Set Prospective


July 22nd, 2020 — Andy Mangold

This article is one of our set prospectives, a series in which we survey the Cube community about the cards they intend to play in their cubes from a particular set. Our survey is conducted between the set’s full-spoiler and official release and is meant to measure and document Cube designers’ first impressions of new cards.

Jumpstart, a new kind of supplemental product from Wizards of the Coast, contains very few cards of interest to non-rarity restricted cube designers, though it does have some standouts for Peasant and Pauper. This survey was run concurrently with our Core Set 2021 survey, and while we collected 115 responses for that set, Jumpstart only garnered 42. It seems clear to me that most cube curators are simply not testing any cards from Jumpstart, myself included. But alas, my cube is unrestricted — our rarity restricted friends are faring much better.

I won’t be expounding on the unrestricted cards that topped the survey, as even the most popular, Emiel the Blessed and Spiteful Prankster, are only being tested by 1/3rd of the already suppressed number of respondents, and earned middling scores.

Filter by rarity:
Card TestersRank 
Spiteful Prankster50.0%2.4
Thriving Isle42.9%2.7
Thriving Moor42.9%2.7
Thriving Grove42.9%2.7
Thriving Bluff42.9%2.7
Thriving Heath42.9%2.7
Emiel the Blessed28.6%2.1
Kels, Fight Fixer21.4%1.8
Release the Dogs17.9%1.9
Makeshift Munitions14.3%2.3
Lightning Phoenix14.3%1.9
Allosaurus Shepherd14.3%2.8
Immolating Gyre14.3%1.4
Trusty Retriever10.7%2.1
Scholar of the Lost Trove10.7%2.3
Tinybones, Trinket Thief10.7%1.8
Stone Haven Pilgrim10.7%2.1
Cards being tested by fewer than 3 respondents not shown.
Spiteful Prankster
Release the Dogs
Peasant Standouts

Although our sample size is quite small, 100% of the peasant cube designers surveyed are testing Spiteful Prankster. What’s more, these players are optimistic about the card’s performance, giving it a rating of 2.5 on average. This three-drop gives some much desired depth to the aristocrats archetype prevalent in many Peasant cubes without being so narrow as to be unplayable in a different sort of deck. It’s much the same story with Release the Dogs, though only 2/3rds of our respondents will be sleeving it up. The card is a decent rate for the effect — 4 mana for four 1/1 creatures — whose stock goes way up in a token-focused or otherwise go-wide strategy. It scored a bit lower than the devil, coming in right in the middle of our scale with a 2.0.

Thriving Heath
Thriving Moor
Thriving Grove
Thriving Isle
Thriving Bluff
Thriving Lands

A new cycle of fixing lands, reminiscent of the vivid lands, allows players to fix for any two color pair that contains their primary color. I really like this design for limited environments: these lands are much more open picks than dual lands as each represents four possible color combinations. They fill a similar slot as fetchlands at higher power-levels, giving players the option to prioritize fixing highly without having to commit to a specific color combination. A portion of our Peasant cube designers are testing them, but they are a boon for Pauper, with 100% of surveyed players including them in their cube and giving them a ranking of 3, the highest score possible. We’re not working with a huge sample size, but this is unprecedented consensus for one of our surveys nonetheless.

Brian DeMars is even going as far as replacing the non-basics in his Battle Box with them, as he explained in his recent update. While it’s easy to get caught up in the flashy mythic rares and power-crept bombs with each set, I’m grateful for the opportunity to appreciate clean, effective designs like the thriving lands, which will undoubtedly be a staple of rarity-restricted, budget-restricted, and kitchen table metas for years to come.

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Tinybones, Trinket Thief — Jason Rainville