This is the 8th entry in a series where I comment on and explain my choices for my limited card pool in detail. Here are my previous entries:
In this entry I listed a number of guidelines I follow when deciding which cards I want in my cubes.
Here’s a PDF you can open in a new window to look at the part of my list I’m taking about while reading:
And here’s a link to an explanation of the shortcuts I use in that list, if you need it.
[card]Frog Tongue[/card] allows me to complete this cycle, since [card]Nylea’s Presence[/card] doesn’t work for me on any level: Not an enchant creature, and green mana fixing.
There’s [card]Keen Sense[/card] instead of [card]Curiosity[/card], because Green needed that effect more – Blue has all the card draw in the world, and especially creatures with that ability inbuilt.
After trying out a lot of similar cards, most of which were more powerful, I decided that the simplest execution was the best: [card]Oakenform[/card] is a terribly fine limited card and really needs no additional power-up.
[card]Into the Wilds[/card] is a bit slower than I like – I’d prefer an alternative creating card advantage a little faster and more reliable. But [card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card], which I had before, is just too good; and all other choices are either also too powerful or not generic enough.
It may seem strange that, of all things, [card]Giant Growth[/card] is missing among Green’s very numerous pump spells, but it makes more sense to have [card]Brute Force[/card] in Red instead, which is happy to have an instant which does not directly do damage, and Green wants [card]Seal of Strength[/card] and [card]Predator’s Strike[/card] more.
[card]Fog[/card] is too weak to get played, but its effect is something Green should have. [card]Lull[/card] makes it maindeckable via cycling; [card]Moment’s Peace[/card] is strong enough because it can be used twice; and [card]Terrifying Presence[/card] can act as creature removal.
[card]Lead the Stampede[/card] is another of those spells which is waiting for a better replacement. Honestly, why can Green not simply have a [card]Divination[/card]? Something like that is needed on three mana – there’s kind of a gap here. [card]Gift of the Gargantuan[/card] has the same randomness issues, but provides less value on average. I don’t like that Lead can possibly draw three or more creatures, but the chance not to get anything worthwhile out of Gift is too high and makes it unusable. If it looked at five cards, I’d prefer it over Lead (I really was agonizing over that decision). You know what would work? A [card]Nature’s Lore[/card] for one mana more with scry 2 (Born of the Gods is only partly spoiled as I write this, so there is some hope)! Edit: Meanwhile, [card]Peregrination[/card] (mouseover isn’t working yet) has been spoiled, which is a [card]Cultivate[/card] for one mana more with scry 1. Close, and yet so far!
Talking about the Lore: It’s useful, but not excellent. [card]Explore[/card] is a bit stronger, which is fine, requires no shuffling, and fills a cantrip slot.
Green has [card]Naturalize[/card], which means White has no [card]Disenchant[/card] – but it gets [card]Seal of Cleansing[/card] and [card]Revoke Existence[/card] instead, which seems fair.
After trying out Red and Black, I now have scry in Red and Green. Red desperately needs it both for variety and card flow, Blue has enough card draw and card selection, and White is filled to the brim with interesting spells of all kinds and really doesn’t need an extra mechanic. Black has some card draw in addition to card advantage via discard, and its selection of scry spells didn’t impress me too much, while Green still isn’t quite where I want it to be with regard to card flow.
I’m not using scry in all colors, because cycling and cantrips already do a pretty similar thing, and I want scry to show up in cubes where those other mechanics don’t have too much of a presence, as a special element of Red and Green. I won’t be unhappy, though, if Born of the Gods gives me a superior option to [card]Artisan’s Sorrow[/card], which is quite similar to [card]Creeping Mold[/card]. Something with scry 1 would be nice for symmetry (Red has one scry 1 and one scry 2 spell), if I do not get my wish above. (But not that manafixing spell.)
[card]Unyaro Bee Sting[/card] finally replaces [card]Bee Sting[/card]: I’m a fan of the more generic name, but it is silly not to use the up-to-date wording when one plans to draft with less experienced players.
[card]Dosan’s Oldest Chant[/card] is the only acceptable green lifegain spell, although its power level is in [card]Unhinge[/card] territory. I don’t think anything would break if it cost a mana less, though.
[card]Incremental Growth[/card] replaces [card]Stand Together[/card], which has too much competition and too much of a blowout potential. Growth is baseline more powerful, but allows the opponent better to deal with it. It also serves as my version of [card]Overrun[/card], which is a good green effect to have, but way overpowered. A closer variant wouldn’t do here – Growth is considerably weaker, and still about as powerful as I like to go.