Custom Cube Project: Release The Kraken!

Don’t miss the conclusion and finished product of Ali Aintrazi and Justin Parnell’s Custom Cube Project!

It feels a bit strange writing this final article about the Custom Cube Project. After all, if you’ve kept up with us, you know pretty much all there is to know about it. If not and you’d like to learn more, you can check out our introduction and Justin Parnell two articles about design and development. You also probably know that the file to download the cube is at the bottom of this page.

Be assured that if you skip this article and go straight to the download link, I not only won’t stand in your way but would agree with you. It’s what I would do. After downloading it, then I would come back and read part or the whole article. For those of you who like to read and want to hear more about this project of ours, keep on reading. Either way, I hope everyone enjoys playing with this cube as much as we’ve enjoyed designing and testing it!

We designed the cube with goals in mind. We wanted a certain number of hybrid cards, creature cards, enchantment cards, etc. We wanted certain archetypes to flourish and do well, and we succeeded in doing that. Sometimes an archetype was too strong or too weak, and we made adjustments to it until it suited our needs. But there were also times when someone did the unexpected.

Gather ’round children, and let me tell you this glorious tale. We had designed a card that was a build around me card. You could also cast this card if you were desperate enough without any setup, and it would either put you back in the game or you just died with nothing of relevance in play, your hand, or your graveyard. Let me show you this card before I go any further.

For the longest time, this card went very late; nobody wanted to play it because when they did they just instantly lost. Parnell wanted to cut this card badly, and I couldn’t rightfully disagree with him. I loved this card, though. In a way it’s like the miracle keyword, but it also has a downside if you don’t set it up properly. Luckily I was able to convince Justin to keep the card in for one more weekend, and oh boy was I glad I did!

Pursuit got drafted by a genius that built around it and put it to good use. I believe he ended up going 3-1 overall, but when he combo’d off he combo’d off. Every time I saw him cast the card my heart fluttered, and when he started going bat poop crazy I fell in love with the card and the deck. To see a card you designed get played like you never imagined is like that beautiful girl you know that’s out of your league coming up to you and starting a conversation. It’s an amazing feeling that fills you with confidence, pride, and has you thinking, "Wow, I’m lucky."

Who could have known that this card’s last weekend would make it a staple in the cube? We certainly didn’t, but I’m glad it is. For the longest time I drafted that archetype to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and to my excitement it wasn’t. There are very few cards that go from design through development to print and stay the exact way they started. I’m happy to say that Pursuit of Amnesia was one of them.

So you’ve printed the whole cube out, you cut the cards like a mechanic, and now you are finally finished sleeving them up. You had no idea it would take you this long, but it’s worth it. You grab some friends, fire up a draft, and people are exclaiming, "OMG OP," or they are getting tired of reading all the new cards. Maybe it’s a little bit overwhelming to draft all these new cards. Just remind them this is like drafting a new set like the recently released Return to Ravnica.

It’s gonna take time to get used to all the new cards and to see what works together and what doesn’t. The more you play, the more you’ll see the synergies and know what the cards do without having to read them just like any other Magic card. Just keep this in mind: this is a cube so all the cards are powerful and good in some way, shape, or form. There is no Soul Tithe, Search the City, or unplayable cards like Slaughter Games. This cube also differs from other cubes because we don’t have bad cards that are needed for an archetype like Carnophage and Wild Dogs. Every card was designed with a purpose in mind—there is no filler.

There are also very powerful cards that tip the scales of the game out of nowhere like Bonfire of the Damned, Mind Twist, and Sulfuric Vortex. Even though you may hate those cards, they make the game fun for a lot more people. It gives people that aren’t as good as you, that mulliganed, or that have a bad matchup against you a chance to crush you and brag about it. And believe it or not, that’s healthy for the game. Magic would get boring very quickly if it were like chess, and people would lose interest relatively fast. Enjoy playing with your friends, enjoy the cube, and just have a fun time.

Before we leave you to your own devices, we’d like to thank many people for supporting and helping make the Custom Cube Project possible. First off, a big thank you to all the people that helped test the cube and gave us constructive feedback at Grand Prix and SCG Open Series events, especially both of our local games stores, Be There Games and Cape Fear Games. Without you, it would’ve taken a lot longer to finish our beloved project.

Another huge thanks to Lee McLeod and Larry Swasey for making sure the cards read correctly and that we didn’t miss a "Then shuffle your library,"  "Until end of turn," and many other little grammatical errors. Thanks to Dave Heilker, who actually designed our first mechanic (backburner) and helped jump start our brains. We plugged the names of many people that helped into the cards in some way. We tried to make sure everyone that helped got a little piece of the pie. Even our fan page got to design the last card that went into the CCP!

Again, thank you all so much, and happy cubing!

You can follow us on Twitter at @AliEldrazi and @JParnell1.

And our Custom Cube Facebook page.

Download the Custom Cube here!