Cube Archetype – Graveyard (BG)

Completing the Sultai/graveyard/zombies/sacrifice wedge of the cube is the Golgari graveyard section.

There will be some sacrifice effects, discard and self mill to fill up the graveyard and a variety of effects that make this desirable. Specifically the main pay off is “Creature cards in graveyards matter” in keeping with the old Innistrad Spider Spawning draft deck, although there will be other benefits too. Sacrifice effects, death triggers and undying all play into this theme as well.

This section, if you look to the full list at the bottom of the post, is quite a bit longer than some of the others. This is largely because of the number of cards from Zombies/Vampires and just general goodstuff cards that play well into this archetype. Murderous Cut  or Whip of Erebos are happy in any black deck, it just happens to have an even bigger edge in this deck. This also leads to the conclusion that the person going all in on the graveyard deck won’t have a ridiculously good card pool as many of these will be shared with the other black or green decks.

The All-In Cards

As mentioned before a lot of the relevant cards in this colour pair are just “good cards” which happen to fit into the deck, either through being improved by a full graveyard or just being generally good. There are of course a few cards which just don’t work if you’re not in “the graveyard deck”.

Spider Spawning (sad note: the spider spawning deck was always overdrafted back in the day of Innistrad draft where I used to play so I never actually pulled it off successfully) and Boneyard Wurm both do precisely jack if you have no creature cards in your graveyard. Splinterfright and Nemesis of Mortals are both at least viable in another deck but in both cases they would be overshadowed by most of the other options available.

Corpseweft, Deathreap Ritual and Deadbridge Chant all stand out as cards that work a lot better when the graveyard is being filled, or in the case of Deadbridge Chant when you can selectively pull stuff OUT of the graveyard (Deadbridge Chant plus Scavenging Ooze/Deathrite Shaman/some delve cards makes “random” a lot less iffy).

The Standalone Cards

Sheoldred, Whispering One is a great top end in both this deck and…well…any deck that can get to that mana cost (a rampy green deck could conceivably get this out early enough to be a major pain). Outside of green the cube didnt really have much if anything over the CMC 6 level in its early iterations. Having got some play in ive reached the conclusion that I can push that up a bit across all the colours due to its midrange silliness level.

Whip of Erebos and Birthing Pod are both grindy value engines that fit into any deck in the colours (although pod requires a bit more set up). If you happen to get both so much the better.

The exploit cards in black all fill your graveyard while giving you some form of value, while also playing very nicely if you end up in the 3 colour zombie/graveyard deck.  Given that Gurmag Angler made it into modern and just what Tasigur does everywhere he goes I don’t think any explanation is really needed here.

The Filler Cards

I haven’t worked out yet just how good Tarmogoyf will be in this cube. Outside of the full on graveyard deck I don’t really have a handle on how quickly the different types will get into the graveyard. There aren’t a huge number of enchantments and they won’t be dying that much, and there aren’t that many lands that will end up in the graveyard (I might improve the land section in the near future with wasteland, strip mine and some other higher power goodies). My intuition says he belongs mostly in the BG deck….I may be wildly and hilariously wrong on that though.

There are plenty of other less dramatic cards that play with the graveyard and theres not much to be gained by writing about them, and theyre also pretty interchangeable.

Honorouble mention for failing to make the cut goes to Grisly Salvage…It really SHOULD be in here, but im trying to stick strictly to the numbers in each colour section and I really like what’s currently in the Golgari section. Without breaking a cycle (charms, RTR guildmages, guild leaders, maze runners) or taking out Deathrite Shaman (the card that prompted me to actually make the cube in the first place) the only one that really fits to go is Dreg Mangler…He may not last much longer.

Crossover With Other Archetypes

As ive mentioned before (and I shant bother retreading here) there is a lot of crossover between this deck and the UB zombie archetype, and to a lesser degree with the BR vampire deck.

Evolutionary Leap is most intended here, but works pretty well in any creature heavy green deck. Blanking your opponents removal spells is always nice but if you can get any repeatable reanimation or token generation then this becomes a source of gradual card advantage too, especially in something like GW tokens.

The Off-Colour Bleed Cards

Unburial Rites might as well be a WB card. You would definitely want at least a small white splash just to flash it back. Timely Hordemate (assuming it survives the next round of cuts) fits relatively well if you have some aggressive creatures (might let you recur a small value creature like a Sakur-Tribe Elder). The token makers in white give you some fodder creatures for the sac effects but the best one for this deck is clearly Lingering Souls, as you can at least get some use if you mill it.

Other colours also have a couple of nice graveyard fillers, Forbidden Alchemy in blue and Faithless Looting in red. Both also have flashback which is a bonus in this deck.

The bloodrush creatures in RG also are a good way to up your creatures in the graveyard count. Pyrewild Shaman in particular is good as you can recur him for multiple triggers off of cards such as Blood Artist.

The Sultai selection also has some good options. Sultai Ascendancy improves your draws and fills the graveyard. Sultai Soothsayer gives you a good defensive body, card selection and also fills the graveyard. Lastly Sidisi, Brood Tyrant once again fills the graveyard and also gets you blockers and combos with anything else you have that mills you.

The complete list

BG Cube Subtheme (Graveyard/Morbid) - December 2015

Black (28)
Gravecrawler
Viscera Seer
Blood Artist
Sultai Emissary
Blood Bairn
Cemetery Reaper
Fleshbag Marauder
Geralf's Messenger
Nantuko Husk
Falkenrath Noble
Erebos's Emissary
Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Rakshasa Gravecaller
Shadowborn Demon
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Silumgar Butcher
Mikeaus, the Unhallowed
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Butcher of Malakir
Gurmag Angler
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Liliana of the Veil
Tragic Slip
Murderous Cut
Barter in Blood
Unburial Rites
Corpseweft
Whip of Erebos

Green (20)
Boneyard Wurm
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Satyr Wayfinder
Scavenging Ooze
Strangleroot Geist
Tarmogoyf
Eternal Witness
Splinterfright
Graverobber Spider
Lumberknot
Thragtusk
Vorapede
Hooting Mandrills
Nemesis of Mortals
Commune with the Gods
Mulch
Spider Spawning
Evolutionary Leap
Birthing Pod
Bow of Nylea

White (2)
Timely Hordemate
Lingering Souls

Blue (1)
Forbidden Alchemy

Red (1)
Faithless Looting

Golgari (11)
Deathrite Shaman
Korozda Guildmage
Lotleth Troll
Dreg Mangler
Nyx Weaver
Pharika, God of Affliction
Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
Reaper of the Wilds
Deathreap Ritual
Golgari Rotwurm
Deadbridge Chant

Sultai (3)
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Sultai Soothsayer
Sultai Ascendancy

While I make changes to the cube I do a lot of sim drafts just to see if enough of a given archetype appears that it’s even a thing. This one so far has definitely come across as less “all-in” than the previous vampire and zombie ones. It comes across a little more like a grindy midrange deck. This doesn’t strike me as a bad thing but I do plan to come back and review this section post SoI.