Hi! I’m what you’d call a cube enthusiast. I’ve invested about four years into understanding the best format in all of Magic, especially the process of exploration and iteration. What I mean is, I love to build and refine my cube, which I guess most cube owners do. I’ll be writing about cube theory and practice here, so if that’s an agreeable headspace, welcome.

With that said, Throne of Eldraine looks excellent for cube owners. It’s full of new and unique cards; many of them are strong enough to be meaningful—without being too dominant—inclusions for every power level, or environment. I will be evaluating the cards which I believe will, or at least should, be tested and/or included in everything from Vintage all the way down to Peasant cubes.

Some of these cards will become cube staples. Others may find themselves fulfilling more niche roles, freshening up a sometimes-tired assortment of threats and answers. Others will fade, or fail. Whatever your cube environment may be, I think new cards are always a good opportunity for discussion, and I’m looking forward to exploring Throne of Eldraine’s impact on our cubes.

I will break down my card evaluations by addressing their relevance to most of the styles of cube:

  1. High Power: This can refer to anything from fully powered Vintage cube to most Legacy environments. Your environment exploits cards like Sneak Attack, Opposition, Upheaval, Gaea’s Cradle, and Balance.
  2. Low Power: This can refer to some Legacy environments, but is probably closer to a Modern Magic power level. Many of these cubes are centered around creatures and planeswalkers, or sweet build-arounds.
  3. Peasant: This is for any cube which only plays commons and uncommons. This can also be relevant to Pauper cubes.

While I might not address your particular environment, I think these styles are delineated well enough that you should be able to take away something that applies to you.

Last week we went over White, which you can read here.

Brazen Borrower

Is this card mythic? Does it look mythic? Does it feel mythic?

Anyway. Brazen Borrower is amazing. At three mana it’s a 3/1 flash flier that pressures planeswalkers and races in the air. At five mana, you have Cyclonic Rift plus a 3/1 flier. The tempo swing this card represents is worth it’s inclusion in any environment that’ll have it.

If you’re still playing Nimble Obstructionist in your cube, this card can effectively replace it. Sure, the Stifle effect on Nimble Obstructionist is still relevant sometimes, but the flexibility of Brazen Borrower makes it a more powerful option. Test it in Vintage cube; a windmill slam in everything else.

The Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror is unplayable at nine mana, unplayable at six mana, and barely playable at three mana. Cube win conditions need to be stronger than this, or faster, or just plain cheaper. I wouldn’t consider including this at any power level.

Let’s say you do play this in a Modern/Legacy power level environment, and cast it for, say, five mana. You’re not getting a return on your investment for two turns. And if you’re somehow not dead by then, you also then need to finish the game pretty quickly. Or, you’re playing cards like Elixir of Immortality or Clear the Mind as a control finisher—which still doesn’t work. You’ll soon be drawing too many cards to cast, and you’ll deck yourself.

And yes, there is such a thing as drawing too many cards. Just play Coercive Portal.

Gadwick, the Wizened

Gadwick, the Wizened has some promise. It’s perfect for environments looking to promote aggressive blue strategies. The casting cost is fairly restrictive, so I’d only want this when drafting mono-color works. I could be wrong on that, however, as it scales well into the late game, making UUU less of a liability.

Pair this with Master of Waves and cheap cantrips, blue creatures, even bounce and freeze spells (like Brazen Borrower??) for a fantastic tempo gameplan. It would be wise to test this in any low-power environment, but once we start moving towards a Legacy power level I’d be hesitant to say this is better than Mulldrifter.

Syr Elenora, the Discerning

While a good place to put five mana in booster draft or sealed, Syr Elenora, the Discerning doesn’t have a great failstate. A five mana ground creature that replaces itself isn’t a great deal in Peasant cube; and considering that’s the only environment I see for this card, I’m reluctant to test it anywhere. Sure, it’s slightly hard to kill, but it doesn’t always attack well, or have any evasion. I’m not sold on Elenora as a cube inclusion.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Now, Emry on the other hand, is perfect for cube. Specifically in Vintage and other high-powered formats with lots of artifact support. If you like Goblin Welder, Daretti, and Tinker, then Emry is an excellent addition to your blue creature count. If you have the moxen in your cube, then the ceiling on Emry is incredible. Replaying Black Lotus from your graveyard is only one of the many things Emry will allow you to abuse, should you fancy yourself getting such value from your artifact mana. Now, imagine recasting Solemn Simulacrum, Myr Battlesphere, Memory Jar, or putting your opponent into a Mindslaver lock—you probably see where we can go with this card.

So, yeah, she’s an auto-include in every high-power format going forward, and I expect her to be a cube staple in those environments. At lower power level, she’s probably still good, but not completely busted; so I’d test her before knowing exactly what you can do with her. All in all, this is one of the best Vintage cube cards I’ve seen in seen in a while, and I’m excited to try her out this holiday season.

Midnight Clock

I’m interested in finding out if Midnight Clock is powerful enough. Or what I should probably say is, I’m interested in finding out if it is fast enough. Without any testing, I can see this card slotting into a Legacy or Modern power level environment well enough. The mana ramp in blue is relevant, and the draw seven is essentially a finisher, as most decks won’t come back from that amount of raw card advantage. Perhaps a deck with Wildfire or Wrath effects can get there—a UW or UR control deck that can hold up countermagic/removal while sinking mana into the clock.

If you can defend this until the stroke of midnight, I’d say it’s good enough, but that probably means it’s a build-around card and not intrinsically powerful. As such, it shouldn’t simply go in any deck that can cast it. Test this in Legacy and Modern power levels and get back to me.

Animating Faerie

In a Peasant environment with a strong artifact theme, Animating Faerie should be a slam dunk. It’s a nice 2-for-1 that can help a skies deck hold the ground while continuing to attack. I wouldn’t try it in anything more powerful than a Peasant environment.

Hypnotic Sprite

Another adventure card, another easy 2-for-1. Hypnotic Sprite is an efficiently costed threat; and Mesmeric Glare, while a little expensive, is rarely dead when you draw it late. A sweet card that I’m excited to test in my low-power environment. I’d expect it to show up in lots of Peasant cubes, or environments where devotion works. This does compete with Stratus Dancer once you get higher up the power ladder, and I think Stratus Dancer is strictly better.

Into the Story

While I do love drawing cards, I can’t imagine having the opportunity to cast Into the Story for four mana all that often. I’d rather stick to more reliable draw spells like Tidings, Jace’s Ingenuity, etc. There are plenty of ways to draw cards at more efficient casting costs, so at seven mana this is an abysmal cube card. At four mana it’s borderline incredible.

I’d be hesitant to test this in any cube environment, except maybe one with a dedicated mill theme—which I don’t believe to be all that interesting of a strategy anyway, and why I’m not reviewing some of the more dedicated Blue mill cards. But, that being said, if you do have mill as a strategy in your cube, this is an excellent inclusion.

Corridor Monitor

While I can imagine some of you are desperate to make sure Splinter Twin remains ultra-powerful in your cube, don’t play Corridor Monitor.

Queen of Ice

I love Queen of Ice. While a three-mana 2/3 that can “freeze” an opposing attacker or blocker isn’t all that exciting—it’s below rate and requires getting her into combat—Rage of Winter tacked on gives us an incentive to generate tempo and win the damage race. In a low-power or Peasant environment where creature combat matters, Queen of Ice can press the advantage, and she can even catch you up when falling behind on board. I’m hesitant to say this can slot easily into a control deck, but any Blue aggro or midrange shell should want this card.

Run Away Together

As a functional reprint of Peel from Reality, Run Away Together can be powerful in booster draft, but I’m not ready to call this a playable spell above a Peasant environment. And even then, doubling up on this and Peel from Reality in the same cube isn’t necessary. I’d pass on this one.

Witching Well

Witching Well is, well . . . weird. It’s somewhere in between Serum Visions, Preordain, and Courier’s Capsule. Being an artifact is the most important aspect of this card, and should only be played in cubes specifically designed with artifact synergies.

It’s not strong enough that you should play this over a better cantrip. It’s merely a fine, if unexciting playable, that should only be considered when having a critical mass of artifacts is what your environment is encouraging. I’m not saying it’s a trap, but . . . well . . . you’ll know when you want it.

Power Rankings—Blue

High Power

  1. Emry, Lurker of the Loch
  2. Brazen Borrower
  3. Midnight Clock

Low Power

  1. Brazen Borrower
  2. Midnight Clock
  3. Emry, Luker of the Loch
  4. Hypnotic Sprite
  5. Gadwick, the Wizened


  1. Hypnotic Sprite
  2. Queen of Ice
  3. Animating Faerie
  4. Witching Well
  5. Into the Story

Blue Got a couple of slam dunks, and a couple of unique effects, while also getting some fine adventure cards for lower powered formats. I’m excited to see how Vintage adapts to Emry, and whether Midnight Clock becomes a legit win condition.

Next week we go over Black. Thanks for reading!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.