My Limited Knowledge: An Introduction to Cube
Hello & welcome to this weekly edition of My Limited Knowledge! In this series I’m going over the format that is Limited and try to explain it the best I can, while giving any advices that could help people who are looking into the format. So far we’ve seen the basics of Draft & Sealed, this week we’ll go over the third main variant of the format: Cube. This variant is a less common than the previous two, but it’s still a usually well known format that is very fun to play and tends to cost nothing to play, which is it’s main appeal. Let’s go over it and see what the format is all about.
What is Cube?
A “cube” is what people call a collection of card built for drafting. We’ve seen the basics of draft a couple of weeks ago and playing Cube is exactly the same thing, the only difference is that you don’t play with booster packs, but rather with someones card collection. The person hosting the Cube event will have built a collection for that purpose, usually consisting of 270 cards & up, it’s really up to them but that number tends to be the lowest possible for a 6-player cube event, or 360 for an 8-player cube event. How to build a cube can be pretty complex and we’ll go over the specifics in a future article, but basically the person will choose cards they want to include in the cube, sleeve them up and put them in. It can have a theme, based around a set/block, focused around certain mechanics, flavour, etc. Building a cube is a whole other experience, but it all comes down to: choose ~360 cards, sleeve them, put them in a box. Usually the cube owner will also have some basic lands at the ready for the players to use.
How Do I Cube?
The way to play Cube is essentially the same as for Drafting; each player will be passed 3 piles of 15 cards that come from the Cube. When told, each player will take the first pile, look at the cards, pick 1 of them that they want to put in their deck, put it aside and then pass the rest of the cards to the player on their left. This will go on until the 1st pile is finished, then they’ll repeat the process with the 2nd pile but passing the leftover cards to the player to their right this time, and then the same thing for the 3rd pile of cards but to the player to their left this time. After this whole process you’ll be left with a card pool of 45 cards, from which you’ll build a 40-card deck to play with.
How Do I Build a Deck?
So to build a Cube deck you’ll have to choose around 23 of the 45 cards you’ve drafted and add around 17 lands (basic lands are provided by the cube owner), this tends to be the normal thing to do, though it can vary a little, but we’ll go over advanced deck building in a future article. All you need to know is that you need to choose 23 cards from your card pool, try to make a viable deck from that, it’s that simple. Something to note is that, in the same way as drafts & sealed events, you can’t play cards that you brought from outside the event.
So What Now?
Now you play against the other players from the Cube event who just built a deck of their own! Depending on the event the number of rounds can vary, but usually 4 rounds is the norm for smaller events. You’ll be playing a best 2 out of 3 games and after the first game of a match you’re allowed to switch some cards from your sideboard into your main deck. Keep in mind that every card you have in your card pool that didn’t make it into your main deck are now part of your sideboard. If the event didn’t require you to fill out a deck registration sheet, you are also allowed to modify your deck in between matches, as long as it’s with cards from you Cube card pool. Cube events tend to be of a more casual setting, just so you know.
Cubes are usually owned by a player, and so those events are most of the time played at that player’s house, unless their decided to bring it to a LGS. Those events are free most of the time since you’re not getting any cards from it; all the cards you’ve played go back into the Cube collection after the event. There are some Cube events on Magic Online that will cost some tix, and sometimes a store owner will organize a Cube event at their store and charge a very small price, but in most cases you’ll play Cube at someone’s house. Those events are highly casual and are all about having fun and play with cards that aren’t normally played together. In the same manner as Draft & Sealed, I recommend you bring a few things at a Cube event to make your experience more enjoyable; if you can, you should bring:
- Pen + Paper
You don’t need to bring sleeves & basic lands since the Cube owner will already have all the cards sleeved and will also provide basic lands. Also bring a good attitude since, like I said, this is a casual format all about having a good time. Ease up, relax, and have some nice matches with your friend!
That about does it for Cube! I’ll go over the Cube-building aspect in a future article since it can be intricate and there’s a lot to talk about. Remember that this format comes from the collection of a player, so please be careful with the cards; also it’s a really casual format, so try to relax & have some fun. This variant is less widespread than draft & sealed, but if you know someone who has a Cube, please try it and ask them about it, as a Cube owner myself I LOVE taking it out as often as I can and will jump at any opportunity to play it. If I missed anything let me know, and I hope you guys enjoyed this article as much as I did. I’ll see you guys next week for An Introduction to Deck Building.