Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cube is the Answer

Years ago, you used to play Magic: The Gathering.  Every day after school you and your friends would gather around the kitchen table, shuffle up piles of cardboard spells, and lay waste to one another.  It was amazing.

But then something horrible happened.  The game lost its luster.  For most people, Magic got too expensive, too competitive, or both.  For whatever reason, you packed up your precious cardboard spells, shoved them under a bed, and moved on to some other hobby. 

The story above applies to many gamers out there.  If it didn’t happen to you, I bet you know someone who knows what I’m talking about.  Here’s my version of the story, in brief:

I got hooked on Magic in 9th grade.  I got really into competitive play and even won a few local tournaments.  Then, Wizards of the Coast began releasing the now infamous Urza’s Block.  The power level of cards went through the roof, so much so that Wizards actually banned cards that were currently in print for Type II (what is now called Standard).  The game changed.  It was no longer fun. My playgroup started losing interest.   I had barely any money, and was afraid to invest it in cards for fear of seeing them banned weeks later.  At this point I packed up my spells and called it quits.

If you didn’t play during Urza’s Block, just check out these two masterpieces:
"What could possibly go wrong?"

I bet Wizards of the Coast R&D never predicted they'd be refunding packs for people who opened Memory Jars.  Well guess what - it happened.

"I get it, you're emo because some really mean wizards pissed you off.  So WTF is cube?

Alright.  Let’s get down to business.  Why am I waxing poetic about how thousands of nerds quit Magic?  Cube.

Cube is a format created by magic players for magic players.  Sure, Wizards of the Coast has cube draft in Magic Online, and I’m sure those greedy fucks would have you believe they invented the format.  Trust me, they didn’t.  Cubing was invented by some really brilliant people years ago and has only recently come to the forefront of alternative Magic formats.  Here’s how it works:

-Assemble a pool of around 300-700 cards.  No duplicates.
-Draft these cards with your friends, build decks, and smash face.

Cube is amazing because it avoids all the horrible things I mentioned in the story above.  You won’t get priced out of the game.  You won’t have to deal with overpowered cards, unless of course you want to.  In fact, if you do it right, you’ll never have to pay for a Magic card again.  Cube is the answer!


Go under your bed, and find that box of cards you so hastily packed up years ago.  Now go through them.  Remember this?  How about this?  What about this guy?  Nothing could escape this!  And how could you forget the lusty rendezvous you had with this winged harlot in your basement?  She may not tap, but you sure tapped the shit out of…well…yourself.

As you go through the cards, sort them by color.  Only take out the ones you liked playing with, or ones you think are awesome.  And don’t forget the Artifacts and non-basic Lands.  If you find any of these or these, feel free to mail them to me.  They’re worthless.  Really.  ;)

Once you get about 30-40 cards per color you can begin playing with your cube.  Now let me pause.  A lot of cube enthusiasts are reading this, and I can hear the mouth-breathing rage already:

*Simpsons Comic Book Guy Voice*:  “Serra Angel is simply suboptimal at that converted mana cost! You should be using the exact cube list from!” 

Listen dude.  I KNOW.  Let me get the kids started, then they can decide what cards are best.  That’s the best thing about cube…its your baby and you can raise it however you want.  Hmm.  This implies you actually had sex with…something.  But let’s not get too cerebral here.


Find three friends.  I know.  I ask a lot.

Anyway, if you can get past the first step, shuffle up your entire cube.  Deal out piles of 15 face-down cards.  You’ll need three of these ‘packs’ per player.  Everyone ‘opens’ a pack, drafts a card, and passes the remaining pack to the left.  Do this until all cards are drafted.  The next pack gets passed to the right, and the third and final goes back to the left.  When you’re done, everybody builds 40 card decks out of what they drafted.  Make sure you provide basic land for everyone to use.  Then, game on.

Many of you are like, “Did you really have to explain booster draft?”.  Well yes, yes I did.  This article is not for the ravaging hordes of 12-year olds who take their overblown allowances to huge events and dump hundreds of dollars into booster draft side-events.  This article is for the old school players, the ones who probably didn’t give a damn about any organized play outside of their kitchen table back in the day.  So if you’re too ‘pro’ for this article, simply Alt-Tab to and overpay on some preorder cards or something.  Leave me and my cubists alone!


Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a cube.  This is no ordinary stack of cards.  It is the source of endless entertainment.  No two cube drafts are the same!  The replay value is infinite. 

Of course, if you want to invest some money in your cube, go to for the best prices on bulk sleeves.  If you’re playing with nice cards, you won’t regret it.

Check out my next article for tips on how to optimize your cube without spending your hard-earned dough.  Until then, get your cube on!


  1. Rad, I love Cube, and Vince has a really good one.

    Your followup article should drop knowledge on Proxying.

    One of the best parts of Vince's cube is seeing the alternate art he chose to use on fake versions of really expensive cards.

    There are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, original Zelda, even childhood breakfast cereals.

  2. The proxy knowledge is a'coming. Eat it, WOTC.