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Cube Noob Q&A

Post #1 by Tom Servo » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:14 pm

Gonna give this a shot but I'll probably have a lot of questions.

Singleton -- Are cubes always singleton? It seems like the majority of the time they are, why is that?
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Post #2 by PhantomS » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:10 am

The singleton nature adds to the variance. Much like EDH the idea is to get a unique experience every time. Some Cubes I've seen use two of certain cards, most notably I saw a Cube that had 2x fetchlands to make the mana better, but for the most part it's best to have big effect be unique so you can't just do the same thing every time. That would be boring.

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Post #3 by Corruption Watch » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:41 am

PhantomS has it covered - variance. It's the same reason you should probably make your cube a bit bigger than required for your usual group size (eg. if you routinely draft with 8 players, make a 450-card (10-player) cube.) That way you don't see exactly the same card pool every session.

Incidentally, some people take the singleton thing even further and ban functional reprints. Common examples include Mistral Charger -> Stormfront Pegasus, Armageddon -> Ravages of War, Arc Lightning -> Flames of the Firebrand.

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Post #4 by Checkbox » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:14 pm

Tom Servo » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:14 pm wrote:Gonna give this a shot but I'll probably have a lot of questions.

Singleton -- Are cubes always singleton? It seems like the majority of the time they are, why is that?


The main reason I do it is for balance issues; as soon as you start introducing multiples of a certain card into a cube, balancing becomes nigh-impossible. If you run 2x of a certain card, why not run 3? What makes 2x of this card ok but 2x of that other card overpowered? With a highlander rule, cube-building removes these issues of balancing that set designers have to deal with then they put cards in various rarities for drafting purposes.

The variance thing is interesting, but not one I thought of when I decided on a highlander cube design.
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Post #5 by poggydude » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:47 pm

the variance argument makes sense, i disagree with the balance argument because it is a cop out. If done conservatively it seems like a good way to improve the cube in a way that strictly adhering to the singleton rule does not allow.

Some effects need duplicates where they dont exist. Once the rule is being more detrimental than helpful it needs to be ignored

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Post #6 by Checkbox » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:07 pm

poggydude » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:47 pm wrote:the variance argument makes sense, i disagree with the balance argument because it is a cop out. If done conservatively it seems like a good way to improve the cube in a way that strictly adhering to the singleton rule does not allow.

Some effects need duplicates where they dont exist. Once the rule is being more detrimental than helpful it needs to be ignored


It is not a cop out at all - that sort of thing becomes so subjective that there's no way to truly balance it. What cards or effects deserve to get multiple copies? Why them and not others? What is the criteria for determining which archetypes get boosted by multiples and which don't? How does this affect pack distribution?

I don't believe its being detrimental at all - I
believe that trying to answer these questions would be detrimental.
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Post #7 by poggydude » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:55 pm

How is attempting to answer a question detrimental? I can see immediatelyacting upon an answer being detrimental but just performing analysis is rarely detrimental.

Basically I'd simply give double copies to an effect that is needed in multiples but not a blowout.
Ie rampant growth, certain black discard spells, etc. This will certainly make cube design harder but it can very likely lead to more rewarding experiences.

Note that i do not plan to do this (yet) for my C/U cube(my only cube outside of my proxied parnell/aintrazi custom cube) but it is certainly not a rule that i see an advantage in clinging to. The way my cube is designed i dont see a need to break the rule but if a reason to break it comes up i can see myself breaking the rule

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Post #8 by Checkbox » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:12 pm

poggydude » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:55 pm wrote:How is attempting to answer a question detrimental? I can see immediatelyacting upon an answer being detrimental but just performing analysis is rarely detrimental.

Basically I'd simply give double copies to an effect that is needed in multiples but not a blowout.
Ie rampant growth, certain black discard spells, etc. This will certainly make cube design harder but it can very likely lead to more rewarding experiences.

Note that i do not plan to do this (yet) for my C/U cube(my only cube outside of my proxied parnell/aintrazi custom cube) but it is certainly not a rule that i see an advantage in clinging to. The way my cube is designed i dont see a need to break the rule but if a reason to break it comes up i can see myself breaking the rule[/quote:
1z8becof]

The attempt is detrimental because we are not set designers - There is no answer to this question that isn't arbitrary like "I want more rampant growths in my cube because they didn't print enough variations on the effect". I feel like that is more of a cop out than designing your cube in such a way that it doesn't need more rampant growths. I think adding a second copy of a card that is already in there is akin to making your own cards in that fashion; if you want more ramp, add more ramp. There are enough cards in the cardpool that you shouldn't need to turn to one card twice for the same effect.

You say it makes the cube design harder, but I think having to use the same card twice is actually easier than having to find another card to fill the role you want. MaRo always says - restrictions give you more design space and make things more interesting; taking away those restrictions just makes it easier on yourself, and shouldn't be the answer.
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Post #9 by poggydude » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:32 pm

maro also said that if a rule becomes more detrimental than helpful it needs to be scrapped.

People when designed pauper cubes or peasan cubes(and sometimes regular cubes) would say that they needed another basic land finder but before evolving wilds they just run on terramorphic, with wilds out they run both. Their reservation was arbitrary.

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Post #10 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:01 am

You haven't really said anything about how ita detrimental though - with the card library as large as it is at this point in magics history, there's no reason you should have to use the same card twice. Before evolving wilds, they had fetchlands of all different varieties - and how arbitrary would their choice of running two have been? Why not 3? 5? The nuance between a second and third copy of a terramorphic expanse in a cube 360 cards big or larger are far more arbitrary than the highlander rule is detrimental.
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Post #11 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:04 am

You also say multiple copies of cards can lead to rewarding experiences - what is rewarding about having to use the same card twice rather than finding another card to fill that role? Which is more interesting - a green ramp section filled with rampant growths or one that has a rampant growth, a farseek and a natures lore? Which of these truly leads to more rewarding drafting and deck building experiences?
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Post #12 by poggydude » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:47 am

some effects do not have enough of a plurality yet in current design, red looters are way behind rit now so i can see running 2 faithless lootings to help push graveyard strategies among other things. Im not trying to argue that YOU need to break the rule, im trying to argue that having the rule as a sacred cow doesnt improve cubing. There is likely going to be a time as i start putting my cubes together that i will want multiples of an effect and no duplicates exist therefore adding multiples solves this problem.

I definitely like singleton as a default but im not going to make it hard and fast in my design process.

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Post #13 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:32 pm

And I just showed that having the singleton rule as a "sacred cow" makes for much more rewarding cube-building, drafting and deck-building experiences (which I guess draws a bit on the variance argument, but oh well).

Also, you've failed to argue my main point - why just two faithless lootings? How does the difference between 1 and 2 Faithless Lootings in a 360 card or larger cube actually affect "graveyard strategies" in any tangible way? Why not three? How can you be certain that 2 is the number that gives you the exact amount of support you want? How is the decision between 2 and 3 at that point not almost arbitrary?
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Post #14 by poggydude » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:05 pm

you run two because you want to keep a certain amount of variance while still enabling the strategy. that's like saying how does 1 faithless looting help graveyard strategies, or why not cut careful study since adding it is an "arbitrary" change and unlikely to help the strategy enough.

Most cube designers run a functional reprint or two, running two of one card is not the end of the world.

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Post #15 by poggydude » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:36 pm

Also, i fail to see how the number 1 is any less arbitrary...

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Post #16 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:38 pm

1 Faithless Looting helps graveyard strategies by being in the cube at all - obviously if it wasn't there, graveyard strategies would be hurt a bit. But the difference between 0 --> 1 is much greater than the difference between 1 --> 2. My point is how large, really, is the difference between 1 --> 2 and 2 --> 3? I argue that (even if only in principle), the amount of variance you lose by adding a 2nd copy of the same exact card is not worth the amount of "help" you give a certain strategy by doing so, when you could just keep the variance the way you want while also making your cube and drafts more interesting by just incorporating other cards that "help graveyard strategies". The cardpool is so vast that you can pretty much support whatever archetype you want in your cube without having to resort to doubles.

To address your last post: Going from 0% of a card to a non-zero percentage of that
card/effect is a much more significant increase than going from 1/360 to 2/360.
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Post #17 by poggydude » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:13 pm

the card pool of magic cards that are strong enough in a slot are not always vast enough to push the strategies you want at least at singleton.

Again, how is 2 arbitrary but singleton sacred?

Wizards is likely going to make mechanics that work better in plurality but not enough to support the strategy in singleton, examples: Infect, Storm, Arcane, etc.

These might not be the best fits for most cubes but keeping an open mind about cube design will prevent cool things from being shut out. There are a bunch of potential benefits from considering running doubles.

I already ceded that singleton is a very good default for many reasons, I'm kinda surprised that you can see literally no benefit from trying non singleton.

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Post #18 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:27 pm

Obviously the highlander rule is an arbitrary one that we choose as almost an axiom of cube design - singleton is sacred by consensus (you could make a similar argument for axioms in mathematics; you can keep digging deeper and deeper, but eventually you have to assume some things otherwise you have nothing to build off of and nothing interesting to say on the subject). There are obviously many reasons (that you yourself agree with) as to why singleton is a good idea, and obviously its accepted by enough people to be considered the "default" or "sacred" as you've put it.

The reason I don't like Infect, Storm, Arcane, etc is that they aren't mechanics that are flexible; they are among the most narrow mechanics that WoTC has printed. One of the most valuable things in a cube staple is the fact that it might be playable in a large number of decks (Sol Ring, for example). Obviously, there are other cards that
don't work in many decks, but are very powerful in the decks they belong in (Desolation Angel) that also get run in many cubes. People have varying ideas as to where this "line" is to be drawn, and cubes vary based on where their designers draw this particular line.

Despite this, Storm is almost universally panned by cube designers everywhere; Even on the MODO cube, one of the main arguments against their storm package I hear is that "its obviously insane when you assemble the deck, but its extremely difficult to do and requires a lot of luck in the card pool, as well as no one else being on the Storm plan." Storm has been tried in the singleton environment, and adding multiples wouldn't solve the core problem with the mechanic - More storm cards just means more cards in the cube that can only be played in one deck. A large part of the beauty and fun of cube drafting is looking at your packs and sculpting a playable archetype out of the cards you drafted. Cards in cubes often serve
different functions in different decks and environments; a card with storm is really only playable in the combo deck that wants to "go off" and win the game with the card.

Infect suffers from the same problem; even if you add multiples of infect creatures and infect support, the infect cards are only good with the other infect cards. Infect creatures are not trying to kill your opponent the same way "normal" creatures are, and therefore putting them in the same deck together is very, very bad most of the time. Infect worked in its limited format because it was one of a small number of archetypes playable in the format, and there was the support for it in the commons and uncommons of the format; Cube has a much larger pool of playable archetypes available to it, but unfortuantely due to design, Infect is just not a mechanic that fits well within the traditional cube environment.

This isn't to say that, in a Mirrodin-based cube or something, Infect couldn't be powerful - I think
there are many different "themed" cubes that are possible and playable and even quite fun that might not follow the highlander rule. I do, however, think that in a traditional cube environment where your available card pool is "all the good cards in magic", the highlander rule plays a very important role in the format. I am very OK sacrificing Storm, Infect and Arcane playability (mechanics that are extremely narrow) for a more versatile, varianced and ultimately more rewarding draft format in my cubes. I don't think its nearly as difficult to draft a bunch of infect cards and throw them together as it is to sculpt a playable archetype in a traditional highlander cube.
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Post #19 by poggydude » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:34 pm

As I said the default of singleton is super solid, no arguments there. Glad to see that for themed cubes you can see singleton being broken :).

The main reason to break the singleton rule is to push some kind of theme even if it is in a more traditional cube. Adding storm to a traditional cube and breaking the singleton rule to do it is kinda close to giving the cube a theme.

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Post #20 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:55 pm

Well, adding a storm mini-theme to your traditional cube is quite a large step away from your earlier claim of "adding multiples can help things like green ramp or black discard", which I thoroughly disagree with, for reasons I've stated a few times above. :P
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Post #21 by poggydude » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:14 pm

I can imagine cubes that would prefer two hymn to tourachs rather than suboptimal discard to fill that theme(probably in larger cubes only) in retrospect the green ramp example was half baked :p

Im just starting cube design but once i get out of college i will hopefully hit this full force.

Speaking of duplicates in cube, what do you think of modern masters which seems to have the potential to act as draftable pack based cube. Do you think the fact that there will be many multiples will be a benefit or a detractor.

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Post #22 by Checkbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:02 pm

Modern Masters? They're probably developing it like a real set.

Also, college is prime cubing time, bro.
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Post #23 by poggydude » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:15 am

it will be developed like a real set, but it will have a bunch of sets worth of bombs making it a rather unique experience methinks.

Also my college group sucks about cube sometimes, i feel with a good LGS cubing will be better, also once employed it will also be better

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Post #24 by Corruption Watch » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:50 am

Checkbox » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:27 am wrote:I think there are many different "themed" cubes that are possible and playable and even quite fun that might not follow the highlander rule.

poggydude wrote:The main reason to break the singleton rule is to push some kind of theme even if it is in a more traditional cube.

Myr Servitor cubes* are probably the most extreme example of breaking the singleton rule, and I think it works brilliantly there. I'm trying to work up the enthusiasm to build one myself - but tracking down 100+ Myr Servitors is going to be a bitch.

(*Myr Servitor cubes are (usually) small, artifact-themed cubes that have a huge number of Myr Servitors on hand, which drafters can add to their pool during deck construction.
The cube contents and gameplay revolve heavily around the fact that all players will probably have a large army of Servitors on hand at any given time.)

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Post #25 by Checkbox » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:39 pm

I've seen that one on Salvation, and it looks sweet.
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Post #26 by PhantomS » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:25 am

I don't buy the "balancing" argument at all. It only impacts balance if the cards you have in multiples are ones of above average card power. There's really no issue to having multiple, say, Divinations in the same deck, though it's obvious that multiple Jace the Mind Sculptors would be a problem. I think that if you are having problems with multiples and balancing power level it's because you are including multiples of the wrong cards.

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Post #27 by poggydude » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:22 pm

i put out feelers in my group for myr servitors stating id give a dollar rare from my box for each one i was brought. Got a reply that day saying "ill be collecting my 74 dollar rares". O_o

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Post #28 by Checkbox » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:25 pm

PhantomS » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:25 am wrote:I don't buy the "balancing" argument at all. It only impacts balance if the cards you have in multiples are ones of above average card power. There's really no issue to having multiple, say, Divinations in the same deck, though it's obvious that multiple Jace the Mind Sculptors would be a problem. I think that if you are having problems with multiples and balancing power level it's because you are including multiples of the wrong cards.


But the power difference between Divination and JTMS is much larger than any two cards in a traditional cube.
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Post #29 by Tom Servo » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:04 pm

poggydude » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:22 pm wrote:i put out feelers in my group for myr servitors stating id give a dollar rare from my box for each one i was brought. Got a reply that day saying "ill be collecting my 74 dollar rares". O_o

/goingofftopic

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Eric, Ren and Jensen were activists
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Now, Anna presented herself as a feminist
Studied the way they talked and dressed
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Eric fell in love with Anna at the meeting of the crime think conference
He didn't know it but Anna was an FBI informant

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Post #30 by Corruption Watch » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:32 pm

poggydude » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:22 pm wrote:i put out feelers in my group for myr servitors stating id give a dollar rare from my box for each one i was brought. Got a reply that day saying "ill be collecting my 74 dollar rares". O_o

/goingofftopic

Even further off topic - did you go ahead and build a Myr Servitor cube? If so, any chance you could post the list? I could use some inspiration.

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Post #31 by Checkbox » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:11 am

There is a list on Ugly Sally.
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Post #32 by Corruption Watch » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:43 am

I had a hunt around but I couldn't see it. Do you/did you go by a different name over there?

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Post #33 by poggydude » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:11 am

it isnt mine, followthereaper and some other dude has one, google myr servitor cube.

mine wont be built for a few months

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Post #34 by Corruption Watch » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:47 am

Ah, gotcha. Keep us posted :)

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Post #35 by PhantomS » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:27 am

Checkbox » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 pm wrote:
PhantomS » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:25 am wrote:I don't buy the "balancing" argument at all. It only impacts balance if the cards you have in multiples are ones of above average card power. There's really no issue to having multiple, say, Divinations in the same deck, though it's obvious that multiple Jace the Mind Sculptors would be a problem. I think that if you are having problems with multiples and balancing power level it's because you are including multiples of the wrong cards.


But the power difference between Divination and JTMS is much larger than any two cards in a traditional cube.

n
The example given isn't what you need to attack in my argument. Tell me how two lightning bolts in the same deck is too good.

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Post #36 by Checkbox » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:43 am

PhantomS » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:27 pm wrote:
Checkbox » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 pm wrote:
PhantomS » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:25 am wrote:I don't buy the "balancing" argument at all. It only impacts balance if the cards you have in multiples are ones of above average card power. There's really no issue to having multiple, say, Divinations in the same deck, though it's obvious that multiple Jace the Mind Sculptors would be a problem. I think that if you are having problems with multiples and balancing power level it's because you are including
multiples of the wrong cards.


But the power difference between Divination and JTMS is much larger than any two cards in a traditional cube.


The example given isn't what you need to attack in my argument. Tell me how two lightning bolts in the same deck is too good.


That's not the problem; its certainly not too good (cube can be whatever you want it to be). My real problem with it is why would you add another lightning bolt to the cube and not add another Savannah Lions? Why not two Fact or Fictions? Why not two Griselbrands? Where is the line?
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Thrillho » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:27 am wrote:let it be known that my official decree as administrator of this site is that the grimmace's dick is 16" long.

Kaitscralt » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:41 am wrote:it's not cheating if you hand her the jizz afterwards

imopen2 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:55 pm wrote:Get the hairbrush out of your ear and put it in your ass where it belongs, then try again


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Post #37 by PhantomS » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:34 pm

Checkbox » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:43 am wrote:
PhantomS » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:27 pm wrote:
Checkbox » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 pm wrote:
PhantomS » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:25 am wrote:I don't buy the "balancing" argument at all. It only impacts balance if the cards you have in multiples are ones of above average card power. There's really no issue to having multiple, say, Divinations in the same deck, though it's obvious that
multiple Jace the Mind Sculptors would be a problem. I think that if you are having problems with multiples and balancing power level it's because you are including multiples of the wrong cards.


But the power difference between Divination and JTMS is much larger than any two cards in a traditional cube.


The example given isn't what you need to attack in my argument. Tell me how two lightning bolts in the same deck is too good.


That's not the problem; its certainly not too good (cube can be whatever you want it to be). My real problem with it is why would you add another lightning bolt to the cube and not add another Savannah Lions? Why not two Fact or Fictions? Why not two Griselbrands? Where is the line?


Don't be a fucking cone. Add more copies of cards to decks that are lacking in the areas they are lacking. Like, your problem is completely generated in your mind and is easily solved with a little thinking and/or applied
science. I bet you just sit at traffic intersections and wait for all the other cars to leave, too.

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Post #38 by Checkbox » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:28 am

PhantomS » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:34 pm wrote:
Checkbox » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:43 am wrote:
PhantomS » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:27 pm wrote:
Checkbox » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 pm wrote:
PhantomS » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:25 am wrote:I don't buy the "balancing" argument at all. It only impacts balance if the cards
you have in multiples are ones of above average card power. There's really no issue to having multiple, say, Divinations in the same deck, though it's obvious that multiple Jace the Mind Sculptors would be a problem. I think that if you are having problems with multiples and balancing power level it's because you are including multiples of the wrong cards.


But the power difference between Divination and JTMS is much larger than any two cards in a traditional cube.


The example given isn't what you need to attack in my argument. Tell me how two lightning bolts in the same deck is too good.


That's not the problem; its certainly not too good (cube can be whatever you want it to be). My real problem with it is why would you add another lightning bolt to the cube and not add another Savannah Lions? Why not two Fact or Fictions? Why not two Griselbrands? Where is the line?


Don't be a fucking cone. Add more copies of cards to decks
that are lacking in the areas they are lacking. Like, your problem is completely generated in your mind and is easily solved with a little thinking and/or applied science. I bet you just sit at traffic intersections and wait for all the other cars to leave, too.


In my mind, I'd rather stick to a highlander rule than to have to make those arbitrary distinctions.
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Thrillho » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:27 am wrote:let it be known that my official decree as administrator of this site is that the grimmace's dick is 16" long.

Kaitscralt » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:41 am wrote:it's not cheating if you hand her the jizz afterwards

imopen2 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:55 pm wrote:Get the hairbrush out of your ear and put it in your ass where it belongs, then try again


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Post #39 by PhantomS » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:03 pm

Calling them arbitrary is so beyond wrong. Just stop talking.

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Post #40 by Checkbox » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:36 pm

Explain to me, then, why its not arbitrary. You can say "I want more ramp", then add another Rampant Growth to your cube, but why is 2 the correct number of that particular card? Why not just have 5 Rampant Growths in your green section and no other ramp? The nuances of the probability distributions at that level of cube-building are such that there's no reasonable way to ensure you're making the decision you want to be making.
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Thrillho » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:27 am wrote:let it be known that my official decree as administrator of this site is that the grimmace's dick is 16" long.

Kaitscralt » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:41 am wrote:it's not cheating if you hand her the jizz afterwards

imopen2 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:55 pm wrote:Get the hairbrush out of your ear and put it in your ass where it belongs, then try again



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