Made widely popular by Magic the Gathering, Cube has become a fantastic, affordable format for TCG players to engage in their favorite card games without having to always fork over the massive amounts of money required for Constructed formats. Due to this, there has been a strong underlying demand support for a proper Flesh and Blood Cube. However, building your first cube for a card game can be a daunting and tricky experience, especially for one this young. Hence, for the next few weeks, I’ll be doing exactly that and guiding you through my process of building a first Flesh and Blood Cube to simulate the great draft/sealed play we already have in our game.
Cube is a popular Draft/Sealed format in which you don’t need to crack packs to play. Instead, you create a group of cards usually totaling over 300 from which you pull booster pack-sized samples from (15 cards per pack in our case) and draft with. This is a great way to play the Draft format cheaply and integrate Draft experiences from different sets to create new experiences within the game. Cube also allows players to utilize all the bulk in their collection in a useful manner instead of letting it just pile in some cardboard box.
Since the collection of cards available can be whatever you wish, Cube is highly open to customization. However, there are some general Cube formats/contexts that are widely used as bases to build cubes upon. Since Magic is the largest Cube market, we’ll use the popular Cube formats from Magic that we could possibly bring over to Flesh and Blood:
- Pauper Cube (only commons)
- Legacy Cube (full to the brim with powerful cards)
- Set Cube (a particular set or block)
For ourselves, we’ll be running a Pauper Cube to help use up all that bulk I spoke of before. However, since the game is still young and the card pool is small, I will most likely be throwing in Rares from sets corresponding to the heroes I choose, simply to make up card slots and throw in some added variety. Hence our cube will be more so “Pauper Plus” than a true Pauper cube.
This is going to depend heavily on your personal usage of the Cube and depends largely on how many people are drafting at any point in time. Generally Cubes come in three sizes:
- 360 cards (Consistency++, Variance –)
- 540 cards (Consistency+, Variance +)
- 720+ cards (Consistency –, Variance++)
As a good analogy, the larger the Cube is, the less consistent and more varied your draft experience. If you want a strong hold the archetypes and decks coming out of the cube, then the smaller the better. Going upwards to 720 and more cards has the opposite effect. A larger Cube mean that half the Cube will not be drafted at all in a standard eight-person draft, and there will be high variance in your gameplay. This, however, can be good if you have a strong hold on Cube construction and can assure some basic level of consistency in your packs, hence providing solid gameplay and then fun that comes with variety.
For the purposes of this article and my personal playgroup, I’ll be guiding you through my construction of a 360-card Cube. This way I can highlight Cube card choices more clearly and break down certain choices over others.
One of the other main decisions we must make before designing a Cube are whether we want to run a singleton Cube or not. Singleton Cubes refer to cubes simply containing one copy of any unique card. Singleton cubes are generally stronger in their consistency and flavor as they put an emphasis on card choice in drafting, alongside balancing out the possibility of multiple copies of a powerful class card falling to one player. Hence, we’ll be making a singleton card Cube for ourselves, and possibly adding some select repeats on some cards we find are universally beneficial or simply if we need to fill in spots more efficiently with the current card pool.
This is a big one here and determines largely how we’ll construct our card pool for the rest of this series. Hero selection is a key point since we must look at the available card pool size for that hero, what cards we’ll be leaning on and how much freedom we’ll have to build that hero in certain manners.
In the case of the heroes, the key words you have in mind are flexibility and able to be integrated. The former will correspond to how flexible a player can be when they draft a certain hero and their corresponding archetypes, and then latter referring to how well we can integrate the cards from former sets into our Pauper plus cube.
When looking at the card pool for the different classes then, we see that the original eight heroes all have large pools due to Crucible of War each enlarging their card pool outside of their original set. This is good – this means we can merge multiple sets into one draft experience for something unique which only out Cube will posses. On the other hand, however, having eight heroes in a Cube will result in odd drafting, as locking into a class will effectively shut out a large portion of the Cube to a player and may result in poor choices if they don’t get the cards they’re looking for. Eight heroes would then force us to rely very heavily on generics to fill our decks, which eliminates the use of having many heroes in the first place.
Option 1: Mirroring Monarch
This is where the Monarch heroes come in. Due to their talents of Light and Shadow, they have access to a large group of cards from the previous sets belonging to their respective class, alongside the pool of cards pertaining to their talent and specific talent and class type. This opens our card pool a lot and allows to create a drafting experience where most cards will be useful to at least 50 percent of the heroes. This makes them ideal for creating our first Flesh and Blood Cube. Although it’s entirely possible to create a solid draft experience with just original eight heroes, we will stick to the four Monarch heroes due to their ability to be flexible in drafting, and easy integration of past cards into the set.
Option 2: Mixing the Metas
There is however one other option to venture on. Since Illusionist has no previous card pool to draw them, she’s left with the smallest card pool in the draft. We can remedy this however by switching out our Light heroes entirely for Rhinar and Viserai. This allows us to have a similar flexibility as before, where if a player where to pick a Shadow card, they would have still had a 50 percent of heroes available, and where if a player where to pick a Brute or Runeblade card, those would be applicable to 50 percent of the heroes as well.
To balance this out however, throwing in some cards more specific/useful for Viserai and Rhinar shall be needed, such as Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath or a Savage Swing (Red). These will allow the players who choose the legacy heroes to still have cards strong enough to compete with Levia/Chane’s access to the Shadow cards. This format also will punish those who stay open too long due to them not having a deck that is efficient for a specific archetype.
For the sake of challenge, I’ll be trying out Option 2 for my personal Cube, but if you’re looking to just set up the best Cube experience you can in one go, I highly recommend using the Monarch heroes as your basis. Going forward into next week, we’ll speak on the card choice in the Cube and look into the first draft for all 360 cards in the Cube itself. Until then, happy cubing!