Today, as part of a broader 2019 Cube Re-Review, we finish our reconsideration of the important cube cards from Modern Horizons. The set provided a lot of new toys to cube designers, some of which fit into cubes better than others. You can catch up on my previous installments of our 2019 Cube Re-Review here: War of the Spark and Modern Horizons, Part 1.

Last week we covered white, blue, and black cards from Modern Horizons. Today we finish with red, green, multicolor, and colorless.

Red

The face doesn’t always have to be the place with red, and Magmatic Sinkhole makes a good case for how and why. If you think of Sinkhole as a red planeswalker removal spell, it feels more like Hero’s Downfall and less like Roast, which has been good in my environment at 450. Whether this is a staple remains to be seen, but the more planeswalkers you run the higher Magmatic Sinkhole’s chances are of having a home.

Seasoned Pyromancer is a three mana red Mulldrifter, but with upside. That’s it. That’s the tweet.

Any hesitation you might have about discarding spells being a downside, just think of it as casting two 1/1 creatures for “free” when resolving the spell. Or, just wait until you’re hellbent and get your two cards guilt-free. Pyromancer, much like Ranger-Captain of Eos, is an excellent addition to aggro or Midrange, providing sweeper protection or maintaining card flow to get you across the finish line, which is essential to red’s success. Pyromancer is great for any deck that can cast it. If you’re not running it yet, do yourself a favor.

Green

I’m unsure how much of an introduction this card needs. Hexdrinker is kinda unreal. It’s our one-mana build-a-Progenitus. It levels up with colorless mana, so splashing is easy. It’s a mana sink. It’s a freaking Progenitus!

It’s not exactly unfair, as it’s still can be interacted with, and it’s essentially a four drop. But don’t underestimate how easy this is to slip onto the battlefield when the opponent is tapped out. It dies to sweepers and Oblivion Ring effects (up to a certain point) but is a wonderfully resilient threat which only needs some good sequencing to end games. This is a high pick, and one of the better mono-green threats we’ve seen in some time.

With Deranged Hermit‘s echo cost absorbing two turns worth of mana, many consider Deep Forest Hermit a strict upgrade for the five drop squirrel slot in green midrange. Vanishing 3 means our boy still gets enough time in the sun to buff your tokens while they crunch in for massive damage. Hermit didn’t stick around in my environment, however, as I prefer the rate and board impact of Whisperwood Elemental, Beast Attack, and Thragtusk to the go-wide threat Hermit presents.

It remains an excellent card, to say nothing of the potential synergy with Opposition or Gaea’s Cradle. Some of my fellow cube designers will run both Hermits to max out on token/Opposition abuse, and that’s certainly a viable route to take with this card.

Mother Bear, Treetop Ambusher, and Saddled Rimestag are great two drops for rarity restricted environments, as they do what I want in green Peasant lists. Mother Bear is definitely the best of the bunch here, as she can synergize with graveyard-centric decks as well as run of the mill beatdown or token strategies. The other two are just beatdown cards, but good ones nonetheless.

Purely on rate, this card is awesome for a common. Trumpeting Herd still feels like cheating a year later, and remains one of my go-to four drops for green midrange beatdown. I treat this card as a signpost for proactive green strategies, which are better than they might seem on paper. If you grow tired of mega-ramp in your green section, Trumpeting Herd is where you should end up, and it’s an underappreciated place to be.

Multicolor

If you run and enjoy Fblthp, the Lost, I present Icefang Coatl! Having flying and flash is worth the extra color of mana. Even without snow-covered basics the rate on this card is very good, and you shouldn’t feel awkward playing it with no snow support. Like I mentioned last week, some folks allow snow lands in one form or another into their cube environment. You don’t need any of that nonsense to play this card, though.

Before Oko, Thief of Crowns and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath came along, Icefang Coatl was considered one of the best Simic cards for Cube. Now that Simic has gotten The Simic Treatment, the “best” card in that guild has changed. Still, I think Icefang has a place in any Midrange or Control deck that can cast it, and you should give it a try.

Another hotly contested cube card, Fallen Shinobi can either “win the game on its own” or be merely “RNG Baneslayer that whiffs [insert data] percentage of the time.” One thing I know is certain: Fallen Shinobi wins Best Campfire Card of the year, as it tells tremendous stories. If you love that kind of Magic, Fallen Shinobi is tailor made for your expectations. Dimir is far too stacked to include this card, especially when it suggests a high variance outcome. So run it if you like, but there are much better gold cards for this guild out there.

Fragile as all hell, but oh so sweet for rarity restricted cubes looking for engine cards, Soulherder was one of my favorite cube cards of 2019. I was busy blinking Agent of Treachery at some point last year—or was it early this year? That was fun, for a minute. I’ve since moved Soulherder into my Limited Cube where removal is more expensive/scarce, which is where these high-synergy payoffs have time to generate an advantage.

While the prospect of recurring Strip Mine or Wasteland is an appealing achievement to unlock, Wrenn and Six is extraordinary at recurring Horizon lands, Fetch lands, or Cycling lands too. Similar to Crucible of Worlds or Ramunap Excavator, they’re cheap and effective at the incremental grind.

The minus ability is excellent at picking off one-drops or pressuring planeswalkers. This can be so punishing in certain matchups that I find it better to not run Wrenn and Six in my cube. I’m not here to say they’re unfair, because they’re not. But for only two mana, it treads the line a little too well. You’ve seen what they’ve done to Legacy.

If you run Wrenn and Six be sure to support them with more than just fetch lands. Like, for instance, our next cards!

 

The set of five two-color lands—Fiery Islet, Nurturing Peatland, Silent Clearing, Sunbaked Canyon, and Waterlogged Grove—were designed in the vein of Horizon Canopy. They have been very, very welcome in my cube. Yes, paying one life per mana is a cost, especially when aggro is well supported; but they ETB untapped 100% of the time and they cycle. Paying a few life is well worth this level of functionality. Play these, and let’s hope we get to complete the cycle with Modern Horizons II.

Colorless

I haven’t cubed much with these new swords, but I have some feedback on them I’d like to share. Sword of Truth and Justice exists somewhere below the top tier Swords, like Sword of Fire and Ice, which have consistent and even game-breaking combat damage triggers, but above the higher-variance swords, like Sword of Light and Shadow.

Apart from the snowballing effect Truth and Justice offers aggressive decks by diversifying the growth of your army, it also incidentally proliferates onto planeswalkers. This is excellent, but not a primary reason to put the card into just any old cube deck. This sword seems best suited for aggressive decks, but I can easily see a green midrange deck take advantage of Truth and Justice, too.

Sword of Sinew and Steel exists at the bottom, below the other swords. This might be strange to hear as it has ostensibly the best X+Y protection combo in the game. However, +2/+2 will take care of burn spells all by itself, and the combat trigger isn’t always relevant to the board state. That said, a sword is still a sword, right? So how bad can it really be?

I think I’m less likely to start Sinew and Steel than I am any of the other swords, or even Heirloom Blade and Grafted Wargear. If a card is relegated to the sideboard when your intention is for a drafters starting 40, it’s time to consider cutting the thing. We have better equipment available to us.

Much has been said about the Talisman cycle and the comparison to Signets. Cultic Cube has an excellent video series exploring these mana rocks, and I highly suggest you check it out. Short story is this: Talismans are better than signets, but it’s close enough that you can play whichever you prefer. That talismans can be used immediately, on turn two, makes me prefer them to signets, but there’s nothing saying you have to run only one or the other. Completionists, or those looking to spreadsheet aesthetics for balance, don’t have enough of an argument for me. Mix em up, and play the ones that work best for your list.

Our final card is one of two strictly-better Evolving Wilds/Terramorphic Expanse releases in 2019. We’ve all established how comfortable we are to pay a life for a fetch land, so if you’re not cubing with Prismatic Vista already, you ought to be. More shuffle effects, more consistent mana bases—hell, just more lands overall is better. If you staunchly obey singleton rules, this is another fetch land for you. If you don’t care about singleton, just play more fetch lands. Again, the drafters will thank you.

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