Hello everybody! It’s the Holiday Season and one of the treats Wizards gives us around this time is the Holiday Cube! Holiday Cube is a cube utilizing a bunch of fun cards from across Arena’s many sets culminating into a competitive, yet fun draft format! I’ve been asked about this a lot on stream, so I figured I may as well put into writing what I think the best cards in the Holiday Cube are! Keep in mind, these are my personal opinions that can be shaped by my preferences and biases and something I like or dislike isn’t a fact, just how I feel.
However, my primary criterion for the best cards is how much more likely you’re going to win the game by casting one of these cards compared to others in the cube. Lastly, this list is in the order as presented in the card list, not how I rank them, but at the end I’ll rank my top 5 favorite cards in order as well! Let’s get started!
The only White Elephant you’d be happy to receive as a present this holiday season, Loxodon was a Standard staple and is just as good here. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the Monowhite archetype in this iteration of the cube, this is the best payoff you can ask for and enables extremely powerful turns if you build around it in any capacity. If you see this card coming late, you can safely assume white aggro is open.
ELSPETH CONQUERS DEATH
If you like playing slower decks in cube, then Elspeth’s Conquers Death is your god send. Removing your opponent’s best threat and then threatening to get back something of your own is well worth the 5 mana investment. The best part about this card is that a lot of cube decks are on the slower side so you can almost always ensure that you’ll get the full value out of this card.
APPROACH THE SECOND SUN
I know this opinion is going to be a highly controversial one, but I want you to hear me out. The first side of Approach is clearly nothing that special, 7 mana for 7 life is not a great investment. What many people miss though, is that this is a one card win condition that can get you out of spots no other card can. I’ve had games where this was the very last card in my deck and I couldn’t win normally, but because I had this, the game was just locked up. The second reason I like this card is that it can give hard control decks a really easy win condition to work towards. Most decks need to balance threats and answers so you don’t draw the wrong half of your deck, but with Approach, feel free to be purely reactive because you have the security that you will win the game eventually. Lastly, you can add a few supplementary cards to significantly speed up your clock after casting the Approach the Second Sun. Draw spells are the natural complement to this, but even niche cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper or Folio of Fancies will also help you out a lot here! Does this fit into normal decks? No, but you can make this unbelievably powerful with very little work.
Unlike Approach the Second Sun, I’m sure this won’t be nearly as controversial of an opinion to include here. Sublime Epiphany, although pricey, is simply unbelievable in how powerful it is. The biggest limiting factor to how good this is was always if you had a creature to copy or not, something that constructed decks that played this couldn’t always guarantee. However, in cube, you are extremely likely to have a bunch of errant creatures laying around and when you do, Epiphany is just a blowout. Copy your best creature, counter a spell, bounce a permanent, and draw a card is generally just too much advantage for an opponent to come back from.
Another addition to the pantheon of broken Blue 6 drops. Torrential Gearhulk, similar to Sublime Epiphany, is just so much value stapled onto a single card. You can use this as a huge Mystic Snake, or more likely, you can play this to ambush a creature in combat and Flashback your best spell! Don’t even get me started if you manage to get this and Sublime Epiphany in the same deck. Unlike Epiphany, you do need a threshold of spells to make this worthy of an inclusion where Epiphany you can play in nearly all of your Blue decks. However, once you have 5+ spells, you shouldn’t have any problem getting value out of this.
No surprise to see one of the most powerful cards on Arena included on this list. Although Thoughtseize isn’t as good here as it is in more powerful cubes, the ability to strip your opponent of their best card for one mana is still a great effect. Furthermore, being able to use this in any deck that can cast it makes this a very safe early pick in a Cube draft.
THE ELDEST REBORN
It’s a little awkward to include this and Elspeth Conquers Death on the same list as they are so similar, but that just means both of these are very powerful! The first ability of Eldest Reborn is pretty much worse than Elspeth Conquers Death as an edict isn’t always the best, but the next two abilities are where it gets harder to tell which card is better. Discarding a card versus taxing the opponent for a turn is hard to quantify, but the ability to recur a creature or planeswalker from ANY graveyard versus just yours is a huge advantage compared to ECD. With Eldest Reborn, you’re pretty much guaranteed to always get a 3 for 1 off of the card where Elspeth Conquers Death will only get you a 2 for 1 and sometimes just a 1 for 1!
CHANDRA, TORCH OF DEFIANCE
Who would’ve guessed that a Planeswalker with 4 powerful abilities, high loyalty, and that only costs 4 mana would be good? Have we learned nothing from Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Ok, this isn’t as good as Jace, but it’s still really powerful! Card advantage, mana ramp, removal, and an ultimate that will win the game in a few turns? Sign me up! I don’t think I need to convince anybody on how strong this card is.
If you ever played with this card, you know how…glorious it feels. 4 Damage should kill nearly everything relevant in Cube and you still have the Glorybringer itself for your opponent to deal with afterwards. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been on the receiving end of Glorybringer way more in this round of cube than I have cast it myself and my win record has not appreciated it.
Unlike the other red cards on this list, Embercleave is a more situational card that needs some work to make good. By some work I do mean having creatures attacking which isn’t a tall ask in red, but still is more work than Chandra or Glorybringer technically! When you get to cast this it pretty much ends the game on the spot as it’ll generally be the rest of the damage you need or put you very close to lethal. Even if it doesn’t have an Equipment that makes all of your creatures must answer threats is obviously powerful.
ORACLE OF MUL DAYA
This may also be a controversial opinion of sorts, but I know LSV will have my back with this. Oracle’s body is a bit fragile, but the effect it provides is just so much card advantage. Every land you get to play off the top of your library isn’t just mana advantage, it’s also real card advantage as now you aren’t going to draw those. The amount of times I’ve chained 2 lands off the top of my deck for multiple turns with this out is likely too many to count to the dismay of my opponents.
This dapper Beast broke its respective Standard format in half, and if I learned anything about Cube, if the card was broken in Standard, it’s probably broken in cube too. Thragtusk instantly stabilizes you and gives you a sizable threat your opponent has to work through. Even if they remove it, no matter how they did it, you’ll still have a 3/3 left behind! If you manage to blink this. then you’re just showing off.
THE SCARAB GOD
Once again, The Scarab God was one of the most powerful cards in Standard and it’s just as good here. If you untap with this, it’s very easy to take over the game with it in a few turns, and even if it gets killed, you just get it back! The ability for it to win a game by itself in a few turns is way too enticing to pass up most of the time which leads me to first picking this maybe more than I should.
More controversial opinions! I’m chock full of them! Considering I see this card come around picks 11-14 constantly, it’s pretty weird to consider this a top 20 card, but the power level is very hard to deny. You have to build around this card a bit as you want a decent board to work with, but if you do, this is very similar to Embercleave in power level and isn’t susceptible to single target removal like Embercleave can be. My recommendation for this is to not try to make Boros Aggro work, but rather play this in Monored or Monowhite just splashing for this.
Cube is all about value and card advantage, and Krasis delivers both of those in spades. Since most of the games tend to go longer, having cards that can accrue you a lot of advantage are essential and it’s very hard to do that better than a large Krasis that draws you multiple cards, gains life, and threatens to kill the opponent!
This innocuous card seems like it wouldn’t be that special in Cube, but many people have already picked up on how powerful this card is. When a lot of the cards in Cube are around the same power level, having more of them is what’s going to win you the game. Mazemind Tome draws you a bunch of cards at a very low cost as it only asks for an upfront of 2 mana then 2 mana each subsequent card! In a pinch, you can scry for free and after 4 activations you get to net 4 life for your trouble. This may seem like a downside, but you’d be surprised how relevant gaining 4 life can be in a tight race.
FIELD OF THE DEAD
Anyone who has played Standard the past year probably doesn’t need much convincing on how powerful Field is. Considering how many dual lands you can randomly pick up during drafts, getting an early Field of the Dead is insanely valuable. It can be a little hard to make this work as you have to actively draft lands and you almost certainly need to be playing Green, but if you get Field to work, then every land drop you play accrues you additional value. Furthermore, if you get an Ulvenwald Hydra or Golos, Tireless Pilgrim to fetch this out for you, this makes the card that much better! Speaking of Golos…
GOLOS, TIRELESS PILGRIM
I’m honestly pretty surprised that people haven’t caught on to the Golos tech yet, but although it seems like a meme, 5 Color Pile is one of the best archetypes in Cube. Golos is especially nice in this strategy as it ramps, can fix you for it’s activated ability, then you can just bury your opponent with even one activation off of him. If you manage to snag Field of the Dead in your draft as well, you’re just playing a banned Standard deck!
THE IMMORTAL SUN
I seem to be way higher on The Immortal Sun compared to others and I legitimately have no idea why. No matter what deck you’re playing, you can just play this and get a bunch of insane effects for the rest of the game! Cost reduction, creature buffs, an extra card a turn, and for better or for worse, locking down all Planeswalkers is ridiculously powerful for just 6 mana for nearly no deck building cost. If you have a lot of strong planeswalkers I can see not playing this, but if you don’t, there’s very little reason to not play this.
UGIN, THE SPIRIT DRAGON
Oh Ugin, how deliciously fun or frustrating you can be dependent on who’s casting you. No matter who far ahead somebody is, Ugin will always be there to wipe the smirk off a player’s face with it’s extremely powerful minus ability. You do need a slower deck to play this and you want to avoid Enchantment removal like Seal Away or Banishing Light that can get exiled with the minus, but if you take this early, it’s extremely easy to build your deck with this in mind.
Top 5 Arena Cube Cards
Now that you got through my explanations, we move onto what I consider the top 5 cards in the cube. I already explained that I want each of the cards on this list to be powerful, but another important criterion is how easily you can add this to your deck and play it. There are many powerful cards, but a decent amount of them need a certain amount of work put in to make them work. For my top 5, these cards should have very minimal deck building cost and still have insanely powerful effects. Furthermore, everyone wants to know what cards to look out for to first pick! This was very difficult to pick between all these powerful cards, but I’m pretty confident with my answers.
- Chandra, Torch of Defiance
- The Scarab God
- Sublime Epiphany
- Hydroid Krasis
In my experience, Embercleave is simply the king of the cube. You do need a decent amount of creatures to make this viable, but it’s just so hard to beat once you resolve it. The top 5 was so difficult to make as these are all extremely powerful and game winning cards, but with ease of drafting and how immediate of an impact it makes, I think Cleave takes the cake.
Thank you for reading! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!