Dragon’s Maze was in many ways the last possible opportunity for Wizards to round out the multi-color offerings for Pauper cubes. And they delivered! While there were some disappointments, like the sorry Golgari offering or the super-expensive Rakdos one (since Rakdos is a color combination known for loving durdly six-drops), there were also some amazing cards that I couldn’t include quickly enough. From most to least speculative, here are the 12 cards from Dragon’s Maze I added to my cube:

12) Battering Krasis—Battering Krasis has a bad reputation in draft, perhaps because it wants to be played in an evolve deck but doesn’t evolve all that many things that come down before it. But my cube is a little more creature-oriented, and green has 37 creatures in the base color alone, of which 25 evolve the beast. And the numbers on the Krasis get a lot better if you can evolve it even once. It’s also a common body with trample at a low point in the curve, which is helpful considering how high a pick equipment cards are in my cube. So, I don’t expect it will stay in the cube forever, but I felt it was worth giving the fish beast a shot.

11) Maze Abomination—The only one of the cycle I include, this Maze guardian seemed worth playing due to the strength of deathtouch and the beefy nature of the body. A 4/5 is pretty big to begin with in my cube, and deathtouch means that it’s going to be a two-for-one when it gets killed in combat… at least. The other Maze guardians were tempting, but none of them seemed to make the grade on their own. 6/3 haste is a terrible body/ability match, a 5/4 with trample shouldn’t be six mana, and 3/6 vigilance is tempting, but not really there power-wise. The only other one who piqued my interest was the Maze Glider, since evasion is a very powerful ability, but it seemed like it would be weak if you didn’t have a lot of multi-colored creatures who don’t fly… and that’s not really a deficiency that blue-flavored gold cards have in my cube. I will say that had the white one granted lifelink it would have made for an instant inclusion; unfortunately Wizards did not go down that particular rabbit-hole.

10) Hired Torturer—When I first played with Hired Torturer, I won several games I had no business winning through his weird inevitability. It was like playing with Deathrite, only at common, and I won more than one game with the “shock at your end step, shock during my upkeep” play. So, since Deathrite Shaman isn’t a common, Hired Torturer seemed as good a fit as I was likely to get. Side benefit of his inclusion: He’s another defender to support the walls archetype I have in the cube.

9) Thrashing Mossdog—A Hill Giant is not alone powerful enough to make the cube, and yet this is one of two hill giants I chose to add. It’s more for reach than for scavenge, although scavenge is certainly a nice addition. I just enjoy that it’s a “spider” with equal power and toughness. Anyway, it’s a solid addition to the cube and it slots well into green’s curve.

8) Weapon Surge—Weapon’s Surge is a bonkers card. It’s a blowout in creature combat that also can act like a force multiplier to help weenie strategies win out of nowhere. This card would be a steal at anywhere between three and five mana; at two mana, it’s disturbingly powerful. (Editor’s note: Ex-R&D mastermind Zac Hill has said that the overload for Weapon Surge was originally costed at 3R, then was dropped to 2R—and finally ended up at it’s bargain-basement rate of 1R.) Thing is, though, it’s still just a combat trick, and as such it’s placing at number eight on my list.

7) Zhur-Taa Druid—Red and green thrive on ramp strategies, so adding in a gold card that helps you get out your haymakers seemed like a good idea. That the druid also has the incidental upside of pinging your opponent(s) repeatedly seemed like reason enough to add this enabler.

6) Beetleform MageBugwalla is a pretty solid card. It comes down on curve as a 2/2 three-drop, which isn’t all that shabby, and then it can swing in the next turn for four points of evasive damage. It’s solid on offense and defense, although either way the rootwalla aspect of the card leaves it vulnerable to instant-speed removal.


5) Viashino Firstblade—And now we get into the meat of it. The Firstblade was a card I initially registered as being powerful enough for cube, even before it showed up in Naya Blitz decks at the Pro Tour this past weekend (Block Constructed, if you didn’t know). Usually that’s a good omen to see cards like that in the future, and the Firstblade was an integral part of several wins we saw on camera. It should fit in well in my cube.

4) Deputy of Acquittals—I still think this is one of the better commons in the format. The ability to jump in and save another creature from removal is a powerful one; the ability to jump in and not have to bounce another one of your creatures is even more bonkers. Sometimes you need a Whitemane Lion and sometimes you just need an Ambush Viper. With the Deputy, you get both options.

3) Tithe Drinker—I played with this card in my last couple of Limited outings, and I have grown to respect it immensely. This little vampire starts out as early pressure, and then when you no longer can swing in she just hangs back and starts sucking your opponent dry with extort triggers. It’s truly an awesome card, and a clear upgrade to Putrid Warrior.

2) Rubblebelt Maaka—I went back and forth on whether or not to put this Hill Giant/Brute Force hybrid in the number-one spot, but while it’s powerful it’s a bit boring. So it’s only number two! I’ve played with and against this card, and in either direction it’s truly capable of some insane plays. Red didn’t really need to have Giant Growth in a non-Planar Chaos set, and the versatility makes this cat a strong include.

1) Nivix Cyclops—I put the Cyclops in the top spot because it actually shores up two different archetypes in my cube. On the one hand, it’s the third Wee Dragonauts/Kiln Fiend effect, which starts to make that into a real deck. On the other, it’s a strong creature with defender, which helps the walls deck even more. It’s the epitome of what blue/red wants to be doing, and with throwback flavor as well.


Honorable mentions start with Punish the Enemy, which seems powerful but the inability to not entwine that Barbed Lightning make it a little worse than some of the other red removal options. Armored Wolf-Rider seemed a tad bit too vanilla to include; Boros Mastiff doesn’t quite seem powerful enough; and Kraul Warrior, while more powerful than it looks, didn’t seem to be quite there. Dimir was too tight to fit in Pilfered Plans, since it’s functionally just Divination with upside, and Rakdos Drake‘s numbers are just a bit off. All in all, though, this has been a great set for my cube, and I look forward to how some of these cards will look in foil.

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