Welcome back to Cube of Force, the article series where I build a cube step-by-step. This article will serve as the conclusion of our Dungeons and Dragons themed cube, and ultimately the end of the first “season” of Cube of Force. You might recall that last time, I mentioned we still had plenty of space to fill in the cube after Adventures in the Forgotten Realms came out, and that we would also have to tackle proper color balance now. My goal was for the cube to be 750 cards, not including the basic lands. Without further ado, let’s dig right into the new additions.
One subtheme I held off on in the earlier installments of the cube because I wasn’t sure it would ultimately fit was Food, a mechanic introduced in Throne of Eldraine that was later expanded upon in commander products and Modern Horizon 2. Food is part of Dungeons and Dragons, with there even being a spell to Purify Food and Water. The fairy tale flavor with which Eldraine presented the food mechanic also presented us with gems like Turn into a Pumpkin and Bake into a Pie. Food also has the side effect of adding life gain support, which I decided last time I wanted to ensure was at least available in Selesnya. Modern Horizons 2 also gave us Academy Manufactor, which produces food and two other tokens the cube already cares about: clues and treasure!
Speaking of clues and treasure, I decided that I finally had room to include creatures outside of the four supported creature types in the cube. That let me add several creatures that supported major cube archetypes I had excluded before, like Tireless Tracker for repeated Investigate triggers, and Deadeye Plunderers as a repeatable source of treasure tokens, to name a few examples.
For the vast majority of my other additions, I wound up looking at all the “Good stuff” I had held off on including in the early stages of cube design so I could focus on flavor first and foremost. Below is what I wound up adding:
Much like when deck building, making cuts to your cube isn’t nearly as fun as adding those shiny new cards. But, it is a necessary evil. I started by looking at the multicolored cards in the cube, and decided that I would trim each down to just the 10 cards I felt supported the cube’s design best. I also decided to cut the three lands I had included, and trim colorless cards down to 50 total. As much as I liked the two 5-color cards and the one esper card I had added, I ultimately decided I didn’t want to directly support 3-color or more deckbuilding in the cube given the mana base, and to remove those cards as well. After making all of these cuts, I wanted to evenly distribute the remaining cards in the cube, leaving 120 cards in each color.
Of course, this is just my personal cutting methodology. Making cuts from your cube is going to be a personal process based on preference more than actual design, so feel free to deviate from my choices if you’re building along. I do recommend trying to maintain a roughly equal color balance, however, and inclusion of multicolored lands in your cube if you want to support use of cards that are three or more colors. Ultimately, the cards I decided to remove are as follows:
What was left after the final additions and cuts was a 750 card cube with 120 cards in each monocolor, 50 colorless cards, and 10 cards in each two-color combination. The cube actually didn’t need to be so large, as it is designed to be drafted with three players and a dungeon master, but the higher number of cards increases the variance, which I feel helps with replayability.
To play a proper campaign, divided the cards into 15 card “packs” and give each of your drafters 6 packs. As with two-headed giant sealed deck rules, they can build decks using any cards from one another’s packs to make sealed decks of at least 40 cards (You will want to keep around 50 of each basic land available for your cube to use). The Dungeon Master then pits against them in a game of archenemy (with or without the actual archenemy scheme cards) using Commander decks, Oathbreaker decks, or Hoard decks. Ideally, the Dungeon Master should scale the difficulty so that the first deck is easiest to overcome, with each subsequent deck being increasingly challenging. To emulate gaining experience and leveling up, give each player one additional “pack” after each encounter they can use to enhance their decks!
That concludes season 1 of Cube of Force. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed writing it. Next time, we will start work on a different kind of cube. In the meantime, the final version of the DND cube can be found here. The entire article series from start to finish is as follows:
- Let’s Form a Party!
- Level Up!
- Investigate for Treasure
- Skill Check
- Clerics and Rogues
- Wizards and Warriors
- Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
Paul, The Rocking Bard