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The Artifact Cube and the Art of Theme Cubes

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Cubing has come a long way since the days of the Big Box Drafting and Tom Lapille's Original Cube List. Today's cubes come in a number of colorful varieties including: powered, unpowered, common/uncommon, pauper, variant and themed. I've seen lists as small as 200 cards and as large as 1,500. No matter the make and model, cubing is a nice diversion from traditional Magic and allows us to play the role of set designer and to create and refine our own format. As cube designers, we get to decide which cards are broken or not good enough. We can also push strategies which allow cards that may have had no application in any other formats and turn them into a crucial part of the cube's drafting strategy.

Cube Art #1Just as important as the cube design are the cube philosophy, format and the politics of building and playing your cube. What is your goal for building your cube and what is your cube's vision? Do you have a fairly large group of drafters or will this be mostly a 2-4 man format? Would they enjoy a powered format or would they rather play something which resembles a traditional limited environment. Are the players in your group regulars on the local PTQ circuit or do they spend most of their time playing casual formats like EDH? I've had a cube for several years now and I have developed a mission statement of sorts which describes what you should expect to see should you play my main cube list.

My cube is not just a mishmash of the greatest cards ever printed. It's not about playing with all of my favorite cards, flashy combos, or broken decks. The purpose of my cube is to facilitate the most colorful and structured limited formats possible. I want each color to highlight what makes it unique and interesting, and promote a variety of strategies and archetypes. I have put a lot of time into creating a skill-intensive and balanced limited environment, but at the same constantly evolving it to try out new directions. There are very few sacred cows, and I put the enjoyment of the players as the most important reason for including any card.

Creating a mission statement is a great exercise to understand what your cube's vision is and will help to give it some character!

I am a cube enthusiast in every sense of the word. I will even play cube formats I don't particularly like just to get a chance to see what other metagames and formats look like. I believe that any cube, whether it be a common/uncommon, powered, theme, etc. can be a great experience if you take the time and care required to really perfect the design and format. That being said, some of the most fun I've had have been playing theme cubes with weird, fringe card choices that would never see the Light of Day in a typical cube. Last year I decided to expand my horizons and build a non-traditional cube of my own.

Cranial PlatingAbout a year ago, a friend asked me for Feedback on the common/uncommon cube he'd just created. I pulled out about forty cards which I thought had no business being in his list, as well as make suggestions for cards which were missing. Among the cards I pulled for not being good enough was Cranial Plating. As I was explaining why each card wasn't a fit for his list, I would recommend another card for him to use. When I got to plating, I had to read it a couple times. At worst it's a 2 mana equipment that gives +1/+0 and at best, I imagined it wouldn't have been much better than Trusty Machete. We both agreed plating was probably horrible and he went ahead and swapped it for the Machete.

That night I went home and lay out my main cube list in front of me like I do after a long weekend of cubing. Most of the time it's to make small tweaks to the list based on performance, or to temporarily rotate a card that has been getting too much love, but in this case, I was curious if someone might actually be able to abuse cards which rely on artifacts (aside from Inkwell Leviathan, Tinker, Tezzeret the Seeker, etc.). I went through my binders and came across Serum Tank, and read it a few times. Go ahead, I'll give you a moment to read it, I can't blame you if you have no idea what it does. I thought about power-level errata I could give to it which would always make it draw a card, or simply reducing the activation or casting cost to 0. In the end, I decided not to add it, as errata tends to confuse new players, so I try not to include cards with special rules. I tossed it in the binder containing all of ‘on-deck' cards for my cube. Cards in this binder are good enough, had been good enough, or up for consideration to be run in my cube list. If you have a cube and you don't have one of these or at least a spreadsheet with some similar data, do it! It's an extremely useful tool to have around in a pinch.

Serum TankIn the coming weeks, every time I came across Serum Tank, I wished it could be good enough for my cube. For reference, my main cube is a 580 card, unpowered cube built for 6-12 man drafts. In an effort to play the fringe artifact cards, I came up with the idea of allowing for cube voucher cards which would allow someone to draft an artifact package. This package would have about a half a dozen artifacts which a player could draft by only picking one card. Serum Tank was among the artifacts. It diverged a little too far from the direction I wanted to take my cube in and as a result the idea never saw the Light of Day.

One weekend, I was asked to travel out-of-state for my job. I mapped out a route which would take me to as many local gaming stores as possible. One hobby I really enjoy is finding awesome local Magic shops, but that's probably best left for another article. On my journey, I happened on a small shop that had reasonable prices on their singles and a really fun 3/$1 foil binder. As I was flipping through it, I happened across the artifact I hated to love, Serum Tank. I pulled it sifted through a few more pages and found a Domineer. A couple pages later I grabbed a Scepter of Fugue and a few other junk foil rares. As I was thumbing my stack when I was finished, there was a very clear theme in many of the cards I selected. Then it hit me - rather than figure out ways to make Serum Tank good in my cube, why not build a cube in which Serum Tank would be good on its own?

When I got back to my hotel, I rushed down to the lobby and printed out a 100+ page spoiler of every card ever printed that has the word artifact in it. I excitedly ran back up to my room and began highlighting and crossing out cards. I tried to visualize what I owned and didn't own in my collection back home. I decided I would try to spend the coming weeks focusing on building my list while picking up cards at events, tournaments, and online. I was bound and determined to build the artifact cube.

"What does this mean to me? I have no interest in playing an artifact cube, in fact, I hate artifacts and everything they stand for!" While I don't claim to be the authority on theme cubes, I believe the same building principles apply to them as regular cubes. What makes theme cubes particularly interesting to me is that they allow for often unused or neglected cards to see the Light of Day. They also allow for different strategies and different color Balance from normal cubes which make for very exciting drafts and games. Another plus is that they can generally be made for a lot less money, without feeling like they are incomplete. If done right, theme cubes can be even more rewarding to create than regular cubes because of the sheer level of balancing and consideration needs to be made to create a good list and a balanced limited environment. I believe there is a lot of unexplored territory as it relates to theme-cubing, and hopefully as we get more sets and cube gets more press, people will continue to create these amazing mini-formats.

Let's say you've decided on a format you would like to create. Maybe you want to build a pauper cube, or maybe you want to build a cube themed around enchantments or land. I believe to build any cube you need to complete 7 basic steps. I will do my best to relate these seven building steps to how I constructed the artifact cube and hopefully you can use these steps to help outline whatever cube you're trying to create.

You're welcome in advance for not naming this article The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Cube Builders.

1. Establish a Cube Vision – what is it that you want your cube to do? Are you trying to enable big, broken plays with fast mana and super-efficient spells? Do you want a slower format free from cards like Tinker, Upheaval, Armageddon, and Umezawa's Jitte? Is this Tribal cube, and if so, which creature types are you including and how will you Balance them? Will you allow cards which are not in-theme into your cube? Is price an option or will you allow for proxies? Will this be for a big group or a small group? No matter which direction you take it, it's important to understand who will be drafting your cube and what kinds of players they are. I like a combination of both cube philosophies. Our group enjoys a fun, balanced limited environment that rewards tight play and good drafting.

What I did – For the artifact cube I wanted a quick limited format which highlights some of Magic's most iconic and powerful artifacts and mechanics built with artifacts in mind. I wanted to be able to open a pack and have my drafters windmill slam Goblin Welder, Myr Incubator, Tempered Steel or Master of Etherium. Our group typically drafts with 6-10 people, so I wanted to be able to support at least an 8-man. That meant my cube would need to be at least 360 cards large. At this point I had my vision; I had my giant spoiler and highlighter, and I was ready to rock.

2. Keep the Cows Out – one of the biggest downfalls of otherwise good cube lists are the sacred cows. Examples of this are neat foil or beta cards that people have invested a lot of money in picking up and can't bring themselves to cut them. These are among the worst cards in the cube. Not only are they usually clunky and rarely drafted, they're also a Liability! Why carry around your quadruple signed Japanese foil Voltaic Key with matching Beta Time Vault if they're no good in your cube? My advice is to always play the more appropriate card without question. Just because a card doesn't make your current list doesn't mean it will never see the Light of Day. Many cards I have cut from the cubes I have built have been in and out of my list multiple times.

What I Did – Let me give you a list of cards that I have purchased solely for the purpose of using in my cubes which have since been cut and now sit in a binder: Bazaar of Baghdad, Alpha Illusionary Mask, Moat, Overwhelming Forces, Beta Timetwister, 200+ foils, and the list goes on and on and on. Yes, I cried a little inside when I had to cut these cards, but you have to be willing to make these cuts. If you don't make the tough call to cut these cards your list will become stale and people will complain that cards are not good enough and you may see archetypes overdrafted just because they're inherently more powerful than others. I am not saying that you can't include cards which are cool or flashy even if they aren't the best card; that's how you give your cube flavor! Just make sure that flavor doesn't get in the way of Balance. If a card sits in the SB week after week or is underwhelming when it's actually played, it should be cut regardless of how you feel about it.

3. Research Your List – you know what you want your cube to look like, so now it's time to figure out what's going in your list! It's always good to start big and whittle away. This way you can make sure you aren't overemphasizing a card type or are too heavy in a certain color or casting cost. First thing to do is to get everything down on paper and do what you can to see what you have available in your collection. When I research which cards I want to add to my cube I use Gatherer, Magiccards.info. It's best to start with queries you know will be relevant to your cube. For a tribal cube, for instance, query each creature type and figure out if there are any cross-functional areas like Faerie/Rogue or Goblin/Rogue. Other places to look are message boards, or other cube enthusiasts. Depending on what type of cube you've built, there's a good chance someone has a similar list built. Though you may have different Visions, it might give you a good place to start and help you include cards you might have otherwise overlooked.

What I Did – I fired up Excel and put the best 600 cards that interacted in some way with artifacts into a spreadsheet and went to town.

In the months following my trip, I amassed a big stack of cards for this project. I had filled up almost an entire long box with cards which interacted in some way with artifacts. Here are the categories I started with:

1. Destroys artifacts: Shatter, Pernicious Deed, Shatterstorm, Akroma's Vengeance

2. Bounces artifacts – Riftwing Cloudskate, Crystal Shard, Boomerang

3. Regrowth artifacts – Restock, Drafna's Restoration, Argivian Archeologist, Hanna, Ship's Navigator

4. Is an artifact – all equipment, colored artifacts, manafacts

5. Interacts with artifacts – major: Sun Titan, Maelstrom Pulse, Elspeth Tirel, Tezzeret the Seeker

6. Interacts with artifacts – minor: Terror, Nekrataal, Tarmogoyf

There were obvious cards which I didn't think would make the final list including Tinker, Tezzeret, Pernicious Deed and Tolarian Academy, but I kept them in to be sure. You might be asking how those cards would be so good that you couldn't offset their power-level in some way. Two words: artifact lands.

Artifact Lands

Last summer I picked up a fairly sizable collection which contained somewhere in the area of 200 artifact lands from Mirrodin, and I knew I wanted to work them in somehow. I polled my friends and a couple message boards I am a member of and asked what would be the best option. I finally settled on allowing each player to add up to 3 total artifact lands of any combination to their deck after building. This gives a nice boost to decks using artifacts as a resource like Metalworker, Orcish Mechanics, Affinity Creatures, Metalcraft cards, etc. It adds a whole new layer to drafting. You want to include them because they give your cards a nice boost, but you also leave yourself vulnerable to artifact destruction in the early game. Because I want to encourage people to play the artifact lands to spice up the draft decks, I was not hopeful that Deed, Academy and friends would be at all fair.

The idea of adding artifact lands has turned out to be great for our drafts even though me and my group was a little wary of it at first. Don't be afraid to think outside the box a little. If you're building a tribal cube, you could allow your players to add tribal equipment and lands based on the cards they draft. Perhaps a multicolor cube could be allowed to run 1 of each of the tri-lands to allow for more room in the draft for actual spells. No idea is wrong, and you'll never know how good something is until you try it!

4. Make Final Adjustments – The purpose of this phase is to clean things up before you actually commit to sleeving up. The best way to do this is lay out each color like a draft deck in front of you. If blue has 60 cards and every other color only has 40, then you need to figure out how you can Balance your colors. The same thing goes for casting costs. A lot of colors tend to get clogged in the 2-3 mana slot, so be wary of all your creatures being 3 drops, and all your removal spells at 2 mana. Make sure you're giving plenty of attention to aggro and control strategies. Decide which cards are necessary and which cards you can live without. If you're running a theme cube, are you running enough of a certain strategy or card type to keep a color or color pair competitive? Try not include cards just because you like or don't like them. Ultimately do what is best for your group. If your group doesn't like land destruction, then it's probably a bad idea to include the full suite of Geddons and Stone Rain effects. After you've made the final adjustments, you should be ready to sleeve up and start drafting!

What I Did – When I first organized all the physical cards out in front of me, there were an overwhelming number of cards which 1-for-2 artifacts. Rack and Ruin and Rebuild are obviously way too efficient to merit inclusion especially since I hadn't had any experience running a normal list. My gut said that if someone was spending 4-6 mana on an artifact only to have two of them invalidated by one spell, wasn't going to make for a very fun format. Pernicious Deed, Shatterstorm, Pulverize, Energy Flux, and Kataki, War's Rage are so clearly overpowered and difficult to Stop That it didn't feel worth adding to the initial list. My logic was that if the format was so lightning quick that these cards would be okay, that I could simply add them if I wanted to. Spoiler: they're still way too good.

One thing to note when building a theme cube is that there is little to no good removal for creatures since most removal doesn't talk about a tribe or a specific card type. Building an enchantment-based cube, for instance would probably give you a grand total of 5 removal spells worth playing in the entire Magic Arcana. What this meant was that if I had run the artifact cube running only cards that interacted with artifacts, there would be little to no answers to a resolved non-artifact creature outside of a short list of cards like Oblivion Ring.

The solution? I injected a very small amount of evergreen creatures and spells to help Balance things out a bit. I tried to give each color a wrath effect and a good assortment of targeted removal. Each color has its own theme and archetypes which I will break down for each color below. With the addition of these evergreen cards, I decided my list was as good as it was going to get. I was now ready to start drafting!

5. The First Ten Drafts – This is the most important step. Initially people will draft what they know. This means the staples like Tarmogoyf, Swords to Plowshares, Strip Mine, Wrath of God, etc. are picked quite high. Many cards which you purposely included to enable strategies will not be picked because your group may be unsure of actually how good they might be. It is your job to draft these cards and beat your opponents with them! A little trash talking helps as does encouraging your drafters to make unique picks during the draft. During this stage people will say things like ‘really?' or ‘this has to be too good'. For the naysayers, tell them to pick the card they have doubts about. The data you get in the first ten drafts is going to be invaluable, so be sure to note which cards are hot and which aren't quite catching on.

What I Did – In the artifact cube people drastically underestimated how good reusable artifact removal was. Again, it is your job to show your drafters how good the cards you've decided to include are! My friend Sam Stoddard showed me very early on how good Gorilla Shaman is in a format with artifact lands and Liquimetal Coating. After going 4-0 in his first draft with a fairly insane R/G artifact hate deck, it made me think that my removal count was slightly too high.

I made an interesting discovery fairly early on in creating my cube that some cards I thought were fair were completely busted in half. The best example of this is Tinker VS Transmute Artifact VS Reshape VS Fabricate. Tinker was obviously way too good to include in the initial list, so I instead opted for Transmute Artifact. Transmute Artifact became far too easy to abuse with cards like Borderposts and early artifact mana, that it became unfair. Reshape was much more balanced, but still provided an effect which was just slightly too cheap. Fabricate is just slightly worse than Reshape, in my opinion, but enough so that I believe we can include it without fear of it being too good.

Others I didn't think would be that great ended up being amazing. Sage of Lat Nam is one that I knew would be pretty good, but he has proven to be in the top 5 blue cards in the whole cube! Another card is Nuisance Engine. It has so many interactions I didn't realize until I had it played against me several times over the weekend and it made my life a living hell! It's seeing new life being breathed into otherwise terrible cards that made building the cube such a blast. That and seeing everyone gather around a table and watch how truly good Metalcraft, Imprint, Modular, etc. are as limited mechanics.

6. Post-Draft Tweaking – after ten drafts you should have an idea of what your cube needs and doesn't need. If everyone was playing 5-color decks, then you probably have too much fixing. If no one played aggro, then you probably need to add more 1-drops and equipment. Tweaking is an organic process and should be never-ending. I regularly make updates to my main cube list as I want my format to always be evolving and changing.

What I Did – l will Reiterate a point from before, every cube should be a work in progress. What you do after the first ten drafts is crucial. Be sure not to write cards off just because you don't like them or because you didn't see them do something broken. Many cards require a little more finesse to get them to work, or on occasion, you simply need to point out to someone how a card works! An example of this is Arcbound Crusher. It triggers whenever an artifact comes into play, and it has trample! Let me tell you, this guy gets big FAST and he has modular. He's a total beast to deal with, and he sat in the sideboard the first five or six drafts. The first time he really saw play, my opponent played a Myr Battlesphere then I cast Copy Artifact on the same Battlesphere turning my 4/4 Crusher into a 14/14 modular and swung for the win. For the rest of the weekend, people were picking him very high.

Another thing to remember with post-draft tweaking is to not be afraid to add or Remove cards to adjust the power level. If things are playing a little too fast and broken for you, try to see which cards are enabling the big plays. If it's because of the inherent power of an archetype, maybe you should cut a few of the big players out of the picture. If it's because of the power of individual cards, do you really feel that those cards add enough value or do they distort your metagame to the point where their flavor is lost and people merely pick them because of the blowout potential.

7. Maintenance and Expansion – at this point you have more than enough drafts under your belt that your cube is really taking shape. You need to make sure you're doing everything you can to keep the format fun, challenging, and fresh. You will need to regularly evaluate color distribution and curves. Are aggro strategies viable or is it a giant mid-range fest? If so, there's a good chance you have too many 4-6 drops. Are the themes and cycles you're pushing getting adopted or are people gravitating toward the same colors and archetypes? This might mean that you need to cut back on the power level for a particular color or strategy. Remember, don't be afraid to cut cards if it means your format gets better for it. In the end, people will be so busy building their decks, they won't realize those cards are gone. Just be careful not to cut the wrong kinds of cards. Aggro decks, for instance, expect to see the right number of early-drops, equipment, and disruption spells to make them tick. Control decks will want a good mix of sweepers, Counterspell and efficient removal. Try to swap apples for apples when you're making your cuts unless you are purposely trying to empower or nerf a specific strategy.

What I Did – I like to look at my cube as a work in progress. I try to evaluate the entire list after every 3-5 drafts. What cards were great and which were not so great. If I was to guess, I'd say I've changed out about 150 cards and made 10 major updates to the list over about 100 drafts. That's about 2 card swaps per draft and 1 major update for every 10 drafts. You do whatever is best for your group. Maybe you poll them after you finish drafting and you vote cards out of the cube. Maybe you want to keep the same list and only update when a new set comes out. At the end of the day, do what's best for your group. If you stick to these steps, you should have all the makings of a successful list. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the end result should be worth it.

I've spent a lot of time explaining my process and reasoning for building my cube, but nothing paints the picture better than seeing a list. I have included a small write-up after each section explaining some of the best cards and typical archetypes you might see with that color. Without further Delay, I present to you: The Artifact Cube!

White Top 5

  1. Stoneforge Mystic
  2. Stonehewer Giant
  3. Tempered Steel
  4. Oblivion Ring
  5. Faith's Fetters

White Strategies

White is the color to play if you're pushing aggro. This is due in no small part to the equipment tutoring and cheap, efficient beaters in the 1-3CC slot. Cards like Stoneforge Mystic become quite good due to the small cube size and increased number of equipment. I have tried to also put cards in which act as disruption for the W-based aggro decks like Oblation, Purge and Journey to Nowhere. The equipment bonus creatures get very big, very fast, and have been really solid with all the swords and other equipment.

White can also be played in a more controlling deck. U/W, for instance, has access to several great gold cards including Hanna, Ship's Navigator, and Filigree Angel. Scepter of Dominance and Faith's Fetters are natural fits in both control and ramp decks.

Blue Top 5

  1. Copy Artifact
  2. Memnarch
  3. Steal Artifact
  4. Master Transmuter
  5. Trinket Mage

Blue Strategies

If you've ever built a cube before, you'll know that blue is typically the color which has more cards than any other color fighting for slots. My current on-deck list includes about 200 possible cards, and I would say at least 50 of them are blue. That being said, there are cards which are decidedly absent from my list from being too powerful. Playing with Tolarian Academy, Tinker, and Tezzeret the Seeker was not very fun or interactive. The problem with these cards is that they distort blue to a point where it's the wrong decision not to draft these cards because they're so powerful. I didn't want a format that players would be fighting over blue cards the whole time, and I think I've done a pretty good job at creating that format.

Blue is the color of tricks. Blue likes to steal, copy, bounce, tutor, and recur artifacts. It's the jack of all trades, and it does them all very well. Blue's two biggest roles in the cube are as the base control color, and it is a good fit for anyone playing any ‘combo' decks. Cards like Trinket Mage go from being okay in a normal limited/cube format, to being a super Civic Wayfinder, being able to search up artifact lands and utility artifacts like Brittle Effigy or Engineered Explosives. If you're playing blue, you're probably trying to cheat creatures into play or Overwhelm your opponents with card advantage. Blue is a good color to draft in this cube if you haven't played the cube before.

Black Top 5

  1. Emissary of Despair
  2. Gate to Phyrexia
  3. Skeleton Shard
  4. Geth, Lord of the Vault
  5. Beacon of Unrest

Black Strategies

There are quite a few cards in the cube which pose significant threats to entire deck strategies if you don't have a way to get them off the board early. Black provides the tools to do that. Due to black typically getting poor support for artifacts in past blocks, black has taken on the role of playing targeted removal like Shriekmaw and Nekrataal. Having access to these cards means cards like Hanna, Sun Titan, Scarwood Bandits, or Goblin Welder won't get out of control. With two more artifact sets coming out after Mirrodin, I am hopeful that black will get some new life breathed into it. Its best application are in B/R disruption decks or B/G rock decks. I have also seen some very sharp looking U/B artifact aggro lists as well.

Red Top 5

  1. Goblin Welder
  2. Keldon Vandals
  3. Godo, Bandit Warlord
  4. Pillage
  5. Hoard-Smelter Dragon

Red Strategies

Red is the color of destruction and flying dragons. Red has a lot of 1 for 1 artifact removal and also has several reusable artifact removal spells. Typically red is paired with white for W/R aggro-equipment, or green for the dedicated hate deck. Red is also provided with a number of burn spells making it very useful to kill color and artifact creatures alike. Red has some of the only land destruction in the whole cube, and it is very useful in supplementing aggro strategies.

Green Top 5

  1. Scarwood Bandits
  2. Hidden Gorillas
  3. Baloth Cage Trap
  4. Glissa Sunseeker
  5. Molder Slug

Green Strategies

Green is the hate color. It can play well alongside artifacts by drafting manafacts or equipment to power out big threats, or it can simply play no artifacts at all to abuse cards like Molder Slug and to limit your opponents' option on what they can target. Reusable artifact removal is very, very good in this format. Cards like Glissa and Scarwood Bandits are very early picks due to how difficult they are to Remove and how powerful they are once you get to untap with them in play. Green also helps to enable 3-5 color decks which want to take advantage of some of the bigger gold cards by having access to cards like birds and a variety of mana tutors. Admittedly, I think there is still a little too much artifact removal in green and I am looking to spread this across other colors in the near future.

Multicolor Top 5

  1. Crime//Punishment
  2. Putrefy
  3. Thornscape Battlemage
  4. Void
  5. Ethersword Adjucator

Multi Color Strategies

I tried to pick cards which help supplement strategies and give you a reason to go into those color combinations. I am hoping that the next couple sets in the Scars block provide us with a few more multicolor artifact cards so I can continue building this section out.

Land Top 5

  1. Tower of the Magistrate
  2. Mishra's Factory
  3. Glimmervoid
  4. Blinkmoth Nexus
  5. Urza's Factory

Land Strategies

There aren't really land strategies, persé, but I did put a lot of thought into which lands I decided to include. I tried bouncelands and fetchlands, but they all seemed forced. The tri-lands and Vivid lands seemed to feel the most natural without feeling too good. I might introduce some more fixing if I don't see enough 3-color decks, but I think it's pretty good for now. The manlands are great in helping to push aggro decks, and cards like Tower of the Magistrate are much better than people remember by doubling as a combat trick and a way to make equipment fall off your opponent's creatures.

Artifact Creature Top 5

  1. Arcbound Crusher
  2. Karn, Silver Golem
  3. Arcbound Ravager
  4. Duplicant
  5. Molten-Tail Masticore

Utility Artifacts Top 5

  1. Staff of Domination
  2. Sculpting Steel
  3. Tangle Wire
  4. Sensei's Divining Top
  5. Myr Incubator

Equipment Top 5

  1. Skullclamp
  2. Bonesplitter
  3. Sword of Fire and Ice
  4. Sword of Light and Shadow
  5. Sword of Body and Mind

Manafacts Top 5

  1. Mox Opal
  2. Mox Diamond
  3. Coalition Relic
  4. Grim Monolith
  5. Thran Dynamo

Artifact Strategies

Here they are, the glue that holds the cube together. I have tried to Balance aggro and control strategies by keeping the creature count fairly high across the board. I didn't want artifacts to be so overwhelming that everyone was playing mono-brown decks. With that in mind, the artifacts are really here to Balance out the draft strategies I have set for all of my color combinations.

We have about 100 drafts done with this cube so far and it has turned out to be a big hit. It has taken a lot of preparation and upkeep to make it work, but I am very pleased with the end result. The single best way I get Feedback is to ask my cube drafters what they thought of their deck or how they felt about playing against certain cards. If your group is a little smaller, try to post your list somewhere online and see if other cube experts can point you in the right direction. My hope is that now you've seen my artifact cube, you will be inspired to build a cube of your own. For more information on cubing, check the resources at the bottom of the article, and don't hesitate to ask me questions in the comments section of the article or via Twitter! I hope you have enjoyed this article!

Matt “Kranny” Kranstuber

@kstube on Twitter

kranagami@gmail.com

Resources:

www.magiccards.info

The MTGSalvation Cube Forum

www.cubedrafting.com

Gatherer