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I am building a cube and was wondering how much mana fixing is necessary to build a fun cube?

Is it necessary to have all the fetch lands and revised duals or shock lands to make sure that the players have the right manabase or is ok to forgo those cards for something simple (and less expensive) like evolving wilds and M10 lands + Innistrad lands?

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5 Answers 5

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A good mana base is required to have a good deck. The question is, how do you want people to achieve this? Either they play spells that're easy to cast or they have good fixing. Duals are fixing without an extra slot or tempo loss. Worse fixers either cost cards or tempo. Like the lands earlier suggested (Evolving Wilds, Taplands, Shimmering Grotto (ugh)) or with spells (Rampant Growth, Artifacts, etc). This will make your meta slower/less powerful and will probably give you less variation and options of what to do with the options given to you.

This is a really subjective answer, as this is a matter of taste.

What I want in a cube is the best cards possible. I want to allow people to be creative and make powerful decks without having to worry too much about the mana. An aggro deck with Savannah Lions, Kird Ape, Wild Mongrel and Hero of Bladehold. Sure splash in your Land Tax and Balance in your Pox-deck. A lot of popular cards like Brainstorm, Steppe Lynx, Counterbalance, Tarmogoyf lose a lot of their power without fetch lands. And fetches are also good fixers, especially with a few duals, so those are my top priority.

That said, if I had to buy all the cards to my cube from scratch, I wouldn't start spending it all on lands. I'd put in the good ones I had and start getting some fetches when I felt we had at pretty solid core of actual play cards.

A tip to ease the load on your wallet is to have a collaborative cube with some friends. You'll be surprised when you go through those old cards to see how many playables people are sitting on.

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Btw, I love the manlands from Worldwake. They aren't that $-expensive, provides manafixing, something to do with you mana late game for only a small tempo loss. –  AndSoYouCode Aug 15 '12 at 5:51

I think it depends on what type of cards you've included in your cube.

I remember that the Invasion block had lots of mana fixing because they wanted to encourage multi-colour deckbuilding due to the Domain mechanic.

On the other hand, Mirrodin block didn't require much (except for colourless splashable Myr) due to the artifact-heavy nature of the block.

I think a balance of a couple or three common lands/artifacts/fetch spells and a cycle of more colour specific uncommons/rares is a pretty standard way to go.

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Everything is possible, YOU decide what is fun and how you want to build your Cube. Here is a detailed article on the basic of cube building.

Basically, it depends on :

  • Budget. Fetch lands and original dual lands are expensive
  • Power Level. They allow to build more reliable decks than any other duals (that's a reason why Legacy and Vintage are more powerful than Standard or Modern)
  • Colored requirement in your spells. The more you want to play with gold cards, the more mana fixing you need. Same with spells with several colored mana requirement (white knight versus squire). Note that this also impacts power lever since usually stronger color requirements allow MtG designers to build stronger cards such as Pernicious Deed or Phyrexian Obliterator.

In the end you can go anywhere from a high-power cube (my take, I like to play with the full P9 in the Cube so it's like building Vintage decks) to very low level with all commons or the curve learning cube described in this article.

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Not at all.

A quick Gatherer Search revealed at least 25 non-Green, fairly inexpensive basic land searchers (most $0.10 commons). Key cards of note:

This is without even listing all the dual lands that are available. There is a thread on the Multiplayer Wizards forum that displays alternatives to the original duals for people on a budget. The top post of the thread breaks the dual/tri lands into categories, first by cost, then by cycle.

Finally, there are also artifacts that tap for any color, or three color(Obelisk of Esper, Obelisk of Naya), or cheap Signet cycle (Boros Signet, Azorius Signet, et. al.).

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I would advise against getting dual lands or shock lands. First of all, they are only good in decks where players are running those colors. If we assume everybody runs a 2-color deck of randomly chosen colors, there's a 10% chance that this card would be at all useful to them. Terramorphic Expanse/Evolving Wilds, Shimmering Grotto, and Manalith on the other hand will be at least partially useful in any deck that runs 2 colors, and even more so in a deck that runs 3-colors. I'm not a drafting expert, but whenever I see a dual land in a pack it usually gets picked close to last, while the 3 cards I mentioned go more quickly because they are more widely useful.

Second of all, dual lands are pretty weak cards in draft. If you are given the choice between a dual land you want and a good spell, its almost always a better idea to take the spell. Dual lands are a mainstay in constructed because they are slightly better than basic lands, but in draft you need to get as much as possible of every pick, and you can't usually afford to spend one just to upgrade a single basic land.

Third, dual/shock lands just aren't very interesting IMHO. They don't add any new archetypes to the cube like a few Liliana's Caress or Spider Spawning potentially could, they don't really strengthen very many other archetypes, and most importantly, when you pick them, you don't get the amazing Hehehe, lets see if my opponents can deal with this! feeling that you get from picking an awesome card.

I would definitely suggest Terramorphic Expanse/Evolving Wilds and Shimmering Grotto because they are good mana-fixing cards in almost any deck. Manalith, Alloy Myr, Darksteel Ingot, and other any-color 'mana-rocks' could also be a nice touch. These will allow players to build flexible mana-bases without having to wait to get a land in the colors they need and should take up less space than a bunch of color-specific lands.

If you have a cube with a multicolor focus you may want to try the Shards of Alara tri-lands because they will be viable in more decks or even the signets. Neither of them are great, but they are both useful in more contexts than the dual lands.

user1873's list of Artifact Searchers should also be helpful. :D

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First of all. Assuming everyone runs 2 color is doesn't work out in cube drafts, 3 colors or 2 with a splash is quite common with most cubes. Second, if I'm alone in my color combination, I have a higher chance of getting the right lands, and that's a good thing, right? Picking lands too low is a mistake, like all misplays it will go down with the players gaining experience. –  AndSoYouCode Aug 14 '12 at 14:22

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