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  • posted a message on [KLD][CUBE] Padeem, Consul of Innovation
    The flavor text comment is perhaps a bit extreme. Many cubes have a plethora of nasty artifacts, making that artifact removal clutch. To prevent removal on a key equipment/whatever Seems sometimes coo'.

    BuT I agree it doesn't do enough to make this card playable.
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on WOTC announces "You Make the Cube" competition for MTGO
    A powered classic cube could be pretty awesome, and seems it'd be fairly "different". That said, it wouldn't exactly spark interest in new product, thus they be disinclined. There are some good classic cubes in here too that could be submitted/emulated.
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on [[Archetype]] Wildfire
    We don't play wildfire, but I'm interested in what it would take for me to support it.
    What would one consider to be the minimum supporting package to support wildfire. Preferably with cards that are good on their own?

    We don't run the signets, are they neccesary?
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    Sounds like an interesting project dolono, I'm excited to see the final product and results. I appreciate your posting it here :). A couple questions, if you don't mind Smile

    Do you feel better equipped to build this next micro cube with your experience in your first?
    You have a great start...have you play tested much? What have you learned thus far?
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    Well, our thought has been "if I'm spending 2B and sacing a creature at sorcery speed, two creatures is better than one". Recurring nightmare is the (much) better card in a vacuum, and much better in a reanimator deck, and eventually is card advantage and better in the long term. I'm not dissing recurring nightmare, it's an amazing card. We've not had a hard time (at all) using victimize, it has better immediate impact for the midrange decks looking to stabilize in our experience.

    But Take victimize (itself) out of the conversation...I'm curious if fundamentally it's worth running a lower power level to gain flexibility? Perhaps consider any of the charms for a different example...or trading post (which supports a ton of archetypes)
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    So lemme ask you guys a question. We want to support reanimator in our cube, but don't want to include cards that are ONLY good for reqnimator. because of this, we run victimize, which can aid in both reanimation strategies as well midrange, reusing value creatures in a Rock-ish kinda way. However, as a dedicated reanimator spell, victimize is tougher to use with its stipulations. However, victimize is better for mid-range decks than Recurring Nightmare, which is a MUCH better reanimator card.

    Is it worth running cards that have a lower power level if they're more flexible?
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    Optimally, a cube card will be easy to cast, be scalable, have useful or flexible effects.
    On the last page, you guys said choose cards that are less good stuff, and more engine-based...what did you mean by that?
    Part of being flexible is applying to as many theaters and archetypes as possible...is that your meaning? Are are you trying to force combos since you're more likely to see the cards?

    I've linked the Comprehensive List of Cube Archetypes thread in the links post on page 1, and if you've not read it, is an EXCELLENT article.

    Specifically, this description of theater vs. archetype:
    In this article I will use the term “archetype” to refer to a set of cards that share a certain synergy, or to a deck based around that particular synergy. I think this use is fairly commonplace in Cube discussions, but it’s important to note that it’s slightly different from the use of “archetype” in non-Cube Magic talk, where it has the meaning of “deck sharing similarities (and usually a number of cards) with other known decks, regardless of the deck in question being power-based or synergy-based”. In non-Cube Magic, one may refer to “the Blue-White Control archetype”, or the “Sligh/Red Aggro archetype”. For the purposes of this article, however, those are not descriptions of archetypes, but indicate that decks belong to a certain “theatre”. Decks in the same theatre can differ wildly from one another, but share a similar fundamental strategy, meaning they look to win the game in a similar way and in a similar amount of time (i.e. turns).

    There are four theatres: aggro, control, midrange and combo.

    An aggro deck uses creatures costing one to three mana backed up by some form of disruption and/or reach to reduce the opponent’s life total to zero in the early game (around turn five, ideally). A midrange deck relies mainly on creatures and planeswalkers costing from three to five mana, often played ahead of schedule due to mana acceleration and backed up by some card or board advantage engine to grind opponents out in the mid to late game. A control deck’s strengths are cheap interaction (blockers or spot removal spells), counterspells, mass removal and card drawing. It wants to win in the late game after answering all the opponent’s threats and dedicates only a few deck slots to actual victory conditions. A combo deck foregoes all or most interaction with the opponent in order to assemble a combination of cards that will win the game more or less on the spot, relatively early in the game.

    Note that I consider combo to be a separate theatre, but an optional one. While decks using each of the three main strategies will come together almost automatically in each draft (although not necessarily an equal amount of each), the question of whether a combo deck is possible depends entirely on the particular Cube list in use and requires special attention of the Cube designer. It’s entirely possible to run a successful list without any combo support, but it’s also possible to support archetypes that play very similarly to combo decks in Constructed Magic and that cannot be usefully classified as aggro, control or midrange.

    Archetypes and theatres exist side by side. Each deck belongs to a certain theatre (note that hybrids are possible) and may or may not belong to one or more archetypes. Some archetypes always play in the same theatre (Storm is always a combo deck), while others can be flexible (Tokens can be an aggro deck, a midrange deck, or even a combo deck in extreme circumstances).

    Archetypes are also not to be confused with themes. A “theme” is a design choice with an overarching impact on the entire Cube, where many or even all of the individual cards are somehow related to the central theme. Themes can be gameplay-related (e.g. Tribal Cubes, Artifact Cubes, Multicolor Cubes, Creatureless Cubes (!)) or be based on flavor, storyline or even something like a particular artist. Archetypes differ from themes because they’re much narrower in scope: in a small (360-450) list, supporting an archetype can often be done by adding 5-10 archetype-specific cards, while introducing a particular theme will most likely entail a full Cube re-design.

    I post this, because we want to choose cards which will first a more theaters and archetypes as possible.

    Lets take a fatty for example:
    Sphinx of the Steel Wind vs. Hornet Queen
    Sphinx of the Steel Wind
    Theaters: Control, Combo
    Archetypes: Tinker, Reanimator, Artifact Matters
    Pros: Good control finisher

    Hornet Queen
    Theaters: Mid-range, Control, Combo
    Archetypes: Reanimator Combo, Cheat/Natural Order Combo, Ramp
    Pros: Can stabilize a board like a champ.

    Both creatures are clearly very good, amongst the better fatties out there. But their inclusion/exclusion is affected by which archetypes you're trying to support, and what your cube needs. You support Ramp, and reanimator, and need a speed bump against aggro/midrange decks, you'd select hornet queen. You need a good control finisher, and support artifacts/tinker, take Sphinx. But if you don't support one/either of those archetypes, the value of the card goes down (but might still be worth including if the ability is good enough). In a vacuum, Sphinx is probably a better control finisher. We don't support tinker, though, so we decided to keep Hornet Queen instead as it supported more theaters and archetypes that we supported in our microi.

    Based on this, I'd like to propose a commandment and I want your opinion:
    "choose cards which will support as many multiple theaters and archetypes as possible"

    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on [CUBE] Esperzoa
    Could be fun to get double duty out of moxen, artifacts like monolith that don't untap as a down-side, and perhaps any artifacts that have cip effects...how many are there?
    Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    EDIT: @ Urgox. I bet it would work well, based on what Dolono's already seen. Wizards have designed sets to have similar power level, theme, and critical turn. As long as the bombs/rarity is balanced, I bet you'll get close. Dolono could probably provide the best answer based on the work he/she is doing in his microcubes currently Smile

    Can I just say btw how much I'm enjoying this thread, and your great input and posts? I guess I did Wink .

    RE: Lands/artifact fixin'...
    Well said both of you, and I agree. I've put "Roughly 10% of your cube land/artifact section should be dedicated to mana fixing" in the second post, and created a spot for the Micro Cube Design Commandments.

    We've beaten the land/mana thing up for a bit, and have talked around card flexibility...shall we see if we can get some meat on this topic, as it seems to be one of the more relevant micro topics.

    Simply put, selecting cards which are flexible and versatile is important for any cube. However, this flexibility and versatility should be an even higher priority for micro cube card selections.

    To me, flexibility & versatility could mean some different things:

    This last one is worth exploring as it related to theaters vs. archetypes...but I'll save that for another post.

    I've liked using hybrid cards in my aggro section (Rakdos Cackler and Dryad Militant), as it gives my aggro colors more options for 1-drops, and have actually included them in mono-card selections. It gives my aggro colors more 1-drop density, while saving a couple card slots. I just wish there were more worthy hybrid cards.

    What are you top most versatile cards in your cube (I'm always looking for more options)? A few of ours are: Thoughtsieze, Survival of the Fittest, Thragtusk, Wickerbough Elder, Oblivion Ring, Hero of Bladehold, Tutors (of course!), Pack Rat, Qasali Pridemage, Skyshroud Elf.

    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    Crap, is that the right place for this, oops Weird ?
    I'll pm a mod and ask where it should belong and to move it.

    I don't have a ton of mana rocks (unless u include sol ring and moxen/lotus), but I still love me some chromatic lantern...it only "costs 2", and makes everything (including fetches) duals. Looking at my cube, I run 7 sources of green ramp, all of them make/find multiple colors or mana, 4 are creature based (note I don't play equipment, but do play rancor and hatred, so "pants" do matter slightly). Hmm, 7/25 of my green, 10 duals, 10 fetches, city, vesuva, ziggurat or whatever it's called, lantern, moxen, sol ring, lotus...I'm wondering if I have too much mana in my cube lol!

    Regardless, how much of your colorless section do you feel you should dedicate to fixing?

    I thought of an idea this week, but it could be some work...

    I'm considering researching other "well established" cubes on salvation to see what % of a cube they're running for certain abilities/effects, like:
    • green ramp
    • burn
    • black removal
    • red one drops
    • etc

    While I think this info would be interesting and helpful, I'm not sure how much work it'd be lol. But it'd be a good gauge to understand how much of ones cube a manager dedicates to a certain effect or archetype. While we know that we tweak some things for micro cubes in order to have more versatile cards, it could be a good start. It might not even be hard to do...ive created a spreadsheet with a column for cube size, and one for effect and percentage (# of cards / cube size). Perhaps I'll try it with green ramp and mana rocks, and see how it goes.

    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    Quote from 6jerfz about land in a micro cube:

    Quote from 6jerfz »
    Quote from DrDRum »
    Drafting a teeny cube...blah blah blah manabase stuff
    There's an asterisk to drafting the current iteration of my cube on cubetutor, which isn't obvious if you're reaching it from my sig (but is if you accessed it from the main page of that cube). That asterisk is "*There are 4 Evolving Wilds available to EACH PLAYER in lieu of including fixing in the main cube" (as if they were available in the pile of basic lands for deckbuilding). It's something I'm testing currently.

    How do you think you would have felt about your deck, knowing you should have had 4 Evolving Wilds in your mana base? While I find it much more comforting, it also makes me feel....icky. It's purposely removing one portion of the limited/deckbuilding experience in favor of gameplay. I'm not sold on it, but I'm looking for innovative ways to design such a small cube to have all the draftability and playability of a bigger cube.

    I've seen others do a separate land draft, and I've never thought of doing land in a micro cube that way. However, I think they actually just had a second mini-draft, where there was a pack or two of lands that they drafted after the primary draft. Your opinion on drafting with no lands is interesting to me...icky is a fun word for it lol. I think I share a similar sentiment in some way, but I don't think having land available when deck building (or a separate land draft) is inherently wrong, but I agree it feels different. And perhaps that's why it feels odd, is that we're used to seeing lands in drafts, and "trying to decide between land and that 1-drop or bomb" presents a fun dynamic to drafting. Lack of land presence in the cube takes this away, and I sense an impact as well.

    Regardless, it's clear fixing and mana is important for any cube, and micro cubes have taught us we need to get creative at times, and your approach isn't that far out in left field, I don't think. I'm not one to poop on innovation, 3rd power has commented a number of times that the best way to learn is to "try it out". On the contrary, I applaud the innovation, and yours is possibly an elegant way that streamlines the primary draft for such a small cube. This increases the percentage of on-color cards to choose from, and for a 1vs1 draft (especially as 15-card packs), that's a very good thing. Especially considering other "normal size" cubes have experimented with lands outside of the central draft...I'm interested to see how this goes, it seems a plausible way to accommodate the land question.

    Is this something you feel you're "experimenting" with, or are you comfortable where it is?

    I was thinking about this land thing last night, and I'm feeling that "there's more than one right way to do something" ought to be explicitly mentioned here. Micro cubing has taught me that creativity and flexibility is so important. H#ll, I've got hybrid cards counted as monocolored cards just to get more playables for aggro, which is not intuitive to standard cube design. While my cube has alot of fixing, I recognize that has to do with my playgroup (and the johnny's and timmies there) wanting to support 2 to 3 (to 5) color decks. As a spike, I'm happy to have better mana for stronger 2 decks, or being able to easily support splash-worthy bombs like balance, ancestral, goyf, etc. I'm perhaps on the higher end %age-wise of lands/fixing for the average cube...which is something I hadn't really mentioned. However, considering how I have the personal opinion that some cubes are under-landed, mine might be one or two over-landed as a compensation lol.

    If you still want land in your drafting experience, what are you thoughts on adding a few of the 5 color lands to your cube? Perhaps 10 land would be too many, but perhaps a few (like City of Brass). The question (obviously) is what one would take out to accommodate a few lands. Notably the downside to evolving wilds type of cards is the comes into play tapped limitation...an aggro deck will be more interested in something like City or a Pain Land, whereas a control deck is more comfortable with a couple tapped lands.

    Beyond the lands I mentioned above, artifact fixing is also relevant...Chromatic Lantern is a first pick in our cube, and Mox Diamond isn't far from the top. Prismatic Lens, Coalition Relic and Darksteel Ingot seem good too. Artifact mana is probably another post, though...

    Sorry for being too wordy :blush:, just digging the great discussion!

    I'm interested in your (and other's) thoughts on the free-wilds approach.

    I also thought of another possible commandment, but it might have an unintended effect on design...
    * Prioritize ability-on-a-stick creatures over their instant counterparts to get double duty out of one card. Example: kor Sanctifiers > Disenchant.
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    So thinking about the "10" Commandments (we'll see if we need 10 Wink )...there are a few design concepts my group came across, not skimping on the lands might be one of them.

    A few "design commandments" I could propose off the top of my head. I think each of these should get some discussion
    • Decide what theaters (aggro/midrange/control/combo) each of your colors will support. (we tossed green aggro)
    • Decide which archetypes (reanimation, blink/bounce) you'd like to support.
    • Don't be afraid to limit theaters and archetypes, in order to allow sufficient support (7 well-supported archetypes is better than 13 insufficiently supported)
    • Prioritize versatility & flexibility in card selection that will support multiple theaters and archetypes. (ie, multi-purpose cards like Cryptic Command, Hybrid Cards like rakdos cackler, etc)
    • Don't ignore conventional cube wisdom, much of it still applies to micro cubes (removal, sufficient aggro support, fixing)
    • Properly support with flexible/versatile land and mana fixing

    I agree with you both to prioritize cards based on theater/archetype synergy, however I'm not quick to decry "goodstuff" cards that are "too good to miss". There are often plenty of "good stuff" cards that are in all cubes b/c they rock. I would submit that the top 5-10 cards in each of the color ranking threads should likely be included because they're the best...however you get to choose the best...for example.

    Black CIPT removal creatures. I've got 25 black card slots. I probably only have 2 to mayyyybe 3 slots for CIPT terror-on-a-stick.
    How would you rank the following:
    - Nekrataal
    - Skinrenderer
    - Bone Shredder
    - Shriekmaw

    I would rank them (but please share your opinion :D):
    1. Shriekmaw - The card does so much so well, giving options and flexibility that beats the others. Dual-casting mode, single B in the casting cost is easier to cast, helps all theaters (control with evasive damage, midrange tempo by 2-1 tempo swinging, combo by helping stabilize, even an evasive aggro curve topper.
    2. Skinrenderer - Ability to kill most creatures, not having an artifact/black limitation, relevant body, counter stick around. Good in aggro and midrange, not bad in control. Cons, might not kill everything.
    3. Nekrataal - Kill-on-a-stick, but BB in the cost and 2 power brings its rank down
    4. Bone Shredder - Small concentrated cubes seem too powerful for echo nowadays, and Shredder was never great for us (even with the 400 card cube)

    I think this example does a good job of illustrating understanding your archtypes/theaters, their synergies, selecting cards based on flexibility.

    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    I like the idea of developing a 10 commandments for micro cubes...should be a fun exercise.

    But…before moving on to that, I did some followup on land here it is before I lose it lol. I've heard third power (and others) say 10-15% of your cube should be land. Rarely do you see people rank the best lands, you just run them (in normal cubes). I'ts usually more like "well, after duals and fetches, run man-lands or pain/check lands". Most “small to medium” sized cubes run duals, fetches, tap lands/pain lands/check lands, man lands, and/or great utility lands. While we all know those are the best of the best for normal cubes, once must be really selective in micro cubes, since we can't run 40 great lands.

    Here are some good land threads that came up in a search:

    At 180-ish, here's my personal opinion on no-limitation ranking:
    1) ABUR Duals: I'm of the opinion that every cube (budget allowing) should run the ABUR duals, at a minimum. They're the best, period.
    2) Library of Alexandria: I pick this over Sol Ring, but its oft debated. Again, budget allowing.
    3) City of Brass/Mana Confluence/Grand Colosseum: Best 5-color fixing.
    4) Fetches: Decks and duals naturally become better with fetches, as well other cards (Brainstorm, Top, etc)...so we made that happen.
    5) Strip Mine: The best land killer.

    Its either obvious or has been repeated often enough, but flexibility & efficiency are clutch when we make a micro cube…a card’s flexibility and versatility will increase its value the smaller a cube gets. While I quite like how duals/fetches and 5-color utility lands have worked in my cube, once you get smaller than 180-ish, one must (IMHO) consider the most efficient and flexible lands that can meet the needs of your cube, in as-few-a-cards-as-possible. Below 150, I’m not sure you can run duals & fetches, as 20 cards is a significant portion of your cube. But I'd still consider running the original duals in any (yes any) sized micro cube...and I don't make that comment lightly. Lands are just sooooo important, and at really small cube sizes where you're doing packs with fewer people, you need to be able to support the splash in case you don't get down to 2 colors. Beyond this, I’d consider and run as many 5-color, or universally fixing lands as possible. Here’s a stab at the most flexible multi-color lands:

    Top-tier 5-color Lands
    City of Brass / Mana Confluence : Seem like the best fixing 5 color lands.
    Copy Lands: Lands that make a copy of lands you have in play (like Reflecting Pool) can automatically become the complimentary dual of whatever your two colors are.
    Gemstone Mine: Comes into play untapped, and can help get you to 4-5mana before it checks out. I’d probably only count it as a 0.5 land during deck building, though.
    Vivid Lands: Easy to splash, and fix rather well. Unfortunately they come into play tapped, but being able to make any mana without hindering the primary color offers great flexibility.
    Basic Fetches: Lands like evolving wilds are good, but I’ve not tried them personally. Getting any basic you need can’t be a bad thing, and they don’t take up a lot of room.

    At 190, we ended up at 26 lands, which first felt a tad high for a 190-card cube...in practice it feels very right. I do feel that lands are underrated and undersupported in some cubes. After drafing others' cubes in the "draft the above persons cube" thread, I'm happier to draft too many land, than not enough. I'm famous in my group for ALWAYS drafting a land (or P8) P1P1.

    Original Duals (10)
    Fetches (10)
    Library of Alexandria
    Strip Mine (Wasteland was cut)
    City of Brass

    We also play these Timmy/Johnny-friendly lands, which you may/may not desire:
    Vesuva (all our lands are great to copy)
    Thran Quarry (Better than city for aggro)
    Diamond Valley (Johnny friendly)

    These lands are next tier, and if you have design/budget constraints may be worth considering. Beyond limitations, I don’t believe they make the cut:
    Dual color man lands: Ie. Celestial Colonnade. I'd rather have duals and fetches, however, we've learned flexibility trumps all others when it comes to micro cubes. In normal cubes, pain lands might probably rank higher, but the flexibility of making mana and a dude is hard to argue with.
    Wasteland: I feel micro cubes might have room for only 1 land destruction land, Strip Mine is better.
    On color man-lands: Ie Fairie Conclave. I'd categorize these as colored cards, not lands, but when micro-cubes have 15-30 cards per color, I doubt there is room for these...however, again, flexibility and versatility make them worth considering.

    Lands insufficiently awesome for micro cubes (budget concerns notwithstanding):
    Pain Lands
    CIPT (non-man) lands
    Bounce Lands

    Regarding the Cube Tutor drafting, I've drafted my cube on there ALOT...and I feel like it dose a pretty decent job. However, someone recommended a while back to draft 5 packs of 9, with 3 bots. I remember it improving the drafting experience. Not sure for a 90 card, so this won't work that small.

    EDIT: I also started populating the links post (post #2) of this thread. Anyone has links, lemme' know Smile
    Posted in: The Cube Forum
  • posted a message on The Micro Cube Thread (≤270 size)
    Recently discussed in another thread, was the topic of lands...can we kick the thread off with a land discussion?

    First, our micro cube:
    It's a 190-card cube, intended as a travel cube for 1 vs 1, occasionally drafted by 3/4. It was created by paring down our 400 powered old-schoolish cube. Our cube is powered, and designed with an old-school feel (we started early 90s). We cube with cards of any age, but certain cards and mechanics are excluded if they don't feel OG. And we're equal parts timmy/johnny/spike, so there's some ~10% unique card choices to support that. And it's called the boobie cube because boobie rhymes with two-bie (aka two-person), and boobies are cool, so there ya go. Oh, and every card is a pimped proxy, if it matters.

    Onto lands...

    What lands to play? How many lands should one play in a micro cube? I've heard from third power, and others say 10-15% of your cube should be land...some say even more. With every single card-slot at a premium in a micro-cube, we clearly have to be picky on what we run, but I encourage you not to be stingy on the lands. IMHO, lands are the last place to make hard cuts in a shrinking cube. We've found in a micro cube, especially 1vs1, it's tough to make 2 color deck work (since you could see fewer cards depending on the draft format)...an extra relevant land can make ALL the difference in going from a 3 color deck to a 2 color deck...and even moreso if you're trying to properly support a 3 color deck or splash.

    At 190, we ended up at 26 lands, initially felt a tad high for a 190-card cube. I do feel that lands are sometimes underrated and undersupported in cubes. After drafing others' cubes in the "draft the above persons cube" thread, I'm happier to draft too many land, than not enough. I'm famous in my group for ALWAYS drafting a land (or P8) P1P1.

    I'm also drafting a post on ranking of lands, and which to include, but I thought this could get us started Smile

    Posted in: The Cube Forum
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