Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

You may have heard the podcast on Commander Cast that came out this Monday, and I thought that I should give you all an update. Since they were nice enough to give us (and my cube) an awesome shout out, I figured I should give you all an update on what has changed in my cube, and what what’s been going on with it.

Most exciting change is that I made an awesome box to house my cube. Have a look:

I’ve made a decent number of changes to the contents of the cube (and haven’t really kept up the change log as I said I would). So here’s a big update.

Another big change that I’ve made is that we’ve been drafting a smaller number of commanders at the start of the draft and including some in the packs. Currently we’ve been drafting a pack of 4 generals, and then 20 more are randomly selected and mixed into the packs. I’ve found that this works best because it gives the players a good direction for their draft, but also gives some second chances for those draft didn’t go as expected. A good example of how this works well came with the last time I drafted: I had been working on drafting a BUG deck and then realized quickly into pack 2 that I was squeezed out of green from both sides and then picked up a blue black general and was able to seamlessly swap into that that.

In other news, I’ve created a small subset of cards that I can swap in and out of my cube to create a smaller 360-card cube for running standard cube drafts. I’ve been having a lot of fun doing Winston drafts with it. I drafted a WUBR aggro deck that worked very well, it was fun times.

Feel free to post any questions you have about Commander cube, or regular cube in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Here’s a list of some of the recent changes to my cube:

  • Moved signets from Gold to Colorless to make room for commanders in packs.
  • Took out 10 Gold cards for the above reason.
  • We now draft a pack of 4 commanders at the start and then proceed with seven 15-card packs.
  • Added some more VERY broken and normally banned cards. (see if you can find them)
  • Obviously my custom wooden box. (not sure if I’ll be making some to sell)
  • I managed to (almost) completely balance out the multicolored cards, both in the commander section and in the gold section.
  • Trimmed down the amount of mass land destruction because it was discovered that there was a “mass land destruction deck” and I decided that was VERY BAD.
  • Traded for over 100 foil basic lands recently!!! That was probably the funniest trade I’ve ever done.
  • Total cards in my cube is 872 (down from 896).

Look for a cube design article coming soon.

11 comments to Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

  • Panzerbjorn155mm

    I heard Hayley on the podcast and was intrigued. I am around 400 cards into compiling my own ED H cube out of my collection and was wondering if you could possibly give a complete novice some tips. Your cube is 870 without lands, correct? I’m basing my list off yours and was just wondering how much further I had to go. I’d love to see a step by step on how to actually mechanically administer the cube, as I have zero experience with this format. Thanks for providing these resources.

    • samwise

      So yeah, its 872 without basic lands (there are 105 non-basics in the cube). I’m currently working on a more in depth guide to how I built my cube and how I run the drafts and such. Should be up in a week or so.

  • Panzerbjorn155mm

    How did you balance your cube list? How would you advise me to go about changing it if I want to? I don’t have any of the dual lands. Should I replace them with utility lands or lands like the refuges? What about changing some of the commanders?

    • samwise

      To be perfectly honest, I just sorta threw together a bunch of cards in equal amounts of each color to start with. Then, after some play testing, I was able to see what was working and what wasn’t and tune it from there.

      Another way to think about it is like building a 1000-card deck that tries to do everything at once. That’s a bit of a difficult approach, but basically what you want to do is make sure that you have enough creatures for each player (typically you want close to half of the cards in your cube to be creatures, I think mine is a little under half at the moment), and also make sure there’s enough control cards to keep things from getting out of hand in a game.

      Huge point: include TONS of mana fixing. I didn’t have all the fancy lands when I first put the cube together and it worked pretty darn well. I would recommend including all of the 2-color lands that you possibly can. The decks get really color hungry, especially if you want 5-c to be a viable thing. So, I would recommend refuges and things like that over utility lands. That being said, I have 20 or so utility lands in my cube; some of them are too awesome to leave out.

      As far as commanders go, that’s totally personal preference. Go with whichever ones that you and your play group like. The only thing that I would try to do is keep the color combinations as balanced as you can. If you have, say, too many Blue/Black generals, you’d have a higher chance of people fighting over blue and black in the draft, making it more difficult for people to make good decks.

  • Pat

    Is there much variance in which cards get drafted or do you know that someone will always have a cabal coffers each draft? I’ve been considering trying EDH cube but using a larger set of cards than will be drafted to add variance.

    What is the format of your packs, just any 15 cards from the cube? It might be interesting to use a pack “formula” kind of like innistrad packs: 1 legal general, 1 non-basic land, 13 cards that don’t meet the previous criteria. Though it may be necessary to make it 1 legal multicolored general and put the mono generals in with the other 13 cards.

    • samwise

      I have mine built so that every card gets used if there are 8 people drafting. Let me clarify that: Every card gets DRAFTED if there are 8 people, only about 60% get played each time. Some hate drafting usually happens, so there is definitely deck variance. I’ve drafted with my cube probably around 20 times, and have been very satisfied with the variance it provides. At the same time, there’s enough consistency to be able to force certain archetypes if you choose to.

      Here’s my pack-making methodology: I take 20 of the generals, selected at random, and shuffle them in to the multi-colored cards. Then I separate out each of the colors and the non basic lands and shuffle those piles. This leaves me with eight different piles of 105 cards and the left over 32 commanders. I then make 15-card packs such that each has two cards from each of seven of the eight piles and one from the last pile. As I’m making packs I rotate which pile I take only one card from so that all of the piles run out exactly at the same time. This is a rather tedious method and takes about an hour if you do it all yourself, but I find that it leads to the most satisfying draft.

      If you’re not as OCD as me, you can just shuffle it all together in a big pile and make totally random packs of 15. I’ve done it this way before, it doesn’t make a huge difference, but you do get the occasional pack with like 6 lands in it, or 5 red cards or something awkward like that.

      As far as mono-colored generals go, I actively discourage people from trying to building mono-colored decks. I do have quite a few mono colored legends in the cube, but they’re there mostly because I think they’re good IN decks. There are two reasons why I discourage this, the first is that I know that it’s very difficult to get enough cards to do it successively from past drafting experience. The other reason is that it tends to cut other players off from your single color, and it also requires that you grab a lot of artifacts, making the drafting experience worse for the rest of the players.

      That’s just me personally though, I think it would be fine for you to try out encouraging mono-colored decks if you think it would work for you and your play group. Let me know how it goes. (But please don’t include Rofellos or Braids if you’re doing mono-colored generals. They’re just as broken in cube 😛

    • grazie mille davvero per questa meravigliosa ricetta!!! Consiglio: prova e rovate voi diabetici a sostituire lo zucchero con lo sciroppo d&a8712;#gave, ha un bassissimo indice glicemico ciao e grazie ancora! Auguri per il bebè !!!ersy

  • Pat

    I see why rofellos is a problem but braids was a very tuned list with some otherwise garbage cards. I was going to require the normal deck construction rules for banned cards and generals. If I get people to play, I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • samwise

      Sounds like a good plan. I just mentioned braids because I’ve seen a whole table concede to a turn 4 Braids played from a deck before they even knew if the deck had proper support to abuse it.

      • Coda

        While a turn 4 Braids definitely isn’t unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination, it does tend to lead toward incredibly frustrating and boring games if she’s not dealt with immediately. Frankly, I’m not at all interested in playing those kinds of games, so if someone tries to do the whole stax/mana denial thing against me, I’m just gonna concede. I mean, I’m not going to be casting spells, anyway, so they can have just as much fun goldfishing as they would if I was sitting in front of them.

  • […] “Cha-cha-cha-cha Changes” where he details the latest and greatest alterations to the cube […]

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