Where Do You Get Your Lists?

I attended a Modern Masters draft on Sunday (pulled a Cruel Ultimatum!). During our game, my opponent asked what formats I liked. “Cube!” I exclaimed. We chatted a little about Cube, then he asked “Where do you get your card lists?”

I get this question a lot, and it always surprises me and my answer surprises the asker: me!

I share my lists here, obviously, and you can go to CubeTutor and find all sorts of card lists. But a big appeal of Cube is the ability to make whatever you want.

So I think about what I would like to see. I have a background in literature and history, so I draw upon that. What stories or events do I like?

Or for other people, focus on the types of mechanics you like, or would be fun to play with.

Gods as Commanders

For my Shakespeare Cube, I included two gods in the Commander packets. They sort of fit thematically, and one was bicolor, important for my idea of four color commanders.

This turned out to be a terrible idea, because I forgot gods are indestructible! They were difficult to deal with, and could easily be recast.

Obviously if someone is making a personal EDH deck, and they want a god as a commander, go for it. But for a casual game with a lot of players, all of whom made up their decks on the fly, it was frustrating and prolonged the game.

Back to the drawing board.

Shakespeare Cube

My schedule has recently changed, which means less time for Cube. 😦

I’ve been working on a new idea for about 3 weeks now. When I learned my store wouldn’t be able to have its Aether Revolt Prerelease event, I wanted to get the Cube finished so we’d have something fun to play. I stayed up late the night before finishing the deck list and pulling cards. When I got up in the morning, I learned the shop was opening late (the weather still sucks), so I was able to spend some time making packs.

This Cube is another Commander Cube, with a fairly small draft pool. I created some new rules and mechanics:

1. All Legendary Creatures and Planewalkers have “partner,” although players could only have two commanders.
2. A new mechanic, “understudy”: “When your Commander returns to the Command Zone, you may search your graveyard and/or library for a creature card, reveal it, and put it in your hand. If you search your library, shuffle it.”
3. Color identity does not apply to special lands.

Before draft, everyone got to choose a packet of Commanders. The packets were based on Shakespeare’s plays, while the draft pool was a little looser — plays, Shakespeare’s life, cards that simply have a Shakespeare quote on them, life in Elizabethan England. Each packet had 4 Legendary Creatures and 1 Planeswalker. Additionally, everyone got a copy of mana fixers like Opaline Unicorn and Sol Ring, and, like, a dozen Guildgates. I’d had some trouble getting a good color balance, but in the end, it seems like everyone got what they needed.

Players only got to see the Planeswalker in the pack, and I also included a list with the four colors in the packet and a very basic description of the type of cards/mechanics in the packet. This is similar to what I did for the Halloween Cube. The difference is that I had a lot more flexibility in creating packets; this time I wasn’t able to make the packets as balanced as I’d like.

After players chose packets, there was a draft of 4 packs of 15 cards. No special lands in the draft pool, though there were additional legendary creatures in the draft pool.

This Cube was one of the most fun of the ones I’ve created. Before we started playing, I got to talk to a couple people about the format. Which, you know, I’ll talk about Cube all day long. When we started the draft, two new people joined us. I love how Cube can bring people in, and you start as just people and end as friends. Six people total played.

We laughed so much while drafting and playing! I was able to include a lot of older cards, so people enjoyed seeing those again. And the new players liked getting to play with cards that are banned in other formats.

We ran into one problem with the commanders, which I’ll write about separately. I was worried about mana fixing with four-color Commanders;  no one had any problems with mana thanks to all of the Gates and such.

The game lasted about 5 hours. A few of us (including me) wound up conceding because the game lasted so long. But that’s okay. The main goal of Cube isn’t to win, it’s to have fun.

Rebuilding a Cube

I keep Cube deck lists partly because they help me know the card balance and partly so I can rebuild Cubes in the future.

I’ll be rebuilding one for the first time this week!

My husband’s office holiday party is next week, and he floated the idea of a MtG table. Several people expressed interest. He offered to bring a Cube (and then asked me if that was okay!). I’ll be rebuilding Make or Break.

I’m excited to tweak it a bit, including adding cards from Kaladesh. I’m nervous about the amount of time it will take, especially since I have other Cubes I’m working on.

And I hope people will actually play and have fun!

Conspiracy Conspiracy Cube

Last week, I threw together a quick Cube based on conspiracy theories. I love conspiracy theories (and aliens and “unexplained mysteries” and all that) even though I generally don’t believe them. I thought this Cube would be more fun than an actual “politics” Cube. And after several Commander Cubes in a row, we’re all exhausted. However, the conspiracy element meant this Cube was still special.

It was a lot of fun!

I have 17 individual conspiracies. I doubled up a couple so I have 24 cards, which means 8 players get 3 each.

One person shuffles the conspiracies and another deal them out. Everyone looks at their conspiracies before drafting.

Three packs of 15 cards for each player. I included up to 4 copies of each card. This worked well for creature cards, but created problems for other spell types. I plan on tweaking the cards later this week, and remove multiples for sorceries, instants, etc, and perhaps add more multiples of creatures.

The Cube has far more blue than other colors.


I gave up on making a politics Cube since the election will be over soon (thank goodness) and I don’t think it will be that fun to play after the election.

But I was updating my catalog today, and saw I have 17 unique conspiracies, with multiples of quite a few. Can I throw together a Commander-like Cube where everyone gets to choose a conspiracy to start?


Event Decks

When I first started playing Magic, I knew there was an overarching story, but I didn’t know how you learned the story other than reading the inserts in the Intro decks. Didn’t yet know about the books, comics, and the websites. But I did know Event Decks existed! So I assumed these decks were tied in to the story. Like, play these decks to decide the fate of the world. (And there are  decks from Theros block like that, which work sort of like Horde Decks.)

I still think that’s what they should be.

Last week I was writing about Horde Magic. Since then, I’ve been thinking about the Horde deck(s) I want to build, and realize that this is becoming what I thought Event Decks were — a constructed deck that tells a story and has a meaningful outcome. I’m stoked.

I had originally thought to make a Horde Deck based on dragons. Then I was thinking I could do one based on Bisclavret; it’s a werewolf story from 12th century France. Building from that, could make a Beauty and the Beast Horde Deck. Or maybe one based on Sir Orfeo.

Anyway, this is something I want to build for my birthday, which is still two months away.