Usman’s Articles   7 comments

Articles written before I became a regular cube writer:

  • Cube Design Theory: Aggro in Cube.  This article was originally written for MTGSalvation back when the idea of aggro in cube was winning on turn 12 instead of turn 18.  It talks about how to support aggressive strategies in your cube (something that many cubes still struggle with.)
  • Cube Buried Treasures, part 1 and part 2 for  These articles addressing oft-overlooked cube cards such as Crater Hellion, Wild Dogs and Desertion.
  • A Grizzly Fate for a 5 Mana Sorcery. This article talks about how sometimes, you really want a card to be good, but it just doesn’t compete with similar cards (similar cost and/or function) anymore.
  • Six Sides of Context for ManaNation, an article addressing the role of context and how to use it when evaluating cards for a cube.

Articles for Quiet Speculation:

  • Six Degrees of Foundations.   This article talks about how to start a cube – like the restrictions (power/no power/no fast mana, commons vs com/unc vs “rare”, etc.)
  • Six Degrees: Jump in the Pool!  This article talks about developing a pool of cards to draw from when starting the cube design process.  It talks about using other online lists, the Cube Comparison Thread on MTGSalvation, etc.  (Back in my day, we didn’t have these things and we had to walk 3 miles uphill in the snow!)
  • Six Degrees of Newness.  This article talks about how to critically evaluate new cards.  The article briefly touched on a lot of concepts (BCSM, exaggeration of drawbacks/benefits) which I’ve gone into in future articles and will do so in the future.
  • Six Degrees: Get Out of the Pool! This article talks about taking an initial pool of cards and paring it down into a final list.  It talks about how paralysis of analysis can happen and how breaking down information can help, since a cube is a pretty daunting task.

The next 7 articles are the “Cube SWOT” series, analyzing the 5 colors in cube from a holistic point of view, showing that understanding the strengths, weaknesses and archetypes in each color is key to a solid cube (ie since red is mostly aggressive, putting a ton of red X-spells isn’t going to be good as they’re not that great in aggressive decks.)

Articles for Star City Games:


Articles for Gathering Magic:

  • Cube Expansion Pack – I discuss the use of an expansion pack to accommodate for more drafters.

Posted July 11, 2011 by Usman

7 responses to “Usman’s Articles

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  1. Hey Usman! I see you’re testing spellstutter sprite. I’ve thinking about doing that as well. I’m trying focus on creatures, and a 1/1 force spike seems ok. how has it been?

    • Apologies for the late reply, but it’s been decent, but nothing amazing. Generally more of a blocker/equipment holder than a counterspell, it’s on the lower end of my blue section.

      Strangely enough, from what I’ve heard, the original Spellstutter Force Spiked where X was the # of faeries you controlled, but they changed it. I would definitely play that version!

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  4. Usman,
    Thanks for all the content; It’s been very helpful in building my own cube. The one big part of cubing that I can’t find enough/any info on is different formats to cube. You mentioned on the latest third power about team grid drafting, which I hadn’t even known about before. Could you write/talk about different formats to play with cubes? It would be really fun to find different ways to use the cube with different numbers of players. What’s your favorite format with only two people? What about with six? Are there specific ways to alter your cube or drafting choices with different size pods and cube formats? Can you draft a tight archetype if you only have four drafters? Can a cube be altered to support more interesting archetypes if the regular number of drafters is low?
    Thanks again for all of the info, I am always excited when the new episode of The Third Power show up.

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  6. Hey Usman, i left this comment on another thing as well, but i want to make sure you see it. Could you upload / or give me a link to your list for a 540 Card Pauper Cube u submitted to the wizards cube design competition, please 🙂

    I myself am building a 540 Pauper Cube, so i am very interested in your choices and priorities! 🙂

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