Erik's "The cool side of Magic" cube

I really like the Green spells package. Scaling threats, card selection and finishers at cheap CMC.

Regarding the Black cards, I am scared of Grave Pact. In my experience, it can lead to some really unfun games where it's difficult to remove and there isn't much you can do to get back into it. Especially if your cube is based heavily around creatures.
This card looks extremely boring and quite swingy. It seems like it will either needlessly extend games without advancing them in any meaningful capacity. When it's not being annoying, it's going to be a bad "finisher" in an aristocrats deck that will feel oppressive with token spammers like Jadar without actually winning the game. The opponent won't be able to keep a board, but the aristocrats player will still need to build enough of a ground army to beat them to death, which might take a while, leading to an un-fun prolonged death. You'd probably be better off just running another removal spell (or not cutting Murderous Rider).

tl;dr plz no.

The rest of the changes look good although I can't help but feel like berserk is a little under supported.

Dom Harvey

Can't possibly object to Harvest but I do like Vessel here a lot - few other card selection tools outside of blue have such a wide scope and there are a ton of graveyard synergies for it to enable.

Hard to rule on Avenger vs Berserk since they are such radically different cards. I like Avenger but when I've drafted your Cube I rarely end up with a deck that would want it.

Jadelight Ranger is just such a great glue card. Love Hydra too but it's mostly a blunt object.

Ambush Viper always looked out of place and never made my drafted decks so Elite can only do better.

Bone Shards is either better at the same task as Blood or does what Blood couldn't hope to do. It's such a clean card and an easy upgrade.

No real attachment to Ebondeath or Grave Pact but Ebondeath feels less narrow and idk if the sac deck needs the help really?

Cabal Therapist is super awkward in a singleton format and the precombat main phase timing makes it too clunky.
Hey, thanks for the comments and sorry for taking long to answer.

I agree Grave Pact may not be very fun. It can be interesting but it's true it can lead to some very loopsided games. Ultimately, there are not that many interesting cards left to try so I decided to give it a try.

Murderous Rider and Ebondeath just didn't see play. They suffered heavily from 24th card syndrome and you weren't happy to get them because you almost always had better options. So they need to be replaced by cards that pull you in a different direction or can be built around. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.

The spells package is just something I'm trying. So far it doesn't seem to work too well. While Ambush Viper and Jadelight Ranger were good cards, I do wonder if they can be improved because they again suffer a bit from the competition. Hydra is just a spells-card.

I also agree Cabal Therapist is awkard, but I wanted to give it a try. So feel free to many any suggestions you can think of.

The rest of the changes look good although I can't help but feel like berserk is a little under supported.
How would you support Berserk?
Murderous Rider and Ebondeath just didn't see play. They suffered heavily from 24th card syndrome and you weren't happy to get them because you almost always had better options. So they need to be replaced by cards that pull you in a different direction or can be built around. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.
That's very surprising in the case of Murderous Rider. That card is always super premium in my Cube because it can remove an important threat and then "draw" a decently sized creature.

I'm guessing the reason why you might be seeing different results than me is because your threats are a little bit weaker, diminishing the need for high volumes of removal.

How would you support Berserk?
I would want to see some more cheap things that are either front loaded with power like Boon Satyr or can grow themselves with minimal time investment like Kazanduu Mammoth. Ideally you'd have some other pump spells to make the attacking creature bigger, like Might of Old Krosa or Invigorate. The entire point of Berserk is to kill the opponent on the spot if possible (except for in fringe cases where it's pumping a youthful knight or something on the block), so having ways to help this process along is very important.

Right now, berserk looks like a mediocre G/R card that really doesn't really work in most decks except for those that were lucky enough to get the Flametongue Kavu and some Equipment. I think if you want to make this card better, you need to frontload some more cheap power into green.
Ok guys, time to work on the cube. First, some replacements.


I'm cutting the double-faced cards from the cube because they are confusing to new players. They don't realize Jace is stupidly strong, for example. The other two changes are small improvements. Now the big cuts:

Grave Pact was fun in deckbuilding, not so much in play. The other cards just didn't pull their weight.

The spells package in green is not really necessary and it could be used for other archetypes instead.

These cards never did anything special except Upheaval. It's a fun card, but I prefer Wildfire and I don't have the space for both.

These are the obvious cuts. Now, I ran the numbers and noticed all my colour pairings work with three exceptions: Orzhov, Golgari and Azorious decks rarely pop up and need to be improved on. This is my priority right now. The problem is that I just don't know how!

I wonder if I can put Academy Rector in my cube with:


There's room in red for Sneak attack but I've never made it work:


More possible cuts to make room for improvements:

The Aspirant and Thalia are cards so good and powerful they are pushing out synergy picks. I think Blessed and Oust are fine, but I probably don't need both. Force is weak if you can't pitch it, which is common in my cube, and ultimately very 24th card.

Other than Chart a Course, these are all cards that see play. I just don't know if they see enough play, they are regularly pushed out.

Bontu is strong and fun, it just feels a bit like a luxury. Angler fits in Wildfire/Pox decks but that's it.

This is filler.

The advocate is good stuff, the Reclaimer feels weak instead of a powerful piece.
I tried persist combo but it was either too strong or too weak and it didn't really add much. It's also hard for players to notice how the combo works, most won't know the rules or simply don't think about it, sadly.
Hate to quote myself, but I feel that this was lost in the message.

Have you also tried a +1/+1 counter deck?
Sorry, I was too succient! What I mean is that I don't know if my drafters will recognize the synergy. I can tell them a +1+/1 counter and a -1/-1 one counter each other, though.

I did try a counters theme, but it was long ago and mostly in another cube. There's a bunch of cool stuff you can do with the cards you mention. I tried to make it a bit broader, even, with the idea of boosting Dreadhorde Arcanist and stuff like that. However, I ended up moving away from it for a few reasons. The most important issue is that it doesn't do much for other archetypes. If you have spells, or stax effects, it doesn't do too much. It feels a much narrower theme than tokens or artifacts. More importantly, I feel the most powerful cards are so good on their own that anything else is a bonus.

I also tried Hardened Scales which is either terrible or completely busted.

Still, I do like (and actually run) most of the cards in your last three rows. So perhaps I'm simply being obtuse. I can see Basri's Liutenant being good for sacrifice, the question is if it's better than the simpler Ranger of Eos. I don't know, I think I'll think about it. I may have dismissed it out of hand instead of seeing where it may take me.

Two small changes:


I think Kudro is the more interesting card and acts as a good signpost. I may also cut Tidehollow Sculler sooner or later.


Augur is a touch weaker because she has a smaller butt, but she's a bit more versatile. She's a human, she supports go-wide and, frankly, promoting the use of protection like Mother or Runes or Lightning Greaves is a good thing.
While I think about Nanonox's suggestions, I've decided to make some other small improvements or just try out some new stuff. It is not easy and I admit being a bit lost.

These are the changes I'm most sure about.


A couple additions that seem harmless to try:

A very dangerous card and three switches I'm not sure about:

Ok, some updates. First, I've loved the additions of all the cards I listed on my last update. Sure, I'm worried about Oath of Druids but drafting it has been a blast. The questionable picks are:

As neither is doing much. But I did get some beautiful decks with the new ones.

Jeskai Sneak'n Blink:
Bant Oath Baron

I'll be revising things soon, though. I'm tired of redundant cards or stuff so good that you must always pick it as long a you are in the right colours. I'm looking at you, Garruk.
Ok, it's time to start making cuts. I keep coming across two different issues while drafting my cube.

The first one is a handful of powerful cards that don't create any interesting archetypes or pull you into any interesting directions but that are so strong you feel obligated to abandon whatever you are doing to draft them. Namely these three:

I feel I'm often drafting an interesting deck only to be forced to pick these three cards. You can fit them in pretty much all decks within their colours and are often better at doing their thing than a well-supported synergy pick would. I'm often being forced to cut a more interesting card in the 2 or 4 mana slots to make room for them and that sucks. Compare this to what's probably the best card in my cube:

This card is broken and I will first pick it over any other. However, it has some important differences. First, it heavily promotes discard-heavy archetypes which is interesting. Second, it requires a set of creatures to be good. It's easier for it to be a bad fit for a deck than Garruk. The biggest issue here is the loss of beef, both Garruk and Chandra are big 4-mana cards that favour Gruul decks. So they would need a replacement, perhaps.

The second issue are a bunch of cards that suffer heavily from 24th card syndrome. I feel unhappy when I draft them and I almost always would rather have another card in their place. It's not that that are bad, just that they are too similar or weak compared to the rest of the cube.

I can't help but notice how many of these cards are outclassed by similar ones in the cube. Chart a Course is a worse Standstill, Radha is multicoloured Augur of Autumn, Force of Virtue is the third best anthem and so on.

There are also three more potential cuts if I need the space:

I'm also going to make this small change:

-> +

Grapple has proven very mediocre. It can only return creatures or land, the latter of which is of little use. It costs 2 mana, which is a lot nowadays and competes with Regrowth. I think Noxious Revival, which is free and effectively colorless can be added to the list, making room to replace Grapple with Winding Way for creature and land heavy decks to abuse like Augur of Autumn.

Since these changes drop me below playability (359 cards), I'm going to add one random card to keep drafting:
The second issue are a bunch of cards that suffer heavily from 24th card syndrome. I feel unhappy when I draft them and I almost always would rather have another card in their place. It's not that that are bad, just that they are too similar or weak compared to the rest of the cube.

I have a bunch of cards that feel this way too. I removed some and instead tried these methods:

1. Adding a new archetype. I chose a compact set of cards (in this case 5 color support) that fits with what the cube is already doing. What I've noticed is that instead of having a 5/10 card that most decks will play reluctantly, you have some cards that are either 9/10 in the right deck and 2/10 in a deck not built to support it. This means that you might have some really dead cards in the draft if no one is using those narrow archetype cards, but on the plus side, you have a new archetype!

2. Adding more multicolored cards. Same idea as above, but instead of jamming a new archetype, you add a signpost 3 color card. Kess, Dissident Mage is a really fun card IMO that will push you into Grixis without being overbearing in your cube for example. It means your decks might have more splashes, but you get more exciting cards for your players.

3. Adding more bread and butter cards. More card selection, removal, cheap creatures, fixing, utility lands, ... You know your cube better than anyone. These cards often add to the gameplay more than the draft portion.

4. Adding more specific archetype support. Maybe your Izzet graveyard decks need more recursion and you add Underworld Breach or something. It's narrow but very powerful and will often find it's home in the right deck. Or maybe your drafters will surprise you with a deck you didn't expect!

They might not all fit with your goals, but maybe it can give you some ideas!
Haha, you guys are the best! I really love to see the decks you drafted, thank you. Dom making a decklist called "Save Cryptbreaker!" really made me laugh! And props to Nanonox for making the most powerful deck I've seen so far in my cube.

I think you are completely right Nanonox. As I see it, I have enough bread and butter and most of my archetypes are well supported. I think the issue is, simply, that I don't have enough of them to truly fill this many cards. For example, I have way too many blink cards. I often get decks with several or pretty much of all of the following:

And it would be fine, if it weren't on top of a bunch of other pseudo-blinkers like clones, Reveillark and such. So I may need to make some small changes here.

Either way, I've been researching about potential archetypes. There are not as many as one might think, at least not ones I like. Either way, I'll start by making two very small tweaks. First, two cards that I should have tried a long time ago:

Second, I just realized I only run one white-aligned Canopy land despite running both Land Tax and Tithe.

Want to hear something crazy? I'm thinking of cutting Flickerwisp. Yes, you heard that right. If I want to cut 1 blink spell, it's probably the best target. The reason is that it costs 3 mana, which is always the most overcrowded slot and it's white as opposed to blue. That said, I could just cut Barrin as it's not like there have been any non-white blink decks in my cube.

Either way, I've been thinking my list is doing well so there's no rush for me to fix it. I'm just happy with how things are looking and I can add cards slowly. I think I shouldn't make any more large changes until I actually print the cards and play them at the club. It's just so fun to build the cube, I think it's more fun than actually playing the game hahaha.

I'm going to make some small additions first, then open the door for some changes down the line. First, I'm going to try to support Stax-like strategies so I'm going to add:

I suspect the first two won't work out, but I want to try them together. I'm also going to support this change very slighty with another move. I think this is useful for the cube as a whole:


More stuff:

My ramp decks don't turn out too well. Part of the reason is that they rely on a handful of not so expensive creatures. I wonder if Genesis Wave could work.

I'm also going to try Nanonox's advice and try the two following cards. Just for fun, I have the slots to try. Green doesn't have a lot of humans but it does have a couple and it could be fun to build a GW deck around them. I would try out Werebear as well, but it seems pretty bad.

Given what I'm tinkering with, I also thought of this:


Spicy, but why not?

I had to cut Terror last time because it was busted. It killed everyone very quickly because you could ramp into it and then drop Uro or whatever. But I love the card so I wanted to see if I can keep it in check. The right choice is probably a token maker, like Siege-Gang Commander, though.

I need more black cards so I'm going to play:

It was very middling when I last tried it, though.

This is all I'm convinced of at least trying for now.
I'm thinking of three humans in green to extend the archetype into those colours:

Channeler would replace Incubation Druid. It's a step down in power, but it's a way of cramming in another human.
All right, I'm going to try this:

A bunch of humans. Antique Collector seems superbusted but I'm willing to give it a try.


Fastbond didn't do anything so I'm cutting it. I think one of these three cards (Traverse, Vessel, Abundant Harvest) is redundant so I pretty much have two slots still open to play with.

I should also rework the humans theme in black because I actually run very few at this point. I think the right card to add is:

Now that green has a bunch of humans, it should be a good card for grindy GB decks as well. It was a bit narrow before.
More small changes:

This is a colorless, free pump spell. I think it could make its way onto lists that want a trick or two under their sleeves.


I think these are all improvements. I prefer Bone Shredder, but I must admit Murderous Rider is better-rounded (Lifelink, Zombie, etc.). Trading Post has ceased to see play with all the changes I've made and I suspect Scrap Trawler will take its place. It's funny because I cut it for not doing enough but I now keep seeing decks that could use it. I've also returned to Painful Truths. I'll force a third colour if necessary.

Now, what I want to do is to boost tempo decks. I think I have most bases covered and it's the archetype that could be more fun. It should also fit into UBW naturally, which are the colours I wanted to boost. But I don't know what more I can add to push for it.

The thing is, I feel the cube is pretty much complete. I can make it better by covering the slots I'm missing but I'm very happy with what I have. It seems fun and it doesn't have any big problems or large numbers of useless cards. All I would like to do right now is to add a few buildarounds or ocassional cards to push for new archetypes. I just don't know which ones could work!
It seems fun and it doesn't have any big problems or large numbers of useless cards.
Agreed! I have a lot of fun drafting your cube.

I think your last 3 changes look great. I drafted a GW artifact deck built around

and it looks amazing IMO (

All I would like to do right now is to add a few buildarounds or ocassional cards to push for new archetypes. I just don't know which ones could work!
I'd love to see

in the cube, it's a pet card, so I tend to always recommend it :p But it has legs in these type of grindy decks and gives White an unique artifact and GY build around.

I've been pleasantly surprised by Antique Collector. It gives some nice recursion for self-mill decks and can turn into a grindy engine against removal.

On another note, Reclusive Taxidermist could be an alternative to Deathcap Cultivator. Both care about the GY and are human, but the Taxidermist is more relevant later on and taps for more colors.
Thank you Nanonox! I also enjoy drafting your cube a lot. In fact, you can tell it was an influence because I inch closer and closer to you on that cube map. Since Inscho left for low-power land, I've looked into your cube more and more. I've seen you've cloned it and I'm so incredibly flattered, thank you!

You are probably right Reclusive Taxidermist or even Werebear could work better than Deathcap Cultivator. But I need to think about it for a bit first. I think any human could work, really. Either way, since I'm very close to having 50 cards in each color, I'm just going to do that. Even with middling cards, it's ok. I'll revise things later. I just want to add some stuff for now:


This is a small step up in power for a weak card. It also supports the blue gearulk which has been a good reminder I didn't have enough instants.

The Priest looks extremely abusable in my list. So why not see if it can be abused? It might be dumb with blink, though. The other two are just an extremely powerful human sacrifice outlet and Yawgwin which I want to see what it latches itself to.

I tried this before but it was way too much of an UR card. I now have more wizards so I wonder if that changes.

I'm scared of Shelldock Isle. Yes, it should promote self-mill but it seems beyond broken in a cube like this. Agent is just filler.
Thank you Nanonox! I also enjoy drafting your cube a lot. In fact, you can tell it was an influence because I inch closer and closer to you on that cube map. Since Inscho left for low-power land, I've looked into your cube more and more. I've seen you've cloned it and I'm so incredibly flattered, thank you!

Thanks for the kind words. As I said, I’ve really enjoyed drafting your cube and I’ve been trying to make a 1vs1 cube. I have the beginning of a list butnit isn’t tuned. I figure maybe I can adapt some of my ideas to your list.

One thing I want in my cubes is “explosive synergy”. Big splashy plays, but you have to work for them. This brings me to Storm.
I am trying a Storm package in the clone of the cube


I think the top deck tutors work just fine everywhere and can help enable some decks (Living Death for example) nicely.
Breach/Will and Wheel will be awesome in your GY decks. Wheel more so in faster decks that dump their hands.
The High Tide package is narrow, but I don’t mind having a few cards to dedicated archetypes. Snap is ok in tempo and is a free spell and Time Spiral is crazy good.

The tough part is always the win conditions.

I like Brain Freeze as a win con and enabler in your cube. It’s narrow, but playable.
I also like the hellkite as a decent beater that can tie a bunch of strategies together: Artifacts, spells, tokens and sacrifice.
Finally Niv you already run and it seems like a fun option to machine gun the board.

Combined with Monastery Mentor, Young Pyromancer and Sedgemoor Witch I think it’s enough.

Another piece I’d like to try is Hullbreaker Horror. It would be great in a controlling Storm deck. I am afraid it would be too strong as an early reanimator target though.
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I tested Storm quite a few times and I think it could be done. The main issue I ran into was building the same deck every time using the same pieces. So it was fun drafting it once but then you ended up with the same deck every time. This was particularly noticiable given how small my cube is.

The second issue is that it's yet another blue deck. It overlaps heavily with spells-matters and I felt pushed a section of the cube that was already good and overly supported.

The third is that it's storm and I love it but it's hard to interact with.

Anyways, you have recognized some non-poisonous enablers. Here's what I could run (or already run) to support Storm that is not parasitic and not including draw spells like Treasure Cruise or trinkets like Chromatic Star.

Slighty more questionable:

Pay-offs and win-conditions that are already in or could be in without too much trouble. The issue is that a kill spell will lose you the game on the spot.

Anyways, some stuff that could work well and isn't extremely parasitic or takes few slots:

Earthcraft is already in and it could create a very powerful archetype with Paradox Engine or Intruder's Alarm. The former is colorless and less parasitic than the latter. Note that Paradox Engine also untaps stuff like Scroll Rack.

This is a 1-card engine with Thassa's Oracle but it also works with Storm and other combos. It's very hard to build around on the fly, though! I doubt anyone but you will try unless you have an extremely good group.

This also boosts Reanimator and other cheat archetypes. However, it's a pretty bad card. Your big dude gets answered so often it might be a trap unless you are cheating in

A single LED will massively help the archetype. You can also fit it in certain discard builds or with Emry. However, that would require its own workarounds.

Pure poison:

Building a storm deck becomes much easier with one of these on the decklist.

This gives it to green and creature-based decks.

As for the kill, I would run:


Though the fun card is actually Mind's Desire because it lets you go-off in different ways each time. It also works with far less storm.
Pure poison:

I think in the past I have underappreciated just how hard it is for mana doubler + untap lands to be a consistent plan. Heartbeat and Mana Flare are quite bad (3 is expensive when you can only play them the turn you're going off). But even if you have high tide PLUS heartbeat PLUS mana flare that's only 3 redundant copies. And then with Frantic Search + Turnabout + Time Spiral that's only 3 copies of the other half of the combo. Normally I wouldn't be too concerned, but the issue is your deck literally doesn't do anything if you don't assemble the mana engine. A high number of cantrips shrinks your deck size which mitigate the issue a bit. But you are kind of reliant on jamming a bunch of tutors to be able to go off - especially when you need to start your turn with heartbeat instead of high tide.

My tentative solution is to cut Heartbeat and Flare, and then go up to two copies of High Tide and two copies of Mystical Tutor. Mystical tutor can then always find either doubler or untapper. And anyway, High Tide is a huge upgrade to Heartbeat/Flare without being less interesting. If you could ever cast Heartbeat/Flare and then pass the turn, things might be different...

So - ignoring black - in the best case scenario we can have:

4 x effective copies of High Tide
5x effective untappers (I also run a second copy of Frantic Search and a Candelabra which gets me to 7x effective)

We're at least getting up into the territory of being able to have a coherent gameplan here. And the cost of the package is relatively small in raw cards. Mystical Tutor, Frantic Search, and Time Spiral are generally playable, so it's really 4 narrow cards (2 High Tide, 1 Turnabout, 1 Candelabra). Spellseeker could be another not-so-narrow copy of High Tide.

At the end of the day, I'd rather avoid needing exactly the right draw to do anything at all in Storm. I'd rather at least try to provide a solid base - if power level becomes a concern then I'd rather address it with stronger interaction. This is also the reason I like the hybrid aggro spell velocity decks which still want many of the storm cards (e.g. Frantic Search), but use them to impact the game more traditionally.
So after cloning your cube, adding some personal touches and drafting a bit, I have some questions/comments. I don't want them taken as the truth, I've spent a lot less time thinking about your cube than you have and we probably have different goals in mind. I probably completely changed the balance and messed everything up :p

Spells matter

I absolutely love this archetype and Strixhaven opened the door for other colors to join in on the fun. I added this small package:

Relatively cheap cards, but that can have a big impact. You wanted to bolster tempo decks and I think these cheap threats that you can jam early and protect will help. Speaking of tempo, Memory Lapse is a fantastic tempo counter if you want more.

Check out this Simic tempo deck:

Granted I hit the counterspell jackpot, but Jolrael and Elite slot right in and beat down hard. They even serve as mana sinks late.

Graveyard matters

You already have a heavy GY theme which I love, but I've felt there were some cards missing. For instance

I'd love to hear your reasoning for omitting them, especially the Mongrel variants which I love as great threats and enablers.

This heavier GY focus has the downside of messing the color balance as White is left out, so I added Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle (unique GY payoff) and Seasoned Hallowblade (human + enabler). Might not be enough, but that is always the challenge with GYs and White.


I got a little too excited and it's probably not worth it. I was just thinking that since most of the cards are in high demand (Yawgmoth's Will, tutors, Dark Ritual, Time Spiral) you could add one or two Storm specific payoffs and get the deck once in a while. The rarity of the deck would offset the lack of variety in the cards. However, this is setting up the drafters for a trap if the pieces are snagged by other people and there isn't the density of effects for the deck.

I hope I am not speaking out of place with this post. My intention is more to get an idea of your reasoning so I can get another perspective from someone's cube I really enjoy!