Top Cards from Modern Horizons 3 (MH3) for Cube

 As with the rest of the community, many of us were salivating over the release of this. The design of the cards and the limited environments tend to be more creative in these sets and it frees them to design cards however they want without concerns for the standard environment. This set is no different and there doesn't seem to be anything as warping as the elementals from MH2 or Ragavan, this time around, but we'll see since I'm not that smart anyways.

Weird enough, I will also be including the commander product on this list as well since this is a cube blog, and not one about modern. This will also mean that cards that are already in existence but just became modern legal won't be included either.

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How I rank the cards is based on both power level and innovation. When evaluating by power level, I'm scaling it off of unpowered vintage. By innovation, I am referring to cards that either smooth out the drafting process by overlapping into a bunch of decks or open up new archetypes in cube. The cards need to still be powerful or at least playable as they need to still be competitive versus other cards. Ultimately, your cube, your choices, address your needs. You may not even need to get anything from the set.

The List

Pyrogoyf is the Flametongue Kavu (FTK) challenger I don't ask for, but want to see be good. I don't know about anyone else, but FTK has been a part of my cube forever and although I'm not looking to replace it. There have been variations of this card, but nothing to the same degree  of efficacy. There's a gimmick here still, but it seems more manageable than the other variants. Tarmogoyf has not been the most stellar cube card, but its been something that people will try to include every now and then  and could potentially be worth reevaluating. Red has been getting access to better versions of wild guess over the years, combining this with the deeper graveyard fillers of the other colors and we are potentially looking at a card that plays very well with what we have available. I'm going to test this and if it doesn't play well just revert back to FTK.

Ajani, Nacatl Pariah has a lot of potential with a strong baseline. At first glance, the emphasis on cats would seem to be a deterrent until you take a step back and provides everything you would really want to make this work already. The easiest comparison would be to Resolute Reinforcement, a simple card with deep lines of play. This loses the flash, but adds more utility, power, and longevity.That is all in a vacuum. The majority of white decks will be able to take advantage of this card in one way or another, especially since the condition to flip it is easy. With the proper support, you end up getting a powerhouse that can easily start overwhelming your opponent.

 Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student is looking to be an oppressive anti aggro tool. At first glance, the baseline isn't the most exciting. A 0/3 Flier that generates clues seems clunky  and harmless, but it lets you negate many of the early creatures like Ragavan. Where you really want this card to be is on its flip side, which is not difficult to accomplish given what color it is. Just playing a brainstorm or a couple cantrips will be enough and depending on your cube power level T1 flips are a real possibility. The first ability is going to give creature decks an aneurysm. It shaves off so much damage buying time for both the player and walkers allowing them to exist much longer than expected. The other abilities add to this game plan as you can get your draw and removal spells back to outvalue and out draw your opponent keeping them permanently does until you win. The best part is that the card exist as a 1MV blue card and has virtually 0 competition in that slot. Easy inclusion.

The printing of Nethergoyf adds another recursive aggro creature to black and it might be the best of the bunch. Of all the other choices, this easily can become the biggest with just the existence of three or more card types in the graveyard. With where the game has progressed with graveyard support, this is easily achievable. The only real concern is actual recursion of the card since the requirements are much stricter than the other options. Each recursion will get harder, though from the intent of how this card wants to be played I expect to only be used once or twice a game. With such huge stats, this is definitely worth trying out and possibly maintaining a position.

Phelia, Exuberant Shepherd, legendary dog with flash and an ability that synergizes with flicker strategies or a way to clear blockers. The flicker ability can also be used as a way to grow the card to turn it into a mounting threat. It plays well with the strategies I already have in my cube, while adding density to legends matter as a sub archetype (really it supports Yoshimaru and that was enough to get me to really consider it). This isn't necessarily a slamdunk pick, but if you want a side choice for a flicker card or an aggressive bear, this will do well to please you.

Phlage, Titan of Fire's Fury is lighning helix the titan. This card fits into really well with what Boros aggro wants to be doing and could potentially be one of their best choices. The card choices with boros haven't been the most stellar with the best one in recent memory being Forth Eorlingas! (which was an amazing card). Phlage could fill in that gap by being the top end the deck wants and also a mid game removal/burn spell to use. This should be dominant card for cubes, but so far little noice has been made.

Malevolent Rumble was a card I almost overlooked until I saw it being played against me. This is a Satyr Wayfinder with flexibility that can also be used as a one time mana dork. The explosiveness of this card is huge. It sacrifices utility for power and flexibility. The big question here is do you plan to abuse the creature or not. Great sidegrade.

Psychic Frog, Psycatog is back? I'm too young to remember Psychatog being a huge problem, but this card definitely seems like a callback to it. Dimir has a lot of solid cards already and this is just another in that grouping. The card plays great in existing dimir strategies as it can be used early on to draw cards and steam roll into a large, evasive threat independently. The dimir card package helps open the way to protecting this card and clearing the way. Many of its own abilities do not even have mana cost associated with them, making it perfect for tempo and control decks as you can always hold up mana. Strong feeling, this will be a card that's strong, but is quiet enough that you might not realize its impact until later down the line.

Ugin's Labyrinth is a new "Sol" land, which we haven't seen in quite some time. It is dependent on your inclusion of large colorless threats, but recent additions to the game have made it much more reasonable to meet this requirement than in the past. The density of these lands allow for my consistent, explosive starts. This is going to be broken had it been more consistent. As it currently stands, it'll be fun and create memorable play patterns. Even if the mana no longer is wanted,you can always return the large threat back to your hand to cast it to finish the game.

Nulldrifter has been the card I'm iffy about because I kept comparing it to Mulldrifter, but that's not really fair since they serve different purposes. Nulldrifter makes for a better big body finisher in a control deck. Since it it colorless to cast, every deck can use it as part of their top end. The card gains more playability if you have access to blue mana since you can evoke it for cheaper. Speaking of evoke, I dismissed the card initially because you couldn't flicker the card like mulldrifter for 4 cards instead of 2, then I realized a 4/4 with Annihilator for 3-4 mana is kinda brutal to deal with early on. This might be the easiest card to slot in as its not broken, but its strong and has it uses across all cubes.

The End Step

I know there's a lot of choices that I left out during these picks namely the Eldrazi Titans, Eldrazi cards and the energy cards. For the titans, I'm never excited about them or any of their iterations since Emrakul, the Aeons Torn exists and is peak in terms of a big dumb destructive creature. Nothing I've seen has come close to that. In my own cube, I don't have access to one, which is why I use Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in its place. It has a similar effect where the moment it swings the game is practically over. For the other two cases, I dislike their dependency on cube composition to be good. With the eldrazi, they need access to colorless mana and not all cubes have those cards already included. There is a lot of incidental options like pain lands, but it requires a conscious effort on the cube designer. Energy is a similar philosophy as it requires a conscious effort to make it work and will warp your cube. I do think both are either viable and much closer to being viable as an archetype in cube than previously. Both mechanics were features sporadically in one set and then dropped for years until this set.

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