Last updated on February 17, 2023
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh | Illustration by Raymond Swanland
Are you a fan of Constructed? Are you a fan of Limited? Do you like to brew decks? Have you ever wanted to design an MTG set? Do you like projects that allow you to tinker and iterate and strive for a seemingly unattainable perfection?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then Cube is the format for you! I’m going to teach you what Cube is, how you use one, how you build one, and why it’s such a beloved MTG format.
What Is “Cube” and What Is a “cube?”
Doubling Cube | Illustration by Mark Tedin
Insert joke about a shape.
Cube is a format of Limited, and a cube is a collection of cards, Neither is technically a cube.
A cube, lowercase, is a curated collection of cards brought together to fulfill the vision of its creator. It’s drafted as “packs” of 15 cards among a group of players just like any Limited draft. Some cubes are well known as if they’re an official set, while others are so obscure that they’ve only been played by a handful of people. Many are some variation of a collection of cards that spent some time in a Standard spotlight.
Time and again, content creators will say that Cube, uppercase, is the best format and their favorite way to play MTG. Cube is a format of endless possibilities. If game design interests you, you can build a cube and create an MTG environment of your own making.
As a drafter, you get to explore each cube just like a brand-new set. You often get to play with the most powerful cards ever printed throughout the history of MTG. Cube allows you to experience MTG in a way like no other format. Cube is loved for good reason and, as every cuber will tell you, “once you start cubing, you’ll never stop.”
The Rules of Cube
Cube is a casual format and should be fun for players above all. Outside of normal MTG rules, there are no Cube-specific rules, only a few commonly followed standards.
Cubes are built by the creator who chooses a collection of cards based on their theme for the cube. Themes can include specific or a block of sets, tribes, format staples, specific rarities, cards of all one color, or simply “cards I wanted to put into a cube.” The “traditional” sizes for a cube are 360, 540, and 720 cards with 360 being the most common since it’s the exact number needed for 8 people to draft.
It’s a standard that cubes are singleton, with no more than one copy of each card.
The theme, size, number of copies of a card, or even card legality is ultimately subjective to how you want to build your cube. Some creators even include custom-made cards.
Proxies in Cube
Selfie Preservation | Illustration by Chris Seaman
No official rules state whether or not proxies are allowed. Proxies are a self-made copy of a card and are pretty common in cubes. There are plenty of cards that people love to include in their cubes that are far too expensive to acquire normally.
A proxy is also used when a cube owner doesn’t want to risk damage to or theft of their valuable cards. Although some cube purists and playgroups might create their own rules against using proxies, they’re generally accepted because they allow you to build the cube you want, not just the cube you can afford.
Cube is drafted with 15 card packs built from the cube in the same way that any limited format is drafted. How the packs are built may vary. Some players just grab 15 cards in a pile and distribute them, other players like to collate their 15 card packs similarly to a WotC booster. This gives a specific distribution of colors, artifacts, and lands.
The biggest difference between the two versions is how it influences read signals. When 15 cards are put together randomly, you can’t tell if a specific color is being drafted because one pack might have started with seven blue cards while another had zero. When packs are collated, drafters can use similar strategies as they would in any other draft format, reading what colors may be missing from a pack to get an idea of what lanes may be open.
A pod of 8 is often easier said than done, and the reality is that you just have one other person to play with most of the time. So taking a stack of 90 cards or collating six 15 card packs from the cube and Winston drafting is often the best way for two players to get the most out of a cube.
Key Drafting Strategies
Demonic Lore | Illustration by Mila Pesic
Cube is a Limited format, but the approach to successfully drafting a cube is similar to building a Constructed deck. Drafting an archetype is essential; simply taking good cards will leave you with a deck that’s full of strong cards but lacking synergy. Cube decks that perform well look more like a Constructed deck and are more streamlined than the average Limited deck.
Reading the Draft
When you draft a cube, try to learn the archetypes before playing or look for cards in the draft that are keys to a specific archetype like the classic Splinter Twin combo. Identify what archetypes may be present and then try to draft with a preference for an archetype that you enjoy playing. This helps you draft with a focused deck in mind. Read the draft for open archetypes more so than open colors.
Lands, Lands, Lands
Draft lands, especially multicolored ones. WotC knows that the mana base will generally be a nine-eight split of two colors when they make a set for Limited. They design with that in mind and don’t include too many cards that stress a Limited mana base.
This isn’t the case in most cubes. Many cube decks want a mana base where there are 10 to 11 sources of their colors. Drafting multicolored lands lets you do this. This is most apparent in a cube that has both dual and fetch lands, where a fetch can potentially give you access to three different mana sources. If the cube has spell lands, these too can be high picks when they let you fit one more spell into your deck.
Live Fast | Illustration by Ryan Yee
Draft fast mana. Artifacts that produce multiple sources of mana are sources of fast mana. Sol Ring is frequently held as the number one pick for any cube that plays it. Being able to ramp into any number of the powerful creatures and spells that make up cubes is a huge advantage.
You can afford to take more speculative picks. Unlike a normal Limited draft, every pick is a great card in a Cube draft. You’ll easily have 35 playables by the end. Making a pick on a flier on a potentially open archetype isn’t a risk like it is in other Limited drafts.
Cheap is Good
Place more value on cards with less than four CMC. Most cubes are chock full of CMC 4 and higher cards since these are often where the most powerful cards live. You’ll always be able to fill the top of your curve and having early plays will let you stay alive long enough to play those game enders.
Lastly, just like studying any Limited format, try to learn which cards are high performers, lower performers, and traps.
Where to Play
Play of the Game | Illustration by Jung Park
As cube has taken its hold on the MTG community, Wizards has been receptive and has incorporated many cube events into MTGO and MTGA. You can search the Limited Highlights events on the MTGO schedule page to get a look. We also have a useful piece about MTG Arena events you can take a look at.
Most cube events run for one to two weeks. All cube events on MTGO and MTGA are phantom drafts, meaning none of the cards you draft are added to your collection. This makes the entry fees less than a typical draft. The EV for MTGO events is better than those on MTGA and, if you average an above 50% win rate, cube events are fun ways to draft inexpensively.
Other than on digital clients, many cubes are played in paper. They’re a great way for you to use cards in your collection and it’s easy for two players to cube together with the option of Winston drafting.
Vintage Cube is arguably the most popular version of the format. Like all format-themed cubes, Vintage cube follows the same card rules as Vintage, and any card playable in Vintage can be used to build the cube. This results in the most powerful cards available in Vintage in the pool.
The MTGO Vintage Cube is what has led to this version’s popularity and it’s always 540 cards. In this cube, you get to play with defining cards from Magic’s history, which lets many players relive their own MTG past. It also gives you the potential to make flashy plays with wild combos that let you outright win in one turn.
You’ll hear the term “powered” in the world of Cube. When a cube is powered, it means that it has the Power 9:
- Ancestral Recall
- Black Lotus
- Mox Emerald
- Mox Jet
- Mox Pearl
- Mox Ruby
- Mox Sapphire
- Time Walk
In addition to the classic Power Nine, there are other cards that are considered too powerful outside of a powered cube. Here’s a list of some of these cards:
- Sol Ring
- Mana Crypt
- Mana Vault
- Library of Alexandria
- Mana Drain
- Time Vault
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Historically, the MTGO powered Vintage cube started as the holiday cube. It was first released December 12, 2012 and was the first cube on MTGO to be powered. It quickly became a huge hit and has been released every holiday season since then, as well as other times throughout the year.
Each release may come with some minor changes to the card list, bringing in new cards from the recent Standard set or swapping out the cards that were least played. This is a way for WotC to showcase cards from the newest set and create a new play environment.
Pauper Cube is built using only commons from throughout MTG’s history. It’s a fun format that’s very easy for a creator to build since it’s easy to get your hands on the cards. Pauper cube is also a bit more approachable to new cubers because the card pools are generally much less complex than the cubes full of powerful cards.
Peasant cube is restricted to having only commons and uncommon. A signpost feature of these cubes is the multicolored cards from specific archetypes, allowing for some more complexity in deck building and gameplay. Peasant cube is another format that’s easy to get the cards for at an affordable price.
Cubes themed after Legacy, Modern, Pioneer, Historic, and Standard (and even Commander) cubes are common. These let you enjoy the specifics of those formats and make use of your collection if you heavily played any of them.
MTG Arena Cube
Cubes have been a popular mainstay since their addition to MTGO, and now they’ve come to MTGA. The MTG Arena Cube is a Historic-themed cube composed of many powerful cards and archetype staples across the Historic format. The growing Arena community kept asking for Cube to join the digital platform, and WotC listened.
For many newer players, the card pool will be much more familiar than those found in most of the MTGO cubes. It’s been a hit and a great introduction to cubing for many of the newer members of the MTG community.
The second cube to join MTGA has been the Tinkerer’s cube. This is another version of a Historic cube. The card pool is more focused on synergies between cards than plain old powerful cards. The archetypes in the cube are more on rails and defined by signpost multicolored cards like Conclave Mentor, Indulging Patrician, and Heroic Reinforcements.
Otherworldly Outburst | Illustration by Kieran Yanner
One of the biggest draws to Cube is the creativity it allows players to express by creating a unique play environment. MTGO even has a Spotlight Cube Series throughout the year where a novel-themed cube is available to the community for a week. Here are some examples of what cubers have done:
A cube built with cards that were part of winning Pro Tour decks.
A cube that only contains black, blue, and red cards.
A cube that only contains red, blue, and green cards.
A cube with the theme of drafting a Commander deck on the fly, bringing the best parts of Commander to a Limited environment.
A cube made up of only uncommon cards from MTG’s history.
A cube made up of cards that aren’t in the recent MTGO Modern, Legacy, or Vintage cubes.
A cube made up of cards printed in 1993 and 1994. These cubes vary in which cards are included based on who’s building them.
A cube centered around combat, focusing heavily on creatures and interactive spells.
A cube where only cards that have been printed in a foil version are allowed.
Drafting an established archetype is far more important in Cube because of its more Constructed nature. Like I said earlier, just having a pile of good cards that would look stellar in any other Limited draft won’t cut it. A winning Cube deck has a focused game plan with its cards working together to achieve it.
Being able to identify when a key card to an archetype is passed to you helps you find your open lane. Here are some Cube archetype staples that you’ll see in the majority of cubes consisting of only high-powered cards. Many of the examples are from Vintage cube specifically, but you’ll see these cards, or cards that do something similar, in many cubes because of their popularity.
The MTGSalvation forum has an extensive list of less common cube archetypes.
Counterspell | Illustration by Zack Stella
Blue is widely held as the best color to draft. The fact that three of the Power Nine are blue hints at this. If you begin a draft by picking blue cards, you’ll be off to a good start.
The focus of a generic blue deck should be using counterspells and interactive cards like Remand, Mana Leak, Counterspell, Glen Elendra Archmage, and Treachery to disrupt your opponent while you build up your mana with cards like Izzet Signet, Dimir Signet, Ancient Tomb, and Coalition Relic.
Use draw spells like Fact or Fiction, Compulsive Research, Thirst for Knowledge, and Chart a Course to find your finishers, like Consecrated Sphinx, or cards that take over the game like Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.
In addition to the cards above, any cards that make up the powered list are always the best cards you can draft.
Usher of the Fallen | Illustration by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
Mono white, also commonly called “white weenie,” is full of small, low-cost creatures that combine to make a strong deck with a high win rate. Prioritizing 1- and 2-drop creatures like Mother of Runes, Usher of the Fallen, Student of Warfare, Adanto Vanguard, and Seasoned Hallowblade lets you quickly gain board presence and start pressuring your opponent. Although this archetype defeats its opponents by attacking, it also uses disruption to keep them on the back foot.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is your prime creature that taxes opponents while you flood the board. Vryn Wingmare and Lodestone Golem do the same, but their higher cost puts them a step below Thalia.
Mana destruction is another technique this archetype uses to press the advantage. With such a low curve and being single-colored, mono white can play Wasteland and Strip Mine without suffering from the colorless mana or loss of the lands. The mass land destruction spells Armageddon and Ravages of War can be the nail in the coffin when you’ve spent your first several turns filling the board with creatures, especially against control decks.
Mana Tithe is a classic card in this archetype because it frequently catches opponents off guard and is very rewarding when it counters game-changing spells. If you pick up a Stoneforge Mystic, this archetype can also be a good home for the strong equipment like Batterskull, Umezawa’s Jitte, or the cycle of Swords.
Soul-Scar Mage | Illustration by Steve Argyle
This archetype wants to attack your opponent with 1-drops while disrupting their mana so that you have enough time to get their life total low enough to finish them off with burn spells.
Goblin Guide is your best 1-drop attacker followed by others like Monastery Swiftspear and Soul-Scar Mage. Grim Lavamancer is another excellent 1-drop in this archetype. Any 2-drop creatures or higher need to do more than just attack, they need to be able to push damage or facilitate an advantage like generating red mana to cast more spells.
For the same reasons they’re good in mono white, Wasteland, and Strip Mine are valuable sources of land disruption in this archetype. Red also has access to cheap artifact destruction like Ancient Grudge to help disrupt mana production.
After your small creatures have dealt eight to twelve damage, you can start to close out the game with multiple burn spells like Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Banefire, Fireblast, and Fiery Confluence. Shrine of Burning Rage and Sulfuric Vortex are all stars in this archetype. They often wheel because no other archetype really wants them and they’ll deal large amounts of damage.
Mono Green Ramp
Birds of Paradise | Illustration by Ovidio Cartagena
Mono green ramp wants to use mana-producing creatures and artifact mana to ramp out a larger finisher. Mana dorks like Birds of Paradise, Joraga Treespeaker, and Noble Hierarch are just a few examples of the mana producing creatures that you should draft. The strongest mana producer is Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, and picking it up is one of the best ways to get into this archetype. Although the mana creatures are key, many cubes often have more than enough that you shouldn’t need to fight over them once you know you’re in the archetype.
When you’ve identified that you’re in mono green ramp, you want to prioritize the big ramp and finisher targets. Some steadfast finishers are Karn Liberated, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Woodfall Primus, Progenitus, Primeval Titan, Avenger of Zendikar, and the Eldrazi. Craterhoof Behemoth is one of the best because it allows you to maximize all your small creatures and often ends the game when it hits your opponent.
Natural Order and Channel are great here because they let you cheat out some of your monsters. If you have Channel, you’ll want to prioritize the Eldrazi and other colorless finishers.
An alternative strategy in this archetype is running Upheaval to take advantage of all the mana you can float from your mana dorks and artifacts. Opposition is another package the archetype can run, and you can use all your small creatures to lock out your opponent.
This is a strong deck when it’s open but, unlike some of the other archetypes, it doesn’t overlap with much. If it isn’t open it doesn’t have other lanes it can easily shift into.
Gilded Lotus | Illustration by Volkan Baga
Big mana wants to use fast mana producing artifacts to take advantage of draw sevens, cast board reset and wipe spells like Upheaval, or turbo out a game warping finisher.
You want at least five ways to generate as much mana as possible, specifically mana producing artifacts like Sol Ring, Mox Sapphire (or any Moxes), Mana Crypt, Ancient Tomb, Mana Vault, Gilded Lotus, Thran Dynamo, Coalition Relic, Izzet Signet (any signets, but preferably blue ones followed by the red signets). This archetype doesn’t function without the artifact ramp.
Your best draw sevens are Timetwister, Wheel of Fortune, Time Spiral, and Memory Jar. All your additional artifact mana will help cast more spells from these draws than your opponent and hopefully one of those spells is your finisher.
The best way to win a game is with Upheaval. Taking it early in a draft is often how you get into this archetype. Float all your mana and cast Upheaval and then recast all your artifact mana or a finisher while your opponent has an empty board. Wildfire and Burning of Xinye are less powerful versions of Upheaval with similar effects to the board state, and they wheel often. They’re great against a creature-heavy deck.
Finishers like Consecrated Sphinx, Inferno Titan, Karn Liberated, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon shine here because their CMCs makes them easy for the archetype to cast. This archetype also loves Mana Drain because it can use the mana so efficiently to out-resource your opponent.
Inkwell Leviathan | Illustration by Anthony Francisco
This archetype is big mana with a package of big game-winning artifacts. It uses artifact mana ramp to win the game or to cheat out a huge artifact. If you’ve started off your draft in the direction of big mana and you see Tinker in a mid-pack 1 pick, then this archetype is worth pursuing.
Once you have Tinker, you want to look for these artifacts: Blightsteel Colossus, Sundering Titan, Inkwell Leviathan, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Myr Battlesphere, and Bolas’s Citadel. Cheating one of these out early ends games.
Other than all the cards listed in big mana, some other top picks for this deck are Urza, Lord High Artificer, Tolarian Academy, and Mishra’s Workshop which all perform increasingly better the more artifacts you have.
Sundering Titan | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski
This is another version of big mana. It uses all the artifact mana to take advantage of cards like Balance, Wildfire, and Upheaval to wipe the board and then out resource your opponent.
Casting a huge artifact finisher like Blightsteel Colossus, Sundering Titan, or Inkwell Leviathan is another angle for victory. You can also cheat them out with Tinker and Kuldotha Forgemaster.
Having a high density of artifacts lets you maximize cards like Metalworker, Tolarian Academy , and Mishra’s Workshop to cast your big artifacts or draw sevens and then dump your hand to take over the game. This archetype can also be a prison-style deck using cards like Strip Mine, Smokestack, Tangle Wire, Winter Orb, Wasteland, and Crucible of Worlds to attack your opponent’s mana while taking advantage of your non-land mana producers.
This archetype doesn’t come around often since the mana artifacts in cubes are often high picks but it’s a fun change of pace when it does.
Thirst for Knowledge | Illustration by Anthony Francisco
Cubes usually have some flavor of Azorius control. Blue brings card draw, Fact or Fiction, Compulsive Research, Thirst for Knowledge, counterspells, and big finishers, usually in the form of a large flier like Consecrated Sphinx. White brings sweepers like Wrath of God, Settle the Wreckage, and Doomskar, creature interaction like Swords to Plowshares, and its own finishers like Baneslayer Angel and Approach of the Second Sun.
This archetype likes to counter your opponent’s cards, use sweepers to deal with creatures, and then finish the game with one of its closers, all while using the card draw to find what’s needed.
Sneak and Breach
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn | Illustration by Mark Tedin
Sneak and breach is a dependable combo archetype that only relies on two cards. It uses Sneak Attack or Through the Breach to cheat out one of the following finishers: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Griselbrand, , Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Woodfall Primus, Sundering Titan, or Blightsteel Colossus.
If there are any instant speed reanimate cards like Shallow Grave or Corpse Dance in the cube, you can splash them and use them as an alternative to Sneak and Breach along with some discard outlets. The instant speed allows you to get around the Eldrazi shuffle trigger. Tutors like Demonic Tutor that can search up either your Sneak spell or a monster are also worth picking up for a splash.
Restoration Angel | Illustration by Wesley Burt
This is another combo archetype that relies on two pieces. Its goal is to make an infinite number of creature tokens with haste to kill your opponent in one turn. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Splinter Twin are the copiers and Deceiver Exarch, Zealous Conscripts, Restoration Angel, and Pestermite are the un-tappers. Other than the Twin and the Angel, pairing either of the copiers with one of the un-tappers will combo off.
This deck likes card draw spells that help you find your combo and creatures that have good ETB triggers, which make good copy targets when you can’t assemble the combo. With most of the cards being blue or red, this combo package can fit nicely into any blue deck as well as a Sneak and Breach deck.
Tendrils of Agony | Illustration by Rovina Cai
Storm is one of the most popular archetypes in any cube that it exists in. It isn’t because this is the best archetype with the highest win rate, it’s because this is one of the most enjoyable archetypes to pull off crazy wins. The goal is to cast enough spells in one turn so that when you cast one of the storm cards (Tendrils of Agony or Brain Freeze) it copies enough times to win the game.
The key to a functioning storm deck is being able to make excessive amounts of mana and draw as many cards as possible. The archetype needs to have cards like Mana Flare or ritual-type cards like Dark Ritual to generate mana, plus big draw spells like Time Spiral and Wheel of Fortune to find more spells. Yawgmoth’s Will is an all-star in this archetype because it lets you chain spells together as you cast them from your hand and then your graveyard.
In general, storm is a bit of a glass cannon. If your wincon storm card is disrupted, then you likely won’t get a second chance at storming off. However, a good storm deck generates a ton of mana and draws a ton of cards. So if you’re achieving that, then the deck can have multiple built-in win conditions since it isn’t too hard to win a game when you have all your cards and enough mana to cast them. All the complex corner case possibilities for winning a game that only come up in storm are why it’s such a popular archetype.
Animate Dead | Illustration by Bastien L. Deharme
This archetype wants to get a huge monster in the graveyard and then cheat it into play with a reanimation spell. The premier cards that you want are Entomb, Griselbrand, reanimate cards like Reanimate, Animate Dead, or Necromancy, and tutors like Demonic Tutor.
Griselbrand is the best giant monster to have in the deck since it ends games when it sticks on the battlefield, stabilizes the board, and redraws your hand to potentially combo again. It also works well with the instant speed one-time reanimate spells like Shallow Grave and Corpse Dance.
All giant monsters fit well in the archetype. The Eldrazi have the caveat that you must use instant speed reanimation spells to get around their reshuffle triggers. You also want cards that help you put the creatures in the yard. The draw and discard cards like Frantic Search, Chart A Course, and Faithless Looting are some of the best because they help you find the monsters and discard them.
This archetype is heavily black or even mono black, but if you set yourself up to splash the blue and red draw/discard spells, you can also pick up a Sneak Attack or Through the Breach as an additional way to cheat out your creatures.
Blood Artist | Illustration by Johannes Voss
This is one of the classic Rakdos archetypes. It’s focused on the sacrifice triggers that drain your opponent’s life found on cards like Mayhem Devil and Blood Artist while chipping away with small attacks from expendable creatures.
If a cube is dedicated to this archetype, you will also see cards like Threaten and Wrangle that let you steal your opponent’s creature, attack with it, and then use a sacrifice outlet like Priest of Forgotten Gods, Woe Strider, and Village Rites. This archetype also loves creatures like Reassembling Skeleton.
The archetype’s ability to constantly put your opponent in a fork situation where they’re losing life no matter how they interact with your creatures is fun and rewarding.
Tendershoot Dryad | Illustration by Yongjae Choi
This archetype often lives in Selesnya. It uses token makers to go wide and then strike with a huge board. Creatures that make tokens like Rhys the Redeemed, Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, Tendershoot Dryad, and Imperious Perfect are the backbone of the deck.
Cards that pump your board like Venerated Loxodon, Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Mirari’s Wake, Trostani Discordant, and Unbreakable Formation are phase two of the deck that let you swing for the finishing strike. If the cube has a devoted token theme, you’ll also see Anointed Procession and Divine Visitation which each take over the game in their own right.
It’s great staring your opponent down from across a sea of creatures, but you need to be careful not to play into wrath effects because that is this archetype’s Achilles heel.
Ajani, the Greathearted | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez
This archetype is also heavy Selesnya, and it can be an alternate lane to the token deck. It uses +1 /+1 counters to make a board of a handful of big creatures or a few giant creatures that quickly get too large for opponents to deal with. You want to pick up all the cards, especially creatures, that add counters like Venerated Loxodon, Basri’s Lieutenant, Song of Freyalise, Ajani, the Greathearted, Unbreakable Formation, and Felidar Retreat.
Luminarch Aspirant and Mikaeus, the Lunarch are a dynamic duo in this archetype. You also want cards that increase the counters that get generated like Conclave Mentor, Grateful Apparition, and Branching Evolution. Otherwise, inexpensive creatures with good abilities like flying, first strike, or trample are great here.
Like the token deck, you need to be cautious of sweepers. But you’re frequently winning well before your opponent reaches their big late-game board wipes when this archetype goes off.
Ruin Crab | Illustration by Simon Dominic
Alternate win conditions are always fan favorites and mill is the OG alternate wincon. This archetype is primarily blue but may splash for interactive spells, often in white or black. The goal of the archetype is to attack your opponent’s library and mill them out.
Ruin Crab, Hedron Crab, and Teferi’s Tutelage are examples of efficient ways to do this. Patient Rebuilding is a bit expensive but runs away with the game if it sticks. Folio of Fancies takes huge chunks from a library, but it has the risk of putting cards in your opponent’s hand, so it works best when you can close out the game shortly after playing it. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries is a mill card but also an alternate wincon to the mill plan. Teferi, Master of Time fits well in this deck as well. Outside of the mill cards, you also want to prioritize draw and counterspells.
Building Your Own Cube
There are no rules to building a cube, merely suggested guidelines and design theories. You can stretch your game design muscles and create a cube from scratch or build a cube from a well-known list.
Cubes can be categorized into two styles: standard, and custom.
A typical cube is a singleton, 360, 540, or 720 cards, and is one made up of some combination of the most powerful cards throughout all of MTG. A singleton cube lets you play a larger list of cards, keep a better balance in power among archetypes, and provides more diversity in play experiences.
When the cube is singleton, having 360 cards means that every card will be drafted in an 8-person draft, ensuring that all aspects of the cube are possible. When a singleton cube is larger, like 540 or 720 cards, it changes the frequency of which archetypes appear in the draft, giving more variability for the players. The greatest variance in standard cubes lies in whether or not they’re powered.
A custom cube is any cube that strays from the standard design, most often with a theme that differs from strictly powerful cards or not being singleton. Cubes like the aforementioned Pauper Cube, Combat Cube, and Nega-Cube are good examples of custom cubes.
If you decide to build a cube from scratch, it’ll be a process of exploration and iteration. Whether you start with a concrete theme, a list of your favorite cards, or just a pile of cards you have lying around, balance among colors and archetypes is the best way to have an enjoyable cube. Balancing colors is easier, to begin with.
Making Your List
For a 360-card cube with no multicolored cards, 60 of each of the five colors, 30 colorless artifacts, and 30 nonbasic lands is a solid start. Bringing multicolored cards into the mix shifts the balance to 50 of each color and multicolored cards, 30 colorless artifacts, and 30 nonbasic lands.
Once you have your list, it’s time to start playing. It may be that you love your cube and have no desire to make any changes, which is awesome. Or, as you play it more, you start to tweak. Maybe one archetype is a cut above the rest, there’s one that never quite synergizes enough to be competitive, you notice that there are a handful of cards that never get played, or a new set was released and you want to bring in some of its cards. You’d be surprised the impact that swapping out a booster’s worth of cards can have on your entire cube.
Cubetutor and Cubecobra are two of the best cube resources. They each have tools to build and manage your cube, as well as libraries of cube lists. In addition to the cube management tools, both of these sites have great cube content, analytical tools, mock cube drafting, and huge libraries of cube lists.
1. Create a login, and then click the “My Cube” button at the top of the window
2. Click the “List” drop-down and select “Bulk Upload” and choose your file with your cube list
3. Make any edits and save your uploaded list
4. As you iterate your cube you can use the edit feature to make minor or major changes
1. Create a login, and then click the “Start Cube” button or your name and select “Create A New Cube”
2. Click Import/Export and select the file type you want to use
3. Use the Add or the Remove/Replace input fields to make edits
There are tons of products that you should take a look at. As you tweak your cube, any new cards that aren’t in your collection are always a great investment. Now that you’ve taken all this time to build your cube, it’s worthwhile to keep it safe, and investing in good sleeves and a deck box is the best way to do that.
If the tl:dr is what you’re looking for, the best sleeves for a cube are KMC’s Hyper Matte Sleeves, and if you want to double up, use KMC’s Perfect Size as your first layer. Although any card box will work, the best box for a cube is the Quiver Time Black Collector Card Carrying Case.
Suggestion: Use Proxies for Cube
There’s one thing you might have noticed while looking at sample cube lists, especially sweet ones: many of the cards are very expensive. Much of this problem is caused by Wizards of the Coast’s Reserved List policy. Cards that people know and love from almost 30 years ago can’t be reprinted and are completely unaffordable.
Well, there is an alternative: proxy the most expensive cards.
As mentioned earlier, this isn’t an “officially endorsed” way of getting cards, but if you use the cards casually and don’t have an extra $20,000 to spend on cardboard, it’s a good option!
Proxies from printingproxies.com
If you want to go this route, I recommend using a site like printingproxies.com. Using professionally printed proxies is going to be a way better experience for your fellow cube players than trying to print them out on your inkjet printer.
Even though the cards are not authentic, they’ll be easily usable and have the right “feel” alongside the other cards in your cube.
Angel of Finality | Illustration by Howard Lyon
There you have it, that’s Cube in a large cube-shaped nutshell! Thanks for taking the time to learn how Cube lets you be the architect of custom play experiences that you get to iterate upon as you strive for perfect balance. Cube allows you to play with collections of cards that highlight the pinnacles of what MTG has to offer and puts your card evaluation, deck building, and technical skills to work. It’s a perfect blend of Constructed and Limited.
You’re now prepared to start cubing. A future filled with powerful cards, wild interactions, Constructed worthy limited decks, and stories about gloriously winning games await you as you embark into the world of Cube. We welcome you into our cube community and are excited to have one more member to play the best MTG format!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: