I read the competition this morning, and while I still think it is just a way for Wizards to compensate for their 'failure' of the Legendary Cube, this could be a great opportunity for our community to show what we are made of.
I have been thinking about this all the while during work and decided to lay out what we should be focusing on. This is a combination of what is on the competition entry form and previous WoTC cube implementations.
September 15, 2016
This gives us 3 weeks. We should start working now, if we want to submit something polished
- 540 Cards
- Playable MTGO Cards up to Eldritch Moon (No customs )
- Cards are randomly assigned to packs from the cube pool (So no funky evolving wilds in every pack things. Also means that the Desert Cube doesn't stand a chance. This is discussed in the Feasibility section of the judging criteria)
That is pretty much the only restrictions. You can break singleton, colour-skew or whatever you want, which leads nicely into the next focus...
So there are 4 areas of judging criteria that they have laid out. I have decided that Feasibility isn't really something they can grade you on, it is more of a 'yes or no' scale, so I threw it up into the restrictions, as if the cube is and slightly bit questionable on the feasibility it won't make the cut. The other three are:
We're looking for a cube that's different than our existing offerings (Vintage, Legacy, and Legendary Cube). The cards can overlap as much or as little as you like with our other cubes, but we're looking for a novel play experience.
I find it strange that they mentioned the Legendary Cube, considering it was considered a failure, but anyway, this just means we can't make a standard 540 unpowered list (Legacy Cube), 540 powered list (Vintage Cube) or a confusing EDH style battlecruiser cube (Legendary Cube). This shouldn't be too much of a problem for the community here, as I think that is all why we came here in the first place, to design cubes that break the norm.
I also don't think you need to be too out there to have a chance. I mean, something as simple as a 'Modern Cube' is probably creative enough for WotC it will be the other criteria that determine if it will get selected or not. I will hark back on the Legendary Cube train, as it was creative, but people didn't find it fun (apparently, I mean, I thought it was great) and thus didn't really survive. Which leads nicely into the next criteria...
We're looking for a cube that Magic Online players of all skill levels be able to have fun playing. If you need to know how to resolve a Doomsday combo in order to play black in the cube you're submitting, maybe think of other ways that the archetype could go.
My first thought as a cube idea that might go well with the general public is a 'combo cube', just nothing but piles of combo pieces. Since everyone is always so hyped up for vintage cube. This judging criteria makes me think that it isn't such a good idea anymore
The main idea they are trying to give away here is to have a wide array of archetypes so that every player can find a deck that they are happy to draft and play. This is where the Legendary Cube failed, as there was no aggro deck that could be found (in it's obvious state anyway), too many slow clunky combos and where every draft pretty much ended up in 3-colour goodstuff piles. There was no mono-red trying to beat storm, no reanimator grinding against UW control, the variety wasn't there.
Magic Online players draft a lot. If your cube design has a play experience that would be less exciting after being played only a few times, I would try to find a way to modify it so even someone who has already played it many times is still interested.
Here is where a wide range of archetypes and play styles come into play. Having more options allows for more replayability later on. Throwing something like Laboratory Maniac
in would help in this field as a small two-card combo hidden in the giant cube would be a fun little divergent to go into if you haven't been there before (as long as you have other uses for those cards).
This also my be where aggressive singleton breaking might come undone, as having so many of the same cards reduces the 'fresh cards' in the card pool and it will feel like people are drafting the same decks over and over. While I do fully believe that Wizards will have at least half the finalists breaking singleton, I don't think they will be breaking it much. Maybe just on triple fetchlands or something (40 evolving wilds?!). This is also where I feel the Eldrazi Domain 540 cube may struggle, as trying to get the multiblade aggro deck to come together would require alot of those tri-colour two drops to be in at 540 and I think it will severely dampen the replayability. There is a fine line between giving enough support for an archetype and it appearing in every draft, and at 540, I am not entirely sure where that point lies.
While it can be fine and dandy trying to make something that the wizards team will appreciate, it is harder to create something that people will be enticed by. Take random MTGO Joe Blow; he only plays MTGO to cube, as that is the only way he can play with high powered splashy cards that he can't in real life. This is where I feel like a 540 Penny Pincher would fail. I know I would be game to draft it, but average Joe Blow would look at the list (or maybe just the first pack) see all these medium to low powered cards and wonder what the point of all of this is when he could have just grinded another 8-4 EMN draft.
- Goddamn, we are not used to building 540 cubes.
- Don't try to do anything fancy with packs
- Don't submit cubes similar to the Legacy, Vintage and Legendary cubes (duh)
- Make sure that there are lot of different paths that each colour/colour pairing can take
- Don't aggressively singleton break
- Needs to be splashy enough to entice people to actually play it
I mean, it was all pretty obvious but there are still going to be so many people who submit their 'Almost Average 540 Cubetutor List' and don't realise that it was too similar to Legacy cube to stand a chance.
From all the ideas suggested in the thread so far, I think Safra's suggestion of a high powered bounceland format, the Eldrazi Domain (as long as we don't overly singleton-break when bloating it up to 540) and Aston's Graveyard Cube are the best chances.
I am willing to help out with any submissions (ideas, cubetutor drafts, etc.). Hopefully we can get one cube into the finals!