Warhammer 40K for Traditional Cube

Originally, I wasn't going to cover this set because Dominaria United burned me out but then I saw a couple cards in my feed that seemed cool and decided to take a deeper look at it.

The spoiler train never stops and we're all just caught up in it. Just last week, I was still talking about Dominaria United and now we're immediately getting the spoilers for the Warhammer 40k Commander decks. I'm not a Warhammer fan but I get tidbits about the 40k universe and it seems cool as hell. Age of Sigmar and Kill Team looks sweet too and are the two Warhammer games that catch my eye, but I can't bring myself to commit to playing. More of a time issue vs. financial issue.

Anyways back to Magic. Similar to the siutation in Baldur's Gate (CLB), the cards found within this set were designed to be played in a mulitplayer environment. Thus there is a history in previous commander sets of cards that overperformed in the traditional 1v1 environment.  The first instance I remember was True Name Nemesis for Legacy and this has been maintained with CLB with cards like Minsc & Boo and any of the initiative cards.

The way I approach card reviews for cube is that I separate them into 2 categories: recommendations and cards of interest. Recommendations are cards that I think will play impressively in a large variety of cubes. These are what I would consider the slam dunk inclusions. Cards of interest will typically be cards that are interesting to play. They might need some build around to get going but could create a different playstyle or archetype in your cubes.They are also cards that are good in limited, but might be environment dependent. 

The Short List
  • Night Scythe
  • Canoptek Scarab Swarm
  • Chaos Defiler
  • Old One Eye
  • Necron Deathmark
  • Royal Warden
Cards of Interest
  • Psychomancer
  • Triarch Praetorian
  • Out of the Tombs
  • Pink Horror
  • Drach'Nyen
  • Canoptek Wraith 
  • Assault Intercessor
  • Ghost Ark
  • Tomb Fortress
  • Pox Walker
  • Space Marine Devastator
  • Atalan Jackal
  • Vanguard Supressor
  • Lord of Change

Night Scythe
seems boring at first but I really like the statline and slot it fills in. From the baseline, you get a vehicle is active on its own similar to Esika's Chariot, which is a monster of card. Having a cost of 3 generic is a huge deal since it is now more playable in different decks. With 3 power, this is a serious clock, though this is offset by the 1 toughness, but that hasn't stopped Brazen Borrower from being a powerhouse.This makes it a solid option for option for any deck in the market for a flyer, be it aggro or tempo. The card has a decent amount of resliency as well since the creature token will be left behind if the vehicle is killed. Since the card enters with 2 artifact permanents, decks that can take advantage of it are going to enjoy having it as part of their 40. 

Canoptek Scarab Swarm
seems like an awesome card to include. The baseline for the card is absolutely atrocious if you intend to play it on curve. The card's main function is to exile graveyards. The effect is relatively cheap, however the only other creature that can exile graveyard is Agent of Erebos, which also cost 4 mana. With the card being colorless and the potential to make tokens, this seems like a solid inclusion since this is playable in more decks. Its impact will be determined heavily by the inclusions of your cube. Simply running more fetchlands will make this card significantly more powerful than environments without them. If the card is able to generate 2 tokens minimum on average, this is going to be a high value card in your cube, anything less and it's not worth playing.

Chaos Defiler is feeling a lot like Council's Judgment and that card is still unfair. At a baseline, you're getting a huge body with trample that will kill any nonland permanent on your opponent's side since you can only choose your one opponent. This is a big deal as BR is a color combination that struggles to deal with enchantments. This card is able to overcome that struggle while remaining versatile and threatening. This makes it a solid target for reanimation and welder strategies. In fact, I can only imagine that the combination of this card and Goblin Welder will get out of hand quickly. This is the card I'm the biggest on from this set.

Old One Eye is looking real powerful. 11 power over two bodies with trample is always something to look at. I could be wrong, but for the cost of 6 mana, this card brings in highest power currently available. The second body comes from an ETB trigger, making thie baseline for this card 6 mana for two scary bodies. This makes it resilient against single target removalThe card can also recur itself back to your hand if you discard two cards, making it fit even better in graveyard strategies. Where I see this card excelling is in the Sneak Attack style decks. The self recursion combined with leaving behind such a large body will end games quickly with just two activations from Sneak Attack. The card should be solid in all unrestricted environment. It's strong, but not game warping or so I think for now. (I still have Elder Gargaroth Trauma as a red player)

Necro Deathmark
is looking to be the middle child between Noxious Gearhulk and Ravenous Chupacabra. What helps this card stand out is the flash. This opens the card up to way more lines of play than available to the other two cards with this card being a more consistent 2 for 1. The removal effect also can mill a player, which can be taken advantage of depending on your deck. Welder and Reanimator decks are going to be enamored with having access to this card since it will be playing multiple roles in those decks. In the current 5 mana slots for black, I don't believe there is a lot of competition on that slot already, so this should be an easy include for most cubes.

Royal Warden is the second card that is looking real goodto be slotted into the black 5 drop slot. The card itself is feeling like a mini Grave Titan, which is 7 damage across 3 bodies for 5 mana. The card has signifcantly less power and toughness compared to Grave Titan, however it gains the ability to unearth itself. At the baseline, this card already has a home in some cubes, but the Unearth and the fact that it is an artifact play really well into (again) the Welder and Reanimator decks. Much like Necron Deathmark, the card seems well suited to a lot of cube since its strong, but not game warping.

Cards of Interest

seems like artifact version of Blood Artist. I like the extra power and flying making it able to push for extra damage when needed, though the emphasis on non token artifacts is a big let down. Unlike the other variants, not being able to synergize with tokens is a deal breaker since treasures, servos, and thopter are a big part of the artifact strategies. In environments with a stronger emphasis on artifacts, I can see this being an auto include, but in the more general environments that relegate artifacts to a small section of the cube, this might not have a big enough impact to matter.

Triarch Praetorian is pretty sweet, but I'm unsure how it would perform. At the baseline, you get a 2/1 Flier, which is great, but there are other options in Black like Heir of Falkenrath and Order of Midnight. The problem is the feasibility of the draw effect, which requires some build around unless you're down for casting Reanimate and Animate Dead on it. For me that seems wasteful when you are able to target Ashen Rider or Griselbrand instead. It does have the unearth ability for 5, which probably makes way more playable than I'm imagining. The card is also an artifact, so there's always those interactions as well.

Out of the Tombs seems like a wild and interesting card, but does need a lot of build around. It seems pretty obvious but the card will excel in cubes that have deep graveyard synergies and builds. In more general cubes, I don't see a way for this to play well. 

Pink Horror seems like a fun finisher for the Izzet spells deck. The main attraction to this card is it is resilient to removal, which is a concern with the other the other spells matter cards like Guttersnipe. When the card dies, it creates 2 tokens that deal 1 damage per cast, which maintains the 2 damage per cast. The opponent will need to mass remove the tokens to completely remove the effect. What is working against this card is its cost. The 5 mana can be better spent on closing out games. Great card due to its resilience but the cost is a huge setback.


Drach'Nyen is a weird card and more than likely doesn't have the support to do well in cube, but its worth taking a look at. The card is an odd mix of Journey to Nowhere and any pump equipment. This is able to hit Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and the pump with evasion is solid. The main thing hold this card back is that it is an equipment in Rakdos for 6 mana. There has been an increase in equipment support especially with the printing of Danitha, Benalia's Hope, but almost all of the best support cards are exclusively in white, so it isn't as playable in an equipment shell. Still being an artifact, many of those synergies are still available. Even at that point, it still competing with another card in the same deck :Chaos Deflier. 

Canoptek Wraith might not be the best option, but I like that it's a colorless unblockable 2/1. This makes it great for carrying equipment and you could always cash in the card for more lands. Otherwise this card is an easy skip.

Assault Intercessor seems like an awesome card for an aggro/midrange build in WB. The statline for the card is great and combining this with the ability is just gravy. As a whole package, this card is great as pushing damage. The first strike and menace ensure that your opponents can't chump block the card recklessly. They  risk the chance of getting blown out and taking more damage than necessary. This cards makes an excellect equipment holder. Looking at the ability, it can be triggered by any of their creatures dying.This means running kill removal alongside this card turns them into incidental burn spells, further pushing the aggro themes of this card. Currently, I'm not sure if the card is better than the other WB options available, but I would want to strongly consider this one.

Ghost Ark
is solid as a value cheat engine. The crew cost is not difficult to achieve and the unearth cost seems appropriate making this card a solid include. What is keeping this card back is that it only affects artifact creatures, which normally make up a small part of most people's cubes. This is also where a lot of the big cheat targets fit in like Sundering Titan. I'm not sure the density needed to make this card solid, but I'm assuming it would be a fairly large amount of your cube. This seems like a sweet auto include in artifact dense cube, otherwise its a struggle to get going.

Tomb Fortress
 is a reanimation spell on a land. The main issue is the land enters tapped which makes it problematic in situations where you would want the mana or the ability to be available. The card is worth trying since its a land and all black decks will consider it.

Poxwalkers is an interesting card because of its recursion ability. As a 3/1 with deathtouch, this is going to be a bonkers blocker, especially when considering the recursion. It synergizes with mechanics like Retrace, Unearth, Flashback, Foretell, Impulse Draw, etc. Really take a look at your cubes to see how easily it is to support this cards. I'm not as big on the card because I'm not sure how easy it for me to bring him back, but I'm certain almost every color in my cube can easily do it.

Space Marine Devastator may not be what white wants to be doing at 4 mana, however it is the lowest costing white card with an ETB that destroys an enchantment or artifact. Green has this ability on plenty of creatures, however white only has it on 3 creatures: Kor Sanctifiers, Rambunctious Mutt, and this card. The squad ability allows this card to scale up as well if you ever draw it later, makes this a great top deck. This is only held back by its competition (Seasoned Dungeoneer exist at the same slot).

Atalan Jackal seems like a fun silly card that might be really good for almost any Gruul deck. The card fits into both Fires and ramp decks since it can generate a basic land per hit with haste. With trample, your opponents won't be able to chump block this card forcing them to make harder decisions. Like with all multicolored slot, the space there is way more valuable and the competition against this card is pretty stacked. So my question is "Will the land ramp matter if Minsc and Boo came down the next turn?" In a more fair Gruul slot, this has synergies with Blood Braid Elf, which seems a lot of fun to try and hit off.

Vanguard Suppressor was originally one of the more hyped cards I wanted to add when it was spoiled. The card seems like a Blue deck all star being a decently sized flier with a Curiosity embedded.  With the squad ability, this card goes over the top since the baseline was already playable. What's casting doubt over my decision for this card is just how tight my slots have been getting. I will probably add this card in time, but for now I am keeping it on my watch list.

Lord of Change seems like a goofy fatty to play. I like Simic Skyswallower a lot and this seems very similar to it but way better. The card loses the trample and shroud in exchange for ward 3 and drawing 3 cards on ETB.  The draw 3 is the X factor of this card. Decks looking to play with this card will exhaust a ton of resources to drop it down and the draw 3 helps keep them in the game if they ever get blown out by anything.

The End Phase

I hate that this set is coming out after DMU had barely just finished up and it feels pretty overwhelming in terms of product, but it's been like this forever now at this point. Originally, I was planning to ignore the set since I'm not a big Warhammer fan and initial statements said that the cards were going to be aimed at Warhammer players I thought the decks would take a safe design choice and be vanilla. I'm honestly glad they didn't because I really like their design choices for the cards especially the ones from the Necron deck. Welder and Reanimator got a huge bump in support cards with these decks and I would recommend picking up the Necron commander deck if you're interested in cards for cube. The Tyranid deck seems very EDHy and the cards seemed too clunky for cube. 

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