RNA Cube Set Review: Gruul

Not Gruul? Then die!

Image result for gruul symbol

Domri, Chaos Bringer

Out of all the Planeswalkers in the set, this is the one I am most excited for. While he is never going to be as busted as something like Jace, the Mind Sculptor I still believe that he is a solid card that deserves consideration. Compared to other Gruul walkers, Domri does beat his previous incarnation by a mile but is on a much closer footing to Xenagos, the Reveler. He can’t protect himself like Xenagos can which is the main reason to not play Domri. However, a starting loyalty of 5, with the ability to divination 2 creatures out of the top 4 cards gives some serious card advantage to Gruul. (I initially read it as top 5 cards. It’s much worse this way). I also believe this card’s plus is better on average than Xenagos. Rioting an Inferno Titan to give it haste is really scary and might make Domri worth considering. Grade B

Ravager Wurm

Upon first look, I don’t want to say this card is good. 6 mana is a lot in the realm of cube, and it has to compete with other cards such as Inferno Titan, Primeval Titan, Carnage Tyrant etc. But the more I think about how this card will play out, makes me think it is probably better than I am giving it credit for. It has a nice array of abilities that all lead to very beneficial choices, and will make this card play better than it seems at first glance. I’m not confident enough to say this will make it into cubes, but I feel that it is still very respectable and will be better than it seems. Grade C+

Nikya, of the Old Ways

Mirari’s Wake is a card that many cubes opt not to play anymore, however, I still play it because I find it to be incredibly fun and lead to diverse decks. Nikya is a Gruul Mirari’s Wake which has me really excited as I don’t typically need white in my super ramp decks. A 5/5 body instead of an anthem is still really good and the art looks pretty awesome. But, the thing that kills this card for me and makes me not want to cube with it is the inability to cast noncreature spells. Some of the best spells you want to sink dozens of mana into are X spells such as Green Sun’s Zenith and Fireball. That one clause puts too much restriction on the card and makes it very unlikely to see play in my cube, unfortunately. Grade C

Gruul Spellbreaker

This is the talk of the set and is one of the most highly anticipated Gruul cards for the upcoming Standard season. The ability to neuter control decks by singlehandedly stopping Settle the Wreckage makes this card great for Standard. I am less excited for this in cube. Temporary hexproof only does so much, and many spells in cube that target the player are sorcery speed such as Thoughtseize. Gruul Spellbreaker is an awesome card for Standard but underwhelming for cube. Grade B-

Skarrgan Hellkite

Yet another 5 mana dragon along the lines of Thundermaw Hellkite, this one is not as good as the others I’m afraid. While the choice between a 4/4 haste or a 5/5 are really nice Thundermaw Hellkite is just both. It’s activated ability is also pretty good, but you need to stick a counter on it first (which keeps you from using haste barring other cards) and it is 4 mana to activate. Glorybringer, on the other hand, is just a 4/4 with haste that can snipe a 4 toughness creature. So while this card is still good, it’s just not as good as the other options. Grade B-

Thrash // Threat

Versatility is great to have, and this one has some fantastic applications no matter what matchup it is. Whether you’re up against mono-red or creatureless control, this card is never dead. While each individual half may not be as powerful as a full card on its own, the versatility this provides is more than worth it. This isn’t a 360 all-star, but I think that 720 cubes will appreciate this. Grade B

Collision // Colossus

As MtG Arena encourages more games to be best of one, this means we get to see more cards that have more applications beyond being narrow answers. I like this card because it is both a plummet and a pump spell. You should rarely put a card like plummet into the main deck, but Collision // Colossus makes this card much less likely to be dead. While this card may not make it into most cubes, I approve of the design philosophy that best of one is encouraging. Grade C

Electrodominance

I am of the belief that every cube should include at least one Fireball type effect. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Fireball itself, but something that you can dump all of your mana into for a big explosive finish is awesome and gives ramp decks another finisher that can also be played in mono-red. Electrodominance is probably the best Fireball that cube has ever gotten, and gives even more decks access to this classic X spell. I think this card is also just really cool, being able to cast anything with flash is awesome and can lead to some crazy turns where you deal 4 to their best creature and then drop a Jace on their end step. This card also gives enough support for an As Foretold, Ancestral Vision, Living End style of deck. I am a big fan of this card, and will happily cube it as soon as I get the chance. Grade A

End-Raze Forerunners

It’s not Craterhoof but I actually view that as a plus. Many cubes are at a power level where Craterhoof Behemoth is just way too dangerous of a card to include. End-Raze Forerunners is a much more reasonable Craterhoof style of card that will most likely still end games the turn it comes down. It will also cost much, much less than Craterhoof and for those trying to cube on a budget, End-Raze Forerunners will be a great substitute. Grade B+

Immolation Shaman

Hate bears are great to have, but Immolation Shaman just seems weak to me. Mono-red much prefers to see 2/2’s for 2 as opposed to 1/3’s, and pinging for 1 is just not very good especially when Harsh Mentor has the exact same ability but can ping for 2. Having a mana sink is very nice, but if your creature doesn’t become threatening in combat until you spend 7 mana on it, I can’t really say that I’m impressed. Grade C-

That’s all for Gruul cards in this set. While Gruul may not have gotten anything that will stand the test of cubes for all of time, I still think there are many solid playables to be found in this set for Gruul. Tomorrow I will be reviewing Simic, and it’s finally time to see if Simic actually got playable cube cards! Thank you all for reading, have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!

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