Cube and Wizard’s Tower

My most recent Cube was built a month ago, but for various reason, only got to play it for the second time today.

The Cube is Bollywood themed, with a particular focus on the Dhoom movies. The Dhoom series is the Bollywood version of The Fast and the Furious.

This Cube uses Wizard’s Tower to augment the regular draft and gameplay. In the middle of the table is a stack of vehicles, facedown (no vehicles in the draft). Starting on turn three, you can draw and immediately play a vehicle instead of drawing a card from your library. It’s been fun to do something different, and it’s cool that everyone has access to the vehicles without trying to figure out a way for everyone to have an equal number of vehicles or forcing people to include them in their deck.

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.

Backdraft

We’ve been playing the Bestiary cube for awhile, so I decided to try something different: backdraft.

We drafted three packs, trying to construct the worst card pool possible. When I put the packs together, I juiced them a little bit: putting in really good cards, putting in just one of a card that has an effect like “for each card named X, do Y” or putting in multiples of those cards. That was fun, too.

After drafting, we switched card pools with other players; in our case, we shifted them two to the right.

We had five players, so played Star: you couldn’t attack the person on your right or your left.

This had the advantage of making the game go much faster! We got in three games!

After the second game, we switched our decks back to the person who created it.

It was definitely a lot of fun. 🙂

New Cube

I get up at 6:30 AM. Commute to work, 1.5 hours. Work 8 hours. Commute back, 1.5 hours. Get home by about 6:30 PM. In bed by 9.

Yet I’m always thinking about Cube.

I’ve just finished the card list for the next one, Bestiary. The cards are based on the Aberdeen Bestiary, a medieval book about the natural world written in the 1100s. Bestiaries are fascinating, and I chose this one because the animal list is long and pretty complete. I also wanted to have some kind of parameters, otherwise why not just pull every creature from Theros block?

Additionally, I’m crafting this as an intro Cube. I’ve talked to my friendly local game shop, and we’re going to make it an event on the calendar. First weekend in March, most likely. A deadline is helpful for getting cards pulled and packs made. And cards from like the last three Cubes need to be organized and put away. Hard to do when I have 3 hours a night during the week!

Anyway, I’m very excited. I even got some neat old cards with things like phasing. There’s more green than anything (since it’s creature based), but I think there’s a good balance among the other colors.

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.

Playing with the Horde

I created three Horde decks to play with my friends: dragons, prehistoric creatures, and werewolves. The werewolf deck was based on the medieval story “Bisclavret,” and so the cards were in a specific order, somewhat like a Theros Hero deck.

First we drafted from my all female Cube. This actually created a problem because I had seeded the decks — for example, every player had at least one Planeswalker. Our decks were actually a little too strong for the Horde.

The Dragon and Bisclavret Hordes have 100 cards; Prehistoric Creatures 60. Dragons and Prehistoric creatures were shuffled before play.

We had three turns to set up defenses, then the Horde started playing. We drew cards until we pulled a non-token card, then everything went on the battlefield. When we did damage, we put cards from the library into the graveyard — eventually we modified that to, “until we reached the first non-token card.”

The Bisclavret deck was a disaster. It never got a chance to take a hold and we defeated it very easily. I’d like to try it again as just a “werewolf horde.” The Hero decks or Archenemy decks have specific cards in them that effect the game state; I didn’t really have that for my hordes.

Another problem, with all of the decks, was lack of recursion. Obviously, zombies are great because it’s pretty easy to get them out of the graveyard. Much more difficult for the decks I made.

Overall, I’d say it was pretty fun. It was fun drafting and no one was hate drafting. 🙂 I still have the Horde decks put together and would like to play them again, especially against, mmmm, less powerful decks. 🙂

Art Observations

I’ve pulled the cards for my all-female Cube, and ordered cards to round it out. I spent some time scouring cards in the older sets. This isn’t scientific, but here’s what I noticed:

The early sets seemed pretty equitable. As the story began to coalesce, especially around Urza’s Saga, the cards became much more one-sided. My guess is that, as often happens, the majority of the characters in the storyline were male, and the cards reflected that. No one was intentionally trying to keep women out, but……

More fantasy creatures, like orcs, were added to the sets, and they were almost all male, as well. I think we tend to default to fantasy creature = monster = male. I mean, are there any female orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies?

Then there was some course correction, roughly around the original Ravnica block, to get a more equal number of characters. There are lots of female “monsters” in Return to Ravnica and Theros, and there are definitely female orcs in Tarkir. And now in Kaladesh, we’re seeing a lot of female characters, and more women/people of color, too, which is awesome.

Again, not scientific, this is all perception. Still though, I have cards pulled and waiting to be organized for the Cube, and they full up two of the bundle boxes, and that’s it, so that’s only about 200 cards I think? Not that I own every single card with women on it, and I’m not including cards that are 50-50 male and female. But out of the thousands of cards I have, that’s it?

Definitely hope we continue to see lots of cool ladies in Amonkhet.