The Law of the Cube – Stephen Murray




Today, we have a special Guest Star!

Scotland-StephenMurrayWhile we have many eager cubers booked in for the event on Saturday, there’s always room to squeeze in a post from the odd person who can’t make it…

…particularly when that person is perennial Scottish National Team member, Stephen Murray!

Cap’n Scotland was kind enough to lay out his Law of the Cube for us, and I have no desire to hold him back any longer…

Stephen’s Law of the Cube

Hello friends! I am sadly unable to attend the rollicking good time that is Cube24, but being unable to cube has never stopped me from thinking about cube before, all kinds of cubes!

Time to dispense some laws, no betraying them now.

1. When drafting cube, do the sweet thing

Unless you’re playing in the first ever Cube Draft Pro Tour (I’m waiting, WotC) you’re mostly playing for pride among friends. You know what’s better than the pride of winning? Doing something sweet, creating board states that are the envy of all who view your magnificence.

Success is fleeting, but you truly win when you pick out cards that don’t usually hang in the same circle, put them together, and make people say ‘Oh wow, [that card] is bananas with [this card]’, and you can refer to such things for a long time to come.

The definition of ‘sweet’ varies from person to person and from cube to cube, but as United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said “I know it when I see it.” Feel the sweetness inside.

2. When making a cube, don’t always pick the ‘obvious’ ones

Cube certainly started off as collections of the most powerful cards in Magic, and they were quite rare.

Since Cube is now available on Magic Online regularly and many people have built their own, you might want to consider skipping out on some of the more common things. (this is easier for non-powered cube, since the whole point of that is to do the most broken things, so I won’t talk about the P9)

Unique choices can also give your cube more of an identity, and keep people guessing if you change it up once in a while!

– You don’t NEED Lightning Bolt in your cube. Nearly everyone has Lightning Bolt, and it’s such an auto-include in any deck that can cast it, it’s kinda boring. Consider: Lava Dart. Sometimes it’s not so great, but it having Flashback and putting lands in your graveyard can make it synergise with new Prowess and Delirium cards!

– Emrakul is a cool card, I know. But it, along with cards like Griselbrand and Avenger of Zendikar are so obviously brutal, so much the best things you can Sneak into play that they no longer wow anyone. Consider putting in other massive beasties in your cube, that aren’t quite so immediately game ending, so people need to work a little bit harder. It’s more satisfying that way! Consider classics like Verdant Force, Angel of Despair or Tidespout Tyrant, or weirdo cards that never got a chance to shine like Dream Pillager, Tyrant of Discord or Kuro Pitlord.

– I try to avoid cards that are so powerful, you feel like an idiot if you don’t P1P1 them. An example of this is Treachery, where whenever people see it, they are like ‘welp, guess I gotta take this, even though I secretly want [something else].’ Obviously Treachery is a staple in many cubes, there’s nothing wrong with having it. Just be careful of having too many cards that warp the whole draft around it immediately whenever it gets opened. Another example of this is Maelstrom Wanderer in Legendary cube, a card simply too bonkers to ever pass in that format.

3. When making a plan, adjust to the cube you’re in

In many cubes, when Black isn’t reanimating something, it is often the worst colour. Thus people often overlook black cards when moving to a different type. For example, in a Peasant Cube, cards like Skinrender and Nekrataal are fantastic as opposed to merely ‘okay’.

I once came across a ‘1CMC’ cube. In that, cards like Goblin Guide were the bread and butter for every deck, but a Lab Rats provided a unique effect that could rule a long game. In a combo cube, Orim’s Chant can move from a sideboard only card (outwith Isochron Sceptre) to a brutal maindeck card.

4.  When travelling with your cube, be careful!

I know some people that take their cube with them to GPs and similar. As appreciative as I am when I get to play with those cubes, you really need to take plenty of precautions. If you are playing in public areas, I recommend everyone keeping their sideboard cards in the box alongside the unused cube cards. If strangers come over and spectate your games, ask them not to do things like sit down next to the person on their end, flopping their own backpack on the table and potentially obscuring a graveyard or exile pile.

Of course, not everyone is out to get you, but I’ve heard of many people over the years ‘misplacing cards’ enough that they stopped bringing their cards.

If you are staying with friends, perhaps in a rented apartment for the event, consider inviting more friends back to the flat to play cube there, and not take it to the venue.

5. When talking about cube, no one is ‘correct’

I clearly have certain preferences for what my ideal cubes look like. I have preferences for what I like to draft, and I will play a certain way in the games. And you know what, someone might disagree with every part of that, and still have a blast.

If you want to build a cube with 10 copies of the card Channel and 10 Emrakuls, that would be fun in it’s own way. If you want to draft Mono-Black Control in every and all cubes, do it! Slow-roll your Sudden Shock, in order to demoralise your friend, great stuff. If you want to leave real Black Lotus card lying around in publi – wait, no, don’t do that one still, please!

The only real law is never ever tell anyone about your Space: the Conver

*a mysterious man in a dark suit and sunglasses drags Stephen away*

We’ll be back soon with more from our 2016 pod; in the meantime, why not ship us a tenner and set someone a hideous challenge?

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