Custom Cube: Shard/Wedge Oriented

Sat, 2017-07-08 19:41

Working on a pet project here. The idea is to design a 360 card set specifically for singelton cubing, using reprints wherever necessary. Doing them in 3 colour shards/wedges.

Card Distribution

360 singleton cube
40 Gold cards: 40 guild cards (2colour) - These will act as the mythics of the cube.
48 Mono Colour: Some overlay/spill over between shards/guilds
40 Colourless: Colour Fixing, miscellaneous effects, archetype support
40 Lands: Colour Fixing, Utility, and relevant typing, archetype support.

Card Possible Archetypes

RG Energy

UG Lands/Elementals

UR Artifacts

UW Aura/flying

RB Sacrifice/discard

BW Tokens/spirits

RW Weapons/warriors

GW Valiant/knights

BG Graveyard/zombies

UB Mill/spell mastery

In case anyone is curious, here are some Mechanics I've worked out to help with my desired archetypes.
Desired Mechanics:


Populate X: Target X token creatures you control. Create a token copy of each.

Prowess: Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Forfeit X: Gets effect if X or more permanents you control were put into grave from play this turn. (rework of morbid)

Equip: Attach this to target creature.

1Armory X: Gets effect if you control X or more equipment. (rework of metalcraft).

2Armory X: Gets effect if you control X or more equipped creatures.

Improvise: (Your artifacts can help cast this spell. Each artifact you tap after you're done activating mana abilities pays for 1.)

Metalcraft X: Gets an effect/bonus if you control X or more artifacts. (remake of original metalcraft, havent thought of a keyword for it yet.)

Forge X: Create X colorless artifact Shard tokens.

Shardcraft X: Gets an effect if you control X or more Shards. (Shards are artifact tokens like clues but with no abilities. Likely to replace Metalcraft)

Synchrony X: When you cast this, copy it X times. Each copy targets a different creature which shares a creature type with Target creature.

Valiant: When this becomes the target of a spell, it gets +1/+1 and becomes valiant until end of turn. (Might trigger from ability, might put +1/+1 counter)

Raid X: Gets effect if X or more creatures you control attacked this turn.

Battalion X: Gets effect when you attack with X or more creatures.

These are tentative, some may be changed or removed. Others will be added. Any tips are appreciated.

Here are the discarded archetypes. These are no longer in use but are left here for reference. Some might be absorbed into another archetype as a sort of subtheme. For example, 2class tribal into race tribal, proliferate into -1/-1 counters matter, and enchantments amtter into Valiant.


2 Class tribal (Essentially creatures of two different types caring about youcontrolling a creature of the other type) like the commander sets 'lieutenants'
Bastion Protector Blade splicer Angelic Overseer (high priority)

enchantments matter (Specifically shrines or curses - low priority list)

+1/+ Counters matter/monstrous (self explanatory)

Proliferate (cards which utilize coutners, +1/+1, -1/-1, time, charge etc.)

Assemble the meek (cares about 2power or less creatures, mentor of the meek etc. - low priority list)

Lifegain control (cards that cause or reward lifegain - low priority list)

Mill control (negative tempo, stall/control deck, bounce effects, repeatable mill - mid priority list)

Flashback/unearth/self mill (symmetrical mill, graveyard as resource - low priority)

Unearth/ reanimate (self explanatory - low priority)

-/- Raid: Cards get bonuses if you attacked this turn. spells which help creatures attack profitably.
Deathbellow raider, mardu heart-piercer, raid bombardment, Agrus Kos ( aggro) (R/W?)or(R/B?)

R/W Prowess: creatures that care about noncreature spells. spells that help them get in for damage.
Mistfire adept, firebrand archer, artful dodge, jump (aggro) (R/W?)
Equipments and creatures/spells that care about them.(midragne)

Discarded archetype

UW Auras
negative auras, cards which care about enchantments, tutor/recursion
Heliod's pilgrim pillory of the sleepless aura finesse gatherer of graces pacifism eidolon of countless battles
might make this a 5 colour archetype

Sat, 2017-07-08 20:12

I was getting good feedback on my decisions not to include certain keywords/mechanics; however, what I really wanted help with was designing archetypes. I figured that since they're different queries it would be fine in a spearate thread. If that line of thinking was incorrect I can take this down. I'll admit its been a while (like 2 years) since I read the forum FAQ.

Sat, 2017-07-08 22:54
Community Award
Yoshi's picture

1) Why are you adding specific parameters to existing keywords that don't need them? Although it can be tempting to add specific variables, it's usually better to not have these variables pop up everywhere. There are reasons why I personally think you should refrain from using them:

1a) These variables add unnecessary complexity. It becomes harder to track what you want; for example, with Battalion, you know you want three creatures attacking, and then you know Battalion is "on". Here, with your modified version you need to track it with each individual creature, adding more complexity.

1b) It's confusing. These keywords share names with existing keywords. It's like having a card in your cube share a name with a card in canon Magic - try to avoid it whenever possible, because it's confusing.

2) Some of these mechanics suck, to be blunt.

2a) Shardcraft: Please please please don't do that. It's literally more restrictive Metalcraft. Which is problematic since 1) Shard tokens are hard to interact with for Blue mana symbol or Black mana symbol, unlike say, artifacts that you cast. More importantly and worse, it's parasitic. Hoarding a bunch of Shard tokens accomplishes very little on it's own, and A + B drafting of this caliber (think Processors/Ingest) is not going to make a fun draft environment. Just use Metalcraft, because as I mentioned earlier, this is more restrictive Metalcraft that goes off of a smaller subset of artifacts. While you should be able to build around abilities, a build around this restrictive is 1) impractical and 2) inflexible, which leads to a lot of very same-y artifact decks being built. So yeah, just use Metalcraft.

2b) Populate X: Unnecessary, as mentioned earlier. Just do what WotC did for multiple instances of Cascade for Maelstrom Wanderer: Populate, populate.

2c) Forge: Make the artifacts do something on their own so that you're not obligated to use them with artifact synergy. Something like "Create a colorless Bismuth artifact token with "Sacrifice Bismuth: Add Colorless mana symbol to your mana pool." or "Create a colorless Lens artifact token with "1 mana symbol, Sacrifice Lens: Scry 1." would go a long way to making this matter. If you're going for large quantities of tokens, why not do something very low impact like "Create a colorless Paintbrush artifact token with "1 mana symbol, Sacrifice Paintbrush: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool." would go a long way to giving these cards some utility to other decks while pushing them towards artifact decks.

As a side note, I've taken a look at some of your archetypes and please, don't mix +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters. It's 1) confusing, because they cancel one another, especially with proliferate. 2) You also have time counters, which is quickly going to become a confusing cesspool of counters upon counters.

Some archetype suggestions:
White mana symbolBlack mana symbol: Taxing, Defenders and toughness matters, tokens, reanimator
Blue mana symbolBlack mana symbol: Defenders, toughness matters, evasive beaters, control
Red mana symbolWhite mana symbol: Weenies, equipment, first strike matters
Red mana symbolGreen mana symbol: Power matters, aggro, ramp, trample-matters
Black mana symbolRed mana symbol: Aggro, sacrifice, suicide aggro, control (Black mana symbolRed mana symbol have some of the strongest creature removal)
Green mana symbolBlue mana symbol: Ramp, +1/+1 counters
White mana symbolBlue mana symbol: Control, fliers, negative enchantments (think Singing Bell Strike and Pacifism)
Blue mana symbolRed mana symbol: Instants and sorceries, artifacts, elemental tribal, storm lol
Black mana symbolGreen mana symbol: Graveyard, reanimator, ramp
Green mana symbolWhite mana symbol: Tokens, +1/+1 counters matter, ramp

Good luck!

December 2017 - R32 - "We are more than just rank and file..."
February 2018 - DDH - "Remember that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer."

I stand with the specimen.

Mon, 2017-07-10 12:13

@Yoshi: First off, thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate that you went into such great detail.

1a) This may be a phenomenon unique to my play group, but we feel that Being able to change how many artifacts an effect requires before it goes off increases design space. Especially since you can balance it in more ways than just an increase in mana cost.

1b) The idea I was going for here was to represent a possible new mechanic. It isn't actually the same keyword, just a sort of place holder to give people a general idea what the ability might do. You're right tho, it is confusing.

2a) I doubly appreciate this feedback because i just yesterday read a post on here about mechanics and the problems of being insular and/or parasitic and still I hadn't realzied I was doing it. So just use metalcraft, Duly noted.

2b) My idea here is that the 'populate X' ability would target X creature tokens and then create a copy of each. I was wording it like this with the intention that the token could be removed in response. Is this doing too much?

2c) Love it! Great suggestion. The scry idea seems cool, the colour fixing even better. I positively love that idea, thank you!

As to your side note, I haven't designed any archetypes making use of time counters. I did however decide to go with -1/-1 counters, might even combine proliferate into it. Thinking to do the same with raid and tribal since attacking isnt really an archetype. Plus you suggested a graveyard archetpye and that sounds super cool so im running with it.

Once again, thank you sooooooooooooo much!!!! You Da Bess!!!!!!!

Mon, 2017-07-10 10:50
Featured Set Editor - Best Set of 2015 - Community Award
voltaic-qui's picture

1a) I found a compelling argument for the exact argument. This may be a phenomenon unique to my play group, but we feel that Being able to change how many artifacts an effect requires before it goes off allows increases design space. Especially since you can balance it in more ways than just an increase in mana cost.

That's fine, but it defeats the point of having (for instance) metalcraft, which makes it so all your cards trigger at the same threshold and thus reduces the amount of time you need to spend reading cards. You can of course have cards that trigger off having fewer (Dhund Operative) or more (Metallurgic Summonings)but I'd avoid changing keywords around for that.

formerly jacquipup

"It's exciting to create something that demonstrates how clever you are, that you pushed in a direction that players didn't anticipate. The problem is that the point of game design isn't to be clever, it's to create a great game."

Mon, 2017-07-10 11:15
Neottolemo's picture

Yeah, doesn't need to be a keyword for you to make an archetype around it. Just like you don't need populate, with or without X, if you're only going to make one type of token anyway. You may as well write it out.

Mon, 2017-07-10 12:29

@jacqui: Thank you and Duly noted. I'll keep that in mind as I finalize the mechanics. Gonna mock up some cards to see what im working with, theres a chance that metalcraft wont even make the cut. Any iput on choosing an archetype for UW?

U/W Spell mastery: Cards that get better with more instant and sorceries in grave. cards which exile spells from grave as a cost
Ravaging Blaze, Send to Sleep, Deathrite Shaman, Disciple of the Ring, Pull from the Deep
'Devoted Scholar 3R creature 2/2 Spell mastery 4- Instant and sorceries in your grave have flashback equal to their casting cost"


U/W Aura control: negative auras, cards which care about enchantments, tutor/recursion
Heliod's pilgrim pillory of the sleepless aura finesse gatherer of graces pacifism eidolon of countless battles
might make this a 5 colour archetype

Mon, 2017-07-10 12:32

@Neottolem: THanks for you reply. The idea behind populate being on instant and sorceries is to give thoses card extra value in the tokens arhetype. Whereas if I just attached "create a 1/1 spirit token" to the end of those cards, any deck could run them, possibly weaking the viability of the tokens deck and giving unnecessary advantage to decks which are simply in its colours.
Any other mechanics you might suggest if I were to remove populate?

Tue, 2017-07-11 01:37
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
WindyDelcarlo's picture

I think what I might suggest is adding better tokens than 1/1's if you want an archetype centered on them. Also, for archetypes, be very careful. If you make too many cards only playable in a certain archetype, it means that archetype always gets those cards, which makes drafts boring very quickly.

(Also, fix Devoted Scholar. It's a million times better than Past in Flames)

Tue, 2017-07-11 03:25

@Windy: I was basing my idea for BW on the BW tokens decks of modern. If you don't think 1/1 fliers cna carry the day then ill have to think of something else.
What do you think of choosing between Spell Mastery or Auras matter, for UW? I'm kind of stuck.

Tue, 2017-07-11 03:34
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
WindyDelcarlo's picture

Keep in mind that modern decks are 60 cards with 4 copies of each card. Sure, some 1/1 fliers is great in tokens, but the archetype should probably have more things. It also gives a reason for other decks to look at them, so that they're not always being passed to the tokens deck that's going to 3-0 the draft.

I have a personal love of auras for WU but Spell Mastery works better with the tokens archetype. That way the W cards for either archetype can go in a deck of the other archetype.

Tue, 2017-07-11 21:12

@Windy: I see what you're saying thanks. I'll probably drop the populate mechanic and just go for different kinds of tokens.I'm going to avoid narrow cards.
Aight, I hear you, Spell mastery it is. I can try to fit auras into GW as more of a sub theme,because I really like auras. works especially since GW is a heroic variant. Thanks again!

Looks like im done designing archetypes. Thanks to everyone, ill probably come crawling back when i get stuck on card designs and balancing lol.

Thu, 2017-07-13 22:50

We all loved the clue tokens of innistrad, but would it be too much if there was an artifact token which coul deal damage?
My idea: Colorless Shard artifact token with "3, Sacrifice ~: ~ deals 1 damage to target creature or player."
Good, bad?

Thu, 2017-07-13 23:09
MysticalOctopus's picture

Can you create a sample card with the mechanic?
By the way, I think it would be fine to have it cost 2.

My Set Hub[/size]

Thu, 2017-07-13 23:49
Moderator Best Set of 2016
Daij_Djan's picture

Well, if these tokens hit creatures, toughness 1 creatures are basically useless in Limited imho.

Not saying it'd be impossible, but it would require effort to play well in the end imho..

Fri, 2017-07-14 07:47
Neottolemo's picture

I agree with Daij, having the token hit only players seems more balanced for Limited to me.

Fri, 2017-07-14 10:25
Moderator Best Set of 2016
Daij_Djan's picture

To be fair, when the tokens only hit players, some fiddeling of number (cost between 1 mana symbol and 3 mana symbol, 1 or 2 damage) is possible.

Fri, 2017-07-14 16:06
Head Administrator
CanterburyEgg's picture

You're basically also restricted to Black/red mana symbol with this mechanic, which is fine, but worth noting. If you put this on a blue card I will hunt you down and poke you with a schnitzel until you reformat your system.

Fri, 2017-07-14 16:11
MysticalOctopus's picture

But green gets direct damage too right? Hornet Sting amirite?

Jokes aside, yes it does seem to stay within the realm of RB.

My Set Hub[/size]

Sat, 2017-07-15 07:46

Well i was hoping for it to be a general thing. All colours would ahve access to it. However, if you guys feel so strongly about it I could create different shard tokens. Maybe red cards create shards that deal damage, green give mana, white gains life, blue scrys, and black, a creature -1/-1...?
or, other option is shards have no effect, but there could be cards that give them effects.

"Liquimetal Essence 1 mana symbolGreen mana symbol Enchantment
Shards you control have "Sacrifice ~: Add C to your mana pool." "

"Shardstone Essence 1 mana symbolRed mana symbol Enchantment
Shards you control have "2, Sacrifice ~: ~ deals 1 damage to target player." "

"Aether Essence 1 mana symbolBlue mana symbol Enchantment
Shards you control have "2, Sacrifice ~: Scry 2." "

"Lunar Essence 1 mana symbolWhite mana symbol Enchantment
Shards you control have "3, Sacrifice ~: Target player gains 2 life." "

"Ichor Essence 1 mana symbolBlack mana symbol Enchantment
Shards you control have "4, Sacrifice ~: Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn." "

Im honestly nto too sure how I feel about these.
Might be better to just have the shards sacrifice for colorless mana. Kind of like eldrazi tokens except theyre artifacts instead of creatures. That way each colour could have access to them. I guess i could technically do both, but just limit the colour interactiosn to U/R since thats the artifact guild, they can have access to the Red enchantment and the blue enchantment. The other ones just wont exist.

Sat, 2017-07-15 08:47
Neottolemo's picture

other option is shards have no effect

Please don't. That'd be boring to play with and make shards useless unless you draft both cards that make shards and cards that give shards abilities.

Might be better to just have the shards sacrifice for colorless mana. Kind of like eldrazi tokens except theyre artifacts instead of creatures. That way each colour could have access to them.

Sounds reasonable.

I guess i could technically do both

What do you mean do both? If you mean give shards an effect by default but also have cards that give them a different kind of effect, then that sounds good.

Sat, 2017-07-15 16:10
MysticalOctopus's picture

Maybe make them worse clue tokens by default, but have cards give them other effects?

My Set Hub[/size]

Sat, 2017-07-15 16:31
Neottolemo's picture

That'd be a bad move imo, because as a designer, nothing stops you from giving extra effects to regular Clues. In fact, it's one of the most logical directions Clue-based cards could evolve in, next time that investigate shows up.

Sun, 2017-07-16 01:36

alright you all make solid points. the problem I have is I don't want clue tokens. the u incidental card draw bothers me. it would also make it harder to balance the ur artifact deck.
additionally, I have nontoken artifacts with shard typing.

I think I'll just go with shards producing colorless. it's already sort of been done in magic and is less likely to get out of hand.

mystical you do have a good point. i agree if they were clues that cost say maybe 4 to activate. less impactful than regular clues and could be interesting to play.

ill stick with the eldrazi token effect and maybe create cards that additionally give them effects.

thank you both for your advice you really helped me out.

Wed, 2017-07-19 18:00

We all love equipments but lets face it, they're some of the hardest cards to balance in magic limited. Well, what if our equipments were all cheap with medium activation costs and very marginal effects. Not strong enough to completely take over a game the way the mirrodin swords cycle did, but relevant enough that youd be willing to play them (in limited).

I present to you, my

underpowered weapons

Shield Equipment 1 mana symbolWhite mana symbol
When Shield equipment enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Equipped creature gets +0/+2.
Equip 2 mana symbol

Generic Equipment Red mana symbol
When Generic equipment enters the battlefield, target creature can’t block this turn.
Equipped creature gets +2/-1.
Equip 2 mana symbol

Throwing weapon
Equipped creature gets +2/+0.
Whenever equipped creature attacks, you may pay R. If you do, unattach Throwing weapon and it deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
Equip 2 mana symbol

Holy footgear 1 mana symbolW:
When Holy footgear or another Angel enters play under your control, you gain 2 life.
Equipped creature has flying.
Equip 1 mana symbolWhite mana symbol

aggressive weapon Red mana symbol
Equipped creature gets +1/+0 and has Flanking. (Whenever a creature without flanking blocks this creature, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.)
Equip 1 mana symbolRed mana symbol

Sword of free 0 mana symbol
Whenever a Warrior enters play under your control, you may attach Sword of free to it.
Equipped creature gets +1/+0.
Equip 3 mana symbol

These are just some ideas i have for the colored equipment since they will exist primarily in RW i designed them first. Ill include a few colorless ones, and then there may be soem in other colours but nowhere near as many. Thoughts, critiques, suggestions?

Let me know what you think. THese are just some ideas i have for the colored equipment.

Wed, 2017-07-19 19:12
Gorgonzola's picture

Y U NO make em' colorless?

I just dont understand why people pay thousands for a piece of cardboard.
Why just don't play some casual? Gee, it isn't even fun to play with, and especially against.

Thu, 2017-07-20 08:45

because im trying to make a RW Weapons archetype. Sicne i want them to have higher access to equipment, i fgiured put some in their color. It also helps me to create them without them being super versatile to every deck and colour. there will also be colorless equipment but those are for everyone.

Thu, 2017-07-20 14:45
MysticalOctopus's picture

Instead of actually making them have colors, why not add effects that use colored mana? Like Sunforger, or a Firebreathing effect.

My Set Hub[/size]

Thu, 2017-07-20 16:32
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
WindyDelcarlo's picture

Right now, none of the equipment except the thrown weapon and maybe the shield are any good, and the shield is because it cantrips. Usually, unless there's a good reason to have a colored artifact (a set theme or a special artifact, like Esper or the Gearhulks or Godsend) it's better to allow any deck to use them, since that's kinda the point of artifacts.

Fri, 2017-07-21 19:38

@Windy: Understood. However, for the environment im trying to create, I want RW to have exclusive access to certain equipment. I also want equipment to be underpowered. Without numerous incentives to play enchantments, auras are just dead cards in my cube and strong equipment make auras relatively useless in a vacuum.
I'll try it out, if they end up being complete garbage ill buff them as necessary. Each archetype I finish is going to be playtested in my current cube as is, and that will help me to ensure I maintan the necessary power level.

Sat, 2017-07-22 21:01
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
WindyDelcarlo's picture

The problem is that if your equipment is underpowered, there is practically no point to casting them, since you have to pay so much to make them function. The Generic Equipment you have for red is 3 mana in a specific color for a worse effect than Bonesplitter and marginal upside.

Sun, 2017-07-23 08:12

I hear you. would you disagree with making the creatures that care about equipment valuable enough once equipped that its worth the investment? Because thats what Im trying to work towards, but i might just be doing it all wrong. I was hoping that the equipment individually could be mediocre but the creatures would be decent unequipped but really good when equipped. I want to really incentivizedraftignthe equipment only if you're actually building towards the weaposn archetypes and draftign the cards that go with it. as opposed to the mirrodin swords where you just put it on any creature and it works.

Sun, 2017-07-23 16:19
Administrator - MSE Add-On Award
WindyDelcarlo's picture

The problem with that is that it makes a large portion of your cards do literal nothing outside of that archetype. I know that's what you said you wanted, but that is a mistake.
If no one is drafting red-white and you have 10 or so actual terrible equipment floating around, there are at minimum 10 cards in the draft that are suddenly just complete blanks when they could be actual playable cards. This was a situation I found when I was trying to work with a blue-black exile archetype in a real cube, where half the cards did nothing for anyone else. If there is someone in that archetype, it just means they have the same draft deck every single time because no one else cares enough to pick the cards, which makes a cube very boring after the first or second draft.

Wed, 2017-07-26 22:47

Oh shoot! You're right, i didn't think of that. Ok, so i gotta make them at least playable for everybody. Ok so far, i like what they do thematically. Would you suggest just a change in the values of the boosts they provide, or just costs, etc? I think id prefer they were just cheaper in cost as opposed to more powerful in effect. i really want to avoid making the next jitte.