Building My Own Cube, pt. 2 – Ephara

Ephara, God of the Polis

First, two things I failed to mention in the first post: This is going to be a standard 360 card, singleton cube. I just want to keep decks from becoming stale, but at the same time, I want the Gods to be available in all drafts.

Of the 360, first 15 are the gods.

Assuming I’ll have thirty or so lands and colorless cards, that leaves us with 315 colored cards. If I put in five for each color-combination, that leaves us with 53 for each color. With 10 distinct color-combinations, I can put 16 one-color cards for each two-color theme into the set and still be left with 19 “goodstuff” cards for each color. Maybe I’ll put one hybrid for each color pair as well? Sound good, which leaves us with 11 goodstuff cards (10 different hybrids).

To be clear, I’ll consider two-colored to be cards where you can get full value by playing all the colors in the cards color identity (if you don’t know what this is, read Commander rules) or otherwise you need to have access to several colors. If you can use it fully in decks with either of its colors (not counting synergies), its hybrid. For example, Dimir Guildmage would be considered two-colored, as would Scholar of Athreos and Steel of the Godhead, while Deathcult Rogue would be considered hybrid.

To recap:

15 gods
30 lands and artifacts
5 * 10 = 50 two-colored cards
10 * 16 = 160 themed single-color cards
1 * 10 = 10 hybrid cards
19 * 5 = 95 goodstuff cards
360 total

Gods have been chosen, I’ll save hybrids, goodstuff, as well as the lands and colorless for the end, so I’ll have these ten color-paired articles have 5 + 15 card choices, with some discussion on the reasoning.

Ephara’s Two-Colored Cards

First, I want to put in at least one clearly Ephara-flavored card into the cube. I’m thinking Ephara’s Enlightenment. Its also a pretty good card, expecially if your opponent is not holding removal.

Second, we need some cards to play with the theme of drawing cards from creatures entering the battlefield. Momentary Blink sounds like a reasonable choice. Its a good card against removal and brings extra value as well.

In similar vein, Azorius Aethermage is something we can maybe bring some synergies to. The problem is, its a very poor card without support. I’ll leave it out. I don’t want to tie my hands too much.

Brago, King Eternal sounds better. It might actually be too powerful, but its in for now.

Deputy of Acquittals is a common? Okay. Seems a bit too good for that, but seems fine for my cube.

Geist of Saint Traft would be nice, but goes way over the price limit I decided to use.

Hussar Patrol is pretty mediocre in cube-terms, but for this deck the Flash brings certain added benefits, so maybe.

Ojutai’s Command has some synergies with Ephara, so again, maybe. Feels somewhat forced though and might be above my cap.

Saving Grasp? It fits into the theme, but doesn’t seem very powerful. On the other hand, it does have some synergy with a another theme, so its in.

Thunderclap Wyvern has flash and does enable other strategies, so it seems good.

Venser the Sojourner would be good here, but there’s that pesky price issue…

The blue-white cards:

Ephara’s EnlightenmentMomentary BlinkSaving GraspThunderclap WyvernBrago, King Eternal

White

White definitely has a bunch of good creatures with Flash, but they tend to be quite pricey. I would like to use Dust Elemental and maybe Affa Guard Hound. With all the flash I’ll have in the blue section, I think that’s enough of that ability. Hushwing Gryff might fit the bill as well, but since this deck has plenty of ETB effects, you might just be punishing yourself. Jeskai Barricade would work as well, but again, enough of that theme, but I’ll still put in a Scout’s Warning.

So, what else do we want with Ephara? I’m guessing this deck will be quite mana intensive. You want to play a creature both during your turn and your opponents turn (or do something else to flicker or blink your creatures), so you’ll need to hit those land drops. For this reason, I’ll put in Eternal Dragon, Knight of the White Orchid and Gift of Estates.

Also, we want those flicker and blink effects. Cloudshift fits the bill. Eldrazi Displacer would too, except that I don’t think there’ll be very much support for colorless mana. So, Ghostway will have to do.

Affa Guard HoundDust ElementalScout’s WarningEternal DragonKnight of the White Orchid
Gift of EstatesCloudshiftGhostway

Blue

I’m putting in another subtheme of Faeries, just so there’s something to compete over with another theme, we’ll get to later. I just find it important that there’s something to compete over, so the decks have more variety between sessions.

For this reason, Dewdrop Spy. Its not very powerful, but has Flash and can do something that might be important to a certain kind of deck.

In the same vein, Faerie Harbinger. Again, not especially powerful, but works within the theme. Other possible cards from within the Faerie theme: Faerie Impostor, Spellstutter Sprite, Glen Elendra Archmage, Glen Elendra Pranksters, Pestermite, Quickling and Scion of Oona. I do want to put one non-Faerie card into the cube in this slot, so that leaves me with room for seven Faeries. Therefore, I have to cut two. I’ll take out Pestermite and Faerie Harbinger at this point.

The card I wanted besides the Faeries is this one: Familiar’s Ruse. As MaRo often says, abusing the drawbacks feels like getting away with something and makes us feel good. With Ephara, you can gain a lot of value by being able to bounce your creature, but it also works well with the Faerie ETB-effects.

Dewdrop SpyFaerie HarbingerFaerie ImpostorSpellstutter SpriteGlen Elendra Pranksters
QuicklingScion of OonaFamiliar’s Ruse

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