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^3 – The Case for Aggro, Part 2

The Case for Aggro, Part II
Or:
How I learned to stop worrying and cut the bomb.

After a brief Paris and Mirrodin Besieged-related interlude, I’m happy to return to regularly scheduled programming. Cube design is a delicate process, and the real beauty of it is that even a single card can make for a radically different experience across different drafts or between two Cubes. This creates a wonderfully dynamic experience with even just a passing effort on the part of the Cube owner. Simply updating the Cube with the introduction of each new set could suffice for some, and given Wizards’ new conception of power level and where it can be pushed or restricted, the Cube will even evolve naturally to correct imbalances.

My goal, however, is to identify the best way to jumpstart this process. In Part I I described the causes of Aggro’s innate inferiority to Control in a powerful environment like Cube and why it’s important to address them, along with how to take the first step by adding consistent and powerful aggressive cards (which you can find here).

Unfortunately, this only gets you so far. The central problem is that the best cards in the history of Magic are not aggressive. So, in order to see Aggro thrive in an environment defined by Magic’s most powerful spells, sacrifices have to be made. Now, I recognize that Cube owners greet cutting cards with all the enthusiasm of a potential amputee patient, so it’s important to bear in mind that you are creating a format. And just like in Standard, Extended, or Legacy, a healthy format is defined by the number of viable archetypes- few people enjoy playing against the same dominant deck time and again, as evidenced by the number of complaints during the reign of Faeries, Jund, Affinity, etc. A single exceptionally powerful strategy stifles creativity. Even the rogue elements are forced to design within a box whose dimensions are dictated by the dominant strategy. Similarly, Cube is less enjoyable when every deck is either playing blue cards or trying to find the best angle of attack against them.

The only way to address this problem, as painful as it can be, is to cut the cards that directly oppress aggressive strategies. This flies in the face of a common refrain among many Cube owners that goes something like, “Don’t cut good cards, add good answers.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a very satisfying remedy. Indeed, it’s the main reason that Aggro decks are so underpowered in the average Cube. Aggro decks become “solution” decks that spend an inordinate amount of resources trying to destroy permanents or prevent combo-ing and they lose focus – the most important ingredient to a successful aggressive deck. Not to mention, these cards are considered powerful for a reason, and they aren’t easily answered.

Luckily, I’m ruthless when it comes to cutting cards from my Cube, as I don’t get too attached to anything and I aim to prioritize the health of the format above everything else. Adopting this mindset is absolutely necessary if you want to make each drafting experience an interesting one. I know it’s difficult, so I’ll do my best to ease you into it.

Of course, Cube is all about playing powerful spells, so I don’t want to make it sound like we’re cutting the fun stuff. Rather, I just want to discuss the cards that serve as particularly burdensome obstacles to Aggro’s success. I’d like to start with the card whose inclusion is the single biggest mistake a Cube owner can make:

Sol Ring

Sol Ring is universally regarded as the best card in Cube, and for good reason. The tempo advantage generated by this one little artifact is insurmountable, but for none more so than an Aggro player. Aggro decks are designed to prey on phase I of a given game, and Sol Ring catapults its owner into phase II at the cost of 1 mana and a single card.

For a deck that lives and dies by 1-mana 2/1’s, the ability to play a 4-drop on turn 2 is utterly backbreaking. I’ve seen Baneslayers resolved on turn 2 with a Sol Ring, and the stars hardly had to align for it to happen. More onerous still is that Aggro decks can’t get nearly the same mileage out of this as a Control deck. A 4/4 on turn 2 dies just as easily to a Doom Blade as a 2/1, and having low mana-cost spells in general means the payoff is far too short lived. This is a hotly debated card in the Cube community at large, but to me the decision couldn’t be any clearer – if you want Aggro to have a respectable shot in your Cube, start by separating yourself from this monster.

 

Along the same vein, though to a lesser degree of magnitude than Sol Ring, the Mox and Signet cycles give Control an avenue out of phase 1 that is far too accessible. If you include both cycles in their entirety, that’s 15 mana accelerators that even provide mana-fixing with no questions asked. If you asked Cube builders two years ago what the automatic staples of a Cube are, the Signet cycle would almost unanimously be listed. The biggest problem when you do this is that acceleration becomes less of a prize and more of an expectation. This encourages lazy drafting, where normally vital mana-fixing can be passed for strictly more powerful spells, because you’ll always be able to pick up a few Signets here and there. As a result, you trend toward what Sam Stoddard terms the “Dragon Cube” where games revolve around blue-based Control decks ramping toward the most powerful Dragon, answering your opponent’s Dragon, and hoping to ride it to victory. Aggro isn’t a concern because, after all, you’ll have a Grave Titan when they are still casting 3/3’s.

Additionally, this critical mass of accelerators greatly devalues the role of green. Green’s only real strength is its ability to generate mana advantage, and Signets obsolete that one niche entirely. Moreover, you encounter a problem unique to the Cube, whereby green’s monsters are simply inferior. In a normal Limited environment, it wouldn’t matter much that the other colors can ramp up as quickly as your green deck, because you have access to more high quality fatties. However, in each set, Wizards tends to include a rare Dragon in each color that has Obliterator 9 or some other such nonsense and these bombs end up saturating the Cube.

As a result, green’s fatties are easily outclassed by the likes of the Titan cycle, Keiga, and Sundering Titan (Luckily, this is changing, but the difference in quality is still stark). If you decrease the availability of easy acceleration to other colors, Green regains its (slight) advantage by at least being able to go big more reliably. I still have a few carefully selected Signets, but including the whole cycle is excessive.

 

Wraths create an interesting paradox in that the more frequently they appear, the less effective they become. They’re almost always good enough for Cube, so it becomes very difficult to resist including them.

Wraths offer a blank check for dealing with whatever interesting creatures your opponent manages to throw at you, and thus discourage players from over-extending. On top of that, it renders the individual challenges introduced by certain creatures pointless. Protection? Regeneration? Huge… -ness? No need to worry, just Wrath them away! Of course, the natural response is to just play one sweet creature at a time, at which point Wraths become wholly unexciting. The best solution, then, is to cut wraths down to the minimum number. This is the easiest section to cut, because you’ll find the value of Wraths skyrockets once there are only a few.

In my 475-card Cube, I have only 3 strict Wraths alongside a few more conditional ones, and the results have been very satisfying (For reference, they are Decree of Pain, Damnation, and Wrath of God). They are once again high picks, and create the sort of blowouts you should expect from such a powerful spell. Select only the ones you like best, and part with the rest . Mutilate, Barter in Blood, Hallowed Burial, Day of Judgment (Or Wrath if you prefer the regeneration love), Akroma’s Vengeance, just to name a few, are totally expendable. I guarantee you won’t look back once they’re gone.

 

Spot Removal – Most Cube owners actually have an impressive grasp of this, which surprises me. Nonetheless, as with Wraths, it’s easy to go overboard. Again, think of your Cube as a limited format, and how often spot removal is typically available in (for example) MSS.

Using the most liberal definition of the word “removal” I could muster, I counted 25 common and uncommon removal spells in Scars of Mirrodin, or 9.4% of the set. My Cube, by contrast, consists of 13.6% removal spells using the same metric. Note that this includes burn spells often intended for some poor sap’s face and no allowance for the occasional rare, and that the creature quality in Cube dictates a firmer reliance on removal. Still, I could probably trim my removal down to 12%.

While the number is entirely arbitrary, Wizards’ has an excellent handle on balancing Limited formats at this point, so provided you aren’t wildly out of range with their numbers, you are probably on the right track. I’d love to find out if they have a formula for how they determine the appropriate amount of removal, but until that time, I have to use this sort of spotty guesswork.

 

Two Moats and the Walls of Doom – Specifically Moat, both the vanilla and Teferi varieties, Wall of Denial, and Wall of Reverence. These four cards see play with varying frequency across a wide variety of Cubes and they serve only one purpose – to keep down an archetype which needs no help being kept down. Both Moats offer complete protection from the average Aggro deck in the form of one of the most difficult card types to deal with. Wall of Denial is similar, in that it does nothing more than offer an obstacle that can hardly be removed, and exists only to make an Aggro deck’s life miserable.

Wall of Reverence is the easiest to deal with but also the hardest to come back from. If you answer a Moat 6 turns after it resolves your 4 guys will still close out the game. If you answer Wall of Reverence 6 turns later, your opponent has gained an amount of life equal to the firepower of half of your deck.

It’s possible that Gideon Jura and Ajani Vengeant belong on this list, but that’s part of a much longer discussion on planeswalkers, which actually harm Control decks more than anything else. So, I’ll save that can of worms for another time.

My biggest qualm with these cards is they ask very little of the caster. He need only survive until the turn they come down. You don’t need to prioritize removal or counters, convince your opponent to over-extend, or transition to the beatdown with any urgency. You just play your permanent and ship the turn until everything falls into place. Very few cards target aggressive strategies so specifically, so it’s a small sacrifice to keep the most frustrating of them on the sidelines.

 

Hate Bears – By hate bears I don’t mean Gaddock Teeg or Ethersworn Canonist, I mean the little protection critters that have somehow made their way into every Cube and thus earned my undying hatred. Silver Knight, Kor Firewalker, Paladin en-Vec, White Knight, and Spectral Lynx top this list, and they are egregious offenders (for the record: Soltari Priest and Monk are entirely reasonable inclusions; their inability to block makes this point inapplicable to them). Very few Cube owners include cards like Eyes of the Wisent, Red Elemental Blast, or Guttural Response (for obvious reasons) but strap the same sort of effect on a 2/2 for WW and suddenly it’s an indelible part of the Cube. When you include cards that only exist to hose one deck, you end up with a number of negative consequences.

First of all, you are (once again) directly limiting an archetype that already has trouble (and, ironically, white aggressive decks are already the best decks against Mono Red). Second, you introduce a section of cards that wheel around the table until they are last-picked, where they are then shoved into a sideboard only to be brought out to trump the one Mono Red player. Lastly, you include a bunch of two-drops with double-colored casting costs, meaning they often can’t be cast on curve anyway. Thus, the damage is two-fold: you hose one deck by forcing it to combat creatures it can’t realistically deal with, and you hose another deck by forcing it to play with creatures it can’t cast. Consequently, I find this to be the most frustrating list of Cube staples, and I’d die happy if I could change this single habit.

On top of the direct benefits of all of these cuts, making your Cube smaller indirectly makes Aggro a consistent and reliable draft strategy. The smaller your Cube gets, the easier it is to rely on seeing certain cards. Aggro benefits from this most: it is absolutely dependent on seeing certain irreplaceable effects, like Armageddons, 1-drops, fetchlands, and equipment each draft. Control decks, on the other hand, are influenced very little by Cube size, as there is enormous redundancy in Magic when it comes to removal spells, counterspells, Dragons, and card draw. So, I try to keep my Cube as close to 500 cards as possible, a number I’ve arrived at through extensive research in the field. And, if you follow along with these suggestions, I think you’ll see Aggro flourish in a way that it simply can’t in most Cubes, no longer held in check by the unfettered inclusion of powerful cards without regard for the format’s health as a whole.

Yet, I think you will still find one strategy lacking. Some will defend the white aggro in their Cubes until they are blue in the face, but after carefully tracking match results in each draft for some time now, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to overcome the last hurdle, you need to really get creative. Next time I’ll discuss the options available to the most open-minded of Cube designers, and one solution I’ve implemented myself to great success. Until then, let me know if there are any cards you’ve decided to sacrifice on the altar of Aggro’s viability, and if there are any Cube related topics you’d like to see covered!

Happy Cubing.

28 thoughts on “^3 – The Case for Aggro, Part 2”

  1. Why 500? That seems large, honestly. I mean, if you don’t need 450 cards for a ten-man, the ground’s more-or-less the limit. I run 415 and even then it feels like there’s fat to be trimmed.

  2. Thanks so much for this article! I just recently retooled my cube after a while dormant and my primary goal was to have a tense balance between aggro and control, with games generally ending quickly but fairly. I took out almost all the non-green fast mana and our first draft was won easily by a u/g ramp/midrange deck, which is a success in some respects (using green for fast mana), although blue/jacetms was still the strongest strategy.

    I am currently enamored with the idea of the 360 cube, and being able to tweak the format between drafts by having another 200 cards ready to move in and out. Seems fun to be able to support storm combo, affinity, madness or whatever on a given day without too much difficulty.

    Nice points about the hate bears; I had always thought of them as aggro enabling cards, yet I’ve never seen a good true white weenie deck in cube. Perhaps accorder paladin and hero of bladehold will help swing that balance? What do you think of Mirran Crusader? He is a mean double hate bear, but BG is a mid-range deck anyway and he seems like a guy that is fun to attack with against any deck.

    Thanks for a nicely timed article for a newly cube-obsessed soul!

    p.s. i have red elemental blast and I love seeing the look on a blue mages face when you say “in response” with R open…

  3. I’d say that the best way to support aggressive decks is to have a fair number of cards that are good in aggressive decks. For example, having 10 two-mana creatures and 4 six-mana creatures in aggressive color means that aggressive decks in that color are quite viable.

    Not including some of the best cards in cube: sol ring, moxen is a little unusual. I like play with the best cards magic has to offer. Isn’t that the point of cube? It seems like a lot of people now define the purpose of cubing as “making aggro better,” which is just a bore to me. If the cards you include have a low average converted mana cost the decks will play out reasonably fast.

  4. I really liked this article.

    When it comes down to it, you can build your cube however you want. It is certainly fun to cast Tooth and Nail on turn 4, but having battles with fast mana and insane creatures gets old after a while. For those looking for a draft with powerful cards that still has the archetypes of a “normal” draft, Andrew’s suggestions are good. Our group in Cincinnati and Cleveland have been coming to some of these same conclusions, such as cutting the Signets, and cards that kold aggro like Keiga, Wurmcoil Engine, etc.

    We knew there was a problem when last summer, one of our friends went T1 Goblin Guide, T2 Keldon Marauders, and then died to a T3 Grave Titan off of Sol Ring and Coalition Relic. That is a cool story, but why even have those first set of cards in the cube when the second set are in as well? People who want to use those insane cards might want to look into cutting those aggro creatures and making all of the colors with the more ridiculous cards. Cut Goblin Guide for Form of the Dragon and Keldon Marauders for Destructive Force, for example. That way, everyone is slinging haymakers instead of one guy running fair creatures into broken removal spells.

  5. @Daniel Brooks…
    The point of cube is for the owner of the cube to put whatever cards he/she wants to in his/her cube. Yes, some people take the line of putting all the best cards ever printed into their cube, some people’s cubes are restrictive based on rarity, some are restrictive by format legality, some people put artifact themes into their cube, really, the list goes on. When you ask that “isn’t playing the best cards the point of cube?” the answer to that question would be ‘yes’ if you and the people you cube with want that. The answer would be ‘no’ in many other cases.

    What Andy wants for his cube is a well balanced format where control, midrange and aggro decks all have a fair shot at winning matches. He wants every color to be close in power level to its peers and that has led him to neutering blue and control cards.

    If all that you want from your cube experience is to play with the “Best of” Magic the Gathering, then this series of articles isn’t something that will help you with your cube experience. However, if you are looking to shake things up and try something new, keep checking back in.

    @Peter…
    You’re the man, good post.

    @Dan Everhart…
    Thanks for the hat, where’s my book?

    @Andy Copenfauss…
    I like the new pic, some good stuff here, I don’t, however, understand why you wouldn’t want Phyrexian Rebirth in your cube, that horror creature carries equipment so well!

  6. SpoonSpoonSpoon

    I like these articles. Just a note though; Just because 9.4% of SoM is removal spells, that doesn’t mean that 9.4% of the cards you’ll see in a draft are removal spells (unless they happen to be balanced so that 9.4% of commons are removal, 9.4% of uncommons are removal etc.).

  7. “Don’t cut good cards, add good answers.”

    Reallly, this is all you need. It’s hard to tell where you’ve gone wrong though without a list.

  8. I notice you deliberately separate aggro from white-aggro where the hate bears are generally appreciated as something beyond just a 2/2 for 1 or 2 mana. Also white just has so many of them it’s easy to make the bulk required for a nice aggro deck.

    It seems that red aggro (or G/R zoo) is more difficult to pull off than white based but should you use that as a reason to make white weenie worse?

  9. @ The Sasquatch: there is a distinction between aggro in general and white aggro because white is the color that contains hate bears. If you wanted to make a good argument you should be accurate in your descriptions of the merits of said hate bears. Lumping together 1 and 2 mana 2/2 creatures under this title is a misnomer because there are not any 1 mana 2/2 creatures with protection from a color or other hosing capabilities. Also, a 1 mana 2/2 is powerful enough already, barring a severely negative consequence, to be included in the cube. A 2 mana 2/2, on the other hand, is much less powerful and choosing to include them simply because they can be powerful against certain specific strategies shows a lack of interest in the health of your cubing environment, which does not warrant their inclusion in a cube looking for a balanced format (although it’s ironic that some people mention the cube as a shrine to the best cards in the history of Magic and then proceed to include a bunch of narrow, underwhelming creatures). I also question your evaluation of a “nice aggro deck” as having a “bulk” of 2 mana 2/2s since that alone is unlikely to result in a positive result against opponents that have prepared to play spells in the first few turns (or anyone with a 3/3).

    Looking at other aggro strategies, namely red and zoo, it is possible that the composition of your cube creates an environment where these strategies cannot thrive, whether it is due to the size of the cube being too large to see the relevant cards regularly or simply a lack of cards that support these strategies. Maybe people got tired of you playing Silver Knight on turn 2 in your sweet white aggro deck and stopped drafting red. One helpful solution I can offer is to cut some cards to both lower the size of your cube as well as making room for cards that would help these other aggro strategies become more viable. How about some white 2/2s for 2?

  10. fast mana like sol ring and the moxes can make cube feel like vintage, and we all know how popular (not to say it isn’t fun) that format is.

    i like the idea of including only touches of the signet cycle, you can include use the included ones to support zaney archtypes or weird color combinations.

    what are your thoughts on the battlecry creatures from MBS? they seem like a excellent addition to aggro strats.

  11. Aggro doesn’t have to be a bunch of 1 mana 2/1s, that is hardly sucessful in any format. Even the ultra agressive triple Zen wasn’t filled with that. It was Steppe Lynx, Plated Geopede, and Vampire Nighthawk.
    YMMV, but if I would argue that most cube players are not looking to play bears, they are looking to play powerful cards in established archtypes. Zoo in legacy isn’t filled with bears, it’s filled with undercosted creatures, spot removal, and burn. Turn 2 Bloodbraid elf off Sol Ring is backbreaking for a control deck. It quickly degenerates into a constructed situation where it is wrath or dead.
    When I want bear agro I crack triple core set, when I want power, I crack the cube. The cube that supports powerful aggro, not White Knights and Savannah Lions.

  12. @FadingThought First of all, bloodbraid elf is barely played in legacy, whereas legacy zoo consists largely of savannah lion type creatures such as kird ape or wild nactl. The only difference is that they are better than savannah lions (the same is true of steppe lynx and plated geopede), but which ones you include depends on the power level of your cube in general. On the flipside, cards such as bloodbraid elf, knight of the reliquary, and tarmogoyf are first picks for any decks of their color, so their inclusion hardly supports aggro. Instead putting in too many of them will simply make midrange (read: Jund) the best and only viable archetype.
    P.S. bear aggro is not a core set draft archetype ever.

  13. @Vick: The white deck in M11 would beg to differ with you; although I guess Stormfront Pegasus and Squadron Hawks aren’t technically bears, although they did show up often next to Silvercoat Lion and White Knight.

  14. @Andy Cooperfaus…
    one thing I’ve yet to hear you discuss to help aggro in cube is running multiples of the same card, for example, Goblin Guide is one of the best red aggro creatures, why not have two of them? Thoughtseize is key for a B/x aggro deck to fight thru counter magic/wraths, why not include two copies of Thoughtseize?

    I know that a lot of people adhere to only one-copy-of-a-card rule without even thinking about breaking that rule. You seem like someone that would be open to consideration to it and may have tried it already.

    Thoughts?

  15. @Vick M11 disagrees with you, but even if you were correct, if it isn’t a viable core set archtype, why would it be a viable cube archtype?
    I didn’t mean to imply that legacy zoo used BBE, what I am trying to show is that one of the more powerful aggro decks has zero bears in it. None. Savannah Lions is a joke vs every zoo cerature. Aggro in cube has to be powerful if your control archtype is powerful.
    Sucessful cube agro is similar to a zoo deck, not sucide aggro, but steady pressure backed up by removal and burn. If your aggro has no reach or no way to remove a wall then you might want to rethink your drafting ability.

  16. I’ve really been thinking a long these lines as well. Of course it is very hard to resist the urge to fall into the group-think of some of the larger cube forums, where playing powerful cards is seen as creating not only more enjoyable, but also a more skillful draft format. Thank you for not falling into the common refrain that lowering your curve is the is sufficient to support aggro. Do you also try to tinker with the cube to create different archetypes over time? What archetypes do you think that the typical 500 cube can support?

  17. @ Bjorn

    The inherent problem with this is that control decks are the ones that benefit from answers more than aggro decks. Aggro decks don’t want to have to take time answering their opponent – they want to be the one asking the questions. Since control decks tend to want be full of answers and a few threats and aggressive decks tend to want to full of threats and a few answers, adding answers to cards that stifle aggressive decks isn’t the ideal solution. Ultimately, I agree with what Andy recommends in his two articles: the way to make aggro a relevant strategy in cube is to increase the number of aggressive threats and decrease the number of cards that aggro is forced to answer – not add answers to the cards that are stifling aggressive decks.

  18. It’s pretty clear that there are two schools of thought in the Cube community. The first are those who define Cube as “A collection of the best cards from Magic’s history.” Cube was first popularised and made famous using a similar definition, and this definition has been repeated publicly many times by the likes of Tom LaPille, Sam Gomersall, Evan Erwin, Thea Steele and many other Cube proponents. For this reason, it makes perfect sense that many people would view this as the ‘de facto’ definition of Cube.

    This is the Aspirin and Band-Aid crowd. When you have a cut, you apply a Band-Aid, when you have a headache, you take an Aspirin. When you draft Cube, you play with the best cards from Magic’s history. There’s obviously nothing wrong with this approach and it’s obviously fun for A LOT of people.

    However, it’s also pretty clear that there’s another point of view, which is to view Cube as nothing more than “a custom Limited format”. Period.

    This is the generic crowd. When you have a cut, you get a plaster, when you have a headache, you get ibuprofin (or paracetamol, depending which part of the world you’re in). When you’re drafting Cube, you’re drafting someone’s customised format, which may or may not be a list of the best cards of all time.

    We’re simply talking about the difference between generic concepts and specific implementations. (For the software crowd, it’s the old Class vs. Object debate).

    For the Aspirin and Band-Aid (Object) crowd, the debate obviously centre’s around “what are the best cards of all time?” It makes perfect sense that the philosophy here would be not to cut cards but to add answers, since why would you cut the best cards of all time from a list of the best cards of all time?! If this is your approach then it also makes sense to allow the meta-game of such an environment to sort itself out. People who want to play exclusively with those cards must enjoy playing in an environment where their opponents also are slinging the same types of cards.

    For the generic (Class) crowd, the debate centre’s around the key things that make a good Limited environment. Card selection is made to this end, and cutting cards is as viable as adding cards. Creating an environment in which certain strategies can flourish is all part of the design aspect of the Cube and this helps to create a fun play environment.

    Neither is wrong, just different. Why can’t we all just get along and so on and so forth &c.

    Personally, I’m in the generic crowd because I’m a designer by nature and enjoy analysing and debating the tradeoffs. I’d rather build an environment which is higher on my kind of fun and not so focused on just what’s the best. To me, the very existence of powered, un-powered, Pauper, Peasant and theme cubes, as well as the fact that there is even debate at all about which cards are best, means that there’s room for design. Personally, I’ve got my own un-powered cube. I’ve been taking the advice of people on the MTG Salvation forum and pushing more toward the “canonical” version of the un-powered Cube (i.e. the collective list of the best cards). As I do, I find I’m learning a lot of hard, valuable lessons about design, which is great. I also find that I’m less interested in the Cube itself since it’s no longer mine. That’s just me. But I also have two more “Cubes” that I’m designing – one themed (artifact-based, obv: “Mirrodin Cubed”) and one based primarily around flavour (which so far looks like it will play out too much like a core set Limited environment…still working on that). These latter two are likely to be more interesting to me, the designer. They may have some play value for the people I’m cubing with, but many of them will just want to play with the best cards of all time.

    The point is, I’m in the generic crowd and for me, this was a welcome article and I appreciate the insight. Keep it coming!

  19. great article Coop, I love your approach to the cube strategem (tho let’s be honest, I’ll keep drafting Dragons anyway)

  20. A discussion about the “limited format composed of best cards” and “limited format composed of cards that create the most fun limited format” philosophies of cubing would make a great future article. You could discuss cards like Sol Ring that make it in the former but usually not the latter. Actually colourless ramp in general would be good to discuss, since many cubist having differing opinions on this and it would be interesting to see all the points of view discussed at length. For instance I feel that green has the lowest card quality in cubes, its only strenghts are ramping, fixing, and fatties. I feel that including artifact ramp and fixing completely undermines green’s strengths, Sol Ring is not just better than Llanowar elves, it goes in all decks, allowing nongreen colours to have better acceleration than green. Green’s fatties are also weak in comparison to the other colours, but if green is the only colour with good ramp they become a lot better. It also checks the power of 5CC, and helps aggro against control decks with no green.

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  22. Lol. Ibuprofen is iso-butyl-propanoic-phenolic acid, and is a generic drug, “originally marketed as Brufen, and since then under various other trademarks, the most notable ones being Nurofen, Advil, and Nuprin.” (See Wikipedia). Actually, aspirin (with a lowercase “a”) is a generic name in many countries, though “Aspirin, with a capital “A”, remains a registered trademark of Bayer in Germany, Canada, Mexico, and in over 80 other countries, where the trademark is owned by Bayer” (again see Wikipedia).

    However, I actually meant acetaminophen, which is also known as paracetamol.

    Hopefully the point remains clear – there are different types of cube builders and it’s pointless to argue from one side when the person you’re arguing with in on the other side. Each has a completely different set of assumptions and goals and it makes for meaningless debate.

  23. PlatypusPlatoon

    FANTASTIC set of articles!

    I’m in the process of building a cube, and am worried that it will skew too much towards the control player, with powerful card draw, sweepers, counterspells, and acceleration galore. As a natural aggro player at heart, I really want to push white and red aggro strategies, but don’t really have an idea of how to balance the proportion of cards in my cube. Your articles are an immensely helpful starting point, and you make your cases in a very convincing fashion.

    I’ve played many a cube where the aggro and midrange drafters get stomped on time and again, and want my cube to be the polar opposite. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  24. Pingback: » ^3 – Putting White Back on the Map

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