Saturday 21 October 2017

The Buck Cube - update

I have updated the Buck Cube list for Ixalan, the intervening sets and based on testing results. The current recommended list can be found here;

I am very impressed with how it plays in general. It is as expected a cross between my unpowered cube and booster draft. It is slower pace game but it is still highly involved, diverse and interactive. It keeps all the things that make magic good and cube the best format and it lets you enjoy it a bit longer! Much is the same for the buck cube as with the conventional cubes with a pretty significant overlap of cards. The archetypes are much the same, just slower and less powerful. It was awsome fun getting to play with great cards that don't compete anymore in the conventional builds of cube. I got to smash face with a Spiritmonger! I got to appreciate more classically good cards, just a big flier or something with hexproof or regenerate is quite a big deal again! It felt very balanced and generally just a whole lot fairer. I would highly advocate it as a format for a whole load of different reasons. I got to sac a changeling that I was given from a Crib Swap to a Skeletal Vampire to make more bats! Many cube firsts in the buck cube.

The only issue I was having with the format is consistency stemming from the mana. All the dual lands come in tapped and there just are not huge numbers of them. Also, the more you pile on extra EtB tapped lands the weaker they and your deck become. Three colour decks are risky and rare. Mono colour decks have a noticeable two fold advantage too. They have all untapped lands and no chance of colour screw from fewer duals. Colour intense spells were very unappealing inclusions in two colour decks as well. Many of my refinements reflect these findings. I have cut a lot of the spells with double of a coloured mana symbol. I also added pain lands, they are sorely needed, more ideally, and they are the most budget option. There are plenty of ways to address and solve this mana consistency issue. One of which is reduced size, I advocate around a 480 cube for this format if possible so as to increase the effective number of lands. I also advocate deviating from the buck build idea on a few planeswalkers and a lot of lands.

It is way to early days to be calling the buck cube the best magic format or anything like that. I am obviously immensely biased and given that I think cube is the best magic format by a significant margin it is no shock I think formats within that group are going to shine. I will say it seems wildly better than pauper or peasant formats. I would also say it is the most magic you can get on a budget. You can spend a couple of hundred pounds and never run out of magic fun. You will get far more longevity from it than a boardgame, more than for twice your investments worth of boardgames! You cannot really play any constructed format, certainly not in an ongoing capacity, for anywhere near that amount of money. Constructed magic is very expensive and limited adds up quickly. You can just get a couple of dual decks or something and that is a cheaper way to play magic from nothing but that has nothing like the longevity of the other magic options. If you are someone who wants to play magic anything from several times a week to once every couple of months and want to find the way that maximises all of value for money, fun and longevity then the buck cube crushes the competition.


  1. This list is looking sweet. Are you exclusing Boros cards intentionally? Or did those just get dropped by accident? Also, I would consider the Temples in place of maybe the guild gates? The temple duals are reasonably priced and the interaction with Ravnica bouncelands is excellent.

    1. Boros cards are either over a buck or pretty awful! I am not going to force in gold cards just to balance numbers, less gold is a win in my books.

      Temples over most of the CitP tapped lands would certainly be an upgrade but I am not sure it is where you want to focus your attentions. It is really untapped fixing that is the limiting factor. I think cards like Aether Hub would probably be the way to go for more budget lands you can use right away.

    2. That's fair. I assumed Lightning Helix was a dollar until I checked and realized it's $6. Why is this game so ridiculously expensive? That's an uncommon that isn't even amazing which has been reprinted 5 times. The secondary market of this game is exploitative. There's an idea for a post (assuming you share that sentiment - maybe I'm alone in my feelings on that).

  2. I'm no expert on card markets so any post on such things would just be an opinion piece. I know my top X lists are that also but I try and make them informative! I do agree that magic is horrendously expensive. You can at least play on a budget in a variety of ways. I doubt they are given much incentive to reduce product prices or wildly reprint money cards as the big spenders are going to make up so much more of their sales than economy players. While I expect they lose more player base at the low end this way the returns at the top end should be a lot more profitable. They can get away with it because it is such a good game too!