Hi everyone! Welcome once again to our monthly discussion on how to construct a basic peasant cube! This month, we reach the final of our mono-colored cube sections with green.
First, the Rules Again
As always, before we launch in, a quick refresher on the boundaries we set ourselves for the construction of this cube:
- We’re aiming to build a 360-card cube
- We’re going to stick to the rules of Peasant construction – only cards that have had at least one printing at a rarity of common or uncommon are legal
- Because we’re on a budget, we want to limit ourselves to cards that are currently $3 a copy or less
- We’re going to aim for an even color distribution within the cube
- We’re going to fill out the first 80% of the cube using the Top Cards list at CubeTutor to find the most popular cards within the boundaries above… and then fill out the last 20% to our own tastes
- We’re definitely not going to pretend that this is the empirical, definitive list-to-end-all-lists for a peasant cube
Normally, we have equal balance between creature and non-creature spells for the sections of our cube… with two exceptions. Blue is traditionally better at spells than creatures, so we had twice as many spells as creatures there. Green is where we balance things back out – it is traditionally better at creatures than spells. So, for that reason, we’re going to pick twice as many creatures as we are non-creature spells for our green section. As usual, green is 50 cards wide, so we want to pick 33 creatures and 17 spells.
We’re picking the top 80% off the CubeTutor Top Cards list, so this means we want to pick the top 26 creatures off there that meet our requirements (well, once we round things down, anyway). You might recognize a few of the cards this turns up…
- Llanowar Elves
- Sakura-Tribe Elder
- Eternal Witness
- Acidic Slime
- Elvish Mystic
- Reclamation Sage
- Arbor Elf
- Yavimaya Elder
- Wall of Roots
- Joraga Treespeaker
- Fyndhorn Elves
- Experiment One
- Wall of Blossoms
- Strangleroot Geist
- Wild Nacatl
- Wickerbough Elder
- Wild Mongrel
- Elvish Visionary
- Krosan Tusker
- Duskwatch Recruiter
- Pelakka Wurm
- Satyr Wayfinder
- Ambush Viper
- Hooting Mandrills
I’ve purposely left two mono-green cards out of this list that would have otherwise been there – Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Elves of Deep Shadow. Because these two little guys hand you off-color mana, you usually only ever draft them when you’ve committed to the specific two-color combination that they work with. For this reason, they’re both usually classified as gold cards for the purposes of laying out our cube. Don’t worry, we won’t forget them – let’s see if they make the cut when we get to Gold.
Now for a much shorter list – we’re looking for the top 80% of the 17 green spells we need. That’s the top 13 green spells in the list (with some judicious rounding). That gives us the following:
- Beast Within
- Rampant Growth
- Kodama’s Reach
- Sylvan Library
- Giant Growth
- Prey Upon
- Search for Tomorrow
Yes, Sylvan Library really is Peasant-legal (it was printed at Uncommon in Legends). Don’t worry, it won’t last long when we start to stick to a budget! The rest is a pretty good mix of ramp and utility.
Sticking to the Budget
Once we start looking at the cost of the cards we’ve picked above, we knock two out from the list – Eternal Witness and Sylvan Library. You have to be careful which copy you pick with Kodama’s Reach, but it’s definitely under our $3 budget at the moment thanks to its Ultimate Masters printing. We’re really not going to replace either the Witness or the Library with budget versions, so let’s just pick the next creature and the next spell off CubeTutor’s list. That gives us Penumbra Spider and Harrow as replacements.
Looking at the Curve
As always, we want to maintain some sort of a mana curve here in both our creature and non-creature sections. So let’s check how we’re doing there before we add our final 20%.
Our creature section currently has a curve of 7-10-2-3-1-3. That’s a lot of little ramping guys there… we could stand to add a few more at CMC3 and CMC5. And maybe another big CMC6+ guy to ramp into as well.
Our non-creature section currently has a curve of 4-4-4-1-0-0. We get to CMC4 and tail off into nothing here. Surely there’s a big finisher spell or two we can add here to get us over the line. Just to note that we’ve classified Search for Tomorrow as CMC1 here – it usually gets resolved for its suspend cost, so we classify it according to how it is traditionally played.
Looking at the Draft Archetypes We Already Have
Green has been very traditional to us so far – we can see a lot of Elves and ramp spells, trying to drop large game-winning creatures early. Elves and ramp are two well-worn archetypes, so it should be pretty easy to head in that direction with our final 20%.
Having Fun With the Final Adds
Okay, we now know roughly what we need from our final 20%. We’re looking for eleven cards – seven creatures and four spells. The seven creatures need to focus upon CMC3 and 5, and maybe another finisher or two. Our spells just about all need to be CMC4 and up. And we want to encourage Elves and ramp archetypes.
Firstly, the creatures. Imperious Perfect fits us like a glove – it encourages us to stick with Elves, and it’s CMC3. Farhaven Elf is an Elf that ramps at CMC3… that’s just about every base covered too. Mwonvuli Beast Tracker will help us find some of our really useful top-end green creatures (including Acidic Slime, Pelakka Wurm and Ambush Viper). Elvish Harbinger will tutor for ten other creatures and fix our mana at the same time. Conclave Naturalists is both large and an Elf, Arborback Stomper is a big life-swing and a big body that can be fetched by Mwonvuli Beast Tracker, and finally Plated Crusher is a worthy final ramp target. This gives our creatures a curve of 7-10-6-3-3-4. We don’t mind that lump right at the top, given we need a few different things to ramp into.
Now for four non-creature spells that cost CMC4+. We’ve already got enough ramp in this section – let’s finish people instead. With the number of Elves we’ve already put in, Elvish Promenade becomes a must-have, as does Hunting Triad. Overrun is also an obvious finisher. For our final card, let’s have a bit of fun – Grizzly Fate is a wild ride for a ramp deck. Can we churn through our deck to turn on threshold, and then flash this back in the same turn? Our non-creature curve is now 4-4-4-3-2-0, and that’s perfectly fine enough.
The Final Product
We have our 50-card-wide green section! Green looks very rampy, very Elvish and a lot of big Timmy fun!
And that’s green wrapped up for our Peasant cube! Join me next time when we turn colorless!
Martin first caught the Magic: the Gathering bug at university in Australia in 1995, just as Fourth Edition was released (naturally just missing the era of opening dual lands in booster packs). One degree, career, marriage and two kids later, he is still slinging cards across a kitchen table with friends and is spreading the infection to the next generation via cube, EDH and multiplayer formats.