"Fast" multiplayer cube

Artifacts matter: (part 1)
{W}{U}{B}{R}{G}

For whatever reason, artifact decks are among my favorite (cube or otherwise) so I wanted them to be supported in my cube.
One of the well documented issues with artifacts is that most payoffs want you to cast or find artifacts, but most of the "better" cards aren't artifacts themselves. For this reason, I've chosen to add a lot of Baubles in my artifact section to help enable those decks as well as provide cantrips to colors that don't naturally have access to them like White and to a lesser degree Green and Black. This is very similar to the density of cantrips used for the various spells matter decks. They might look like wasted slots or unexciting draft picks, but they allow the cards to actually be a functioning deck rather than a pile of cards.

So here are the artifact decks I support
Go wide
Ramp/Cheat
Grindy

Go Wide
{W}{U}{R}{G}

The goal here is to spit out as many artifacts as possible to maximize your payoffs which are:



The nice thing is that almost all of these are essentially colorless, meaning you can go wild in the decks that include them. I'll highlight a few cards that can encourage you to pick a color.

White: As a solid token color, it's no surprise that White plays well in this archetype. As mentioned before, these baubles can also tie into the prowess themes allowing some spicy hybrid.



Blue: As stated before, I've chosen to include token makers that produce artifacts in Blue. The color lacks proper token payoffs, so in a sense these growing constructs act as a reward for going wide. That or splashing another color better equipped to support tokens.



Red: The tokens payoffs in Red don't really mesh well with what the deck is trying to do, so it acts more as a support color. With treasures and Academy however, you can leverage the X spells in Red for a big finish which is unique to the color.



Green: Surprisingly, Green is a potent color for this type of artifact deck. With solid artifact producers and token doublers for the constructs, you get a lot of support for this go wide theme. Also, the fact that 2 of the colorless payoffs are lands means that it gets easier to tutor for them via Elvish Reclaimer for example.



A nice little White aggro deck to kick things off! Almost all of the colorless payoffs are there, which is nice because they work better in multiples. The X creatures give you an outlet for your mana and you have solid prowess enablers to round things off with Spirit and Mentor. This deck would have loved a Stoneforge Mystic and/or another 1 mana artifact to fetch with Urza's Saga.











Once again the colorless cards are the backbone of the deck, but the colored artifact producers/payoffs give the deck a distinct flavor.
Lots of ramp possibilities between Academy, Provisionner and Garruk, with some X spells providing mana dumps. Esika's Chariot has many juicy targets to copy, ranging from constructs to the Stone Idol token. The land subtheme fits perfectly with what the rest of the deck is trying to do. The deck is missing some interaction though, so maybe I should be looking to see if I can find some artifact based ones (Aether Spellbomb?)











This final deck is a Skullclamp deck to be sure, but it still does the artifact go-wide theme very well! Red actually has the token payoffs with Ogre and Cavalier and even Embercleave on a construct! Saheeli and Typhoon provide you with more tokens for just casting your artifacts and cantrips. The Locust God makes an appearance outside of Storm and fits right in with the cantrips. The final layer are Welder and Emry which allow you to get more from your Lootings/Consider/Cavalier and add a bit of resiliency in case your artifacts are destroyed.










Go wide artifacts is a very large archetype spanning from a regular token deck to weird hybrids like the UG lands example. I would like ways to include Black into the mix, but I don't think the payoffs are quite there yet for my power level.

Potential includes:

Cranial Plating
Steel Overseer
Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge
Marionette Master

Plating only needs a few artifacts to be worth 2 mana since the equip cost is so cheap. I am hesitating because it has {B} pips and I don't support that type of artifact deck in Black.

Overseer is a fine scaling threat, but for it to make complete sense, I think I should have a +1/+1 counter theme in the cube.

Tezzeret is a beast of a card, but it is really narrow. At 6 mana I already have a bunch of finishers for other archetypes and don't think it is worth the slot.

Similarly Master is a card that has potential to end the game, but once again narrow. This one is close though as I've taught my drafters to respect the card and they have tried it out too. I also like the cross over with sacrifice. One I would revisit if counters were in the cube. As it stands I think Bolas's Citadel is more my cup of tea.
 
Artifacts matter: (part 2)
{W}{U}{B}{R}{G}

There are a lot of more interesting ways for artifacts to go than the ones I have chosen here, but I need some simple to understand/execute and powerful archetypes for my drafters. They are used to drafting good stuff decks and I am trying to win them over to the archetype side.

Cheat
{W}{U}{B}{R}

The glue that ties all these archetypes together are these artifact fatties:



They are available to all colors obviously and are powerful enough that it's worthwhile to go out of your way to reanimate them early. They are somewhat resilient which I value as with more players it's easier to get blown out. Finally they are expensive enough that they should go to the drafter who wants them.

White



White's contribution to the archetype pulls it in a more controlling direction. Which it is well suited to do as it has all the tools to succeed there except for card advantage. This gives a relatively simple archetype a different flavor which I really enjoy. These cards are also versatile enough that they can fit in multiple decks which is what my cube is all about.

Blue



These are among the biggest power outliers in my cube, but the fact you need to build around them a little makes it palatable for me (Shelldock excluded, it's good almost everywhere). You need high artifact counts to maximize these payoffs so pick orders need to be adjusted which is an interesting draft dynamic.

Black



These are not artifact specific, but at the same time, all the best reanimation targets are artifacts by design (save Griselbrand). The sorcery nature of these spells often leads to spell matter hybrid decks which can then make the most of payoffs from both archetypes.

Red



Like Blue, the Red payoffs explicitly care about artifacts, meaning you are more likely to draft a "true" artifact cheat deck rather than a reanimator deck with artifacts in them.

This deck is pretty laser focused on optimizing for Welder, Daretti and Tinker. Lots of cheap artifacts and some discard outlets. There is a lot of interaction which is tough to fit in these builds sometimes. It would have been great to pick up a token payoff as there is a subtheme of one going on. Not sure which token payoff would fit nicely though.











A more controlling Orzhov deck that can cheat out some fatties to close the game. That being said, you can have certain setups where bringing back a huge artifact early is the correct game plan too. It's missing a few ways to dump cards in the GY, but luckily Shelldock, Technique, Tithe and Dakkon can get around that!











This last deck is one I am very fond of. It combines the reanimator package with the grindy one. The discard + self-mill fuel both parts of the deck with Lurrus and Emry recurring your cards for value or Reanimate getting back your 7+ drop. The low drops are great at stalling the board and Master + Imp also recur themselves if it comes to that.
This deck is desperately missing a Thassa's Oracle as all the milling would also serve as a win condition.











There are also some Rakdos and Boros variants, making the deck well-rounded color-wise.

So decks ranging from full on artifact cheat decks to controlling decks with an artifact cheat package as a win condition. At the cost of being redundant, I really believe the success of these decks depend on both having artifact cheat targets as well as having the cheap Baubles.

Some potential inclusions



Engineer is the most likely to make it in. It's a cheap way to tutor for what you want and it plays nicely in grindy artifacts decks too (coming up!). I may need to include a few more targets for it (Tangle Wire?), I would love some more opinions on this one.

Liliana sets up the grave while protecting itself and does the reanimation thing. However, I like the explosive nature of Incarnation Technique more and I don't think I want more 5 mana + reanimation effects.

The two Gearhulks are under my powerband, but they do the thing (are artifacts). The Red one I've played before and it was fun minigame.

I would like to include Green in this archetype, but I don't think the cheat cards are there for me. Selvala's Stampede is great, but at 6 mana, it's more of a value play and the other I am looking at is Oath of Druids, but in a multiplayer game it's a very risky proposition. Add to that the fact I would need to change some slots to accommodate Oath and it becomes complicated. Green still has ramp to bridge some of the archetypes together, but that is for another day.
 
Engineer is the most likely to make it in. It's a cheap way to tutor for what you want and it plays nicely in grindy artifacts decks too (coming up!). I may need to include a few more targets for it (Tangle Wire?), I would love some more opinions on this one.

I love Tangle Wire, but it paints a pretty big target on your face in multiplayer. Since it's a softer effect that's more a tempo gain it might not be worth the returned fire it brings. I like it a lot in 1v1, because it can buy you valuable time to sneak in with aggressive creatures or give you a couple turns to lock the board up otherwise. Even in 1v1 the window of opportunity it provides can feel a little narrow, and tempo advantages don't go as far against multiple opponents. Still one of my favorite cards, and can be pretty brutal with Welder shenanigans.

Some other options:



Especially in multiplayer when there should often be a good target. It's ripe for memorable games and can be blinked or welded repeatedly to copy your own reanimated fatty.

I'm a huge fan of:



It's great in a grindy artifact deck, but also serviceable with sneak attacked artifact creatures where you are sacrificing high cmc artifacts. It can be responsible for some crazy sequences with sacrificing.



Great for go-wide artifacts, and is 3cmc for Goblin Engineer. I like Pia Nalaar's abilities better, but the apprentice being an artifact creature makes it better for synergies/combos.



You probably want to run a few more artifacts before you start dipping into cards like this, but I've been very pleased with this in stax decks, sneaky welder, any sacrifice oriented artifact strategy.
 
Since it's a softer effect that's more a tempo gain it might not be worth the returned fire it brings.
That is where I fell with my evaluation as well (and why it isn't in the cube). Tempo is much harder to take advantage of in multiplayer and not the general axis I am trying to play on.
That being said, cards like Thalia, Heretic Cathar still pack a serious punch, but I think that is because the effect is stapled onto a body.



I initially dismissed it as a 3 CMC mana rock which I want to avoid, however, I think you are onto something.

- Artifact shenanigans
- Immediate value potential to mitigate the slow speed.
- I have a bunch of high impact Red 5 drops and 1 mana value spells. So if I don't copy a creature I can still double spell in some scenarios and cast a 5 drop on turn 4.
- Goes great in both ETB and Big Boros decks(Teleportation Circle, Wall of Omens, Stoneforge Mystic, ...)



I've had this in my cube before when I had a lot more archetypes. It was cut for being narrow, but now that I have fewer, more broad archetypes it would make sense to have it come back. I've been wanting an extra piece for the grindy artifact decks and between Trawler and Goblin Engineer, those are two excellent pick ups.



I value the abilities of Pia pretty highly since they can break a board state, but if going with Engineer and Trawler, then Apprentice is a neat swap.

Now for the cuts:

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GPG is a fun card, but at 7 mana, it's really slow. It could be welded in, but I already have the artifact fatties to reanimate. I'd rather have a cheaper card to encourage players to abuse the Baubles.

Kaleidoscorch is a fine card, but it's somewhat conditional single target removal for a MP cube that costs 2 mana. Right now, my 2 mana Red removal spells are Abrade and Bonecrusher Giant. If going for the 5 color deck, you will obviously pick it up, but it won't pull you into the archetype. For that reason, I think it can go.

I don't know what to cut for Cursed Mirror. I'm not picky, it could be a card from any color, just unsure!

I am also considering adding Fblthp, the Lost instead of Watcher for Tomorrow to further enable Mirror.
 
I have a few duplicates (Gitaxian Probe, Faithless Looting, Chromatic Star) that make my format tick. They are basically cheap cantrips that serve as synergy pieces and smooth out games. I want more, especially in non-Izzet colors. So I am considering the following

In -> Out

->
->
->

Manamorphose number 2 should probably already be in the cube. Hybrid, "free", actually draws a card, it's perfect. I don't really have any creature based combos, meaning that the Emissary doesn't make much sense.

For Explore, I might be overvaluing the "draw a card" clause compared to something like Abundant Harvest. However, triggering Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse more reliably in Green seems important. I also like the unique angle of draw + acceleration coming from Explore. Switching it out for a more reliable ramp card might be a mistake, but it can't be a huge one.

Night's Whisper is a card that plays exceptionally and is at the right mana cost for all archetypes.



Then there are some cards from VOW that I have overlooked.

->

By Invitation Only is an interesting wrath that allows you to cast it both when you are ahead and behind on board. For that reason, I can see it being valuable to both aggressive and controlling decks (kind of like the The Meathook Massacre). The 5 mana casting cost is steep, but I've played Fumigate and Cleansing Nova in the past, they were very serviceable. There is also the dream of casting this with a Mayhem Devil on the board!

DoJ gets cut because I like my wrath density in White and Wrath of God is more iconic.

->

I've heard Epiphany compared to Secure the Wastes at lower mana values which I hadn't considered. It's actually way better early as the tokens have flying and you loot a bunch.

Cryptologist is a decent card, but it's not really exciting. It's also super vulnerable to any and all removal, making the mana investment risky. Finally it doesn't fit into any specific archetype other than GY matters, whereas Epiphany is an instant and can serve as a sort of Delirium card, affecting your future draft picks.

->

I've considered Tidesprout Tyrant before, as a build around finisher. But the 8 mana, {U}{U}{U} and weakish body was too much. Horror dodges all of these problems and even adds relevant abilities, giving Blue:

- A chunky control finisher. Flash + can't be countered + protection is perfect and 7 mana is very castable.
- A secondary Storm win condition. Chaining a bunch of spells will hopefully clear the board enough that you can win soon after. Also signals to my drafters to draft cantrips to maximize the ability.
- A great reanimation target, that doesn't just take over the game.

Thirst for Knowledge is a plant for GY, spells and artifacts that plays well in all Blue archetypes However, I just added a card that does all that: Occult Epiphany. You lose out on the card advantage potential, but win with board presence thanks to the tokens.

My concern is that Blue has a lot of top end now, but then again Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise and Shark Typhoon often don't cost all that much mana.

How do these changes look?
 
I'm actually in the middle of building your cube in paper. I've always been interested in fast multiplayer games, which is how I came across this thread. One question-- I tried to export via CSV but the count after exporting is 485. After a quick scan of the cards, I see there are many that aren't listed in the initial page. Is there another way I can get an updated sheet? Many thanks and looking forwarded to providing feedback!
 
Taking a step back from the archetypes and synergy in the cube, I realized that I may have gutted one of my drafter's favorite archetypes: RG aggro/midrange.
Basically a Gruul deck that beats down with efficient threats. Usually some haste is involved with (dragons, beatsticks and permanents). Mana dorks accelerate the deck and wear equipment as needed.

I am not too worried about my 1 drops, as I have more Llanowar Elves variant in my cube than his. Likewise, in the 2 drop slot we have a similar mix of creatures that are aggressively slanted that play well in the archetype.

Where it falls off is in the 3+ drop slot.
He has 4 Goblin Rabblemaster variants to my 1 (2 if you count Breya's Apprentice).
He has 3 hasty 5 drop dragons to my 1.
He has 2 hasty Green beatsticks to my none.

I am not a fan of including more Red 5 drops, but I could see adding another Rabblemaster variant:



I've played all of these in several cubes to success, I don't think I can really go wrong.

Krenko is really cool for his snowball potential and he incentivizes you to build around to maximize his potential, which is kind of what my cube is about.
Warboss is nice in that he generates the token the same turn as he enters the battlefield. Although I dislike the Mentor ability because it would be the only instance of it in the cube.
Garrison has that 3rd point of toughness which is important and gets out of hand quickly. I don't have human synergies, but it would be the opportunity to add Hanweir Battlements as a squadron pick.

I am also going to be adding either of these



Both of these will help pressure planeswalkers and opponents out of nowhere and reinforce the Gruul aggro deck my friend enjoys.
The Oddity doesn't synergize with anything, but I know that it will play well. I'm usually not a fan of double face cards, but this one is super simple and having a mana sink for the late game is great.

Vengevine is not as good in a regular deck, but it shines in decks built around it. Even though my curve is low, I'm not sure I can trigger it regularly enough to justify the dip in power compared to Oddity. I think this is a case where pure power wins out.

I'd love to play Questing Beast, but there is too much text and the protection clause is confusing for no reason.

As for haste enablers, I think I am ok with:

Anger
Lightning Mauler
Ogre Battledriver
Cavalier of Flames
Lightning Greaves

The others worth looking at might be Surrak, the Hunt Caller and Rhythm of the Wild, but I don't find them very exciting. Does anyone support a Fires archetype that could weigh in?

Thanks as always!
 
I'm surprised you didn't run Vengevine, I thought you did! Can't recommend it enough, it's a great build-around and adds beef to the cube, which is always in too short of a supply.
 
second for Vengevine, had a buddy recur it twice in a cycle of three rounds the other day and it’s such a beating against regular spot removal. oddity seems good too if you want redundancy on the hasty green 4 power beater slot. it does some good, simple things that will help a lot of your Gx decks run smooth.
 
I am looking at some slots I've taken for granted and a few considerations came up. First off, for my mana fixing I have a flexible cycle of lands. I've been using either Creature lands or Horizon lands, but I'm thinking I could optimize more. For instance I am considering

Out -> In

->
->

As good as the Horizon lands are, they lose value in non-Green color combinations as the Lands deck is always playing Green to some extent. This would allow me to add an Artifact land in Izzet and another threat that happens in Orzhov.
The ETB tapped is a big downside, but I don't have many in my cube, meaning you can probably find a low cost opportunity to play them. Having an early Tinker/Welder/DRC/Epiphany enabler sounds amazing. For Orzhov, the Vent fits in both aggressive decks as an extra threat and in control as a roadblock that buffers your life total.

Then there is a card that doesn't fit my design goals:



I love this card as an efficient spot removal spell in Red that doubles a kill condition with GY synergies. The problem is that it isn't interactive at all. You cast it/mill/discard it early then late game you kill the table out of nowhere. This is very anticlimactic and requires no effort. At least with an Earthquake variant, your life total matters.



Following the Vengevine suggestion from Erik Twice and blacksmithy (thanks!), I've realized that I am missing some creature centric graveyard elements to my cube. That is to say, I have some archetypes that use the graveyard (spells matter, lands matter, reanimator), but none of them use the graveyard with creatures "fairly". I'm talking about Golgari based 2 or 3 color decks.
I am thinking that Hogaak would be a nice incentive to go down that route.

What other enablers/payoffs/roll players would you recommend for the archetype?
 
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What other enablers/payoffs/roll players would you recommend for the archetype?

Looks like you already have enough ambient graveyard support to make these a frictionless include. Like you already have e.g. Reclaimer + LftL. Flooting, Welder, Engineer, Breach. Bloodghast, Dread Return. Plenty of pieces across colors (RG, or BG) and across your other themes (lands, artifacts, reanimator).

Here's a decklist that I played a few matches with a while ago:

RG Discard from CubeTutor.com











I guess of what you're missing there's Hollow One, but I suspect you don't really need it. Also, I really enjoyed having Bazaar and Cradle as Reclaimer targets. But again, this is just fancy gravy. In general, I think your drafters won't have a ton of trouble casting Gaak and it will be good. Same with Vengevine. I think @blacksmithy 's point is spot on. You don't need a ton of support before you're randomly recurring it several times.
 
Looks like you already have enough ambient graveyard support to make these a frictionless include.

So I experimented a bit and you are spot on!











Drafted a very powerful discard/self-mill Golgari deck that looks like a blast to play. It has tutors, a mini-artifact subtheme (with Delirium/Urza's Saga/Lurrus) and explosive finish potential via Living Death and/or Syr Konrad, the Grim.

I am sure a Gruul deck is possible too and yours looks amazing. It meshes with lands effortlessly, has artifact shenanigans and can fill the GY very fast for Hogaak.

I hadn't considered Hollow One before, but it definitely fits the theme. I'll have to check how reliably I can cast it on the cheap in decks I've already drafted.
Bazaar is tough in my MP cube. I think that the combination of it not producing mana, taking a land drops and card disadvantage is too much. Though having the effect on the land is incredible.
Cradle I keep flip-flopping on. What has me hesitating is the feast or famine nature of the card. You either have a game breaking mana engine or a land that literally does nothing following a wrath.

Now onto some cards that I would like to find room for:



Priest is a sacrifice outlet and a payoff in one. I really like that it is an aristocrat card that cost 2 mana instead of 3. For the ability, 2 damage isn't much, but with all the other aristocrat cards it definitely adds up and getting a card + mana has potential. The downside is that it is narrow, I don't envision this being played outside of a sacrifice deck.

Whip: More and more, Black has life loss as a cost tackled onto it's spells and it really piles on. So I am on the lookout for ways to gain life. Teamwide lifelink is very impactful, to the point I am afraid it could take over a game (it has in the early days of my cube, but things are a lot faster now).

Spiritkeeper is interesting because it fits everywhere. Need a roadblock that creates more roadblocks? Done! Need a threat that is resilient to wraths? Done! Need some crazy payoff in a GY or Sacrifice deck? Done! Vigilance is a big keyword in my format too as it incentives attacking.

Impulse is just solid and efficient "draw". A little risky early, but totally fine late. Tough to have too many of these effects IMO.

As for the cuts, I am considering



Recruiter is the only werewolf in my cube and I figure it's not essential. It is a powerful 2 drop though and great mana sink.
Slagstorm is double Red for a decent wrath. I have Fiery Confluence, Earthquake and Rolling Earthquake as sweepers and I think that it is enough.
Broodmoth is a wrath insurance or sacrifice engine. However, it is four mana and has really clunky counters. I think the cheaper Spiritkeeper can play a similar role while being cheaper and advancing the game state more than the Moth.

If anyone has other cuts, I'd love to hear!
 
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