A cube is a set of predetermined Magic cards, typically greater than 250 cards, each card generally unique, that can be used in a Magic draft format (see How to play the draft format section below).
Typically, a 250 card cube would be good enough for 4 players, whereas, a 400 plus card cube might be best for an 8-player draft. Having more cards in the cube makes it possible to have a less predictable draw, since not all the cards get drawn every draft.
A pauper cube is a cube which cards are all valid in the pauper format. A card is valid in the pauper format if it was released as a common in at least one set. For instance, even though Rancor was released as an uncommon in M13, it is still considered valid in pauper because it was released as a common in Urza's Legacy.
For those who are not familiar with the draft format, here is the sequence of events that takes place during a draft. The cube is shuffled at beginning of the draft. Then, each player draws 15 cards from the cube. Each player picks a card from the 15 cards he/she drew, then passes the remaining 14 cards to the player to his/her left. This process continues until there is no card left. When the last card is drawn, each player draws 15 cards from the cube once again, but the rotation changes to the right-hand side. Once the second draft is over, a third and final draft takes place, with rotation to the left.
Once the three rounds of draft are over, each player should be left with 45 cards. It is now time to build decks. Each players builds a 40-card deck with the cards he/she has drafted. Around 23 of the 45 cards drafted will likely be used in a typical deck. The rest of the cards for the 40-card deck will be picked from a pool of basic lands (players can take as many basic lands as needed from the land pool to complement their deck). In the end, there should be roughly 17 lands (probably 14 basic and 3 drafted lands), 15 to 17 creatures and the rest shoud be instant, sorcery and enchantment spells (6 to 8). Blue color focused deck may have less creatures and more instant/sorcery spells. White and red decks may have more creatures, depending on the desired strategy.
The Commoner cube is a pauper cube that I designed in the summer of 2013.
The Commoner cube leverages some of the best commons that Magic has released in the past twenty years. The Commoner cube features 452 cards, 59 for each color, 90 colorless cards and 58 gold cards. All colors should be fairly equal in strength. The mana curve of each color has been designed according to the usual color requirements. Red color mana curve focuses on lower casting cost spells, while blue color mana curve tends to model a larger mana pool. Each color explores different themes:
- White, the kingdom of soldiers, knights and clerics focuses on protection, life gain, creatures with evasion (flying/shadow), some removal and tokens;
- Blue, the aerial and waterly world of wizards, birds and sea creatures, provides control and tempo through counter, bounce and draw spells and has more evasion capabilities for creatures (shadow and flying);
- Black, land of the dead, where rats, zombies, vampires and horrors are looking for lost souls, features some graveyard interaction, creature kills, card discard and life drain;
- Red, the realm of the fast and furious (did I mention Goblins?) is a more aggressive color, as creatures are quicker to come into play and come generally in greater number. Red is also the ultimate source of burn spells;
- Green, where beasts, spiders and other critters stray comfortably in the wild provides access to more mana, is a more creature-centric color, including some of the bigger ones, provides some mana ramp and mana fixing, deals with protection (reach, some removal), provides some creatures with trample and vigilance and has some ability to generate tokens
The breakdown of the number of creatures, enchantments, instant and sorcery spells is different for each color, based on typical strategy that each color implements. For instance, since blue color has the tendancy to focus less on creatures, more on instant and sorcery spells, this version of the Commoner cube has a lower count of blue creatures than other colors, but the pool of non-creatures blue spells is bigger than other colors.
The artifacts provided in the Commoner cube are divided in four categories: Equipments, creatures, utilities and mana fixers. The mana fixers provide access to a larger mana pool, including greater color diversity.
The lands that are part of the Commoner cube provide either access to a greater color diversity or some tools to create more interactions in the gameplay.
The presence of a good pool of gold and hybrid color cards along with lands that give access to more than one color and artifact mana fixers should provide incentive for players to hopefully draw cards in two or three colors and create more diverse decks and strategies.
Why would you not? No, seriously, the idea behind the Commoner cube is to provide an affordable environment to play Magic that is accessible to a large audience and where everybody has a chance to win. Sounds like fun, no? Although this is not the main focus, the Commoner cube should be quite fun for less experienced players who want to learn the fundamentals of Magic.
The Epic cube is a MTG cube that I designed as an experiment with most of the best cards ever created.
The Epic cube leverages some of the best cards that Magic has ever released. The Epic cube features 610 cards, 78 for each colors, 143 colorless and 68 gold cards. I have tried to balance each color. The mana curve of each color has been designed according to the usual color requirement. For instance, red color mana curve focuses on lower casting cost spells, which can provide early board presence and a more aggressive strategy, while green color expects access to a larger mana pool to enable the casting of bigger creature spells, which requires a ramp up that can be provided with other green creature and sorcery spells.
The breakdown of the number of creatures, enchantments, instant and sorcery spells is different for each color, based on the typical strategy that each color implements. For instance, since blue color has the tendancy to focus less on creatures, more on instant and sorcery spells, this version of the Epic cube has a lower count of blue creatures than other colors, but the pool of non-creatures blue spells is bigger than other colors.
The artifacts provided in the Epic cube are divided in four categories: Equipments, creatures, utilities and mana fixers. The mana fixers allow the the players to get access to more mana and greater color diversity.
The dual lands and fetch lands that are part of the Epic cube are great as mana fixer for multicolor decks. Also included in the cube are some of the more popular lands used as tools to create more interactions in the gameplay.
The presence of a good pool of gold cards along with lands that give access to multiple colors and artifact mana fixers should provide incentive for players to draw cards in two or three colors and create more diverse decks and strategies.
This cube features some of the most powerful MTG cards, including the power 9 cards and many others such as Library of Alexandria, Umezawa's Jitte, Yawgmoth's Will and Sensei's Divining Top. It features several legacy and modern staple cards, including many of the older and newer dominant planeswalkers.
The Trbal cube is a MTG cube that I designed to feature some of the most popular Magic tribes.
The Trbal cube features 450 cards, 63 for each colors, 70 colorless and 63 gold cards. The Tribal cube is smaller in size than the other cubes I designed like the Commoner cube or the Epic cube to make it easier for the players to draft enough cards of the tribe of their choice.
The major tribes per color are: soldiers for white, wizards for blue, zombies for black, goblins for red and elves for green. Each color has a secondary tribe: cleric for white, merfolk for blue, vampire for black, shaman for red and green. Colorless has some myrs and some golem creatures, which could be considered secondary tribes as well. Two additional tribes are also represented, but spread out in the different colors: elementals and warriors. Some tribes like shamans have a good representation in two colors (green and red), while others are mostly present in one color, but have some presence in a secondary color. This is the case for goblins, which are mostly found in red, but there are a few goblins in black to favor the black-red color combination. Similarly, vampires are mostly concentrated in black, but there are a few vampires in red, again, to make a stronger connection between black and red.
I avoided tribes like angels, dragons and slivers because I felt they would overpower tribes like goblins, elves and soldiers.
There are many changelings in the cube, which is pretty convenient to get a greater count of creatures of a specific type.
There are many cards that can buff creatures that share a specific creature type, like Coat of Arms, Alpha Status and Obelisk of Urd. Some other cards are there to buff creatures or give them some new abilities, regardless of their creature type (Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Frontline Medic, Champion of Lambholt, and Furystoke Giant). Some cards play with the creature type, like Amoeboid Changeling, Ego Erasure, and Conspiracy.
Each tribe has a number of generals to increase power and toughness of each tribe member and some cards to generate tokens.
The format of the cube is Eternal, but there are only a few cards that come from outside Modern. I also tried to use as many different cards as the Epic cube as possible to make both cubes unique.
The Guild cube is a MTG cube that I designed to feature some of the best cards from the Ravnica block, the Return to Ravnica block and the Ravnica sets released in 2018-2019: Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance and War of the Spark.
The Guild cube features 451 cards, 46 for each colors, 68 colorless and 157 gold cards. The Guild cube is smaller in size than the other cubes I designed like the Commoner cube or the Epic cube to make it easier for the players to draft enough cards for the guild of their choice.I have started playing Magic just before Wizards of the Coast released the first Ravnica block. It seemed to me at the time like a crazy idea to release a set designed around ten different guilds, each providing its own unique flavor. The preconstructed Golgari Deathcreep theme deck that I purchased around that time deeply influenced my foray into multiplayer deck building and later on, in EDH deck building. Savra, Queen of the Golgari is one of the cards that influenced me the most in the implementation of a multiplayer strategy. As a side note, thirteen cards from the Golgari Deathcreep deck have found their way into the Ravnica cube...
When I heard that Wizards of the Coast was working on another installment of the Ravnica universe, I thought it would be a formidable idea to design a cube around the Ravnica guilds. The biggest challenge in building the cube was to provide the right cards to make each of the ten guilds thrive. The biggest crush was to let go some of my favorite cards like Gleancrawler, Nightveil Specter or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. It is sometimes difficult to let go a card like Prime Speaker Vannifar to make room for a card like Elusive Krasis. All is a matter of balance between the card types, the design intent of each guild and so on.
To that end, the Guild cube supports and implements the core idea of each Ravnica guilds:
- Azorius: Control, tempo through counterspell and card advantage, evasion
- Boros: Aggressive, going wide, combat focused.
- Dimir: Mill and discard, graveyard focused, creature destruction
- Golgari: Graveyard recursion, permanent destruction
- Gruul: Aggressive, creature-based, going tall, ramp
- Izzet: Spellslinging, card selection, direct damage
- Orzhov: Sacrifice, tokens, life gain
- Rakdos: Aggressive, sacrifice, direct damage
- Selesnya: Going wide, tokens, populate, +1/+1 counters
- Simic: Creature-centric, +1/+1 counters (going tall), proliferate, evasion
Some of the mechanics of the different Ravnica sets, like Dredge, Surveil and Scavenge complement each other. Tokens leverage the Convoke, Populate and Afterlife mechanics. Several mechanics like Graft, Unleash, Amass and Riot revolve around +1/+1 counters. Proliferate amplifies the effect of these mechanics dealing with +1/+1 counters.
The Guild cube does not have much focus on artifacts, as this card type is not well represented in the various Ravnica sets. The land base is also limited and mostly addresses mana fixing.
There are roughly 15 cards per guild and close to three times as much per color. This is close to the ratio of monocolor cards that we can find in the various sets, which roughly of 4 monocolor cards per gold card. To give you an idea, there are 64 Azorius cards in all of the Ravnica sets and 242 monocolored blue cards. To get the best guild experience, I recommand to play with a pool of 8 players. This way, there should be enough cards available to draft for each guild to build a deck that takes advantage of each guild's focus.