Introducing the Set Cube

Cards and Spreadsheets, a match made in Heaven

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Cube P1P1 - 7-12
What’s your P1P1?

If I had to pick between design and development, I’m pretty easily sitting on the design side. Sure, I can hunt and peck and guesstimate development, but it’s not something that’s my strong side. I know that and I can live with the limitation. So why did I take on one of the most develop-y things I could do: building a cube?

Because it’s fun.

Plus, what else am I going to do with cards that aren’t in my Commander decks?

When I decide to get expensive/foil cards, Commander is still my preferred format. But I’ve wanted to get into some more drafting so I decided to build a cube. If you don’t know what a cube is, watch this helpful video from Tolarian Community College:

So I built a pauper cube and it was fun for a while. I followed around Adam Stybroksi’s pauper cube and it fun but I wanted more power, more umph. But I didn’t want to strip my Commander decks full of cards to get a cube going. So I set up some rules for myself:

Modern legal only

This was an easy one. Sure I might have missed some great cards if I dipped into Eternal formats but this way I only get a few broken cards instead of full colors. This allowed me to keep the Reserved List out of the cube and keep costs lower than what it could be.

No foils or exotic cards

Cube is the other format where players like to foil out their decks or get the Russian foil whatever to make their cubes stand out. Those type of cards are for my Commander decks. Plus, I feel as if I keep everything non-foil, I won’t hesitate to take it out for a better card. I’ve discovered I’ve had this problem in my Commander decks from time to time. Of course I feel that’s ok in Commander since I’m not a cutthroat kind of guy in that format (except when I play my Sygg, River Cutthroat deck).

Something else was missing. Being a Johnny, I wanted to make the cube unique. Building a Modern-legal cube seemed fun, but I had fears it wasn’t going to be too different than the rest of the cubes I’ve seen. So I started to think about what could make this cube different.

But, what if it was all one set?

I’ve seen people build set/block cubes, like with Ravnica and Innistrad. That seemed kind of fun. It wasn’t really what I was going after.

What if it was a set, like Modern Masters?

Well a cube is kinda like Modern Masters…

What if rarity mattered?

Wait, what?

What if each color, color combination, and colorless had so many mythic, rare, uncommon and common spots?

…Go on…

Continue reading “Introducing the Set Cube”

I’amrakul’s Complete Lack of Surprise

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

Emrakul Scooby
Those Meddling Planeswalkers

Today, WotC announced that Emrakul is the huge threat on Innistrad. This came as a complete non-shock to many and received a “Ho Hum” from the internet. All of the clues were laid out for those that wanted to follow them and it was pretty spelled out. Sure, I was on team Marit Lage (The Planeswalker/Cosmic Horror from Dark Depths), but I mean I knew it was the Great Spaghetti Goddess.

But players, like they always do, complain that this wasn’t some great twist. As if we were expecting something like a Sixth Sense ending (or to play off this title’s connection, Fight Club (Explanation of the other part of the title can be found here in the story)). Instead we get something that everyone was expecting; Mike Linnemann (@VorthosMike) had been going on this for a while. But, it makes sense storywise. Let’s all calm down breathe deeply and take a look at why this was an okay move for WotC. Continue reading “I’amrakul’s Complete Lack of Surprise”

When Story Dictates Design (Shadows Over Zendikar)

Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three.

tumblr_inline_o3oyizxtry1qhstyx_500Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad both have easy to digest stories: The Eldrazi are destroying Zendikar, something is making everything on Innistrad crazy. Two big objects are changing the plane (Eldrazi vs the Moon). Battle for Zendikar focuses on the things that are close to the Eldrazi while Shadows Over Innistrad focuses on the plane and its inhabitants. The design focus is then on the Eldrazi vs. the plane of Innistrad. Going big vs going wide.

Hey, let’s design everything around the Eldrazi (Going big).

Hey, let’s design everything around horror and madness is affecting the plane (Going wide).

Going big vs going wide leads us into two different directions of design. Neither of these ways of design are bad, they’re just opposite ways of thinking on how to approach the set. Continue reading “When Story Dictates Design (Shadows Over Zendikar)”

Magic Cinema – Eldrazibusters

Ghostbusters Poster

I’ve got two major passions in my life: movies and Magic. Sometimes they combine. This is one of those times. I apologize to any Vorthos that may see any canon that is off here. But as far as I know, this is a completely true story that I know totally happened like this.

EldraziBusters

There have been unconfirmed sightings of the mythical beings known as Eldrazi seen all over the plane of Zendikar destroying the landscape. Cultures on Zendikar worshiped them as Gods for thousands of years until their release a few years ago. Now, four Planeswalkers are on Zendikar to stop these giant beings. Ob Nixilis, a former demon Planeswalker, is trying to prevent this group from completing their mission. The dragon Planeswalker Ugin, who has just awoken from his slumber, is in his old cave, the Eye of Ugin, trying to save the plane from the mysterious destruction that is taking place.

INT – EYE OF UGIN – AFTERNOON

The great dragon Planeswalker UGIN is talking to a collection of his best minds in front of a map of Zendikar.

UGIN
I’ve got a plane blowing up and you guys are not giving me any answers.

VAMPIRE
We’re checking Akoum The Roil, Tazeem…

A GOBLIN enters the room and cuts him off.

GOBLIN
The Planeswalkers are here, Mr. Ugin.

UGIN
The Planeswalkers, okay, the Planeswalkers.

Continue reading “Magic Cinema – Eldrazibusters”

Of Monsters and Heroes

Polukranoshttp://wp.me/p5VSx-1A0

With the Duel Decks: Heroes vs Monsters revealed we can talk about the two mechanics previewed for Theros.

Monstrosity:

[Cost]: Monstrosity [Number]. (If this creature isn’t monstrous, put [Number] +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)

Heroic:

Heroic – Whenever you cast a spell that targets [CARDNAME], [Effect].

What we’ve got here is a creature based mechanic and a spell based one (even though it doesn’t seem like it). Both of these have their little quirks and I’m sure I might get some of the smaller details wrong without an official FAQ. But I can tell you some things that we can be on the lookout for with both of these mechanics and what we might be able to expect in the block. I’m taking a large assumption that these will be spread out over the five colors though obviously there will be only-color effects.

Continue reading “Of Monsters and Heroes”