RNA Cube Set Review: Simic

Is 2019 the year we finally get some Simic playables in cube? Let’s see what monstrosities the Simic combine were able to come up with!

Image result for simic symbol

Prime Speaker Vannifar

Birthing Pod is one of my all-time favorite cube cards. Getting it early in a draft and having to carefully plan out your curve in order to create a deck that can go 2 drop, 3 drop, Siege Rhino is super exciting and honestly just a ton of fun. The biggest problem with Birthing Pod is that in order to make a great pod deck you need it as soon as possible. In singleton cubes, one pod is simply not enough, and many cubes have cut this card due to it being a dud in pack 3. Prime Speaker Vannifar helps out pod decks considerably by giving us another copy of the coveted card. While she may not be as good as Birthing Pod, having a second copy does wonders for our singleton cubes. If you’re playing pod, you should be playing Vannifar. Grade A-

Hydroid Krasis

For those of you who support Jellyfish Hydra Beast tribal, bask in the glory that is Hydroid Krasis! For the rest of us normies who don’t support such a deep tribe what does this Krasis offer to us? For one, I think this is one of the best Simic ramp cards ever printed. For a while I have been playing Nissa, Steward of Elements as a reward for anyone who decides to play Simic Ramp and for the past year that she has been in the cube, I haven’t really seen that deck come to fruition. Hydroid Krasis offers a much more valuable card to ramp decks because it draws you cards when you sink a ton of mana into it, even if it is counterspelled. Ramp can often go nuts with it’s mana generation and then not have a payoff, but this Hydra is here to remedy that. I don’t think this card is a fit for every cube, but for the ones that want it, it’s pretty good. Grade B+

Zegana, Utopian Speaker

A +1/+1 counter lord that can grow to be an 8/8 with trample over 2 payments is pretty cool. Now, just based off of her own merits I don’t think she will make it into every cube. Paying 4 mana for a 4/4, and then having to spend 4 more mana to make it threatening is just not good enough for cubes these days. I think where Zegana will shine the best is in cubes that support a +1/+1 counter theme. Giving all of your creatures trample, and replacing herself when she enters the battlefield makes her a much stronger contender. If you can support +1/+1 counters, she will be an excellent finisher for the deck. Grade B+

Frilled Mystic

Mystic Snake but with +1 point of power. Mystic Snake is already a very solid card, and we’ve seen similar cards in the past few sets do exceptionally well. (Spell Queller comes to mind). Is the +1 power worth the additional G in the mana cost? Given that cubes traditionally have incredible fixing, I am inclined to say that it is worth the cost. A 3/2 does a lot more than a 2/2, and unironically, the creature types Elf Lizard Wizard are actually relevant. If you’re playing Mystic Snake right now, I think that you should give the Lizard Wizard a shot. Grade B

Benthic Biomancer

Here is another card that I think will be exceptional in the cubes that support it. On its own, a 3 mana 2/2 that loots is pretty bad. However, it’s second ability does not specify that it needs to adapt in order for you to loot. If you have easy ways to put +1/+1 counters on your creatures, this card can be a really valuable source of card selection that will eventually turn into a threat. If your cube does not support +1/+1 counters don’t run this card, but for every cube that does, this 1 drop is for you. Grade B

Pteramander

While +1/+1 counter themes may be uncommon in cubes, UR spells is very common, and this card is poised to be the next Delver of Secrets. 2 mana for a 5/5 flyer is insane, and the setup cost is to play a normal game of Magic. Filling up a graveyard with 7 instants and sorceries is easier said than done, however, and it’s very unlikely to have this be a 5/5 by turn 3 or sooner. Delver has the advantage of being able to flip as soon as turn 2, but even then it has been cut from many cubes due to it being very unreliable when it comes to flipping. This Salamander is easier to make huge but might require more than a 2 mana investment. Regardless, I still think that this card will perform well and might have a place in cubes. Grade B-

Repudiate // Replicate

Stifle and Cackling Counterpart on the same card. Both of these cards rarely see cube play due to being too narrow or they risk too huge of a blowout if the target is destroyed in response. Putting both of these on the same card is interesting, but I’m not sure if that makes it cubeable. Stifle can exist in cubes thanks to Disallow making the fail case of it being a 3 mana counterspell. The other half of Stifle for this card is much riskier to do, and if your creature gets Pathed in response, you just 2 for 1’d yourself. I can’t see very many cubes playing this card, and you’d only play this if you had very specific reasons to do so. Grade C

Incubation // Incongruity

Compared to the last card, I think this has a better chance of getting into cubes due to the failure case on it being much more unlikely. Digging 5 cards deep for a creature is massive, especially for 1 mana, and it isn’t restricted to being a Simic card necessarily. For example, if someone is drafting Splinter Twin and they come across this card, they would happily play it to find a Deceiver Exarch. That being said, if you do decide to splash green for the other half you get to Beast Within whatever creature you may come across. I’m sure that many people are more than happy to exile an opposing Griselbrand even if they get a 3/3. This duality of cantrip and removal makes me feel that it is more than good enough for cube. Grade B+

Biogenic Ooze

The ooze lord we have all been waiting for. I like this take on a lord as opposed to the traditional +1/+1 boost as +1/+1 counters have far more synergy with a lot more cards. Comparing this to other 5 drops, one of the closest analogies is Verdurous Gearhulk. For the same mana cost, Verdurous Gearhulk gives 8 power, with 4 of it usable immediately. This card instead makes 2 bodies, and turns them both into 3/3’s, with the opportunity to create more oozes as each turn goes on. The big difference between the 2 cards is in how they play. Verdurous Gearhulk is immediate value, whereas the Ooze will most likely win the game if you are allowed to untap with it. Untapping with a creature is incredibly difficult, however, and even though the upside is there, a 5 mana 3/3 is just too fragile. Grade B-

Guardian Project

In cube, this reads “Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, draw a card”. That’s a lot of upside for a 4 mana do nothing enchantment. And I think that is it’s biggest flaw. If you take off your turn 4 to cast this, you are giving up a very valuable turn to ensure that you can keep a full grip of cards. Against decks like control this is incredible, but if you are casting this against aggro you should already be dead. It’s not the most powerful card, and won’t make it into every cube, but if your power level is low enough to support this I could see it doing a lot of work. Grade B-

With Simic’s third outing, I think that we may have finally gotten some playable cube cards if your cube supports the archetypes presented on the cards. We have everything from +1/+1 counters, ramp, birthing pod, and even oozes, but not every cube has these strategies supported. If your cube does support these strategies you have a lot of fun new cards to try out, but for those of you who don’t Simic, unfortunately, does not have a lot to offer you this set. Tomorrow I will be going over the final guild Azorius, so until then have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!

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