Hello, I'm Caleb Gannon (calebgannonmtg on YouTube and @calebgannonmtg on Twitter), a PhD scientist and artist who loves brewing up wild decks. The one I am most remembered for is probably Fishelbrand where I used Energy Tap, Burnt Offering, and Rush of Knowledge to build a storm deck out of delve creatures. There were some other good ones like my trophy run with Mono-Green Abzan Merfolk Soul Sisters, which was as ridiculous and wonderful of a deck as it sounds.
I also absolutely love drafting cube and bringing together creative new takes on old archetypes (Shallow Grave, Primeval Titan Ramp, Black-Red Birthing Pod, Empty the Warrens plus Gaea's Cradle Storm, etc.). My motto is to do things creatively, but in a way that results in functional decks that can win reliably. I guess you could say I love to win as spectacularly as possible.
Powered Synergy Cube came about as a desire to maximize this potential within a cube: I wanted to cultivate an environment that allowed as much room for imagination and creativity as possible while still maintaining a genuinely competitive balance—essentially a brewer's playground where all of the pieces to choose from are highly competitive.
To accomplish that goal, I had to eschew a lot of cube traditions and get creative to make things actually work in practice. So be warned! This cube is likely to surprise you!
First, this cube is absolutely packed to the gills with archetypes. Many of them overlapping within the same colors or even colorless. Because of this, there are no defined rules for what a color pair should be doing. Black-red aren't just the colors for sacrifice. They're also the colors for artifacts, madness, storm, dredge, Zombies, spells, control, tokens, and plenty of other things.
The key is that all of the cards for these archetypes work together in a way that allows you to meld many different archetypes into one. Cryptbreaker is a Zombie that discards cards, creates tokens, and draws cards. You can play it with Undead Augur and go into Zombies, Blazing Rootwalla for madness/discard, Headless Rider for sacrifice, or Scourge of Nel Toth for all of the above!
As another example: Emry, Lurker of the Loch is a card that you can tap to cast artifacts from your graveyard. But artifacts range widely! You can play Emry in an aggressive artifacts deck with Cranial Plating, a combo artifacts deck with Thopter Foundry/Scrap Trawler, and a control artifacts deck with Engineered Explosives and Ratchet Bomb. If that wasn't enough, Emry can also be played in an Intruder Alarm combo shell with Memnite and Goblin Welder, storm and discard/madness with Lion's Eye Diamond, or even Jeskai Ascendancy combo by looping something like Black Lotus!
What I'm trying to show here is just how open-ended a single card in the cube can be, let alone how many different ways there are to meld archetypes into fun and unique decks. I've packed this cube with as many cards like this as possible to give you as much freedom as I possibly could.
As a side effect of this design approach, this cube has SO MANY COMBOS. Although rather than including specific two-card combos like Deceiver Exarch and Splinter Twin, you will find more open-ended combo pieces that can be used in variety of archetypes like Phyrexian Altar, Aluren, Nether Traitor, and Jeskai Ascendancy. Most decks will accidentally include some game-ending combo loop, so definitely be on the lookout for unexpected interactions.
To make this all work, I had to create incentives for chasing these synergistic decks instead of the usual cube mantra of picking all the strong cards in your colors: I cut essentially all of the cards that are independently capable of taking over the game on their own. This means planeswalkers (Teferi, Time Raveler, Jace, the Mind Sculptor), big bois (Questing Beast, Grave Titan), and Modern Horizons and direct-to-Commander specials (Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Murktide Regent, Hexdrinker, Wrenn and Six, Hullbreacher, Laelia, the Blade Reforged, etc.).
As a result of this, winning the game can no longer be an afterthought of your cube drafting experience. During the draft, you will need to craft a game plan for what you want your deck to be doing and use that to guide your decisions. Always be asking yourself "what does my deck do and how will it win?"
This point is especially interesting considering the cube is fully powered. That means Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and all the Moxen are in the cube. While these cards are the best enablers ever printed, I think you'll soon realize that none of them can win the game on their own (aside from the rare but always amazing Ancestral Recall to deck your opponent). I know people are going to scoff at this, but trust me: this is a cube where you will be passing power for other cards your deck needs. Off-color Moxen and colorless mana is not something that every deck wants badly enough to pick over other enablers. Gaea's Cradle in Elves is something I would take over Sol Ring, and Bazaar of Baghdad in Hogaak is probably better than any other piece of power.
Lastly, the fixing in this cube is abundant and strong, which is necessary because the curve is VERY low and the first turns can be absolutely critical. There is no time to mess around with bad mana. I am running three of each fetch land, two of each dual land, two of each shock land, and one of each Triome, including the new additions from Streets of New Capenna. This way, you can comfortably draft the decks you want without being limited by poor fixing. With every fixing land being either a fetch or a dual you can assemble a nearly Constructed-level mana base if you want to (and you should). Be wary, though; Five-Color Goodstuff might be tempting, but without all the single-card win conditions, you're better off aiming for a synergistic deck. Although you can totally run a five-color synergy deck! All I'm saying is you need a plan beyond "take all the good cards" or you'll be in for a bad time.
Enough of the intro, let's talk about what you can do in this cube! Keep in mind that this is nowhere near an exhaustive list, it is more of a highlights section of what the cube has to offer. You will often end up mixing and matching components from all these strategies in one way or another. I have an extensive discussion about the cube on my website, as well as a deep dive into the specific synergies, archetypes, and interactions of each color to help guide you toward the fun things that are possible. I highly recommend reading this. Even after hundreds of drafts of this cube, I am still discovering new and interesting archetypes.
That's right! Green is not a traditional ramp deck at all. Instead, it features a fully functional combo Elves list. Play many cheap creatures, tap them for insane amounts of mana, and use it to turn them all into Dinosaurs with Allosaurs Shepherd, swing for crazy amounts with Finale of Devastation or use changeling to make enormous creatures with Mirror Entity (which is also an Elf!)
Don't want a traditional Elves list? You can use these enchantments to power up any creature deck into a full combo or storm list! Glimpse of Nature and Shrieking Drake can draw you into your Brain Freeze, Thassa's Oracle, Craterhoof Behemoth, or anything else you can think of, and I've heard that Earthcraft is decent with Empty the Warrens and Chatterstorm. You can also run these cards in fair decks as additional mana or card-advantage engines!
Ninjas never looked so good with all of the disruption and interaction available in the Vintage format. Cards like Snuff Out, Gush, Force of Will, and Time Walk make a great disruptive core for these Ninjas to shine. There are some aggressive creatures for early Ninja hits like Ornithopter, Faerie Seer, and Changeling Outcast. Or you can play the game slower and return some great value plays like Spellstutter Sprite and Thieving Skydiver with ninjutsu.
There are so many strong one- and two-mana spells in this cube to really power up the spells archetype. Krark turns spells like Thoughtseize and Lightning Bolt into something absolutely terrifying for your opponent. These cheap spells are also great with cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist that can bring them all back.
Oh yeah, there is a fully functional Hogaak deck in this cube! Survival of the Fittest is an incredible card for this, being able to fill your graveyard with good stuff like Anger, Vengevine, Bloodghast, and Hogaak himself while also letting you play a longer game with creatures like Squee, Goblin Nabob.
I included a madness/discard theme as well! While there are few cards that actually say "madness" on them, there are plenty of cards that are great to discard or reward you for doing so. Rielle, the Everwise makes Lion's Eye Diamond into a Black Lotus plus Wheel of Fortune combined. Containment Construct lets you reuse cards discarded and turns Lion's Eye Diamond into a pseudo–Black Lotus! If you've run out of steam, you can cast that Echo of Eons or Deep Analysis you discarded earlier, too.
Sacrifice is awesome in this cube with a lot of different synergies going on. You can lean into combo stuff with Pitiless Plunderer, Empty the Warrens, and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician or opt for an aggressive deck with Juri, Master of the Revue, Mayhem Devil, and Greater Gargadon. Don't forget fetch lands work for sacrifice triggers! Sacrifice spreads across lands, creatures, and artifact themes, so be open to things like Arcbound Ravager and Zuran Orb if your deck is starting to look like they might fit!
There are many persist combos floating around the cube as well! While not a dedicated archetype necessarily, having the ability to go infinite in a sacrifice or creature-based deck and end the game on the spot can be incredibly useful.
Classic affinity gets powered up with Vintage-level enablers. Mishra's Workshop and Sol Ring make for some terrifyingly explosive starts! A key thing to note is that white is the main color for artifact aggro, so while you might be drafting colorless cards, you'll want to look into white for supporting cards like Losheel, Clockwork Scholar and Stoneforge Mystic.
These artifact enablers work well in a combo-oriented shell, too! The blue side of artifacts is often set up to go much bigger with things like Urza, Lord High Artificer and Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek combos. And, of course, I included a full Krark-Clan Ironworks combo shell. For those who don't know how Krark-Clan Ironworks combos work, you can read the full detailed description on my website to fill yourself in on how to make these cards work for you! You can also just get a ton of recursive value out of these cards without necessarily needing to go infinite.
There are so many different ways to storm in this cube. I've built a special mono-red Bonus Round copy spells archetype that I absolutely love. (Hint: Finale of Promise, Increasing Vengeance, and Bonus Round work really well together.) There is also traditional Yawgmoth's Will/Tendrils of Agony Storm, Mono-Blue High Tide, and a lot of secret archetypes like Rielle/Lion's Eye Diamond Storm featuring Gamble plus Containment Construct and Echo of Eons.
Triple fetch lands power lands up substantially. Perhaps the strongest creature in the entire cube is Titania, Protector of Argoth. While she might be easy to kill, if you are able to sacrifice all of your lands in response to a kill spell, you can summon an enormous army in an instant! And if she manages to stick around, things can get really scary for your opponent. The Gitrog Monster and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King also tend to work nicely in this archetype (especially since fetch lands trigger Korvold).
Auriok Salvagers plus Black Lotus or Lion's Eye Diamond allows you to make infinite mana. Pair that with one of the Spellbombs and you can draw your entire deck, discard your opponent's hands, and burn them out! If you aren't going infinite, Aurok Salvagers can just provide good value by locking opponents out with Necrogen Spellbomb, drawing cards every turn with Mishra's Bauble, and getting back creatures like Walking Ballista.
Second Sunrise is probably the most ambitious archetype in the cube and not for the faint of heart. While I sadly had to remove my favorite enabler (Mon's Goblin Waiters), I still think the deck can work. There are tons of baubles and triple fetch lands to help you go off, plus some spicy enablers like Zuran Orb and of course Black Lotus and Tinker. The Sunrise cards are also an infinite combo with Dualcaster Mage and any sacrifice outlet.
Designing this cube was an incredible effort that I personally spent hundreds of hours on. But I didn't do it all alone. My Discord was incredibly helpful and willing to run test drafts for me so I could collect data very quickly about what archetypes were and weren't working. They helped me identify which cards I should cut and were willing to entertain some of my more outlandish ideas. Without their help, this cube would be nowhere close to as good as it is now. I would guess in total we have easily done 100 or more drafts of iterative testing and refining. And all that data was invaluable for balancing purposes and identifying problematic cards. There were quite a few changes I had to make so that this cube could run on Magic Online, so if you are interested in making this cube in person, look for my list on my social media platforms.
I will be recording and posting tons of videos of this cube to my YouTube channel, so be sure to check there to see what nonsense I get up to. I have also made a lot of videos about the creation process and deep dives into all the archetypes, and will almost certainly be doing follow-up videos with the data I gather from Magic Online. I would absolutely love to see what decks you end up creating so please share them using #calebsynergycube on Twitter or in my Discord! Thanks, and I hope you enjoy my cube!