I currently have a Pauper cube and previously had a traditional unpowered cube, and now I am looking to attempt a tribal cube. Looking for any tips because, price aside, this looks to be the most difficult cube to build.
Some questions to anyone that has experience playing with or building one:
Is it best to keep the cube smaller so that the tribes with less support can cobble their decks together more easily? I'm looking at Shamans and Spirits here(which has plenty of support thanks to Kamigawa and Innistrad, but most of the cards from Kamigawa are horrible and I don't want the Spirit deck to get straight trounced by Elves or Zombies).
Main tribes are pretty easy:
but I'm also looking at Merfolk, Warriors, maybe Clerics(though most suck), maybe the random Human support card, Treefolk, Rogue, etc. to possibly fill in the gaps and bridge colors to prevent necessarily going mono G if you go elves or some such thing.
Which of these tribes do you think are absolutely not worth following up on?
Most of the removal that's in the cube is also creature-based. A lot of it isn't very good, but obviously I want this cube to be more than normally board-based. Having said that, I'm still looking at adding some straight removal because some of the dudes going into this cube are near-unstoppable. I also think it could create interesting situations during the draft: Take the Annihilating Fire or take the on-curve Goblin? I don't want the removal going in to be super efficient because I really want this to be very creature type-centric and I want just drafting a traditional "good curve aggro" to be more difficult, but not entirely impossible. Roughly how much removal would you put in, percentage-wise?
I am not going to include some cards based on power-level for this cube, which I would never do in a regular cube, but I want the tribes to be as balanced as I can possibly make them as well as minimizing the number of cards that are just so straight up powerful that your opponent can't deal with them, no matter the creature-type. Right now Coat of Arms is on this ban list, as well as something of Baneslayer Angel level power. For the most part, it's okay if the card does something ridiculous at that power level as long as it cares about the creatures in your deck. What are some more suggestions for banned cards with these restrictions in mind?
What is a good size for one to keep density of less supported tribes high enough?
Which tribes are either total garbage or lack sufficient support to be put into the cube?
What kinds of removal would you suggest including and how much is good to maintain threats yet low enough to prevent too many "good stuff" decks from cropping up?
What cards are just too powerful to include and maintain any semblance of balance within the cube?
Not only can someone wiff on a tribe, but let's say you're only cubing with 5 people, and let's say each of them finds a bomb for each of their different tribes in their first 3 picks.
That means that for the rest of the 42 picks of the draft, everyone is basically going to be staying out of everyone else's way. You might as well choose tribes at the beginning of the draft, hand everyone their chosen tribe, and then start playing.
The #1 thing that I think makes drafting interesting is competition for picks among players. You need cards that will fit into multiple player's decks or the drafting process is just so bland. In other words, I think the best tribal cubes are the ones where you are lucky to have a deck of a single tribe, but are completely happy having a mix of 2 tribes, just as long as the cards still work well together.
edit: My cube has a tribal sub-theme, but there are also a couple strictly "Tribal Cubes" in the Cube List that look pretty good too.
Try to take a look at my tribal cube in my sig. I play the same main tribes as you.
I suggest you keep the five mentioned at atleast 60% of your cube, and then have the last 40% to be support-cards and other tribes.
Further more as some of the other mentions you should have as many "glue" cards are possible. This includes:
- Zombie Elfs
- Clone effects
- Other 2-tribe cards
The glue-cards is what makes the drafting portion of the event interesting and creates tension, so you just don't go "Elf" and autopick the best elf in every pack.
To create this tension I have chosen to focus on cross-color tribes instead of subtribes in my tribal cube. With this i mean that I support BG Zombie Elfs alongside BU Zombies that focus more on the grave.
One of the important lessons I have learned over the many years I have had my tribal cube, and the various incarnations it have been in, is that very linear tribes aren't that interesting. That means that tribes such as Slivers, Elementals and Vampires is a no-go in my cube, because they are very hard to combine with other Tribes (yet).
Treefolk and Giants can on the other hand be fun tribes to support, although I have found Giants to be a bit too weak and have cut them from my cube as a result.
Yeah, I am definitely planning to have more than 5 tribes. That would be a terrible draft, just trying to figure out what tribes those are.
This thing is so hard for me to think about. After I figure out what tribes to narrow it down to, I have to decide what removal and additional effects to put in there and try to balance the tribes...and then make sure I have the same number of cards between colors.
Volcanon, how far do you go on the stance against repeatable removal? Would you not play stuff like Tar Pitcher or Doom Cannon? Having never played with a tribal cube, I don't have any idea how good/frustrating somewhat symmetrical removal(token producers aside) is. What kind of sweepers would you play? I wasn't thinking of playing any, unless they were toughness-based as well as fairly expensive or something like Pyroclast Consul.
Ninja, that's exactly the draft format I'm looking for. I definitely want tension during the draft, just like any other cube.
bondafong, I've looked at your cube and I like it a lot, but I don't know how you support BG Zombie Elves really. I see the Zombie Elves in there, but what support is there for that? Just have them in there in case someone wants to go GB and just get a lord one way or the other? Any elaboration would be greatly appreciated. On that note, how do you feel about Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord? I think the card will be nuts in the Zombie Elf deck because they are both very much into swarming and it gives more reach, though I'm not sure either of those tribes will need help.
citynoise, you don't find Clerics to be a little weak? How big is your cube? I imagine if the cube were small enough, the amount of Cleric support would be fine once you cut the totally unplayable cards. I'm going to play the good clerics as well as Human tribal cards because a fair amount of them overlap between WBG.
Torn, beware what you're getting yourself into when you make a tribal cube.
I had a short lived tribal cube that got taken apart when I got back into EDH and needed the cards from it, and then I traded away a lot of the parts. I was very happy with the design of it, though. I built it before Innistrad, so Humans weren't really available and Zombies have changed a bit since then.
What I basically did was go through and pick a bunch of cards from tribes I liked and tagged them with information. I did this in Evernote, where basically I made a note for each card, and then I could tag it with information, and then it was easy to see numbers for what I actually had in the cube. I just kept adding every card I thought was good enough in several tribes, and then I looked at what each tribe had to offer, cut some of the tribes, and culled down to a 360 list.
I tagged cards with the Tribes they had (if relevant), and then with any tribal interactions (TI). So for example, Death Baron would have the following tags.
Then when sorting, I could see not only how many cards of each type I had, but I could see how many actually had interactions within the tribe. There's no point in playing tribal Oozes, for example, because even if you have enough Oozes, nothing really cares about them being Oozes. This helped me eliminate some tribes (like Kithkin) that probably had enough to play, but not enough cards that rewarded you for playing them.
I also tried to find tribes that had color overlap. I eventually ended up with 7 tribes (although I'm sure it would be a little different now with Innistrad out). I played the following tribes (major colors listed, although I tried to find overlap even outside the primary colors)
Nowadays I don't know if Vampires got enough support in Innistrad to be a tribe or not, but at the time they didn't have enough. I was really pleased with Warriors as a tribe, because even though they didn't have a ton of interactions, most of the ones they did were really good (Lovisa Coldeyes, Obsidian Battle-Axe, Bramblewood Paragon, Sosuke, Son of Seshiro), and most of the warriors were also other relevant tribes (like Elves) so it was easy to build an elf warrior or goblin warrior deck.
Anywho, I don't have specific suggestions on what tribes you should use as much as I thought my method for sorting them and figuring out what you had worked out really well and I'd highly recommend giving it a shot. The other suggestions you have already received (about playing clones and stuff) are all very good as well.
Also, we played with house rule errata that Goblin King affected only your Goblins, the way Goblin Chieftain does, since we found that to be more fun.
I'll be honest here, it's really hard to make a Pauper tribal deck without taking away the 'pauperness' of it. It's hard because there aren't that many cards at that rarity that either support the theme properly such as there are no lords nor many other good tribal effect, plus you either have to include a lot of borderline cards that really aren't good outside the deck or have to cut down a lot on the over all powerful cards so the normal decks don't just crush the tribal decks.
If you want to make your cube tribal you are going to have to steer way from commons.
Pauper in my eyes is about a more pure from of drafting where curve, removal, tempo and card advantage are king. Much more so than any other type of cube. It makes an environment where you can't rely on the raw power of cards to win for you. Also the synergies between cards in often less obvious as card text tends to be a lot shorter and less obvious with what it is good with. It also means that the available deck options are a lot more open, rather than being pigeon-holed into 'Goblins' or 'reanimator', etc.
This is a post of mine from the General Cube Discussion thread in May of 2011:
Quote from Kojiro »
I built my 5th cube (!!!) which I've called the 'Changeling Cube'. It's turning out to be incredibly fun. I've been working on it for a little over a year, and it's now 95% pimped. Aside from the initial draft of my main list, I don't think I've ever worked so hard on building a format. It revolves around a tribal shell, but with less focus on specific tribes and a bigger emphasis on the combat step. The traditional problem with tribal cubes is that players usually pick a tribe and stick with it. This leads to largely uninteresting decks. I have added 25 additional changelings to the 550+ card cube. I hate to errata cards, but it's really the only way the format can work as a limited format as opposed to just being a glorified sealed deck. It's either that or water the power-level down to the point where drafting is unfun.
I chose this particular cycle because they go across multiple colors. This means that if I start the draft off in Elves and see Thornscape Battlemage, I will be much more likely to be on the look out for red and green cards. Also, since they don't trigger on ETB, they're not overly broken with search effects. There are several cycles of cards which really only interact with other changlings. Slivers, for instance, are not a tribe, but I include Telekinetic Sliver and Crystalline Sliver. Rebels are not a main tribe, but I have Lin Sivvi and a few other searchers to search out the random rebels in the cube + changelings.
The first few drafts have been excellent, and feedback from players has been awesome. I have tons of ideas on fine-tuning it. I probably won't be creating a thread for it as managing the artifact/combo and regular cube threads is proving to be too much. I will likely end up merging all threads into one to keep things simple. I am going to SCG Indy, Gencon and Origins, so I probably won't find much time between work and those to type the list up with explanations, so if anyone wants specifics, just PM me.
I definitely think you're on the right track with doubling up on changlings (which is essentially what I did). In the case of Tribal, it was literally the only way I could make the format more interesting than just jamming a specific tribe and sticking to it. This also allowed me to play some really fun creatures like Thrull Champion, various utility slivers (without a slivers sub-theme), and really helped fringe tribes like Rebels and Giants. I am working on an article for my list, but it won't be going up for a month or two. I may post my list here beforehand. I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have!
Hi all! New to the site, but I thought I would share some info about my Tribal cube.
I originally went with 6 tribes:
Each tribe consisted of 40 creatures of that color. I also included 25 general purpose spells of each color, and lots of "tribal" effects (brass herald, adaptive automaton, extinction, etc). I had almost no gold cards.
In draft, though, I found that this created either too much tension (from one or more other players being in your color) or too little (from no other players being in your color, thus giving you free reign). To fix this, I modified to the following:
Now each tribe has 20-25 creatures of their primary color, and 15-20 creatures that include at least one of their secondary colors. This helps to create a lot of tension, because each tribe is in 3 colors. That means that if you see a good black removal spell, Goblins, Spirits and Zombies could all be potentially interested in it. Tension inside the tribal cards will not be as high (unless another player is in your tribe) but tension in the general purpose spells will be much higher.
I also added what I call "Tier 2" tribes.
Elves(Naya) - Beasts
Goblins(Jund) - Dragons
Soldiers(Bant) - Angels
Spirits(Esper) - Sphinxes
Zombies(Grixis) - Demons
Similar to the tension created for generic colored spells above, these are powerful creatures (generally more powerful than the Tier 1 tribal creatures) that are mostly in one color. Each Tier 2 tribe only has five "slots," four of which are their primary color and one of which has all the colors of the shard. This means that most of the Tier 2 Tribal creatures can also be played by any tribe in that color. In other words, 4 of the 5 Dragons are mono-red, which means that Zombies, Goblins and Elves could all potentially be interested in them, which creates a lot of draft tension. The 5th dragon is RGB (in this case Broodmate Dragon), making it harder for other tribes to play.
By encouraging players to diversify their colors and tribes, I am hoping to make cards like Extinction and Engineered Plague still playable instead of being total blowouts. Those cards are part of the fun of tribal games, and I wouldn't want to cut them from my cube just because they work well. I also used a lot of the tricks mentioned above, like cross tribe creatures (ex. zombie/goblin), shapeshifters (and changelings), and any spell that plays with creature types. Let me know what you think, and I'll try to get a full list of my Tribal Cube up soon.
Would you mind sharing your list? I've been trying to build a tribal cube for a while, and I had similar concerns that you seemed to address. I'd love to see your choices for cards to eliminate/create drafting tension