Digging through the ashes of Kaladesh for cube includes....
So... sometimes when I take a look at a set for my regular cube article it is an embarrassment of riches. I struggle to pick which cards to talk about because there are so many that are so close to making the cut. That's a testament to Wizards' design - after all, for most cube curators, a cube is a draft environment of the most powerful cards ever printed - and they have managed to constantly up the ante every set without the obvious "power creep" that can kill a game. This set is a bit different. I struggled to find cards that I felt were worth a look. Sure... there are cards that can slot into large cubes, but for most of us, I'm afraid that Aether Revolt holds very little. That's not to say it's a bad set; I think it looks like fun for limited draft, but for us cube folks, the pickings are slim. What did I choose? Let's take a look!
The top three.
Why, oh why, couldn't you cost one mana less.... The Beastiary that looks like a makeup product, is a solid artifact and a passable first pick in limited draft. It is a great toolbox for Green, providing deck manipulation and card draw for a color that is always hurting for it. There is probably many a Commander player itching to add this card into their decks to fill that need, and in that slower format it's an awesome solution. Here is the problem - Cube is a much faster format, and this card does nothing when it hits the table. Nothing. Its value comes over the long haul, and in Cube you might be dead before this becomes truly useful.
If you are running a larger multiplayer cube then you may find a slot for this card, but for folks like me running a very small, high powered cube.... its a pass. I am buying two for my Commander decks though, so if you pull one at Friday Night Magic and you are a filthy casual (like me), I'd say you are doing OK.
The Walking Ballista kind of shows you how thin this set is for cube. This is a fine artifact creature that can be slotted into almost any deck where you need a warm body on the battlefield. It synergizes well with cards that care about counters and provides a very expensive source of direct damage.
A larger cube will take this as a slot filler until something better comes along, and if you are running a strong counter theme it's a slam dunk. For most of us, its another pass.
Kari Zev and Ragavan
Oh my. A single card has made the set for me. I love, love, love this card. This is a perfect creature for Red in the two drop slot and may well be one of the best two drop creatures ever printed in the color. Kari Zev hits the battlefield as a 1/3 creature with first strike and menace. That's pretty solid. Things get crazier in combat, when Ragavan her legendary monkey jumps off her shoulder and becomes a 2/1 token creature with haste. That's three power and four toughness with no downside for two mana. It doesn't get much more aggro than that.
Kari and Ragavan are a slam dunk in cubes of every size. I have already pre-ordered my foil copy for $10.00 with a side of token for a dollar more. The Keldon Marauders have finally met their match. I suspect her price will spike for a while as she is sure to be a hit with Commander fans looking to brew in mono-red. The best part? Pirate.
So while it is mostly a disappointing release for us cube players, Kari is an exciting card to add to your aggro archetypes. Hey, a "light" set isn't all bad, it's a good opportunity to buy up that expensive cube staple you have had your eye on. What did you add to your cube from Aether Revolt? Sound out in the comments below!
See you in the sands of Amonkhet!