Thinking about a Cube


Magic the Gathering – Lately my go to midweek game of choice has been Magic the Gathering Commander. My play group has settled on this format for the ease of entry and the randomish nature of playing with 99 unique cards. It makes it easier to acquire what you want for your deck because you only have to pick up a single copy to fill out your deck. In a way is puts a soft cap on the inevitable escalation of spending more to compete (not really because everybody still spends just as much it's just less likely you get hosed by the same cards when a deck only has one of them) which is typically circumvented by tutor effects that make decks run fairly consistently. I enjoy the format and maintain about five decks that I rotate between.

However, I own a ton of Magic cards. Anyone who has ever played the game can attest to picking up a booster or two when you're grocery shopping or going to a store draft or release party and opening a bunch of packs. You inevitably wind up with a ton of cards that don't fit in the deck you want to run or just aren't that great. As of late I've resisted the temptation to buy packs as often as I used to and instead save that money and just buy the singles I need. Odds are you spend about the same amount but instead of getting a bunch of extra crap you just get what you need/want. This new habit doesn't have the same lottery thrill of opening packs but it also doesn't have the inevitable disappointment of opening a pack that is all garbage.

The question is what do I do with all these cards. I could go through and price them out and try to sell them for close to actual value on ebay. Which takes a ton of time and may not pan out as I hope. I could just put up random lots to free up shelf space ... which will result in an overall loss. So neither of these options are very appealing to me and I have a bunch of boxes and binders that sit on a shelf ... What am I to do?

The idea of going back to playing 60 card constructed isn't thrilling to many of my group either because they don't have a large collection or feel that other players "spend" more to win with a 60 card deck (of course the idea that someone might be a better deck builder than the complainee never crosses their mind but whatever). So I have a bunch of decks that sit around in addition to the binders and boxes ... sigh, what to do?

The answer my friends is simple I'm going to build a cube. WTF is a cube? Well a cube is a selection of cards that you put together "booster packs" from to run a limited format typicall a draft or sealed deck. Putting together the cube is going to be a ton of work and will involve some investment in sleeves and building a special box to house it but I feel that this will be a more rewarding experience than trying to sell these cards off. It will solve several of my problems including being able to play regular magic again, skill testing my group and being able to have more unique experiences when we play cards.

So how do you build a cube? Well from what I've read online is you want about 540 cards with an even mixture between the colors and a dash of special lands and artifacts to draft as well. The cards can be whatever you want as you're essentially building your own "set." There are a ton of articles on the format as well as other resources to help you decide what the best way to put together a cube is. I guess one of the primary concerns is having a decent mana curve among all the colors to keep them balanced out. 

I'm going to post articles about my selections once I narrow down my selections in each color and keep updates on my progress. This of course is a side project that I'll squeeze in between my painting and terrain projects as I know most of my readers prefer those types of article instead of Magic focused ones.