There are a few commons and uncommons in M14 that are good enough/interesting enough to see play in Commander. Like, take Shadowborn Apostle. Thrumming Stone/Relentless Rats has been a fringe deck before, because Magic players love to play around the rules. Similarly, Shadowborn Apostle is going to be a deck archetype. The promise of shoving a ton of them into a deck and then getting demons from a toolkit seems pretty cool, especially if you can recur them with cards like Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker or Bloodbond March. It’s exciting, but it’s not an entire article.


But! That doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk about M14 commons in a broader context. Between the arrival of some new sweet commons, and my experiences in the last couple of months drafting Modern Masters and Lorwyn, I changed up a full 5% of my cube in this last iteration. It might not sound like much, but it’s the biggest change I’ve made since I made it more multi-colored, and it was accompanied in a change in philosophy as well.


See, for a while I’ve been really reticent to make changes. “Is this card really better than the one that’s in there? Does it make sense to have a pauper cube without [some card]?” I’ve been pushing the type of cube I like, sure, but it started to be just good cards, and that’s not good. I feel like a cube needs an identity, and for me I realized that my favorite formats are synergy formats. Now, M14 isn’t really a synergy format. It’s got two basic synergy strategy, but both of them (Slivers and Sacrifice) get their key pieces poached by other decks because they’re good cards on their own. So, when you’re drafting it, the potential to have someone else bleed out your best cards while leaving you with the weak stuff that needs the central synergies to work… that’s less than idea. Not fun in my book, at least. But Modern Masters and Lorwyn were great sets to draft, because there were plenty of tribal and mechanical synergies, and the signals as to which tribes were still open were fairly clear.


So I added Faeries to my cube. It was the one with the most representative cards at common, although it means there are now cards like Dewdrop Spy taking the place of better cards like Spiketail Drakeling. But it’s worth it, because it should help clean up some of the signals. Before any deck was in blue would want to take the Drakeling, but now, hopefully, it will be a pick reserved solely for for blue Faerie players, and left alone by the rest of the blue decks.


My one fear is that I am going to have to go the full Modern Masters route and add changelings to the cube. I don’t really like any of the individual ones on pure power levels, but they might be interesting as part of broader strategies.


But back to the point. Here are the M14 cards that seemed good enough for inclusion in my pauper cube, in this most recent synergy update. What I find interesting is that of my “Five for Pauper Cube” in the preview article, I only ended up adding in two of the cards. Funny how assessments change!

Elvish Mystic – this is an auto-include in most cubes, Pauper or not.  Even if it’s just taking the place of Fyndhorn Elves in foiled out lists, it’s a strong contender. I added it in addition to the three other one-drop mana elves, but I took out Scorned Villager and Werebear to correct what I felt was an overabundance of mana dorks. Still, it’s a one drop elf that taps for mana: good no matter what the power level of a cube.

Advocate of the Beast/Marauding Maulhorn – I felt it would be weird to include one of these without the other, and I really wanted to include the Maulhorn. Juggernaut has always been a good card, and it’s never been printed at common. The Advocate isn’t terrible on its own, although it makes me want to go deeper into both beasts and elves. All in all, the synergy between the two make them both seem worth adding.

Master of Diversion – We’ll see how about this one works out. As an aggro tapper it seems like it could serve a vital purpose in the cube, but I am not thrilled about it only being effective starting turn four. Still, it’s a neat white card and I am glad to be giving it a shot.

Charging Griffin – It’s a Phantom Monster on offense, but dies to a lot of sorcery speed removal. It seemed like a good compromise option and an aggressive evasive addition to the team.

Trained Condor – I don’t know how I missed this one in my previous assessment, but the card is mad good. The previous incarnation, Chasm Drake, dropped down a bit too low on the curve to be effective in aggro strategies. Trained Condor has the same effect at a much cheaper casting cost, and it plays well with the addition of Faeries.

Dawnstrike Paladin / Sporemound – I covered these in Five for Pauper Cube, and the assessment still holds. They’re strong cards, and I look forward to resolving them.


So that’s the state of my cube post-M14. I look forward to messing around with it more when Theros hits, but in the meantime I am going to be enjoying my own attempt at a synergy format.

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