The Golden Cub Raksha is the kind of splashy, simi-overcosted Tribal Enhancer that Wizards of the Coast likes to give us less victory minded Magic Players. What are the benefits of sliding in a Raksha in one of your sixty card slots? Without any other cards, the Golden Cub is a very weak varient of Serra Angel: 3/4, does not tap to attack. Serra costs five and has flying; the Cub costs seven mana and does not. However, if the Golden Cub has some form of equipment, it's quite a powerhouse. Subtracting whatever ability the Equipment itself gives, Raksha becomes a 5/6 Double Striker that doesn't tap to attack-- a deal for seven mana, though the extra Equpment card that must be factored in makes the deal lessen-- but not that significantly. Adding other cards to the board in addition to an equipped Cub, ~ALL~ of your cats get +2/+2. Meow!
...now what are the downsides of utilizing Raksha? A seven-mana casting cost. Is there an upside to this? I'll make it so with Pyromancy, which also negates the pesky "Legend" status given to the Cub. The 'Legend' status will also make us lean into the amount of Cubs we want-- Two should get us one in the midgame and avoid clogging up our hand in the early game.
In addition to Cub, what else is needed? Equipment. What kind of equipment works the best? Lightning Greaves makes the Tiger untargetable and allows it to swing with its double strike the turn it comes down-- making the hefty investment worth a good bit more. Nemesis Mask imitates the two uses of Lure: 'This creature dies and all the others deal their damage to your opponent' and 'Swing with a large fatty: Kill all of target player's creatures.' Pity that it costs six total to utilize the turn you draw it. Mask of Memory draws cards quite well when placed on a smaller creature, of which we will add next.
Cats. The Golden Cub is much better with other cats around to benifit from the extra four damage(and more!) per hit done. To start off slowly, we need a good one-casting-cost creature. Since Savanna Lions look so awful in these days compared to its old art, we'll abandon it. Next on the scale of one drops is Glittering Lynx... a very interesting card with a big brother called Glittering Lion. Effectivly, these creatures cannot be killed by damage unless your opponent dedicates several of his or her lands to getting rid of a simple 1/1 or 2/2... in they go(or, as Andre the Giant might say, Indeegoo!). Moving up, there are two ways to go: Green and Red; having already considered Pyromancy as a balancing agent to the Cub's high casting cost, red seems to be the best way to move, as there are several nice kitties to play with. The orggish Scoria Cat, a favorite of Sol Malka during the days of Prophecy, seems to rear its five casting cost head up highly in the relm of 'good cats.' Joining it is the slightly overcosted, but Mountaincycling, Chartooth Cougar. Rounding out the red is a nice mana-hungry Firecat Blitz.
Many different high casting cost cards have already been considered, so mana becomes an issue. According to Magic Online's stats generator, to have at least a 50% chance of getting the fifth land on turn five, you need 50% land in your deck. Since we really want to have a good chance of ramping up quickly in-game, the thirty cardslots makes sense for land; it also benifits our Firecat Blitzes. The lands are mostly a preference, yet basic mountains seem to be the best choice for most of our lands to benifit our Bltizes as well... While the deck should have nearly half white producing lands and half red producing lands, there is no additional benifit to only using Plains. Pulling four plains for Secluded Steppes makes sense, as well a a few more for Battlefield Forge. A single Karkas we'll throw in to possibly help our Cub out as well. Looking at the current mana base, it seems like six basic plains is a little light... so we'll take away one of the fifteen mountains and replace it with a Plains-- this should be safe, as Battlefield Forge makes up the difference, and then some.
Rounding out the deck requires nine more slots; Pyromancy we have already decided to use, so we must analyze the other weaknesses of the deck to turn them into stregnths. The mana cost of most cards in the deck are quite high, and will translate nicely into three damage or more each; The high costs also require us to have more land than normal... Seismic Assault allows us to turn this to an advantage as well. The deck is obviously slow, so we need a little more defence than the Glittering creatures privode. Pyroclasm will get rid of those pesky weenies quite nicly for a low cost. Cursed Totem may also benifit our Glitterers, and will provide a distraction from the unplentiful, yet nessissary, equipment that we must preserve. On that note, we have two slots left. Since we are low on creatures, another creature or two would be a good thing... Leonin Abunas suddenly sticks out its head as a 2/5 for four that survives our Pyroclasm and blocks well seems to works out in our favor... add to that the protection of the scarce, yet simi-crucial, artifacts and mark the deck as finished.
What we now have:
4 Glittering Lynx
4 Glittering Lion
2 Leonin Abunas
2 Scoria Cat
2 Chartooth Cougar
2 Golden Cub
3 Firecat Blitz
1 Cursed Totem
2 Seismic Assault
2 Mask of Memory
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Nemesis Mask
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Secluded Steppe
Thus we have a slowly developing deck that should have a nice and solid late game by burning away creatures then swinging for victory. The deck is slow to start up, so don't bring it to any tournaments; Raksha will probably be more comfortable skulking around multiplayer tables and helping you snatch victory out of someone else's hands.
And that's my entry for SeFRo's Skullclamp Contest.