Cube Play Diaries #1

The cube play diaries are to function as a journal documenting my sporadic play sessions involving any cubes. Unlike everything where I try to create informative guides on various subjects relating to cube, these are a place for me to share any new insight I picked up from playing. At minimum, I'm just filling out a journal entry of my complaints or highlights. If you're not interested in that, easy skip. For anyone who wants to read, thanks for doing so.


Over the weekend, I manage to finally acquire a CUB3 from Ultrapro at my local game store. If you have seen it. It's a storage box in the shape of a cube with great Magic art on each side, this is something that's really neat to look at. It was secondhand but did not look too bad on the inside. I have been wanting to upgrade the storage of my cubes since I still have them in BCW card storage boxes. It suffices but looks boring. Wanting to show it off, I managed to organize a EDH cube draft with 4 people on a last minute notice. We had a good time and it gave me good insight into my cube. This was the first time my group had a chance to play since I made changes with NEO. I made big changes to the cube to smooth out game play mainly lowering the curve and adding more playable enchantments to support GW enchantments. This was also the first time I have played with the conspiracy cards in a cube. There was a lot to be unsure about and this play experience provided with good insight into better fleshing out what I'm envisioning for this cube.

During the draft phase, I was trying to force GW enchantments both times to get a feel for the deck on how viable it was to build and play. I was unable to draft Sythis both times and I rerouted to playing Saskia the first draft and Akroma + Kamahl the second draft. The some of the other draft decks made were monogreen Selvala, Silas Renn+Prismatic Piper(R) Welder, and Atraxa value. At a glance each of these decks seemed functional. The monogreen player managed to draft 3 conspiracies with the me being the only other player running them. There were some problems there ,namely with Sovereign's Realm and World Knit, but ended creating some fun experiences.

During gameplay, the Saskia deck played as an aggro deck as it should have and the Akroma+Kamahl deck played like a ramp deck.  From my view the decks look like they were working and felt good to play other than the Monogreen deck, which was suffering from 2 other players drafting his colors. Both games, I was the second person to die cause apparently swinging aggressively at people was not appreciated and neither was ramping a bunch (I managed to fetch about 5-7ish lands from Sword of the Animist). The other players seemed to enjoy their decks. The games did feel a little battle cruisery, which was fine at first then it dragged. Everyone had their big moments during game play, though most were not game ending.

No Sythis is support enchantments :(

The Problems

Overall the games were fun, but there were several issues I had with how things went down. Neither deck I drafted felt enchantment themed which was disappointing. I was actively drafting enchantments but never seem to have the density or correct pay off cards to make it feel like its mattered. This could have been a result of just not having the right density still or just playing on the wrong part of the cube. This is an issue I am looking to actively solve because I want to include an enchantress build in EDH cube. Another disappointment was that only me and another drafter drafted conspiracies, which meant either my other players did not see the value in them or they valued other cards over it. I included these cards to push the power of this cube, turning innocuous cards into a broken mess. 

A conversation regarding whether or not a cube designer should be explicitly telling their players about card interactions came up a bit on r/mtgcube. My opinion here is that I would rather my players discover interactions rather than having me tell them. The fun of playing Magic for me is the deep interaction between cards and it has always felt more rewarding when I find it myself. Whirler Rogue and Kiki-Jiki are my favorite example of cards that are really deep. Watching my players avoid conspiracies might just mean they are not comfortable with taking them or they don't have the knowledge to use them yet. I would rather show them through gameplay what is possible by drafting and using those cards myself. Definitely going to keep these cards in and just hope in time, my players learn to appreciate the strategies these cards will enable.


I did a bit of self learning as well when it came to playing with the conspiracies. It was a mistake on my part, but I think the conspiracy cards would be okay within my cube because my prior experience with Arcane Savant and Caller of the Untamed have been only positive, so I wanted to take it up a notch and originally played to add both the colored and colorless conspiracies. Ultimately, the colored ones didn't make it and both Sovereign's Realm and World Knit filled in these spots. I ran those two thinking they would lead to a positive experience because brokenness is fun; I forgot to take into account the deckbuilding restriction that were present with commander (It is near impossible to play either of these cards outside a 5c deck). It forced me and another player to play improper decks during this session, which we all agreed to for the sake of time. 

I do want to address the battle cruiser nature of the games we had. Originally, this cube had way too many boardwipes (I count roughly 25ish) with each color having access to at least 3. This was problematic at the games would stagnate because board wipes would hit every other round. As a response, I removed a good amount and this caused everyone to have powerful board states now, but there was not enough spot removal to deal with threats. This is problematic because it creates an unfun environment because now we had to hope for a solid topdeck or a misplay neither which are fun to do. This takes me back to when I first played commander and games would take 2 hours average, which I do not want to replicate. 


Regardless of the disappointment, this was a good learning experience for how I am developing this cube and where I want it to go. First off, I need to rethink my approach to supporting GW enchantments and this is a deck I really want to happen. Second off, I am definitely switching around what conspiracies to include since I felt some were just lackluster or just flat out did not work. Finally, I need to find ways to address the battle cruiser situation. This could manifest in more removal, though I want to experiment other methods namely, evasion and attack incentives that would make it more comfortable to swing in.

Ultimately, I want my cube to facilitate engaging gameplay that enables all different playstyles while maintain engaging game play. I am aware this play session could be an anomaly and that I was playing with 4 people rather than the intended 8, but there was still enough information to see how my changes are working. In the immediate plan, I might keep my cube in its current state with the only changes being made would be the change to the conspiracy section.

Thanks for reading. I will be following up this post with several post addressing the issues that were discussed. It is going to start with a Commander spotlight on Sythis and enchantment matters in edhcube, then move onto conspiracies and draft matters cards. Check back in on Thursday and Tuesday when these new post are up. 

Again thanks for reading.