It sure is a busy time in Magic, isn’t it gamers? We’re getting previews for The Brothers War, it feels like Dominaria United just released, and yesterday Twitter was on fire with the announcement of new gold-backed copies of original dual lands and the Power 9. And none of that is today’s topic!
Product delays earlier in the year stacked the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks and Unfinity releases right in the middle of all of this. Un-sets haven’t historically been terribly deep wells for Cube relevance, but today I’m going to make the case for ten cards from the set.
The major shift in Unfinity from previous Un-sets is that some of the cards are going to be tournament legal. I’m not here to comment on that decision, but it is relevant to today’s breakdown. Before we had the full preview, this had me wondering if there would be ten tournament-legal cards worth discussing from the set, which would make for a pretty interesting breakdown, but ultimately too many of the acorn-stamped cards caught my eye, while not enough of the more mundane tournament cards did to go down that road. So bear in mind that my Top 10 is going to include some cards (maybe as many as ten!) that some playgroups will find unsavory.
Before I get to my list, I want to say that I broadly disregarded any Attraction or sticker cards from consideration. I do think that there’s a lot of fun to be had with these cards, but the way you get attractions and stickers in Cube is going to either involve going really hard on supporting these themes and having those cards be draftable, or doing a house rule where you provide some to players outside the draft. Neither approach screams “broad Cube appeal,” so I haven’t expended much mental energy considering these cards. I didn’t pay too much mind to most of the die-rolling cards either. It’s really relieving when some cards aren’t for you!
Honorable Mention: ________ Goblin
Of course, there is one sticker card that has generated a lot of buzz, largely due to its potential in Legacy Goblins decks. I’m of course referring to ________ Goblin, my one honorable mention from Unfinity. When I first saw the card I wasn’t sure how much mana you could expect the card to make, and the common meme involves a sticker with only one vowel, which doesn’t make for a very powerful card at all! Including one sticker card with a specific house rule involving how to handle stickers, especially if the card does end up being some manner of Legacy mainstay, is a lot easier to implement than building a whole environment full of Attractions and sticker cards. I kind of expect this one to be fairly popular and to make its way into some Cubes.
So with that caveat that ________ Goblin might actually end up being the most popular Cube card from the set, let’s get to my list of the Top 10 most Cube-worthy cards from Unfinity!
10. Form of the Approach of the Second Sun
Dexterity cards aren’t tournament-legal as a category, and there’s plenty of reason not to include such cards in your Cube. That said, Form of the Approach of the Second Sun is really, really funny. It’s like a less balanced Approach of the Second Sun that requires more balance.
A lot of Un-cards involve some involvement of people outside the game, but I like that Form of the Approach of the Second Sun only asks anything of its caster. You know what you’re getting into when you draft the card, and it’s not oppressively powerful to play against. I’d be pretty happy to see this one in a pack.
9. Starlight Spectacular
Starlight Spectacular isn’t so much funny as it is silly. That silliness obscures how powerful it is as an Anthem effect. It breaks even in terms of how much total additional power and toughness you get with a traditional Anthem at three creatures, but giving one of them +2/+2 instead of +1/+1 can really change the texture of combat, and things get out of control once you have four or more creatures.
Magic is pretty long on Anthem effects and even on huge pump effects that can break open battlefield stalls, but this is an efficient version of that sort of thing for a Cube with a heavy token theme. More than the spell’s power level, I just think that lining your creatures up in parade is a fun mechanic. This card does something ultimately pretty boring mechanically that we’ve seen a thousand times, but in a new and fun way.
Similarly to Starlight Spectacular, this is another tournament-legal card that isn’t doing anything terribly unique. It presents some hoops to jump through to be a pretty good pump spell, deliberately designed to not go berserk with changelings by making Brushwaggs illegal targets. It’s a really nice way to pump your Seton’s Scout, though! Cubes with a lot of snow and artifact and enchantment creatures will get good mileage out of this one, but the application here is very contextual. As they say, though, a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man. Again, nothing super-flashy here, just a perfectly cromulent card.
7. Saw in Half
Now we get to a tournament-legal card that actually is flashy and different. Saw in Half is pretty bad if you read “destroy target creature” and expect a kill spell. It’s also maybe not the best Clone effect when you really get into what the card does. What it is great at doing, though, is Cloning something in response to your opponent trying to kill it. Not to mention that there are plenty of great black creatures to Clone, while black typically doesn’t get this sort of effect.
I’m particularly interested in slotting this card into sacrifice decks. It offers a death trigger and the ability to copy your payoffs like Blood Artist. Remember, you round up, so it is just a full Clone on that one! This screams inclusion for my Spooky Cube, which is heavy on Clones to support its tribal themes in addition to featuring robust Sacrifice support.
6. Sole Performer
Sole Performer presumably isn’t tournament-legal because of how wacky it is to generate the tap symbol as a resource. A four-mana 2/2 isn’t going to break anything in Legacy, but there’s something unsavory about what the card does. It’s not immediately obvious how it works, which is that basically you can spend those floating symbols instead of tapping something that requires tapping as a cost. As a baseline, this means generating two additional mana from your basic lands. But it sure gets funkier from there.
It’s not really significant to play a four-mana creature to get more mileage out of Gaea’s Cradle, but what about stuff like Lux Cannon? Birthing Pod? This is an exciting creature to try to untap with, and there are all sorts of things you can do with this effect. A somewhat expensive, fragile body on a card that isn’t tournament-legal make for a lot of hoops to jump through for Cube play, but there’s an audience for this sort of thing, and it’s fun.
5. Clown Car
Just going by the name, you’d probably not expect a card called Clown Car to be tournament-legal, but you’d be wrong! The variance inherent with Clown Car is going to be a turn-off for some, but the scalability helps to give you a better idea of what you’re going to get, and if you roll enough dice, that’s some combination of a large Vehicle, a small army, and most relevantly, a Vehicle that gives you the resources to crew itself.
I don’t think that Clown Car is as exciting as a card like Stonecoil Serpent for relevance as an early-game play, but it does scale really well and offers multiple artifacts in one card. The thing about dice and variance is that you reduce variance by rolling a lot of dice! It’s somewhere between Secure the Wastes and Sigil of Distinction for outcomes, but it can go in any deck and provides better materials than at least one of those cards.
This is an easy include for my Artifact Twobert, and is great for any Cube with heavy artifact support or just one looking for a solid but not overwhelming colorless option. I’m sure that this card will lead to some bad beats based on the results of die rolls, but Cube is at its best when there’s at least a little drama.
4. Nearby Planet
Nearby Planet has a little too much nonsense going on to be tournament-legal, but a lot of the text is superfluous, and it does feel like a normal Magic card for some applications. Most notably, it’s a land that gives you full domain all by itself. Seems like a home run for the Domain Twobert!
I’m also a bit intrigued by the idea of Urza lands in a Cube. To make them compelling, you really need to be at a smaller size, but there could be something there, and Nearby Planet is a way to really make them do their thing with some consistency. There’s probably less going on with Cloudpost, but that’s an option too. This potential really opens up if you’re willing to break singleton for these lands. This space is unique, and I see a lot of potential there for fun environments.
3. Killer Cosplay
Killer Cosplay was one of the first Unfinity cards previewed, and it was love at first sight for me. The burden of knowing enough cards to play Mental Magic while navigating a regular game of Magic is too much to ask for a tournament-legal card, not to mention that the ways that this card could be broken are too many to bother considering and playtesting. I’m a simple man, though, and I just want to turn my Arcbound Worker into a Phyrexian Dreadnought.
Three is a pretty steep equip cost, but one is a very low mana value. Killer Cosplay lends itself naturally to Cubes with a heavy volume of artifacts that are open to a little silliness, and even without that volume of artifacts, this card is just exciting to play with. It gives you options… a lot of options. What’s not to love?
2. Comet, Stellar Pup
Magic’s newest, best doggo. I don’t really know what the average turn looks like when you activate Comet, but I do know that I love Comet and that I would die for Comet. I also know that this card is Legacy legal. It’s not breaking any rules, I guess; it’s just kind of wild.
Does Comet lend support to any significant archetypes? Planeswalkers matter is a real enough thing, and I can imagine that some players will design Cubes with heavy die-rolling themes. Is Comet an especially powerful card? That remains to be seen. The starting loyalty is high, and the abilities are all solid if random. The only real whammy sometimes happens when you roll a 3 and you don’t have great options in your graveyard. I’m more excited about the idea of playing with Comet than I imagine I would be to actually incorporate the card into any of my Cubes, but I’d be pretty delighted to see Comet in somebody else’s Cube.
1. Opening Ceremony
Opening Ceremony is not tournament legal, but it is evocative of one of the most awesome Un-cards for Cube in history in Booster Tutor. Different groups use different rules for these cards, with some just generating a “pack” from undrafted Cube cards, and others actually cracking boosters. There’s no wrong way to do it, and either way can be really wild and fun.
Opening Ceremony is a free spell, which means it has potential to show up in degenerate combo decks, but it’s also a really swingy way to break into a more generic game of attrition. Sometimes your pack will just give you a decent removal spell and a creature to go along with it. Sometimes it will give you a castable bomb rare. And sometimes it will give you nothing of value at all! This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but I personally love it.
Unfinity seems to be a pretty polarizing set, but it offers at least a couple of cards that I intend to Cube with. I’m sure there’s an audience for an Attractions Cube and one that incorporates a lot of stickers, too. There’s a tendency in a lot of Magic players to take themselves and the game too seriously at times, and I’m grateful for the levity.