Welcome everybody to the Epic Cube Experiment. I am Felix Fung, you may not know me due to my lack of magical achievements. But do not worry; I have studied underneath one of the most outspoken cubers out there, Usman Jamil. Yup, this article is about cubing and all the fun it entails. I myself have been playing Magic on and off since Legions in 2003, only diving into the competitive scene in 2010 during Shards of Alara.
My initial venture into cube also began during this time period. While I was reading Magic articles online, I somehow stumbled upon Evan Erwin’s cubedrafting.com which introduced me to this fascinating limited format where you get to play with the most powerful cards ever printed. I introduced this idea to my playgroup and it quickly caught on leading me to designing my own cube.
Magic as we all know is an expensive game to play and cube was the solution to this money black hole. While the initial investment may be comparable to Legacy and Vintage, updating it costs less than building an average standard deck. In most new set releases, there are usually less than ten cards you need to add. Return to Ravnica was an exception with the most additions up to date.
Cube serves as a vehicle to relive the past, to play with cards that no longer see play in any format. It also serves to introduce newer players to a wide range of cards.
I am the proud owner of an 800+ card powered cube which is in the process of being foiled. I will have my cube list attached below. In this column I will focus mainly on powered and non-powered cubes of the rare variety, I have only drafted an uncommon cube once.
The reasoning behind having a powered cube is to play with Magic’s most powerful cards of course. Many cubers dislike the inclusion of the power 9 in cube due to the inherent degenerate situations it may lead to where the game is not very interactive. It certainly can play out that way especially when a player gets multiple pieces. Simply having a bigger cube solves this problem, where mathematically it is rather unlikely to see more than one piece. A size increase serves a secondary purpose as well; it allows me to flesh out fringe archetypes like mono artifacts.
Magic players are known to be opinionated individuals, cube owners are no different. We disagree on card choices, categorization methods, and house rules. The amount of customization open to each of us is quite staggering. Recently, after seeing the popularity of cube, Wizards created their own. It is well received online due to accessibility. As a cuber I strongly oppose the contents of their official cube. The storm mechanic is the most glaring mistake and the size of the cube makes it worse. It is a 720 cube which means two eight man pods. The combo cube most notably mentioned by Matt Kranstuber functions as it does because of its high density of support pieces and its small size at 360. There are support cards for storm, however they slot poorly into other archetypes, creates more chaff in the packs, and lack density. Besides storm what other deck would play Cabal Ritual? Another quirk that annoys me to no end is the showcasing of sub-par cards from each new set. Cards such as Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis and Rite of Ruin make me scratch my head in confusion. For black you have Grave Titan and Sheoldred as the best finishers, Nefarox comes nowhere close to these two. There is an abundance of sideboard chaff that can be cut. Red does not need Red Elemental Blast, historically red decks have had an extremely favorable match-up against blue. In my cube I attempt to keep this type of card to a minimum, I don’t personally run color specific hate. Mana fixing is weak intentionally to preserve green’s identity as color fixer and ramp color. This is fine but hurts non-mono color aggro; it forces their manabase to become half of each basic if no duals were drafted. Aggro decks do not seem to be performing well overall from the cube videos that I have watched and a lot of times games devolve into a slugfest.
From what I have seen, Wizards does not seem to be responding to the feedback that many prominent cubers are giving them and has been going in the wrong direction. In the most recent updates they even took out Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of Light and Shadow. I would take out Sword of War and Peace before taking either of these out. The five swords are major staples of cube and should not be cut. I feel like they should have an explanation for their changes. In this manner, they can communicate clearly with us regarding the direction they are taking with the cube.
Since this is my first time writing publicly, I would like some feedback on this article. Drop me some ideas for my next article, I am open up to anything. Take a look through my cube list above and feel free to discuss card choices with me. Thanks for reading.
I will leave you guys a sample hand from my cube drafts to enjoy.
Go big or go home.