[EDIT] Well, immediately after I published this, I went to the best place for us Finns to think about stuff, namely my sauna, so I felt the need to add a few things to this article.
I was thinking about how to do this for quite a bit and I didn’t seem to find the right place to start. Maybe top-down? Come up with an idea of a world and then populate it by using existing cards? Some strange mechanical thing?
I guess I went for the latter.
I don’t really have a theme, but I do have a starting point. What I’m going to do is decide upon a theme and then build the rest on that. Part of the creative process is that you try to find different approaches. If you always do the same, you’ll end up with similar results. Instead you just find new things to do.
Last time I did this (the results of which you can find in the Cube category on the right) I had a theme based on the gods from Theros. Mainly the two-colored ones. I tried to find interesting cards to use in conjunction with each of them, that would hopefully work in other decks as well. That was one way to start: Looking at the gods.
This time I wanted to have something completely different. For example, one of the things I thought about starting with was just having a matrix of creature types, with small, big, flying small and flying big for each of the five colors (and some equivalent for green for flying). I know they have something similar for each set at WotC. That would have been a nice restriction and I might still go there.
However, instead of trying to come up with a theme that would cover the whole cube, I decided to just start with something that would give me direction and force me to do something special. I actually sort of copied that restriction from the Twisted Color Pie Cube from MTGO, but I put myself under an even more severe situation.
I decided that green would be my control color.
Okay, it might not be control quite in the same way people are used to. There will be no sweepers, there isn’t a lot of good removal and there isn’t that many huge draw spells. But that’s just the easy mode to playing control.
Calling a deck Control means that in the spectrum of Beatdown vs. Control, the Control is trying to position itself away from being the Beatdown until the late game. In limited, the spectrum is often quite narrow, but it is still there. Most limited decks don’t have sweepers, but they still often have to play the Control role. They should about half the time anyway. The control elements might come from weird sources like 1/3s for two that can stop the onslaught of 2/1s easily, or getting a clue from your 1/2 which you can sacrifice later for value.
I chose green just because it’s basically never seen as a control color because of all the monsters it employs. Its seen as the quintessential Midrange color, with plenty of efficient creatures, but they usually aren’t early drops. Actually, its play pattern is often the control in the early turns and then it moves into beatdown role a few turns down the road, but it isn’t usually the deck that needs to gather value over time to win. Sure, its happened before and will happen again (like Shadows Over Innistrad limited), so there’ll be plenty of cards to use here.
Well, it will be interesting scouring cards from the games past to find all the things that fit here. It will also be fun.
I’m also going to do this on a budget. I don’t have a specific sum in mind, but I’ll try to keep the card prices around a couple of euros at most. I’ll limit myself to 360 cards, with – as of this writing – 50 cards for each color, 50 for gold cards (two-colored), and 60 for lands and artifacts. I’ll start the series with the green, move into green gold cards and move to the rest of the colors from there, one at a time, finally ending with the colorless stuff.