The 2013 Optimal Multiplayer Cube - Gold

The Optimal Multiplayer Cube - 2013


  1. Introduction
  2. White
  3. Blue
  4. Black
  5. Red
  6. Green
  7. Gold
  8. Colourless
  9. Nonbasic Land
  10. Optimal Multiplayer Cube 2013
  11. Budget Version
  12. Legacy-Legal Version
  13. Conclusion


The gold vote was completed on December 6th 2013.

The Top 40
The gold section in a 360-card cube is 50 cards in size. As we are listing the top 80% we are after the top 40 cards in our power rankings for gold. In order, these were:

  1. Pernicious Deed (13.3)
  2. Aura Shards (12.9)
  3. Vindicate (12.3)
  4. Deathrite Shaman (7.7)
  5. Mirari's Wake (7.6)
  6. Consuming Aberration (7.2)
  7. Baleful Strix (7.1)
  8. Gisela, Blade of Goldnight (6.9)
  9. Debtors' Knell (6.9)
  10. Kaervek the Merciless (6.7)
  11. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker (5.8)
  12. Vizkopa Guildmage (5.3)
  13. Supreme Verdict (4.2)
  14. Spitting Image (4.1)
  15. Sigarda, Host of Herons (4.0)
  16. Venser, the Sojourner (3.6)
  17. Teneb, the Harvester (2.8)
  18. Glissa, the Traitor (2.6)
  19. Vulturous Zombie (2.2)
  20. Djinn Illuminatus (2.2)
  21. Sliver Queen (2.1)
  22. Prime Speaker Zegana (2.0)
  23. Trostani, Selesnya's Voice (1.9)
  24. Balefire Liege (1.9)
  25. Qasali Pridemage (1.9)
  26. Maelstrom Wanderer (1.8)
  27. Angel of Despair (1.8)
  28. Spiritmonger (1.8)
  29. Obzedat, Ghost Council (1.8)
  30. Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord (1.7)
  31. Dreadbore (1.6)
  32. Deathbringer Liege (1.6)
  33. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV (1.6)
  34. Abrupt Decay (1.4)
  35. Boros Reckoner (1.4)
  36. Mirrorweave (1.3)
  37. Bant Charm (1.3)
  38. Havengul Lich (1.2)
  39. Edric, Spymaster of Trest (1.2)
  40. Maelstrom Pulse (1.1)

Just outside of this list, also on 1.1, were Fracturing Gust and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad.

The Curve
These 40 cards give us the following curve for gold...

 There are a few obvious problems with the initial curve:

  • Our creature/spell balance is right out - it's currently 26/14, and we need to balance it to 20/20. While we don't necessarily want to balance out the guilds themselves (some guilds are better than others at certain things, like Izzet being better at spells than creatures), we do want to make sure the balance is right across the board.
  • We want to have an even spread across the guilds, and maybe have five weird tri-colour cards (given we have a couple of good ones in here, like Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker). Some of our guilds are over-represented.
  • We also need to fix the curve, as per usual. There is a massive glut of CC5-6 creatures, for one. While we expect gold to be somewhat top-heavy, our current curve of 6-8-5-11-10 is something we'll need to keep an eye on.
  • There are a couple of unplayables in the list. For example, Sliver Queen is five colours and has no friends to play with.


Fixing the Holes
Gold is without a doubt the hardest section to balance in just about every cube ever created, so we know this isn't going to be a cakewalk. Onwards and upwards...

Fixing the Guild Balance
This is our biggest challenge at the moment. It currently looks as follows:

  • Azorius (W/U) - 4 (Grand Arbiter, Supreme Verdict, Mirrorweave, Venser)
  • Dimir (U/B) - 3 (Baleful Strix, Aberration, Havengul Lich)
  • Rakdos (B/R) - 2 (Kaervek, Dreadbore)
  • Gruul (R/G) - 0 (!)
  • Selesnya (G/W) - 5 (Qasali Pridemage, Trostani, Sigarda, Aura Shards, Mirari's Wake)
  • Orzhov (W/B) - 6 (Vizkopa Guildmage, Obzedat, Deathbringer Liege, Angel of Despair, Vindicate, Debtors' Knell)
  • Izzet (U/R) - 1 (Djinn Illuminatus)
  • Golgari (B/G) - 8 (Deathrite Shaman, Glissa, Jarad, Vulturous Zombie, Spiritmonger, Abrupt Decay, Deed, Pulse)
  • Boros (R/W) - 3 (Reckoner, Balefire Liege, Gisela)
  • Simic (G/U) - 3 (Edric, Zegana, Spitting Image)
  • 3+ colours - 5 (Sliver Queen, Maelstrom Wanderer, Teneb, Bolas, Bant Charm)

Yowza, that's a mess. We want to be at 4 for the allied guilds, 3 for the enemy guilds, and 5 tri-colour cards. Let's start throwing things overboard.
Orzhov has thee cards too many. Its bottom three were Deathbringer Liege, Obzedat, Ghost Council and Angel of Despair.
Golgari is freaking loaded, and needs to lose five! The bottom five are Maelstrom Pulse, Abrupt Decay, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, Spiritmonger and Vulturous Zombie.
Selesnya also needs to lose one card, and the bottom one was Qasali Pridemage.
Our 3+ colour cards need a bit of work, too. Sliver Queen is unplayable and needs to go, and Bant Charm, while a good card, will be a last-pick in this cube.
-1 Deathbringer Liege
-1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
-1 Angel of Despair
-1 Maelstrom Pulse
-1 Abrupt Decay
-1 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
-1 Spiritmonger
-1 Vulturous Zombie
-1 Qasali Pridemage
-1 Sliver Queen
-1 Bant Charm
Now let's do some fixing. Firstly, Gruul needs some bigtime love, four cards wide.
Huntmaster of the Fells and Domri Rade were the only Gruul cards to get votes this year. We need to dip back into 2012 for the other two. The top two last year were Dragon Broodmother and Burning-Tree Shaman.
The rest of it isn't quite so messy. Dimir needs one more card, and the next to get votes was Oona, Queen of the Fae
Rakdos needs two more, but only one more Rakdos card got votes - Deathbringer Thoctar. The next one down in 2012 was Demigod of Revenge, but that's pointless in Cube. The next one was Spiteful Visions.
Izzet needs two more, and we again have the same problem - only Ral Zarek got votes. 2012 gives us Dominus of Fealty.
And we need two more tri-colour or better. The next two vote-getters were Animar, Soul of Elements and Sphinx of the Steel Wind. Sphinx is perfect, but Animar is the same colour combination and Maelstrom Wanderer. The next one down is Hide // Seek.
+1 Huntmaster of the Fells
+1 Domri Rade
+1 Dragon Broodmother
+1 Burning-Tree Shaman
+1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
+1 Deathbringer Thoctar
+1 Spiteful Visions
+1 Ral Zarek
+1 Dominus of Fealty
+1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
+1 Hide // Seek

Fixing the Creature/Spell Balance
We're now balanced out, but we're still at 25 creatures and only 15 spells, and with a great wad of CC6+ creatures. We need to swap five creatures for five spells. Time to get creative.
Deathbringer Thoctar was a low vote-getter this year, and Breath of Malfegor was right behind Spiteful Visions last year. Not a bad swap.
Dragon Broodmother had the always-good Fires of Yavimaya right behind it last year.
Oona, Queen of the Fae is good, but fat. There's no other Dimir cards in this year's vote, so we're back into 2012, and the first non-creature card that shows up is Vile Consumption.
Dominus of Fealty got a hiding in the vote this year in comparison to 2012, and is hard to cast. Again, we are blessed with no further Izzet cards receiving votes. The best non-creature from 2012 was Call the Skybreaker.
The final one we should probably throw overboard is Prime Speaker Zegana. Plasm Capture got votes below her, and that's a fun enough card.
-1 Deathbringer Thoctar
-1 Dragon Broodmother
-1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
-1 Dominus of Fealty
-1 Prime Speaker Zegana
+1 Breath of Malfegor
+1 Fires of Yavimaya
+1 Vile Consumption
+1 Call the Skybreaker
+1 Plasm Capture

Fixing the Curve
Our curve is now 5-11-7-7-10. We added a lot of 3CC spells in just then. If we can drop the last four 3CC spells for some 4-5CC ones, we're there.
Our last four 3CC spells in were Vile Consumption, Fires of Yavimaya, Spiteful Visions and Domri Rade. Poor Gruul... Frown
-1 Vile Consumption
-1 Spiteful Visions
-1 Fires of Yavimaya
-1 Domri Rade
We're back into our 2012 vote in all instances here (let's face it, we're down to the tricky corners, aren't we).
Urza's Guilt is the first Dimir spell to fit the bill.
Gruul has two ready-made replacements in Sarkhan Vol and Predatory Advantage.
But Rakdos is where we run into trouble. There's nothing there in the non-creature section. But Olivia Voldaren stares out at us from the creatures... how on earth did she not get votes this year?
Time for one final bit of jiggery-pokery. If we add Olivia, we've knocked our creature-spell balance back out, so we need to find somewhere else where we can swap a creature for a spell with the same CC and colours.
The best way to approach this is to look at the spells that landed just outside our initial 40, and see if there's anything already in that we can swap them with (preferably something just inside the 40, too).
#40 was Maelstrom Pulse, and we can swap that with Glissa, the Traitor, but Glissa finished high up, and has some good combos in the cube already.
#41 was Fracturing Gust, which can be swapped with Sigarda. She ranked even higher than Glissa, but there are (believe it or not) no more options below these two. We could do with some more artifact and enchantment removal, and Sigarda is more of a promoter of negative play than Glissa is... sigh... I didn't say I was going to enjoy dropping her...
-1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
+1 Fracturing Gust
+1 Olivia Voldaren
+1 Sarkhan Vol
+1 Predatory Advantage
+1 Urza's Guilt
That puts our curve at 5-7-10-8-10. Good enough. Smile

That gives us the following...

 Budget Constraints

Only a single card to panic about here (Pernicious Deed is currently sitting just under $19 a copy, and avoids our cut).

An easy one to replace, too. Mortify isn't anywhere near the card Vindicate, but it's still decent 3-drop removal for Orzhov.

Archetypes to Add
When it comes to gold, it is not so much about adding new archetypes as adding cards that support existing ones in the cube.
However, worth mentioning is the potential to build up a decent Dragon tribe using gold cards. Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund and Bladewing the Risen, while both being very mana-intensive, are good options for this tribe, and there are no shortage of other good multicolour dragons for the tribe.



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