Cube Spotlight Series – Pro Tour Cube

Posted in Magic Online on August 8, 2018

By Eric Klug

The Cube Spotlight Series is intended to showcase interesting, novel, and fun Cube experiences and bring them to Magic Online. While we began with my Uncommon Cube, the series is broader than that, and these cubes can come from many sources. This one, for example, comes from the 2016 You Make the Cube contest: Eric Klug's Pro Tour Cube. The cube may have been a runner-up, but it was too good an idea to pass on forever.

If you have thoughts on the Cube Spotlight Series or any other Magic Online matter, please email us at MagicOnlineFeedback@wizards.com. Happy cubing!

Alli Medwin
Digital Product Manager, Magic Online


Introducing the Pro Tour Cube

Four years ago, I built a cube that would change my life forever. Wait, that's a bit dramatic. Four years ago, I built a cube that had fresh, unique gameplay and set itself apart from all other cubes I had drafted before it. It's now the cube I play most often. That cube is the Pro Tour Cube, and it's the one I have the great pleasure of introducing to you today. I'm here to give you a brief history of how this cube started, how I went about adapting it to be played on Magic Online, and a few of the ins and outs of drafting the Pro Tour Cube.

The creation of the Pro Tour Cube started with a tweet from three-time Pro Tour Top 8 finisher Sam Black. Sam mused that he'd "like to try playing a cube of one of every card to ever [Top 8] a PT." The subsequent discussion served to evolve the concept over the next few days. There were suggestions from many prominent figures in the Magic community: Hall of Famers Kai Budde and Patrick Chapin, Pro Tour historian Brian David-Marshall, and Grand Prix Champion Jarvis Yu, to name a few. Taking in many of these ideas, for me the cube boiled down to limiting the cards to only Constructed Pro Tours (including old Worlds events), the exclusion of sideboards, and the parameter of including only the winning decks from each Pro Tour.

Most cubes have a theme, but usually not one that so tightly restricts which of the nearly 20,000 cards in Magic will find a spot among its ranks. Like winning the Pro Tour itself, earning a slot in the Pro Tour Cube is a tall order. There are some cards ubiquitous in tournament Magic that have racked up many Pro Tour Top 8s but have always fell short of winning, and some that were lucky that one time. That aspect is just a taste of what makes this cube special, though it's an important one. The question I get asked most often when playing this cube, even by pros themselves, is, "When did that win a Pro Tour?" So, while the cube contains many familiar inclusions found in the Magic Online Vintage Cube and Legacy Cube, there are plenty of long-lost favorites, and a few cards you've maybe never played in any cube.

The paper version of the Pro Tour Cube I built has a copy of literally every card that has ever won a Constructed Pro Tour. That version currently clocks in at a whopping 906 cards. For the Magic Online version of the cube, I've cut the number down to 540, the same number as my runner-up You Make the Cube entry from 2016. Six champions and 63 new cards have been crowned at the Pro Tour since then, so the list has been updated considerably. If you're an avid cuber, you may know 540 is also one and a half times the number of cards you need for an eight-player Cube draft. That means each draft table will see around 66% of the entire cube. This aids players in putting together more powerful, streamlined decks and gives them a better chance at assembling some of the combos and high synergies the cube has to offer. Trimming the cube allowed me to cut some cards not well suited for a higher powered Limited environment (e.g., Cranial Extraction, Storm Shaman) or cards that aren't well supported in the larger pool (e.g., Lightning Rift, Ramosian Sergeant). I did my best to make sure every card is either playable on its own or has some amount of support in the cube. There were just enough Pro Tour-winning Zombies to keep Gerry Thompson's Zombie tribal cards around, but unfortunately, all of Kai Budde's Rebels had to go. Finally, the cube at this size is close to perfectly color balanced, unlike its predecessor, which currently has a 56-card difference between most and least populous colors.

Drafting the Pro Tour Cube feels like equal parts traditional cubing, Masters set draft, kitchen table Magic, and some long-forgotten Constructed formats. The upper limit of the cube's power level is similar to MTGO's Legacy Cube and, on average, a touch below it. Many of Magic's earlier Pro Tour-winning cards, often passed over in cubes in favor of their contemporary counterparts, have a home in the Pro Tour Cube and get a chance to shine once again. Overall, a good way to approach the format is to look for the synergies. Each card represents a component of a Pro Tour-winning deck, meaning many of the cards work extremely well together if they're not an outright two-card combo. It should come as no surprise then that classic archetypes are also present: blue-black control, red-white aggro, green ramp, etc. Pro Tour historians may have a leg up, but simply being an engaged drafter works just fine. As with many cubes, perusing the card list before jumping into a queue can be very helpful.

Keep in mind that this cube can challenge tried-and-true card evaluations and expectations of cards you've played with in the past. The example I often give is Tinker, which is an extremely potent threat in even the very powerful Vintage Cube, but not very dangerous here. The Pro Tour Cube spans 22 years of Pro Tour history, and Tinker won early on in a deck where no Blightsteel Colossus, Sundering Titan, or Myr Battlesphere were to be found. So, you won't find any of those and may have to settle for a Bosh, Iron Golem; Pentavus; or Platinum Angel.

Last, I want to point out some of those two- and three-card combos. A few are quite commonplace in your average cube, some not at all, and others are formed out of a bit of cross pollination between the card's respective decks over the years:

It's difficult to convey how excited I am to share a cube that has brought me so much joy over the past four years. It was an experiment with results that left me pleasantly surprised. The Pro Tour Cube can feel somewhat familiar, and yet completely foreign. In that, it can serve as a good palate cleanser from your "normal" Cube experiences, but also has the depth to be drafted many, many times over. Beyond its playability, it's a living relic of Magic history, which is cool in its own right. While I've always enjoyed watching Pro Tour coverage, the anticipation of what will get added to the cube next makes the finish that much more exciting. Please enjoy.

EVENT DETAILS

Pro Tour Cube Phantom Single-Elimination Queue

Start Time: Wednesday, August 15 at 10 a.m. PT
End Time: Wednesday, August 22 at 7 a.m. PT
Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments -> Queues
Entry Options:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points

Number of Players: 8
Product: 3 phantom Pro Tour Cube boosters
Structure: Draft, then 3 rounds of single-elimination
Prize Structure:

  • 1st place: 220 Play Points + 1 QP
  • 2nd place: 160 Play Points
  • 3rd or 4th place: 100 Play Points

Pro Tour Cube Phantom Draft League

Start Time: Wednesday, August 15 at 10 a.m. PT
Close Time: Wednesday, August 22 at 6 a.m. PT
End Time: Wednesday, August 22 at 10 a.m. PT
Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments-> Leagues
Entry Options:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points

Product: 3 phantom Pro Tour Cube boosters
Structure: Draft, then up to 3 matches played at your convenience
Prize Structure:

  • 3 wins: 150 Play Points
  • 2 wins: 100 Play Points
  • 1 win: 40 Play Points
  • 0 wins: 10 Play Points

Pro Tour Cube Full Cardlist

Below is the full card list for Eric's PT Cube! The column is sortable by clicking its header. You can also narrow your search by typing a keyword into the Search box, then sorting within those results.

Card Name
Abbot of Keral Keep
Abrade
Abrupt Decay
Absorb
Acidic Slime
Aeon Chronicler
Aether Hub
Æther Vial
Aethersphere Harvester
Agony Warp
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Ajani Vengeant
Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
Akroma's Blessing
Akroma's Vengeance
Ancient Tomb
Angel of Despair
Aquamoeba
Arc Lightning
Arcbound Ravager
Arcbound Worker
Archangel Avacyn
Arc-Slogger
Arid Mesa
Armageddon
Arrogant Wurm
Atarka's Command
Attune with Aether
Avenger of Zendikar
Azorius Charm
Bad River
Badlands
Baneslayer Angel
Banishing Light
Basking Rootwalla
Become Immense
Bident of Thassa
Birds of Paradise
Bitterblossom
Bituminous Blast
Black Knight
Blazing Specter
Blightning
Blood Crypt
Bloodbraid Elf
Blooming Marsh
Blossoming Defense
Bogardan Hellkite
Bomat Courier
Boros Reckoner
Boros Signet
Bosh, Iron Golem
Botanical Sanctum
Brainstorm
Brave the Elements
Breeding Pool
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Brushland
Burning-Tree Shaman
Burst Lightning
Cadaverous Bloom
Capsize
Careful Consideration
Cartel Aristocrat
Cascade Bluffs
Caves of Koilos
Celestial Colonnade
Chainer's Edict
Chameleon Colossus
Champion of the Parish
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Char
Chimeric Idol
Chrome Mox
Circular Logic
City of Brass
Civic Saber
Civic Wayfinder
Clifftop Retreat
Cloudfin Raptor
Cognivore
Comet Storm
Compulsion
Compulsive Research
Confiscate
Contagion
Control Magic
Counterspell
Courser of Kruphix
Court Hussar
Covetous Dragon
Cranial Plating
Crater Hellion
Creeping Tar Pit
Crimson Acolyte
Cruel Ultimatum
Crypt Angel
Cryptbreaker
Cryptic Command
Cursed Scroll
Cyclonic Rift
Damnation
Dark Confidant
Dark Ritual
Dark Salvation
Darksteel Citadel
Daru Sanctifier
Day of Judgment
Debtors' Knell
Deceiver Exarch
Decree of Justice
Deep Analysis
Demonic Consultation
Den Protector
Detonate
Devil's Play
Dimir Signet
Diregraf Colossus
Disenchant
Disfigure
Dismember
Dispatch
Dissolve
Donate
Doom Blade
Doomed Traveler
Dragon Fodder
Drain Life
Draining Whelk
Dread Wanderer
Dromoka's Command
Drowner of Hope
Dryad Militant
Dryad Sophisticate
Duress
Earthquake
Earthshaker Khenra
Eldrazi Mimic
Eldrazi Obligator
Eldrazi Skyspawner
Electrolyze
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Elves of Deep Shadow
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Visionary
Endless One
Enlightened Tutor
Ensnaring Bridge
Entreat the Angels
Essence Extraction
Eternal Dragon
Eternal Witness
Ethersworn Canonist
Evolving Wilds
Exalted Angel
Experiment One
Explore
Exquisite Firecraft
Eyeblight's Ending
Fact or Fiction
Falkenrath Aristocrat
Falkenrath Gorger
Farseek
Fatal Push
Feeling of Dread
Figure of Destiny
Fire // Ice
Fire Diamond
Fireball
Fireslinger
Flame Slash
Flames of the Blood Hand
Flametongue Kavu
Flayer Husk
Flood Plain
Flooded Strand
Forbid
Force of Will
Force Spike
Foundry Street Denizen
Frenzied Goblin
Frogmite
Frostburn Weird
Fyndhorn Elves
Gaea's Blessing
Galvanic Blast
Garruk Wildspeaker
Gempalm Incinerator
Gemstone Mine
Giant Growth
Giant Solifuge
Gideon Jura
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Gilded Lotus
Glimpse of Nature
Glint Hawk
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
Goblin Chainwhirler
Goblin Rabblemaster
Goblin Ruinblaster
Goblin Welder
Godless Shrine
Grasp of Darkness
Grave Titan
Great Furnace
Green Sun's Zenith
Grim Monolith
Grove of the Burnwillows
Hallowed Fountain
Hallowed Moonlight
Hangarback Walker
Hazoret the Fervent
Heart of Kiran
Heritage Druid
Hero of Bladehold
Hero's Downfall
Honor of the Pure
Hordeling Outburst
Horizon Canopy
Hostage Taker
Huntmaster of the Fells
Hymn to Tourach
Hypnotic Specter
Icy Manipulator
Illusions of Grandeur
Imperious Perfect
Impulse
Incinerate
Inferno Titan
Infest
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Inquisition of Kozilek
Inspiring Vantage
Inventor's Apprentice
Jace Beleren
Jace, Architect of Thought
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jackal Pup
Jareth, Leonine Titan
Jayemdae Tome
Jokulhaups
Judge's Familiar
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
Karplusan Forest
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Kjeldoran Outpost
Knight of Infamy
Knight of Stromgald
Knight of the Reliquary
Knight of the White Orchid
Kodama of the North Tree
Kodama's Reach
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Land Tax
Languish
Last Breath
Lavaclaw Reaches
Leonin Relic-Warder
Lightning Berserker
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Greaves
Lightning Helix
Lightning Strike
Liliana Vess
Liliana, the Last Hope
Liliana's Mastery
Lingering Souls
Linvala, the Preserver
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Wastes
Longbow Archer
Longtusk Cub
Lord of the Accursed
Lotus Cobra
Lotus Petal
Maelstrom Pulse
Mana Leak
Mana Tithe
Man-o'-War
Marsh Flats
Master of Waves
Masticore
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Memnite
Metallic Mimic
Metalworker
Millstone
Mind Over Matter
Mindslaver
Mirari
Mirari's Wake
Mishra's Factory
Misty Rainforest
Mogg Conscripts
Mogg Fanatic
Moment's Peace
Monastery Swiftspear
Moroii
Morphling
Mortarpod
Mortify
Mox Diamond
Mox Opal
Mulldrifter
Murderous Cut
Mutavault
Myr Enforcer
Mystical Teachings
Nameless Inversion
Necropotence
Needle Spires
Nekrataal
Nevinyrral's Disk
Nightscape Familiar
Nightveil Specter
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
Noble Hierarch
Oath of Druids
Oath of Nissa
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Ohran Viper
Omenspeaker
Oracle of Mul Daya
Order of Leitbur
Order of the Ebon Hand
Order of the White Shield
Overgrown Tomb
Painful Truths
Parallax Wave
Path to Exile
Pentavus
Pernicious Deed
Pestermite
Phyrexian Processor
Phyrexian Scuta
Pia Nalaar
Plague Spitter
Planar Cleansing
Platinum Angel
Plow Under
Plumeveil
Polluted Delta
Polukranos, World Eater
Ponder
Powder Keg
Preordain
Primeval Titan
Prismatic Lens
Profane Command
Prosperity
Psychatog
Pulse of the Forge
Punishing Fire
Puresteel Paladin
Putrid Leech
Pyroclasm
Raging Ravine
Rakdos Guildmage
Rampant Growth
Ranger of Eos
Read the Bones
Reality Smasher
Recurring Nightmare
Reflecting Pool
Regal Force
Rekindling Phoenix
Relentless Dead
Remand
Reprisal
Repulse
Restoration Angel
Ring of Gix
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Roar of the Wurm
Rogue Refiner
Rootborn Defenses
Ruination Guide
Ruinous Path
Sacred Foundry
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Savannah
Savannah Lions
Scab-Clan Mauler
Scalding Tarn
Scorched Rusalka
Scrapheap Scrounger
Scroll Rack
Scrubland
Scute Mob
Sea Gate Oracle
Searing Blood
Seat of the Synod
Secure the Wastes
Sengir Vampire
Sensei's Divining Top
Serra Angel
Serrated Arrows
Shambling Vent
Shard Phoenix
Shrapnel Blast
Shriekmaw
Siege-Gang Commander
Silence the Believers
Silverblade Paladin
Simic Signet
Simic Sky Swallower
Skeletal Vampire
Skirsdag High Priest
Skizzik
Skyknight Legionnaire
Slagstorm
Smoldering Marsh
Snapcaster Mage
Solemn Simulacrum
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Soul-Scar Mage
Sower of Temptation
Spectral Procession
Spellskite
Sphere of the Suns
Sphinx of Lost Truths
Sphinx's Revelation
Spike Feeder
Spike Weaver
Spire of Industry
Spirebluff Canal
Splinter Twin
Squirrel Nest
Stasis Snare
Steam Vents
Steppe Lynx
Stoke the Flames
Stomping Ground
Stoneforge Mystic
Strip Mine
Student of Warfare
Stupor
Sudden Death
Sulfurous Springs
Summoner's Pact
Supreme Verdict
Survival of the Fittest
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of War and Peace
Swords to Plowshares
Sylvan Advocate
Sylvan Caryatid
Sylvan Library
Sylvok Lifestaff
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Tangle Wire
Tarmogoyf
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Temple Garden
Temple of Malady
Temporal Mastery
Tendrils of Corruption
Terminate
Terminus
Terror
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Thassa, God of the Sea
The Scarab God
Thing in the Ice
Thirst for Knowledge
Thoughtcast
Thought-Knot Seer
Thoughtseize
Thraben Inspector
Thran Dynamo
Thrun, the Last Troll
Tidebinder Mage
Time Spiral
Tinker
Tolarian Academy
Toolcraft Exemplar
Torrential Gearhulk
Tradewind Rider
Transgress the Mind
Treetop Village
Trinket Mage
Triskelavus
Tropical Island
Tundra
Uktabi Orangutan
Ultimate Price
Umezawa's Jitte
Underground River
Upheaval
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Urza's Factory
Urza's Rage
Utter End
Vampiric Tutor
Vault Skirge
Vendetta
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant
Verdant Catacombs
Verdant Force
Veteran Motorist
Vile Aggregate
Village Messenger
Viridian Shaman
Voice of All
Voice of Resurgence
Voidslime
Volcanic Island
Voltaic Key
Vraska's Contempt
Walking Ballista
Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Reverence
Wall of Roots
Warden of the First Tree
Wasteland
Waterfront Bouncer
Watery Grave
Westvale Abbey
White Knight
Wild Mongrel
Wild Nacatl
Wild Slash
Wildfire
Winding Constrictor
Windswept Heath
Wing Shards
Wingmate Roc
Wirewood Symbiote
Wood Elves
Wooded Foothills
Worn Powerstone
Wrath of God
Wren's Run Vanquisher
Yavimaya Coast
Yosei, the Morning Star
Zealous Conscripts
Zurgo Bellstriker

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