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Subject: How to Make Your Very Own (Very Affordable) Magic Draft Cube rss

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Josiah Fiscus
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If you are like me, you might have read this excellent article on various draft formats and how affordable they can be: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/382910/magic-as-an-affordabl... If you are like me in yet another way, you think this kind of thing sounds very appealing. But maybe, like me, you don't have very many (or any!) cards. Where to even begin? And how to enjoy drafting without breaking the bank?

One of the methods discussed is a "cube draft". Essentially, this is a set of cards which players will draft (in many different ways) before each game. The issue is that making a cube requires a lot of thought and tweaking and can be relatively expensive. Some cubes run upwards of 800 cards. What I have set out to do is to make a very small "mini-cube". It has exactly 180 cards. (There are 28 of each color, 20 artifacts, and 20 non-basic lands.) This is only enough to draft with 2-4 players, rather than the more usual 8. I've found even 2-player drafting to be a lot of fun, but with 3 or 4 it's even better.

If you don't own any Magic, or haven't even played before, but like the idea of drafting more than building your own deck or playing with theme decks, this is a great starting point. Each card is designed to showcase some element of its color's philosophy and mechanics. This too is great for beginners.

So how do you go about acquiring this? Well, the first thing you want to do is get your hands on one of these: http://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/164797
It's a great starting point for any new player, but it will also help us form our cube in a couple ways. First, it gives you a nice pretty box to store your cube. Second, it provides us with a bunch of basic lands. Veteran Magic players may scoff at this, having stacks and stacks of unused basic lands gathering dust, but for a new player, this is very helpful. Additionally, the toolkit will provide at least 23 of the cards needed for this cube. The rest will have to be ordered singly. This is an admittedly annoying step (entering each name of a card and adding it to your cart), but the end result is that these cards will show up on your doorstep for under $60 including shipping.

Besides the cards for this cube, the toolkit will provide you with four booster packs ($3.99 each retail, meaning the other stuff in the toolkit is practically free), a learn-to-play guide, and over a hundred other cards that you may want to use at some point to customize your cube.

Here is the breakdown of all the cards by color and type. You will probably have to click the image to see the full size, in the interest of saving space here. The yellow-highlighted cards appear in the toolkit, and thus will not need to be purchased separately.



Below, I have listed, alphabetically, every card that does NOT appear in the toolkit and thus must be purchased separately in order to complete this cube:

Accorder's Shield
Abuna Acolyte
Accorder Paladin
Acidic Slime
Aether Adept
Afterlife
Ancient Hellkite
Arc Runner
Augury Owl
Auriok Transfixer
Axebane Guardian
Azorius Guildgate
Azorius Justiciar
Ballista Squad
Battle Rampart
Blastoderm
Blinding Mage
Blood Seeker
Bojuka Bog
Bond Beetle
Boros Guildgate
Bramblesnap
Call to Mind
Chandra's Outrage
Child of Night
Cobbled Wings
Compulsive Research
Condescend
Conquering Manticore
Corrupted Conscience
Crack the Earth
Creeping Mold
Crystal Ball
Cunning Sparkmage
Curiosity
Dead Reckoning
Diabolic Tutor
Dimir Guildgate
Divine Deflection
Divine Reckoning
Doom Blade
Dread Statuary
Drudge Skeletons
Ember Hauler
Evil Eye of Urborg
Explore
Exsanguinate
Faerie Impostor
Faerie Invaders
Faith's Fetters
Fireball
Foresee
Fume Spitter
Garruk's Packleader
Giant Growth
Giant Scorpion
Giant Spider
Glimmerpoint Stag
Goblin Shortcutter
Golgari Guildgate
Gravedigger
Gruul Guildgate
Halimar Depths
Haunted Fengraf
Hyena Umbra
Ichor Wellspring
Icy Manipulator
Ivory Giant
Izzet Guildgate
Keldon Champion
Khalni Garden
Kiln Fiend
Kor Hookmaster
Kor Sanctifiers
Korozda Monitor
Lantern of Insight
Leaf Arrow
Lone Missionary
Looming Shade
Luminous Wake
Manaplasm
Merfolk Looter
Merfolk Skyscout
Mind Stone
Mindclaw Shaman
Mycosynth Wellspring
Nature's Spiral
Nekrataal
Neurok Invisimancer
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Oak Street Innkeeper
Open the Vaults
Ornithopter
Orzhov Guildgate
Overgrowth
Overrun
Palace Guard
Panic Attack
Peregrine Drake
Perilous Myr
Phantasmal Bear
Phyrexian Juggernaut
Pilgrim's Eye
Plague Stinger
Pride of Lions
Pyroclasm
Quicksand
Raging Goblin
Rakdos Guildgate
Razormane Masticore
Rise From the Grave
River Boa
Roar of the Kha
Runewing
Savage Silhouette
Sea Gate Oracle
See Beyond
Sejiri Steppe
Selesnya Guildgate
Sengir Vampire
Serra Angel
Shiv's Embrace
Silent Departure
Simic Guildgate
Skinrender
Sleep
Slime Molding
Slith Ascendant
Slum Reaper
Smite
Smoldering Spires
Soulsurge Elemental
Sparkmage Apprentice
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Splatter Thug
Stab Wound
Staggershock
Steady Progress
Strider Harness
Synod Sanctum
Tangle Angler
Tempest Owl
Temple Bell
Tendrils of Corruption
Tormod's Crypt
Transguild Promenade
Triumph of the Hordes
Trusty Machete
Tumble Magnet
Vampire Lacerator
Vent Sentinel
Whispersilk Cloak
Wild Mongrel
Woebearer
Word of Seizing
World Queller
Yavimaya Elder

One final note, many people do like to sleeve their cube and lands. None of the cards in here are particularly valuable, yet if you plan to play a lot, it may be worth it to you. It's less necessary than with most cubes and it adds a bit of expense, so I'd skip it if I were you, but it's your call. Questions and comments are welcomed!
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Spacegras
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I did this, but with less 'planning". i took the Deckbuilders toolkit and some extra cards I had lying around, only commons and uncommons, and tried to make sure the colors were equally avalable.

We used it one evening and it was a great time. I had hoped to use it as a base to make an actual planned cube, but after fun we had, I'm leaving it as is.
Nice post by the way,

Chris
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Josiah Fiscus
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louper wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
The rest will have to be ordered singly. This is an admittedly annoying step (entering each name of a card and adding it to your cart)


Many Magic retailers offer a "Deck Builder" search that will accept, as input, a list of cards (like the list you provided!) and search for them all at once.

CSI offers this tool, since that's a retailer you mentioned (and I like them too): http://www.coolstuffinc.com/main_deckBuilder.php.

Many cards show up many times since they appeared in multiple sets, but basically you just adjust the quantities of which ones you want and add them all in a single "Add to Cart" click.

Nice write-up, though!


Oh man, that's fantastic, thanks for that! If you just copy and paste the list into the link you can add them all to your cart at once. Great tool!
 
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Matt Crawford
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louper wrote:
Many Magic retailers offer a "Deck Builder" search that will accept, as input, a list of cards (like the list you provided!) and search for them all at once.


The best one I've seen is TCGplayer's:
http://store.tcgplayer.com/list/selectproductmagic.aspx

It will optimize the selections across several retailers for the best overall price, including shipping.

(I like CSI too! But TCGplayer's system is really cool.)
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Or just buy a common/uncommon set of a core set. If you get a 4x set (about $30) you can sell the other 3 copies and recoup most of your cost.

Update: Checking numbers you'd need 2x of a C/U core set to make enough for a solid 7 player draft, or a tight 8 player draft (101 commons, 60 uncommons)


Doing that right now. My Return to Ravnica C/U block draft cube will be finished in May. Net cost? About $10-20, including sleeves for everything and buying RTR basic lands.
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Josiah Fiscus
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overtheboard wrote:
Or just buy a common/uncommon set of a core set. If you get a 4x set (about $30) you can sell the other 3 copies and recoup most of your cost.

Update: Checking numbers you'd need 2x of a C/U core set to make enough for a solid 7 player draft, or a tight 8 player draft (101 commons, 60 uncommons)


Doing that right now. My Return to Ravnica C/U block draft cube will be finished in May. Net cost? About $10-20, including sleeves for everything and buying RTR basic lands.


This kind of cube is a very different experience however. Most of the cards in the one above, despite being cheap, are powerful. There's really no garbage cards and there are a decent number of rares, which often have powerful and interesting abilities not seen at common/uncommon. Additionally, every card is different. So while the way you suggest is even cheaper, it's also further away from a "true" cube experience, and closer to a reusable limited format.
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To build your cube, are you buying one of each listed card, or a playset?
 
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Steve Wagner
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I plan on building a cube from the Return to Ravnica block, with just commons and uncommons, one of each card. A cube is best when you do not have multiples of cards, because it gives you more variety each time you play it.
 
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Daniël Muilwijk
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SVan wrote:
A cube is best when you do not have multiples of cards, because it gives you more variety each time you play it.

I disagree. The added variety doesn't necessarily make the cube better. One might even argue that in some cases cubes are in fact improved by adding multiples, because it leads to more focused deck building. It also leads to less luck, because you can more easily predict which cards will come up in a game.
 
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Diversity and focus are mutually exclusive. Neither one is definitively better. Or: You're both wrong.
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Seabie wrote:
SVan wrote:
A cube is best when you do not have multiples of cards, because it gives you more variety each time you play it.

I disagree. The added variety doesn't necessarily make the cube better. One might even argue that in some cases cubes are in fact improved by adding multiples, because it leads to more focused deck building. It also leads to less luck, because you can more easily predict which cards will come up in a game.


I also think that having multiples increases variety, rather than decreasing it. I often remember drafts in terms of what multiples I had. There was this one time I had three Goblin Electromancers, and it was awesome!
 
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If I'm doing a draft with current sets, having multiple cards works great there. If I'm doing drafting with a cube, I'd rather have more variety than repetition.

One of the greatness of Magic is the different amount of ways that it can be played and the variety of players who like to play in different ways.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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SVan wrote:
If I'm doing a draft with current sets, having multiple cards works great there. If I'm doing drafting with a cube, I'd rather have more variety than repetition.

One of the greatness of Magic is the different amount of ways that it can be played and the variety of players who like to play in different ways.


My "good cards" cube is also singleton. It increases the chaos an silliness, which is kind of the point of cube to me. It is like the Commander of limited formats.
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overtheboard wrote:
Or just buy a common/uncommon set of a core set. If you get a 4x set (about $30) you can sell the other 3 copies and recoup most of your cost...

Now this is the solution I chose recently as I wanted to build a Innistrad/Dark Ascension/Avacyn Restored draft cube.

But where do I sell a complete cube of c/uc singletons? In a weeks time I'll have four cubes ready (443 unique cards) and I want to sell three of them, but I have no idea where I could sell that and even if anyone would want to buy something like that.

So, Where does one sell a complete cube? I don't know the first thing about Magic so I don't know if there are sites specifically for this.
 
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Daniël Muilwijk
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magiccardmarket.eu?
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charles gibson
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very cool! ordered it!
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charles gibson
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anyone else played the cube? any suggestions on how to scale it up to 400 cards in the future?
 
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I carry this 100 card mini "cube" that can be drafted in the many alternative casual ways or used as a satisfactory Wizard Tower. Any card may be played face down as a land that counts as each land type.

WHITE Spells (8): Swords to plowshares; flickering ward; raise the alarm; celestial flare; story circle, angelic destiny, end hostilities, unexpectedly absent.
Creatures (10): Mardu woe-reaper; dutiful thrull; thalia, guardian of thraben; mirror entity; fiend hunter; spirit en-dal; wall of reverence; glimmerpoint stag; battlegrace angel; world queller.

BLUE Spells (10): Pact of nagation; dispel; unsummon; standstill; cyclonic rift; mark of eviction; redirect; shimmering wings; polymorphist’s jest; curse of the swine.
Creatures (8): Mindshrieker; Jace’s archivist; sakashima’s student; glen elendra archmage; master thief; sower of temptation; perplexing chimera; magus of the future.

BLACK Spells (9): Reanimate; doom blade; glistening oil; necromancy; phyrexian arena; toxic deluge; pain’s reward; praetor’s grasp; nightmare void.
Creatures (9): Bloodsoaked champion; death’s shadow; oona’s prowler; dark impostor; hypnotic spectre; royal assassin; nekrataal; shriekmaw; massacre wurm.

RED Spells (9): Lightning axe; genju of the spires; pyroclasm; impact resonance; arc lightning; howl of the horde; chaos warp; chain reaction; banefire.
Creatures (9): Spikeshot elder; goblin wardriver; humble defector; alesha who smiles at death; manic vandal; ball lightning; shivan wumpus; rakdos pit dragon; stormbreath dragon.

GREEN Spells (8): Rancor; nature’s claim; fade into antiquity; beast within; ruthless instincts; holistic wisdom; beacon of creation; might of oaks.
Creatures (10): Ulvenwald tracker; strangleroot geist; scavenging ooze; spawnwrithe; yasova dragonclaw; hornet nest; reclamation sage; splinterfright; tree of redemption; genesis hydra.

ARTIFACT (9): Crown of convergence; phyrexian revoker; mimic vat; proteus staff; darksteel plate; sword of kaldra; clone shell; mindslaver; platinum angel.

MULTICOLOUR (1): Mirrorweave.
 
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Beyer
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Any idea how much such a mini cube costs?
How many games have you played with it? Doesnt it get samey with so few cards?
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I shoved it into tappedout.net, and it priced 96 of the cards at a total of $188 - don't know why it failed to get prices for the other 4 but manual lookup has them at around another $15, so this is in the $200 ballpark.

I don't see any particular relevance to this specific card list though - it looks like the poster just shoved together a bunch of seemingly interesting cards from his collection, thus not considering things that weren't in his collection (a limitation meaningful to him but would not be meaningful to anyone else). Trying to rebuild it and match it card for card is probably not a worthwhile venture. It's not particularly filled with combos and synergy and irreplaceable parts.
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If anyone wants to browse the deck in a format where they can hover over each card name to see the card details,

http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/jiryfoes-minicube-as-posted-a...
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thatmarkguy wrote:
I shoved it into tappedout.net, and it priced 96 of the cards at a total of $188 - don't know why it failed to get prices for the other 4 but manual lookup has them at around another $15, so this is in the $200 ballpark.

I don't see any particular relevance to this specific card list though - it looks like the poster just shoved together a bunch of seemingly interesting cards from his collection, thus not considering things that weren't in his collection (a limitation meaningful to him but would not be meaningful to anyone else). Trying to rebuild it and match it card for card is probably not a worthwhile venture. It's not particularly filled with combos and synergy and irreplaceable parts.


Exactly
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