The Magic Show #61 — Gleaming The Cube

Watch Evan Erwin every Friday... on StarCityGames.com!
Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to revisit one of my text articles from last year and focus on the Cube. What is the cube? It’s 410 cards of pure joy, and if you’ve warmed up to the latest Type 4 craze, I think you’ll dig this too. WARNING: Contains Spoilers.

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to revisit one of my text articles from last year and focus on the Cube. What is the cube? It’s 410 cards of pure joy, and if you’ve warmed up to the latest Type 4 craze, I think you’ll dig this too.

Gleaming The Cube

Last April I wrote a nice, long piece on The Cube. The Cube, which is ironically not in a cube shape at all, is 50 of the best cards in each color, 50 of the best artifacts and lands, and 60 multicolor cards. Multicolor gets ten more than the rest, one for each three-color combination.

The balance of the colors is important, as every color but Green and Blue get twenty-five creatures and spells. Green of course has more creatures than spells, and Blue, being the best color in Magic, has more spells than creatures. It certainly seems fitting.

What makes The Cube so damn special? Here’s how my buddy EJ sums it up:

[[CLIP: “The cube is broken, and that’s the point.”]]

Its kind of like drafting Vintage. You get to play with what are arguably the most powerful cards a mage can wield, particularly in a Limited environment, and are given the tools for a variety of decks. One of the most fun things you can do is add and remove cards, and relish in the subsequent arguments over their power levels. Let’s take for instance this conversation on Vesuvan Shapeshifter’s new addition to The Cube.

[[Vesuvan Shapeshifter versus Meloku argument]]

But if you talk about how good certain cards are, what about cards that are overrated in The Cube? Here’s one that may shock you:

[[CLIP — Black Lotus is overrated]]

And then of course you have the cards that sneak up on you…

[[CLIP — Scroll Rack]]

Basically you want to build a Cube where the following is true:

[[CLIP — 15th Pick]]

However, the most important thing to note about The Cube is not that you can just draft a bunch of good cards and win. Drafting the Cube, or rather, drafting it well, means that you draft to archetype, not to preference. Here are a few favorite archetypes from some friends of mine.

[[CLIPS — Archetypes — U/R Bounce, Reanimator, Weenie, Mono Red, U/G]]

There are plenty of other archetypes as well, such as Black/White control. A slow deck like that one also relies a lot on discard elements. But those can be dangerous in The Cube, as you’ll see…

[[CLIP — Topdeck]]

Simply, it takes more than picking an archetype to succeed. Here are a few tips from Cube veterans:

[[CLIPS — Tips: Hate draft, Lands, Reusable abilities]]

And of course, no Cube draft would be complete without a kick ass Bad Beat story:

[[CLIPS — Bad Beat Story]]

My friend Joe is convinced he knows why I like The Cube so much.

[[CLIP — Hyperbole]]

What can I say, I love me some exciting adjectives.

Anyway, as you can see, I love my Cube. I think it’s a hell of a draft format. And while it may not be Type 4 with its free mana and insane stacks, it’s just as skill testing, fun, and rewarding. I’m extremely happy to have The Cube back up and running with modern cards and look forward to many updates as new sets are released. I’m also scheduling Gaddock Teeg and Brion Stoutarm for inclusion before the next go-around.

Speaking of Lorwyn, how about those new, official previews?

The Official Lorwyn Sneak Peeks

In this week’s rundown I get to include myself and buddies’ take on the Monday spoilers. First up we take a look at Timber Protector, the card that Mark Rosewater said would make you say “wow”…

[[CLIP — Timber Protector]]

And I mean that. Timber Protector may not make a long-lasting impact, but I’m sure in both block and Standard you’ll see him around. I know he looks like Timmy’s Dreamboat, but again, with such an easy to squeeze in mana cost, a hell of an efficient body to boot, once two hit the board, they’re virtually never going away. Cruel Edict hasn’t been played in ages, and there is no more Barter in Blood. Not a card I would quickly dismiss.

Next up we talk about the card which actually made me say wow, Gaddock Teeg, whose name I couldn’t recall at the time.

[[CLIP — Gaddock Teeg]]

Continuing on here, this little fella is going to change the game for a long time. Hyperbole or no, this guy will forever be a Vintage Fish staple, and will be causing havoc with Tarmogoyf in Standard and Extended for some time. There’s just something incredibly alluring about a card that says “no.” And as long as you can keep him out there, just like Meddling Mage, something that denies cards outright will always find a place. And this one denies a whole bunch, including solid win conditions in old formats (Tendrils of Agony) and new (Tendrils of Corruption).

Next we talk a little bit about Shapeshifters.

[[CLIP — Shapeshifters]]

Lastly let’s take a look at what will no doubt be future chase rares, the dual land cycle. Oh yes ladies and gents, there is a dual land cycle and it is frickin’ sweet.

You ready for this jelly? Let’s go:

Secluded Glen
As Secluded Glen comes into play, you may reveal a Faerie card from you hand, if you do, Secluded comes into play untapped. Otherwise, it comes into play tapped
T: add U or B to your mana pool

The others known so far are a G/W dual for Kithkin, and B/G for Elves. Wow! Now these are some seriously impressive tribal lands. I absolutely love ‘em. I can’t wait to try them out. Be sure to pick yours up as soon as possible.

So that’s a look at Lorwyn for this week. But what about the Invitational Card?

You Make The Invitational Card — Part 4

Okay everybody, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to submit card ideas. But first, take a look at the potential artist for this card. Look at this picture sent to me by Brenden Hickey. He’s set to become an art teacher, and is well on his way. I want to thank him for this awesome artwork and for the hair on my head I no longer have.

Anyway, after we choose a card idea I’ll send it his way for a quick sketch. This is just something to get the juices flowing.

So here’s what I need from you: I need the cost, rules text, and power, and toughness only. Flavor text selection is after mechanic selection, so including it is wasting my time.

There are only two rules: You may only post one card idea. If you post two ideas, I’ll only consider at the last one. And you must submit the idea on the StarCityGames.com forum. No YouTube messages are eligible. Sorry, it’s just easier to keep track of that way.

Next week we’ll take my favorite 8 ideas and pair them with two of my own suggestions, and from those ten you guys will vote for the card I submit to Wizards as my Invitational prize. Sound like fun? Then join in!

And that’s all for this week, everybody. So until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards so you don’t have to.

[[SPECIAL CLIP — Outtake: The Rap Song]]

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Written while waiting for Wizards to show me another preview card.

Appendix — Cube List

White Cards

Akroma’s Vengeance
Decree of Justice
Judge Unworthy
Enlightened Tutor
Faith’s Fetters
Final Judgment
Flickering Ward
Griffin Guide
Sacred Mesa
Land Tax
Momentary Blink
Orim’s Chant
Pulse of the Fields
Return To Dust
Shining Shoal
Swords to Plowshares
Wrath of God
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Eternal Dragon
Exalted Angel
Intrepid Hero
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Karmic Guide
Magus of the Disk
Mother of Runes
Order of Leitbur
Paladin en-Vec
Pristine Angel
Savannah Lions
Serra Angel
Serra Avenger
Silver Knight
Soltari Monk
Soltari Priest
Spectral Lynx
True Believer
White Knight
Yosei, the Morning Star

Blue Cards

Ancestral Recall
Arcane Denial
Control Magic
Deep Analysis
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
Force Spike
Gifts Ungiven
Mana Drain
Mana Leak
Mystical Teachings
Mystical Tutor
Pact of Negation
Psionic Blast
Spell Snare
Stroke of Genius
Take Possession
Thirst for Knowledge
Time Walk
Aeon Chronicler
Body Double
Dominating Licid
Draining Whelk
Gilded Drake
Jushi Apprentice
Keiga, the Tide Star
Looter il-Kor
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Rainbow Efreet
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Thieving Magpie
Tradewind Rider
Uyo, Silent Prophet
Venser, Shaper Savant
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Waterfront Bouncer

Black Cards

Beacon of Unrest
Chainer’s Edict
Dark Ritual
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Edict
Dread Return
Echoing Decay
Hymn to Tourach
Innocent Blood
Mind Twist
Night’s Whisper
Phyrexian Arena
Recurring Nightmare
Grim Harvest
Slaughter Pact
Snuff Out
Sudden Death
Vampiric Tutor
Black Knight
Bone Shredder
Cao, Cao, Lord of Wei
Chainer, Dementia Master
Grinning Demon
Hypnotic Specter
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Juzam Djinn
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Knight of Stromgald
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
Nantuko Shade
Nezumi Graverobber
Nezumi Shortfang
Nightscape Familiar
Phyrexian Plaguelord
Royal Assassin
Skeletal Vampire
Stinkweed Imp
Visara the Dreadful
Withered Wretch

Red Cards

Genju of the Spires
Molten Disaster
Hammer of Bogardan
Jackal Pup
Lightning Bolt
Magma Jet
Pact of the Titan
Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
Shattering Pulse
Sudden Shock
Urza’s Rage
Volcanic Hammer
Wheel of Fortune
Word of Seizing
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Avalanche Riders
Blistering Firecat
Bogardan Hellkite
Flametongue Kavu
Fortune Thief
Frenzied Goblin
Goblin Sharpshooter
Gorilla Shaman
Greater Gargadon
Grim Lavamancer
Hearth Kami
Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker
Kird Ape
Kumano, Master Yamabushi
Mogg Fanatic
Rorix Bladewing
Scorched Rusalka
Shivan Dragon
Siege-Gang Commander
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Sulfur Elemental
Volcano Hellion

Green Cards

Call of the Herd
Constant Mists
Crop Rotation
Defense of the Heart
Elephant Guide
Krosan Grip
Moldervine Cloak
Nostalgic Dreams
Pattern of Rebirth
Rude Awakening
Saproling Burst
Sprout Swarm
Stonewood Invocation
Survival of the Fittest
Sylvan Library
Albino Troll
Birds of Paradise
Deranged Hermit
Eternal Witness
Heartwood Storyteller
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Kodama of the North Tree
Llanowar Elves
Ohran Viper
Phantom Centaur
Ravenous Baloth
River Boa
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Skyshroud Elite
Spectral Force
Troll Ascetic
Vinelasher Kudzu
Viridian Shaman
Viridian Zealot
Wall of Blossoms
Wild Mongrel
Yavimaya Elder


Aether Spellbomb
Aether Vial
Akroma’s Memorial
Crystal Shard
Cursed Scroll
Grim Monolith
Isochron Scepter
Phyrexian Processor
Pithing Needle
Scroll Rack
Sensei’s Divining Top
Winter Orb
Darksteel Colossus
Platinum Angel
Solemn Simulacrum
Black Lotus
Coalition Relic
Lotus Petal
Mana Vault
Mox Diamond
Mox Emerald
Mox Jet
Mox Peal
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Prismatic Lens
Sol Ring
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Impulse
Talisman of Indulgence
Talisman of Progress
Talisman of Unity
Lightning Greaves
Loxodon Warhammer
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Light and Shadow
Umezawa’s Jitte
Nevinyrral’s Disk
Oblivion Stone
Powder Keg


Azorius Guildmage
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Court Hussar
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Blazing Specter
Kaervek the Merciless
Strangling Soot
Giant Solifuge
Burning Tree Shaman
Rumbling Slum
Savage Twister
Armadillo Cloak
Glare of Subdual
Loxodon Hierarch
Phantom Nishoba
Saffi Eriksdotter
Angel of Despair
Desolation Angel
Debtors’ Knell
Firemane Angel
Goblin Legionnaire
Brion Stoutarm
Lightning Helix
Izzet Guildmage
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Trygon Predator
Simic Sky Swallower
Mystic Snake
Coiling Oracle
Grave-Shell Scarab
Pernicious Deed
Dromar’s Charm
Rith, the Awakener
Teneb, the Harvester
Lighting Angel
Vorosh, the Hunter
Intet, the Dreamer


Academy Ruins
Ancient Tomb
Library of Alexandria
Maze of Ith
Miren, the Moaning Well
Mishra’s Factory
Strip Mine
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Urza’s Factory
Volrath’s Stronghold
Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author]
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Adarkar Wastes
Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
Caves of Koilos
Karplusan Forest
Llanowar Wastes
Shivan Reef
Sulfurous Springs
Underground River
Yavimaya Coast
Blood Crypt
Breeding Pool
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Overgrown Tomb
Sacred Foundry
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Watery Grave
Bloodstained Mire
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
City of Brass
Gemstone Mine
Reflecting Pool
Thawing Glaciers