Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Genesis - The Birth of a Cube

Just re-posting the original email regarding the cube for those of you who are new:

I have a lot of links in here to help with people who are not familiar with the slang or mechanics.

So after some late night texting and test drafting, Andy and I discovered that the cube that we had developed wasn't really very fun to play/draft :(. We still have the original cube list, so its an option, but we decided to instead create another cube with several interlocking mechanics that, with a little creativity, can be very synergistic.

Here's what we noticed

  1. The cube was too big - over 500 cards, and a small pool for the theme, we were using filler
  2. P9 isn't really fun - Weird? When drafting they were none choices. You get a recall, you play Blue and take that card, you see a Mox Ruby, you play red and take that card. You see lotus, you take that card and win all games. So it was less fun to draft, and seriously shifted games if pulled, esp in opening draws.
  3. Graveyard matters alone caused us to have to stretch and use filler, plus we felt like we were telling people what they had to play
  4. Drafting Multicolor is more fun, but it was hard with the manabase

Here's what we did:

  1. We cut the cube size to 360 - so every card gets drafted and no filler
  2. We dropped the Power
  3. We thought about what matters and added:

  • Counters Matter - +1/+1, -1/-1, fade, Loyalty, etc
  • Graveyard Matters (still)
  • Comes into play matters - We added blink mechanics, with heavy comes into play features. This also allowed us to increase our creature to spell ratio, because creatures are fun to play
  • Creature Type Matters - Some tribal undertones
  • Tokens Matter - Not really any Populate here, but we can look into it (swap Disenchant for Sundering Growth?) but its more to boost aggro and for some other comes into playtempo synergies
  • Doubled up on the fetch lands to allow you to add a splash color even if you're halfway through the third pack

Some interesting notes here that we discovered:

Due to an MTG ruling, -1/-/1 counters and +1/+1 counters do not stack over each other, they cancel each other out. This has a lot of interesting implications, like a creature with graft can cancel out the counter on your persist creature. A creature with graft can also be used to force a creature with unleash an opponent controls not to be able to block. It also means that putting a -1/-1 counter on your undying creature give it a second life. This is a synergy of graveyard matters/Counters Matter/Comes into play matters. Got a lot of Undying creatures that are currently undead? Try a Spike Cannibal...Fun stuff.

There were a lot of cool things we found, like Mirrorweaveing your Thrummingbird to give back the loyalty counter you used on Venser, the Sojourner to make sure you got through. Also, Gravecrawler works pretty well with Carrion Feeder or Birthing Pod.

Anywho, I understand this is a lot of change from what we were originally talked about, but I will guarantee that this is a lot more fun and very interactive, and that's the point of a cube, right?

So for cube creation and review, we have been using Cubetutor, because it provides better analytics: http://cubetutor.com/viewcube/7692

But for the purpose of drafting, we are using TappedOut.net, which allows up to 8 players to do a virtual draft of a custom cube online. This means no crazy shuffling, we just draft and pull the cards on game day: http://tappedout.net/mtg-cube-drafts/counters-matter-even-more/

You will need to sign up for a free account to participate in the draft, but its pretty easy. Additionally, you can draft against bots at any time and do a playtest with the cards you drafted, so everyone can get some draft practice and see what they like before we go live. This also will track and keep data on popular and unpopular draft picks so we can adjust.

That's a lot of words I wrote, but the last important points are still left. First, we want someone to do a draft and give some feedback, some fresh eyes on it. Second, we want to get a handcount of who is interested in doing the cube and third, lets see if we can get a tentative date set for the first online draft.