It’s time. Are you ready? The Community Cube debut is here, and the world is invited. The Cube is on site at Worlds, sleeved, prepped, and ready to rumble with the champions. We’re in for a wild ride.
Telling you that everything is ready isn’t the same as showing you. Here is a summary of the goods.
Shade of Trokair, my most despised among 1-drops, and Wall of Glare, the most absurd delaying mechanism I’ve seen, got the axe. I can gleefully say that Village Bell-Ringer will delay, but in an interactive way, and Bonds of Faith will remove—far better than an aggressive Shade. Both changes help White’s aggression and defense.
I don’t always play Blue, but when I do, I prefer to cast Stitched Drake (rather than Cloud Spirit) and Claustrophobia (rather than Telekinesis). And I want to remind voters at home that card eligibility is determined by the lowest rarity across paper Magic and Magic Online, so Telekinesis is legal here since it’s a common on Magic Online. And there’s certainly more discussion to be had about eligibility and rarity. (Though you did vote to make this so!)
The symmetry of the changes in Black is art. Raven's Crime was a Dead Weight, and Geth's Verdict was a Victim of Night. The speed of the spells, the mana costs required, and the desired effects all match up in a beautiful parallel. There isn’t much to say here.
The only change from the Innistrad winners was the addition of Village Ironsmith. This was the compromised victory from last week’s Werewolf voting. Among voters, 40% declined adding any Werewolf, but the next largest cluster was 36% and wanted to add Ironfang. Clearly, “want to add at least one” outweighed “don’t add one at all,” so we grabbed the most desired choice.
One Werewolf, on a close watch for performance, can’t hurt too much. Brimstone Volley easily cleared the hurdle, and together with our new furry friend, they kicked out Goblin Patrol and Aftershock. Good riddance.
Green removal began with a trickle in the form of Arachnus Web in Magic 2012. The oncoming flood is apparent in Innistrad. Both Ambush Viper and Prey Upon are Green removal to the letter. Pouncing Jaguar is awkward, and Centaur Courser is boring, and they won’t be missed.
While I’m still sad that my favorite Limited card from Innistrad, Feeling of Dread, didn’t make it through the voting, a close second is Travel Preparations, and its companion Avacyn's Pilgrim actually made it. This bolsters G/W as midrange color pair—kicking out Shield of the Oversoul and Sigil Blessing helps reinforce that.
Now, the good stuff.
If you haven’t drafted the Cube before, or if you are unfamiliar with the common archetypes of the Community Cube, here is a quick cheat sheet you can use to test things out over at the Tapped Out Community Cube online draft!
To be clear, these are oversimplifications of allied color pairings meant to illustrate the most common, and supported, ways to play. Feel free to expand, discuss, and review more details in the comments!
- Evasive White and Blue creatures (such as Stitched Drake)
- Bounce and removal (such as Bonds of Faith and Claustrophobia)
- Countermagic (such as Force Spike and Counterspell)
- Attack quickly and often with evasive creatures
- Slow down the opponent while clearing away any blockers
Why It’s Good:
- In a pinch, you can gain life, be defensive, and play as a control deck.
- If an opponent plays around counterspells, he is sacrificing tempo and giving you room to attack.
- Many quick creatures (such as Village Ironsmith)
- A high density of removal spells (such as Brimstone Volley and Dead Weight)
- Very low, aggressive mana curve (Running sixteen lands is normal.)
- Drop an opponent’s life total into burn range as quickly as possible
- Overpower and trade immediate damage for long-term stability
Why It’s Good:
- It punishes slow decks that don’t have a solid early game.
- It punishes bad draws and bad mulligan decisions.
- It forces the opponent to play how you want to play.
- Card selection and tutoring (such as Forbidden Alchemy and Mystical Teachings)
- Powerful, more universal removal (such as Victim of Night and Ashes to Ashes)
- Strong, late-game finishers (such as Twisted Abomination and Errant Ephemeron)
- Stabilize against anything aggressive using superior cards and two-for-ones
- Use card selection and draw to pull ahead
- Land and protect a powerful finisher to close the game quickly once control is established
Why It’s Good:
- You have better cards that give you the opportunities to make better decisions.
- Card filtering helps you find what you need, when you need it.
- Mana bugs or ramp spells (such as Avacyn's Pilgrim and Llanowar Elves)
- Efficient bodies to cast early (such as Blastoderm and Stampeding Rhino)
- Removal or pump spells (such as Prey Upon and Travel Preparations)
- Accelerate as early as possible
- Play larger, more problematic creatures sooner
- Use equipment and pump spells to overpower defenses
Why It’s Good:
- Early efficient creatures are very problematic to answer.
- Using the largest creatures will allow you to win the ground war.
- Bits of evasion and removal feel more valuable.
- Efficient creatures with powerful abilities (such as Ambush Viper and Pouncing Kavu)
- Larger burn spells (such as Pyrotechnics and Rolling Thunder)
- “Value dudes” along the curve (such as Viridian Emissary and Civic Wayfinder)
- Maximize land-drops to best leverage big, Red spells
- Gain incremental value at every step of the curve
Why It’s Good:
- It punishes slower, less consistent decks.
- It always hits land-drops for big spells.
- It most easily splashes a third color (usually White or Black).
- Morphs and colorless creatures (such as Shaper Parasite and Yotian Soldier)
- Colorless and easy-to-cast removal (such as Blazing Torch and Curse of Chains)
- Bounce lands and Signets (such as Boros Garrison and Boros Signet)
- Play the best and most valuable cards in your deck
- Avoid color commitment and maximize the potential of every draft pick
- Oscillate between aggro and control when needed
Why It’s Good:
- Bounce lands and Signets let you cast anything easily.
- You use the best of everything, both creatures and spells, each game.
- Opponents will be less able to react to disparate, random cards.
Who Needs Worlds?
If you’re like most of the world and missing out on the San Francisco delight, there is a solution: draft the Community Cube online. Use the Tapped Out version to set up a draft, invite a few friends to join, then let it rip!
To make it easy to share information about your draft, there are a few things you can do:
- Share it on Twitter using the hash tag #CommCube
- Share it on the Community Cube Facebook Page
- E-mail me with some details (stybs at gatheringmagic dot com)
You can follow along with @GatheringMagic this weekend at Worlds, where we’ll be setting up the inaugural draft and releasing your work into the world.
Thanks for your efforts so far; the best lies just ahead!
Throughout the Community Cube project, hiccups and issues popped up in everything. I had just a few thanks to share before we turn the project to the next stage.
- Debbie, thanks for your kind patience. You are certainly one-of-a-kind amazing!
- To Alex Ullman, Usman Jamil, Thea Steel, Seth Burn, Eric Klug, and many more who advocate Cubing: Without you, bad information and even worse opinions would prevail in the world. Thank you for working hard!
- Trick, both for being awesome and for directing me toward the challenge. The hardest part of all—letting it go—is something I really looked forward to. Thanks for making it happen!
- Thanks to the community and readers for all of your votes, thoughts, and ideas. You made the Cube what it is, and you’ll continue to shape everything it can be. Thank you for being there every week! If you see me at Worlds, watch carefully: A box full of the community’s effort will begin giving back!