The Optimal Multiplayer Cube 2012 - Introduction

The Optimal Multiplayer Cube - 2012

  1. Introduction
  2. White
  3. Blue
  4. Black
  5. Red
  6. Green
  7. Gold
  8. Colourless
  9. Nonbasic Land
  10. Full Cube Results


Hi folks,
Seven months ago, I kicked off the inaugural Multiplayer Power Rankings across the Cube Forum, the Multiplayer Forum, and its WotC Forum equivalent. Its aim? To identify the best multiplayer cards available, and to attempt to come up with a definitive Multiplayer-based cube list as a result.
Why? Firstly, no-one had a definitive list of the best Multiplayer cards ever printed. Sure, we were in violent agreement on a few of them (e.g. Kokusho, Rhystic Study), but nobody had ever conclusively said "This list is the best". Secondly, I had put together a multiplayer cube for my playgroup and wanted to improve it, but nothing existed to help achieve this. The Cube Forum here on MTGS has gone a long way towards producing an optimal cube list for 1-on-1 play, but nothing equivalent existed for multiplayer. As Cube is booming in popularity, and a couple of other people were trying to get multiplayer cubes off the ground, we needed something to begin the long trek towards an optimal multiplayer cube list.
And so began the 2012 Multiplayer Power Rankings. In the interest of making the first rankings as definitive as possible, they were more spread out than the Cube Forum's usual power rankings format (don't worry - after taking seven months to complete the 2012 edition, the 2013 rankings will most certainly be reverting to eight Top 20 votes and be over much faster)! As we head toward Monday's conclusion of voting, it's time to start the fun of releasing the results and producing that definitive cube list!

A Cube, You Say?
We're assuming you have a rough idea of what a cube actually is here (Hint: It's not a six-sided geometrical shape... well, it is, I guess, but not that one, OK?). Smile
For those who are yet to explore the fun that is Cube, the MTGS Cube Forum's Ultimate Cube Resource Thread is a great place to start. It'll hopefully help you catch the cube drafting bug and make you want to build your own.
For our results, we need to set some boundaries as to what our optimal cube is going to look like. A 360-card cube is the bare minimum for eight-player drafting, so this is a good baseline.
For each of the sections, we'll use the sizes specified by Tom Fowler in his excellent Hip To Be Square series - 50 of each of the five colours, 50 gold, 30 artifact, 30 nonbasic land.
We also need to account for taste. There are all sorts of wonderful variant cubes floating about already, and you will likely want to account for your own (and your playgroup's) personal tastes when constructing your own. So we're going to suggest 80% of the cards for each cube section, and then suggest a couple of viable archetypes that could be added in the remaining space.
Finally, some of the cards that have come out on top are heinously expensive, and are obviously only going to be available to those who truly want to power their cubes. Multiplayer guys are inevitably playing at their own kitchen tables, and not operating on a top-tier tourney player's funds, so we'll also look at the more budget options available.

The Card Pool
These power rankings began in March 2012, after the release of Dark Ascension. This is the cut-off point for these rankings. The 2012 rankings do not include new cards printed in Avacyn Restored, M13, Return to Ravnica or Planechase 2012... with one exception. Once we got to gold, so many people voted for Dragonlair Spider in its obvious multiplayer goodness, despite it not being eligible, that it ended up forcing its way in. Our friendly spider is the only exception to the rule.
The poll results are contained here if you want to see the full results in all their gory detail. Smile

The Results Format
For each cube section, we'll reveal the cards that were voted into the top 80% of each section (that means the top 40 cards for each of the sections that carry 50, and the top 24 for each of the sections that carry 30). We'll look at them according to casting cost, as well as creature vs. non-creature - those who've built a cube before know that it's important to get this balance right.
We'll then list cards that just missed the cut, and potential budget alternatives to some of the money cards that appear in that list.
Finally, we'll look at the options we have for filling that final 20% - the archetypes that fit well with the cube we've wound up with.

So It's Multiplayer.... What Changes?
What makes the optimal multiplayer list different to the optimal 1-on-1 list already floating about the MTGS Cube Forum? Two things.
Firstly, the optimal 1-on-1 list contains many cards that shine in duels, but are downright unplayable in multiplayer settings. In particular, traditional aggro strategies go out the window in multiplayer - they simply run out of steam against multiple opponents. A case in point is Goblin Guide - it is ranked as one of the top ten red cards in a traditional cube, but is pretty much useless in a multiplayer arena. It didn't garner a single vote in the multiplayer power rankings.
Secondly, you are usually afforded more time and space in a multiplayer setting, so the average casting cost of the cards in the cube can afford to be higher than they are traditionally. This gives us the room we need to fit in expensive multiplayer staples like Insurrection and Blatant Thievery.

Let's Go!
So now, you can sit back, relax and enjoy (while I try and find the time to feverishly hammer out the results)! Grin
Please feel free to comment as we go through - feedback is always appreciated!


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