Cube drafting is one of the most unique and fun experiences available in Magic. It is a mixture that combines drafting skills with a power level normally seen in Constructed.
What is a Cube?
A cube is a collection of Magic cards that has been assembled to draft with. Usually, a cube is between 360 and 720 cards with no duplicates. Players make three piles of 15 cards, and then draft them as if they were sealed packs. There are countless ways to construct a cube. Anyone designing a cube can include themes, unusual restrictions, and anything else he or she can think of. The most common type of cube is a generic good-stuff cube. Most of the best cards throughout Magic’s history are combined to form the Cube. An example of a Cube is the Power Cube, that, as indicated by the name, includes the power 9. These are some of the most iconic cards in Magic and powerful enough to be excluded from most generic cubes (from here the name power cube). However the term Power Cube covers more than just the power 9. In fact Power Cubes normally include several other artifacts that can quickly generate large amounts of mana. Cards that are defined powered in a Cube are often a step above most other cards in power level, and good arguments are needed for passing these cards in a draft. However, they create some of the most memorable games. Another kind of Cube is the Pauper Cube which is a step down from a generic good stuff cube. The restriction here is based on the rarity of cards. Rare and Mythic cards are not allowed in pauper cubes. Usually, this results in a cube that is less focused on powerful bombs, and more focused on archetypes and synergy. This can be a great option for cube builders that really enjoy that kind of interaction and it can be easier to construct if money is a concern.
The good-stuff cube, power cube, and pauper cube are probably the most common types of cube. However, the limits of cube are really only curbed by a person’s creativity.
When you are going to draft a Cube, make sure to ask a few questions before sitting down to draft. “What kind of cube is this?” or “Is there anything I should know about this particular cube?” should cover the basics and get the cube owner talking about anything special. Mostly, you don’t want to get blindsided by your first pack of magic cards looking really strange. You don’t need to read over the whole cube list or anything, just make sure you know what is going on with that particular Cube.
Remember, a Cube is built to have some fun, so when you see a card that might be the best card in a pack, but if you really dislike drafting that archetype or deck, don’t worry to pass it and pick the best card for your personal enjoyment.