Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cube Blog: Down with Commander! Long Live Cube!

I've never touched Cube in the past, but just about a week ago I dived head first into uncharted territory. I've been kind of obsessing over it the past seven days to an unhealthy degree. $250 dollars later, I was able to pick up all the missing pieces needed to fill out what is intended to be my first and only Cube:

Ah, Illusionary Mask. The original enabler of the face-down mechanic.

I knew I didn't want to make a Cube of "the best cards of every color." That just sounded incredibly boring to me. So I quickly homed on a major theme (morph) and then did a little juggling until I settling on a few supporting themes (cycling, tribes, and split cards). From there I quickly bloated up the card count and sprinted to 360 cards, only to trim and replace, trim and replace card after card until I came up with the goofy concoction that I call The Mighty Morphin' Cube. And now that the mad rush to build up and iron out the Cube as fast as possible is done, there are a couple things I noticed:
  • The decision to go for a near max 90 creatures with morph was just a stab in the dark at the number of creatures it would take to make morph relevant. I say "near max" because there are only 15-20 creatures that I left out. So when you play this Cube and a player bring a morph'd creature into play, it could almost quite literally be anything, especially in a singleton format. And that's one of the big strengths this deck has going for it. I picked 90 just because it was a big round number that was 1/4 of 360, but after a little testing I think it's working great.
  • With slivers again, I think it's working well. There are 45 slivers in the Cube, meaning 1 out of ever 8 cards is a sliver, meaning roughly 2 cards in every "booster" is a sliver, meaning you could decide to go slivers in your first pack and would still be the potential of the person to your left to grab a second sliver as well as the potential for a sliver to be passed to you if the person on your right also took a sliver. In other words, slivers for all. The point of adding so many slivers to the Cube was to push them as a super tribe full of lords with global effects. I wanted multiple players to go slivers during the same draft and I think it just might work.
  • Cycling is a little more sketchy. For now I've also settled on that 45 number, but it may change. The idea was to make Astral Slide, Invigorating Boon, and Lightning Rift an alternative archetype for any player that wanted to have some fun. And this only happens if there are enough cyclers to make them viable. I'll be monitoring how they all play and potentially tone it down or ratchet it up. It all depends.
  • "2 damage matters" is working the way it should and I'm happy with the color identities in general.
  • One other thing I'll have to watch is how the 8 lesser tribes function within the Cube. There are definitely some tribes that are more powerful than others and either I need to get more creative or WotC needs to start printing new and better birds.
All-in-all, the Cube looks good and I just payed $56 more dollars to Card Kingdom to pick up the final dozen or so cards to finish it all off. Truth be told, for people not familiar with Cube, this has got to be one of the cheaper Cube out there on the market to build. Sure there are a few money cards, most notably Illusionary Mask, Snapcaster Mage, Mutavault, and Sliver Queen, not to mention a full set of duals, but most unpowered Cubes are probably valued upwards of a $1000 in total. And powered Cubes are worth many times more than that. From playing Magic for so long, I happen to have the majority of cards I needed and only ended up spending an additional ~$250 to complete what is probably the most favorite deck I've ever made.

I love this deck so much that I'm making The Mighty Morphin' Cube a permanent fixture of this Casual MTG and the current decklist will always be found on the menu at the top. This was Mighty Morphin' Update #1 and I'm sure there will be many more Mighty Morphin' Updates to follow as new cards are released and I continue to refine the deck.

(Why didn't someone introduce me to Cube sooner?)

(Love at first sight.)


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