zondag 24 september 2017

Archetype: Black/Red Reanimate

My cube is very archetype-centered. Most color combinations have two or more distinct archetypes or themes available to them (outside of plain aggro/midrange/control) that overlap with archetypes in other color combinations.

The plan is to eventually talk about all of the archetypes in my cube. Some are quite straightforward, while others might be a little more off-beat.

Today's archetype:

Black/Red Reanimate

The Reanimate deck aims to put large impactful creatures in its graveyard to cheat into play through reanimation spells. Preferably, the creatures are either very hard to deal with or do something when they enter play. The red version of reanimate adds the element of 'haste' to the deck.
You can classify it as a tempo/combo deck. It's main gameplan uses more resources than it takes to answer them in the hope that when it comes together, it puts the game away in short notice.

Historic relevance
Most people know Reanimate historically as either a blue/black or mono black deck. See John Larkin's and Rob Dougherty's decks, respectively, from the top 8 of Pro Tour Houston 2002. Another historical Reanimate deck people might remember is the Angry Ghoul deck from old extended that pairs self-mill with reanimates.
Blue/black reanimate has seen a lot of play in Legacy, especially since Griselbrand got printed, but lately there has been an uprising of black/red reanimate as well.

All the strengths of 'regular' blue/black or even green/black reanimate apply here. There's a reason Pelakka Wurm and Plated Crusher cost 7 mana, and it's not hard to see why it is good to put either of them into play on turn 2-4. Cheating of manacost is powerful, and a fast fatty usually means removal or bust for your opponent. Also, the fun thing about reanimate is that you can pick up the best creature finishers in the cube regardless of their color.
The big difference between red and non-red reanimate is that red reanimate is a lot more aggressive. Where blue 'only' gives you looting and card draw, red also gives you haste. This means your opponent's window just got smaller by a full turn. Imagine reanimating Ulamog's Crusher with Anger in your graveyard. That's usually game over on the spot if it happens fast enough.
Where it gets even more aggressive is that red has access to cards like Bloodrage Brawler and Burning-Fist Minotaur that create a lot of pressure by themselves while also helping you with your reanimate gameplan. Having a solid plan B is great, because:

The biggest weakness of reanimate is that its main gameplan is a three part combo deck. To execute this consistently, you need enough a)reanimation, b)discard outlets and c)reanimate targets. While discard outlets aren't the hardest to find, there are only so much quality reanimates and targets in the cube. You really want at least 3 of each of the latter (and enough card draw/tutoring to find them).
This is both a weakness while drafting (it doesn't always come together) and in gameplay (it can be somewhat inconsistent).
Other weaknesses are:
- Spell-based disruption - discard and counterspells - targeting your reanimation.
- Depending on the fatties, a deck with a lot of removal can be very good against reanimate.
- VERY fast aggro can race. This also depends on the fatties (Pelakka Wurm is super hard to race), but you can pressure and swarm around reanimate. Also, the best reanimate spell, Reanimate, asks for a hefty life payment.
- Red/black do not have great fatties inside their colors, so you don't have the luxury of being able to hardcast your big creatures like Black/green reanimate does. You should have enough discard outlets that you always have use for them if they get stuck in your hand, but it does cut off a back-up plan.

Key cards
Reanimates: Reanimate, Animate Dead, Dance of the Dead, Exhume, Necromancy (and less efficient ones if you can fit them in)
Reanimate targets: Pelakka Wurm, Plated Crusher, Scaled Behemoth, Ulamog's Crusher (and the like), Trostani's Summoner, Jetting Glasskite, etc. Although, anything big is a good substitution. Cycling creatures work as well.
Filling your graveyard: Faithless Looting, Cathartic Reunion, Tormenting Voice, Insolent Neonate, Stinkweed Imp, Bloodrage Brawler, Heir of Falkenrath, Pale Rider of Trostad, Burning-Fist Minotaur, Lightning Axe.
Haste enablers: Anger, Lightning Greaves, Reckless Charge, Bloodlust Inciter

Overlap with other archetypes
The deck overlaps well with other graveyard based decks, like:
- blue/black reanimate
- green/black reanimate
- red/green graveyard midrange
- blue/red graveyard control
- Psychic Spiral

It also overlaps somewhat with some of the more top-heavy red/green Fires of Yavimaya decks.

Experience with the deck
One of our favorite decks to draft. I noticed the other day that I'm often looking for Anger in my last couple of packs.

Powerful deck, and a lot of fun to pilot. Swinging in with a hasty fatty on turn 3 is exhilarating. While sometimes hard to deal with, its kept in check by being somewhat inconsistent. That said, I can see cubes owners not wanting the kind of swingy gameplay B/R Reanimate can bring.

Its existence in the cube creates depth by being an archetype that operates on a different axis than other decks. I love having enough decks that use the graveyard in general, but this deck both has a different speed than most decks and requires different play patterns with and against it.

If you support graveyard decks in general, and want the fat anyway because you have ramp in your cube, it's not super hard to support. However, some of the red cards are specific to red supporting the graveyard, which is not something every cube does. You also need to run enough reanimate spells to make the archetype not a complete trap to draft.

Like U/B Reanimate, it's a fragile deck that does not always come together. It's probably even more fragile because B/R has less card draw and worse (reverse) looting.

If Reanimate is something you like supporting and playing with, give this a spin. It has replaced Blue/Black Reanimate as our go-to 'traditional' all-inreanimate deck, with U/B taking the role of slightly-slower-but-more-consistent Reanimate.

zaterdag 9 september 2017

Iconic Masters downgrades for Peasant Cube

What better to write about than one of my favorite things for peasant cube: Masters.

Masters sets (like Commander) have been great sources of rare-to-uncommon downgrades. Sometimes it's in the form of general good stuff like Epochrasite, sometimes it's something archetype-specific like Mesa Enchantress.

The official spoiler isn't out yet, but for this year's Iconic Masters, it looks like we're getting these:

Mahamoti Djinn
Awesome. For me personally, this is super iconic. I remember one of my buddies playing some sort of terrible deck with 4 Serra Angel and 4 Mahamoti Djinn.
It might not be the most resilient finisher we have access to, but it's still a huge flyer. There are a couple of 5/5 flyers in peasant, but they either cost more than 6 mana or have a huge drawback. The closest I can think of is Death by Dragons.
I will definitely include this, if only because I can.

Indulgent Tormentor
5 mana 5 power flyer is quite nice. Dies to bolt and doesn't block very well, which isn't a great quality for a 5-drop, but it's a sweet high-end card for black aggro decks.
Will try this one out.

Sanguine Bond

Dragon Tempest
As much as I would want to support dragons as a tribe, it's just not an option at our rarity (or power level, for that matter).

Hoarding Dragon
I have no idea if red wants a 4/4 flyer for 5, but it is something we don't have in the color. The tutor ability is not completely irrelevant either, but not the main selling point.
Funny enough, I don't run any 5+ drop creatures in red at the moment. I wonder if this is the one that stays.
Also good to mention that a lot of people do not run Serra Angel and Sengir Vampire anymore, but maybe the lack of red's playable fives makes this different.

Assault Formation
Cool card, but no.

Heroes' Bane
I like this one. As a 4/4 for 5 it's not great, but not terrible either. My cube has a ton of +1/+1 counter matters, which this plays well with. Also, as a threat for ramp it finishes the game kinda quickly with enough spare mana. It's fragile, sure, but it's a threat that must be answered.
Having said that, I don't expect this to make it into most peasant cubes simply because there are a lot of cards that are either more resilient as a finisher or are more than a mindless beater.

Ivy Elemental
It's funny that this and Heroes' Bane are in the same set, because they're quite similar. This is more flexible, but also slightly less efficient (and less scary when when it's in play). I'm intending to try both, because of the +1/+1 counters, but I don't think everyone should.

Bladewing the Risen
Not planning to pay 7 mana for a 4/4 flyer that supports a tribe we can't run. Swift Warkite is the better Rakdos dragon. Sadly.

Corpsejack Menace
Love it. It's not for everybody, but if your cube has +1/+1 counters as supported archetype this looks like a good include.
However, there are two issues I have with the card. First, I don't really want to cut anything from my Golgari section (what a bad position to be in, right?) and, second, black is not really the color with a lot of natural +1/+1 counters. This (along with its snake buddy) does make me want to include more though, and green should have quite enough for this to create some great Golgari +1/+1 counter decks.
Even though I will include the card, the fact that black doesn't have many +1/+1 counters is a big downside in my opinion. I try to make sure that my guild cards somewhat loud about which archetypes are supported and want them to be playable as 2-color decks. There's piles of overlap in other colors for most archetypes, and sometimes 3-color decks are the way to go, but I don't want it to be the baseline. Also, it feels bad if you are in an archetype because that's what mono colored cards push you towards, only to get passed an archetype support card IN THE WRONG COLORS.
Long story short, I will include this, but I'm planning to at least put more +1/+1 counters into black.

Rosheen Meanderer
Super fun card, this. I don't think anyone runs nearly enough X-cost spells to make this worth it. I guess this being a hybrid, easily castable and not having terrible stats to begin with might make this an option for people looking for a Gruul hybrid to even out hybrids.


In conclusion, there are a couple of cards I'm excited to try but nothing ridiculous. Nothing to patch up holes or to make entirely new archetypes viable. Some fun cards though, and I'm happy I can cast Mahamoti Djinn again for a while.

vrijdag 14 april 2017

Amonkhet set preview (+ my top 5 cards) for Peasant Cube

Spoiler time! Let's dive into Amonkhet!

Warning: long article incoming. I'll start off with a review of the most interesting cards per color, and end with my top 5.

First, let's look at the new mechanics:

Embalm X (X, Exile this card from your graveyard: Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a white Zombie <original creature types> with no mana cost. Embalm only as a sorcery)
So, flashback for creatures. That's bound to be nice, since flashback is one of the better mechanics in the history of Magic. (speaking of great mechanics, cycling's back as well!)
It also looks like a very good glue mechanic, as it synergizes with multiple things: graveyard, sacrifice, tokens.

Exert (An exerted creature won't untap during you next untap step)
Some creatures have the ability to 'exert' them as they attack, to get an effect. I do wonder if this causes memory issues. The mechanic itself doesn't really lend itself to anything specific other then attacking, so we'll see what kinds of effects it brings with it.


Cast Out (3W, Enchantment, Flash, When EtB, exile target non land permanent an opponent controls until this LtB. Cycling W)
Looks like good removal. But, we don't have a shortage of good removal in white and cycling is least useful on cards that are likely always to be useful. 

Devoted Crop-Mate (2W, Creature - Human Warrior, 3/2, You may exert this as it attacks. If you do, return a creature with cmc 2 or less from your grave to the battlefield)
We've seen a handful of cards like this in white, each of them with different restrictions. A 3/2 for 2W isn't the worst floor, but I wonder if I ever want to trade my 3/2 for a 1- or 2-drop. I guess if I'm about to suicide this in, I might as well exert it. And if my opponent doesn't block, I'm not down in board presence because I gained a creature.

Forsake the Worldly (2W, Instant, Exile target artifact or enchantment. Cycling 2)
Now this is a cycling card! Disenchant has always been fringe mainboard material, but could sometimes be a little awkward. Most decks will gladly trade an increase in mana cost for the ability to cycle it when needed. Interesting. It still has to compete with the likes of Oblivion Ring for versatility, a battle it will lose most of the time. Also, if we're talking about adding mana, you might as well include Cast Out in your list.

Oketra's Attendant (3WW, Creature - Bird Soldier, 3/3, Flying, Cycling 2, Embalm 3WW)
Not exactly peasant's Eternal Dragon. Thing is, Eternal Dragon's a 5/5 that keeps coming back, which is exactly what a control finisher wants. This still dies to a bolt and is a 7 turn clock on its own. 

Protection of the Hekma (4W, Enchantment, If a source an opponent controls deals damage to you, prevent 1 of it)
This is really expensive, and will not do anything in most decks/cubes. But if you support pillow fort style control decks, it might be worth a spin.

Seraph of the Suns (5WW, Creature - Angel, 4/4, Flying, Indestructible)
I really want to like this, because we don't get big indestructible creatures every day. As is, it's probably too expensive. 

Truehart Duelist (1W, Creature - Human Warrior, 2/2, Can block an additional creature, Embalm 2W)
It's a bear with flashback, so it can't be the worst. Most likely place is as a defensive speed bump, basically a white Moment's Peace.

Vizier of Deferment (2W, Creature - Human Cleric, 2/2 Flash, When EtB you may exile target creature if it attacked or blocked this turn. Return it at eot.)
You can flash it in to save an otherwise dying attacker while you keep attacking, you can prevent some damage by blinking one attacker and blocker the other. Oh, and if you have something with a sweet EtB effect it's even better. I think I like this a decent amount, even though I'm not over the moon about it.

White is allright, nothing to write home about. It gets some decent removal options (which we didn't really need), a couple of unexciting Embalm creatures and some value 3-drops.

Going to try and find room for: Devoted Crop-Mate and Vizier of Deferment, maybe Forsake the Worldly.



Angler Drake (4UU, Creature - Drake, 4/4, Flying, When EtB return target creature to its owner's hand)
I like this one quite a bit. It's a big flying finisher for control decks, that can help stabilize the board when it comes down. However, we also have Phyrexian Ingester, which I didn't really like. I'm not sure if this is better.

Censor (1U, Instant, Cycling U, Counter target spell unless caster pays 1)
This is obviously a toned down Miscalculation, with a lower cycling cost to make up for it. Even though the power level is way lower, I still like it. If my opponent isn't curving out in the first couple of turns (blanking the counter option) I'm quite happy, and even so the cycling is almost free.

Cryptic Serpent (5UU, Creature - Serpent, 6/5, costs 1 less for each instant or sorcery in your grave)
Nothing amazing, but it looks like a solid archetype anchor. If I'm able to reduce the cost to less then 5 (which sounds doable with the amount of self-milling my cube is capable of), I'm pretty happy. Playing this for 2-4 mana as a finisher in control decks, while keeping up mana for removal or counters doesn't sound terrible either.

Galestrike (2U, Instant, Return target tapped creature to its owner's hand. Draw a card)
Again a card that resembles an old standby: Repulse. If you want another of this effect, Galestrike is not bad at all.

Hieroglyphic Illumination (3U, Instant, Draw 2, Cycling U)
Somehow, this card looks really interesting to me. Neither option is terribly good, but it smooths the draw very well. I think I won't include it (I have Think Twice as a similar card, but with better synergy with my cube), but I wouldn't fault anyone for trying it.

Labyrinth Guardian (1U, Creature - Illusion Warrior, 2/3, When becomes the target of a spell, sac it. Embalm 3U)
Again with the unexciting but playable curve fillers. A 2/3 for 2 will probably trade with any 2-drop, making it a decent blocker. At 4 mana, the 2/3 will probably not do a lot of trading so this is closer to 1.5 card than 2 cards. The drawback is close to irrelevant, because most removal already kills this. If it's not removal than I think I'd gladly trade my random 2-drop with flashback for it.

Lay Claim (5UU, Enchant Permanent, Gain control of enchanted permanent. Cycling 2)
So far, nobody seems in a hurry to cube with Confiscate. But that's not because Confiscate is not powerful; it's because it's slow and doesn't do anything in the early turns. This might be even more expensive than Confiscate is, but it also helps smoothing the early game.

Open into Wonder (XUU, Sorcery, X target creatures can't be blocked this turn. Until eot, they gain: draw a card when this deals combat damage)
I remember playing this option on Profane Command a lot. While it's not Command, it's still interesting: either you finish off your opponent with a couple unblockables, or you deal a couple of damage while drawing a couple of cards. I can see this being pretty sweet in U/G ramp decks, mostly. 

Blue, like white, has some decent cards but nothing that really gets me going.

I'll probably find room to try: Censor and Cryptic Serpent, maybe Angler Drake and Open into Wonder.



Baleful Ammit (2B, Creature - Crocodile Demon, 4/3, Lifelink, When EtB put a -1/-1 counter on a creature you control)
Right, well this is one beefy croc. If you can find some fodder to put the counter on (not the hardest in black), you get yourself a 4/3 lifelinker for 3 mana, which is a ridiculous rate. Even as a 3/2 lifelinker for 3, it's not the worst ever.

Bone Picker (3B, Creature - Bird, 3/2, Flying, Deathtouch, costs 3 less when a creature died this turn)
Talking about ridiculous rates, a 3/2 Flying Deathtoucher for B is bananas. Of course, something has to have died. I look at it like this: Did I lose a creature this turn? Great, Bone Picker gets cheaper. No? Great, then I still have my creatures in play. Plus, I can always go turn 2 Bolt you guy+this. Seems like a great card.

Cursed Minotaur (2B, Creature - Zombie Minotaur, 3/2, Menace)
Unexciting, but good. Boggart Brute has been good enough, and my black can similarly aggressive. It's also a zombie, which is something that might start mattering.

Doomed Dissenter (1B, Creature - Human, 1/1, When dies create a 2/2 black Zombie token)
Butcher GhoulCarrier Thrall and Myr Sire are already in my cube, and get played. I'm not sure if my cube wants another copy, but depending on what I want them to have synergy with I they're somewhat interchangeable.

Festering Mummy (B, Creature - Zombie, 1/1, When dies you may put a -1/-1 counter on a creature)
Not bad, strictly better than the 2 guys that only give -1/-1 until eot when they die.

Lay Bare the Heart (1B, Sorcery, Target player reveals his hand, discard a non-legendary, non-land card from it)
Looks good, but boring. I always seem to have trouble finding room in my decks for the 1 mana versions, let alone 2 mana ones. Still, it's probably good.

Lord of the Accursed (2B, Creature - Zombie, 2/3, Other zombies you control have +1/+1, 1BT: Zombies get Menace until eot)
Yay, a tribal lord. +1/+1 And potential menace looks like a good deal to me, even though this is super mediocre on its own. Time to do a zombie check: 9 zombies in mono black, and 5 more that make zombie tokens. But, I can probably work in some more of both. I've really liked minor tribal support in my cube so far and I will definitely see if I can support this one. Will be continued..

Ruthless Sniper (B, Creature - Human Archer, 1/2, When you discard or cycle a card, pay 1, if you do put a -1/-1 counter on target creature)
I really like the look of this one. I run a decent number of discard effects in my cube, this might be a fun way to use those effects a bit differently aside from using it just to put stuff in my graveyard. Turn 1 Sniper, turn 2 Looter is the dream, but even a turn 2 Wild Mongrel sounds like a lot of fun.

Stir the Sands (4BB, Sorcery, Create 3 2/2 zombie tokens. Cycling 3B. When you cycle this, create a 2/2 Zombie token)
6 Mana for 6 power is not a super good rate, but when you factor in different synergies (mass pump, sacrifice, maybe zombies) it's quite allright. The cycling is decent as well, and likely to catch some people off guard when they attack.

Supernatural Stamina (B, Instant, Until eot target creature gets +2/+0 and: when this dies, put it into play tapped)
A more aggressive Undying Evil that lets the creature trade up on the front side. Looks like a good card.

Wander in Death (2B, Sorcery, Return 2 creatures from you grave to your hand. Cycling 2)
Death's Duet with upside. Probably decent, but like with Cast Out you're probably better off holding this for full value instead of cycling it.

Black has a little more interesting cards than White and Blue so far. Amonkhet is not looking to be the most ridiculous set for peasant cube ever. It's fun, because I can see myself trying out almost all of the above, but still there's not a lot that gets me super excited (well except maybe for the zombie lord if I can get it going).

Looking to find room to test: Baleful Ammit, Bone Picker, Cursed Minotaur, Ruthless Sniper, Lord of the Accursed, Stir the Sands and Supernatural Stamina. 



Ahn-Crop Crasher (2R, Creature - Minotaur Warrior, 3/2, Haste. Exert: target creature can't block this turn)
Um, sure, I'd play this. It's got decent base stats, a relevant creature type, haste and a very relevant exert ability. I quite like having the 'can't block' ability on something other than entering the battlefield. Sometimes you just want the body but would rather save the ability for later. This does that. Exerting your guy is not the best though, but you'd probably exert it on an alpha strike or suicide mission most of the time anyway. And if it lives, great, take a turn off to rebuild and finish the job a couple turns later.

Bloodlust Inciter (R, Creature - Human Warrior, 1/1, T: target creature gets haste until eot)
Another solid little red guy. I can see this going into red decks of all sizes, from aggressively slanted decks to midrange Fires of Yavimaya style decks to Rakdos Reanimate. It's not the best topdeck, but most 1-drops aren't and this at least can threaten damage on the turn after.

Bloodrage Brawler (1R, Creature - Minotaur Warrior, 4/3, When EtB discard a card)
So far, red is looking great. I really really like this one. It's a very beefy 2-drop, has the Warrior sub-type, and gives red something I've been pushing: discard. This card is a perfect fit for both Rakdos Reanimate and Gruul midrange graveyard. It also gives Izzet with flashback and delve an aggressive option to create a different speed of Izzet deck than usual. Love it, perfect fit for my cube.

Consuming Fervor (Red Unstable Mutation)
When unchecked, this can deal an extra 6 damage before it starts to shrink the creature from its original size. That's a lot of damage for a single mana. With all the double strike in my cube, I can't not try this. Heck, I even run actual Unstable Mutation in my cube.

Nimble-Blade Khenra (1R, Creature - Jackal Warrior, 1/3, Prowess)
Well, Sanguinary Mage hasn't been making any waves, and Kiln Fiend isn't seeing that much play either. However, I can see a critical mass of similar guys doing some work in the right cube.

Warfire Javelineer (3R, Creature - Minotaur Warrior, 2/3, When EtB deal damage to target creature opponent controls equal to the number of instants and sorceries in your graveyard)
This card was bound to see print one day, and I'm not unhappy it did. Flametongue Kavu is a ridiculous card, even when it's smaller and you have to do more work for it. Plus, this is quite load in communicating archetypes, which I like.

Red may have less cards that caught my eye, the cards that did are also some of the best I've seen yet from Amonkhet.

Will find room to test: Ahn-Crop Crasher, Bloodlust Inciter, Bloodrage Brawler, Consuming Fervor and Warfire Javelineer.



Benefaction of Rhonas (2G, Sorcery, Reveal the top 5 cards and put a creature and/or an enchantment into your hand and the rest in your grave)
Commune with the Gods with 'and/' added to the text. Sweet! Commune is very good in my cube as a way to fill the graveyard OR tutor for a key enchantment. I do think, however, that the extra mana makes Benefaction a lot worse. I love my self mill in green, but I think we've gotten to a point where enough is enough. I might still try this though, because it's such a good pivot card between multiple archetypes, but finding room is getting real hard.

Crocodile of the Crossing (3G, Creature - Crocodile, 5/4, Haste, When EtB put a -1/-1 counter on a creature you control)
Awesome, more beefy crocs. It's a good one, as well. The drawback seems very easy to mitigate by nixing a token or a random mana elf. But, while I think this is pretty good, I don't think I'll be including it. First off, the 4 mana spot is very crowded in general with green being particularly competitive. Second, it supports not a lot of the themes I run in green, not even the minor ones: graveyard, enchantments, tokens, warriors, +1/+1 counters, tokens. It would be great in Fires decks, but that's about it. I like it, but I don't think I personally have room for it.

Defiant Greatmaw (2G, Creature - Hippo, 4/5, When EtB put 2 -1/-1 counters on a creature you control. When you put one or more -1/-1 counters on this, remove a -1/-1 counter from another creature you control)
These river-dwellers look fun. Everybody in the jungle is like 'Amonkhet my ass out of the water!' Most everything I've said about Crocodile of the Crossing applies here though, and I think I like the croc better on its own.

Exemplar of Strength (1G, Creature - Human Warrior, 4/4, When EtB put 3 -1/-1 counters on a creature you control. When this attacks, remove a -1/-1 counter from it and gain 1 life)
This, however, looks too good not to add. It's a reverse Slith with a 4/4 ceiling at the worst, attacking as a 2/2 on the first swing. If you have a random creature you could do without, it's a straight up 2 mana 4/4.

Greater Sandwurm (5GG, Creature - Wurm, 7/7, Can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less. Cycling 2)
This is a pretty good reanimator card, and the best cycling fatty for this purpose. I personally run none of them, but I know some do run a couple fatties with cycling or landcycling.

Gift of Paradise (2G, Enchant Land, When EtB gain 3 life. Land has: T: add 2 mana of any one color to your pool)
Nice multicolor ramp. I already cut most of my non-creature based ramp for cards like Utopia Sprawl and Fertile Ground, and I'll likely remove Kodama's Reach for this. It may not help me get to my 5th mana like Reach does, but the lifegain is very welcome against aggro decks. Not sure if I would recommend making this swap to everyone, but with all my enchantment-matters cards in green it sounds like a no-brainer. Bonus points for synergizing with effects that untap lands.

Quarry Hauler (3G, Creature - Camel, 4/3, When EtB, for each kind of counter on target permanent, put another one of that counter on it or remove one from it)
A while ago I might have tried this as part of my +1/+1 counters package, but today I feel I don't need to play otherwise underwhelming cards anymore. It's not bad, just that we've gotten spoiled lately.

Scaled Behemoth (4GG, Creature - Crocodile, 6/7, Hexproof)
A cheaper, less tramply, p/t inverted Plated Crusher. This is even harder to remove than Crusher is. Not that the difference between 6 and 7 matters in most games where you ramp or reanimate this out, but still. Losing trample is a shame, but being easier to hard-cast is pretty good. I want to run this. Reanimate can always use another premium target, and ramp doesn't mind either.

Shefet Monitor (5G, Creature - Lizard, 6/5, Cycling 3G. When you cycle this, search your library for a basic land or Desert card and put it into play)
Another ramp target, reminiscent of Krosan Tusker. Depending on what you expect the main mode to be, this is better or worse than Tusk is. Tusk wasn't often hardcast, but 7 is more than 6 so I don't know. Again, it's a good card, but I don't think I can find the room.

Stinging Shot (G, Instant, Put 3 -1/-1 counters on target creature with flying. Cycling 2)
While it's not likely that I include this, I think it's a pretty neat card. Cycling is best on good-but-narrow cards. Would definitely test if my cube wasn't so synergy based

Trial of Strength (2G, Enchantment, When EtB create a green 4/2 beast token. Whenever a Cartouche EtB, return this to your hand)
Nice, the green Sarcomancy. Opposed to a couple of the other green cards, I wouldn't touch this card if I had a more mainstream cube, but think that it might be a very good fit for my cube. I run quite a lot of enchantment-matters cards, and the biggest drawback those cards have is that they require a critical mass of enchantments in your deck to be worthwhile. Sometimes, this means that those decks run lower on creatures than I would ideally want. It can be a hard balance to find. This card, however, ticks both boxes.

Green has some interesting cards for cubes that have less of a focus on archetypes than mine. Overall, it looks more or less similar to white and blue that there are a decent number of playable cards, but nothing 'OH MY GOD I WANTED A CARD LIKE THIS SINCE FOREVER'.

I'm going to try and include: Gift of Paradise and Trial of Strength, and probably Exemplar of Strength. Maybe Benefaction of Rhonas.



Ahn-Crop Champion (2WG, Creature - Human Warrior, 4/4. Exert: untap all other creatures you control)
Interesting ability, good stats. I don't think most cubes can find the room for it, either because of a small guild section or because it doesn't fit in Selesnya's archetypes.

Aven Wind Guide (2WU, Creature - Bird Warrior, 2/3, Flying, Vigilance, Creature tokens you control have flying and vigilance. Embalm 4WU)
Well, 2/3 flying, vigilance for 4 is not the worst base, and Intangible Virtue that's not terrible when you happen to be out of tokens at the moment is nice deal. Azorius does also have a 'flying matters' theme available to it, which more or less overlaps with the token theme but hits more creatures. I'm going to have to think some more on this, because I do think it's fun. Amonkhet did make me want to reconsider Intangible Virtue, and this might be a nice addition as well. Another downside I see here is that blue has the least amount of token producers in my cube, so I might have to do something about that.

Enigma Drake (1UR, Creature - Drake, */4, power equal to number of instants and sorceries in your grave)
I actually don't mind this. Having 4 toughness means it survives way more than Spellheart Chimera, which is something I'd gladly trade for the trample. I do want to make room for this as a nice archetype pay-off card for Izzet, because I think that a 3 mana 4/4 flyer might just be a great fit for the spells decks.

Honored Crop-Captain (WR, Creature - Human Warrior, 3/2, When this attacks, all other attacking creatures get +1/+0)
Awesome aggressive card, will try. Boros isn't the deepest ever, so yeah (although I was actually relatively happy with my Boros section at the moment, lol).

Shadowstorm Vizier (UB, Creature - Human Cleric, 1/3, flying, when you cycle or discard a card: +1/+1 until eot)
This looks like fun, even though I probably won't play it. I think that if it would've been either in Rakdos or in Simic, I would.

Start // Finish (2W, Instant, create 2 1/1 soldiers with Vigilance. // 2B, Sorcery, sac a creature: destroy a creature)
Lingering Souls with a different flashback. Well, it's a lot worse than Souls, but I think it's still worth considering. It's quite unique in that it's both an enabler and a 'payoff' card for the same deck. I think I might try this one to see if it works out.

Spring // Mind (2G, Sorcery, Search for a basic land and put into play tapped. // 4UU, Instant, draw 2)
First off, I love the name. Using Spring in 2 different ways (the season and in 'Spring to Mind') is clever. The card actually isn't bad either. The ramp spell with card draw flashback, even though both parts are overcosted, is something Simic ramp could use very well. Another card I might try depending on the available cuts.

Not a lot of gold cards, but some fun ones.

I'm probably going to find room for: Aven Wind Guide, Enigma Drake, Honored Crop-Captain. Maaaaybe Start // Finish and Spring // Mind.



Edifice of Authority (3, Artifact, 1T: Target creature can't attack and put a brick counter on this. 1T: Target creature can't attack, block or use activated abilities until your next turn. Activate only if 3 more brick counters on this)
Interesting riff on Icy Manipulator, a card that's old, good, but on the expensive side. Before you 'build' this up, it does the same that Icy does in most circumstances: prevent attacks. After you finished 'building' this, it's better than Icy in almost every way.

Gate to the Afterlife (3, Artifact, Whenever a non-token creature you control dies, gain 1 life and you may loot. Then some nonsense about searching for something called God-Pharaoh's Gift)
Seriously, what's God-Pharaoh's Gift. Is it something I care about? Probably in the next set. Anyway, this is probably just too durdly, even for me. The non-token clause is what pushes it from the maybe-pile into the meh-pile.

Grasping Dunes (Land - Desert, Add 1. 1T, sac: Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature. Play only as sorcery)
I got really excited when I read about Deserts being a thing in this set. After seeing the ones spoiled, I'm slightly disappointed, but at the same time I guess I didn't really expect the Deserts to be insane. This is the one I'd be most inclined to run of the new ones (although I might consider the one that makes a Zombie token if I include the Zombie lord). But, more realistically, I might just run good ol' Desert instead.

Rhonas's Monument (3, Artifact, Green creature spells cost 1 less. When you play a creature spell, target creature gets +2/+2 and trample until eot)
The best monument in my opinion. The white one (tokens) takes too long to get enough value from, especially since decks that care about/make tokens often use spells to do so, the blue one (tap for a turn) just looks worse than a colorless tapper, the black one's ability (1 point life steal) is too small. The red one (rummaging) looks decent, until you realize that it does nothing in the lategame when you actual need the rummaging. Not only do you have to draw a creature to use it, you also have draw a blank to be able to dig. Pass.
The green one is the one that's most likely to have its mana discount matter, and the +2/+2 and trample helps making mana elves relevant in the lategame or lets dumb monsters trample over for damage.

Colorless cards are a bit of a let-down (although this is nothing new, really).

Will try to fit in: Edifice of Authority, probably, but maybe nothing.


My top 5 cards from Amonkhet

(or: Top 5 cards Amonkhet for my cube, most likely)

5. Censor
4. Bone Picker
3. Bloodlust Inciter
2. Honored Crop-Captain
1. Bloodrage Brawler

Honorable Mentions: Ruthless Sniper and Gift of Paradise

Or something like it. On pure power level, Cast Out should probably be there, probably some other cards.

Overall though, I feel like Amonkhet is a lot lower in power level than other recent sets. I know they do this on purpose sometimes, to not let power creep get us too much. The set does look like a blast to draft.

For my cube, there are a couple of gems (Bloodrage Brawler being the best example) that fill out current archetypes. Sadly though, there are not a lot of new archetype impulses or things that revive  underpowered ones, like with the recent influx of +1/+1 counters. Maybe this is a good thing, and a sign that my cube is in a good place right now.

Anyway, this long-ass article should come to an end. Amonkhet going now.

Treasure Hunting: Ice Age block

Oh man, apparently it's been over 3 months since I last posted! Sometimes life gets in the way, I guess. I just haven't had the time to cube a lot, let alone write about it.

Anyway, while we wait for the full Amonkhet spoiler to come out in a couple of hours, I have a bit of free time on my hands to do something I consider one of the more fun things of cubing:

Treasure hunting!

Once in a while, I like to go over a subset of cards to see if there's anything fun/cool/good I (we as a peasant cube community) might have overlooked or forgotten about. Sometimes this yields nothing, sometimes I find a a handful hidden gems.

In this particular case, this post about Brine Shaman in the Rando Cube Card of the Day thread over on MTGSalvation made me want to look into Ice Age block. Ice Age, Alliances. I know Coldsnap is technically part of this block, but I don't buy it.

Let's Go!


Cards currently in my cube from Ice Age (8): Swords to Plowshares, Dance of the Dead, Counterspell, Incinerate, Pyroclasm, Fyndhorn Elves, Wild Growth, Fire Covenant.
Other cards I know people run: Icy Manipulator, Dark Ritual, Binding Grasp, Ray of Command.

Brine Shaman - See the discussion in the Rando Cube Card of the Day thread

Dreams of the Dead - What a weird card. It's expensive (4 mana), adds a hefty upkeep cost to the returned creature AND works only on white and black creatures. However, adding an extra use to creatures like Shriekmaw, Bone Shredder and Cloudgoat Ranger is powerful. Probably not good enough, but in the right cube I can see this doing some work.

Freyalise's Supplicant - If this rounded up, this would've been a fun card for G/W token decks. Its current state makes it a little too hard to use, I think.

Hymn of Rebirth - Cool card, this one. It's a tad too slow for most cubes, but man is it fun (and surprising) to reanimate a fatty from your opponent's graveyard in G/W. White, btw, has more reanimate spells (Miraculous Recovery is another fun one). I've considered pushing reanimate in white some more for a real color-twisted feel. Currently, my G/W decks have enough stuff going on that I don't think I needsomething like this.

Jeweled Amulet - If you play this on turn one, you can charge it up and have 3 mana on turn 2. Basically, it lets you alternate between having -1 mana and +1 mana during your turns. I have no idea if this is any good.

Orcish Lumberjack - Another weird ramp spell, this one having a slightly higher cost but also a very high payoff. It's a strictly R/G card, so you'd have to make room for it, but it ramps like crazy if you can manage a stream of forests. Turn 1 Lumberjack, turn 2 Phantom Centaur sounds like fun. But, even if you have a forest to sacrifice every turn, you won't get past a certain point of mana. So, use with caution.


Cards currently in my cube from Alliances (0): none
Other cards I know people run: Arcane Denial, Contagion, Force of Will, Phyrexian War Beast, Pillage, Pyrokinesis.

Balduvian Dead - A mana too expensive for my taste, but turning your dead creatures into 3/1 attackers for a turn (or additional sacrifice fodder) is interesting. It reminds me of Rakdos Guildmage, which is better overall, probably.

Death Spark - Recurring damage is always interesting. This requires smart play, and will not work in every deck/matchup. I do remember this being quite good back in the day.

Hail Storm - Green's Pyroclasm, sort of. The biggest drawback is that green often is often more aggressive than not, taps out on its own turn often, or has enough X/1s that also get wiped out by this. Still, I have been drafting U/G control decks more and more lately, and those can definitely make use of Hail Storm.

Surge of Strength - Peasant's Blazing Shoal? Represents a lot of damage for only 2 mana. Berserk is probably the better finishing pump spell with card disadvantage, and only a single color. This intrigues me though, but it being a multicolor card gets me down. If it was mono-red, I'd be more inclined to try it.

Yavimaya Ants - Not a hidden gem per se, because I do think most of the peasant cube community is aware of this card, but I still wanted to mention it. If you support fast green aggro in your cube, this is good. It reminds me a bit of Giant Solifuge in a way.

Top pick

The card I'm most likely to find room for is (drumroll):

zaterdag 7 januari 2017

Top 10 Aether Revolt cards for Peasant Cube

Spoiler time! Kaladesh was absolutely amazing for my cube, let's see if Aether Revolt knocks the block out of the park.

First, let's look at the new abilities:

Revolt - When [this] enters the battlefield, if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn, [do something]
Well, morbid is a fun ability. This looks a little harder to enable because it doesn't trigger off of your opponent's stuff even though this counts all permanents and self-bounce as well. Maybe if the triggers  turn out to be very powerful, or if the base cards are great on their own, but otherwise I don't think this is going to make waves.

Improvise (Your artifacts can help cast this spell. Each artifact you tap after you’re done activating mana abilities pays for 1)
As much as I want this to be great, 'artifacts matter' is just not a thing most peasant cubes are set up to  do. 

Top 10 Aether Revolt cards for Peasant Cube

10: Scrapper Champion (3R, Creature - Human Artificer, 2/2, Double Strike, When [this] etb, get EE. When [this] attacks, you may pay EE. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on it)

Double strike is one of the more powerful keyword creature abilities in a vacuum. Makes the creature good in combat, and able to deal surprising amounts of damage with even the smallest pump. Generally, we don't get double strikers larger than the occasional 2/2 and if we do they're either rare or horribly overpriced. Still, a 3/3 for 4 (essentially) is not ridiculous or anything, but a 3/3 double striker is at least something to keep an eye on. As a bonus, it has a +1/+1 counter on it for synergy with different +1/+1 counter lords you might run.

9: Invigorated Rampage (1R, Instant, Choose one - Target creature gets +4/+0 and trample until eot, or, Two target creatures each get +2/+0 and trample until eot)

One of the better red combat tricks we've seen in a while. +4 Power and trample is quite a lot, and having the option of spreading it out is great utility in the face of removal, 2 chumped fatties and/or double trade-up in combat.

8: Untethered Express (4, Artifact - Vehicle, 4/4, Crew 1, Trample. When [this] attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on it)

Even after playing with Kaladesh for a while, I still don't feel like I have a firm grasp on how good vehicles are. What I do know, is that a 4/4 trampler for 4 that grows when attacking is pretty good and that Crew 1 is not very hard to do. I think this is good, but it might be even better than that.

7: Aether Chaser (1R, Creature - Human Artificer, 2/1, First Strike, When [this] etb, get EE, When [this] attacks, you may pay EE, if you do, create a Servo)

Most of us played Youthful Knight at one point or another and this is way better. It's good in the early game: hard to block, makes a 'free' 1/1. But, it still has value later on and even less aggressive decks will have use for this 2-drop because of the first strike. 

6: Gifted Aetherborn (BB, Creature - Aetherborn Vampire, 2/3, Deathtouch, Lifelink)

Obviously very good. More toughness than most 2-drops and two abilities to boot. The double black mana cost is a real drawback, although in this case it's a little less of a problem because Gifted Aetherborn has such good stats/abilities that it will still be good even if you play it on turn 4 (or even later).

5: Winding Constrictor (BG, Creature, 2/3, If one or more counters would be placed on an artifact or creature you control, that many of those counters plus one are placed on that permanent instead. If you would get one or more counters, you get that many +1)

This card should probably be a lot lower on the list, but I'm just very excited to try it out. A 2/3 for 2 is already above the curve (which it should be as a double colored 2-drop). The ability is super interesting and unique to peasant. Suddenly, Carrion Feeder gets 2 counters every time you sac a guy to it, Cytoplast Root-Kin becomes a ridiculous ball of durdly synergy and the #3 on this list gets way better. What's not to like? The only thing I'm 'sad' about is that I don't really support +1/+1 counters in black.

4: Monstrous Onslaught (3GG, Sorcery, [This] deals X damage divided as you choose among any number of target creatures, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control as you cast [this])

Green removal always makes me pause. Until now, I haven't really played any (at least not for longer than a couple of weeks), mostly because I think pump is a more interesting way for green to interact with creatures and I just didn't felt I needed it. However, this just looks like so much fun and value that I can't NOT run it. It's situational, so it won't be good in every deck, but in the right deck this is just a 5 mana plague wind. It even shores up the traditional weakness of green's removal by locking the power in on casting instead of on resolution, so it doesn't matter if your opponent manages to remove your biggest guy.

3: Ridgescale Tusker (3GG, Creature - Beast, 5/5, When [this] etb, put a +1/+1 counter on each other creature you control)

Back-to-back green 5 mana 5/5's with value for Kaladesh block it seems. The stats are good enough on their own, but it's so sweet to pump all your mana elves after ramping this out or just curving into this and out-sizing your opponent's board with all your men. It's not as explosive as Overrun, but way more versatile. Also: cue obligatory +1/+1 counter synergy.

2: Maulfist Revolutionary (1GG, Creature - Human Warrior, 3/3, Trample. When [this] etb or dies, for each kind of counter on target permanent or player, give that permanent or player another counter of that kind)

Holy crap this card looks good. It might not have the raw stats Skyship Plunderer does (although a 3/3 trample for 3 is certainly not bad), but the fact that it adds counters on etb is amazing, and again when it dies? First of all, you can't stop the ability by removing or blocking the guy (like with Plunderer). Second, it's in a better color for counters. Third, the combination of etb and sitting a little higher on the curve plays way better with the red +1/+1 counter guys like Gore-House Chainwalker. Imagine going 1-drop into Stormblood Berserker into this. Sounds good, right?

1: Skyship Plunderer (1U, Creature - Human Pirate, Flying, Whenever [this] deals combat damage to a player, for each kind of counter on target permanent or player, give that permanent or player another counter of that kind)

It might be a little boring to put this so high, but this is one of the more blatant powercrept cards we've gotten in a long long time. Traditionally, 2 power flyers for 1U can only block other flyers or have some other drawback or condition. This doesn't, AND has additional upside. Actually, in the right deck, the upside is absolutely huge. For the low cost of having to hit a player (oh hi there, natural evasion), you get to add a counter to a permanent. Play this after a turn 1 Vivid or Gemstone Mine? Never have color issues again. Serrated Arrows? I don't see this one ever leaving my cube. Ever.

Honorable mentions:

Fatal Push (B, Instant, Destroy target creature if it has cmc 2 or less, Revolt - Destroy if it has 4 or less)
Good, efficient removal, but this is something black already does very well. Still probably better than something like a Disfigure. Maybe I'm underselling it, because it will be able to hit and kill a big number of creatures in my cube and more with Revolt turned on. I just think it's better in other formats than in peasant cube.

Restoration Specialist (1W, Creature - Dwarf Artificer, 2/1, W, Sac [this]: Return up to one target artifact card and up to one target enchantment card from your graveyard to your hand)
I'm definitely trying this one. The raw stats are on the lower side, but the flexibility is nice to have especially because artifacts/enchantments are among the more powerful cards in peasant cube. I do run more enchantments than most though, so ymmv.

Foundry Hornet (3B, Creature - Insect, Flying, When [this] etc, if you control a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it, creatures your opp. control get -1/-1 until eot)
Will try to make room for this, because I like it as a build-around and a nice anchor in black for +1/+1 counter synergies. I don't think it's crazy good, but it looks fun.

Vengeful Rebel (2B, Creature - Aetherborn Warrior, 3/2, Revolt - target creature an opp. control gets -3/-3 until eot)
Revolt is likely harder to trigger than I want it to be, but I like that we get a card like this that's basically only good in aggro or midrange instead of being nuts against it.

Reckless Racer (2R, Creature - Human Pilot, 2/3, First Strike, When [this] becomes tapped, you may discard a card. If you do, draw a card)
Not a bad rummager. Has more impact on the board than Rummaging Goblin, as in: it's not completely useless in combat.

Wrangle (1R, Sorcery, Gain control of target creature with power 4 or less until eot. Untap it and it gains haste until eot)
Depending on your use of effects like these, this is one of the better Threatens. My cube has 10 creatures it can't hit naturally that Threaten can. Of course, any pump/equipment/aura will throw off the math. However, being a mana less than Threaten is a huge boon. So, if you use your Threatens mostly as a way for aggro decks to push through: Wrangle is your guy. If your Threatens are cute way to kill creatures with a sac outlet (or your cube has a lot of pump and/or growing creatures): stick with Threaten.

Narnam Renegade (G, Creature - Elf Warrior, 1/2, Deathtouch. Revolt - etb with a +1/+1 counter)
Likely a little too hard to trigger consistently in the early game, but 2/3 deathtouch for a single mana is great potential. The deathtouch makes it useful for a whole swath of decks.

Treasure Keeper (4, Artifact Creature - Construct, 3/3, When [this] dies, cascade)
I like it, and will try it out, but I'm expecting a 4 mana 3/3 that has variable upside when it dies is just a little slower to create value than I want.

Hidden Stockpile (WB, Enchantment, Revolt - At the beginning of your end step, create a Servo. 1, Sac a creature: Scry 1)
Super slow, but good continuous fodder for the grindy sacrifice decks that WB has available to it. Will try, but I can see it being too slow.

donderdag 5 januari 2017

2016 in review

With Aether Revolt almost upon is, I wanted to take a moment to look back at 2016.

Using my CubeTutor change log as a guide, I'm going to reflect on the biggest changes 2016 brought to my cube. I'll close the article with the top card added from each of 2016's expansions.

January  - Added painlands
After complaining about peasant mana-fixing for a long time, I decided to bite the bullet and add better lands - and with them break the peasant rarity restriction - to my cube. While painlands are not the best rare lands available, I chose them because the power level 'feels' enough like peasant. Arbitrary, I know.
At the time, I wrote "If the change is minimal, I'll revert to the uncommon lands. If it's huge, I'll keep them for a while." Apparently, I've been playing with them for almost a year now, and I still like having them. That said, the addition of the painlands has had less impact than I thought it would. Yes, mana is better. I especially wanted to make manafixing better for aggro, but painlands also makes greedy control decks faster. I think I will actually change back to the uncommon lands for a while to see if I will miss the painlands.

January - Double strike/pants and +1/+1 counters overlap
Both archetypes have been in my cube before, and have been a favorite in my playgroup but narrow. A year ago something clicked when I realized that the 2 archetypes play well with each other, making them less narrow to support.

January - Tried storm again
Against better judgment, I tried supporting storm again in my cube. The archetype has always been a fan favorite in rare cubes, after all.
According to my change log I changed back on March 9th, but I think that I made the actual change earlier. Like, after 1 cube session.
Reminder to myself: don't try again unless something ridiculous comes along.

April - Tribal synergies
When Shadows over Innistrad came out, and with it 2 actual Vampire 'lords', I started experimenting with tribal in my cube. Tribes are a huge part of Magic's history, casual and competitive, and one of the things lacking from my cube. Peasant highlander is not an easy place to support tribal.
After Vampires (black), Goblins followed (black/red). We did have a lot of fun with both, but during the year most of the tribes that I went deeper into were reduced, simply because the pay-off was not big enough to warrant going deep.
However, smaller tribal synergies have become something I keep looking out for. Small support for tribes has been one of the most eye-opening experiences I've had with my cube the last year. Having cards that care about creature types adds a lot of depth to the draft. Suddenly, cards gain or lose value based on something that's not the actual game text.

May - Enchantress
Finally Wizards of the Coast decided to give me something I've wanted for a long long time: a peasant legal Enchantress. Instantly, I made a 50-card change to my cube to incorporate one of my favorite archetypes of all time.
I must say, for people wanting to go the distance and having the space to dedicate to it, the archetype has been a blast. Like with Tribal, it gives the drafters a card type to care about that's not 'creature' or 'spell'. With a Mesa Enchantress in my deck, I will be drafting Journey of Nowhere over Swords to Plowshares, whereas that would otherwise never be the case.
Sure, my cube's bigger than most so I have more room to experiment without having to remove too many proven cards, I have a double strike/pants archetype that also wants some auras, etc etc. But, running more enchantments is easier than you might think. Removal is not hard to find in enchantment form, for example, and you can just cube Fertile Ground over Rampant Growth.

June - Removed +1/+1 counters again
While the archetype was fun, it just wasn't there yet. I wanted it to be, but it kept falling just short of good enough.

September - MADNESS!
Like with storm, I decided to go against rational thought to see for myself if the archetype was worth pursuing. I was looking for an archetype to overlap green, blue and red and this was the best thing I could come up with.
Turns out, it was about as good as we all thought it would be. Not very. It required too many pieces, at exactly the right amounts in decks, at exactly the right moment in games, to be better than most general decks on those colors. Madness' timing can make for awkward and suboptimal plays at times.
I removed all the madness cards from my cube, but I did keep all the red discard outlets and most blue/green/red cards that do something from/with the graveyard. As a result, Red/X graveyard decks (along with B/R Reanimate) have become a thing and are surprisingly good.

Oktober - The return of +1/+1 counters, with a vengeance
Kaladesh came out, and with it a couple of more cards with +1/+1 counters. Apparently, these cards where exactly the thing to push the +1/+1 counter archetype into playable/good range. I'm stoked for the next set, as the archetype can only get better (maybe even bleed into blue and black this time around).

Oktober - Big red
Red is my favorite color. It's also the color I've been having most trouble with in my cube over the last couple of years.
It has had 2 big identities, almost from the inception of my cube: aggro/burn and spells matter. While both are great decks, red has been falling short when compared to other colors. It's not that red is seeing less play, not at all! Red's burn makes it a perfect supplement in multiple decks, and the number 1 aggressive color. But with the move to more different decks, fringe archetypes and overlapping synergies, the other colors just feel a lot deeper and versatile.
2016 has seen more than one change to red where I changed 15+ cards at a time. All the above archetypes? Red had something to with them at one point or another. With +1/+1 counters and an increasing focus on graveyard support, I felt I was getting there with red.
Coincidentally, we have been having fun with multiple control decks lately but they were usually of the board-control pillow-fort-y type. I wanted something like the classic U/W decks with Wrath of God. Or, even better, R/X WILDFIRE! Control decks with big splashy finishers like Cruel Ultimatum.
Flame Wave and Inferno got added to the cube, and while we didn't have a lot of chances to cube in the last months of the year, initial tests are positive. Slamming down Flame Wave feels great.

Top cards from sets released in 2016
These are not necessarily the best cards in a vacuum, but my personal picks for most awesome for my cube.

Oath of the Gatewatch (Jan): Relief Captain
Shadows over Innistrad (Apr): Vessel of Nascency
Eternal Masters (Jun): Mesa Enchantress
Eldritch Moon (Jul): Curious Homunculus
Kaladesh (Sep): Armorcraft Judge
Conspiracy (Aug): Manaplasm
Commander 2016 (Nov): Ash Barrens

2016 was a pretty sweet year for my peasant cube. I've been moving into the archetype direction for a longer while, but 2016 felt like it started to show. The cube is in a great spot, with an enormous amount of playable archetypes, build-arounds and weird cards.

I really hope that 2017 can continue the trend af releasing awesome new cards and downgrading sweet older cards that give me and other peasant cubers more options than just power level.