Ravnica Allegiance: Cube Picks
As with the preceding Ravnica set Sancho just enjoys Ravnica Allegiances too much to make a definitive list of the absolute must-have cube cards. He does however have some suggestions for ten cards that you may find interesting to try in your own homemade limited environment.
Cards on the table: I definitely like Ravnica Allegiances (RNA) better than Guilds of Ravnica, which says a lot, since Guilds was quite a nice set. The thing is, that beyond revolving around guilds that I find more interesting than the ones included in its predecessor, RNA just has better mechanics with no misses (looking at you, Undergrowth). This is also reflected in my choices for this top ten of cards that I would recommend you consider for inclusion in your cube.
First off, it has been harder to cut my list down to ten cards than for any previous sets that I have made these lists for. There are simply too many cards that speak to my janky Johnny side as well as to the slice of somewhat serious spike in me, and at some point in the process I had to make a decision and lean a little more towards the spikey choice of powerful cards that players will actually draft to win games and reduce the number of fun but risky cards.
Since Wizards of the Coast lately have been putting many of the most powerful cards at mythic rarity, this also means that the list has more mythics and more of the costlier cards than usual – and yes, a certain expensive Jellyfish Hydra Beast did make it onto the list.
A second consequence of RNA's high quality for people constructing their own limited environment is that each of the five new guild mechanics are at least represented by one card on the list. While much can be said in defense of making your cube easier to draft for newcomers to Magic, I like the variety and personally I enjoy having as many different mechanics in my cube as I can get to make sense within the archetypes and synergies I have chosen to support.
Thirdly, due to already working this list down from more than double as many cards that I am going to give a try myself and still being indecisive about my preferences, the following cards have not been ordered by how awesome I think they are but merely by collector's number.
Anyways, enough talk; let's get down to business:
Angel of Grace
I don't know if the illustration on Angel of Grace is a reference to the bird seeds mentioned in the flavor text of Divine Visitation but I do know that a 5/4 flyer with the added ability to be cast at instant speed is a worthy pick for a finisher in any white draft deck. This fine lady has even more text on her card, which may or may not come in handy even if only rarely. Herself she is not rare but mythic and depending on your cube budget you may consider the 10 € price tag for a foil version a bargain, or you may opt for the much more affordable non-blinged but still as graceful version available at less than 3 €.
Reason: Big cheap flash flyer with upsides.
I must admit being biased when it comes to Unbreakable Formation due to the many times it has either won me a game or at least turned a game completely around when playing a couple of copies in my mono-white Standard deck on Arena. This instant is fine during blocking or when your attack is met with a surprise combat trick. But it really shines when the alternative effect is added through the ability word addendum by playing the card during your main phase. It may not quite be as powerful as the final chapter of Song of Freyalise but it is up there and buffing up your army of weenie tokens can often win the game against a tapped-out opponent. Finally, let me add the addendum, that this card is a bargain with several foil versions available at less than a Euro.
Reason: Combat trick that can win games for weenie decks.
In hindsight it is easy to see that this card would make it into my list, I suppose. Precognitive Perception is one of the interesting examples of the design space explored within the expansion. Drawing three cards for five mana is not great but add the ability to scry three and this card goes from being yet another fixed and “fair” (read: overpriced) blue draw spell to a quite strong card in a limited environment and worthy of consideration for your cube… just don't cut Ancestral Recall for it.
Reason: Goes up to six cards deep in your library
Priest of Forgotten Gods
One of the jankier inclusions in this top ten must be Priest of Forgotten Gods which is a quite demanding cleric since she wants you to have two creatures in play to even do anything. What she does, however, makes the risk of drafting her worth the payoff as long as your cube includes support for an aristocrat style strategy. This card gives you the needed sacrifice outlet and combined with recurring creatures returning from the graveyard or token generators as well as some nice death triggers on the creatures themselves or on other creatures such as a Blood Artist lots of fun is to be had here.
Reason: Sweet aristocrat fun for daring Johnnies.
Spawn of Mayhem
Four mana, four power, four toughness and now available at 4 € after costing more than twice that price a mere four weeks ago. Spawn of Mayhem may not have lived up to whatever expectations for constructed play that were behind its initial price point but in the limited environment of a cube this demon can indeed beget more of the mayhem that spawned it. And thanks to the spectacle ability it can even be cast for only three mana which usually would come with a major disadvantage in black. This mythic instead gives you even more upsides with flying and trample and the minor symmetric downside of both players taking a little damage.
Reason: Big bad flying guy for only three mana.
Light Up the Stage
You may disagree with the choice of Light Up the Stage as the second card with the spectacle ability on this list. But not only do I think this card works wonders in Boros aggro, Izzet spells matter and in any type of burn that you may make available to those drafting your cube, I also think that the card is just really neat looking in its all red Friday Night Magic Promo version.
Reason: Gives card advantage or digs at a low cost.
In my native Danish the word for a contortionist translates directly into a snake human. Naturally the skills of these real-world performers do not include the ability to adapt their size such as the skills of the Sauroform Hybrid, but I suppose both are examples of human lizards with great flexibility. If you have drafted any Ravnica Allegiances chances are, that you have either had the joy of picking and playing with a couple of these strong common cards in your deck, or you have had to face the choice from the other side of the table to spend removal on what is merely a "bear" (as in 2/2 Grizzly Bears for two mana) or wait and have to deal with a 6/6 humongosaurus later on. Being a common also makes it easy to find a blingy foil version for your cube for 5 cents or less.
Reason: A bear that needs to be dealt with.
Ok, it should come as no surprise that this Jellyfish Hydra Beast made it to this list, since I said so in the introduction. Hydroid Krasis is a bit pricey at 20 € and it is understandable if you choose to skip trying it out for your cube. But perhaps you already cracked one in a pack, and if you did, it will make a nice addition to your limited environment. Lots of trickeries can be had with an archetype involving +1/+1-counters in blue and green, and this havoc-wrecking Simic experiment is always on curve – or at the very least half the time if you want to optimize its benefits without losing anything to rounding down.
Reason: Card draw on a strong stick.
Rhythm of the Wild
Not to be confused with the jazzy Syncopate of blue, Rhythm of the Wild is probably a steady four fourths beat banging on some big old drum inciting to a good old-fashioned Gruul-style riot. And this card will fit any cube where the green/red color combination is dedicated to creature-based strategies. If there's one thing better than big creatures it is to get the choice between even bigger creatures or hasty creatures. Also, it is the perfect answer to any offbeat Blue counter jazz because what makes this card really shine is of course the first line of text: Creature spells you control cannot be countered.
Reason: Uncounterable creatures with haste.
Seraph of the Scales
Well, just like the very similar looking popstar, Seraph of the Scales ain't your mamma, and I guess she could never be, if the movie Dogma is correct about the anatomy of angels. Any player casting her may however feel safe as a kid behind a four-drop 4/3 flier with the ability to acquire deathtouch and/or lifelink at a quite fair price. And should mamma have to leave you home alone for some time, her afterlife ability makes sure that two fairy godmothers (or rather spirits) stay behind to protect you.
Reason: A total of six power in the air for four mana.
That wraps it up for this list of picks, which as I said initially was not easy for me to make, even if it was a lot easier than picking what to take out of my cube to try any of the above-mentioned cards out – as any fellow cube curator will know. I am sure that your picks would have been different, and I would very much like to hear what cards you have included in your own cube from this set, and perhaps also what you had to cut to make room for it. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
If you're interested in picking up some of these sweet Cube picks, be sure to check out Ravnica Allegiance on Cardmarket here!