My Top Overlooked Cube Cards of 2022


Dwell on the Past by Rebecca Guay

With the year coming to an end, let's do the generic recap of the year content to wrap things up. 2022 had a ton of Magic products released that overwhelmed the community causing burnout from some and has made it hard to keep up with the latest news and products. For myself, I started writing on this blog a little bit after the release of Streets of New Capenna in April, which forced me to become more in tune with the Magic community and pay attention to these releases more carefully. Prior, the only Magic content I consumed was cube build guides from MTGCube and Wtwlf123's top 20 standard set cube picks. With so much information coming our way, cards often get overlooked or overhyped in the discourse with no time for discourse to reevaluate the cards. This was one of the reasons, I started playing MTG Arena, so that I had more exposure to these cards and better appreciation for what these cards can do. For this post, I'm taking the time to discuss all the cards I initially missed or downplayed that are now big players in my cube. The cards will all be new cards from 2022, so no reprints. Also The Brothers' War and Jumpstart 22 will not be included since the sets are still relatively fresh. The order of the cards is not significant.

The List

The initiative cards as a whole were in a weird spot for me for the longest time since I wasn't sure how good the initiative actually was alongside the fact that the cards that featured the mechanic were mediocre if the initiative was not a good mechanic. Combine this with the fact that the mechanic had the additional complexity of keeping track of where you were in the dungeon and who had the initiative, making it easier to ignore the mechanic rather than engage with it or include it in your cube. Fortunately/unfortunately, people are coming around to the power level of initiative and how much value is generated. The mechanic interacts well with flicker cards and each part of the dungeon is just straight power.

Seasoned Dungeoneer is a card that has done more than pull its weight in game, it has the potential to rob games on its own. The card is essentially an unblockable ,4 turn clock against your opponent. Though it starts off as a 3/4, if you manage to hold the initiative for a turn cycle, it will begin its second turn as a 5/6 from step 2 of the Undercity. The card is able to give the target party( Rogue, Warrior, Wizards, or Cleric) member protection from creatures when you swing on top of having the target explore including itself. On the third turn, the card is able to inflict 10 points of damage, even if you lose the initiative, which is usually GG. The card can easily get back the initiative since it can't be blocked. This card has easily become one of the strongest 4 drops available in White, which was a hard spot to crack into already.

Feywild Caretaker has been impressive every chance I got to play with it. The card does not win as fast as Seasoned Dungeoneer, however it generates more value over time. As long as you can maintain the initiative, the caretaker will generate a 1/1 flying dragon token every turn. The tokens make maintaining the initiative really easy as you either have flying bodies to prevent you from losing it or you have evasive bodies that can take it back. The card will end up overwhelming your opponent on pure value. The card is absurd and I love it.

White Plume Adventurer is the card I have the least experience playing and it has the least impressive ability of the cards I'm talking about. What pushes this card ahead of its competitors is two reasons: the card is 3MV and it is good at defending the initiative. Being a 3 drop, this is the smallest card that has the initiative mechanic. It can also untap itself or any other creature every turn to protect the initiative. This makes it play well with tap abilities since it will give you an additional activation or pseudo vigilance. Like the other initiative cards, this is raw power.

Getting away from the initiative, The Wandering Emperor was a card that caught me off with how powerful it was. When I first saw the card, I wasn't impressed with any of the abilities and felt the card was a worse version of Elspeth, Knight Errant. I was heavily mistaken as I started playing it on MTG Arena. I realized the card is extremely versatile and underestimated the flash component of the card. It is able to deal with a variety of situations either as removal, building your board state, or acting as a combat trick on either your turn or your opponent's. Unlike most planeswalkers, she is able to use all 3 of her abilities right away. The token generated makes for an amazing blocker and attacker because it has vigilance, further protecting the Wandering Emperor, which she can also buff with a counter and first strike. Her removal is limited to tap creatures, however it gains you life making it awesome versus red aggro. You can also use it on your own creatures if you're desperate for life. The card is an all-star and looks to have a long lifespan in cubes.

Ledger Shredder was a card that went under the radar to a lot of players. Being a 1/3 Flier with a conditional connive, just didn't resonate with me. I downplayed the impact of connive since I forgot it gives counters and treated it just like normal looting. What changed my mind on the card was the frequency at which it triggered and who can trigger it. Initially, I interpretted the ability as "when you cast your second spell each turn" vs. "when a player casts their second spell each turn". This is a huge difference as each player can potentially trigger the connive every turn meaning it can happen twice per turn. The card punishes your opponents for playing too many cards, while it encourages to play more cards per turn. The card easily becomes huge without much effort. This image below is what clicked it for me.

Reading the card, explains the card

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker was a card that I remember a majority of the community, not feeling to keen on and I think it's partially because the community (me included) were so focused on the flipside, that we didn't evaluate the card as a whole. As a whole package, this card really smooths out the gameplay of your deck. The tokens generate treasures to help you reach the mana, you need while the second ability lets you filter your hand. While it won't win you games outright, the value of smoothing out your should never be underestimated as you're guaranteed your 4+ drops. The flipside is amazing at taking over games and rebuying ETB effects. The card is peak value.

Tenacious Underdog is a card that I thought was too slow, but I couldn't help but be annoyed and impressed by it as I saw it in action. The card was already aggressively statted making it perfect for swinging, however I felt that the blitz was too costly to be good, even with the potential upsides. I was wrong. The blitz portion of the card is a solid mana sink to help you push in more damage, while drawing cards. You also don't need to always blitz from the graveyard making this card a sneaky option when you topdeck or choose to hold it. The blitz makes the card a reward for graveyard decks and a strong choice for aggro decks. The main downside is that it doesn't remain on the board when blitzed, but it plays way more impressive than it looks.

The Wrap Up

Relooking at the cards mentioned here, aside from the initiative cards, a lot of these were cards I didn't look too much at and often compared them to cards with a similar design, which led me to dismiss a lot of these initially. Playing Arena was one of the best things that I chose to do as it gave me better insight to how cards feel and play since I wasn't really playing much Magic outside due to the pandemic. In addition, hanging around the cube community on social media showed off a lot of hidden gems for cube, which was when I became enamored with Baldur's Gate as the set played really well and there are a ton of solid cards to play with. This was also when I got a taste of the initiative cards in action and was blown away with their impact in a 1v1 setting. There's probably more hidden gems from this year that I am overlooking, but in time they'll come out.

With all that being said, thanks for taking the time to read. If you appreciate my work, just leave a comment to let me know or if you think I'm utter trash. If you have questions or corrections you can use the contact form or leave a comment on Reddit. If you want to stay up to date with my stuff, feel free to join my email list at the bottom of the post or click here for the link to join. If you are interested in buying any of the cards mentioned in this post, you can support me by shopping at TCGplayer (Click Here).

This is my last post for  2022, Happy New Years and welcome in 2023.