Magic: the Gathering
By Arinaldo, 10/24/19
"Draft and Sealed have always been my favorite formats, I love the puzzle that is assembling the best deck with what's given to you, especially in Draft, which involves a lot more strategy and skill than luck.
It amazes me that there is a format where everyone starts with the same conditions and where the possibilities of decks are endless. In competitive play, the ones in advantage are those who have some of the few decks in the meta, usually the most expensive ones.
What kept me from playing Draft every week were the prices, instead of the measly 15 reais (approximately 4 dollars) of a Friday Night Magic, the Draft cost 5 times more, and even though I had the money to play it, most of my friends didn't. One of the motivators for me to build a cube was being able to draft infinitely at no cost, another motivator was to make use of my collection. I've been playing since the late 1990s and I've had a lot of good cards, which are a lot of fun to play, but for the sake of the meta, don't fit in most of the Constructed formats."
"In store Drafts, it's kind of instinctive to have "profit", you pick the expensive card that will call the draft, so deck building becomes secondary and sometimes you can't even play with the cards you're dealt. Cube is the opposite, as no one will take the cards home, the intention is always to build good decks or picking cards with the aim of messing with your opponents. Lately I have less time to go to Magic stores, so it has become more practical for me to gather people at home to play the cube"My cube is still being built and I realized that assembling a cube from scratch is not as simple a task as it seems, I came across many questions. How many cards should I use? How to balance the colors? How to create synergies between the cards? What archetypes will I use? Will it be a Singleton cube? What power level do I want for my cube? My God! Which theme to choose? Thousands of Magic cards have been released since the game's inception and choosing which ones will be part of your cube will require some dedication, so the first step in building a cube should be choosing a theme. Choosing the theme will limit your options and make card mining less painful. Since I already have access to Pauper and Vintage themes in my friends' cubes, I ended up choosing to build a Historic theme, which is the new format that came up containing all the existing cards in Magic Arena, basically the Ixalan collection. The choice of theme should not be tied only to formats as in the examples I cited. As I said, each cube is unique and completely customizable, you can choose themes based on what you want, mechanics, tribes, card frame. Want to play only with old frames? Ok. You can also choose your theme based on a plane. How about Ravnica? Mirrodin? Why not build a cube with all Innistrad sets? Innistrad, Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon? The possibilities of themes are many, choose something that pleases you and is within your reach. You also don't have to create your cube from scratch, there are lots of cube lists on the internet that you can reference, for example, Wizards shares their cube lists in Magic Online. One tool that makes life much easier for those who are building or already have a cube is CubeTutor.com, a website created by Ben Timarsh that helps creating, refining and maintaining your cube. The site organizes the lists very well and has various features such as graphics and even an indicator of how many tokens you will need for your cube. There you can also find various lists of cubes and filter them by theme. For a first cube, 360 cards is the recommended number, as it supports exactly eight players. Over time, most players increase this number to get a greater variety of decks. I recommend starting with the 360 cards and adding more after a few tries. Perhaps the most complicated task is finding the color balance, it is not mandatory, but it is very important to keep the same number of cards for each color, a good starting point for a 360-card cube is to use something like the template below:
"At first it is nice to rely on other lists and ask yourself why you made each choice. One technique I tried to use for a while, but it didn't work out, was to put the WotC-created card cycles, for example, the Knights M20 drop 5 cycle. Although there are five knights, one for each color, created to be balanced with each other, within the cube, the archetypes can make them look very unbalanced. The best way is trial and error, asking for feedback for those who play and fine-tuning it. And the cool thing is, this part is also a lot of fun."Leandro also had the trial and error phase with his cube and gave us some tips:
"In the beginning it was hard, any card I saw made me want to add it to the list, I wanted to incorporate all the staples of the format and consequently have access to Pauper's main decks, archetypes, themes and combos. Then I studied a little, and concluded that it would be better to have more synergy and make the cube less extensive. Instead of putting five mechanics in each color, I started to put a mechanic that was versatile, for example: Young Wolf would be a good pick for a Golgari Aristocrats, Simic Counters or Gruul Stompy.
Some cards do not work very well in the cube, one example is Delver of Secrets which has its potential "impaired", and it was always the last option to be chosen during drafts. Another example is the Priest of Titania which would work very well with elves, but then I would have to use many Elf cards, which would limit the synergy of green with other colors."Usually a cube builder is constantly making small changes, almost therapeutically. For me, the cube is another great way to play Magic the Gathering, but as the idea of this article was just to present the format to those who didn't know it yet. I'd be going :D. I hope you got interested in the cube, it really is a format that deserves a chance as it has already provided me with a lot of fun, and although it is casual, it is a format that I also recommend for those looking to improve their drafting and deck building techniques. Leave your comment about the cube! Do you own or have ever played a cube? What do you think of the format? Would you like to read more cube articles? Thanks so much for reading and until next time o/