Welcome to my cube! I've been lurking here for the past year while building my cube up to this point. Today I have finally decided to join the community and share my cube! It is still in relatively early stages of development, but I love working on my cube. The link embedded in the title of this post is what I currently own, and what I draft when I get together with my group. This cube is where I put the cards that I will be buying once I get the money for them.
Goals:My primary goal with this cube is to have an enjoyable drafting environment that can continue to be enjoyable while using any number of variants. More on the variants below.
I'm willing to use any type of card, from DFCs, Un-set cards, and I am also okay with one-off mechanics. The biggest limiter for my cube is simply my budget, as I am about to start college, my money is a little tight, but I am also not against saving up for expensive cards.
Archetypes:Some of these need some more work.
WU: Blink, Tokens
UB: Ninjas, Reanimator
BR: Wildfire, Midrange, Reanimation/Ficker
RG: Big Creatures
WB: Stax, Tokens
Some of these have been drafted more than others, so I don't know if there is enough support for everything.
Azorius:Blink: Reuse ETBs to gain an advantage over your opponents.
Tokens: Make an army, swing for the win.
Boros:Aggro: It's Aggro. No one in my group has played this yet, so I don't know if it's a viable strategy.
Dimir:Ninjas: Swing with cheap evasion creatures, and then sneak in your ninja army. This archetype has been pretty awful in my testing, so I am working to try to make it better.
Reanimator: This is slowly being supported less and less, so this archetype probably won't come together.
Golgari:Reanimator: Discard big threats, and bring them back from the yard for cheaper.
Gruul:Big Creatures: This archetype is just ramp and big dudes, a "purely" creature-based strategy without very much complexity.
Izzet:Spells: Cast spells and get value... I guess. This archetype has not been updated in a while, it might need a little work.
Orzhov:Stax: Take symmetrical stax effects, and make them asymmetrical.
Tokens: Make an Army and swing for the win.
Rakdos:Wildfire: Who needs lands or creatures.
Reanimator/Flicker: This archetype really plays out as more of a graveyard-based flicker deck.
Selesnya:Tokens: Make an army and we've been through this before.
Simic:Flash: Nothing you want to counter? Just flash in a threat instead. My power level seems to of gotten a bit too high for this archetype, but I enjoy it a lot.
Now for the namesake of the cube, the Variants!
VanguardsVanguards were made to get people to start playing on Arena. They were insanely overpowered and balanced horribly. They released 4 series of these vanguards starting all the way back in 1998. I had no option of playing with these cards when they came out as I was not yet born, but while designing this cube I stumbled across them and wanted to give them a home. I do not currently own of all them, but I am working on it, I own 8 of the 33, but I have been focusing on buying the more expensive ones first.
I want to try to incorporate these vanguards into my environment more than any of the other variants, but I have not really started to get to the meat of this, because I've been trying to make my current archetypes work better.
A lot of my cube is going to need to change to get this to work, and I'm hopefully going to start the process soon.
I've done one draft with these, each player getting a random one of what I own, and most of the people I was playing with forgot they existed during their matches, so I didn't really end up with useful data.
PlanechaseThere are many options for drafting with the plane chase cards, and I will cover the 3 options that I am considering.
1. Normal Drafting - Give each player a pack of 10 planes to draft from. Each player will construct a 5? card Planechase deck from the planes they drafted. From there the game is played as usual, except with the Planechase rules.
2. Eternities Map - When playing Eternities Map I remove the draft of planes altogether, just shuffle all the planes into one pile, and then play how it normally goes.
3. Random Plane - Before the draft begins a random plane will be chosen, and all of the games will be taking place on that plane. This one came from this Cubecobra Article.
I do not currently own all of the planechase cards (only owning ~10 of them right now), but I am working on buying more of them.
ArchenemyI have never played archenemy, so I don't know how games normally play out, so preparing the Archenemy variant for my cube has been pushed back for future me to look at. Archenemy sounds fun, and I've seen many Archenemy cubes, I also feel like it's less interesting than the Vanguards and Planechase, but I could be completely wrong.
ConspiraciesMany cubes include some of the conspiracies, and many people agree that some of them are too powerful. The power of them is a concern with my cube, but compared to Vanguards, I don't think they are the best cards in the cube. What is Backup Plan when compared to starting the game with 10 cards using Tawnos.
I think that the conspiracies can add a lot to the draft, and also have some interesting synergies.
Gerrard is often considered pretty weak because of how slow he is, starting the game with only 3 cards in hand. Combine Gerrard with Backup Plan and now you start the game with 7 cards, and a decent ability. I do not know the ruling for how those cards actually work together, as far as I am aware there is no ruling and will probably not be one, so that is how I am going to play it. If I am wrong let me know!
HerosI think the heroes have the potential to play similarly to the conspiracies but perhaps a little more balanced. I'm sure many of these cards can be very powerful, maybe too powerful, but I have not gotten around to testing these just yet.
AnteAnte is a long antiquated mechanic, where the winner of a game would get a random card from the loser's deck. While it no longer has a home in magic anymore, I think that cube would be a perfect place to house it. Simply put, before each game each player removes a random card from their deck and puts it up for ante. Whoever wins the match, gets all the cards put up for ante, and those cards are added to their card pool.
Challenge DecksWith many other variants that need support, I'm going to include minimal support for these. They are intended for a smaller pod, as more of a puzzle rather than competitive games.
Garruk the Slayer - To challenge Garruk, simply take your deck and play a match against him. He uses one of his loyalty abilities every turn, and whos ever 'life' reaches 0 first loses.
Horde Deck - To face the horde deck, everyone will draft their decks as normal, and then join in on a cooperative battle against the horde deck. This is my horde deck, but any horde deck will work. I have also not tested this yet, so some modifications might need to be made.
Theros Challenger Decks - Similar to the Garruk Challenge Deck, but instead of fighting Garruk, you fight one of the challenger decks made for Theros.
Just don't ask me how to draft by yourself for Garruk and Theros decks.
Closing:Does anyone have any tips for balancing the cube? I know that playtesting is the most important thing, but my group doesn't meet too often and I would like to try to help the balance more between our sessions.
Thank you for reading this post and for all of the feedback and suggestions!