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Subject: How bad is this idea: take all my old cards and make it a cube? rss

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Justus
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I have a bunch of old magic cards from when I played very casually. These cards are all 25 (or less) cent cards I'd find two local shops both of which are now out of business.

I have them all in small deckbox (one row by about 12 inches long) in constructed decks with the remainders in a binder and none of them have seen the light of day for about four years.

I'm thinking about taking all the cards, throwing out the ones with the bubbly "new" graphic design cause I think they look ugly and making a "cube".

But I don't really know what I'm doing. But would it be a good way to start? I'm pretty low on multicolor cards and artifacts (artifacts were hot at the time due to whatever set was out they broke my 25 cent max), but I have a decent representation of all the other colors even if the cards themselves may not be the greatest.

So how big are legitimate cubes usually? And is this an awful idea? And are there any good articles for making a decent magic cube from "found" cards lying around the house.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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This is a good idea, and is exactly how I got into cubing. I had been out of Magic since before the card frame swap. I will say, on a side note, that while I originally agreed about the new frame being ugly I've come to vastly prefer it over time.

Anyway, how many people do you want to draft your cube with? If the answer is something like 2-4, I'd say take your 40 favorite cards of each color, shuffle them, and throw them in the box and call it a cube.

Over time you'll see what is working and what isn't, and you can take cards out and put other cards in. Maybe over time you'll even let in some things from these new sets.

The key point, though, is that any cube is a fun cube. Enjoy!
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Justus
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hehehe we'll see about me getting used to the new frame, I'm really happy this sounds like a good way to go! I've tried putting together a "one big deck" but I have to say that I wasn't impressed with the result, maybe because the cards I have are all a little mana heavy for a totally random draw/deck construction. But I could see a "draft" setup working nicely.

And yeah, it would be four people max so I think other than keeping my thallid deck sacred, I'll just throw in an equal amount of each color together and see what happens.

when you say 40 cards of each color, do you mean 40x4each=160 or do you avoid having duplicates in your cube?

Thanks!
 
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Jerry Martin
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There should be no duplicates in the cube.

And I think this sounds like a
great Idea.
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Justus
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Another question, what is a good mana curve for my cube? I read an article that said to have a manacurve like a good deck....unfortunately I was never a good MtG player or deck builder so that bit of advice doesn't mean anything to me...

(I built decks by theme and by fun and by cheap cards that looked interesting but they rarely held up in practice, though they worked well against each other since they were all similarly flawed: much too slow and cumbersome!)

And any other opinions or guidelines for a "dragging cards out of the closet" mtg cube?
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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The standard advice is to keep the average cost of your cube as close to 3 as possible, but I wouldn't worry about it for a first attempt.

I would not say no duplicates is a hard rule, you work with what you have, but usually people minimize duplicates. I've usually tended to have duplicates in my cube, although now I'm down to 5 cards with two copies and the rest unique.

The biggest thing is to make sure you have enough creatures in your cube. More than 50% of your cards in your cube should be creatures with power 2 or greater.
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Randy Snyder
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We did this. We picked a theme and everyone pitched in cards.

Our theme was "Nostalgia." We all picked cards that we played with growing up, or we had a good story behind. It is incredibly chaotic, and a good time. We have even digressed into drafting decks, and then just played one big group game.

You can also google "magic cube," and there is a tremendous website on this type of play.

BTW, Howl From Beyond and Hatred, are really good.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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randusnuder wrote:
We did this. We picked a theme and everyone pitched in cards.

Our theme was "Nostalgia." We all picked cards that we played with growing up, or we had a good story behind. It is incredibly chaotic, and a good time. We have even digressed into drafting decks, and then just played one big group game.

You can also google "magic cube," and there is a tremendous website on this type of play.

BTW, Howl From Beyond and Hatred, are really good.


Ohhh, Hatred is a good find, I think I don't have that one in my cube. *Makes a note to consider it at the next revision*

I wouldn't personally run Howl from Beyond, but I wouldn't fault you for it.
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Michael M.
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It's a great idea - have fun! Cube is the best! zombie
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Justus
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Awesome thanks! I've always had a complex about how weak my cards were, but this really looks like a promising use for them all after delirimouse got this bug stuck in my head. Unfortunately the problem with googling mtg cube is that all the results (outside of BGG) are on websites which are run by active MtG fans who are carefully crafting cubes of *awesomeness* and so there isn't much advice for "how do I take this pile of commons cards and turn them into a game?"

But thanks to y'all and other threads on the 'geek, I think I have a good idea for starting it up! I'm visiting family at the moment, but next week when I'm back in Houston I got something to do with my spare time =)

Another question....Here is a pretty detailed thread reply by cosine in another thread. Any thoughts on his suggestions?

cosine wrote:
oeolycus wrote:
I played Magic many years ago but quit because the cost was too prohibitive. You've piqued my interest again though and I've dug out all my old cards: a shoebox full of cards from 4th ed and Ice Age.

What's a good way to start organizing? Should I separate by color or edition? I'd like to try to make something happen with these cards and try it out with my friends before I make any purchases. If I were to order them by rarity, what's the best resource? the online lookup at WotC?


Rarity isn't really very important at all. Don't bother trying to pick out cards by rarity if you already own them.

Sort the cards by color. Figure you want to end up with about 400 cards in a drafting cube. Plus or minus about 20. But, equal distributions by color are important. So, I often like 70 in each of 5 colors (350 total) plus about 50 artifacts/special lands.

So, once separated, take a color. Separate into creatures and not-creatures. At least half of the cards in every color should be creatures; so 35 creatures and 35 not-creatures and err on the side of more creatures - even 50 to 20 is fine. Most cards should have a cost of one colored mana plus mana of any color; don't include cards that require more than 2 specific mana of the same color. Select cards in such a way that they form a pyramid in terms of cost. That is, there should be mostly cards that cost 2, slightly less that cost 3, slightly less than that costing 4, and so on. Avoid including cards that cost more than 6.

And choose interesting and fun cards. Cards that interact with the other player's cards. Things that lock down the game or cancel the opponent's turns and such are boring to play against, even if they are very effective at winning the game. Wrath of God? Great card to include. Stasis? Horrible card to include.

These rules will build you a basic, simple drafting cube. It will be easy to play with and offer a lot of fun. As you feel more comfortable with drafting and building, you can start to break the rules, including cards that cost a lot of specific mana or very expensive cards or more artifacts or whatever.

Good luck!


here's another thread about this idea: Turning Magic into a low-cost LCG - notes on building your own "Magic cube"
 
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Todd Pytel
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aaarg_ink wrote:
Unfortunately the problem with googling mtg cube is that all the results (outside of BGG) are on websites which are run by active MtG fans who are carefully crafting cubes of *awesomeness* and so there isn't much advice for "how do I take this pile of commons cards and turn them into a game?"

You can actually find quite a few discussions of Pauper cubes at MTGSalvation, but those cubes are, as you say, carefully designed and not just piles of cards someone had lying around. You can also find modern cubes, old-school cubes, themed cubes, tribal cubes, and more. However, the common thread in all of them is design. They're carefully designed Limited environments (backed up by lots of playtesting), most of which aim to emphasize particular themes or archetypes beyond just being "piles of awesomeness".

To be honest, I think the BGG MtG community should find a new term for "pile of cards that I'm drafting with" because there's a lot of stuff floated around here that I don't think is fairly called a cube, and won't create the same drafting experience that a real cube will. The purpose of good cube design is to create balance and interactions. Drafting a winning deck from a well-designed cube should be harder than just drafting a good deck from some random block, because there will be more plausible archetypes available and they should be better able to compete against one another. There should be more playable cards, and less room for a single bomb to win you a match. One nice description of the design process that goes into creating something like this can be found here - those principles apply whether you're building a $100 cube or a $10000 cube. As an example, my M10-M12 core cube (which costs maybe a couple hundred bucks) can be found here. (I really need to properly post this someday because a lot won't make much sense without explanation, but I need to playtest my M12 additions thoroughly first.)

So, should you put the cards you have together into a draft set? Sure, go for it. They're not going to spontaneously combust or anything. They'll be playable. Just realize that there are angles on the drafting experience that you're not going to see doing it that way, and that's what the rest of the MtG world is talking about.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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tppytel wrote:
Drafting a winning deck from a well-designed cube should be harder than just drafting a good deck from some random block, because there will be more plausible archetypes available and they should be better able to compete against one another.


I don't agree with this as a general statement, but I think it can be true if you sculpt your cube to your specific play setting. As a general rule, your number of draftable archetypes is an increasing function of the number of players. This is because the more people there are in a draft the more cards each player see, and thus the more particularly they can narrow their strategy.


Magic blocks are designed with the idea that there will be 8 drafters, so in order to see all the archetypes built into a Magic block you have to have 8 drafters. For example, it is plausible in Scars block to build a deck which has a high density of Shriekhorns and mill your opponent (there is an amusing session report of someone doing this at an employee draft). In Rise of the Eldrazi, you could draft a successful deck based around getting a lot of copies of the card Aura Gnarlid. If drafting with 4 (or worse 2) you just won't see enough copies to make this sort of thing realistic.

One of the joys of cubing is that you can customize your draft environment to the way you play. If you're gonna play with two players, with four players, with people who don't like discard, with people who love huge splashy creatures, you can do that!
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delirimouse wrote:
I don't agree with this as a general statement, but I think it can be true if you sculpt your cube to your specific play setting. As a general rule, your number of draftable archetypes is an increasing function of the number of players. This is because the more people there are in a draft the more cards each player see, and thus the more particularly they can narrow their strategy.

While the bolded statement is true, I don't think it conflicts with my statement either. Certainly, the more drafters you have, the more reach you have, and the more archetypes that will be viable. However, Wizards doesn't create all archetypes equal in a given block. They emphasize particular ones (chosen by theme, marketing, variety, etc.) by giving them more cards and more powerful cards. Drafting balances this to some extent by letting one player snap up a bunch of "weaker" cards that others ignored and thus create a better deck. But still... you know going into an M12 draft that, say, BR Bloodthirst is one of a few Tier 1 archetypes in the format and you wouldn't take something else unless you got strong signals.

A well-designed cube will have many more archetypes competing for your attention, because there aren't the same thematic and marketing issues there are in a block, nor do cubers worry too much about complexity overload. The best cube playtesters keep careful notes about how often different archetypes are played and adjust their card pool if they see one of them dominating or being mostly ignored. Additionally, an important consideration in card choice for most cubes is flexibilty - a card that fits only one archetype is usually deemed too narrow to be cube-worthy unless it's a critical card enabling that archetype. For example, you absolutely need something like Reanimate to enable Reanimator. But you don't necessarily need Entomb, as there are lots of other cards that can get big creatures into the yard that are more generally useful than Entomb is. Most blocks have plenty of Entomb-like cards that really only work for one archetype - that how Wizards fills up the card list. (As an aside, that's why I consider sets like Scars that have a lot of possible interactions more interesting to draft than sets like Rise, where the archetypes are more segregated.)

So yes, number of players matters. And yes, you can certainly shape a cube to fit your group's preferences - that's a big part of the fun. But even beyond that, a cube is designed for balance and interactions that most blocks lack.

edit: It should be noted that I'm no way dissing block drafting. In fact, that's my all-around favorite way to play Magic. I like the fact that blocks have a bit more focus - mechanically, strategically, and thematically. The people I play with don't want to puzzle over 500 different, powerful, and highly interactive cards when they sit down to have some fun, and I usually don't either. And I'm happy to let Wizards R&D do the work of playtesting for me, because I just don't have time to play as much as I'd like, much less take notes and start theoretical conversations about card evaluations on MtG boards. Block drafting is super fun and perfect for me. I just think we should better recognize the sophistication of the design work that goes into those "cubes of awesomeness" we see elsewhere on the net. They're much more than just a pile of good cards.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Quote:
I just think we should better recognize the sophistication of the design work that goes into those "cubes of awesomeness" we see elsewhere on the net.


I think my point was mostly that while people put a lot of work into their cubes (I know I do), no one puts nearly as much work into their cube as Wizards does into a given block, and many cubers tend to be more dismissive of that than I think they should.

If you like the really blurry card uses you should love Scars block. It started out very archetype driven with Scars of Mirrodin and eventually grew to be something with almost no premade archetypes. I don't think I've done the same thing twice in two Scars block drafts, and I've done a lot of them. So many cards have multiple uses in different strategies.
 
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tppytel wrote:

edit: It should be noted that I'm no way dissing block drafting. In fact, that's my all-around favorite way to play Magic. I like the fact that blocks have a bit more focus - mechanically, strategically, and thematically. The people I play with don't want to puzzle over 500 different, powerful, and highly interactive cards when they sit down to have some fun, and I usually don't either. And I'm happy to let Wizards R&D do the work of playtesting for me, because I just don't have time to play as much as I'd like, much less take notes and start theoretical conversations about card evaluations on MtG boards. Block drafting is super fun and perfect for me. I just think we should better recognize the sophistication of the design work that goes into those "cubes of awesomeness" we see elsewhere on the net. They're much more than just a pile of good cards.


I am playing/building block cubes too but I am new to that ... have you any advice ? How many copy for each card ? Rare cards in or out ? Wich blocks are good and wich not ?

Thank you very much !
 
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is this bgg post a good introduction to deck archetypes?
 
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aaarg_ink wrote:
is this bgg post a good introduction to deck archetypes?


That post, while excellent, is talking about archetypes in a far more general sense then is usually meant when discussing archetypes in cube. I wouldn't worry about supporting archetypes in your first draft. Instead, I'd just advise that as you draft the cube look for cards that are constantly going last pick and that people aren't playing in their decks. Also pay attention to what sorts of decks people are putting together.

The cards that no one is picking can leave and be replaced by juicier cards. The decks people are building are the archetypes of your cube. You can slowly support them, or include ingredients for new decks. I'm very much a proponent of learn by doing in this instance.

Build the cube, play it, and see how it feels. Most of the sophisticated cube discussion won't make sense until you have seen how your cube plays out.
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dorakeen wrote:
tppytel wrote:

edit: It should be noted that I'm no way dissing block drafting. In fact, that's my all-around favorite way to play Magic. I like the fact that blocks have a bit more focus - mechanically, strategically, and thematically. The people I play with don't want to puzzle over 500 different, powerful, and highly interactive cards when they sit down to have some fun, and I usually don't either. And I'm happy to let Wizards R&D do the work of playtesting for me, because I just don't have time to play as much as I'd like, much less take notes and start theoretical conversations about card evaluations on MtG boards. Block drafting is super fun and perfect for me. I just think we should better recognize the sophistication of the design work that goes into those "cubes of awesomeness" we see elsewhere on the net. They're much more than just a pile of good cards.


I am playing/building block cubes too but I am new to that ... have you any advice ? How many copy for each card ? Rare cards in or out ? Wich blocks are good and wich not ?

Thank you very much !


I do 2 of each common, 2 of each uncommon, and 1 of each interesting rare/mythic (not the constructed only ones). I keep my cube sorted by rarity and set so I can make a Mirrodin Besieged booster, for example, with 10 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare / mythic.

If you draft with too many people, or if you don't like knowing you can get at most two copies of a common, you can use 4 of each common instead of 2 of each common.
 
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I love this idea and was going to try it myself... sort of. I have a few friends who stopped playing Magic a while ago. Like, 10+ years ago. So, in order to try to get them going again, I was going to do a cube for when they "got out". It was going to be a Chronicles/Fallen Empire/Homeland/4th edition cube. Basically, a reason to play with a bunch of cards I'll never use and have a good "old school" time. What do you guys think?

Granted, a game will end via Akron Legionaire or Grandma Sengir or other crap card, but I think it would be awesome.
 
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NostraDouglas wrote:
I love this idea and was going to try it myself... sort of. I have a few friends who stopped playing Magic a while ago. Like, 10+ years ago. So, in order to try to get them going again, I was going to do a cube for when they "got out". It was going to be a Chronicles/Fallen Empire/Homeland/4th edition cube. Basically, a reason to play with a bunch of cards I'll never use and have a good "old school" time. What do you guys think?

Granted, a game will end via Akron Legionaire or Grandma Sengir or other crap card, but I think it would be awesome.


A cube with cards that old will require extra care because that was before Wizards started gearing sets towards drafts. If you're looking for inspiration you can look at the card lists for Masters Edition 1-4 on MTGO. These are sets that Wizards pieced together out of cards roughly this age and older, but they designed them to be more friendly towards drafters.
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Syvanis wrote:
There should be no duplicates in the cube.


Patently false. There should be no duplicates if that's what you want. I feel that duplicates of the right cards let you lean on them as a strategy. I once put together a Best of Graveyard cube, selecting whether I wanted each card to have one to five copies (with an equal number of cards at each rarity level). Then, each pack consists of one card with a single copy in the cube, two cards at the two-card rarity level, three cards at the three-card rarity level, and so on, for fifteen total. Tagging the front of the sleeves with colored dots lets you easily sort out the cards into stacks by rarity afterwards, then you can shuffle each rarity stack and deal the appropriate number of cards into each "pack".
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delirimouse wrote:
NostraDouglas wrote:
I love this idea and was going to try it myself... sort of. I have a few friends who stopped playing Magic a while ago. Like, 10+ years ago. So, in order to try to get them going again, I was going to do a cube for when they "got out". It was going to be a Chronicles/Fallen Empire/Homeland/4th edition cube. Basically, a reason to play with a bunch of cards I'll never use and have a good "old school" time. What do you guys think?

Granted, a game will end via Akron Legionaire or Grandma Sengir or other crap card, but I think it would be awesome.


A cube with cards that old will require extra care because that was before Wizards started gearing sets towards drafts. If you're looking for inspiration you can look at the card lists for Masters Edition 1-4 on MTGO. These are sets that Wizards pieced together out of cards roughly this age and older, but they designed them to be more friendly towards drafters.


Appreciate the input. Thanks.
 
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I am a really big fan of singleton as a sub-format of any main format. If you have a nice collection of older stuff, shoot for singleton...but don't stress over it. Also, don't be shy about adding "crap rares."
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That is exactly how I started my cube, and it was a blast. I started adding $0.25 rares to fill in gaps, and although it didn't look anything like most cubes was very fun to play. Do it!
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