My Limited Card Pool

I guess a few of my readers might be interested in the composition of my limited card pool for Next Level Cubes. For those I attached a pdf of my list:

Card List

(last updated 03.07.12)

The cards are sorted by effective color (I’m not going by the strict rules definition, but by how the cards get used when building a cube), as indicated by the third column, starting with cards not affiliated to a color or color combination, then White, Black, Red, Green and Blue (alphabetically sorted backwards in German because that works best), followed by two-color combinations with Ravnica guild names, then three-color combinations with Alara shards names and Apocalypse wedge names. (The asterisks are just there for sorting purposes.) I also use this column to divide each color by creatures (ending with K), lands (L) and others (A), this time going by strict rules definition. Next sorting criterium is mana cost, counting up, with lands showing as “#”. Finally, there’s the card names alphabetically. Once you get used to it, it makes a lot of sense (okay, except for color order, but there’s just no gain in following proper order here).

The fourth column shows cards I usually consider in cycles, naming these cycles (sometimes using German-English hodgepodge terms, I’m afraid – they’re just for my private use after all) and giving their total number, making it easier for me to remember them and find other members of a cycle. The next two columns show some interesting mechanics or themes the cards possess or work well with to facilitate finding them when I build a cube, in alphabet order. (There’s actually a third column, not shown for formatting purposes, which gets used for a total of two cards – if you really care: Carrion Feeder and Gwyllion Hedge-Mage also have a “tokens” tag.)

That’s the status quo as of today (okay, I still need to get some of those cards). If the MTGSalvation spoilers for Planechase 2012 are correct, I will add Beetleback Chief and replace Loxodon Hierarch with Elderwood Scion.

If you have any questions why I do or do not include certain cards, just go ahead and ask – I’ll probably answer. You know me!

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4 Comments on “My Limited Card Pool”

  1. bezalet Says:

    Great that you gave us the card list! It is a bit hard to read though, if one does not know every card you listed (and I need to look after every second card, because I’m more familiar with the german card names).

    One card I missed after a first look at the card selction was Benalish Cavalry and its flanking companions. I really like Flanking, it encourages you to attack and puts some speed into the cube. Benalish Cavalry also attacks through otherwise stall-causing 2/3-creatures, where other two-drops like Youthful Knight or even the mighty Knight of Meadowgrain just sit back helplessly. On the other hand, Benalish Cavalry still is stoppable and should not be unfair in a cube with a not-too-low powerlevel. A mere Steel Wall can stop it, but that’s ok since a 2/3 for 3 Mana is almost always playable and can generate unpleasant situations where it stops the opponents two (or even three!) 2/2-guys from attacking, but does not want to attack itself. The 0/4 wall is probably only playable in slow decks or sided in against the aggro deck, and does never stop more than one creature. The point is, Benalish Cavalry “punishes” the opponent for an annoying type of creature (the 2/3s) and “rewards” him for playing the otherwise less impressive Steel wall, which I find quite interesting.

    Huh, I hope what I wrote is not too confusing, actually I only wanted to ask why you don’t have Benalish Cavalry (and other nice flanking creatures, like Suq’Ata Lancer) in your card pool.

    • The creatures you mention are all perfectly fine tools for cubes (actually, I just cut the Lancer in my very last pass as the last member of its species – I really like it, partly for nostalgic reasons).

      However, the available selection of cards is that large nowadays, that even completely fine cards might just not make it if better options are available. Note that the idea of being able to attack into 2/3s is also upheld by bushido (you’ll find Ronin Houndmaster in my list, as the exact replacement for the Lancer). Granted, Flanking is a bit more powerful, but it’s also really inelegant, since it doesn’t just give each blocker -1/-1, but each blocker without flanking – although this is admittedly not a big deal, this will irritate less experienced players and makes the flanking mechanic a tiny bit parasitic – you need an environment full of flankers for it to fully make sense.

      In the end, I cut the Lancer together with Fallen Askari and Shadow Riders, because they were the very last three creatures with flanking in my pool, and I didn’t really need them. The thing is, Benalish Cavalry is essentially a hard-to-block 2-drop which White just doesn’t need – it has good evasion creatures in that slot, which aren’t too powerful at all (Mistral Charger), and more interesting non-evasive creatures (Accorder Paladin). Jolrael’s Centaur just isn’t really exciting, considering Nessian Courser and Wolfir Avenger exist. Fallen Askari is less interesting than, for example, Wretched Anurid and Vampire Interloper. And so on. I just never needed creatures which explicitly had flanking; I needed aggressive attackers able to break stalemates. Most flankers (almost all I didn’t mention here) are under the curve for modern standards, even for basic limited commons, and the ones I discussed seldom were the most interesting option. The only ones which were not actually outclassed (considering play value) were Shadow Riders and the Lancer, and I decided not to keep a slightly irritating mechanic for just two cards which I could replace with options of near similar play value (Ronin Houndmaster and Abattoir Ghoul).

  2. muerrischemasse Says:

    Mir ist aufgefallen dass du die triple-color Charms aus Alara SÄMTLICHEN triple-color Charms aus Planeshift vorziehst.
    z.B. fand ich das Esper Charm immer für seine Farbanforderungen zu schwach. Ohne es jetzt je gespielt zu haben würde ich Dromar’s Charm vorziehen.
    Gruß Muerrischemasse

    • Wenn man sie 1 zu 1 vergleicht, gebe ich Dir Recht – nicht zuletzt auch, weil es ja bereits Consult the Necrosages gibt. (Ich finde Esper Charm nicht zu schwach, aber weniger interessant als Dromar’s Charm.) Man muss die 5 Charms aber im Zyklus betrachten, und da überschneidet sich Dromar’s Charm’s Removal Modus mit dem vom Grixis Charm, während der Enchantment Removal Effekt vom Esper Charm, welcher parallel zum Shattereffekt vom Bant Charm steht, fehlt.

      Ich habe alle möglichen Permutationen durchprobiert, damit die 5 Charms in sich stimmig sind, aber der unsäglich miese Card Draw von Treva’s Charm macht diesen unbrauchbar, und so ergab sich letztlich als einzige vernünftige Lösung, die 5 neuen Charms zu verwenden.

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