One interesting topic that might be worth discussing is how designing for draft vs. sealed vs. other formats might impact card choices. It's hard enough for me to get more than 4 people together to draft; it's so much easier for me to do sealed round robins or fringe draft variants. I definitely design my cube for sealed, but I haven't noticed any negative impacts while drafting it. Another thing I've been working on recently is building two-color "intro decks" from my cube and using those to help teach some people to play Magic. I need to refine the lists, but so far people seem to like them quite a bit.
Personally, I sometimes am lucky enough to get 8 people together for a draft, which makes it easier for archetypes to come together, but there's enough powerful cards in the cube that even without the full set of cards, people are doing interesting and fun things with their decks. I think including individual cards that lend themselves to being built around works best for smaller groups of people. It can be easy to go overboard with these, as I have done in the past, but testing with cube tutor helps to see how often these sorts of cards appear and how it affects a sealed pool.
I've also done the same sort of deck-building exercise as you from time to time. I usually try to build them 10 at a time to cover each color pair. I've largely used them for testing purposes, to see how the colors work together in order to see how I might further emphasize the synergies I like with more cards, but they also worked quite well as an introduction to what the colors do in the cube. Green paired with Red will play differently than Green paired with White, which is easier to see with decks illustrating the difference.
After seeing the great success of Gx tokens in Modern Masters 2015 I was wondering about some cards. I am well aware that in MM15 some of the following cards work that good because the formats supports them. Nevertheless what do you think of the following cards? Nest Invader Scatter the Seeds Kozilek's Predator
Especially the Predator is ranked very low by Al-Z-Heimer and some of the pros say that this is the best green common in MM15.
Both the Eldrazi spawn makers are very strong in my experience. The spawn themselves are valuable as one-shot ramp effects, chump blockers, or equipment carriers. If you have cards to support swarms of creatures (Raid Bombardment, Fortify, etc.) then they get very strong.
we played my tier1 last week to test the latest additions and changes. i think im going to write a short report about it if someones interested.
but i got the feedback, that the overall powerlevel of the cards is to dense, since you end up with ~40 playables and only need ~25 for your deck and there are no filler cards like in usual limited.
So for some players it might be more interesting to fill your cube with niche cards for certain archetypes.
That's always been part of my logic for including cards that others don't for the sake of creating archetypes. Cutting down from a ton of playable cards is difficult to do, especially for the people I drafted with. Having some shape to your deck dictated by a few archetype enablers helps make that process easier because it's less about "which great card do I cut now?" and more about "what cards do I include in my deck to support cards X, Y, and Z."
I've been playing with a swarm archetype in my cube a long time and it was one of the better decks each time we drafted. Eventually, people in my group considered Cenn's Enlistment to be the best card in my cube because of the support around it.
As for Squadron Hawk, I've thought about including it, but couldn't figure out a way to make them work. Having just 4 in the cube seems like they'd be dead picks too often. Even if you always have enough people to draft the whole cube every time, the draft has to go just right for one person to get them all. I've also thought about including them as cards where you draft 1 and get 4 to build your deck with, but that seems really strong. I've tried this a while back with Aurochs Herd and it was a bit much (though I still want to try with other cards like Myr Servitor, Kjeldoran War Cry, Accumulated Knowledge, and Kindle).
For those who have tried the swarm archetype more... It is a attrition archetype, right?
As Runner said, it can be either. Usually it comes out ahead of the opponent and swarms around blockers, sacrificing tokens in chump attacks to the noble cause of damage. Sometimes, however, it's a little slower out of the gates and uses the first few tokens to chump block and buy time to build up a force. In the cases where the deck has to play this role, it turns the corner to aggression very quickly.
I can't find the article I was thinking of where he talked about the Un-set ideas that eventually made it into regular sets, though there's some mention of a few of those here: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mm/team-building-2014-10-13 I'm pretty sure I read this article and triggered a memory of reading him say that elsewhere, but that could be in any of his 100s of articles.
At this point, some of the stuff printed in Unglued and Unhinged is more "a part of Magic" than cards printed in Future Sight. Mark Rosewater often speaks of these sets as his testing grounds for ideas that would be hard to pitch for a normal set, but then play well enough that they provide evidence to back up designing new cards of that sort that make it into Magic "proper" from that point.
UB Saboteur is a deck you can support as well. Al has some other cards that I can't remember off the top of my head that go in the deck too. Some Red and White cards. But all the Ninjas, Ophidians, and then Hands of Binding plus bounce, removal, and guys that jump other guys like Trained Condor or Nimbus Naiad.
I've been on and off this archetype in my Cube for a while, looking to increase its presence with my next set of changes. One card that really helps decks like these is Tawnos's Wand, a Common in one of the Master's Editions online.
I can speak from experience with my own experiments with graveyard strategies that the one thing it's easy to overlook in creating more space for such a strategy to flourish is that Commons are short on ways to win through the graveyard. We lack even the simplest big finish cards of Worm Harvest or Spider Spawning to actually let the Dredge deck finish the game, so we can get infinite value, but very little winning.
Do people think that the new Longshot Squad is better than Elephant Ambush?
Hard to compare, as others have said. On the one hand, Longshot Squad is an anti-flier measure that helps support a +1/+1 counter theme. On the other hand, Elephant Ambush has a picture of an elephant hiding behind a tree like it's Bugs Bunny. I do like both as anti-flood measures and I do think that the Squad is better in that regard, but I do enjoy the sheer novelty of "Surprise! Elephant!"