One natural and important distinction is whether a Cube is ‘powered’. By itself the inclusion of power doesn’t really change much, but it’s indicative of what you want and expect from Cube: powered Cubes tend to be designed to enable the most broken things Magic has to offer, in contrast to the more relaxed pace of unpowered Cubes. As such, cards that might be excluded from unpowered lists for being too powerful or too high-variance find a home in powered Cubes. It’s worth noting that ‘powered’ here doesn’t mean just the Power 9 – Black Lotus, Moxen, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Timetwister – but also Sol Ring, Library of Alexandria, and the like.
As discussed in other posts, a larger Cube both gives you more freedom to experiment with different cards and decreases the chance of a given strategy coming together unless slots are distributed to redress the balance; smaller Cubes tend to be sleeker and provide a more quintessential Cube experience, but offer less variety.
Many designers operate under restrictions, whether forced or self-imposed. A common one is to use only commons and/or uncommons, giving you a ‘Pauper’ or ‘Peasant’ Cube. These play out more like bread-and-butter Magic than many ‘normal’ Cube games, and their relatively low cost is very appealing on the designer’s end.
One restriction that’s often considered more ‘fundamental’ to Cube is the singleton rule, and most Cubes and Cube articles you find will take this as read. This doesn’t mean that the Cube lacks a firm structure – see the Pyramid Cube below, for instance.
Beyond these basic accounting decisions, you have Cubes designed around specific cards or with certain themes in mind. A good example is a Tribal
Cube, which requires a top-down design to accommodate a variety of different tribal cards and interactions.
If you really want to go off the deep end (and why not?), here are some very creative Cube shells that showcase some of the more exotic things you can be doing. There’s a ton of unexplored design space in Cube – you have the whole of Magic at your fingertips and full control over what you do with it.
Lastly, some designers opt to build a cube that emulates one of their favorite retail draft environments. For information on building such a cube, please consult this ChannelFireball article.