How to Build a Cube in Magic the Gathering (MTG)
A cube draft is a casual MTG format in which players have a large pool of cards to draft from. This pool of cards is chosen by the cube’s creator and can vary from person to person. Some people like powerful cubes, where they include cards like the power 9 and others like building “under-powered” cubes and only allow common cards. The creator chooses which cards are banned, if any, and other than that, once you have your cube, you need to find 7 other MTG players and you’re ready to go!
If you’ve never built a cube in Magic the Gathering before, 360 cards is usually the best starting point as it can cover 8 players exactly, giving them 3 15-card packs to choose from. Some players like creating a 720-card cube as that can support two 8 person pods and allow for more archetypes in the decks that are built. Bigger is not always better, however, as these larger cubes are a bit more difficult to manage and balance. Another way to look at cube-building in MTG, is to treat it like commander. Keep it to a singleton format, ensuring that no MTG player ends up building a powerful deck with too many copies of an oppressive card or ability.
If you’re a vorthos, you could have more fun building a plane-specific world like that of Innistrad, Ravnica, or Mirrodin, as those have many “return” sets to include. If you aren’t too big on the lore, though, and want to build a different style, you can go for archetypes. Are you a combo player? Create a support for cards like Splinter Twin or Sharuum, the Hegemon, or even mechanics like that of storm in all colors for your cube. If you like aggressive strategies, why not a creature-focused tribal cube instead?
Balancing out a cube can be difficult as players tend to lean toward one side of the color wheel, usually. The simplest way is to have the same number of cards per color. 60 cards of each color, 30 nonbasic, and 30 artifacts is a good place to start, but watch out for cards that have a color to activate, again, like that of a card’s color identity in the Commander format, an artifact with Blue as an activation cast, should fall under the blue slot.
Card selection is a bit tricky as you don’t want to overpower an archetype or color by giving it all the answers and have everyone at the table fight for that color each time you sit to play. While selecting the cards to run, make sure you choose cards that can bend to different strategies as well as selecting the strategies you want your cube to have. Using Ravnica’s ten guilds to explain, Boros tends to be aggressive and has access to burn, Gruul is an aggressive ramp strategy, while Selesnya tends to be more of a Mid-range strategy. Azorius usually leans towards control, while Dimir tends to have more reanimator cards. Rakdos usually goes toward aggro disruption, on the other hand Izzet usually runs all the combos. Golgari is a bit more controlling with sacrifice effects with the Orzhov balances out with a token strategy. Simic, finally, is a mix of card advantage, ramp, and big creatures to ramp into.
New sets always bring new ideas to any cube and with Dominaria around the corner, some will definitely be getting a lot of power! Like a Rubik’s cube, it’s a fun and satisfying puzzle to solve, good luck with your cube! If you need any more help with MTG, be sure to leave a comment down below and we’ll do our best to help you out.
This post was originally authored by Alex Cruz.