HELP: First Cube

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Posted on Oct. 29, 2017, 8:39 p.m. by landofMordor

Hey TappedOut!

I have just completed my first cube over on CubeTutor! I would love for assistance in two regards from the T/O community:

First, draft my cube and tell me what you think! The link is at the bottom. Keep in mind this is a themed/pauper cube, so don't expect Moxen, but I do want to know if you find it fun or if there are easy improvements to make.

Second...the only cards I own in paper are the Ixalan block can I buy or bum your bulk commons? I would LOVE to build this cube from cards bought/donated from the T/O community, so that every time I slam down a triumphant Lay Bare, I think little thoughts of gratefulness for the user who gave it to me. The whole cube is ~10 cents per card on average, so I figure it's a win-win: I pay for your S&H+gratitude, and you get rid of bulk cards no LGS would buy.

Please reply here or on my user page if you can help out in either of those ways! See the cube link below. Thanks in advance, and cheers!


landofMordor says... #2

The link does not appear to have worked (typical...). I'll try again:


I guess I need your help on this, too :/

October 29, 2017 8:41 p.m.

Boza says... #3

As a person who made a pauper cube, I can advise you that is fun, but only for a while. Once drafted a few times, it becomes clear that going wide is the most viable strategy, since pauper does not offer any good board wipes.

Additionally, pauper has a lot of powerful cards - I would never play Lay Bare, when I could play Counterspell, Hymn to Tourach or Dark Ritual. Additionally, what is the theme of the cube?

The most important thing about the cube - you do not want to spend ages gathering the cards, sleeving 300+ cards and 100+ lands only to find out noone really wants to draft it MULTIPLE times.

Gauge your target audience.

October 30, 2017 4:50 a.m.

LeaPlath says... #4

So having a look through.

You've got a random mishmash of archetypes without pay off cards. I see a WB lifegain deck, with really weak cards like Dazzling Reflection and Soulmender, two cards I never really want to draft. The pay off is I get a growing 2/2 who has no evasion. And a dude who drains a little, but I have to stuff my deck with drek that is awful outside getting those 2 cards.

There is a G/W Defenders deck, with nothing really amazing to ramp into and I can't even splash red for the defender who burns people down.

I would look at what you want each archetype to do, the roleplayers and the pay off cards, as well as what cards are good in multiple decks.

For example, I want a W/B lifegain deck with a vampire theme. A r/w token deck that wants to make white tokens and buff with red cards and a R/B deck that cares about stuff dying.

For the pay off cards in W/B I'm looking for Sanctum Seeker. It drains life and supports vampires. For a roleplayer I'm looking for a vampire type with a relevant ability, say Skymarch Bloodletter. It is a 2/2 flyer who drains 1 for 3. Obviously other decks can play it but it has extra value in my W/B deck. Then I'm looking for generically good cards like removal, or other threats that might not be a fit but help my deck, such as Doom Blade.

For W/R I'm looking for pay off cards like Firemantle Mage who make my token hordes harder to block or Goblin Rabblemaster who makes a ton of tokens and attacks for a lot himself. For roleplayers I'm looking for cards that makes tokens. Why not Queen's Commission. 2 tokens with lifelink for 3 mana is OK. And it helps both the W/R deck and the vampire deck.

Now in R/B I want stuff to be sacrificable. I can play Skymarch Bloodletter as a 2/2 for 3 which is acceptable, but really I quite fancy getting my hands on Goblin Rabblemaster to pair with my Goblin Bombardment or Makeshift Munitions so there is always damage going through. I might also want a card like Ruthless Knave to turn any incidental treasure into draw or provide more ammo for Makeshift. And oh look, Blood Artist is a vampire who drains who rewards me for sacrificing stuff!

So that is an example of what you might go with?

There is also a lot of really poor removal and other cards in the cube, so you really need to decide on a power level and the draftability of some cards. Like Guardians of Meletis is a card I am never going to want to draft even in the G/W defenders deck, while Wall of Tanglecord might just make the cut. The lands really discourage splashing as well and some are so much better than others that it is unreal. You also have a lot of cars, but that pushes the format towards a snowballing playstyle with premium uncommons like the 4/4 for 4 who grows with each attack.

A lot of the 2 coloured cards you have just feel thrown in. Like what is Manaforge Cinder in service too?

A suggestion for some exploration archetypes. When you say exploration I think Lands, deck manipulation, landfall, being on the attack and movement.

G/W Defenders/Ramp that goes into something like eldrazi

R/G Dinosaurs with land based ramp (lets you get elementals with landfall as a side note)

U/B reanimator focused on sea leviathans and things like Inkwell Leviathan.

U/W Lands/Awaken Control. Slow but unstoppable with smaller things that make lands into creatures or buy time.

R/B Sacrifice

R/W Tokens or Allies (all the best allies are in R/W)

U/R Pirates/Raid/Spells as you loot through your deck and always be aggressive.

U/G Merfolk with a subtheme of counters (you can do more than just +1/+1 with the right support)

W/B Vampires Lifelink/Drain

G/B Explore/Graveyard. Explore lets you bin things, stuff grows from explore, cards reward you from putting something in the graveyard. The idea of you exploring somewhere and the Unearthing something seems fitting.

October 30, 2017 6:46 a.m.

landofMordor says... #5

Boza, LeaPlath, thank you for the feedback! Y'all are both obviously experienced in draft, so I appreciate the advice.

I perhaps should have offered some additional explanation: this cube is for my casual playgroup exclusively. The theme is "exploration"/"adventure", which is why I have a bunch of Traps and Quests (which I find very fun) and intentionally ignore everything Eldrazi vs Allies (which I find thematically and mechanically annoying). Also keep in mind that it's a 540-card cube, so you didn't see all of it if you only drafted a couple times.

That said, I intentionally wanted this to be a cube that feels like "Limited-plus"...which is why I left out pauper staples like Hymn and Counterspell. This helps me choose spells that work for the archetypes rather than just being generically good (e.g. Steady Progress has much more synergy in my cube than Ancestral Vision). This also helps on budget, so I won't feel like I've invested too much money to switch out cards once I learn they're not working. Evidently, I've leaned a little too hard into the budget portion and let some junk slip in through the cracks.

So, let's say I remove the 10 worst cards per color. What would be the most important adds? Board wipes in U/W/B to allow better control archetypes? Payoff cards like Autochthon Wurm (ramp)? Mana fixing? Or just generically good modal cards that could function in multiple archetypes? Same deal with the lands -- I put creaturelands in my midrange archetypes, painlands in aggro guilds, and scrylands in control guilds, but it may not have worked as well as I hoped.

Here were my archetypes (pretty close to what LeaPlath suggested, actually):

UW: Lands/Awaken Control

UB: "Manipulative" Control (stealing stuff, discard, etc)

BR: Aggressive Sacrifice

RG: Landfall midrange

GW: Defender Ramp/Convoke

WB: Gain'n'drain with light Vampirism tribal

BG: Sacrifice for +1/+1 counter payoff

GU: Merfolk +1/+1 counters (proliferate, etc)

UR: Spell slinging aggro

RW: Token/Lifegain aggro

October 30, 2017 9:07 a.m.

LeaPlath says... #6

So there is limited plus and unplayables. You can cut a lot of chaff for better answers. I think honestly you are better off starting from scratch. There are so many cards that don't support an archetype or are so weak as to be undraftable. A 560 card cube means you need a very strong and wide ranging set of archetype support otherwise people will struggle to pull them togther.

So looking at a few before work.

UW: The awaken cards need to be in stuff control would actually play or even almost exclusively play, such as Planar etc. Stuff like Ondu doesn't impact the board unless you have a horde. You also need wipes or a way for the control deck to pull far ahead, so you want some 4 mana conditional wipes in U/W maybe tempo ones or 5 mana board wipes like Fumigate.

WG: So convoke as a mechanic isn't that great, cause it doesn't do much? Like as a focus, you have very few ways to gain a pay off, in the same way other decks do, and the defenders either tap for mana or you don't want to tap.

Defenders are also pretty weak, and kinda eh to play. Every game plays out the same. You ramp or you die, and it requires a lot of board commitment so you cant take advantage of ramps advantage versus control the same way the land decks do.

If you want to be in defenders, go GWubr, a 5C deck with ramp and fixing, defenders as the way to generate the mana and fix it, big stuff like Profane Command or similar as game enders, and stuff like Assault Formation but remember it is gonna be unpopular as an archetype simply for how linier it is and how bad most defenders are.

There is a probable option, if you want the cars and stuff still, is to go GW tokens and convoke, as cards like Sprout Swarm do some amazing things with tokens, and chords of calling can bring out something huge and buffy and push cars into RW as the cars are generally good in multiple decks and most of the cards that support cars care about tapping more.

I can break it down a lot more for each archetype if you want with suggested payoff cards/roleplayers.

October 30, 2017 11:10 a.m.

landofMordor says... #7

LeaPlath, thanks again for the thoughtful feedback. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • I'll cut about 10-15 junky cards from each color, putting better-enabling commons and payoff rares in their place.

  • cut all the defenders. I always liked Perimeter Captain but never played GW, so that makes for a bad combo (; I just didn't want to do tokens, which really limited my options. Maybe I'll do tap abilities, Ahn-Crop Champion, etc. I'll keep thinking on it.

  • cut most of the Vehicles for enabling artifacts, mana fixing, etc.

  • I might also cut the hybrid mana guild cards and/or 1-2 of the worst cards from each guild. Depends on how it plays afterward.

Thanks again! Cheers

October 30, 2017 1:45 p.m.

LeaPlath says... #8

What are the pay off cards in GW fpr tap abilities in ykur eyes?

October 30, 2017 2:25 p.m.

landofMordor says... #9

LeaPlath, off the top of my head, I'm thinking Glory-Bound Initiate, Glare of Subdual, Quest for Renewal, Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, etc. But I haven't done much looking into it.

October 30, 2017 8:31 p.m.

LeaPlath says... #10

Out of those cards only Quest reward you for being tapped. Glory is a 4/4 or 3/1 beater for 2. Glare is a reward for going wide that bogs games down. Lesbian Granny is a token maker. Quest is pretty weak though and will rarely make the cut as the reward is a psudo vigilance on a do nothing enchantment when for 3 mana more you get a good body too.

I would really rethink/redo the archetypes to make them more powerful and flow better.

October 31, 2017 6:32 a.m.

landofMordor says... #11

LeaPlath, hope you're doing well. I have done some more work on the cube and was wondering what your thoughts were. The link should be the same as above. As you suggested, I reworked some of the weaker 2-color archetypes and increased the payoff cards for many of the archetypes. In addition, I tried to intentionally include card selection or hand sculpting in all colors, since one of the biggest takeaways from playtesting was that you'll never have every card you want like in a Constructed format.

Thanks again! Cheers and happy holidays

December 10, 2017 8:44 a.m.

LeaPlath says... #12

What are your current archetypes?

December 10, 2017 12:26 p.m.

landofMordor says... #13

LeaPlath, current 'types are:

UW: control, with land animation as flavor

UB: "mean" control like forced discard, etc

BR: aggressive aristocrat/morbid weenies

RG: landfall ramp

GW: "pure" ramp

WB: lifegain and drain

BG: midrange sacrifice

GU: +1/+1 counters

UR: spell slinging

RW: burn/aggro

December 10, 2017 4:17 p.m.

LeaPlath says... #14

What sort of power level? Is your overall theme still exploration and lands matter?

December 10, 2017 6:23 p.m.

LeaPlath says... #15

So I went through the list this morning.

Like, first up I'm not seeing much in the way of stuff that makes me think "exploration". This feels like a low quality modern cube? It doesn't feel like it provides a coherent theme.

The only two clearly signaled archetypes are U/G and W/B. Even then, W/B has a lot of stuff I wouldn't take like Tainted Sigil, because it is a 3 mana gain life card, and just gains life.

I think one issue you have is...this is an 12 person cube. This means you are gonna struggle to have stuff wheel, archetypes are less viable compared to just grabbing value, and if you draft with less than 12 you might never see important archetype enablers.

Secondly, I would push the themes harder in terms of exploration. Like U/W lands as creatures is cool. That can be pushed further. That can cross over into something like U/B lands with cards like Nettlevine Blight or Underworld Connections or Sire of Stagnation that punishes peoples for lands. Then that can cross over into something like a U/R spell slinging Retrace deck, where you can turn excess lands into spells or spell equivalents with Molten Vortex and Flame Jab, which can intresting stuff going along side it such as a G/W Desert deck?

Like, if you want it themed hard, then I would really suggest breaking the idea down into three parts, so for exploration you could have "monsters lurking in the shadows", "new places to explore" and "heroes going exploring" and divide stuff up between them if you get me?

December 11, 2017 5:25 a.m.

landofMordor says... #16

LeaPlath, that makes a lot of sense.

You're right that my efforts to make the cube work mechanically also pushed out a lot of the flavor. Additionally, you're spot-on that I almost never draft with 12 people; in fact, I barely ever draft with more than 4. To that end, I'm greatly considering cutting out 90 cards altogether, which would also increase the probability of drawing the archetype enablers (and it would also let the flavorful cards shine, since they would show up more frequently).

I really like that idea of pushing the lands-matter cards. Between the Auras of RTR like Debtor's Pulpit/Racecourse Fury/Urban Burgeoning, the Desert-matters of AMK, and the Retrace stuff you mentioned, I think that could be very cool.

As for flavor, I totally agree. The Trap instants and Quest enchantments point that direction a little bit, but I think doubling down on those themes would really help the overall cohesion of the cube.

I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate your insight and advice. It's easy to get tunnel vision without outside input, so I really appreciate some blunt feedback from an expert. Cheers! I'll let you know, if you like, when my next round of revisions is complete.

December 11, 2017 9:14 a.m.

LeaPlath says... #17

Talk to your players, I would suggest. Work out what they want and what they expect from each theme. Like, the 5 things that I need to know to give more advice are the new archetypes, budget, powerlevel, what pool are we taking from and how you overall theming it?

December 11, 2017 9:22 a.m.

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