Cube Night, 10 decks

Last night we replaced our usual casual draft with cube draft night.

We had a pretty decent turnout, ten this time, over six last time. This time I got the decks given back in at the end so I could have a look over what people made.

I can’t recall the exact order of the final results but the first and second place decks are at the end of the page.

NOTE: I’m Danny if you hadn’t guessed from the URL.

BR Aggro/Midrange: Two players turned out to be competing over the vampires and goblins and both ended up with a little of each (It doesn’t help that I really need to add an extra goblin lord and I’m missing one of the vampire lords so it can take slightly too long to work out that vampire and goblin tribal are things).

[d title="Adam: BR Aggro/Midrange"]
1 Legion Loyalist
1 Fire fist Striker
1 War-Name Aspirant
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Pyrewild Shaman
1 Markov Patrician
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Falkenrath Noble
1 Erebos's Emissary
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Falkenrath Aristocrat
1 Mogis, God of Slaughter
1 Manor Gargoyle
1 Shadowborn Demon
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Gurmag Angler
1 Hangarback Walker

1 Searing Spear
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Dragon Fodder
1 Dreadbore

1 Savage Lands
1 Temple of Malice
1 Blood Crypt
5 Swamp
9 Mountain

This deck worked pretty well losing only to my mono white aggro. I was unsure about the power level of True-Name Nemesis, but in this case it sort of enabled a hard counter based control deck in base blue, in a very different build to how I would have done it.

[d title="Jack: Bant Control"]
1 Jeskai Elder
1 Lhassa, God of the Sea
1 True-Name Nemesis
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Lavinia of the Tenth
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Rubinia Soulsinger
1 Myr Battlesphere

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Sword of Light and Shadow

1 Serum Visions
1 Planar Outburst
1 Feeling of Dread
1 Impulse
1 Essence Scatter
1 Counterspell
1 Dissipate
1 Scatter to the Winds
1 Cryptic Command
1 Force of Will
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
1 Sphinx's Revelation

1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Temple of Mystery
1 Thornwood Falls
1 Tranquil Cove
1 Forest
3 Plains
9 Island

There’s a bonus synergy in this that I never realised was in there, which is Champion of Lambholt and Krenko, Mob Boss. I lost a game to that and nearly lost the round.

[d title="Rich: Jund Ramp"]
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Blood Seeker
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Managorger Hydra
1 Champion of Lambholt
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Temur Sabertooth
1 Hellrider
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
1 Throat Slitter
1 Jiwari, the Earth Aflame
1 Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper
1 Grave Titan
1 Rampaging Balts
1 Omnath, Locus of Rage
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Scythe of the Wretched
1 Thran Dynamo

1 Bow of Nylea

1 Garruk, Primal Hunter

1 Go for the Throat
1 Terminate

1 Prey Upon
1 Crater's Claws

1 Crumbling Necropolis
6 Forest
6 Mountain
5 Swamp

This is the second deck that was slightly weakened by the two players switching between vampires and goblins part way through the draft. I don’t think it worked out too badly though as both players ended up with some strong stuff, just weren’t able to go all out on the tribal aspects.

[d title="Johan: Izzet Goblin/Midrange"]
1 Signal Pest
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Goblin Wardriver
1 Goblin Chieftain
1 Goblin Rabblemaster
1 Oracle of Bones
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Sol Ring
1 Sword of War and Peace

1 Ponder
1 Krenko's Command
1 Divination
1 Hordeling Outburst
1 George
1 Clan Defiance

1 Lightning Bolt
1 Brainstorm
1 Negate
1 Battle Hymn
1 Lightning Strike
1 Izzet Charm
1 Brimstone Volley

1 Mana Confluence
1 Steam Vents
1 Swiftwater Cliffs
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Forest
4 Islands
8 Mountain

Someone did manage to pull off a tribal heavy deck and that was the zombie deck. It’s not 100% tribal but it does have a good assortment of lords, token makers and some nice effects.

[d title="Martin: Dimir Zombies"]
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Sultai Emissary
1 Servant of Nefarox
1 Lifebane Zombie
1 Geralf's Messenger
1 Diregraf Captain
1 Lich Lord of Unx
1 Cemetery Reaper
1 Liliana's Specter
1 Havengul Runebinder
1 Liliana's Reaver
1 Relentless Skaabs
1 Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
1 Keiga, the Tide Star
1 Vela the Night-Clad
1 Silent-Blade Oni

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Corpseweft

1 Think Twice
1 Murder
1 Far//Away

1 Moan of the Unhallowed
1 Barter in Blood

1 Nephalia Drownyard
1 Cathedral of War
8 Island
8 Swamp

Something went wrong with the round pairings and I ended up playing against this deck in round 3 instead of the eventual winner, but I really don’t mind because we had a seriously good pair of games ending in a tie in game three at closing time.

[d title="James: Orzhov Midrange"]
1 Knight of Infamy
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 War Prist of Thune
1 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Eidolon of Countless Battles
1 Brimaz, Kimg of Frescos
1 Flickerwisp
1 Sin Collector
1 Drana's Emissary
1 Athreos, God of Passage
1 Sublime Archangel
1 Restoration Angel
1 Molten-Tail Masticore
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1 Abhorrent Overlord

Non-Creature Permanents
1 Banishing Light
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited

1 Honor's Reward
1 Unburial Rites
1 Black Sun's Zenith
1 White Sun's Zenith

1 Scoured Barrens
9 Plains
7 Swamp

I didn’t get to see many of this decks games but I saw some properly silly board states such as Thragtusk with a Batterskull and Sword.

[d title="Pete: Slightly Abzan"]
1 Dryad Militant
1 Experiment One
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Strangleroot Geist
1 Avatar of the Resolute
1 Vault Skirge
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Undergrowth Champion
1 Eternal Witness
1 Briarpack Alpha
1 Thragtusk
1 Vorapede
1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
1 Hydra Broodmaster

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Hedron Archive

1 Umezawa's jitte
1 Sword of Body and Mind
1 Batterskull

1 Whip of Erebos

1 Karn Liberated

1 Putrefy
1 Murderous Cut
1 Overrun

1 Mutavault
7 Forest
6 Swamp
2 Plains


Sadly I saw even less of this decks games.

[d title="Nate: 4 Colour Goodstuff"]
1 Mother of Runes
1 Vhitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 Voice of Resurgence
1 Shaman of Forgotten Ways
1 Yasova Dragonclaw
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 Silent Arbiter
1 Prognostic Sphinx
1 Keranos, God of Storms
1 Lurking Automaton
1 Scuttling Doom Engine
1 Void Winnower

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Ral Zarek
1 Ajani Vengeant

1 Eldrazi Monument

1 From Beyond
1 Primeval Bounty

1 Rampant Growth
1 Wrath of God
1 Urban Evolution

1 Simic Charm
1 Lightning Helix
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Fact of Fiction

1 Temple of Plenty
1 Jungle Shrine
3 Mountain
6 Forest
3 Island
4 Plains

My deck made second place in the end. I will admit that this is a slightly refined version of the deck I changed to after a couple of games. The original tried to include a couple of nice green cards. I could have easily done a quite nice Selesnya build but would realistically have had to ditch Lingering Souls so I opted for the mono white with flashback cost in the end.

[d title="Danny: Mono White Aggro"]
1 Doomed Traveler
1 Elite Vanguard
1 Soldier of the Pantheon
1 Gideon's Lawkeeper
1 Containment Priest
1 Nearheath Pilgrim
1 Seeker of the Way
1 Knight of Glory
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Archetype of Courage
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Fiendslayer Paladin
1 Field Marshal
1 Crusader of Odric
1 Gideon's Avenger
1 Silverblade Paladin
1 Daghatar the Adamant
1 Knight of Obligation

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Skullclamp
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Sword of Feast and Famine

1 Midnight Haunting
1 Lingering Souls
1 Spectral Procession

10 Plains
2 Swamp
1 City of Brass
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Arcane Sanctum

The eventual winner, in only his second cube draft (in fact second draft full stop) is this grinding unkillable graveyard deck.

From what I’m told most games were won through clogging up the board with the regenerators and Tarmogoyf and then just waiting until some late game value engine could guarantee the win.

I saw at one point Deadbridge Chant reanimating a Pontiff of Blight. I’m told one game went long enough for Silence the Believers to be a one sided board wipe and another was one through just sitting on Sheoldred.

I do think that the deck could stand another graveyard themed one drop on top of Deathrite Shaman (who should get a boost when I add fetches) but it certainly works.

[d title="Ollie: Golgari Graveyard"]
1 Child of Night
1 Jade Mage
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Wolfer Avenger
1 Nyx Weaver
1 Graverobber Spider
1 Lumberknot
1 Korozda Monitor
1 Cudgel Troll
1 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
1 Garret's Packleader
1 Silumgar Butcher
1 Rakshasa Gravecaller
1 Golgari Rotwurm
1 Pontiff of Blight
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Deadbridge Chant
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Vraska the Unseen

1 Kodama's Reach
1 Ultimate Price
1 Silence the Believers

9 Forest
8 Swamp

The version of the cube which we played with was not 100% matching that in the online version but it wasn’t far off.

Interlude: Cycle Completionism Cube-builders OCD

When I started building the cube I had two big driving forces behind doing it. The first was playing with cards I liked but didn’t really have a use for only really playing commander and limited formats (i do play the odd bit of standard and modern but not as much as I’d like). The single card that most set this off was [mtg_card]Deathrite Shaman[/mtg_card] as I had a set and had not really gotten any use since rotation (I used them a little in Inn-RTR standard Jund). A close second was the pack fresh Force of Will I had opened in an ice age/alliance/cold snap draft we did one night.

The second was that I like cycles of cards and outside of the 5 colour [mtg_card]Progenitus[/mtg_card] commander deck I keep meaning to make you never really get to make use of a whole cycle in something. On top of that no matter how much you like a cycle most of the time there are only one or two playable in a given constructed format. Doing all this gave me a chance to make use of all the big cycles I liked without thought to format competitiveness.

The earliest build of the cube was in fact a lot heavier on cycles but quite a few got removed to make way for more archetype cards and to increase the power level in general.

That original build also had set amounts of different rarities of cards of each colour, a concept rapidly abandoned.


The first decision I made on the cube and it’s play style was that I wanted it to be big and splashy, more intended for games to go long and be full of commander style shenanigans.

In part I wanted the cube to be approachable to people who only play occasionally or very casually so the archetypes are all fairly direct (see a tribal lord, pick up cards of the same type etc) and some of the traditional cube staples like twin don’t really work for that.

With that in mind some of the first cards I picked to go in were the M11 titans. Anyone who knows the basic rules can read one of the titans and say “that’s powerful, I’ll take that first” and be happy with that pick later on. They’re also popular with experienced players and fit in any deck in the colour.

I also include an honourable mention colourless bonus card in this cycle: Wurmcoil Engine. It maintains the CMC 6, 6/6 mythic with powerful ability stats and it’s something I remember as part of that standard along with the titans (I jammed 4 in damn near every deck I played except bad RDW).

  • [mtg_card]Sun Titan[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Frost Titan[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Grave Titan[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Inferno Titan[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Primeval Titan[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Wurmcoil Engine[/mtg_card]

As a fun aside this is also something I’m fond of from a pimp perspective as I have an alt art version of each titan (don’t have the [mtg_card]Wurmcoil Engine[/mtg_card] promo yet). The [mtg_card]Grave Titan[/mtg_card] promo is in fact the card that brought me back into playing magic after many years off. A friend was playing the original Duels of the Planeswalkers on steam and I jumped in out of curiosity and got the ad for the promo real cards…I soon found a new LGS where I picked up way more than I intended to including the Grave Titan promo. I then spent most of the next three years in there until the shop sadly closed.

Star Dragons

Rolling back to the first time I played the game, Kamigawa block, I wanted to include the Star Dragon cycle. These ones haven’t aged as well as the titan cycle but they still pack a reasonable punch.

Kokusho in particular was a favourite of mine back in the day and one of the few things I got back then that was still in any particular way playable when I came back, once we passed the “what the hell is this” phase when I brought out my old decks (they were terrible but we all go through that phase).

  • [mtg_card]Yosei, the Morning Star[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Keiga, the Tide Star[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Kokusho, the Evening Star[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Ryusei, the Falling Star[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Jugan, the Rising Star[/mtg_card]

I like to think that [mtg_card]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/mtg_card] is an honorary member of this team.


When I was building the early versions of the cube I was drafting Khans of Tarkir   multiple times a week so I picked up a liking for 3 colour shenanigans.

There are, at present, almost no face down (morph or manifest) cards in the cube even though I’m a huge tarkir fan as for a while I planned a second cube including every face down or face down matters card ever printed. I had an attack of sanity however and that idea faded into the background. In the near future I shall probably add some in.

The Khans do fit fairly nicely into what these colour groups want to be doing such as Narset sitting between Spellslinging (UR) and Temp (UW).

  • [mtg_card]Anafenza, the Foremost[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Narset, Enlightened Master[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sidisi, Brood Tyrant[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Surrak Dragonclaw[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Zurgo Helmsmasher[/mtg_card]

Guild Leaders

The Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash mythic legendary creatures come from a time I played in a weekly standard league where I actually (unlike a lot here) played quite a lot of this cycle at one time or another, so this is another cycle with some memories for me.

Trostani was my favourite card in my [mtg_card]Conjurer’s Closet[/mtg_card] flicker deck (it was very much like the reanimator deck just replacing [mtg_card]Advent of the Wurm[/mtg_card] with [mtg_card]Armada Wurm[/mtg_card] and the reanimation package with some more ramp and [mtg_card]Conjurer’s Closet[/mtg_card]).

Niv-Mizzet was one of the value engine/win con cards in the UWR midrange deck I used occasionally (and more often loaned out). It was way more creature heavy than many of the decks in those colours at the time (it ran [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Boros Reckoner[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius[/mtg_card] and some other value creatures on top of 4 [mtg_card]Bonfire of the Damned[/mtg_card] and 4 [mtg_card]Mizzium Mortars[/mtg_card]…take THAT aggro decks).

I attempted (and failed) many times to build a GB zombies deck, but I did get some fun wins sacrificing [mtg_card]Thragtusk[/mtg_card]s to [mtg_card]Jarad, Golgari Lich lord[/mtg_card]. Some early (bad) versions of my vampire tribal deck ran [mtg_card]Rakdos, Lord of Riots[/mtg_card] as a big beater before I got better cards.

[mtg_card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/mtg_card] joined Trostani later on in RTR-Theros in a bant deck I made around [mtg_card]Ajani, Mentor of Heroes[/mtg_card] (and [mtg_card]Armada Wurm[/mtg_card] again). I also played a pretty standard BW midrange during RTR-Theros with [mtg_card]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/mtg_card] (although blood baron was my favourite). Aurelia was in my first commander deck ([mtg_card]Kaalia of the Vast[/mtg_card], I’ve dismantled it since as I grew to find it a little too linear to keep amusing me, eventually I plan to make it into [mtg_card]Zurgo Helmsmasher[/mtg_card]….with Aurelia again).

Lava, Borborygmos and Isperia are the only ones I never really made much use of.

  • [mtg_card]Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Isperia, Supreme Judge[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Borborygmos Enraged[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Lazav, Dimir Mastermind[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Rakdos, Lord of Riots[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Aurelia, the Warleader[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord[/mtg_card]

Maze Runners

While I’ve played less with these than their Mythic counterparts I still quite like them and a fair few fit very nicely into their matching archetype (not that I’m that strict on cards having to match archetypes, especially in a big cube like this, plenty of room for just fun cards).

This is also the only cycle I’ve included where one (and possibly soon a second) is subbed out for a different card.

Melek, Varolz, Lavinia, Vorel, Ruric Thar, Tajic and to a lesser extent Teysa all fit into their matching themed deck. Mirko doesn’t really fit either his tribe or the theme but is a viable win condition in a control UR deck as all you need to do is hit a couple of times and you could conceivably in from there by stalling out the game.

Exava is on the chopping block at the moment as her ability just doesn’t work AT ALL with the other cards in these colours, which is a shame as I like her. She’ll probably be swapped with something else soon, possibly (another Innistrad 2 wishlist item here) for a new RB vampire legend to buddy up with Olivia.

This leaves the elephant in the room (or more accurately the turd in the booster pack)…You can probably see this coming a mile away…[mtg_card]Emmara Tandris[/mtg_card]…I just can’t do it. Even though her ability actually fits the GW deck the only way shed get in is if I proxied a “fixed” version perhaps with “Affinity for Token Creatures” or with dramatically toned down cost and stats, maybe a 2GW 2/2 or even push her into a GW 1/1 (dies to everything but none of your other stuff does). But for now I don’t want to really play around with errata so she doesn’t make the cut. Her replacement is a favourite of mine, [mtg_card]Tolsimir Wolfblood[/mtg_card].

  • [mtg_card]Tolsimir Wolfblood[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Teysa, Orzhov Scion[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Ruric Thar, the Unbowed[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Melek, Izzet Paragon[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Varolz, the Scar-Striped[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Tajic, Blade of the Legion[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Lavinia of the Tenth[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Vorel of the Hull Clade[/mtg_card]

RTR Guildmages

The Return to Ravnica Guildmages are mostly in as fun multi colour cards but for the most part they do actually fit the themes of the decks they would be in. Duskmantle is the only one that really stands out as not being part of the deck.

  • [mtg_card]Korozda Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]New Prahv Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sunhome Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Nivix Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Duskmantle Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Rix Maadi Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Skarrg Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Vizkopa Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Zameck Guildmage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage[/mtg_card]

The Pantheon

All 15 of the gods of theros are in the cube. There’s not a lot to say here except this was a cycle where I liked enough of them individually that I decided to put in the lot. There is a little archetype crossover in the minor gods (Iroas and Pharika spring most to mind but many of them fit tangentially into the decks such as Xenagos in Gruul ramp…doesnt directly ramp you but make everything you cast just that bit better). It’s only really Phenax who stands out as wrong as there are only really her and Mirko-Vosk as enemy mill, but like the maze runner she can be a mill deck win condition in a can.

  • [mtg_card]Heliod, God of the Sun[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Thassa, God of the Sea[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Erebos, God of the Dead[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Purphoros, God of the Forge[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Nylea, God of the Hunt[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Athreos, God of Passage[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Ephara, God of the Polis[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Iroas, God of Victory[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Karametra, God of Harvests[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Keranos, God of Storms[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Kruphix, God of Horizons[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Mogis, God of Slaughter[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Pharika, God of Affliction[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Phenax, God of Deception[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Xenagos, God of Revels[/mtg_card]

It saddens me to this day that [mtg_card]Chromanticore[/mtg_card], god of Jank-ass 5 colour decks could be neither Legendary nor a God. Perhaps its for the best though, that double height type line would have been nasty. Maybe he could have been the first landscape orientation non split magic card. Now THERES a proxy.

Weapons of the Gods

This cycle made it in largely due to my irrational love for Whip of Erebos. Seriously I didn’t play a swamp for two years without a pair of these in the 75. And it’s in every black commander deck I play. And the cube.

Spear of Heliod is something I at least experimented with in standard. For a couple of weeks I ran a version of mono blue devotion that splashed white for a pair of [mtg_card]Spear of Heliod[/mtg_card] and a set of [mtg_card]Azorius Charm[/mtg_card]s. The idea was that the Spear would keep my tokens alive when [mtg_card]Master of Waves[/mtg_card] inevitably bit the dust. It was just slightly too clunky to work, as were most “splash a colour for x” versions of “hopelessly devoted to U” (come on wizards, bring back the silly deck names). Bident of course made it into all my versions of the same deck because why wouldn’t it.

Bow and Hammer are among the first cards in these cycles to purely be here for completion, not that either are terrible cards, they just don’t appeal to me that much personally.

  • [mtg_card]Spear of Heliod[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Bident of Thassa[/mtg_card] (no not Biden, safari autocorrect, I’m not doing politics tonight)
  • [mtg_card]Whip of Erebos[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Hammer of Purphoros[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Bow of Nylea[/mtg_card]


Another leftover from my massive amount of KTK drafts is my love for the ascendancy cycle. Mechanically I like what they all do but more than that they all, for me at least, define in a single card what each clan is all about. If you showed someone familiar with the game these 5 cards long before KTK was spoiled they could probably work out a lot both mechanically and thematically about the set which I think is quite cool. I’m a big fan of cards which kind of tell a story just through one card in isolation (not necessarily counting flavour text) and I’ve always thought these do well at that (the single best example of single card storytelling is of course…Desert Wooder).

  • [mtg_card]Abzan Ascendancy[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Mardu Ascendancy[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sultai Ascendancy[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Jeskai Ascendancy[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Temur Ascendancy[/mtg_card]


The zenith cycles inclusion comes from the presence of Green Sun’s in FTV 20. I had a pair and had no real use for it as it was banned in modern and I wouldn’t want to run it outside of mono green commander (which I don’t have).

RSZ was also a card I was quite fond of (recurring fireball is never bad). The rest just slotted in nicely. USZ is just a big draw spell, nothing controversial there. BSZ is a great control card and WSZ fitted into the WG tokens deck.

  • [mtg_card]White Sun’s Zenith[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Blue Sun’s Zenith[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Black Sun’s Zenith[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Red Sun’s Zenith[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/mtg_card]

I considered including an altered [mtg_card]Lightning Shrieker[/mtg_card], bearing the new name I gave it but sadly Dragon Sun’s Zenith wasn’t really good enough to make the cut.


The 10 guild charms and the 10 shard/wedge charms were all pretty much auto includes. The former in the very first build of the cube and the latter as soon as I decided to have the small set of cards in each 3 colour combination.

Of them all the only one that has any real personal significance is Izzet Charm, both one of my favourite cards and the only card I ever won a full playset of over a month of FNMs (it was also one of my favourite FNM promos so that was a nice month for me).

I think they’re all good to some degree and it’s nice to throw in some cards that give people more options in game, plus modal spells are almost never dead but still give you some of the niche effects of things like situational counter spells and narrow removal without being dead cards without the targets. I considered the dragon lords charms as well but those 15 card guild coloured sections are already chock full with more cards I want to include.

  • [mtg_card]Selesnya Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Izzet Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Gruul Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Azorius Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Rakdos Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Dimir Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Simic Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Boros Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Orzhov Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Golgari Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Abzan Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Mardu Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sultai Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Temur Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Jeskai Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Bant Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Esper Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Grixis Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Jund Charm[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Naya Charm[/mtg_card]

Swords of Chalk and Cheese

For me the swords hold a special place as the only set of cards I missed out on twice. As mentioned earlier when I first started playing the game it was Kamigawa block so I just missed out on the original swords, and as I didn’t spend much on singles then I ended up seeing them as the cool powerful cards I just couldn’t get my hands on.

When I returned to the game it was just before M12 game day so I had once again missed the boat on the new swords. I know I could have just ponied up and bought them but playing standard at the time there was always something else I needed for the league that bumped them down the list. It was only around the release of BFZ that I ever obtained a set and it was specifically to go in here.

  • [mtg_card]Sword of War and Peace[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sword of Body and Mind[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sword of Light and Shadow[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Sword of Fire and Ice[/mtg_card]

Under Consideration: Tarkir Elder Dragons

Four of the cards in this cycle are almost definite shoe-ins. Dromoka and Silumgar are both rock solid cards despite not overly fitting into the archetypes. Ojutai is a fantastic tempo card/control finisher for UW and Atarka would make a great top end ramp target for the RG deck.

The thing is however that it would annoy me greatly to have the 4 cards without the fifth to complete the cycle and Kolaghan has an issue. Although it’s base stats and first ability are fine something severely bugs me about the concept of having a card in the cube where a significant chunk of the text is non functional. I may buckle under anyway and include it but it will be with a slight persistent sense of irritation.

(Commence Ramble: I did hear maro discussing this on his podcast and while I do understand his point that Legendary Creatures are not solely for commander I sort of feel that one member of a cycle of mythic legends which are obviously going to be desirable commanders isn’t necessarily the place for that logic. I would probably feel better about that ability if it were some random standalone guy or a creature which was obviously pushed to fill a role in standard or modern but to me Kologhan sticks out as out of place among the cycle).

  • [mtg_card]Dragonlord Dromoka[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Dragonlord Kolaghan[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Dragonlord Silumgar[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Dragonlord Atarka[/mtg_card]

Under Consideration: Manlands

The original plan for the cube was for ten two colour archetypes, five mono colour tribal sub themes and a multicolour artifact deck. Over time Iv’e cut back the mono colour tribal elements (as I go through each archetype they shall probably gradually fall back out of the cube…Zombies have become a full two colour deck, elves have been purged as a theme, I could never decide between merfolk and faeries for blue and that leaves goblins in red and soldiers in white and they shall probably become a supported sub theme of the RW aggro/battalion deck) to the point they effectively no longer exist. The artifact deck is rapidly fizzling out as in my tests I just can’t make it a viable thing without screwing up the actual proper archetypes.

There is an alternative option I’m considering which is making artifacts the UR mechanic but this would most likely be a lot of shoehorning to allow me to keep a couple of pet cards in ([mtg_card]Pia and Kiran Nalaar[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Atog[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Megatog[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Whirler Rogue[/mtg_card] etc).

Another concern is that the current mana fixing setup of Duals, Shocks, Fetches and Trilands doesn’t seem to appear quite enough for a heavy multicolour cube of this size.

This all leads me to the conclusion that I shall likely strip the artifact theme out and reduce it to just “some good artifacts that go anywhere” and use some of those slots to add an extra cycle of lands. I considered filters or temples but in light of the completion of the dual colour manland cycle I shall likely include these.

  • [mtg_card]Celestial Colonnade[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Creeping Tar Pit[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Lavaclaw Reaches[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Raging Ravine[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Stirring Wildwood[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Shambling Vent[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Wandering Fumarole[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Hissing Quagmire[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Needle Spires[/mtg_card]
  • [mtg_card]Lumbering Falls[/mtg_card]

Broken Cycles

Although I clearly like to include whole cycles, perhaps to slightly to high a degree, there are a few isolated cards that came out of cycles.

The most prominent is [mtg_card]Cryptic Command[/mtg_card]. That card in particular is one I like due to it’s inclusion in my modern UW [mtg_card]Geist of Saint Traft[/mtg_card] deck but the others were from the time I was out of the game and don’t have any particular resonance with me.

[mtg_card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Sheoldred, Whispering One[/mtg_card] are both in but the remaining praetors haven’t really made the cut. I was considering [mtg_card]Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger[/mtg_card] until I remembered that the card I was actually thinking of was [mtg_card]Omnath, Locus of Mana[/mtg_card].


Cube Archetype – WU Control/Tempo

Along with some of the cards from the previous WB section, WU will be a mix of control and tempo in this cube.

Card Advantage and Selection

Every control deck needs a way to avoid running out of gas, whether it’s card draw spells, 2 for 1’s or recurring effects in some way. You also want to have ways to filter your deck to get to the answers you need for what your opponents have done (control in this cube is pretty reactionary as there aren’t the resources to lock an opponent out of the game, this is a deliberate choice on my part as this is intended to be playable be the much less experienced). Blue is, obviously, the best colour for this, probably followed by black (and Esper control is a perfectly viable deck in this cube too).

[mtg_card]Ponder[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Preordain [/mtg_card]and [mtg_card]Serum Visions[/mtg_card] are all traditional cheap card selection options. Slightly higher up the curve are [mtg_card]Anticipate[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Impulse[/mtg_card]. There’s also [mtg_card]Thassa, God of the Sea[/mtg_card] for constant scrying, plus her second ability could be helpful in a more tempo focused build (getting your [mtg_card]Jhessian Thief[/mtg_card] style creatures through).

For multiple card draw there’s [mtg_card]Divination[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Coastal Discovery[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ugin’s Insight[/mtg_card] and a few others. There’s also [mtg_card]Bident of Thassa[/mtg_card] for the more creature heavy decks. [mtg_card]Treasure Cruise[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Dig Through Time[/mtg_card] round out the top end. I don’t think it will be particularly difficult to fill up the graveyard enough to cast them at a reasonable time.

White doesn’t have a lot in the way of card draw in this, [mtg_card]Mentor of the Meek[/mtg_card] does NOT fit this deck will if at all (he’s more for WR or WG). White’s card advantage comes more from the boardwipes or from generating multiple bodies off of a single card.

There are also a few creatures with selection and draw bolted on, such as [mtg_card]Augur of Bolas[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Omenspeaker[/mtg_card]. [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] also counts in a way as card advantage, letting you get back some spell or other.

There is [mtg_card]Brainstorm[/mtg_card] (and [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Jace the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card]) but if you want to make the best of it you’ll need to prioritise fetchlands as there are only a few ways to shuffle away dead cards.


There are plenty of options in here to make a tempo deck in UW.

The classic tempo plays are bounce and tap effects, disrupting your enemy until you can either grind them out, assemble some form of game winning combo or land some unanswerable bomb ([mtg_card]Geist of Saint Traft[/mtg_card] springs to mind, a card I love but haven’t yet steeled myself on putting in the cube…I can see some bad games coming from “here’s my unanswerable threat, come at me bro”). There are plenty of both in here. [mtg_card]Feeling of dread[/mtg_card] is one of my favourite of these, and there’s a few others plus [mtg_card]sleep[/mtg_card], the king of “and now I’m swinging with everything” tap spells. Bounce has an assortment too, most notably [mtg_card]cyclonic rift[/mtg_card], the all star of the last time the cube was played in person (a UG counters deck with a crap ton of draw leading into a massive rift induced kerb stomp).

A tempo deck also wants to get the most out of its creatures and there are plenty in U/W with beneficial effects for this kind of deck such as [mtg_card]Jhessian Thief[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Aether Adept[/mtg_card] at the lower end. There is also [mtg_card]Venser the Sojourner[/mtg_card] who works well with many of the value creatures in these colours (bonus points for locking an aggro deck out with [mtg_card]Lavinia of the Tenth[/mtg_card] and Venser).

There is also a little sub theme of awaken with [mtg_card]Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper[/mtg_card] and a small assortment of awaken spells. I’m also considering throwing in the 10 mainlands so that would be a little extra edge (there is also [mtg_card]Ruinous Path[/mtg_card] in black).


Differing from tempo there’s hard control. Most decks will be a mix of the two but you could build quite a hard “counters, removal, board wipes and win cons” style control deck and I think it would work. I do feel like this would be the time you would be leaning most into Esper for blacks removal (and possibly cards like [mtg_card]Phyrexian Arena[/mtg_card]).

In a creature heavy format board wipes are absolutely essential and theres no shortage in here. [mtg_card]Wrath of God[/mtg_card] is the classic and pretty reliably gets rid of everything. There’s also [mtg_card]Planar Outburst[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Martial Coup[/mtg_card] in white, both of which come with built in win conditions and the aforementioned [mtg_card]cyclonic rift[/mtg_card] in blue ([mtg_card]upheaval[/mtg_card] is a card I’ve left out as I’m leaning away from screwing that much with lands for now…maybe in the next round of changes. The power level might be allowed to increase as cards are released to improve the potentially weaker archetypes like zombies and vampires).

While there aren’t a huge variety of counter spells I’ve opted for the ones I think are the better ones. [mtg_card]Counterspell[/mtg_card], the pair [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Essence Scatter[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dissipate[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dissolve[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Scatter to the winds[/mtg_card] along with a few others. There is also [mtg_card]Force of Will[/mtg_card]. I admit that’s slightly out of place but It’s one of the more valuable cards I have and I have nowhere else it would really fit (opened last year in a paper draft, all nice and pack fresh).

Point removal isn’t the strength of this pair outside of [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Path to Exile[/mtg_card]…but they are pretty much the best point removal.

An example deck

This time I got a midrangey deck with some counterspells, card selection and chunky midrange creatures, backed up by an assortment of wrath effects.

The deck also dips into black for [mtg_card]Merciless Eviction[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/mtg_card] at the top end (I threw in [mtg_card]Tithe Drinker[/mtg_card] too, but that’s only because I like it, not because it was a good idea).

[d title="WB Taxman"]
1 Containment Priest
1 Tithe Drinker
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
1 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
1 Heliod's Emissary
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 Soulblade Djinn
1 Sun Titan
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind

Non-Creature Permenants
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Gideon Jura
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

1 Preordain
1 Serum Visions
1 Anticipate
1 Dissipate
1 Scatter to the Winds
1 Planar Outburst
1 Ugin's Insight
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Martial Coup

1 Maze of Ith
1 Underground Sea
6 Plains
7 Island
2 Swamp

1 Abzan Ascendancy
1 Ainok Bond-Kin
1 Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Falkenrath Noble
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Force of Will
1 Keiga, the Tide Star
1 Megatog
1 Midnight Haunting
1 Moorland Haunt
1 Murderous Cut
1 Norn's Annex
1 Shrine of Burning Rage
1 Steam Augury
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Tower Gargoyle
1 Tragic Slip
1 Vorel of the Hull Clade
1 Zhur-Taa Druid

The complete list

Fun fact, the entire non creature contents of blue fits in here. Blue just loves control and tempo…it’s just to what degree does any card care.

[d title="BG Cube Subtheme (Graveyard/Morbid) - December 2015"]
1 Gideon's Lawkeeper
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Seeker of the Way
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Nyx-Fleece Ram
1 Banisher Priest
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Crusader of Odric
1 Field Marshal
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Flickerwisp
1 Gideon's Avenger
1 Monastery Mentor
1 Archangel of Tithes
1 Knight of Obligation
1 Restoration Angel
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Gideon Jura
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion

1 Path to Exile
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Celestial Flare
1 Feeling of Dread
1 Midnight Haunting
1 Rebuke
1 Lingering Souls
1 Spectral Procession
1 Wrath of God
1 Planar Outburst
1 Martial Coup
1 Pacifism
1 Oblivion Ring

1 Augur of Bolas
1 Jeskai Elder
1 Omenspeaker
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Tidebinder Mage
1 Aether Adept
1 Jhessian Thief
1 Mistblade Shinobi
1 Tandem Lookout
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Lhassa, God of the Sea
1 Master of Waves
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
1 Thassa's Emissary
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Prognostic Sphinx
1 Frost Titan
1 Pearl Lake Ancient

1 Jace the Mind Sculptor
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

1 Brainstorm
1 Vapor Snag
1 Anticipate
1 Counterspell
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Echoing Truth
1 Essence Scatter
1 Impulse
1 Mana Leak
1 Negate
1 Remand
1 Think Twice
1 Turn to Frog
1 Crippling Chill
1 Dissipate
1 Dissolve
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Scatter to the Winds
1 Aetherize
1 Cryptic Command
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Force of Will
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
1 Dig Through Time
1 Distortion Strike
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Serum Visions
1 Silent Departure
1 Divination
1 Coastal Discovery
1 Sleep
1 Ugin's Insight
1 Curse of the Swine
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Claustrophobia
1 Mind Control
1 Bident of Thassa

1 Judge's Familiar
1 New Praha Guildmage
1 Azorius Charm
1 Lyev Skyknight
1 Roil Spout
1 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
1 Skymark Roc
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Lavinia of the Tenth
1 Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
1 Venser the Sojourner
1 Sphinx's Revelation

The recently spoiled [mtg_card]Reflector Mage[/mtg_card] is going into this as soon as hes on cubetutor, hes just lovely. Throw in [mtg_card]Venser, the Sojourner[/mtg_card] and your opponents best thing is never coming back down.