When I started with my cube, I added a artifact theme as well. It didnt work, because I never had enough good artifacts to trigger Metalcraft or abuse Affinity. Might work, when you dedicate the whole cube to it.
I have been looking to add more "classic" archetypes to my pauper cube and thought of including Artifact/Affinity along with goblins, soldiers, etc. In the end I came to a similar conclusion. While there are some very powerful/important artifacts that can be included in Pauper cube, to get the critical mass you need to make Affinity viable, you just end up jamming a bunch of sub par artifacts into the mix.
If that's what you're looking to do, if I ever finish my list that's basically my cube. Tribal with the 'robot' tribe (artifacts and artifact creatures).
They keep printing amazing zombies at common, so B/U zombies at pauper is quite good now.
This works if you use about 100 artifacts and 50-60 cards of each color. Key is to have the artifacts be useful in as many other decks as possible besides the "artifact matters" decks. Artifact lands floating around are gold to the affinity player or a solid pick up for the mono red player trying to support Shrapnel Blast.
Since I lately got to play cube more frequently, I finally decided to make this cube real. Yesterday we tested it for the first time and it was even better than I expected. Everything is one big synergy and there are a lot of interesting combinations. We had like a 7/7 equipped Sunspear Shikari with First Strike and Lifelink I was only able to race, because I had enough artifacts on the board in combination with Ferrovore to deny the lifelink.
We were critically evaluating the power level of Cranial Plating, but even though it was obviously really really strong, it wasn't unfair, since there really are several ways to answer it. For now it stays in. The only card that was voted out was Dust to Dust for being too impactful.
The list is playable as it is, but it's still the first version and I'm in need of feedback, so I'd be really thankful for any kind of criticism.
Sunburst mixes with Proliferate
Infect mixes with Proliferate
Energy cards seem to have a decent enough theme.
Fling et al is too good imo.
Tooth/Scale, like Baton of Courage are fun Flash artifacts with combat wreaking effects
D. Scorpion is a subtle combo piece
Golem Foundry if you support Proliferate/Cogs
Scrapyard Salvage seems broken, but really is just a 1RR Lava Axe +/-
Molten Frame is a balanced card. It is narrow, maindeckable, and splashable.
Vessel of Nascency is kinda more of the same, but I love it so much.
Ashnod's Transmog is another odd bauble/cog that can have fun interactions.
You could have a 'Colorless matters' subgroup too
I am glad you got a chance to play this themed cube. My ideas always brought in too much Cycling and Flicker/Gating stuff.
ZEN Pre - 3rd (of 31)
M11 Gameday - 1st (Naya Shaman)
SoM Pre - 3rd (of 50)
SoM Gameday - 1st (U/B Creatureless)
NPH Pre Day 1 - 1st (of 56)
INN Gameday - 3rd (WRR Green)
RtR Pre Day 1:
Pod 1: 1st (of 63) 5-0-1
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Pteron Ghost: This is definitely a cool card, but white slots are super tight. Pentad Prism: This runs out of charges super quick and since this is not a powered cube, where the games often end very quickly I think this might not be good enough. Skyreach Manta: The decks actually tend to be heavy in a single color with a splash or actually just monocolor and I currently don't run any fixing nonbasics, which is why I think that cards like this aren't very good. Angelic Curator: I had this in at first, but the ability is actually a big downside, since it can't be equipped and I could think of more interesting cards than Fog Bank. Metal Fatigue: Again white slots are super tight and this just doesn't seems powerful enough, IMO. Tooth of Chiss-Goria/Scale of Chiss-Goria: I have a hard time to imagine, that +1/+0 or +0/+1 really "wrecks" combat. Aftershock: This is obviously a decent card, but the cube has a very low curve and there are very few targets, that are worth paying 4 mana at sorcery speed and also taking 3 damage yourself. In a direct comparison Smash to Smithereens seems like a slightly better deal. Dross Scorpion: I don't think, that I have enough powerful tap abilities, to make such an under powered body worth playing. Scrapyard Salvo: This doesn't seem broken at all. The game needs to go on for way too long in order to generate more value, than e.g. Concussive Bolt. Molten Frame: There are a whole lot of stronger artifact removal spells I'm not playing currently, e.g. Manic Vandal, Wild Celebrants and Destructive Tampering. I don't think it's very enjoyable if red only consists of artifact removal. Vessel of Nascency: Just because it has artifact in it's text it doesn't seem fit for the theme. Ashnod's Transmogrant: This seems horribly weak.
I don't think Infect is a very enjoyable mechanic and there is too few overlap with the main theme, IMO.
Sadly there are very few good proliferate cards at common, but if I would go down that route I could also just add cards like Ainok Bond-Kin and stuff like that and would end up way off the theme of the cube. The focus really is on Artifacts.
I even had to convince myself adding cards like Wandering Wolf and Spikeshot Goblin, because they don't have the words artifact or equipment in their text. I finally decided to add them anyway, because I think they are interesting and I think I can interpret the word "equipment" in their text.
How could I have missed Hijack? It fits into the cube perfectly. Gotta find a cut right now.
I've considered adding a colorless subtheme, but there is actually not any real payoff. At least a 3/2 Vanilla for cc3 that deals 2 damage to the opponent a single time, doesn't seem like real payoff to me.
There are actually several cards on the short list, that want a home in the cube. I'm really thankful for suggestions for additional cards, but I might be even more thankful for cut suggestions, so if there is any card you dislike or that you don't understand, why it's in there, I would be interested to hear.
I think I didn't expect much and was afraid that the power level discrepancy between the cards could be too big, but I was positively surprised. It's pure synergy and leads to some very cool Decks. What you have to keep in mind while building the cube, is that the Decks tend to be super fast and tempo efficient, so slow or high cost cards will probably not perform well.
I don't like the myr in the vacuum, but you are totally right about it being a great equipment carrier. I will definitely consider it.
I really liked the idea of adding the contraption-assembling cards and since I wanted to get rid off the Signets for a while now anyway I felt like this would be a good opportunity. As for the problem of getting enough contraptions for your assembling cards and the fact that contraptions are completely dead picks for everyone without assembling cards I decided, that they will not be drafted, but later given to the players. Since there common contraptions are all rather fair and not close to be as overpowered as some of the rare or mythic ones I don't see any problem there. Now I'm currently deciding between 2 ways to distribute contraptions:
1. Players can simply choose from among all 15 contraptions the ones they want, which would make the cards very powerful, because when you only have a single contraption you would assemble that one for sure. I don't think they would be too strong, but certainly high picks.
The problem with this is the availability. It will be very likely that different players all want the same contraption, which would either mean, that I have to heave a whole lot of multiples (up to 6 copy of up to 15 contratpions) for everyone or that I would have to think of a system of how to distribute them fairly among the people.
2. There will be a single contraption deck for everyone, containing all or some of the common contraptions. Whenever anyone assembles a contraption, they assemble it from that pile, getting a random effect. This would weaken the cards by a lot, but hopefully they might still remain decent picks. It would also be more in the spirit of unstable, IMO.
Which system do you prefer?? If you would have to choose, which contraptions would you possibly not offer for being too weak/strong?
Interesting cards from Dominaria:
-Voltaic Servant: Sadly there are not that many great artifacts with tap abilities at common. It's mostly non-artifacts, that do something with them, like Sage of Lat-Nam or Orcish Mechanics.
-Temporal Machinations: Drag Under is a pretty decent card, this is likely to make the cut.
-Artificer's Assistant: This is pretty nuts. It can carry equipments and will quickly pull it's weight.
-Broken Bond: Removal that can also give you a tempo advantage in the early game. Not super exciting, but definitely not bad considering, that green is pretty much a control color in my cube.
-Cabal Paladin: A pretty easy auto include for me. The body is kind of meh, but the ability is just great.
-Corrosive Ooze: This is a very interesting design. It can be like a 2/2 deathtouch against equipment heavy decks.
-D'Avenant Trapper: An easy auto include. This is insane in aggressive decks.
-Divest: Another auto include. It's pretty much Thoughtseize.
-Guardians of Koilos: There are some possible shenanigans with bouncing your own stuff, but it will rarely get better than cc2 draw a card and cc7 for a 4/4 draw a card is not too exciting.
-Jousting Lance: This is definitely coming in.
-Relic Runner: This is pretty solid and blue needs more 2 drops anyway. It will be hard to find a cut though.
-Serra Disciple: I'm not yet sure if this is good enough, because you constantly need to trigger it to have an acceptable body on it's own and that might prove problematic. It's also hard to trigger it more than once a turn. On the other hand booth flying and first strike are relevant in combination with pump equipments.
-Short Sword: Another functional reprint of Leonin Scimitar/Honed Khopesh. It's not super exciting, but a cheap way to enable equipment payoff.
-Sparring Construct: A strictly better Arcbound Worker, that can also buff non-artifact creatures. It's not very exciting and I might cut the Worker now anyway, so this will either replace it or not make the cut at all.
Overall a pretty great set for this cube. Especially black got new stuff and it is in desperate need for that.
I couldn't find a blue slot for Relic Runner, but I will keep it in mind, when I find something, that I want to cut. Broken Bond seems Ok, but I don't want to overload green with too much artifact removal.