Drafting with fewer than 8 players upsets certain balances and causes some issues in drafting. Six or seven players is usually fine but four or five gets pretty rough and usually winds up with us playing sealed or rotisserie or rochester or some other format, even another game! You can do quite a lot of work solving the issues of fewer players by reducing booster size and increasing the number of packs, typically winding up with slightly more than 45 cards each. You can further improve things by increasing pack size again but discarding a chunk of the cards from each pack at the end. While this helps ease one side of the problems it does nothing to help with the loss of tension in the draft. As you play with fewer people relative to the colours there stops being too much interaction in the draft, you all just get into your lanes and pick uncontested in your colour. Not great.
The obvious solution to this is to design a cube with fewer colours. Five colours with eight players so perhaps three colours for five drafters and two for four players? Certainly something I will get to testing eventually. I will probably also do some mono coloured cubes. The thing is that colours, even colour pairs, tend to have quite strong colour identity and I think it will wind up being a bit samey and stale quite quickly. The colours also have nearly 4,000 cards in them each allowing for rather more choice in the cube design process. On the other hand, colourless stuff doesn't really have an identity. It is certainly the most different place to start and so I have done so. Here is my first draft of a colourless cube;
I am yet to test it and was aiming at a 360 card pool and have thus far fallen short. Given that it is intended for 4 or 5 players a pool of 240 should cover it fairly comfortably. I did elect to play a smattering of appropriate coloured cards. Not so much that you wind up in a lane but it should at least make the land choices relevant and interesting. As ever with this sort of preliminary concept, I am interested in taking suggestions as to good cards I am missing. There are some I have intentionally left out like Damping Matrix, Karn the Great Creator and Platinum dorks which seem like they would be egregious in a format with such little removal and such a high count of things shut down. I also didn't add a load of the older broken cards like Sol Ring, Mana Vault and Crypt or the original Mox. Cards that are just going to randomize the format. I was reticent to add the various prison cards like Tanglewire and Winter Orb. I may still cut them if they prove too oppressive in play. I was just finding I was a little short of the number of playable cards I had that I could add! I have scoured the actually colourless cards pretty hard. It is the odd hidden gem in the various coloured areas of magic I am likely missing. Thoughts, suggestions, feedback, or any info on other projects like this people have encountered all most welcome.
Another option to keep the tension is to forget about colors alltogether by making all lands perfect pentalands. This way, you open a whole new spectrum of cube brewery, where highly colored cards can actually be played.ReplyDelete
Interesting, I like it and will have to try it. As you say though, lots things to brew with. I couldn't just apply this to an existing cube, not without taking non-basic lands out at the very least. I imagine you would want a bunch of other tweaks too? It also might be a bit fugly? The older I get the more I want to enjoy the aesthetics of my games and I fear this might be a turn off.Delete
That's just an idea that I had while reading your post, not somthing I've explored yet. Clearly not something I'd try with a regular cube, but rather an opportunity to play 3 color cards alonside with Cryptic command, archmage's charm, ultimatums andTruefire captain.Delete
In order to play with 4-6 players, I actually have a 240 whiteless peasant cube that I reduce to 180 3color twoberts (four different twoberts possible) when I want to play with just 2 players (grid draft usually). Just cutting a color (or two for 2 player drafting) greatly increase the tension. Having archetypes that can work together also work really well for that (the looters for madness work with "draw 2" cards but with reanimator strats, +1/+1 counters work with go big (syr faren) and proliferate, which work with PWs and level up creatures, etc).
Sounds cool, would like to give that a try. You got a link to whiteless peasant cube?Delete
That list is a thing of beauty. You clearly tend to your cube with love. Would be interested to see what your white section would look like if you had one. Did you cull the white originally because it is dull? Are enough of the newer more interesting cards in white common or uncommon that you could make a white section as delightful looking as the other colours you have here?Delete
I removed the white right away, so I don't have any idea on what I would put in there. I'd have to think about the color itself, the 4 guilds it would seed and how it would fit the existing 6. I'd have to cut on the current amount of bicolor cards, since 4/10 is twice the impact of the 1/5 for monocolor. Way too much work for something I don't really want to do (I have a pretty standard legacy cube for 8 players sessions).ReplyDelete
From the top of my head, with peasant restriction, I'd probably look into tokens for selesnya, 2 out of control/ blink / curiosity fliers for Azorius, Heroic/ aggro for boros and aristocrats for Orzhov.
You actually got me thinking about white.Delete
Selesnya would have to have a +1/+1 counter theme. Good fortune unicorn, travel preparations and Conclave Mentor are too good to pass.
I would dig into the populate cards, along with more recent options like queen allenal or Cadira for the token theme.
Azorius would need some catering. I've been thinking of an artifact/affinity subtheme but I'm not sure that there would be enough support with peasant restrictions. Typically, no Thought monitor is a big sad.
Boros support for equipments has been up there recently (Baird, Bruenor, Koll, Reyav, Weapons trainer), so that would be an option to do a bit more than 'aggro' stuff.
In Orzhov, the downgrade to uncommon of angel of despair makes me want to try it (despite not sticking to any theme I'd want to give the guild).
Lifegain could be a theme, but it would need some strong white seeding since there is very little support in black at the moment (from the top of my head, I cant think of anything beyond Blood artist, Vampire nighthawk, Essence extraction and grey merchant but it would support pestilence and crypt rats). I really like gift of orzhova, basilica bell haunt and Indulging patrician. But that's just 1 payoff for 2 enablers and I feel like it would need at least another payoff to actually start something.
Late answer but heh.
White has gotten so much love and support recently that there are lots of options. I think you have hit the best ones there although when I start to go counters I always end up splurging into more than one colour pairing!Delete
I have been recently enjoying a convoke theme in my blue white. It is performing well and pleasantly fresh.
Although a lot of the more exciting payoff cards are higher rarity and with it already being a relatively thin synergy I cannot see it working well in budget cubes.Delete