It’s been a difficult time for the world recently. Lots of us are feeling anxious and isolated. Frustrated, even though isolation is in our collective best interest. And especially when it comes to Magic, this is a social game. It’s often the primary way in which we enjoy social activity and bonding with strangers. Which is why, I think, it’s important to focus now on the things we can do. In this case. I propose we build a Cube.
The first reason is this. Building a Cube is a heck of a project. Finding a few hundred unique cards is enough of a task. Balancing those cards to have a similar power level and synergy is another. And fitting those choices into a budget is one more. In a time where lots of us have time and energy to spare and a real need to look forward to something positive, well… It helps.
Another reason to do this is it makes you a better player and deck builder. Sculpting a Cube gives one a deeper understanding of what and how various synergies and cards interact. It makes you think harder about what tools you need to enable a given game plan. It especially forces you to think about how different decks and archetypes will fare against one another. Thinking about how decks can be beaten is a great way to mitigate and avoid being beaten.
Step one for me is usually research. Scour the internet for cubes other folks have built. Look at themes, costs and power level. Look at restrictions. Whether it’s a modern, pauper, pioneer or old bordered Cube, there are always ways to narrow your search. As a great designer once said, “restrictions breed creativity.
Step two is figuring out the ways in which your Cube will be different from others, and which ways it’ll be the same. Figure out what draft synergies and archetypes you want. Both in one colour, two plus colour pairs and across the Cube. See what synergies you like have already been done and how. Figure out how different single cards can fill similar roles in your drafts. Once you know how many colours you want your draft decks in, think about how to support those colours. With non basic lands, mana rocks and other fixes.
Much like commander, because the majority of cubes are singleton, it’s a fascinating crawl through under played almost beens of any particular card set. Comparing Geth’s Verdict to Cruel Edict to Gatekeeper of Malakir. Or Searing Spear, Lightning Bolt and Volcanic Hammer. It can be a nostalgia trip, a fond reminder of old draft picks, or a blind delve through unfamiliar cards and sets. Also importantly it’s a ton of fun!
Suffice to say there’s lots of reason to take on a big project right now. And as a Magic player, Cube building is one of the really big, really rewarding ones. A task that benefits from slow, careful development, iteration and lots of thought. I hope it might help provide what you need. And as always, good luck and good skill!