You can find the full Cube Route here:
Part 1 – Finding the Beginning
Part 2 – Counters and Counters
Part 3 – Sorted by Colour
Part 4 – All Things Being Equal

And now, the conclusion….

After a bit of procrastinating, I hunkered down to complete the rest of my Cube. I don’t know if it’s been the general isolation, or the scope of this project, but it feels like an eternity since I started working on my Cube, and I was looking forward to being done so I could move on to something else. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’ve enjoyed building this Cube, and despite my ennui I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of random cards in a box and toss it on a shelf labelled “Finished.” If I gave up before the end it would be such a waste of effort, so I took the time I needed and carefully considered my final picks. I wanted to make sure that I was satisfied with my list before giving it my seal of approval.

A Soft Landing

Picking what lands to include in my Cube was relatively straightforward; I’d already set aside several cards to consider back when I tried building my Conspiracy-themed Cube, so I had minimal decisions to make. I knew I wanted to avoid Guildgates, but the reason was largely an aesthetic one. I was on the fence about including the “Gainlands” that give you a life when they come into play; while they would be a big asset for the life gain archetype, I didn’t feel that they were strictly necessary. Instead, I pieced together the ten-card cycle of generic tapped lands using parts I had from Oath of the Gatewatch, M19, and Rivals of Ixalan. In this cube they’re functionally identical to Gates, but they wouldn’t be thematically tied to Ravnica. This cycle of cards could either represent segments of a variety of planes, or could all be from some as-yet-unknown other world, which I found to be far more satisfying.

A lot of Cubes will typically include a combination of Shocklands and Fetchlands for better mana fixing, but that mana base can be expensive, and I certainly didn’t want to steal any lands from my Modern decks to build my Cube. I was already planning on using the cycle of generic tapped lands, but that wouldn’t be enough, especially with all of the CCDD creatures floating around. With all that in mind, I decided to add all ten of the tri-colour lands from Shards of Alara and Khans of Tarkir. These lands would make the mana fixing better than just adding a second cycle of two-colour lands, like the Gates: effectively, any two-colour deck looking for more colour fixing would have access to one two-colour land and up to three different tri-colour lands. For instance, a player drafting white/blue could pick a Meandering River (white/blue), an Arcane Sanctum (white/blue/black), a Seaside Citadel (white/blue/green), or a Mystic Monastery (white/blue/red). As an added benefit, the tri-colour lands also open up the possibility of splashing a third colour, which is traditionally one of the big draws of Shocklands and Fetchlands in a Cube.

Melissa De Tora’s Cube article allocated room for thirty land cards, and so I still had room for ten more in my Cube. The Vivid land cycle seemed like it a good choice for more versatile mana fixing, since each one could fit into four different two-colour decks, and also helped with the ability to splash additional colours. I also thought those lands would be interesting to have alongside cards like Soul Diviner and Plaguemaw Beast, so that was a plus. It was also a smaller cycle of cards, which meant I still had room for five other lands.

I’ve talked at length about how much I prefer draft formats with Evolving Wilds or its lonely cousin Terramorphic Expanse, so I naturally tossed both of them in. As for the last three land slots, Holdout Settlement would interact well with the assorted Inspired creatures, while Cave of Temptation would be especially strong with the +1/+1 counters archetype, but could fit into pretty much any deck. I wanted to fill the last slot with a creature land, and while Mishra’s Factory was a tempting option, it broke the rule I established early on about never referencing creature types. Instead I decided to include Dread Statuary; I’ve wanted to find a suitable home for this land for a long time, and it felt like a good fit here, so in it went.

An Artifact of the Past

The last piece of this grand puzzle was to figure out what colourless cards to include. I didn’t really want to add any Eldrazi, and by omitting them I could make sure all of the colourless cards in the Cube could be artifacts. This had a couple of benefits: if I was teaching anyone how to play Magic with this Cube that would make things a bit easier, and it would reduce the need to read the type line of a card.

If you’ve been following this project from the beginning you might have noticed that I didn’t include any coloured artifacts or enchantment creatures, despite the number of these cards that have come out recently. The reason I decided to leave these cards out is pretty much the same as why I made sure all of the colourless cards were artifacts; by making things just a little bit simpler I could make my Cube more accessible to a variety of players. Streamlining this wouldn’t really impact gameplay, either. Enchantment creatures and Eldrazi can be cool, but they are by no means required to have a good draft environment.

One of the big goals I had when choosing artifact cards for my Cube was to find interesting cards that would fill some of the gaps the archetypes might have. If they could fit into two or more archetypes, that would be even better. That said, I made sure to include several catch-all artifacts that would support the nonbasic lands as ways to fix your mana, like Skittering Surveyor, Pilgrim’s Eye and Sphere of the Suns. These would be useful in pretty much any deck, but wouldn’t be so powerful as to overshadow any of the non-artifact cards.

Thankfully, even with several colourless Cube slots dedicated to mana fixing, I still had plenty of room leftover for archetype-specific cards. For instance, Farmstead Gleaner could slot into the green/blue untap deck or the black/green +1/+1 counters deck, and Filigree Familiar could fit into the white/black life gain deck or the black/red sacrifice deck. I added some artifacts with fairly specific decks in mind: for instance, Stuffy Doll, would be interesting in a deck with Truefire Captain, Spitemare and a bunch of fight spells to deal damage to them. Similarly, Howling Golem and Runed Servitor would be fun in a deck with Notion Thief. A couple of the cards I added were there as a foil to certain archetypes, like Heap Doll to help fight reanimation and other graveyard strategies, or Arachnoid to slow down opposing fliers, but for the most part I wanted to enable each archetype rather than find ways of shutting them down.

It’s Done!

When I put my full list together I discovered that I was missing a single red card (thankfully I had a Stormblood Berserker to fill that gap), but otherwise everything looked ok. I’m sure that I’ll find some glaring imbalance once I get the opportunity to test the Cube out with friends, but given the state of the world right now that’s clearly going to have to wait. Still, it’s nice to have something that’s ready to go for when it’s safe to get together again, and I’m looking forward to finally trying it out.

Thanks for following along on this tremendous journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did!

If you’re interested, here’s the full list:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.