Article An Off-Color Joke: Fixing, DGR, Cube, and You

Jason Waddell

Staff member
When you say 8-lands per drafter, is that exclusively fixing lands, or are you including others in that count as well?
Nice article! I shared it with my cube group.

I wish you would go into a little more detail about why you think Zac Hill's (and, more generally, WoTC's) stance on "good stuff" environments is wrong. His point was that the better the mana fixing, the more context-independent your picks become. Thus, the texture of a draft (and its subsequent games) becomes watered down and un-fun.

You dismiss his point, citing RGD as a counterexample, without going into either the fundamental flaw in his stance or why RGD is a good counterexample. I understand that RGD is considered one of the all-time great draft formats, but is that specifically due to the quality and quantity of the mana fixing, or is it due to myriad other aspects of that particular format? Do you think an environment of "good stuff" decks is more fun than one with more restricted manabases, or do you think that Zac is wrong about how mana fixers affect a format? Your thoughts on these questions were a bit unclear.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, I'd just like to find out why you feel so strongly this way.

Jason Waddell

Staff member
I agree with Benny that there were some loose ends in the article. Then again, there's only so much ground you can cover in 1500 words. Looking forward to the next one Chris!


i like loose ends -- makes the reader think more. (i can self-justify the poor organization for days)

4c goodstuff fallacy: i can't find my earlier unpacking of the '4c good stuff fallacy,' but the gist is that too small a number of archetypes is also bad for a draft format, as are picks becoming too context-dependent -- like, what fun is it to get locked into one deck with your first several picks (especially if it may not even materialize), and to draft that deck over and over again in that single format? Gatecrash illustrates that danger. much richer to have dynamic tensions between fixing / spells, power / consistency, and so on -- one way of looking at the fallacy is that they're viewing a draft as if it were constructed, instead of something where you have a finite number of picks to cobble together a deck. decks that do a number of things are also more fun than decks with linear strategies, and the process of mixing and matching fixing, removal, a curve, etc. feels like the right amount of variables to achieve satisfying complexity. (also, it's good for replay value.)

beyond decks that are 'clique' and not 'goyf' there are any number of other parallels to be made with how i think about cube, viz. cards should fit in multiple archetypes, any deck should be possible, you cut fewer spells when you take more fixing ...

another point is that they shouldn't print so many damn multicolor cards (the density of mc in this block is higher than RGD -- 249/664 = .375, vs. 183/646 = .28) if they're not gonna let us cast 'em. "support the cards you have" is an important limited design principle. getting color-screwed a ton -- increasing variance -- seems like a poor way to make a format hard to 'solve'

my best guess is that RGD's particular magic is due to good color-balance, strong fixing, a million cards that say 'draw a card' (incl. common lands!), creatures with activated abilities, a flattish power curve, etc. which result in the complex, interactive, difficult board states that are a hallmark of that format. but i cannot hope to be descriptive enough.

the other day on facebook someone wrote that wizards is tryna kill cube, that would make the modo cube make a lot more sense. im gonna try to ply this person with booze