Skullclamp cracker, equipping a clamp to a creature it doesn’t kill and then putting the Wargear on it and then something else. You can also use it to sac all/most of your creatures to make a Balance devestating; that’s not the best application, but it’s there, it exists, and should be considered.
Mana Crypt: This card is real. This card is awesome. And this card gets passed like it’s trash whenever I play on cockatrice. It’s kind of insane, actually—have people not read this card? Did they get to the 3 dmg part and somehow get scared away? I’m not even joking when I say I’ve gotten this card 4th or 5th + in pack 1 multiple times—it’s crazy! Even with that clause attached, I think Mana Crypt is one of the best cards in cube.
I mean, let’s be real here: it’s a free Sol Ring. You know how everyone talks about how it’s Sol Ring versus Library in terms of the best card in cube? Well, Mana Crypt is the free version of one of the best cards. The Crypt is seriously nuts! Turn 1 three drops, 4 drops if you have a moxen as well, turn 2 5 drops if you have signets to play off the turn 1 crypt. Why is 3 damage relevant if you’re making crazy broken plays before you opponent has a chance to breath?
But the truth of the matter is, sometimes the bolt a turn can hurt. Coin flips are as random as it gets, and not having a game-clincher when you play and use your vault can really hurt if they don’t go your way. I’ve had games where I’m relying on the -2 of an Ajani Vengeant to keep my alive because the randomness of my crypt was so volatile and nothing to be messed with. The best way to go about Crypt, like with any mox or Black Lotus in my opinion, is to wait until the very last minute to drop the card. I’ve seen a lot of players get excited when they have these cards in their opener, drop a million permanents, and then do nothing. Not only are you exposing your hand and giving your opponent way too much information, but running into a random Manic Vandal or Disenchant that can cripple your board and therefore you hand is really bad. This is especially true with Mana Crypt, which can be randomly hitting you with Lightning Bolts if you’re dropping it because you can.
Again, if there are any cards that you find cool or interesting that you want me to talk about, leave a comment or shoot us an e-mail! And thanks for reading!