The Decision Cube

Or maybe the Spike Cube?

Many cubes emphasize powerlevel. They have very powerful cards from the history of the game. To me personally, if everyone has powerful cards, the powerlevel still remains flat, so the difference between high and low powerlevel is not that important.

However, I do enjoy well built cubes. Just throwing in a bunch of powerful cards with no planning is not a good idea. Cube is a game and it requires design. Even though draft is self-correcting, you don’t want a cube with eight completely separate themes and then you just draft to see who gets which is not a good idea either.

Since a cube is a game, you should also have a target group in mind. Not everyone is going to enjoy the same cubes, so you shouldn’t try to force a cube for everyone. That would just be a mess.

So, a couple of years back we came up with the idea of building a cube for those players who enjoy the complicated decision making within the game – for you or for your opponent. Of course most spells have a lot of decision making involved. Do you Doom Blade this blocker or wait for something more threatening? However, in order to build a more complicated environment, we decided to have plenty of spells with different modes.

Since the cube needed some answers, we did make some concessions on various removal, but not too much. And we still use a very different kind of removal package than most cubes would.

This does mean that there aren’t very strong themes in the cube besides this. There’s some, but they aren’t necessarily very strong.

The other goal was keeping the cost fairly low. We wouldn’t get a chance to use the cube very often (in fact, it has never been played), so there’s no point in getting cards like Kolaghan’s Command, which is kind of expensive, even though it would otherwise be a nice, if quite strong, addition.

As you’ll see, finding cards with different modes was quite easy. I do think that the gameplay might be somewhat too much for many, so Ben Stark, this is for you.

Some explanations

On the lands: We decided to go with not that many lands. Only the 10 tri-lands. The problem here is that a certain part of the audience might read this as an encouragement to make three colored decks, but that’s not what we are going for.

Rather, the idea is to enable some splashing, but I’m not sure you really want to do that, unless you can’t find enough playables, which shouldn’t be a problem, so that’s not all. Instead, the idea is that we can do a lot with 10 tri-lands. Suppose we had something like the original 10 duals. Sure, they are better, but if you do want fixing in your deck and more than one land, you can do a lot with the tri-lands. Suppose you want to play Azorius, you can now use the Esper, Jeskai or Band lands to help you fix, whereas you could only use Tundra from the original duals.

On the color distribution: There’s 51 cards for each color, eight for each 10 guilds and 10 tri-color commands. That plus the lands leaves room for 5 artifacts. That’s a total of 360.

Now, since this cube doesn’t have strong themes outside of the decision-orientation, you could easily go above the 360 and just leave some cards out when drafting. If we had strong themes, those would require us to make sure those themes are strong enough when doing the drafts. we have no such concerns here.

This does leave the problem that there might be a stronger then usual pick order. You can’t really make decisions based on synergies (at least most of the time), although good deck building is still a concern, meaning that you should still make picks based on the curve.

On the identities of colors: They probably aren’t as strong here as they would otherwise be. Sure, there are still going to be big green creatures, but they are not just a 6/6 with trample.

On themes: There pretty much aren’t any. There’s plenty of +1/+1 counters, but the pay-offs are pretty limited. There’s some synergies here and there, but mostly they just aren’t there. It’s possible that all the discard or… whatever might indicate that you might find some, but that’s often not just true. Some players might just assume so. Well, they’ll learn soon enough.

White

Starting with my personal least favorite color.

1 2 3 4 5
Herald of Anafenza
Hopeful Eidolon
Anointer of Champions
Cliffside Lookout
Glory-Bound Initiate
Sightless Brawler
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
Hidden Dragonslayer
Master of Pearls
Adanto Vanguard
Cloistered Youth
Kor Aeronaut
Seeker of the Way
Gust Walker
Abzan Falconer
Sandsteppe Outcast
Eidolon of Countless Battles
Glint-Sleeve Artisan
Wispmare
Affa Guard Hound
Dauntless Aven
Devoted Crop-Mate
Kabira Vindicator
Heliod’s Emissary
Abzan Battle Priest
Abzan Skycaptain
Angel of Condemnation
Vizier of the True
Oketra’s Attendant
Ornitharch
Bishop of Rebirth
Celestial Archon
Brave the Elements
Ajani’s Presence
Alley Evasion
Sheltering Light
Valorous Stance
Seal of Cleansing
Act of Heroism
Swift Reckoning
Forsake the Worldly
Aura of Silence
Angelic Purge
Astral Slide
Collective Effort
Skywhaler’s Shot
Shoulder to Shoulder
Encircling Fissure
Sheer Drop
Cast Out
Conclave Tribunal

Blue

1 2 3 4 5
Dakra Mystic
Wingcrafter
Jeskai Elder
Spellweaver Eternal
Stratus Dancer
Omenspeaker
Warkite Marauder
Watcher for Tomorrow
Daring Saboteur
Wharf Infiltrator
Ingenious Skaab
Mistfire Weaver
Silumgar Sorcerer
Nimble Obstructionist
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
Crystalline Nautilus
Eternal of Harsh Truths
Nimbus Naiad
Conundrum Sphinx
Niblis of Frost
Kheru Spellsnatcher
Curator of Mysteries
Perplexing Chimera
Prognostic Sphinx
Mulldrifter
Clockspinning
Clutch of Currents
Twisted Image
Redirect
Censor
Into the Roil
Agoraphobia
Ice Over
Mirror Mockery
Phantom Wings
Singing Bell Strike
Monastery Siege
Polymorphous Rush
Supreme Will
Scatter to the Winds
Countervailing Winds
Dissolve
Aether Tradewinds
Fortune’s Favor
Coastal Discovery
Foresee
Fuel for the Cause
Illusionist’s Stratagem
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Switcheroo
Illusory Gains
Covenant of Minds

Black

1 2 3 4 5 6
Gnarled Scarhide
Guul Draz Assassin
Bloodsoaked Champion
Deadeye Tracker
Disowned Ancestor
Kitesail Freebooter
Pain Seer
Baleful Eidolon
Silumgar Assassin
Seekers’ Squire
Ammit Eternal
Herald of Torment
Nirkana Cutthroat
Mardu Strike Leader
Nighthowler
Vengeful Rebel
Inverter of Truth
Endling
Bane of the Living
Silumgar Butcher
Erebos’s Emissary
Vulturous Aven
Shrike Harpy
Archfiend of Ifnir
Rakshasa Gravecaller
Shriekmaw
Stir the Sands
Funeral Charm
Boon of Erebos
Disfigure
Skullduggery
Tragic Slip
Ulcerate
Vendetta
Sinister Concoction
Subtle Strike
Malicious Affliction
Costly Plunder
Grasp of Darkness
Imp’s Mischief
Nameless Inversion
Bile Blight
Doomfall
Ruinous Path
Read the Bones
Foul Renewal
Silence the Believers
Bite of the Black Rose
Consuming Vapors
Palace Siege
Murderous Cut

Red

1 2 3 4 5
Stonewright
Firedrinker Satyr
Frenzied Goblin
Lightning Berserker
Reckless Waif
Village Messenger
Zurgo Bellstriker
Sigiled Skink
Humble Defector
Battlefield Scavenger
Nef-Crop Entangler
Lightning Mauler
Mogis’s Warhound
Burning-Fist Minotaur
Volatile Chimera
Qal Sisma Behemoth
Sin Prodder
Hollowhead Sliver
Reckless Racer
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Fervent Paincaster
Tormentor Exarch
Flame-Wreathed Phoenix
Oracle of Bones
Magmaroth
Manticore Eternal
Caldera Hellion
Wolf of Devil’s Breach
Reckless Rage
Borrowed Hostility
Burst Lightning
Cinder Wall
Outnumber
Lightning Axe
Magma Jet
Jaya’s Greeting
Tormenting Voice
Collective Defiance
Arc Lightning
Savage Alliance
Breaking Point
Sweltering Suns
Nahiri’s Wrath
Skewer the Critics
Devour in Flames
Magmatic Core
Throes of Chaos
Goblin War Party
Incendiary Command
Cone of Flame
Deem Worthy

Green

1 2 3 4 5 6
Joraga Treespeaker
Narnam Renegade
Leafcrown Dryad
Nightshade Peddler
Merfolk Branchwalker
Rhonas’s Last Stand
Den Protector
Channeler Initiate
Noose Constrictor
Tuskguard Captain
Boon Satyr
Spirespine
Trusted Forcemage
Deathmist Raptor
Thrashing Brontodon
Slaughterhorn
Druid’s Familiar
Peema Outrider
Emperor’s Vanguard
Fresh Meat
Armorcraft Judge
Crocodile of the Crossing
Pack Guardian
Acidic Slime
Nessian Demolok
Fated Intervention
Pine Walker
Nessian Wilds Ravager
Hooded Hydra
Vines of Vastwood
Burst of Strength
Elvish Fury
Evolution Charm
Regrowth
Evolutionary Leap
Aggressive Urge
Grapple with the Past
Gather the Pack
Terrifying Presence
Alpha Authority
Durable Handicraft
Cached Defenses
Clear Shot
Inspiring Call
Map the Wastes
Roar of Challenge
Bow of Nylea
Ranger’s Path Dromoka’s Gift Wildest Dreams
Grim Flowering

Multicolored

1 2 3 4 5
Battlewise Hoplite
Cartel Aristocrat
Putrid Warrior
Tithe Drinker
Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
Honored Crop-Captain
Sunhome Guildmage
Truefire Paladin
Fleecemane Lion
Qasali Pridemage
Fathom Feeder
Disciple of Deceit
Shipwreck Singer
Izzet Guildmage
Nivix Guildmage
Icefeather Aven
Kiora’s Follower
Rix Maadi Guildmage
Tymaret, the Murder King
Korozda Guildmage
Putrid Leech
Swarm Guildmage
Skarrg Guildmage
Anax and Cymede
Resolute Survivors
Qasali Ambusher
Renegade Rallier
Veteran Warleader
Dimir Doppelganger
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Stormcaller of Keranos
Bounding Krasis
Shapers of Nature
Void Grafter
Hellhole Flailer
Catacomb Sifter
Dreg Mangler
Fanatic of Xenagos
Thunderclap Wyvern
Aven Wind Guide
Triad of Fates
Ahn-Crop Champion
Evil Twin
Stormchaser Chimera
Altered Ego
Bloodhall Priest
Carnage Gladiator
Merciless Javelineer
Reaper of the Wilds
Mina and Denn, Wildborn
Raging Regisaur
Glassdust Hulk
Maw of the Obzedat
Species Gorger
Harbinger of the Hunt
Raging Swordtooth
Angelic Shield
Azorius Charm
Orzhov Charm
Final Payment
Boros Charm
Sunforger
Nahiri’s Machinations
Selesnya Charm
Dimir Charm
Agony Warp
Simic Charm
Rakdos Charm
Golgari Charm
Signal the Clans
Ephara’s Enlightenment
Roil Spout
Sigil of the Nayan Gods
Blightning
Rhythm of the Wild
Bant Charm
Esper Charm
Grixis Charm
Jund Charm
Naya Charm
Abzan Charm
Jeskai Charm
Sultai Charm
Mardu Charm
Temur Charm
Artful Takedown
Steam Augury
Brutal Expulsion
Status // Statue
Blast of Genius

Colorless

Lands Artifacts
Arcane Sanctum
Seaside Citadel
Jungle Shrine
Crumbling Necropolis
Savage Lands
Mystic Monastery
Nomad Outpost
Sandsteppe Citadel
Opulent Palace
Frontier Bivouac
Lesser Manticore
Key to the City
Mind Stone
Urza’s Tome
Howling Golem

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