Eldrazi Domain Cube

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Prototype list: http://cubetutor.com/viewcube/625











Lately I've been building towards the idea that there's a large swath of unexplored design space in the world of cubing. For the sake of clarity, I'll define cube here as a custom limited environment using only cards that have been printed by Wizards of the Coast.

Most early cubes were originally built under the restriction of singleton power maximization. These two restraints actually push us towards some extremely narrow design space. If you wanted to push some sort of theme, it needed to be one that Wizards had printed powerful cards in throughout the course of its history.

Oddly enough, despite 20 years of cards at their disposal, many cubes tend towards what I'll call "core set cubing". Yes, there are powerful cards involved, but the gameplan of individual decks, especially in the aggro theater, tend towards the generic. In retail sets, it's the expert-level expansions that tend to push into more unique archetypes. They dive into new mechanical space that allows you to draft decks unlike any you have played before (e.g. Eldrazi token ramp, dredge, Spider spawning, 5 color control, etc.).

Without printing new card designs of our own, there are two main ways to open up new design space: breaking singleton, and lowering power level.

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Recently I've explored the idea of breaking singleton, and the results have been spectacular. Aggro decks have never been more fun to play, and my format is currently in a pretty nice place. There are certainly improvements to be made, but I'm liking the direction.

However, I draft my cube each and every week. I love it. But I am also filled with wanderlust. As both a player and a designer, I long to explore this uncharted territory.

So here's my idea: keep iterating and tweaking my current design for a few months, then freeze it and move to something new. Something dramatically new.

I want to build a cube from the ground up that explores new design space through a combination of mechanics and ideas that haven't coexisted in a draft format before. It also means that I'll need to power down to some degree.

Anyways, I need help carving out a new space.



I have some ideas. They're rough, ambitious, and possibly hopeless. Maybe we'll scrap them entirely:
- Design a cube that facilitates an interactive Eldrazi archetype. I'm not looking to use Channel or Grim Monolith or any of those things. We'll be using nearly every Eldrazi Spawn Token producer we can find, as well as other interesting ramp cards.

- Morbid: making a big colorless monster won't be the only thing you can do with eldrazi tokens. They also give you morbid on demand!

- Populate: Both the eldrazi spawn tokens and morbid are Jund-based mechanics, this ties us to white.

- Domain: because why not? If we have land fetchers (say, Khalni Heart Expedition), we might as well put in a sweet domain theme
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Well, that's what I have so far. It's very incomplete, but I'm hoping your creativity can help to fill out the design (or point me in some better direction). I want a challenge, and I want to launch a completely new cube design in, say, September.

Thank you in advance for any and all input!
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Regarding the presence of an Eldrazi archetype, I think you need two main factors for success:
- ways to make ramp interactive
- a slight reduction in speed to the environment

Part of the issue with doing "big things" in a normal cube is that your aggro decks are so fast that the ramp decks need to also do things very quickly to not just get run over.

Another nice property would be to have cards that support an Eldrazi archetype to have overlap with other archetypes (e.g. Farseek supports both Domain and ramp).


So, what I'm playing with is more of a multicolor theme. Sets with a multicolor emphasis tend to operate at a slightly slower pace. Naturally, we have to keep things cohesive with each other, so if we slow down aggro decks, board wipes should likely be bumped to the 5-mana mark. As we saw with Rise of the Eldrazi, these should still be a fairly similar curve between a rampy set and a regular one, we just have to modify where we place the strength of cards.

Potential inclusions:
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Possible Selesnya section:
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Advent of the Wurm could be an intersection between a populate and Naya "5 or greater" subtheme.

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Could expand the domain stuff with a sunburst subtheme (or a couple 5-color cards).


We would also make some modifications to the utility land-draft pile. The current fixing could be replaced by another set of shocklands. Then some archetype support in the form of cards like:
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Still need to flesh out the skeleton more, figure out how to connect various colors. It's looking more like a fun multi-color set with an interactive ramp package woven in.
 
Cards that really caught on in a friend's cube are these guys:
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Taking Domain a bit further, there are still some more cards to consider.
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This might be "next level stupidity" though.
horde of notions opens up design space in the form of using evoke-creatures to slow down the format, and add versatility.
I'm not gonna list up many evokers, but shriekmaw and mulldrifter seem like givens. Cloudtresher might be nice as well.
Slithermuse is another one in this vein.
 
I love Eldrazi Spawn tokens... and this cube idea sounds AWESOME. I think you might want to double-up on all the Eldrazi spawn generators, just 'cause there's so few of them, but adding them with Populate sounds like a nice piece of tech. You could also consider cards that like having lots of creatures, which would lead to including Convoke (something else that supports a slower format), which could bring more "creature tokens matter" into White. In fact, why not run something like Phantom General or Intangible Virtue?

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I also really like the idea of using Evoke as a subtheme, though I don't like the restrictive nature of Horde of Notions. Evoke gives you cool effects early if you need them but rewards you for playing a slow game by giving you a permanent body. While it's mana-intensive, it also automatically turns on Morbid (maybe for your activated effects like Skirsdag High Priest & Reaper From the Abyss) and then you can include cool other cards that care about creatures dying--like Pawn of Ulamog!

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However, it sounds like this is going to be a very Black-dominant theme, so I think we really need to come up with a niche for Blue. White has the Convoke/Tokens synergy with Eldrazi Spawn, Black and Green have Morbid, and Red can have Devour, but Blue needs something. Everybody gets Domain so I don't think that's something that you need to worry too much about (just put some Domain cards in each color & that deck can come together).



Convoke Examples:
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Evoke Examples:
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As a way to chime in on convoke ! Kavu primarch and Angel of Salvation really bring home the gold for me by being Versatile.
Chant of Vithu-ghazi is somewhat overprotective and can cause huge swings in lifetotal. when it does though, you'll need it.
Sprout-swarm is an possibly obvious pitch here, but i wanted to make sure people knew i actually really like that card a lot and then some more.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Keep the tech rolling!

Dav, you mentioned the role of blue in this cube. I definitely need to expand there, but part of its identity will be as the primary home of sweet domain cards.

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Currently thinking:
1-2 Allied Strategies
1 Collective Restraint
4 Evasive Action (this will be our only two-mana counterspell)
2 Worldly Counsel

I will also be running several copies of many of the Eldrazi spawn token producers. The ones I am most unsure about are:
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Spawning Breath could be awesome if we include some density of dudes with toughness one. Many limited formats have a sort of "critical toughness", and we could build into that. Also opens the door for junk like Gut Shot.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Love the Evoke idea. That forces us to run Undying Evil too! I am not super against Horde of Notions as a niche archetype anchor. I do need to take a second look at those Bringer of the ___ Dawn cards.
 
for the Power 5 or greater theme:
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If you really feel like working with this theme a lot, there's these guys as well that really get their point across.
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Sacellum is there for the "Power 5 or more", Somberwald is present because it possibly outranks sacellum at it's task (and sacellum kinda underperforms most of the time, sadly enough) Bloom tender is present to feast in the domain decks, bringing many colors of permanents back to the table. even when producing "only"three mana, it's still awesome.
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Utopia Vow might be intresting and kinda has the same motivation as the path to exile that's reciding in the spreadsheet.
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Hecatomb loves eldrazi spawn tokens. Korlash's Grandeur ability Tutors two swamps. Grandeur in cube might be pushing it though. Nirkana Revenant seems great backup for the new extort Shade.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Trying to think of ways to connect different colors. Battalion feels like an interesting space to dabble in, frontlined by the surprisingly relevant Legion Loyalist:
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I was also looking at Not of this World:
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There's probably room for Not of This World, but we could expand on that idea with Mental Misstep:
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By design, we could have most of the instants that can kill Eldrazi cost 1-mana (Path to Exile, Tragic Slip, Condemn). This allows the Eldrazi player to draft some protection, while also being a spell that will have some relevance elsewhere.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Next idea:
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Now, how do we get these guys online in an aggro deck? Hybrids!
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Along with scattered 1-drop hybrids of sets past.


I was trying to find a nice identity for some of the color pairs, and I really like the idea of having a proliferate subtheme. It plays well with several mechanics we can weave in:
sunburst
evolve
devour
bloodthirst
graft
persist
undying
scavenge
sliths
level up

However, I don't have any clear ideas on exactly how to lay it all out. Also, I don't want to include Bloodthirst in the same set with lots of Morbid cards. Morbid gives incentive not to block, and Bloodthirst does the opposite. I think our environment becomes weaker by including both of them.
 
Wow, you're going deep with the blades and 1 drops! This is actually a sweet card in multiples just for that deck!
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Proliferate is a sweet subtheme that I'm working with in my cube. Works with scavenge, unleash, persist, evolve, etc! Some suggestions:
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Populate + tokens
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Mixed
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that's it for now :)
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Great post Calvin! I like the Nephilim, but don't know how much space I'll have for 3+ color cards.

Love the Civic Sabre tech. That's really the perfect card here.
I was looking for an "protect all my creatures" card for white, and Rootborn Defenses slots in oh so well.
How has Doubling Season been? Is it slow to get online? What cards do you use with it in your cube?

Discussion Question? :)
What are some fun ways to ramp that don't involve on-board creatures? Trying to figure ramp out, as usually they want to cast things like Slagstorm, but also don't want to eat all their Spawn Tokens / Elves. Or is there a better way to let ramp decks buy time?
 
Doubling season is usually super slow, but it can get ridiculous if you really go for the doubling effect (especially with walkers ;) ). It's not actually in my cube, so I'm not sure how viable it is.
Rise of Eldrazi solved the problem by ramping with walls that can survive slagstorm!
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The problem I find with ramp spells is they can fix several colours (unless you want that) and they're pretty simple and narrow.
The most fun way I can think of is proliferating artifacts/lands that can store mana :p
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I think Plasm Capture is amazing in a format like this! The cost is pretty intense, so I think it is fair for this effect.
You can also plan the original punsiher. Though 2UU might be too easy.
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Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, so let me (for my own sake) try to see what we have here to get a feel for the lay of the land:
Black Red Green - Eldrazi Spawn Tokens
Green White - Populate
White Red - Battalion (not very fleshed out yet)
Black Green red - Morbid
Blue Green - Evolve
Blue X - Proliferate
Black - Swamps matters ramp
Red White Green - 5 or greater
?? Colors - Evoke
All five colors - Domain (base blue for control)
All five colors - Hybrid 1-drops + Hackblades

Unconnected color pairs:
Izzet
Azorious
Dimir
Orzhov
 

CML

Contributor
jason --

spawn seem like a great idea, in order to make them really fun though i would recommend pushing the theme (4 nest invaders! beastmaster ascension!) and then coming up with answers to both the spawn and the fatties they power out. this was the ROE-limited solution and i think it was very well conceived and implemented. so like fliers and annihilators and tramplers and red heroes and conditional sweepers to get around spawn, straightforward targeted removal to interact with fatties.

for ARB blades, you could try borderposts (the limited format's way of making a 3/2 on turn 2), but that wouldn't jive well with constructed-style cube aggro. do consider the hybrid 1's from shadowmoor block though, of which rhys and bogle are the best-known. i feel this is an easy-enough theme to implement as hybrid 1's are intrinsically desirable and 2-mana beaters are hard to come by. i'd only run esper, bant, jund though since geez are the naya and grixis ones underpowered
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
I currently have in my file 3 Nest Invader's. The average ROE draft would have 2.4 copies, so this feels like pushing it already, but maybe 4 is good. I am fine with pushing it harder, just have to remember that the more I push the threats the more I need to push the answers. Also need to be careful here, I don't know if a card like Electrickery would be a good card to include, design-wise.

Can you elaborate on conditional sweepers? You mean like All is Dust?

I have Shadowmoor hybrids in the file. I will run the whole blade cycle (perhaps some multiples), and am fine with them not all being the same power level. If they're easy enough get online, even the worst ones will be comparable to Ghor-House Chainwalker.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
More ludicrous ideas:
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I'm guessing this card should not be in a set with Stoneforge Mystic? I'm having a hard time deciding which of these ideas are super sweet and which are super broken.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
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Planned planeswalkers of the set. Very open to suggestions though.



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Devour (yay!) plus board wipe.

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Perfect for our blue domain home.

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Possible proliferate target (plus anti-ramp card).

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Intersection between proliferate and all of our fetchlands.

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Eldrazi token quest. Black will have a minor sacrifice subtheme anyways. Also intersects with Tokens and the 5 or greater thing and proliferate. Basically this card is perfect for our set.
 

CML

Contributor
Conditional sweepers: I meant more like stuff that kills Eldrazi Spawn. Shrivel is the classic ROE example but that wasn't playable and I agree that Electrickery effects are not what you're looking for. Something like Pyroclasm, maybe? Slagstorm? Firespout? Sweepers like that have traditionally been strong against creature-based ramp. All is Dust would be a little overkill, IMO. Caldera Hellion, on the other hand, is inspired!

Be careful with Ajani Goldmane, though he basically has one ability it's really just insane. His inability to dominate an empty board spelled doom in competitive constructed but in Cube he's a house. I'm not sure Liliana of the Dark Realms will ever be played.

This looks sweet. Keep us posted.
 

Jason Waddell

Administrator
Staff member
I have all three of the red sweepers you mentioned in the file.

I wouldn't play Liliana in a regular cube, but this one will be a bit slower with more of a ramp emphasis. It also has a land-types matters domain theme, so Liliana checks both boxes. I will keep an eye on Ajani though. He never really dominated my primary cube due to its speed, but this one might be another story. But that's all balance and tweaking stuff that I can't really answer until I get my hands on the set and run some real drafts. I think I'd rather err on the side of pushing some stuff too hard than the alternative.
 
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