New World Order is a name for the shift in design mentality that occurred at Wizards during the design of Lorwyn Block. It’s the rule by which newer sets are made that says complexity should not appear at common. For my introductory article, please read Gleaming the Cube – Pauper Cube by Liam Casserly
Right, now lets jump straight into it.
As a colour identity what does White want to do?
Well, in the post-New World Order design environment it has settled down to be the colour that goes with its army wider than other colours. And it gets a lot of small buffs, especially in a common slot… So, the winning strategy is to deploy lots of little dudes and then give them +x/+x effects (usually +1/+1 or +2/+2, bigger buffs require Green mana to cast).
As such we can expect a decent number of 1 drops in the cube.
[draft]1 Akrasan Squire
1 Deftblade Elite
1 Gideon’s Lawkeeper
1 Goldmeadow Harrier
1 Icatian Javelineers
1 Infantry Veteran
1 Ramosian Sergeant
1 Steppe Lynx[/draft]
Let’s start with Icatian Javelineers, because that was the card that inspired me to write these articles. This card is a 1/1 for 1 – so normally not a great deal. I mean, even if he had flying that would be a bad card. So why does he make it into the Cube? Well, he probably kills your opponent’s one drop if you’re lucky enough to pay this on turn one. But also in this Cube he trades for a lot of other stuff later on in the game. Red and Black have a lot of x/1 creatures.
Infantry Veteran has an effect that is a must for White. Tap the card and give target attacking creature +1/+1, it makes blocking awkward for your opponent. It’s also one of those on board effects that we don’t see in common any longer so that’s another reason why it makes the cut.
Steppe Lynx is another great Cube card. He’s a 0/1 but he gets landfall bonus: +2/+2 whenever a land comes into play under your control. If you were to pair White with say, Green, it has a few cards that put multiple lands into play in a turn. This little one drop can quickly get out of hand.
What about non-creature 1 drops?
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Mana Tithe[/draft]
With this being a Pauper Cube, we don’t get access to those wonderful one mana removal spells like Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile. The third best thing is Condemn. It’s like Swords but it puts it on the bottom of the owner’s library. This is fine in this Cube because there is little card tutoring.
Ethereal Armor can get pretty big as there are lots of White enchantments and a few in Green too. But as I mentioned in the intro article, this is a world with Doom Blade and Terror – we should draft our decks with this knowledge.
Mana Tithe is in, because having a White counter spell is the last thing anyone expects.
[draft]1 Amrou Scout
1 Blade of the Sixth Pride
1 Daring Skyjek
1 Defiant Falcon
1 Errant Doomsayers
1 Knight of Cliffhaven
1 Kor Skyfisher
1 Lone Missionary
1 Porcelain Legionnaire
1 Ramosian Lieutenant
1 Temple Acolyte
1 Syndic of Tithes
1 Soltari Trooper
1 Stormfront Pegasus[/draft]
Blade of the Sixth Pride and Porcelain Legionnaire are similar but you get the bonus of first strike on the Legionnaire. You have to pay life for it if you want it on turn two, but trust me – you do. You can add Daring Skyjek to the 3/1-for-2-mana club.
Amrou Scout, Defiant Falcon and Ramosian Lieutenant are cards that search up rebels. That’s a decent strategy in this Cube. If we decide to replace any of these, the critical mass needed to play with rebels goes away. Then you would have to replace the whole lot.
A few come-into-play life gain creatures are helpful and nearly always appear in White Limited sets. They are not everyone’s favourites (not mine for sure), but the Cube needs to be able to support different styles of play.
Syndic of Tithes is an absolute bomb in this Cube. I can always tell when I’m playing with a newer player as this card hits the table. Even if I’m not in White, I take this card – because of the amount of times I’ve lost to it, when my opponent played it on turn two and drained me for 6 or 7 life before I could get rid of it. It’s an awful card to play against. I love it in the Cube.
[draft]1 Bonds of Faith
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Temporal Isolation[/draft]
So this is White’s 2 drop non-creature selection. Bonds of Faith can either be a removal spell in the mold of Pacifism or it can be a buffing aura to one of your humans. Either way, both those two and Journey to Nowhere will pump your Ethereal Armor. As does Temporal Isolation which is essentially the same card, but does its job in a different way. The creature can still attack, and in most cases can’t be blocked, but it doesn’t deal any combat damage.
Shelter always goes late. It’s strange that most people don’t seem to want to play it. It protects a creature and draws you a card – that’s great but it’s perhaps not as appealing as some of the other spells in the Cube. It’s possible that this should be replaced with Feat of Resistance. Perhaps players enjoy counters more than cards. Fools.
CMC 3 and 4
[draft]1 Aven Riftwatcher
1 Ballynock Cohort
1 Kor Hookmaster
1 Zealot il-vec
1 Troubled Healer
1 Soltari Visionary
1 Thermal Glider
1 Nightwind Glider
1 Saltfield Recluse
1 Silkbind Faerie[/draft]
[draft]1 Assault Griffin
1 Coalition Honor Guard
1 Guardian of the Guildpact
1 Seraph of Dawn[/draft]
The 3 and 4 drop creatures are what you would expect from White. Ballynock Cohort should nearly always be a 3/3 for 3 mana. White’s creatures like to play with friends.
Kor Hookmaster reads a lot like the tap cat from Theros (Leonin Snarecaster), but with the added extra of the creature not untapping in the next untap step. Sometimes this will be enough to push through lethal damage.
Saltfield Recluse does not read like it’s that good deal. A -2/-0 effect is not anything you want to play, but give it a body to make it repeatable, and your opponent before going into combat has to calculate every possible connection and it gets a little better.
For some reason Silkbind Faerie is in with the White cards. That’s fine, tapping a creature on board is normally a White thing. These sorts of effects can literally take over a game. It’s one of those things that is good if you’re in front or behind. The untap mechanic scares a few of the newer players, but a couple of drafts of the Cube and they get what this card is about.
Coalition Honor Guard is a strange one – I think mostly because it has the word ‘honor’ on it and not the correct spelling ‘honour’. I’m joking, of course. This card plays a little like Spellskite, but without you having the choice of whether to change the target. It also survives Lightning Bolt which is nice.
[draft]1 Bound in Silence
1 Oblivion Ring[/draft]
[draft]1 Blinding Beam
1 Faith’s Fetters
1 Heavy Ballista
1 Kor Sanctifiers[/draft]
Most of these cards are the same thing, and the same as the previous White non-creature spells. This shows what it is you have to do to build a Singleton Cube: redundancy. You aren’t going to be seeing packs that contain lots of O’-Rings, so you have to have a bunch of different cards that are basically Oblivion Rings. Blinding Beam is also a repetition of Kor Hookmaster. Heavy Ballista is another one of those cards that makes it hard for your opponent to block or attack.
CMC 5 and 6
[draft]1 Totem-Guide Hartebeest[/draft]
[draft]1 Noble Templar
1 Razor Golem[/draft]
Not much going on with the Totem-Guide Hartebeest’s power and toughness, but being able to go and get an aura from your library can be game-changing.
Noble Templar cycles – that’s its thing. At 6 cmc it might look a little expensive, but it can shut down quite a few creatures with its presence.
That vigilance is super useful, which is why Razor Golem makes the cut in this particular cube. Having affinity for Plains also makes this card an early play in a heavy-White deck.
[draft]1 Knightly Valor[/draft]
In my cube if you want tokens in White, you have to pay 5 cmc for that privilege. But don’t worry, it’s a good deal because you can give another creature you control +2/+2.
So that is what it looks like at the moment. Is there a case to be made for any Standard legal cards to make their way into the Cube?
Hopeful Eidolon was a premium uncommon during Theros Draft. It’s great as a 1 drop in that format, knowing that you might be able to build it up with later bestow creatures. But in this Cube is it possible to build up your 1 drop? Probably not, so that leaves it as a 5 drop to stick on something big. It might work.
What about the Sandsteppe Outcast? That has been called ‘a rare common’, because it hardly ever gets passed in draft. I can see that card slotting in quite nicely into the Cube and bringing along 1/1 flying spirit token.
Community Question: What cards from Dragons of Tarkir do you want to put in your Cube?
Next time it’s Blue!