Tuesday 2 April 2024

Vintage Cube Wins


There has always been a divide in the cube community between powered and unpowered, or vintage and legacy respectively. All cube was the powered vintage format in the dawn of cube in the early two thousands as there was not enough powerful cards to make a cube without them! That was somewhat the whole point of cube. Slowly however as the cards crept up in power there was an argument for one or the other, powered or unpowered. Some people want to play cube for the silliness, the extreme plays and power potential. It is light relief from more conventional magic formats. These are your vintage cubers that love their power. 

Then you have the likes of me, someone who prefers consistency and good competitive games. I did away with power, and cards that have that really swingy polar play pattern too them about 15 years ago, around the time planeswalkers joined the game. Much as the language I have used here is pretty biased, there is no right or wrong. It is all about preference, and knowing what yours and your play groups is. I used to me much more adamant that powerless was the way to go but I am rather changing my tune on that front now too. 

Largely this is down to the new era of cards we are seeing. Cards like Minsc and Boo, Hull Breacher, and Solitude. Typically found in the sets that never go into standard, although not exclusively. These cards are just too good for my unpowered cube. They utterly dominate it in the way that the power used to. In a powered cube these newer additions are much more interesting and playable. They make the top end options more interesting and the gulf between the top and the bottom smoother and smaller. Powered cube is the healthiest it has ever been. It is the best and fairest way to play with some of the most powerful and iconic cards in magics rich history. It is also the only sensible cube vessel to pack a lot of the most egregious new stuff. If you want to explore the full extent of magic from the oldest to the newest it somewhat has to be vintage cube. 

Sure, the games may be a little more wild and random, but they are a whole lot of fun. I was finding that I was losing my way somewhat with my own cube. Once you start along the line of "that is too good", or "I don't like that play pattern", the cube rather loses its identity. It is just a draft format you have created that resembles a cube. This is why I have made so many themed cubes over recent years. In search of that identity that is missing in mine. Slap on a title like gold, or budget, or artifact, or combo, or even homemade, and you have guidance. You know what you are doing with your cube, the cards you can look to add, those you can't and with much clearer direction in mind. My main cube is presently just a collection of roughly 540 cards that you can play limited from. It isn't the best cards. It isn't even the best cards minus the cards I deem a little too good. That is because the bottom half of cards as it were, are there to support the top half in doing there thing as well as can be. So, my cube is a collection of 2nd best cards and things that work with them. Sure, the games are pretty good but I imagine there are near infinite random things I could do with endless assortments of random magic cards that were comparably good. 

Vintage cube hasn't won because it plays better. Vintage cube has won because it has the most clear identity. You know where you are with vintage cube and it does a far better job of being an envoy for the game and history its history. We can talk about vintage cube and immediately be on the same page without having to provide loads of stipulations and doing a bunch of recalibrating. Vintage cube is cube and all other cubes are variants. It has likely been that way for a while now too but as I sat on the other side of the fence it was rather harder to see. I was a couple of years too slow on cutting the power as I had biases and attachments and I suspect I did much the same job of missing that boat on the return journey! Now that I have my homemade cube it seems like it makes much more sense to run that alongside a vintage cube. It also makes rather more sense to do content from a more vintage cube perspective too.