The Holiday Cube is Now the Vintage Cube

Posted in Magic Online on December 7, 2015

By Adam Prosak

From Friday Night Magic to the Pro Tour, Adam Prosak loves all types of tournament Magic. Currently, Adam is working in R&D as a developer.

The Holiday Cube has long been known on Magic Online as the Cube containing the most powerful Magic cards ever created, such as the Power Nine. Since time immemorial, Holiday Cube events have run on Magic Online during, well, the holidays. That said, we thought that players should have more opportunities to play the Holiday Cube throughout the rest of the year, which would make its name a bit misleading. In honor of the powerful cards contained within, the Holiday Cube has been renamed. Introducing: The Vintage Cube!

Adam Prosak is a designer in Magic R&D and has worked on tons of cool Magic products, like the Legendary Cube that was recently introduced to Magic Online. Today, Adam is going to walk players through the changes they can expect in the Vintage Cube's latest run.

Check out the updated Vintage Cube list.

Vintage Cube events run from December 16, after the downtime, until the January 6 downtime! Check out the full event details below.


Ah Vintage Cube.

What happens when you take the most powerful cards in the history of Magic, shuffle them up and draft them? The Vintage Cube happens.

With the Vintage Cube, our philosophy in R&D is to provide the most powerful cards and strategies that are available in Magic. Only one card, Time Vault, is cut from the cube due to power reasons. Everything else is fair game. In addition to that, we want to take advantage of some of the cards that are only available in this cube—namely the Vintage reserved list. To this end, the Vintage Cube supports a heavy artifact theme, complemented by some of the fast mana such as Moxen and Mana Vault. Cards such as Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and Goblin Welder are much more powerful in a Cube that contains the power nine. Additionally, the high number of draw sevens (Wheel of Fortune, Timetwister, Memory Jar, etc) support storm strategies, especially when combined with the fast mana. Storm is really difficult to pull off, and often requires a healthy amount of cards seen on the Vintage Restricted list. The Vintage Cube aims to support these strategies in a way that no other cube is capable of.

When tasked with updating the Vintage Cube, I decided that this update was not going to include any major overhauls. The Vintage Cube works. It is fun, it is popular, and it is different from everything else we offer on Magic Online. If it’s not broken, I’m certainly not going to try to fix it.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to improve the Vintage Cube. First of all, three sets have been released since we last ran the Vintage Cube—Dragons of Tarkir, Magic: Origins, and Battle for Zendikar. These sets have lots of interesting cards, even when compared against the most powerful Magic cards ever to see print. Den Protector, Abbot of Keral Keep, and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger are all welcome additions to the Vintage Cube. You can find the list of changes below. You’ll find that many of the changes revolve around simply adding the new cards and taking out the worst performing cards.

There are two other significant changes that you may have noticed. The first is that the Vintage Cube now contains the Temples from Theros Block. Given the combo-centric nature of the cube, Temples are a good way to help your draws come together more frequently. They have shown to be powerful in the Legacy and Legendary Cubes, so they deserve a spot in the Vintage Cube as well.

The other significant change is more of an experiment. The Vintage Cube is no longer color balanced! One of the major tasks of Magic R&D is to make sure each of our environments has a healthy amount of each color being played. If we make a draft environment where one color is too strong (or too weak), then that limits how much that set can be explored. Color balance is vital to everything that we make.

There’s only one problem. It’s basically impossible to balance the Vintage Cube. By definition, I want the Vintage Cube to contain the most powerful cards in the history of Magic. However, blue has historically been more powerful than the other colors. After all, the Power 9 only has blue cards and artifacts. Given that I want to include Ancestral Recall in the Vintage Cube, there isn’t a green or a white card of similar power level that I can include to help balance the colors. Once I embraced that the Vintage Cube would not be balanced on the power of its cards, I felt that it did not need to be color balanced by number as well.

The color imbalance in this iteration of the Vintage Cube is only slight—I cut one card from each of the other colors (and one multi-colored card) to add five additional blue cards. Some amount of color balance is still important to me—I want it to be possible to draft successful non-blue decks. If you are the only player drafting white cards in the Vintage Cube, you should still end up with the most powerful deck at the table. Let me know on Twitter @Adam_Prosak or on the Magic Online client (WotC_AdamP) what you think of the Vintage Cube or other Magic Online Cubes. Should there be even more blue cards? Would you like it to go back to being color balanced? Are there cards not currently in the Vintage cube that you would like to see?

May all of your opening packs contain a Black Lotus.

—Adam Prosak, Magic R&D


Vintage Cube Changes

White

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Dragon Hunter Kytheon, Hero of Akros
Momentary Blink

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Blue

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Anticipate
Careful Study
High Tide
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Quicken

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Black

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Bloodsoaked Champion Cabal Ritual
Bloodghast Dark Petition
Geralf's Messenger Liliana, Heretical Healer
Nether Void Toxic Deluge
Phyrexian Obliterator

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Red

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Firestorm Abbot of Keral Keep
Greater Gargadon Roast
Punishing Fire Exquisite Firecraft
Prophetic Flamespeaker

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Green

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Krosan Grip Den Protector
Life from the Loam Managorger Hydra
Troll Ascetic

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Multicolored

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Gaddock Teeg Brago, King Eternal
Jeskai Ascendancy Bring to Light
Narset Transcendent Dragonlord Dromoka
Shardless Agent Dromoka's Command
Siege Rhino
Voice of Resurgence

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Colorless

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Masticore Hangarback Walker
Hedron Archive
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

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Land

Leaving the Vintage Cube Entering the Vintage Cube
Adarkar Wastes Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Battlefield Forge Temple of Abandon
Caves of Koilos Temple of Deceit
Grove of the Burnwillows Temple of Enlightenment
Horizon Canopy Temple of Epiphany
Llanowar Wastes Temple of Malady
Shivan Reef Temple of Malice
Sulfurous Springs Temple of Mystery
Treetop Village Temple of Plenty
Underground River Temple of Silence
Volrath's Stronghold Temple of Triumph
Yavimaya Coast

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Vintage Cube Events

Swiss Vintage Cube Phantom Draft

Start Times: Wednesday, December 16, after downtime until Wednesday, January 6, downtime.
Location: Limited Queues
Entry Option:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points

Product: Magic Online will provide 3 Vintage Cube phantom booster packs. Phantom product will not be added to a player's collection at the conclusion of the event.
Size: 8 players
Play Style: Swiss
Format: Draft
Duration: 10 minutes deck-building time. Three rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
Prizes:

 

Wins Prizes QPs
3 Wins 150 Play Points 1
2 Wins 100 Play Points 0
1 Win 40 Play Points 0
0 Wins 10 Play Points 0

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Single Elimination Vintage Cube Phantom Draft

Start Times: Wednesday, December 16, after downtime until Wednesday, January 6, downtime.
Location: Limited Queues
Entry Option:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points

Product: Magic Online will provide 3 Vintage Cube phantom booster packs. Phantom product will not be added to a player's collection at the conclusion of the event.
Size: 8 players
Play Style: Single Elimination
Format: Draft
Duration: 10 minutes deck-building time. Three rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
Prizes:

 

Place Prizes QPs
1st 220 Play Points 1
2nd 160 Play Points 0
3rd-4th 100 Play Points 0

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