Epic Cube Experiment 7
Two colors have undergone radical changes in recent years, the roles they performed in cube have widened. Black has experienced an identity crisis in regards to black based agro, whether or not it has a place in cube. Blue has gone through a renaissance, no longer is it constrained to playing control. Blugro is finally a reality and is a dominant force to be reckoned with.
Black has always been the black sheep out of the five colors, always playing second fiddle. Attempts at being a primary color have failed utterly as we can see from all the monoblack train wrecks. The average black card requires far more support than the colors. Their mana costs are prohibitive and for them to function optimally, your manabase has to be Swamp intensive. Many of us have tried to strengthen monoblack by running more black intensive cards and support lands, Cabal Coffers for instance. We hope to encourage people to stay in black during drafts and have a stronger deck in general but it certainly hasn’t panned out that way. Successfully assembling the deck does not necessarily lead to victory. One major weakness is the lack of answers to artifacts and enchantments.
Due to the disdain people have for monoblack in general, monoblack aggro is treated with the same contempt. I wholeheartedly agree with their sentiments but I feel as though the majority don’t see the whole picture. In standard one of the best decks out there is BR aggro. Have people completely disregarded the fact that black can be paired with another color? Rakdos in my cube is as strong is RDW. Black one drops have about the same amount of drawbacks as the average red one. Depriving a cube of black aggro is going to hurt aggro as a whole overall.
Cube luminary, Matt Kranstuber has implemented measures to combat this. With the addition of the Pox archetype to boost the power level of black aggro, there may still be hope left. Pox revolves around the concept of resource denial paired with persistent threats: Bloodghast and Gravecrawler. The plan is to prolong the early game through hand and land destruction while beating down with dorks.
I am a big fan of powering up certain slightly weaker strategies. Nevertheless I do not agree with powering up bad strategies. Combo in general is terrible in cube unless they can come together naturally, Restoration angel and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker are both good cards that you would play no matter what. Melira combo is something I have seen being discussed. Melira is a card that does nothing outside of the combo. Narrow cards waste precious space in packs.
For me taking out black aggro is rather unfeasible. My color sections sit roughly at the 100s, if I were to remove this archetype; black would drop to the 90s. I like giving all of my colors a chance. I would then have to trim the other sections.
Blugro is the new kid on the block, packing cheap costing yet hard to answer threats with countermagic and bounce. The goal is to time walk the opponent and beat down at the same time while not allowing them to develop their board effectively. Usually it will pair with red or white for maximum effect.
UW is very reminiscent of the past standard Delver deck. White has greater depth in cube, providing you with more versatile spells. One of the glaring holes in the original deck was the lack of efficient point removal. Now there is access to a myriad of one and two man removal. Two of my favorite for this archetype is Armageddon and Grand Arbiter, Augustin IV. Anytime the opponent decides to tap out with a raceable board, you can geddon them and easily win from there. Cheap removal works well by clearing the board of troublesome creatures prior to a geddon. Grand Arbiter, Augustin IV acts as a sphere effect for your opponent and a reverse sphere for you. He limits the amount of plays an opponent may make and delays them, significantly improving the effectiveness of your counterspells and bounce.
UR provides a faster clock compared to UW, you trade resiliency for reach in the form of burn spells. It plays out like RDW except you gain disruption in the form of counters. The reach that burn gives allows you to win through dire looking board states. Land destruction cripples the opponent at an inopportune time sometimes leads to free wins when they can’t mount an effective comeback. U/R has the harder hitting one drops. X spells can clear the board to let creatures get through or go to the dome for large amounts.
Not everyone has these two archetypes in their cube. If you don’t maybe you should try them out for yourself. Diversity is a good thing in cube. Experiment with stuff. I find having access to a forum beneficial. It gives me a place to share ideas and new ones. I highly recommend the mtgsalvation cube forum. Most of the people there are serious about cube and there are many good references.
Go big or go home.