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Legendary Cube Primer


Welcome to a crash course on the new Magic Online Legendary Cube, a weird combination of two things in Magic — Draft and Commander. This feels like Magic Online's version of Conspiracy, except with Two-Headed Giant getting the axe, the games are 1v1. I'm curious as to how fun this Cube will end up compared to the Holiday and Legacy Cubes, but I'm hopeful it will provide a unique experience, while still bearing at least some resemblance to a traditional Cube environment. The Legendary Cube runs from November 18 to December 9 on Magic Online. You can read more details about the event here, and be sure to check out the complete card list

The Legends

Hero's Demise [BOK]Heroes' Podium [BNG]Reki, the History of Kamigawa [SOK]

The creatures are all legendary. In case you missed it, this is the entire point of the cube. There are some token generators running about, but the vast majority of creatures that hit the battlefield will be legendary. This means that all the gimmicky cards in the Cube that normally affect only legendary creatures now affect all creatures. Hero's Demise is MurderEiganjo Castle and the other four lands in its cycle are great. Captain SisayHeroes' Podium, and Reki, the History of Kamigawa are all incredible card advantage tools. Among the cards that get worse in this environment is Liliana, Heretical Healer, whose flip side effectively has only two loyalty abilities.

Plenty of other non-creature permanents are also legendary, so be on the lookout for lands, enchantments, and artifacts fitting the criterion.

The Ramp

Dimir Signet [CMD]Fire Diamond [C14]Gilded Lotus [M13]

Creatures in this cube have an average converted mana cost of 4.8. That's huge. There's also plenty of huge sorceries like Beacon of Tomorrows and fan favorite Cruel Ultimatum. These big spells are in need of support, and it seems like they have received it. There's a cycle each of Signets, Diamonds, and Talismans, and a lot of other one-of's to boot. Even more so than in other Cube formats, spells like Coalition Relic and Gilded Lotus are first pickable.

The Combos

Panoptic Mirror [DST]Time Warp [M10]

Compared to the other Magic Online cubes, there are very few two-card instant or almost instant-win combinations. In fact, the only one I could find was Panoptic Mirror + Time Warp. Even if there are a few that I missed, this Cube is much, much lighter on instant-win combos than others.

Other non-instant win combos include:

The Strategies

Instants and Sorceries

Mirari [C13]Talrand, Sky Summoner [M13]Reiterate [TSP]

Ways to abuse Instants/Sorceries: Sphinx-Bone Wand, Mirari, Panoptic Mirror, Kaho, Minamo Historian, Talrand, Sky Summoner, Uyo, Silent Prophet, Mizzix's MasteryRecoup, Reiterate, Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Melek, Izzet Paragon, Jeskai Ascendancy, Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper

Instants/Sorceries to abuse: Time Warp, Beacon of Tomorrows, Time Stop, Mystic Confluence, Fiery Confluence, Cruel Ultimatum

While infinite turns is sweet, the other instants and sorceries to build around seem weaker than a lot of other things you can be doing in the Cube. 

Artifact Recursion

Ichor Wellspring [C14]Daretti, Scrap Savant [C14]Spine of Ish Sah [C14]

Value artifacts: Chromatic Sphere, Chromatic Star, Terrarion, Wayfarer's Bauble, Armillary Sphere, Ichor Wellspring, Mind Stone, Mycosynth Wellspring, Prophetic Prism, Hedron Archive, Worn Powerstone, Obelisk of Alara, Spine of Ish Sah, Mindslaver

Good artifact combos: Muzzio, Visionary Architect, Tezzeret the SeekerDaretti, Scrap Savant, Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient, Trading Post, Hanna, Ship's NavigatorSharuum the Hegemon

Interesting artifact combos: March of the Machines, Pia and Kiran NalaarSydri, Galvanic Genius, Shattergang Brothers

The cube appears to have an above average number of "Eggs," or artifacts that cycle for an effect. Appearing in either Blue-Red or Esper, this archetype would feature finding ways to generate extra value out of these effects. Since so many of these so-called Eggs provide mana fixing, this archetype could potentially splash other colors for more win conditions.

5 Color

Chromatic Lantern [RTR]Maelstrom Nexus [ARB]Door to Nothingness [M13]

Mana fixing: Whether in the form of lands or artifacts, there is mana fixing and mana ramp all over this cube. I can't even begin to pull them all out by name.

Payoff:

In addition to the cards listed above, the benefit of five color is that you can put any good spell you're passed into your deck and actually be able to cast it. There are no deck building restrictions!

Aggro

Isamaru, Hound of Konda [CHK]Konda's Banner [CHK]Temur Battle Rage [FRF]

There's very few super aggressive creatures, though there some aggressive equipment that can help. There's not enough burn for a creature-light Red deck. Occasionally a Red deck might catch everyone at the table off guard, but it won't happen often. Be prepared to win a long game.

Control

Wrath of God [C13]Cyclonic Rift [RTR]Anger of the Gods [THS]

There are no hard counterspells. There is little land destruction. There are creature removal spells and sweepers, and that's about it. This format is probably going to feel more like two heavyweights taking turns punching each other as hard as they can. Probably more than any other format (Commander notwithstanding) in Magic's history.

While a control deck may have the tools needed to clear the battlefield, they lack the combo kills and/or Planeswalkers necessary to put the game away without playing big, clunky, awesome creatures of their own.

Dragon Tribal

Scion of the Ur-Dragon [TSP]Zirilan of the Claw [MI]Dragonlord Atarka [DTK]Silumgar, the Drifting Death [FRF]

You've got Scion of the Ur-DragonZirilan of the Claw, and a few dozen Dragons to choose from. Go completely nuts. I want to see this in action.

Closing Thoughts

There are probably combos I've missed. There are definitely other archetypes I haven't even mentioned (e.g. Simic Doubling Season being a thing). Take a look at the cube list and see what else you can find. Let me know in the comments what cool archetypes or combos I missed. Tweet me @JakeStilesMTG with all your sweet deck lists once the Cube becomes publicly available on November 18th.


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