Cube is an unique way to play Magic the Gathering. Booster packs that you use during the cube draft aren’t made by Wizards of the Coast. Instead, the host designs their own limited environment from the ground up. This means no bad cards – say goodbye to drafting 3 mana 1/3 vanilla creatures.
One of the great things about Cube is that it tends to be less self-contained. Players don’t need to bring their own decks or supplies, for the most part. In this article I’ll talk about the basics of building a cube.We’ll also take a look at all the necessary accessories so that you’ll have everything you need.
Obviously the most important part of a cube is its card pool. Most cubes are unique – the design is entirely up to the cube owner. Cubes can mimic the limited environment of sets or a group of sets, like this cube which includes cards from any of the Ravnica sets.
They can also be centered around themes or archetypes, usually involving the two- or three-colour combinations. They can be incredibly budget friendly (Peasant cubes use only commons and uncommons) or they can be Power cubes, using typically the best (and often therefore most expensive) cards – including Black Lotus. Many cubes are also Singleton, meaning they contain no duplicates of any card.
The following are some basic guidelines on the cards you’ll want to include in your cube. Just remember that there are no rules – the great part of cube is that it’s entirely up to you. If you want to play with banned or silver-bordered cards, you can!
MTG Cube Size and Structure
There are three common sizes for cubes:
- 360-card cubes are optimized for up to 8 players.
- 540-card cubes can add more variability or allow for more people to play.
- 720-card cubes allow for two 8-player draft pools, or allow for two 4-player drafts with entirely new cards.
You want to have an equal amount of each color. This ways colors won’t be skewed during the draft. You’ll also want to match the power level of each color. Otherwise, players will prefer certain colors or archetypes. Balance is important in cube – you want to make sure all your archetypes are equal (or at least close) on power level.
Single-color cards should make up the majority of your card pool, with colorless and gold (multicolored) cards making up a smaller percentage. Most cubes also run multicolored lands to allow for mana-fixing. Basic lands, discussed later, are excluded in this count.
If you need more in-depth information about how do design an optima 360-card cubes, check out this link.
Cubes built around specific themes or archetypes are often more interesting than a single-colour focus. Otherwise, you tend to end up with a pile of cards, rather than a synergistic deck. With enough fixing in a good stuff cube you can just play all the best cards you manage to draft.
Deciding on your archetypes is up to personal preference, but you should ensure Magic’s colors are approximately equally distributed. For example, my cube uses 5 archetypes:
- Blue-Red: Spellslinger
- Black-Red: Aggro
- White-Black: Sacrifice
- Blue-Green: +1/+1 counters
- White-Green: Enchantments
With these archetypes, my cube represents each color exactly twice.
Cube Cobra is a great tool to view other peoples’ cubes and test your own. Use it to discover new cards for your cube, figure out how to optimize your cube, and learn how cubes of all shapes and sizes are typically formatted.
There is a plethora of information online to help you build your cube pool. However, that isn’t all you need. You should also include basic lands, as every deck needs up to 17 or so. For a 360-card cube, you should include 30-40 of each type of basic land.
That way, all players will have enough correct lands. You can always play around with this number based on your players and cube pool.
Tokens & Emblems
It’s also a good idea to make sure you have as many tokens and emblems as you need for all the cards that make them, to prevent confusion during gameplay. Exertion tokens and keyword counters (for Ikoria cards) are good examples of useful quality-of-life tools you may want to include.
MTG Cube Accessories
Apart from cards, you’ll also need some accessories, that will make your MTG cube easier to function.
Sleeves are a must for cubes, as the cards will be shuffled, moved around, and drafted countless times and by many people. They also keep cards clean and help prevent damage. They also ensure all the cards look the same, which is especially helpful if you include double-faced cards or proxies.
You’ll need enough sleeves for the size of your cube, but also for the amount of basic lands you want to include. This way the lands and the playable cards look the same. You could simply include a number of sleeves, and let everyone sleeve after the draft.
However, if you sleeve the entire cube, you will save much time for the actual game play. You want to get sleeves, that will last for a long time and won’t split easily. We gathered some of the best MTG sleeves here.
If you don’t want to bother, you could always just get Dragon Shield sleeves, which are the best ones on the market.
Having a full set of dice for everyone is not necessarily required, but it goes a long way towards making your cube self-contained. Personally, I use:
- a number of D20s to count life totals
- a set of 36 small D6s for +1/+1 counters
- another set of 12 larger D6s for miscellaneous counters like level up counters.
You can find best dice for MTG here.
MTG Cube Storage
Aside from the cards, having a good place to store your cube is crucial. If you’re on a budget you can fit it into a couple of bundle boxes from magic sets, or into a cardboard 1000-count box. You could realistically use any type of box you can find that fits what you need it to fit, but there are plenty of options if you’re looking to invest in something more high-quality and made for cubes.
The Wizardry Foundry Grimoire is a nice-looking option. There are a lot of different designs to choose from, so you can easily find something you like.
However, if your Cube is going to be more expensive, you probably want something with a better closing mechanism.
The Ultra Pro Mox Cub3 is the only one I’ve seen that actually looks like a cube. The overall design is quite nice and useful. Having Mox art on the box is also a big plus.
Personally, I use an Ultimate Guard Superhive, which has enough room for your cube pool, dice, and a couple of playmats. Ultimate Guard is well known for high quality products, and this box is no different. It’s probably the best cube storage overall.
You can also contact any number of makers, such as those on Etsy, to make you a custom box as well.
Building a cube can be very complex, but with the amount of options available it’s clearly a labor of love. A cube is never done, and constantly evolves as you discover more cards that work for your archetypes.
It’s an incredibly fun way to play, and as long as you have some background information, it shouldn’t be too daunting to begin. Just remember to support your local game store when you buy cards and supplies for your cube – if they don’t have it in stock, chances are they can order it in for you.
Until next time, may you enjoy many great games with your new MTG cube.