Legacy Cube Update

Posted in Magic Online on September 14, 2015

By Randy Buehler

Randy Buehler is a longtime Magic player, creator of the Magic Online Super Leagues, and an expert architect of Magic Cubes. In November 2014, working alongside Magic R&D, he led a complete redesign of the Magic Online Cube, resulting in the new Legacy Cube. Randy's ultimate goal was to continue to look at the trends of how players are using the Legacy Cube, and update it in response. This article details the second round of updates to the Magic Online Legacy Cube.

Check out the updated Legacy Cube list.

I remain pretty happy with the overall state of the Legacy Cube after the overhaul that I spear-headed most of a year ago. This iteration does include the removal of the Vampire theme, but there isn’t a whole lot else that was crying out to be changed. I always like to remove as many of the lowest drafted cards as we can, which we have done again, but the only other big change we made was to put back a few cards that people missed when we previously cut them: Eureka, Show and Tell, and Progenitus.

Those three cards are actually pretty interesting to think about from the perspective of Cube Design. I recommended cutting them six months ago because the winning percentage of decks that include these cards is quite low, and they are drafted significantly lower by queue winners than they are by the general populace. Based on this data I concluded that they were “traps.” However, there’s a lot more to Cube drafting than just channelling your inner Spike and trying to maximize your odds of winning. Even if these cards are traps, they are quite fun traps to try to win with (as many of you pointed out to me—thanks for the feedback). When they work they do spectacular things (not unlike the storm decks in Holiday Cube, which also look pretty bad when you just blindly look at the stats). Magic Online Cubes are unique in that we get access to large amounts of data and can make data-driven decisions about how to update it. The trick now is to figure out which data to pay attention to!

Now let’s talk about black. At the end of the day, the Vampire theme did not work out. That is, the cards are just too underpowered relative to everything else that’s going on and we’re cutting it from this iteration of the Legacy Cube. However, there are several ways in which it did work out, and I fully stand by our decision to try it. Specifically, many people took it as a challenge to try to win with Vampires, and I got sent more than a couple of 3-0 screenshots on Twitter. In addition, I remain confident that the right process for maintaining the Legacy Cube for the long-term is to try similarly sized and shaped experiments on a regular basis.

We’re expanding on several different themes in black this time around. The biggest push we’re making is to try to do a better job of enabling the reanimation deck. There are a few more juicy targets to reanimate in the Cube now (which should also make Eureka et al more fun as well), along with a few more ways to get them into the graveyard, and more ways to get them back out again. This latter category includes the addition of “fast reanimation” spells (like Shallow Grave and Makeshift Mannequin) that can actually reanimate an Eldrazi at instant speed while its “shuffle me back into your library” trigger is on the stack. Note that Careful Study and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy should make splashing blue a much more viable option for reanimation decks.

We’ve also expanded the options available to mono-black decks. Phyrexian Obliterator has returned, and is joined by Erebos, God of the Dead, Abhorrent Overlord, and a few more cards with lots of black mana symbols in their cost. On top of that there’s also a small sacrifice theme that we’re dabbling in. I honestly don’t know if Sidisi, Undead Vizier and Carrion Feeder are enough to make Abyssal Persecutor into a good card, but it should be fun to find out.

One other agenda I had with this update was to improve the power-level of green. We addressed that by adding some of the sweet green cards that have been printed in recent sets like Collected Company, Managorger Hydra, Woodland Bellower, Den Protector, Surrak, the Hunt Caller, and Nissa, Vastwood Seer. I’m pretty happy that the list of top performing cards (and top performing decks) is no longer mono-red (it’s now a mix of white aggro, red aggro, and blue control) but I would like to see some green cards appear the next time we look at the stats. Obviously ramp decks can already be pretty exciting when they come together, but green had some clunky mid-range creatures (like Troll Ascetic and Call of the Herd) that just weren’t operating at the same speed as other things going on in this Cube, so that’s where we looked for an upgrade.

Beyond that, we just looked to add cool new cards and replace the cards that are drafted the latest. Since the last Legacy Cube iteration, 22 of the 30 cards with the lowest average draft position have been removed (including 10 of the bottom 11). We also cut Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle since there’s no good deck for that combo to slot into.

Please do keep the feedback flowing on Twitter (where I am @rbuehler) or in person if you see me at an event. Meanwhile, I’ll see you in the queues!

Check out the updated Legacy Cube list.

Legacy Cube Changes


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Mardu Woe-Reaper Kytheon, Hero of Akros
Doomed Traveler Hidden Dragonslayer
Momentary Blink Secure the Wastes
Steppe Lynx Soulfire Grand Master


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Bident of Thassa Show and Tell
Sakashima's Student Stormtide Leviathan
Think Twice Careful Study
Thieving Magpie Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Coralhelm Commander Stratus Dancer
Tradewind Rider Harbinger of the Tides


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Guul Draz Assassin Bloodsoaked Champion
Guul Draz Vampire Carrion Feeder
Vampire Lacerator Dance of the Dead
Blood Artist Rotting Rats
Bloodthrone Vampire Doomed Necromancer
Kalastria Highborn Gilt-Leaf Winnower
Vampire Interloper Mogis's Marauder
Captivating Vampire Phyrexian Obliterator
Dark Impostor Abyssal Persecutor
Bloodline Keeper Erebos's Titan
Sangromancer Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Vampire Nocturnus Rune-Scarred Demon
Anowon, the Ruin Sage Liliana, Heretical Healer
Bloodlord of Vaasgoth Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Malakir Bloodwitch Midnight Banshee
Ascendant Evincar Abhorrent Overlord
Necropolis Regent Erebos, God of the Dead
Pain Seer Dark Petition
Sinkhole Read the Bones
Night's Whisper Demonic Pact
Graveborn Muse Corpse Dance
Consuming Vapors Makeshift Mannequin
Xathrid Necromancer Shallow Grave


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Form of the Dragon Outpost Siege
Scorched Rusalka Goblin Glory Chaser
Empty the Warrens Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh
Rakish Heir Abbot of Keral Keep
Goblin Bombardment Exquisite Firecraft
Bloodcrazed Neonate Inferno Titan
Taurean Mauler Ire Shaman
Molten Rain Forked Bolt
Madcap Skills Roast
Hero of Oxid Ridge Thunderbreak Regent
Stromkirk Captain


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Life from the Loam Collected Company
Scapeshift Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Harrow Eureka
Call of the Herd Llanowar Mentor
River Boa Den Protector
Boon Satyr Managorger Hydra
Warden of the First Tree Woodland Bellower
Troll Ascetic Surrak, the Hunt Caller
Wickerbough Elder Ainok Survivalist


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury Progenitus
Fires of Yavimaya Ashenmoor Gouger
Detention Sphere Rakdos's Return
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad Dragonlord Atarka
Gerrard's Verdict Dragonlord Ojutai
Unflinching Courage Divinity of Pride
Voice of Resurgence Ashen Rider
Far // Away Dromoka's Command
Dragonlord Dromoka
Dragonlord Silumgar


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Blade of the Bloodchief Hangarback Walker
Relic of Progenitus


Leaving the Legacy Cube Entering the Legacy Cube
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle Dark Depths
Riptide Laboratory Thespian's Stage

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