Top 10 Cube-Worthy Magic Cards Of Jumpstart 2022

Jumpstart 2022 has Ryan Overturf’s attention for Cubes. What made his Top 10 list of Cube-worthy MTG cards?

Alandra, Sky Dreamer, illustrated by Caroline Gariba

I’d be lying if I told you that I knew Jumpstart 2022 would be released so closely on the heels of The Brothers’ War, but here we are! The new Jumpstart expansion releases this Friday, and while the set looks a little tamer in terms of power level than its processor, there are some very cool designs featured. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get a good Top 10 list from a Jumpstart set, but in looking over the gallery, there were slightly over ten solid considerations. The set is composed of cool build-around packets with a deeper well for more specific contexts and lower power levels, too.

Jumpstart Cubes?

On that note, it seems appropriate to address that the concept of a Jumpstart Cube is one that I find very intriguing, and that other Cube designers have assembled. The concept is fairly simple: you build your own Jumpstart-style packs of twenty cards (you could play with this number, too) and shuffle two together to play some quick games. The Jumpstart product is a great onboarding tool for teaching new players Magic, and a Jumpstart Cube seems awesome to this end, or just for players who don’t much care for drafting and like the idea of quick games with decks that are subject to a little change.

You could make a Jumpstart Cube as simple or complex as you like, though I think that the product itself has some excellent notes that are worth copying. Keeping things mostly mono-color and using lands like Thriving Isle to give decks mana-fixing for any color pair offers a pretty smooth experience. With that power level of land, you want to keep the spell power level a little lower so that games are rarely runaways, too. You could go really deep and try to find a bunch of packets that offer a variety of cross-synergies, or you could mix and match Tron and Merfolk or whatever else! There’s a ton of customizability when it comes to designing a Jumpstart Cube, and it’s something that I’m absolutely interested in working on myself someday.

For today’s purposes, though, I’ll be focusing on the more traditional broad world of Cube. Through that lens, let’s talk about my picks for the Top 10 most Cube-worthy cards from Jumpstart 2022!

10. Creeping Bloodsucker

Creeping Bloodsucker

Creeping Bloodsucker doesn’t look like much, and it really isn’t much, but there’s more than meets the eye here. This one isn’t for higher-power-level Cubes, but it plays into everything that Vampires do as a tribe. Gaining life for payoffs like Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose and getting a sure hit at the opponent’s life for bloodthirst creatures like Bloodlord of Vaasgoth will appeal to some Cube groups. A decent aggro threat and repeatable source of lifegain will have applications for Ajani’s Pridemate fans as well.

Creeping Bloodsucker is also just a reasonable card for a Pauper Cube and beatdown decks at lower power levels. I have a lot of fondness for Dusthunter Bat, Blood Ogre, and Gorehorn Minotaurs, and I can see happily playing Creeping Bloodsucker in a Cube that is closer to the power level of retail Limited.

9. Hold for Questioning

Hold for Questioning

Hold for Questioning is pretty tame as far as blue cards go, and sorcery-speed to boot, but there’s plenty to like here for lower-powered environments. Higher-powered Cubes aren’t going to touch an inefficient Dreadbore despite the Clue upside, but Cubes with lower-powered planeswalkers that aren’t saturated with powerful counterspells and other instant-speed effects benefit a lot from a card like this.

I mostly want to highlight Hold for Questioning for the uniqueness of a blue answer to creatures or planeswalkers, but the card does also gain some value when enchantments matter too. Personally I like the idea of Hold for Questioning more than the card itself, but in a world where people love Beast Within, it’s easy to imagine seeing this card in play on a great many tables.

8. Auntie Blyte, Bad Influence

Auntie Blyte, Bad Influence

Auntie Blyte offers some Death’s Shadow vibes, which I’m all about. There are some unfortunate aspects of the card as compared to Death’s Shadow, though. Life loss off fetchlands and Horizon lands won’t do you any good, and you have to damage yourself once you already control Auntie Blyte to get any benefit, but there are still cool things you can do. Painlands do work, and I’ve targeted myself with a lot of Lightning Bolts over the years. It’s a unique and fun way to pump a creature!

The most exciting aspect of Auntie Blight for me is the pairing with Chain Lightning. When you target yourself with Chain Lightning, you can go ahead and copy that Chain Lightning, seeing as you’re the target. Having a ton of red mana in a Death’s Shadow deck to do this isn’t always a given, but I’ve been having daydreams about spending five red to Chain Lightning myself twice and remove a blocker and attacking with a giant Auntie Blyte. Someday I hope to live this dream.

7. Lita, Mechanical Engineer

Lita, Mechanical Engineer

A 3/3 for three is a solid enough rate, and vigilance on that sort of body makes for a serious threat in a creature-based environment. Tack on Lita’s ability to make giant flying Equipment, and you can really break through a battlefield stall!

Lita doesn’t offer much that you couldn’t get somewhere else, but the card is cool and statted well enough that it’s easy to justify Cubing with it. As long as your Cube supports some kind of aggressive white deck, Lita will likely see at least some amount of play. Beyond that, I want to make Zeppelins and I know I’m not the only one.

6. Pirated Copy

Pirated Copy

First, Pirated Copy is a great card name. 10/10. Five is a little steep for a Clone, but being able to clone opposing creatures is always relevant. More than that, the fact that Pirated Copy lets you draw the cards when you copy an opposing creature and it damages you is pretty nice. I kind of took for granted that the card didn’t work this way, and I’m glad that I gave it a couple of rereads and verified that it does. Even still you won’t see this one in high-powered Cubes, but it’s a lot of fun for lower-powered environments.

Pirates are a tribe that I haven’t been able to make work to this point, but that I’m intrigued by. Mostly I’m a big Siren Stormtamer fan, and am just waiting to get to a good threshold of relevant Pirates and more and better payoffs than Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator.

5. Alandra, Sky Dreamer

Alandra, Sky Dreamer

I have a soft spot for Talrand, Sky Summoner. Talrand has a soft spot for every removal spell ever printed. Alandra can’t go off the same way that Talrand can if you successfully get an untap step, but four toughness makes that goal of untapping a lot less ambitious, and I’m all about cards with high floors. For the most part, you’ll be combining Alandra with all the same cards as Talrand; you’ll just actually be able to execute more often.

I also really like the text about drawing your fifth card in a turn. Easier said than done, but a cool game-ending dream to attach to the card. Like other blue cards on this list, Alandra isn’t going to be able to hang in high-powered Cubes, but is a very fun and welcome addition to mid-powered environments.

4. Distinguished Conjurer

Distinguished Conjurer

Distinguished Conjurer is just one of those cards that has enough stuff going on. Human and Wizard are both potentially relevant types, lifegain can matter when it’s a repeatable effect and really matters when your Cube is designed around that sort of thing, and a mana sink blink effect is going to be excellent to have access to in the long games that blink decks tend to generate. I expect Distinguished Conjurer to be among the most sought-after cards from Jumpstart 2022.

I expect Distinguished Conjurer to make a lot of Peasant Cubes as well as a lot of lower-powered Cubes. Again, this one isn’t a Vintage Cube hit, but it does hit in a lot of other places. Something like the Arena Tinkerer’s Cube is among the many ideal homes for this one.

3. Ogre Battlecaster

Ogre Battlecaster

Ogre Battlecaster totally rules, and is a card that I could realistically see showing up in Cubes of any power level. Needing to attack and spending a lot of mana to cast spells from your graveyard are significant costs, but a 3/3 first-striking body for three isn’t messing around! At lower power levels, you’ll be happy to recast removal spells with Ogre Battlecaster, and in Vintage Cube, you’ll occasionally be able to live the Time Walk dream!

Ogre Battlecaster is just a really beautifully balanced card. It offers enough to be potentially really exciting, while being relatively fragile and not so cheap that it easily runs away with games. I love this design, and expect this card to make a lot of Cubes.

2. Ardoz, Cobbler of War

Ardoz, Cobbler of War

Seasoned red players expect our two-drops to be worth two or three damage before meeting their untimely demise, and for games when they get in for damage to be easily won. Ardoz delivers in terms of the floor for that sort of thing. As you unpack the rest of the card, you see that you’re getting a lot more than your two mana’s worth.

There are so many great Cube-worthy creatures with haste these days, and the fact that Ardoz pumps other creatures rather than just itself is huge on this front. Curving into Goblin Rabblemaster never felt so good! The mana sink is also very welcome for red decks when things start to go awry. You don’t want to go heavy on four- and five-mana stuff because you want to curve out early when you’re playing an aggressive red deck, but when games go long, you always want something to do with your mana to try to get those last points in.

Activating only as a sorcery means you won’t be able to leave mana up and make a Goblin at your opponent’s end step, but the fact that the tokens don’t have to attack means that you could in theory grind out an advantage on the battlefield over the course of a longer game with Ardoz. I’m a huge fan of this card in any Cube supporting an aggressive red deck.

1. Planar Atlas

Planar Atlas

Two-mana rocks are really playing with fire in terms of Cube power level, but entering the battlefield tapped as well as only tapping for colorless are ways to curb the power of these cards somewhat. I love that Planar Atlas would be a relatively high pick in Vintage Cube while also being reasonable for a lot of lower-powered environments. The ability to filter your draws a little to find a land is awesome too. This is a card that I would happily play in controlling and midrange decks of a great many Cubes! I was both surprised and pleased to see this card in Jumpstart 2022, and I’m going to need to track a few copies down for myself!

For those concerned about product fatigue, it’s relieving that Jumpstart 2022 is a relatively small release. I only need a handful of cards myself, which is preferable when it comes to tracking down cards from supplemental sets. I enjoy the additional blueprints for designing my own Jumpstart environment, and I really like Jumpstart as a product conceptually if that sort of thing could be considered in isolation. Also, I’d be very interested in any homebrew Jumpstart environments that others have built, so feel free to send that sort of thing my way on Twitter!