Puzzle Box – Twos Four-Man Format, Black Section

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to The Puzzle Box!

This week, we are going to be continuing our in-depth look at the Twos four-man format. We’ll be replacing some  of the black cards in the current Puzzle Box list with cards that are better suited to the aggressive nature of this variant.

Image-4If you have never heard of this format, you’re in the majority! It is a little-known style of cubing that seems to have originated in Toronto, Canada, and made its way to Winnipeg via Rich, one of the owners of Fusion Games. It was the de facto Cube format in Winnipeg for five or six years before people got hip to classic six-person team drafts and full eight-person Swiss. This basically meant that the format was explored in a way that was free from the influence of the cards that are good in 1v1 like [card]Wall of Omens[/card] and the like. It got to develop as its own thing for a long time. You can read about why this format is so awesome in my primer post here

The Swaps

There are lots of swaps to be made in black, and even a windmill slam auto-include from the newest set, Conspiracy, that is super exciting!! Let’s gitt’r done!

[card]Tormented Hero[/card] -> [card]Carrion Feeder[/card] – Carrion Feeder is a creature that should be in the main Puzzle Box list to begin with, but as of right now, it is not. We are swapping out a two-power one-drop for a one-power one-drop here because [card]Carrion Feeder[/card] has a much better upside. It makes your opponents blocks and removal spells worse because it can just eat up whatever is dying and become a huge threat. Not super Twos-specific, but a good swap none the less.

Image-2[card]Nezumi Graverobber[/card] -> [card]Fume Spitter[/card] – [card]Fume Spitter[/card] is an incredible threat in this format. As you may be noticing, the cost, and therefore size, of the creatures in a Twos cube is greatly reduced, so the number of x/1’s is going way up. Nezumi Graverobber is just too slow. Though it can sometimes attack for four on turn two, that is basically Magical Christmas Land. It’s most often a 2/1 for two that doesn’t do much else.

[card]Hypnotic Specter[/card] -> [card]Thrull Parasite[/card] – A one-drop anything with extort is good in Twos, as it turns every spell you play thereafter into a four-point life swing! [card]Hypnotic Specter[/card] is just too slow, attacking for two on turn four is not worth the random card an opponent will have to discard (if she even has any left).

[card]Bloodgift Demon[/card] -> [card]Pulse Tracker[/card] – [card]Pulse Tracker[/card] has been referred to as the black [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] in Twos. Every time it swings, it dings each opponent for one, and since you have two opponents, it hits them for two without even connecting! Like with our other cuts, [card]Bloodgift Demon[/card] is too expensive.

[card]Oona’s Prowler[/card] -> [card]Wight of Precinct Six[/card] – [card]Oona’s Prowler[/card] is a great card, but it just doesn’t have the upside that Wight has. Wight is a good turn-two play because there is a good chance that it will be at least a 2/2 with two opponents feeding it. And if the game goes long, you could very well have a 10/10 for two mana… Tarmo-who?

Image-3[card]Vampire Hexmage[/card] -> [card]Dregscape Zombie[/card] – [card]Dregscape Zombie[/card] is a two-mana 2/1 that can act as pseudo-burn later in the game. Seeing that blocking is not a big part of Twos strategy (because normally at least one of your opponents will not have a blocker), you can kind of see this card as a 2/1 for two mana that has a flashback [card]Shock[/card] stapled to it. It’ll be there to get those last points of damage in when you are top-decking.

[card]Geralf’s Messanger[/card]  -> [card]Soulcage Fiend[/card] – This one is pretty straightforward: [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card] hits your opponents’ life for four, and the fiend hits them for six.

[card]Sign in Blood[/card] -> [card]Blistergrub[/card] – Drawing two at sorcery speed is just asking for trouble here. [card]Blistergrub[/card] will often be unblockable with two opponents, and will dome them for four when it dies. Sounds like a two-for-one that attacks instead of kills you.

[card]Doomblade[/card] ->[card]Fleshbag Marauder [/card] –  A well-timed [card]Fleshbag Marauder[/card] will often be a two-for-one. It takes a lot more work in Cube to get a two-for-one out of a [card]Doom Blade[/card]. And the [card]Doom Blade[/card] will never attack.

[card]Snuff Out[/card] -> [card]Dark Blast[/card] – Similar to [card]Fume Spitter[/card], Dark Blast will kill a large number of threats in Twos and is recurable. [card]Snuff Out[/card] comes at a real cost and will most often be a one-for-one.

[card]Animate Dead[/card] -> [card]Unearth[/card] – With fatties far more scarce here, [card]Unearth[/card] ends up having more utility more often.

[card]Vampire Nighthawk[/card] -> [card]Tyrant’s Choice[/card] – This card will always be eight life for two mana! Nighthawk is awesome, so if you want to find something else to cut for [card]Tyrant’s Choice[/card], go for it, but it is an auto-include!

Image[card]Black Sun’s Zenith[/card] -> [card]Exsanguinate[/card] – [card]Exsanguinate[/card] is a bomb. It goes in every black deck. It will finish games out of nowhere!

[card]Profane Command[/card] -> [card]Massacre[/card] –  [card]Massacre[/card] will often be free with two opponents, and [card]Profane Command[/card] is, again, too expensive.

[card]Curse of Shallow Graves[/card] -> [card]Zombie Infestation[/card] – [card]Zombie Infestation[/card] is a more reliable token generator that helps out the reanimator package, so it’s an easy swap.

The Takeaway

It’s clear that black is truly rich in resources when it comes to really great Twos cards. Seeing that there are around thirteen-thousand unique cards in Magic, it is possible that some gems have yet to be mined. If you are interested in this format, take some time to scour Gatherer and see what you can come up with. If you find anything that you think would be good, you can hit me up on Twitter at @awcolman any time!

Thanks for hangin’, everyone. Play this format; it is super sweet!

Andrew

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