Erik's "The cool side of Magic" cube

I'm liking both Upheaval and Foundation Breaker a lot. They have opened more control decks to exist and given a boost to colour combinations that I thought could have done with it. And Vessel seems cool so far, it just requires more testing than the other two.

Still, progress is very slow. I don't know what do add in most of the slots I have left. I've decided to make three additions:

Claim the Firstborn is one of the best threaten effects so it could work. It's a test, it might not find a home but it's worth trying.

Watcher for Tomorrow should fill several slots. First, it's a versatile 2-mana drop. Second, it's good with blink, pod and a few other minor synergies. I'm looking to round my blue section so it's worth a shot. I chose it over Fblthp, the lost because it's less plain, there are a bunch of 1C Draw a card creatures, but this one does an Impulse.

Lonis looks quite strong and I hope he becomes a centerpiece of UG creature-based decks. There are some things you can do with him, perhaps using Earthcraft, Urza, tokens and bounce.

And three cuts:

After boosting green, Burning-Tree Emissary started to become appealing again. That's a good sign! Sadly, the prevalance of three colour decks often made him not able to function. She needs to chain into another 2-drop to be good but most of the time she had to get into play one turn later or simply be cut from the deck altogether.

Empyrial Plate doesn't quite work. It can be good, but the decks that really need the equipment in my cube will empty their hand fast. And the decks that don't want more utility from their equipment than just Keyword: Big. I'm still undecided on what to run since all there's not a lot of colorless equipment and, ideally, I wouldn't add yet another 3 mana card to the cube. I would also like it to be a somewhat useful defensive card as well.

Poet's Quill would be perfect but it has learn.

Unsettled Mariner just hasn't done anything.
I dislike Basilisk Collar because it tends to be too efficient against aggro. Lifelink is enough to stall those decks and I'd rather run Shadowspear that can also close games by pushing damage through. Nettlecyst is one I am currently eyeing myself and seems very good.
I also like the other adds. Lonis is one I would play if it weren't for that wall of text at the bottom. If you can stomach it, I think it will play well for you.
Yeah, I also fear it's too good against aggro. In general, lifelink can turn aggro matchups into a joke so I'm not too fond of it. Anyways, I'm thinking to make this additions:

With this I close both the red and white sections. Valakut Exploration seems like it could make Rx Lands more of a real deck, while Chandra is a good-stuff card for all non-aggro red decks. It could be interesting and provide the colour with some needed card advantage.

Nettlecyst is just the best equipment I can think for now. Sunlance rounds the white section with a bit more of removal, albeit at a lower power level.

Ok, while I wrangle about adding this or that card, let's start by adding two cards I'm fairly sure I should run:

Both are versatile cards that should round up sacrifice decks, aggro and other decks.

Some random stuff I'm considering:

you may be disappointed with
Zulaport Cutthroat
Thought Monitor
Hedron Crab
Agent of Treachery
Cloudfin Raptor

As simply being too narrow to a certain deck and dead drafts in most others. Which is OK as long as you feel the decks they’re narrow to are properly supported.

Chris Taylor

Can confirm, thought monitor takes a lot of artifacts to be good. Much like Sai, master thopterist it's got words you like on it but it requires an insane density to function that can be really hard to hit in limited, even if the theme is supported.
TBH Agent of Treachery is a solid ETB assuming you can live to cast it. Depending on the speed and ephemerate-ness of your format it might be too powerful if anything.
I really want to get my cube done with! Sadly, I'm still a few cards away and I don't really know what to do with those slots. I've taken notes up and down but I still haven't found cards I'm a hundred percent happy with.

In my blue section, I want at least one graveyard payoff since the colour has the enablers but nothing really good to put there. I can think of two cards to include.

I think the Eons is a versatile, interesting card and I'm going to add it without question. It should also allow recycling lost key cards, brings your opponent back to the game and requires some thought to use.

Wonder I'm not sold on. I don't have many flyers or cards with reach in my cube so I fear it will grant every creature unblockeable. It also goes in the UB Zombies deck which I found was quite strong last time we played. Dumping Wonder and then attacking with Carrion Feeder sounds cool, but only once. Hence I'm only adding the former.


I've also decided to add Jolrael back, but in Gruul. I want to see what kind of decks she creates. I've also added Mirari's Wake for the same reason. Neither is a 3 mana card so they are worth testing.


I've also considered supporting Storm because I love the mechanic. But I run into the same issue I always have with the archetype: It's possible to make it non-parasitic but it seems impossible to make it have actual variety. That is, you can integrate it in your cube but the deck will always look the same.

I'm also certain that a storm deck would overwhelm the vast majority of decks in my cube. Quite simply, my decks are permanent-based and won't beat a spell-based deck without including blue.
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I'm not sure the storm deck is quite as one-dimensional or toxic as it used to be with the printing of magecraft:

If you are running lots of spell velocity stuff, Azorius can have a pretty explosive tokens deck that comes out of it:

I'm slowly chipping away a high powered list that integrates this type of stuff. I think it has legs
I've also considered supporting Storm because I love the mechanic.
When you say Storm, is it like actual factual Storm or is it a combo deck chaining together multiple spells to achieve a win? Or even an engine that combines to get a lot of value/mana?
I'm not sure the storm deck is quite as one-dimensional or toxic as it used to be with the printing of magecraft:
I agree it has become less one-dimensional than it used to be. I think one can support the archetype in a similar manner one can support artifacts by making some key additions and support in all colours. However, I've found an issue.

Storm is, almost invariably, a spell-based archetype. However, my cube is permanent-based. It is actually low on spell velocity and high on value recursion. I don't know if introducing Storm would require massive changes to the structure of the cube.

When you say Storm, is it like actual factual Storm or is it a combo deck chaining together multiple spells to achieve a win? Or even an engine that combines to get a lot of value/mana?
Anything that is reminiscent of storm decks. If you are playing 10 spells a turn to trigger Sedgemoor Witch or give all your creatures +6/+6 with Leonin Lightscribe that's fine with me. So "High spell velocity: The deck"
Here are some takes on permanent based storm. Not sure if they fit the bill, but it was fun to think about either way.
The most likely to work without including too many narrow cards would be the untap mana storm and the artifact storm.

Due to the nature of the decks and that your cube isn't a full on combo cube, I think that while these can exist, they probably would be pretty rare. The fact that they could exist is exciting and adds a lot to an environment IMO.

Using (untapped) ramp spells or lands that tap for more than 1 mana, you generate mana by untapping them. Some draw 7s are probably necessary to keep the cards flowing. Not sure on the win condition, but something like Finale of Devastation could do some work with the dorks you have out or Rude Awakening as an enabler and finisher. I am avoiding Palinchron as to not go infinite, but the option is there.
Urza's Saga could be a contender for a more grindy version of the deck where you could untap it and spam constructs while also fetching your Candelabra.

Generate but loads of mana with Birgi, Urza, Ironworks using your trinkets and then get value with Sai, Jhoira or Scrap Trawler.

This one I am a lot less comfortable with. You basically chain dudes that give you mana or cards for value and maybe finish with an Overrun? Chord of Calling and Finale of Devastation could be sweet inclusions here too.

This isn't my specialty, but I think you could make some sort of permanent storm deck work in your cube (probably not all 3 examples). There would be some narrow cards, but the challenge would be integrating them into the environment (Kiroa's Follower + Birthing Pod in addition to the land untap potential for example).
Thanks a lot for the post Nanonox. I agree I could support the deck that way, I actually run many of these cards so it's not out of the question.

However, I'm looking at my cube and I'm just a handful of cards away from completing it. So I think I'm going to complete it, print the cards, take it with my friends to play and then I'll think about a new revision with storm and other cool features. I suspect I'll end up changing quite a lot of cards once my friends start playing it.

So, I need:

2 Blue cards
1 Black card
1 Non-burn red card to replace Incendiary Flow
1 Red 2-drop to replace Bloodbraid Marauder
1 Azorius card
1 Gruul card
1 Izzet card

Any suggestions?
I'll be honest when I say that I still think it's tricky at best to execute well in cube formats. True storm is something I would stay away from almost regardless. It's the iconic parasite of mechanics.

It will be doubly tricky for you to implement a spell-based "storm" if you have a more permanent-based format. Trying to swing around to accommodate even one deck would require some pretty drastic directional shifts. As such, sticking to a permanent-based storm like nanonox lays out above is important IMO. Creature "storm" is probably the easiest to integrate overall, an artifact version is also pretty workable and IMO more fun.

I run a Teshar EDH deck, and it definitely has a 'stormy' feel to it, and seems relatively easy to support overall. It's a combination artifact and aristocrats deck. the Ironworks is one possibility for a sac outlet, but the altars are more universally applicable, and many of the artifacts you want are creatures (since Teshar returns creatures).

Another good sac effect that works with artifact synergies

You would want at least one but probably two or three of the "X" artifact creature options. They are "0 mana" for the scrap trawler squad, and serve flexible roles for the deck when cast.

Scrap Trawler itself is a great payoff for this type of strategy, and really amps Teshar and Jhoira up to 11. One weakness I've seen in usage of scrap trawler is a penchant for clumping relevant artifacts at 0 and 1 mana. that cuts down the possible recursion chains pretty heavily. having stuff at 2, 3, and even 4 mana can be really helpful

If Teshar is in the mix (putting artifacts into white), I think these make some great partners for it:

(both are also historic spells and less than 3 CMC)

Per nanonox's example, I'm fairly sure it would be a jeskai archetype overall. The UR support is pretty clear and has more discussion on RTL than the white leg of the triangle. You would definitely want the usualy suspects in UR like
I don't have much to say on some of these, so I figured I would chime in where I feel more confident:

Typhoon is powerful, but plays really well at every point in the curve. It fits into all sorts of Blue decks and can be an artifact or prowess payoff too.
Azcanta is a cheap self-mill enabler that eventually ramps you and gives you a source of card advantage.
Crab is both a self-mill piece and a potential win-con if games go long and a tie into lands for Blue.
Conclave is a nice piece for your Blue tempo decks, plus you have Standstill in the cube!

I know that you didn't like the witch, but I think all the pieces are there for it to be a role player in your cube. A UB low creature count tempo deck for example or BR sac/spells deck.
I like sigh's suggestion for the removal spell. Cheap, powerful but at a cost that can be turned into synergy.

Aggressive card that plays well in the GY. Discard it in a BR deck or Pod/Survival it in a GR deck.
I'm going to follow your advice and add the Conclave, the Witch and the Khenra since they seem good easy options and I'll think about the rest :)

The Witch didn't work last time I played it but it does a lot for the right archetypes.

Thank you Nanonox.
Sigh's suggestions are great too, but harder for me to wrap my mind around. I've actually tried most of these, like Thrill of Possibility but they ended up being unnecessary.

I'm going to add Rahda but I'm not sold on the rest. I liked Soulherder a lot but I feel I would rather replace Yorion than to add both. I'm also not sure if my UR artifact builds need Jhoira (it's an oversupported archetype) and so far I dislike how versatile Prismari command is. Damage and filtering is very strong and it's yet another 3 mana card. But I may dislike it from constructed.

If you are running lots of spell velocity stuff, Azorius can have a pretty explosive tokens deck that comes out of it:


I'm slowly chipping away a high powered list that integrates this type of stuff. I think it has legs
Honestly half of these cards are just good. And the other half are contextually good in a lot of environments. And Crow Storm is funny.
It has been a long time since I last posted! I've been busy with my blog, saying goodbye to Legend of the Five Rings and getting into Flesh and Blood. But I still want to finish my cube and have fun with it. I'm also very close to doing so so it would be a shame to leave it alone. Some changes:


Explore triggers Jolrael.


I'm going to cut the companions. First, the lack of proper reminder text is a problem. It's yet another barrier for a cube that is already too complex for the people I'll play with. Second, Lurrus is just too good. I often feel while drafting that I must take Lurrus and that all options are just worse. It's a hybrid card, it's good with 90% of my cube and opens up some really strong possibilities. It makes all other cards look dumb. Yorion is much more restrictive and doesn't have this issue but I'm not keeping a single companion in.


Entomb is just too easy. It wheels and turns Reanimator into a dumb archetype. It's more fun if you need some work to put the creature in the graveyard from your hand or through self-mill. It also pushed too hard, instead of being a tool for Life from the Loam it just pushed decks to run Reanimator everywhere.

This is filler lol
As you might now, I'm not a regular player of Magic anymore. For a long time now I've been more involved with other card games, like Netrunner and now Flesh and Blood. In fact, building the cube and talking with you guys has been the main reason I've been toying with it. Magic Arena was more of a distraction and I haven't played since I decided grinding matches to draft was not where I wanted to be.

I wrote an article in my blog about the Three reasons why I quit Magic: The Gathering. It seems odd to post it here but I think you might appreciate talking about it. To me, building a cube started as a way to capture what I like about Magic without having to "get into it" again and while I may no longer go back, I must admit building it with you guys has been a ton of fun. I think it gives me what I want of the game or most of it without having to take too heavily on its problems.
Ok, so what do you guys think of this?


Black also has a bunch of cards that aren't doing much. What do you think about running something weird like this?