After the World Championships there was a nice lull from play testing to finally break out and draft the Cube in our Las Vegas play group. Tim Rivera, Rob Swarowski, Dane Young, Niles Rowland, Porkchop, Pippy LongMartins, Eric Buckendorf, Brian Gates and Jeff Driscoll all helped me de-virginize the first build of our Dream Cube and now I’m back to let you know how it went. I only have three words for you:
It was awesome.
It went beyond my expectations and made all the work that went in to reading every card ever printed and narrowing down a card pool worth it. The hours slaving away in Tim’s card dungeon searching for all the cards and then sleeving them paid off. I can say this even though my record after about 4 or 5 drafts is 0-X in drafting the cube. Normally you’d think that would turn me off, but it doesn’t and I’ll tell you why. The decks that are drafted are all very powerful and have a very constructed feel to them. I’ve drafted really amazing deck lists, but where I fall short is where I always fall short in tournaments: I’m a terrible player and make a lot of play mistakes.
This makes me realize that the format we’ve made with this cube favors strong drafters and players. Tim is X-0 in the drafts, so with me at the bottom of the barrel, the results speak for themselves. Even though I’ve lost every match, I still had fun playing with and seeing all the old cards in play. It isn’t possible to draft exact deck archetypes from constructed-past but there really is a constructed quality feel to the decks.
Right now there is a feeling that control decks and high cost allies dominate the scene, we’re a little worried that non-curve rush decks may not be very viable, but Niles did draft a good one last draft. With that I’ll probably look for any cards in coming sets to improve off curve rush decks.
With that there are some changes I’m going to make as I integrate the Treasure pack cards. First of all I think I mentioned that we were going to try 19 card packs. After the first draft it was apparent that we didn’t need nearly that many cards to build great decks. We’ve cut it down to 16 card packs and it’s been perfect. With that, we’ve had no problems with just shuffling the entire cube and dealing out random packs. This really saves time not having to sort the cards before every draft and forcing Quest/Ally/Ability/Faction ratios. So far we’ve not wanted for anything while drafting, it’s been easy enough to get all the Quests and class abilities you need.
Second, I am going to cut down on the number of Locations as it seems everyone drafts at least two to three of them and only ever plays one, sometimes two, of them in their final deck. Since there have been enough Quests any way, I feel fine cutting the cube from 25 Locations to 15 and using those 10 spots to bring in more neutral allies from the new Treasure packs. Speaking of Neutral Allies, we haven’t had too many problems sticking to Reputation restrictions, so I don’t feel a need to errata that and just make them all neutral. As new sets come out and the focus on good neutral allies like Dragonkin and Monsters seems to be R&D’s favored direction, cards in the cube with reputations will probably be cut down to just the good stuff soon enough anyway.
I’m holding off until the next major set to re-draft the Rogue cards, but I think I’m going to refocus those cards into just the good stuff and not try to cram as many combo cards just for combos sake. Any really good old Finishing Moves will be errata’d to work like new Finishing Moves.
So, for now I’m removing these 10 Locations. If it proves too much I’ll put 5 back in later on.
10 Locations to remove:
[The Circle of Blood]
[Ring of Trials]
[Towers of Eastern Plaguelands]
10 New Neutral Allies:
[Herod, The Scarlet Champion]
[Scarlet Commander Renault Mograine]
New cards traded in:
In - [Packleader Ivar Bloodfang] Out - [Breanna Greenmother]
In - [Deathstalker Commander Belmont ] Out - [Conqueror Hashkon ]
In - [Shadowfang Keep] Out - [A Tale of Valor]
OK, So that last one I put a Location in for a Quest, but it makes my number of Locations a nice round 15. Also, I wasn’t too impressed with any equipment or faction allies in this small set so if I missed anything you think I should put in, let me know in the forum discussion.
I’ll update the pop-up list of our cube here for you to check out. Also here is a link to the spreadsheet I used to make the initial list and track my numbers. You can make a copy for yourself and put in your own numbers and cards to build your own cube if you like.
I’m looking forward to the next set anxiously as it means I’ll get to put new cards in the cube, but I’ll also have to do the book keeping involved with that, but it’s a labor of love. Now I just need to win a few matches.