Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cube Card Spotlight: Ruinous Path

Welcome back for another episode of Cube Card spotlight. I apologize for the delay, but it was a national holiday, so... I'm your host, Plaid Magic and today we'll be discussing a popular vote winner that has not yet been released, scheduled for the much anticipated and hyped set Battle for Zendikar. Lets get a step ahead of the game with this one, shall we?

Ruinous Path



Rules Text: Destroy target creature or planeswalker

Awaken 4 - 5BB(If you cast this spell for 5BB, also put four +1/+1 counters on target land you control and it becomes a 0/0 Elemental creature with ahste. It's still a land.)

The Synopsis

Category: Removal

The Rundown: 
At this CMC, this is a pretty interesting piece of removal. So you have a sorcery speed [[Hero's Downfall]], or an expensive mono black Dreadbore in the early game. You do, however, have the topdeck option in the late game of a nice tempo swing. Awaken 5 for the 5BB seems much more reasonable, but since the non-awaken cost of this card is 3, I still think the possible upside outweighs the down.


Power Level
Unpowered, singleton

Cube Tutor Stats as of Today (9/8/2015):

Card not yet released....

Collective Pros:
  • With 4 possible iterations of execution (creature, creature awaken, plainswalker, plainswalker awaken), There is some interesting versatility here
  • Mono Black
  • Added affect of giving late game kill spell more swing, and utilizing excess land
Collective Cons:

  • Depending on cube build, Creatures and plainswalkers may be too restrictive, and this underperforms compared to an acidic slime or nekrataal
  • Possible upside is so late in the game that it may be irrelevant
  • Mid game spot removal or late game blow out, but not exciting in either role.


  • DreadBore - Same effect in Rakdos for 1 Mana less
  • Hero's Downfall - Same effect, instant speed
  • Netrataal - Removal Plus Body
  • Silence the Believers - High CMC removal with options

Verdict: An effective sorcery speed reprint of Hero's downfall, with possible late game upside.  Its not a good swap for hero's downfall, but in larger singleton cubes, the upside may be worth the inclusion, running alongside Downfall and Dreadbore.

General Argument For Inclusion:3 CMC sorcery speed Creature or Planeswalker removal is very often what Vindicate functions as most of the time.  The upside of Vindicate being a Kill-All spell is what earns it a slot in cubes, though non-creature, non-plainswalker removal is not terribly common, so adding this spell with a possible late game option of replacing your opponents biggest Planeswalker or creature threat with your own 4/4 is unlikely, but possible, for the downside of not being able to remove artifacts, Lands or enchantments.

General Argument Against Inclusion:
In a small cube, there are better options.  Working toward efficiency in removal, Hero's Downfall, Dreadbore, Vindicate are probably going to be better options in most cases, even though only one of them is mono black.  If you have a spot open for a black removal spell, and run a lot of Planeswalkers, this might be an option, but otherswise this doesn't make the cut.

The Discussion

ChirdakiIf Hero's Downfall didn't exist I would probably run this. As it stands I am not going to include it at this time. Having superfluous functional reprints that are IMO much worse because of sorcery speed does not a cube list make, despite the bonus at turn 11-12 / whenever you hit 7 mana.
I did mark it down to look at again once the set is released. However I have no other cards written down at this time...not sure if I am happy or worried about that.
Rogue_DiplomacyFor seven mana at sorcery speed I want something with a little more punch. I'd compare this to Silence the Believers. Mid game spot removal or late game blow out, but not exciting in either role.
SinibusUSGCards that are described that way always end up being better than they're given credit for at first. Not saying it makes the cut, but hearing it described that way is something of a (positive) red flag for me.

flclredditYep, I think I'd almost always rather have Hero's Downfall.
PlaidMagicAlso, keep in mind the value add here is the option. A 7 mana spell should certainly be more powerful, but you have two modes, each slightly worse than a single mode spell at the cost, but that's the cost of having options
FannyBabbsI like this card a fair amount, but being Sorcery speed makes the front half pretty bland, and the back half is fairly unexciting for the mana. I get that it's greater than the some of it's parts, since it's just a mana sink for when you need it, but I feel like the upside of Awaken isn't big enough to justify the downside of Sorcery in most small-medium cubes.
In larger/multiplayer cubes, this card seems ok. Not exciting, but nice to have around. I think in terms of versatility Awaken is less potent than Strive or Flashback, which puts this pretty solidly in the NO camp for me, outside of the largest cubes or cubes with 20+ walkers. I'd love to be wrong, though.
UncleMeatWorth it for larger cube counts simply because there are only so many spells that remove planeswalkers but in my 360 cube I'm planning on leaving this one out. Instant speed is critical and the 4/4 you get from Awaken just isn't a very large threat in a high powered environment like cube.
ggop_Sorcery speed is what kills it here. Like Chirdaki said, Hero's downfall is more often than not better just because of instant speed.
Assuming you get to seven mana, comparatively at six-seven mana is where you want to be ending the game or considerably shifting the board (cards like Elesh Norn, Angel of Serenity, Massacre Wurm, Consecrated Sphinx, etc) so compared to those cards it is fairly lacking even if you get a 2-for-1. In 540 when you need more good removal, I can see this being a very reasonable inclusion since the 2-for-1 is just enough IMO.
If you're at a 540 list or higher I can see this being an include and no one would bat an eye.
FlemeI'd argue that the sorcery speed "killing it" argument is a bit unfounded. Why is it that a sorcery speed spell that does the same but costs BR is more playable than this? I'd also be curious on what the percentage of Vindicates is that hits creatures or PWs? If I had to venture a guess, it'd be in the 70's. I mean I know that it's an answer-all which is why it earns its place but let's face it, most of the time it hits creatures or walkers. At Sorcery speed and in two colors at 3 cmc.
We all also play Chainer's Edict while Diabolic Edict is the same spell at instant speed. Who here has flashed back Chainer's to get that justification? We might as well be playing Geth's Verdict to get another instant edict at 2 CMC but we justify keeping Chainer's for the flashback and 1B being more efficient than BB.
I'm not holding my breath on resolving Ruinous Path for the Awaken cost even one tenth of the time, just like I'm not drafting Chainer's Edict just so I can flash it back. I feel like this card is great removal and just the fact that it hits walkers at 3 CMC while also being an answer to creatures makes for a good card.
ChirdakiI don't particularly like Dreadbore either, I think it is perfectly defensible to run Terminate instead. The vast majority of the time the instant speed is going to be far more relevant. So as a result Dreadbore doesn't make many main decks for us. I don't think you can run both Terminate and Dreadbore in a Rakdos section. Like if they printed another Dreadbore there is no way that would be included.
I still have Dreadbore in as more of a sideboard buffer against card types but that doesn't mean it is right to run Dreadbore over Terminate. It's just something I live with.
Chainer's Edict still has an effect at two mana, you don't need to get to 7 to have any kind of bonus. The mere presence of the opponent at 6 lands with a Chainer's in the yard can make me rethink whether I want to play something onto an empty board.
I guess it comes down to is I do not mind running arguably worse / flexible removal spells at the two mana slot, but at the three mana slot I expect more from my cards. Especially when an almost identical card already exists and its an instant.
At 540 obviously.
ggop_I agree, kills it is a little too harsh of a term. If I had to refine my comment I would instead choose to say "doesn't sell me" or something less severe. The reason why I think it's relevant is because it's too similar to hero's downfall.To me, this is an issue where it isn't with chainer's/diabolic edict simply because I prefer the sacrifice effect over "target" even if it is at times ineffective. The redundant absoluteness of both Downfall and Ruinous Path are a conflict for me and why I am not immediately jamming it in my cube.
FlemeSure. Cube size definitely does play into it and if I were at your size or lower, I don't think I could find the room for this card. It's a perfect and a natural inclusion at 720 which is why I'm here speaking favorably of the card but I know full well that it's not an all-star. It's a piece of removal and at that I don't think it can ever be very exciting but at least in the context of my cube, this is a playable card.
FlemeI think the spells to compare it to are Dreadbore, Vindicate and Hero's Downfall. Sure, it's clearly more narrow than Vindicate and technically costs 1 more than Dreadbore and slower than Hero's Downfall but the fact of the matter is that it's still a good spell. I don't think it has an advantage over Hero's Downfall in most cases but you can play it in just black or Bx rather than being WB or BR. (Comparing to Dreadbore/Vindicate - and don't take this as me berating Vindicate, I think that's one of the top spells in cube.)
I don't foresee it being cast for the Awaken cost very often but I also imagine that the times that it's relevant, it's actually quite nice to have that 4/4 left behind after you've removed their threat.
Planeswalker removal is at a premium. Black has straight up 1 spell in Hero's Downfall that takes care of walkers while being an otherwise playable spell. Other colors aren't much better (and some are in fact worse off) so I am gladly including another piece of PW removal that also doubles up as creature removal even if it's slower than Hero's Downfall. I'm already looking to include all 3 of the Planeswalkers from BFZ and already run a good number of walkers, so additional answers for them are always welcome.
For me, this is an easy inclusion and I'm glad that it's going to be a BaB promo which means that an alternate art shiny is going to be made available
ChirdakiWhat is your walker cap? I am no sir'ing all 3 walkers...well I may run Ob Nixilis for a short time more because I hate the 4-5cc black section than I like Ob. But planeswalker creep is a very real thing.

FlemeIt is a very real thing and I haven't actually set a hard cap for myself and Analysis page currently reads 37 (which I think doesn't count for the 4 Origins walkers I have in) for a total of 41, or 5.1% + 0,6% density. You have 4.3% + 0.4% in yours.
I'm looking to cut Elspeth Tirel (she's a vestige) for new Gideon who I think is an absolutely great cube card with all abilities being relevant. If one thinks of it as a creature it threatens 7 damage on turn 5 and you can just cash it for an anthem straight up which I think is nice. Also just making bears every turn is often good enough. I find new Ob straight up boring of a card as far as design goes (I mean to draw and lose life or to kill a creature is as demonic as it gets but it's bland) but there's no denying there's power in the abilities. If the card remains on the table for more than 1 turns I consider it a good card and while for some that might not be good enough, it is for me.
I understand how some would not be inclined to include Kiora but it fits into my way of thinking about Simic and I'm looking to make that list into:
Lumbering Falls (0)Coiling Oracle (2)Edric, Spymaster of Trest (3)Shardless Agent (3)Mystic Snake (4)Kiora, the Crashing Wave (4)Kiora, Master of Depths (4)
After the release. 2 of the same PW is a bummer but I think both those fit into tempo/ramp/goodstuff that I'm looking to define Simic as and in 720 there's a very real chance of both cards not occurring in the same draft anyway. As for new Kiora as a card - I feel like she plays really well with a rampy tempo deck that I want Simic to be. The card advantage from -2 is pretty real and assuming you "get there" off a mana dork, you can play her on turn 3 and untap a dork + land, leaving countermagic or other interaction up.
Anyhow, on the topic of 720, I always feel like I need some redundancy and I while I usually keep the mantra of "no strictly worse" cards in the cube, I'm not ready to agree that Ruinous Path is strictly worse in a lot of spots. I mean on the face of it there are a lot of times where I'd draft this over Dreadbore or even Vindicate (when I'm not in those colors) and those are great spells that I would never mind having and that already is a merit to Ruinous Path.
I also noticed that due to the "high" number of walkers combined with the fact that I do have a bunch of token generation across colors, I'm also adding a Doubling Season in there. I have a bit of loose space in most of my colors for a little fun for the drafters and seems like that one card would make for an effortless inclusion for the player who wants to attempt Gxx superfriends or just give value for the green player. Mana Reflection hasn't been great so one piece of jank makes room for another.

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