Masters 25 Top 10: Cube Gold in the Silver Anniversary Set
With Masters 25, Magic's 25th Anniversary set finally spoiled, it is time to take a look at how the new reprints affect your cube. Whether you are going to crack some packs or sit back and watch single prices drop, the set should have something to offer your cube both in the department of new cards and when it comes to pimping it out with foils and new illustrations. Welcome to Cubes For Squares' A25 Top 10.
Emotions on the Internet have been running high since Wizards of the Coast released the full set list for the eagerly awaited Masters 25 (A25) a few days ago. While it is still a bit early to say what the legacy of the set will be, one thing A25 at the very least will be remembered for is the watermarks that decorate the textboxes on 248 out of the 249 cards (i.e. all of the set’s non-planeswalker cards).
Watermarks are nothing new but these ones with the set symbols look particularly great. If you're like me, some of the singles you will be picking up from Masters 25 will only differ from the cards they replace in your cube by having the watermark. Examples of this in my cube are Man-o-War, Pacifism and Dark Legion Zealot. The A25 Brainstorm I will get for the watermark as well as for the most awesome illustration for that card, which has finally made the leap into print from Magic Online.
Other cards just do not make the cut for me, when it comes to the purely visual side. Wizards has yet to print a version of Counterspell with an illustration to my liking, so I will stick with the Tempest version for now. And the set's version of Disenchant also cannot compete with the old Ice Age one I currently use. Finally, at the risk of offending the general opinion I still prefer the Ice Age Swords to Plowshares to Terese Nielsen's – beautiful as it may be.
Since this Top 10 already has its share of useful all-rounders, none of the cards mentioned above made it to the final ten. Of course, you should still have most of them in your cube, unless you have a good thematic reason to leave them out.
Now, let's look at the Top 10:
10) Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
This cheery guy was originally printed in Conspiracy. Grenzo, Dungeon Warden has power and toughness equal to his CMC when cast, which is generally a good thing in limited. Cast him for however much mana you have available at the time – and should your deck be packed with cheap Goblins you can cast him early on and use him later as a mana sink, digging out his fellow tribe members from your library and putting them into play.
Some evil refuses to stay dead, and with this card you can Unearth any evil you please from your graveyard. Well, at least as long as it's not too expensive. Unearth is no Reanimate but it does have cycling and a cool new illustration and flavor text. It also brings some nice low cost redundancy to your cube's reanimation archetype.
8) Eladamri's Call
While a lot of people had hoped for other tutors to be included in Masters 25 (not least the Demonic Tutor that gave the effect its name) a couple of tutors did make it into the set. Eladamri's Call tutors for a creature at instant speed. It may not have the lowest upfront mana cost for creature tutors in this set, on the other hand its competitor for this spot, Summoner's Pact, also comes at a steep price.
With Flash you can activate ETB (Enter the Battlefield) abilities for the price of two mana and the extra card. But this versatile instant (which, in A25, finally gets an illustration, that does not hurt the eye) is capable of much more mischievousness. You can put your big targets for reanimation in your graveyard early on, and it can even give you value when used for its intended purpose – to flash in a surprise blocker or to cast a creature at the end of your opponents turn and avoid sorcery speed removal.
6) Boros Charm
Even if Minotaurs can be bullies, they do have that certain Boros Charm, which, like other charms, is a modal spell giving you different effects to choose from when casting it. Choice is good and more so in a limited environment. On top of that, this one strengthens a color pair, which at times ends up as a wallflower during cube drafts despite its... charm.
Between them, white and black can already destroy any type of permanent. Vindicate takes the destructive capabilities of the two colors a step further and combines them into a single card. Of course, this is at sorcery speed, but Vindicate is truly a classic. It even gave name to the Vindicate Verdict – a test which determines how resilient a permanent is by asking whether it can be removed by Vindicate.
4) Vendilion Clique
The Vendilion Clique is part of the in-crowd. They get invited to all the parties, or at least to a lot of Masters sets – A25 is their third time around the block. And for a good reason. Not only can they flash onto the battlefield to snub at an attacker with their 3/1 flying body, they also have a nice ETB ability that you can target at your opponent or yourself. The Clique is an obvious pick for any self-respecting cube with a flicker/blink archetype.
Of only two cards on this list from Alpha (the first Magic set) a quarter of a century ago this one is may be the least famous. Yet Regrowth used to be considered quite a powerful card. It was banned in Legacy until 2004 and restricted in Vintage for nearly 20 years. Returning any card from your graveyard to your hand is not bad at all, and at just two mana it is definitely worth it. If you're not picky about having white borders in your cube, the Revised version can be purchased for only 10 cent. But since this newly sprouted version is still an uncommon, you will probably be able to find it for cheap – if you don't happen to open one yourself.
2) Jace, The Mind Sculptor
Jace. Jace. Jace. Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Loved by some, hated by others and respected by all as the most powerful planeswalker card ever. Banned in Modern since the format was first introduced and until ... well until the card was spoiled as the top chase mythic in Masters 25. Should you put Jace in your cube? If your cube has any way to produce blue mana, I would say yes. At least if you are willing to shell out for one or happen to crack a pack with a Jace without selling him right away to the highest bidder.
1) Lightning Bolt
What better way to celebrate 25 years of Magic than by doing 3 damage at instant speed for only one red mana? Not least if the damage ends up clearing Jace off the board. Lightning Bolt is probably already in your cube, since it is probably the most iconic Magic card ever printed. But, unless you own a classic black border Bolt with the old Christopher Rush illustration, or you are looking to part with € 100 - 200 (the price for an English Beta or Judge Promo version at Near Mint), the watermarked version of Masters 25 is an excellent choice for your cube. At the moment of writing, foiled versions are offered for presale at just under € 5.
That wraps it up the Cubes for Squares Top 10 cards from Masters 25. Feel free to leave a comment about which cards from the set you look forward to add to your cube, and which new illustrations will replace old ones to pimp up your own limited environment.
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