Magic: the Gathering
An Introduction to Arena Cube: Foundings and Strategies
Today I'll explain the basics of the Cube Draft and some specific details to play it well on MTG: Arena !
Cube? I don't know the reason it has this name, but the idea of making a Cube is to build a list of cards that make up a Limited format, and then play drafts with those cards instead of a sealed with conventional boosters. Usually a list is made with 360 cards = 3 boosters from 15 to 8 players, using one copy of each card.
The Arena Cube
Pick the cheap cards. It's easy to fall into the trap of picking up an incredible 5 mana bomb like Lyra Dawnbringer or Elder Gargaroth on the first pick. What ends up happening is that there are so many "amazing" 5 mana options in the format, and your deck doesn't have room for all of them if you consider your mana curve. By prioritizing cheap and flexible cards you can guarantee that you can spend your mana every turn of the game and "keep the pace" with the format. 2.
Mana base is very important.There is the "9 basic one color and 8 another" pattern that we use as a starting point for regular Draft. This works part of the time, but in a way it is only acceptable because we know that our opponents will go through the same thing - and because you can still go back to a game where you get mana screwed for a turn or two. At Cube, as everything is more efficient, you cannot afford the same luxury. There are five duals in each color combination, apart from Fabled Passage - and they are very high picks, keep an eye out! 3.
Does your deck look like a Constructed deck?Some say that Cube looks more like Constructed than Limited, which still has a background of truth. The idea of "reading the signs, identifying the open colors" does not matter as much as "having a plan and building around that plan". There are a few main archetypes and we are going to introduce them, just as there are several "secret archetypes" based on a card or combination of cards. The important thing is to realize synergies between your cards to take them beyond the raw power that all decks already have. When building your deck, ask yourself the usual question: "is my deck a deck or a stack of cards?"
Monored / Monowhite / Boros AggroThe most basic and efficient decks, Monored and Monowhite take great advantage of the people who are just trying to play - the famous fun police. You don't have to waste time picking up duals. Several packs will be "empty" but that's not a problem, it's easy to get over 23-24 playable cards and you don't need to change much after sideboarding. Splashing other color for some higher power card on these decks is valid, if you had the discipline to pick up the duals. The "full Boros", on the other hand, sometimes ends up being too midrange, with the worst of both worlds and a mana base that cannot be trusted.
UW ControlOn the other side of the spectrum, Azorius Control is quite feasible if you pick up any card(s) that clear the board like Doomskar or Cleansing Nova. Couple this with a finisher like Approach of the Second Sun, counters, removals, draws, value creatures, etc ... the classic recipe is very valid in this format.
UGxxx RampIn this Cube, more than an aggressive color, Green works very well as a support for ramp and fixing. Blue usually goes hand in hand as it gives you access to draw spells for a better use your excess mana. If there is enough fixing, you can splash any bomb in any color - going up to all five colors for our friend Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and his favorite yard Field of the Dead.
Bx GrindBlack is a very synergistic color in this format, using the themes of sacrifice, attrition creatures, discards and efficient removals. You can play monoblack - incentives like Ayara, First of Locthwain and Phyrexian Obliterator, but the black base is very versatile with other colors. Personally, in the last round of the Cube it was my favorite archetype, especially when it involved Lurrus of the Dream-Den.
My Top 10