Before it becomes a running gag: Here is finally the list of Magic Origins cards which made it into my Limited Card Pool. It’s really a long list, even for a core set: 61 out of 181 new cards made it – that is over a third! There are really a lot of good designs here, although I am so far not too happy about the overall composition of that set. Note that the ratio of cards reprinted in Magic Origins which I use in my pool is even higher (close to 50%), and that many other cards didn’t make it for minor reasons only. Ah, as a Next Level Cube designer I am going to miss core sets…
I’ll try to include an explanation at least for each group of cards, but I won’t write a paragraph for each and every one. If you have any questions why a specific card did or did not make it, just ask in the comments – I actually have all the answers!
Knight of the Pilgrim’s Road
Goblin Glory Chaser
Acolyte of the Inferno
I really like this mechanic, and most of the designs for it are elegant and balanced. However, I will make sure that all of my cubes which use it contain enough efficient removal that getting a creature renowned doesn’t create a tempo swing which equals game over.
This mechanic does so much: It gives Red badly needed evasion, supports artifact and token synergies, and provides another good utility land. The rares are admittedly on the stronger side for Next Level Cubes, but I think they’re not out of line.
I wasn’t thrilled by this mechanic at first, and I still think the designs using it are mostly very underwhelming, but I found that I really wanted a couple more instery („instant“ + „sorcery“) synergy cards for my pool. So I scrounged for a few specimen I was okay with. Note that I actually chose Gideon’s Phalanx for another reason: I needed a white non-creature 7-mana spell to round of my Mythics, and I was unhappy with my former choice of Mass Calcify.
Theros block was a big disappointment in that area, and I’m still looking for usable cards supporting an enchantment theme. Helm of the Gods might possible prove a little too powerful if put into an environment with enchantment creatures (which is the whole point of recruiting it for my pool), so I’ll have to watch out for that.
I have a contingent of multicolored cards for each pair. Many of my cubes feature consciously asymmetric color distributions, and to make those work, I need multicolor cards which do not mention too specific synergies (like Blood-Cursed Knight, or Shaman of the Pack). There is still room to improve my choices here, and Magic Origins offers a few good candidates.
Playable auras which are not too swingy are a somehow rare commodity in Magic. I believe weakening removal as much as WotC has done lately to make auras more attractive does more harm than good, but that means usable auras have to zoom in on the exactly right power level to be candidates for my pool. These two qualify in my opinion.
Some existing mechanics and synergies:
Counters, prowess, menace, elf tribal, landfall, threshold, cantrips: Magic Origins presented me with one good candidate for each of these themes. (And yes, Goblin Glory Chaser can get menace, but renown is far more important on that creature.)
More white cards:
Anointer of Champions replaces Infantry Veteran, because clerics need that effect much more than soldiers. Ampryn Tactician replaces Leonin Armorguard, since Selesnya was a bit crammed on 4-drops. Hixus, Prison Warden is a strong, but not too strong rare.
More black cards:
These are all well-executed, elegant designs which many Next Level Cube can put to good use.
More red cards:
WotC has put more effort into designing interesting red creatures lately, and these cards show it.
More green cards:
I do not like expensive defensive creatures, but vigilance prevents Skysnare Spider from staying back on defense. Elemental Bond is well-designed green card draw, and Joraga Invocation is hopefully an Overrun that’s toned down enough that my cubes can handle it.
And finally, another blue card:
Just a cool, elegant and quite original (although not completely new) design. These are the bread-and-butter cards for my Limited Card Pool!
Note that the printed rarities of the cards which made it break down as follows: 6 Rares, 31 Uncommons and 21 Commons. That is rather typical: Uncommons usually hold the most good new designs, while Commons tend to contain a large percentage of reprints and too weak cards. Rares – and especially Mythics – however tend to be terrible designs for limited play. It’s really annoying that limited players have to put up with all that casual and constructed trash: Those player groups can easily avoid cards designed for limited, but that isn’t possible the other way around!