The Top Downshifts from Commander Masters for Peasant and Pauper Cube

Master/Remaster sets are great for the reprints they bring. They generally make cards more available to the player base even if slightly, making cards more accessible to the community. These are generally exciting as they are sets completely made up of reprints. Thus there's less excitement and chatter for the cards, just complaints about why X isn't included. For the cubers, one of the more exciting parts of these spoiler seasons is the downshifting of cards allowing them to become legal in artisan/peasant and pauper. These downshifts allow old favorites that may have gotten powercreeped out of more powerful cubes to relive their glory days or get a second chance at demonstrating their potential. 

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Down to Uncommon

 Rishkar, Peema Renegade is a card I still run in my current cube as it sits at a unique crossroad that shouldn't be hard to fill, but is. It has synergies across different archetypes like ramp and counters, relevant creature type in druid and elf, and at minimum is a decent beater that can fend off smaller creatures, while buffing your board. In more synergy driven environment he is his own enabler and reward that gets better with support. Based solely on this, I consider this one of the most cubeable cards and he will definitely elevate the peasant environment.

Anafenza, Kin Tree Spirit is a card I just cut recently (within the week I am writing this). I really like everything she had going on except for her mana cost being ☀️☀️. What got her cut was my own playgroup running her less and less as my cube evolved over the years. Her role as a pseudo anthem was not enough to keep up with the wave of more powerful creature that can function similar to her. With this downshift, this gives her new opportunities to shine as her competitors do not exist in the lower rarities yet.

Kirtar's Wrath is surprising move as boardwipes are fairly limited at below rare with red generally having the better ones. Aside from Slaughter the Strong, this might be the only other board wipe in white. The downshift of this card gives white decks more access to this effect and creating the pathways to enable white creatureless control to come to life in this format. This can become the ace you need to shift from losing to winning. With no other real competition for this function, this is an easy choice for peasant designers.

Extinguish All Hope is in a different boat from Kirtar's Wrath, though is a strong consideration based on function. Black historically already has board wipes in the form of "All creatures get -X/-X until end of turn". This board wipes were meant to kill smaller creatures which often left anything with a toughness of more than 3 still around to romp about. With the downshift of extinguish, you now have access to a more traditional board wipe which will be game shifting.

Surrak the Huntcaller gives green a haste enabler a strong sized creature in the peasant format. This is a card I like playing even at unrestricted and has only recently been pushed out for me with the advent of more green cards having haste already. With less of that available in the lower rarities, owners and fans of this card will get an extension of this cards's lifespan

Down to Common

All That Glitters is a card I'm not sure is even good for Pauper cube, but I'm a huge fan of Ethereal Armor and this plays similarly with a bit more flexbility since it also cares about artifacts. With the prominence of enchantment removal effects like Oblivion Ring, this card seems easy to support and will provide a huge boost to damage. This is a strong signpost if you are planning to support enchantments or artifacts, though it does seem narrow, most cubes can afford to run a couple narrow cards.

Generous Gift adds Beast Within to the pauper format. This is the cheapest piece of universal removal available in the format and will give white a stronger identity when it comes to removal. This card is an example of why color matters so much when it comes to cube design. When comparing this to Beast Within, these cards are identical other than the color of mana needed to cast the card. As of the current state of cube, Beast Within is a cube staple, while Generous Gift isn't. In the greater context, white has plenty of tools to get rid of permanents, where as Green struggles. This relegates Generous Gift to the sidelines. In pauper, cards like Oblivion Ring still exist but there is less of those cards available. Additionally, its ability to hit lands, an effect that isn't as plentiful, sets it apart from the other ones. I foresee this becoming a staple in pauper cube.

Murmuring Mystic is a step closer to WotC downshifting Young Pyromancer into the pauper format until then this move will give this card a second chance at success. This style of token generation wasn't available in pauper prior to this. It hasn't seen any significant success in other cube format due to power levels and the better options being available. The format's pacing will give this card time to shine. I see this card sufficing as a control finisher and a wall to buy time to take over games. 

Guttersnipe is something I keep trying to include into almost every cube I design and it ends up being cut. In unrestricted environments, the card suffers from being in one of the most competitive spots in cube. The red 3 drops are filled with cards like the Rabblemasters and Laelia. For a do nothing card that needs set up, this easily loses to those cards. Pauper cube already has access to this effect with cards like Thermo Alchemist and Firebrand Archer, but this card does more damage per cast accelerating the clock and lowering the number of spells need to end the game. This merits the card a strong consideration.

Dread Return is going to be one of the top reanimator spells in the format without question. Reanimation spells are difficult to come by already, but having a lower mana cost already makes it better. The card is infamous for being part of several graveyard combo decks thanks to its ability to be cast for free from the graveyard. This adds consistency and open up different paths for your graveyard decks as a matter of fact, I still play the card in my own cube and its impact has remained consistent throughout the years. Based on this, the card will be a great addition to pauper.

Skysnare Spider feels like a green Serra Angel everytime I play with it. The times I manage to play this card, it always impresses. A large creature isn't anything too impressive in a format that has Colossal Dreadmaw but vigilance and reach sets it apart from other green cards. With both keywords, the player can swing the spider knowing that they don't lose a blocker and is able to stop fliers from coming in. The huge stat line enables it to over power most creatures in the format.

The End Step

Looking at all the downshifts from this set has for the first time pique my interest in a rarity restricted cube. I disliked that certain tools existed at certain rarity (namely board wipes), which prevented certain archetypes from existing. There's two sides to this conversation and by not having certain cards, one could argue it gave each format distinct characteristics. Contrary to that point, I find that these downshifts are great at preserving the playability of once great cards though it does push out previous allstars out. Let me know what you think of it in the comments.

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