Cube Picks: Dominaria Top 10
What hidden treasures does the cornucopia of Dominaria have to offer cube builders? Jump on the nostalgia bandwagon with Cubes for Squares as we pick our top ten cube cards from Magic’s most eagerly awaited new expansion.
Dominaria is going to be great! Everywhere you look, everyone you ask – that is the consensus. Not even early leaks of a great number of cards from the set, giving everybody ample time to adjust their expectations, have dampened interest. After all this is the first set with Magic’s creator Richard Garfield on the design team for nearly a decade and as the name implies it represents a return the original plane of Magic the Gathering … Dominaria!
Magic has truly come home in this celebration of beautiful art, a promising limited environment, exciting new mechanics, droves of new staples for EDH (including lots of new commanders), perhaps a serious shakeup for Standard, and a bountiful harvest for cube builders. Right? Well, perhaps not quite as bountiful as one could hope.
Don’t get me wrong. Dominaria looks amazing, and I can’t wait to do a bunch of booster drafts, and afterwards I will give my EDH-decks a tune-up with the plentitude of sweet new cards. Seeing the full set list makes my fingers itch to build a Dominaria set cube and a battle box and to play them both till the sleeves wear off.
But when it comes to adding new cards to an existing cube the pickings become somewhat slimmer. And surely, any difficulties one may have picking cube worthy cards from this set is only a testimony to the greatness and diversity 25 years of creativity have brought us. Too many new cards for old cubes in each set would signal a dangerously fast power creep. And cube builders have no reason to be disappointed in Dominaria.
I am quite certain that cards from this set will become cube classics and some of those may not even be discovered for some time while others may not become usable before future cards are printed which interact with them in surprising ways. That’s how Magic works: Card evaluation is always tentative.
So, let’s get started!
#10 – My 6th Sense Predicts A Janky Card
Blue is often the most powerful color in a cube and even more so in a powered cube, which is why it may be a good idea to dampen its impact in various ways. One way to curb the power of blue magic is through the inclusion of janky cards such as Precognition Field.
This enchantment is a cheaper and more limited version of Future Sight, a card I would love to make work in cube – and elsewhere – but the cost is very prohibitive. Perhaps this version of the effect which also includes the ability to dig through your library may be usable in some slow control decks. It probably won’t be but being a Johnny to the bone, I just have to give it a try.
#9 – You Load 16 Tons (of Goblins)
Skirk Prospector is one of the reprints in Dominaria, and the only one on this list. Not that I think that you shouldn't include Llanowar Elves in your cube, but my guess is that the green mana dork already is on your list – and if not, you must have a really good reason not to include it. The Goblin digging its way to number nine on our top ten is not much of an attacker at power one. But the ability to convert your goblins to mana for a big finale can be quite useful – if less versatile than Ashnod's Altar and requiring a lot of goblins in your cube.
#8 – Kick out the Mushroom Jams
The keyword Kicker makes a welcome return in Dominaria. Spells with this keyword are always worth considering when choosing cards for your cube. Saproling Migration lets you create two green 1/1s early on or four critters if you draw it when you have more mana. Flexibility makes for a great limited environment and Kicker spells add flexibility to your cube. With tokens being a common archetype for Selesnya (White/Green) this card could very well find a home in many cubes.
#7 – I-I-I Will Always Love You-u-u
Perhaps you must be at least as old as Nicol Bolas to automatically associate the word bodyguard with Kevin Costner. But being close to that age, I will probably end up calling Dauntless Bodyguard Kevin – that is, if I end up playing him enough to be on a first name basis with him.
This aggressive 2/1 one-drop is one of the few cards on this list that seems to have caught the interest of other cube builders out there. Cast on turn one, he doesn’t do a whole lot of bodyguarding – unless preceded by an Ornithopter or something similarly costed. But the Human Knight will nonetheless be a nice beater early on. And should you draw him later in the game, he will protect a more expensive card … dauntlessly.
#6 – Phyrexian Tap Dancer
Back when Shivan was merely a dragon whelp and Urza still tinkered with ante cards, a Dragon Engine was a cute little 1/3 artifact creature. Well it has been 60 years in game time since we last visited Dominaria, and you can probably imagine what more than half a century of power creep results in. If not, you just need to take a look that this Phyrexian construct, Thraxos, Scourge of Kroog. Phyrexian power has always come at a cost. But this 7/7 trampler only costs four mana (plus some minor trickery to untap it). We sure have come a long way since the days of Mishra’s Warmachine –it’s no wonder that they call that time Antiquities.
#5 – The Stuff Legends Are Made of
While it does not make any sense to spend four mana to put Traxos onto the battlefield instead of casting him, your cube may have many other artifacts, legendary creatures and planeswalkers too costly to play at their printed mana cost. Enter Thran Temporal Gateway. This artifact sends all your Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Blightsteel Colossus straight from your hand to the battlefield … and at instant speed. The card may look janky and expensive to play and activate, but this is one of the cards from Dominaria I'm most looking forward to trying out in my cube.
#4 – Being Down with Removal
Cast Down is a good card. No doubt about that. It’s a good card and you will probably put it into your cube. Let’s be honest, it’s also a bit of a boring card. But it’s good and solid, at it does what it says on the packaging. Cast Down can replace Doom Blade in your cube or just add redundancy as needed. Nothing fancy, nothing earthshattering, but who doesn’t like some instant removal at 1B?
#3 – Talk Is Silver
At € 25 at the moment of writing (and € 85 for a foiled version) Karn, Scion of Urza is the most expensive card in the set pre-release. Five loyalty is a lot to get for four generic mana, and card advantage is always nice. I can’t help but to feel a little underwhelmed by this new and smaller Karn’s abilities and perhaps he turns out to be all talk. That remains to be seen. For now, I will choose to be exited about the versatility and cheap, cheap cost of Karn and say that he is an auto include in my cube – if I open him in a pack, that is, since the cheapness is only when it comes to mana cost and not when it comes to acquiring the actual planeswalker card.
#2 – The Izzet, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind
Though only one mana cheaper in CMC, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind is more than a thousand times cheaper than Karn when it comes to purchasing the actual card. The 2/2 Human Wizard may make for a good surprise finisher in an Izzet (Blue/Red) spells matters deck thanks to her evasive ability (flying) and thanks to having haste and being pumped by every sorcery and instant you cast. She also pumps her Izzet colleagues such as Goblin Electromancer though unfortunately not the Young Pyromancer. Even if Adeliz just ends up blocking or attacking for non-lethal damage, three mana is not too bad a price for a 2/2 flier with haste.
#1 – The Key to a Good Combo
Well, the servant is the master now. Leaving the mythic, legendary planeswalker at third place and the fancy uncommon wizard at number two, I put this humble construct at the top of the list as the most cube worthy card from Dominaria. A common available at € 0.06 for a playset, the Voltaic Servant is bound to wreak havoc in many a cube. The 1/3 Artifact Creature costs two generic mana to play, and it has the ability to untap an artifact at the beginning of your end step. This ability of course works nicely with our #6, Thraxos, Scourge of Kroog, which luckily for limited is a rare. In cubes Voltaic Servant will find many uses untapping everything from Basalt Monolith, Grim Monolith and Mana Vault to being an even more dangerous combo with Time Vault than Voltaic Key.
Now, those were my top 10 cube cards from Dominaria. But what do think? Will any of the cards I suggested make it into your cube, or do you have your eye on some completely different Dominaria cards? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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