Welcome back to Only Built 4 Cubin’ Lynx. In this week’s article, I’m going to be talking about a taboo topic in the Cube world—Un-cards. Many cube purists balk at the idea of including these joke sets in their precious cubes, but I find that Un-cards are a total blast to play with and a select few of them can even compete with even the best of cube staples. To me, cubing is about celebrating the history of Magic. Integrating Un-cards into the fold is a great way to hark back to the days of Magic yore as well as throw even the most experienced drafters for a loop.
Without further ado, I present my top ten list of cube playable Un-cards.
1. Magical Hacker
Awww, shit. This guy is in my opinion the mac-daddy of cubable un-cards. At first glance he looks innocuous enough, just a little 1/2 for 2 with a mildly interesting ability. But let’s talk about some of his applications. All equipment and enchantments your opponents play get instantly alot worse, although unfortunately it doesn’t effect reminder text (like Undying / Persist). The best way to play with this guy though and the reason he is number one is reversing the costs of your planeswalkers, allowing them to actually GAIN a ton of counters while instantly ultimating over and over. It’s broken in half and a ton of fun to play with.
2. Booster Tutor
A lot of cubes run this card for its combination insane power level and fun factor. Most cubes errata the card so that you get to choose from a cube booster, making this card even more fun. This card can dig you out of a hole like none other, and makes for some epic stories.
3. Blast from the Past
Any cube who has a ton of “value” players will love how much they can squeeze out of this one. This card is insanely versatile and has a ton of different ways to play it. By far the most popular is the “cantripping shock” variant at its 1RR cost (cycling + madness), later casting for both buyback + flashback to return it to your hand and do it all again. It gives red something sweet to do with its mana in the late game and can become quite a potent engine in a stalemate.
4. City of Ass
Without mana burn, this card is the most insane fixing a cube can play. I personally don’t run it because its fixing is too good, but multi-color heavy cubes can run wild with this one!
5. Richard Garfield
The doctor is in. I love playing with this card in cube, because it leads to such creative scenarios. We have a couple house rules with this guy to keep him in check, the first being that you must rely on your own internal knowledge of Magic to power his ability—no internet help. The second is that you can’t turn lands into the Ancestral Visions cycle despite there being some rules gray area on that topic on the internet. Even with those in place, it feels so good turning an Aether Adept into a Cancel or a Skinrender into Damnation.
6. Topsy Turvy
Wait…what does this card do exactly? This card takes some thinking outside the box to see why it’s number six on the list, but hear me out. When you play it in your second main phase, you reverse your turn and get another attack phase (vigilance?), then another draw, upkeep, and untap. Your opponent then starts their turn tapped out and doesn’t get to untap / draw until their end of their turn. It acts like a mini-timewalk with a lot of sweet ways to improve it like Suspend, skipping discard after an Upheaval, and don’t even get me started with Venser, the Sojourner! It’s a great tempo card for blue and I think this card is very playable without being broken like the first half of the list.
While none of the modes are impressive on their own, having this with a 5-color enabling land in your deck can lead to some serious versatility. There is something to be said for a card that deals with nearly everything. Other benefits to this card is that this is one of my all time favorite Isochron Scepter targets, and its always fun to see someone squinting and spinning it around as they open it in their pack.
This is a great skill tester card, and takes some finesse to get good value out of it. I’ve had it be a total blow out though, and its probably in the best colors it could be for cube. R/B are packed with all of the cheap common and uncommon spells, so you are usually getting the better end of the deal. It’s absolutely devastating against a non-basic heavy mana base, and Mark Rosewater has gone on record to say that this hits mythic-rares too [link to Maro quote].
9. Frazzled Editor
In a “set” with a complexity level as high as cube, this guy is pretty much a mini-Progenitus, only folding to the most basic value cards like Lightning Bolt and Terminate. You will find that he has protection from most creatures, planeswalkers, and also unfortunately equipment. He definitely competes with a lot of red’s two drop offerings and is by far red’s most evasive one.
10. Symbol Status
This one takes a little planning on the cube creator’s part, but can be insane if they are willing to support it. In order to make it easy to abuse the card, just make sure your basic land base is filled with different symbols & sets. From there, it’s pretty easy to turn this into a four mana 10+ power swing. For those with more anal/unified mana bases, this probably a pass.
Honorable Un-Card: Gifts Given
If this were an official un-card, it would definitely be in the top five list. Stapling Jester’s Cap and Gift’s Ungiven together makes an incredibly back breaking card that can completely neuter some decks. I plan on adding this to my own cube once the holiday season rolls around again!
And finally, let’s take a look at this week’s pick a pack. This week, I want to try something a little different. I’m going to present you guys with a real life draft, mid-first pack, and let me know what you would pick next! So far you have:Remand Mox Pearl Geist of Saint Traft
You are passed the following pack: