Thanks to some help from her good friend Nicol Bolas, Vraska is now the new guild leader of the Golgari. Does this new management bring us powerful new cards? Let’s take a look!
What else needs to be said about this card? It’s amazing, and almost everyone is talking about it. Cube is a very powerful environment, and you will frequently come across many cards that must be dealt with immediately. Sometimes though you’ll have the wrong answer and you’ll just sit there helplessly as your opponent beats your face in. Targeting any permanent is huge, and the downside doesn’t matter much when you aren’t dying. Yeah, this is probably the best card in the set. Grade A+
Find // Finality
For cubes that are focused on making Golgari into the deck that can grind all of your opponents into dust, this is the card for you. The front half of the card does a good job of recurring any bombs or utility creatures you might have such as Sakura-Tribe Elder, and it’s a natural 2 for 1 provided you have enough creatures. The other half of this card is also excellent for grinding the game out. 6 mana is a lot, but if you can save something it can go a long way towards winning you the game. Overall though, I feel that both halves are too inefficient to really make an impact in most cubes. Grade B-
This card is interesting. As a potential 3 for 1, it looks pretty awesome. Playing Damnation followed by this is a really powerful line, and can give you an instant board state. However, I can’t say I’m sold on this card. Getting the stars to align where you return 3 cards from your graveyard is going to be a challenge, and some of the creatures you return just aren’t going to do much. Restricting it to 1, 2, and 3 CMC creatures really limit its power. If you aren’t playing Living Death due to power concerns then you could play this instead. Otherwise, this probably isn’t going to make a splash in cube. Grade C-
For only 2 mana, this card has a lot of text. A 3/2 with reach is already above average, but having the ability to also Plummet a creature is surprisingly good. With only 2 creatures in your graveyard, this can kill a Baneslayer Angel. (Notably, first strike damage only applies during the combat phases). Most Plummet effects don’t see play in cube, due to being both narrow and weak, but with the fail case on this card still being a 3/2 with Reach, I am really impressed. Grade A-
This is a very similar card to Grim Haruspex. The differences between this card and Grim Haruspex are subtle but notable. To start, the creature type for Midnight Reaper is a zombie, which matters for some cubes. Midnight Reaper also deals damage to you, in return for being able to trigger off of himself dying. Otherwise they are almost the same card. If you have an aristocrats or sacrificial theme and already play Grim Haruspex, you may want to consider Midnight Reaper as a replacement or another draw engine. Grade B
Mono green aggro is looking better and better! With an ability very similar to Evolve, Pelt Collector is looking to be Experiment 2.0. Triggering on death as well as ETB is really important because as soon as your opponent tries to nullify your biggest threat you just get another beefy dude. Giving himself trample is also really nice to ensure you can push through extra points of damage. This card is playable as long as Mono green aggro is a viable archetype in the cube, and with this printing there just might be enough to do it. Grade B+
A Fleshbag Marauder with better stats and the ability to kill Planeswalkers is not something I expected. Turn 4 Jace on an empty board is a lot less terrifying with this card. I also really like the fact that you can just jam this on turn 3, sacrifice your irrelevant 1 drop, and still get them to discard a card. There is a lot to like about this card, and the only reason I see to be playing Fleshbag Marauder instead of this is because of tribal reasons. Grade B+
Status // Statute
Putrefy is a very versatile card and a staple in many cubes. Being able to blow up so many different permanents is important to keeping more degenerate things in check. This card is Putrefy for one more mana but also gives you the option to give something Deathtouch, and can be played in more than just base GB decks. The added versatility combined with a cheaper way to deal with opposing creatures could make for a more interesting draft. However, 4 mana is a lot for a Putrefy. Is granting a creature deathtouch worth it for a 4 mana Putrefy? Probably not, but I believe it’s worth testing. Grade C+
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Vraska finally achieved her goal and became the queen of the Golgari. A 4 mana planeswalker that has a starting loyalty of 6 is pretty impressive, and a +2 does a lot to recover after attacks. Drawing cards and gaining life is pretty great, and it being optional is really good for when you power her out on turn 3 with a mana dork, but still want to keep them around for later. After a single plus, she can Abrupt Decay twice which is fantastic for decks that want to grind. And of course, the obligatory her ultimate wins you the game. Overall, she seems really efficient and looks to be a pretty powerful walker. I’ll be testing her out in my cube once I can get my hands on a copy. Grade A
A five mana 4/3 isn’t all that impressive, but that isn’t enough to make me dislike this card. The top text of this card is very powerful card selection, and a single Brainstorm can let you choose from the top 9 cards of your library! You have to be careful though, as too many activations and you’ll run out of cards due to it not being a may effect. Killing the Lich is also going to be pretty difficult, thanks to it’s instant speed “regeneration”. If you can get one or two draw steps in with this card, you are bound to find all the answers you need. But at 5 mana, two draw steps might be asking for too much. Grade B
Golgari got a lot of sweet new toys this set, and no it’s not just Assassin’s Trophy. Vraska has a lot of potential as a 4 mana planeswalker, and there are a lot of cards that have been added that provide some much-needed redundancy such as Pelt Collector or introduce vital limited cards such as Plummet into the more powerful cube environment. Tomorrow I’ll be going over Selesnya, the final guild in this set.