Cube List

You can see my current cube list by clicking on the links to each section below. It changes pretty frequently, with major shifts usually occurring with each new set. In the lists, italics indicates that a card is a foil or promo version- mostly for my own benefit.

If you cube as well, I’m interested in your thoughts- please let me know in the comments. In general, I’m more interested in what you think is missing than what you think shouldn’t be there. Generally what’s there has stayed in because it has been good, and there is some variation in play style and personal preference that accounts for the slight variations in most cubes. However, there are always times where someone points out a card you had forgotten about, never seen, or didn’t appreciate the utility of, and I’m always very excited to have those pointed out.

The List:

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Colorless

Multicolor

Land

18 responses to “Cube List

  1. How many cards are in your cube, and why?
    Most cubes I see have 500+ cards in them, and I don’t understand why. I would think that 360 would be the number to shoot for. Not only does that make for 24 packs of 15 cards for an 8-man draft where you can count on seeing all the cards, but it keeps you from having to stretch for chaff.

    • A few reasons come to mind:
      1) A lot of good cards have been printed, and I don’t think that a cube of this size (530 cards) has to stretch for chaff, though I agree that happens when you get to something like 700+ cards. When you consider that some spots are taken by utility effects like artifact and enchantment destruction and graveyard hate, it’s actually pretty difficult to make cuts.
      2) You don’t actually want to use every card in a draft. I personally don’t want to know that somebody has a Library, or Sol Ring, or Sword of Fire and Ice. I don’t draft with eight people very often, but even if I did I think I would want some mystery as to what exactly was in the draft.
      3) Most people start with someone else’s list, so there’s a normalizing effect where Cube lists tend to resemble each other. That’s the boring answer, but probably a realistic one. I would find it very hard to cut my cube down by that much, though, and I think it would leave a lot less room for interesting, slightly more niche effects.

  2. have you thought of organizing by converted mana cost? it really makes it a lot easier for others to evaluate how your cube plays. and have you been to the cube forum on mtgsalvation? it is highly active and very extensive. a lot of group projects there have been extremely helpful to my cube.

  3. That’s a good idea, and I’ll try to get to that… maybe today. I have been to the cube forum, and I agree- the projects are really cool, and it’s actually group of people I was referring to as being a huge resource of knowledge. My cube is in the Cube Comparison project (I post as Laika__).

  4. I have another point to bring up about the cubes that I’ve seen, and it’s the biggest one to me. There are not enough unique archtypes in the cube. Every cube I’ve seen will have mostly powerful cards and tend to lean towards creature interactions. They will plant some 2-card combos, and maybe the drafter will get them. Voltaic Key + Time Vault? Grindstone + Painter’s Servant? Land Tax + Scroll Rack? I’ve seen these and they are not very creative. Is there any redundancy available to make it an archtype? Or will it just be 2 cards in a deck hoping to find each other through tutors or luck? My point is that with most cubes, there are maybe 10 archtypes that people could put together and there is often not enough redundancy to make some of the streamlined ones happen. Or the cube will be too large to see those interactions come up. On top of that, the archtypes are usually nothing new and ends up just being decks from different timelines vs each other, or a regular limited game just with the more powerful cards. Why not include new archtypes? Offer redundancy?

    All of this criticizm is worthless without some examples. Some of the green fatties in my cube were chosen for their great interaction with Flash and an instant speed Necromancy because they have persist or a leaves play effect. I’ve included Taurean Mauler, Chameleon Colossus, and Mirror Entity in my cube, all of which are fine on their own. But I’ve included Linn Sivvi, which helps form an archtype. Building these powerful interactions into the cube make more archtypes and plant more interesting plays into the cube. Having these interactions and archtypes available are great, but if you’re not drafting the whole cube, you may not get to see them. Not only that, but if you can’t count on seing the cards, you can end up drafting cards for the archtype and not even have a chance to draft a deck to capitolize on those picks.

    I want my cube drafters to find cool interactions and be able to build interesting and unique decks instead of just drafting good cards.

    • I feel like you are saying that two-card combos make archetypes in the cube, and I don’t think that’s true. I run Land Tax and Scroll Rack, but not because of their interaction- because they are both really good. It’s a matter of personal opinion, of course, but trying to build a combo is not appealing to me in the cube- I just want to draft a good limited deck, and that’s what my cube is aimed towards.

  5. there’s a ton of interesting combos in the cube: crucible of worlds/life from the loam+any land sacrifice or destruction, squee+discarders/sacrificers, erratic portal/crystal shard+etb guys, survival/nightmare, etc. i don’t think it’s worth putting narrow cards in that will be dead most of the time to increase that in the cube. certainly you can max out on interesting cards but i think it’s important to make sure they aren’t awful on their own. and the more archetypes you support, the more diluted the power of the cube is, so that’s up to the cuber’s discretion.

    i’m not sure lin sivvi + changelings is particularly broken enough to justify a card that will otherwise be mediocre at best.

  6. It might be cool if you made a page with the pictures of all the cards in your cube. They could be actual photos (to show off the foils etc.) or images taken from the Gatherer. Either way, I find it much easier to take in the contents of the cube if there are pictures.

    PS: congrats on getting the column at SCG!

    • Thanks! The link on the right to “Visual Spoiler” has all the images pulled from Gatherer- I intend to make that fancier in the next few weeks so that it uses the version of the card I run.

  7. hello! i like what you’ve done and congrats on the starcity article, i’ll be a regular reader! Anyway, i would highly suggest merging the gold and hybrid sections. I did it in my cube….yes it IS really hard to do XD…and it really upped the overall card quality and made it less multicolor intensive. With so many multicolor cards it makes it hard to play only one or two colors. I have a 720 card cube because i like a high variety in the cards i see every draft and it’s been great for mine.

    • Chris- the reason that I keep them separate is that in my experience, hybrid supports one and two color decks. We also don’t use very many gold cards in each draft pool (about 8%), so it’s not at all the case that’s it is hard to play one or two colors. The vast majority of the decks when we cube are two colors. I could see that being a problem if you made packs by just shuffling the whole cube together, though.

      Hybrid actually has a very good effect on the quality of decks, because they are extremely flexible. It’s fairly rare for hybrid cards to end up in someone’s sideboard.

      I did recently cut multicolor and hybrid down from 5 to 4 per color pair, and I’ve been really happy with that change- it really eliminated the chaff and balanced the color pairs a little more.

      • We had previously pile shuffled the cube and randomly selected cards from the mass to make packs. I was dissatisfied with this due to color clumping and being very time consuming. I have since separated the cards by card type (WUBRG, land, colorless, gold) and next time we cube i will make the packs by randomly selected a certain number of each card type to make piles. Any ideas on a good proportion to make piles with? I was thinking 2 WUBRG each, 2 colorless, 2 gold and 1 land? Undecided if that will make good packs to draft with.

  8. I play Cube weekly with a group of between 10-20, and the person it belongs to has it up to 810 cards right now, I think. One subtheme that has popped up recently, to good (but not broken) effect, is Progenitus and the three legendary Eldrazi, along with Channel, Eureka, Show and Tell, Tooth and Nail, and I think Quicksilver Amulet. He also has a very strong Goblin theme, including all three lords, Recruiter, Lackey, Ringleader, Siege Gang, etc, which again is very effective if drafted properly.

    Finally, there has lately been a trend of just drafting every dual land that comes along and making a sick 5-color control deck. In response to that trend, Matt (the cube owner) recently added Dwarven Blastminer and Ruination to the lineup, with interesting results.

    Just a few ideas from one cube drafter to another :)

  9. I really like your hybrid section. I think I will flesh my hybrid section out more into a 2-of cycle.

  10. Your cube is pretty solid for a “small” sized cube (compared to what we have traditionally in France, most cubes are 900+ cards, so the size comments make me smile ;)) even if i think that balancing the hybrid section leads you to play some subpar cards.

  11. Pingback: Draft Walkthrough : Cube Drafting Dot Com

  12. First, let me applaud and commend you for this great tool / website of Cube information and the wealth of knowledge that you continue to deposit into your Starcitygames and cubedrafting.com articles. I’m an avid follower and enjoy reading your posts, and many others about the Cube draft, which is of course the best Magic format ever.

    Sevi’s above comment is about my currently 900 card cube, which I put a great deal of time into with balancing through polls, hypotheticals, a ‘cube sideboard’ and other means of information gathering. We have a fairly large group, drafting in Charlotte, NC every Sunday night without fail most weeks, and never with less than 8 people. Our group has at least 3 people that have personally tailored cubes, so we get a wide variety from week to week. I definitely don’t claim to be an expert, but since this has gone on for more than 3 years now, I believe I’ve obtained a genuine grasp as to what our group enjoys to see when it comes to different archetypes and picks in my personal cube and other cubes.

    There are certain cube construction problems that come up quite often, which have been noted in these comments- How do you add more archetypes without cutting good cards? Do you mix hybrid and multicolor? Do you use or not use 3 or 5 color cards? How do you make your packs? There’s also the occasional question- How do you get sooo many people to draft?

    First of all, the size of our group has already set the size of the cubes needed for us to draft. With regularly 12-14 people drafting, 650 cards minimum is what we need to draft. When you compare this number, and the 900 count I keep to the 360 and 530 card counts of other cubes, I really understand this issue. I first started some years back, shortly after the ’07 invitational where I first learned about the cube, with a 720 card count in order to support 16 drafters. At the time, this was ample room to include whatever I thought was ‘cube worthy’. Since my cube has grown to 900 I have personally seen almost every archetype imaginable from the cards available. This size also creates a bit of mystery when it comes to finding certain cards that people “never thought they’d see in a cube draft that win games”. I’ve been asked how to find the cards to fill out the problem colors red and green when increasing the size of cubes, and my answer is always “Goblins, Elves and more burn and utility.”. At this size those archetypes have become quite strong. I can understand not adding tribal themes to smaller cubes, but it was worked out quite well in our group. As for the utility part, with a 900 card pool finding a naturalism or stone rain effect can be a bit more difficult, so I just added a few more good ones keeping the utility effects at the same proportion as with most smaller cubes. There is also the concern that the good cards such as the Power 9, Library, Sol Ring, ect will come up half as often in a 900 card cube as with a 450 card cube. What’s not taken into consideration is the draft pod size. If you have 6 drafters in a 450 card pool, you will see most effects about just as often as when you have 12 drafters in a 900 card pool. Yes, I know, first picks are first picks, and with more drafters there are fewer of these to go around, but I definitely have a more enjoyable draft when there are 12 packs floating around than 6, creating a much wider selection of cards in general. While I’m on this point, I’ll also mention that we don’t split to 2 pods until we have 14 people, meaning that with 13 we have one single draft pod and at 14 we go to 2. 13 may seem like a bit much, but it does create an extreme variety of picks, and more possible archetypes.

    The multicolor section seems to be where people get the most ‘hung up’ when making a cube. In my personal cube, I run I think 2 more of each allied dual than enemy colored dual, utilizing the M10 lands and Worldwake man lands. In keeping balance, I use 1 more card in each allied multicolor section and allied hybrid section than in the enemy sections, which makes perfect sense when you remember that Eventide was significantly smaller than Shadowmoor. To put numbers on this, in each allied multicolor section I use 8 multicolor and 3 hybrids. In each non-allied section I use 7 multicolor and 2 hybrids. I’ve also defined split cards such as Life / Death and Fire / Ice as hybrid, since they use ‘either color’ and not both in order to cast. I’ve also listed Slave of Bolas as multicolor in both Blue / Black AND Red / Black, since it fits nicely into both sections. I did the same for Thopter Foundry, listing it as both multicolor Blue / White and Blue / Black. As for the 3-color section, up until a month or 2 ago I kept my cube at a standard 1 per s-color combination, or 10 total cards. Walker, being a regular 5-color drafter, suggested that I adjust the 3-color section and do away with color balance here, adding that certain missing in-shard effects like Rafiq and Cruel Ultimatum were much more powerful than Fungal Shambler and a couple off-shard dragons. I would agree, but I didn’t want to do away with the color balance, so I just removed 5 lands and added 5 more 3-color cards, 1 for each shard. This kept in line with my theme of slightly more allied color effects. Since, this post is becoming article length in itself, I’ll go ahead and post my multicolor stats:

    35 non-allied multicolor (7 per guild)
    38 allied multicolor (8 per guild excluding Slave of Bolas and Thopter Foundry being counted twice)
    10 non-allied hybrid (2 per guild)
    15 allied hybrid (3 per guild)
    15 3-color cards (2 per shard, 1 per non-shard)
    2 5-color cards (Who/What/When/Where/Why is absolutely dumb on a stick, and a turn 1 or 2 Show and Tell into Progenitus has yet to be stopped.)

    Pack making is an art in itself when you realize that randomizing the entire cube doesn’t work for several reasons. All 3 cube owners in our group has agreed that a 16th card per pack doesn’t hurt the integrity of the draft one bit, so we all use 16 card packs. One cube owner uses 2 per color, 2 multicolor, 2 artifacts/eldrazi and 2 nonbasics to make extremely streamlined and predictable packs. This is what I suggest to anyone getting started in cube drafting. Personally I enjoy more randomization in my packs, so it’s not necessarily clear that the person on your right is going red after the first pick. On the other hand, I really dislike seeing only 1 card of each color in a pack, or 5 cards of a color in a pack. So I have my own formula when it comes to pack making for the cube that utilizes a bit of math (oh noes!).

    -2 per color – making 10 cards
    -2 Multicolor – 12 cards
    -1 Colorless (artifact / eldrazi) – 13 cards
    -1 Nonbasic – 14 cards
    -For the 15th card I add a random colorless or nonbasic. To do this I take the total number of packs (36 for 12 drafters) and make a pile of half colorless, half nonbasics. Shuffle and distribute, giving each pack either 2 colorless or 2 nonbasics.
    -The 16th card is a bit more involved. I then take the total number of packs (36 in this case) and divide it by 7 (5 colors, multicolor + colorless), using a remainder rather than a decimal. This will come to 5 with 1 remaining. So I make a stack of cards using 5 from each color, 5 more colorless and 6 (5 plus the 1 remaining) multicolor to give a touch of randomness to each pack.

    In order to address the issue of getting people to cube draft, there’s no real answer. People who have never tried a cube draft always seem apprehensive for some reason or another to try it. Maybe they believe that since they have never tried it that they will get stomped by more experienced players, maybe they don’t want to devote 2-5 hours into something new and different. Who knows. When I run into someone half interested, I usually run through a winston style 1 on 1 draft with them to give them a taste of what’s going on. Most of the time they show up for our weekly draft afterwards. In Charlotte, we use a buy-in and prize-out system that can sometimes turn away new players, but it definitely has had an effect in keeping our group going strong week to week as well. There are a number of things we have agreed on work as good buy-ins, and it was easy coming up with a non-cash system since we’re all magic players. The prize-out system we use is almost identical to the MTGO prize-out system, where first gets most of the prizes and we prize out through 4th usually, sometimes 5th and 6th when they are enough people. Here’s a list of things we accept as buy-ins for our cube draft, which makes up the prize pool for the winners:

    $5 – Yes we accept cash
    1x $10 card (SCG pricing always, keeping everything on the same page)
    4x $5 cards
    2x unopened in-print boosters
    Other boosters as priced on SCG, equaling over $5 cash
    50x any rares you want to stack together

    I’ve gone on plenty long enough for this type of post. I hope I’ve offered some insights to certain questions or concerns that some people may have brought up. If you made it this far, thanks a bunch for reading!

    -Matt

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