The Wolfpack Invitational is five days away. I am just five days away from a cubing marathon in my living room for the coveted wolfpack trophy. Just seven opponents stand in my way.

Last week, I interviewed my brother about his Ravnica themed cube. Next week, I’m going to interview my buddy Phil about his power cube. But this week, ladies and gentleman, I’m going to conduct an interview with myself on my Pauper cube. Now I know I should probably just change around the formatting, rather than pose questions to myself, I could just you know, write an article about my cube. I could write about the contents, philosophy, and pick order without the silly guise of asking myself questions. But…Nah. I started this article arc with the intention of conducting some interviews and I’m going to stick my guns on this one.

The same questions I asked Eric, I’ll go ahead and pose to myself. Here we go:

The Pauper Cube

What kind of cube do you have?

I have a Pauper cube, every single card in the cube was printed at common rarity. Before I created the cube, I had tried to start a Pauper League in real life. I liked the idea that you could build powerful, consistent, and cheap decks using the common-only restriction. The league didn’t work out but I had seen lists for a Pauper cube online, so I decided on a whim I would put one together. Initially, I used Adam Styborski’s list, which I think provides a really good starting point for people looking to build a Pauper cube. Over the years, I’ve diverged from Styborski’s list but I still read about his updates whenever a new set comes out.

How many cards are in the cube? How many players does it support?

There are 380 cards in the cube. It supports eight players. At one point the cube could support ten players, but I’ve been whittling it down for quite some time trying to get to 360 cards. Though I couldn’t quite bring myself to cut it down that low, I’ve made enough cuts that the cube feels lean and streamlined.

All your basics are snow-covered lands. Why is that?

In short, I love snow-covered lands. Specifically, I wanted to run Skred in the cube as its one of my favorite spot removal spells. After doing some research, I also added Zombie Musher, which is a resilient and evasive threat with all lands being snow-covered. I also have Into the North as an additional copy of Rampant Growth. While there are very few cards that reference snow-covered lands, I think the lands are flavorful and interesting in and of themselves. I am a big fan of the art and the notion that these are basic lands despite having a non-basic feel.

How much of the cube is foil? Any especially sweet cards?

I’m not entirely sure how much of the cube is foil. I’ve been steadily going through the cubetutor and updating which cards are foil, but it’s kind of a cumbersome process and I haven’t completed the list yet. I would guess that 60% of the cube is foil. Foiling hasn’t been a huge priority for me, but I will pick up cards in trades or in bulk foil bins at bigger events. I have a few $10+ foils in Mana Leak, Lightning Bolt, FNM Counterspell , and Yavimaya Elder but haven’t sprung for the more expensive stuff like foil Daze or promo Capsize. Also, a lot of the manabase is foil, which gets really expensive given that foil snow-covered lands start out around $5.

There are a bunch of uncommons in here! Is this secretly a peasant cube?

All cards in here have been printed as a common in paper or on MTGO. A lot of cards were shifted to common rarity to support Vintage Masters draft on MTGO and I decided to use some of these cards in my cube. Cards like Beetleback Chief, Chainer’s Edict, Arrogant Wurm, and Elephant Guide are powerful cards but fit into existing strategies without being unbalanced. I haven considered putting in cards that were never printed at common to strengthen certain archetypes (Spiderspawning comes to mind) but I don’t plan on doing this as it goes against the spirit of the cube.

What are the best archetypes to draft? Or just the best overall strategies for drafting?

The best archetypes in my opinion are RW tokens, RB Aggro, UB Fish, UW Skies, G/x Ramp, and Five-Color Goodstuff. The cube also has a lot of fixing to encourage lots of two color decks with a splash for a third color. I think the good old BREAD acryonym works pretty well for this cube, but there are certainly some cards that fluctuate in pick order depending on the archetype you are settled in. I wouldn’t take Dynacharge for a RB aggro deck but would pick it pretty highly if I was in RW and likely to pick up some token makers.

I feel like every cube has some pet cards in it. Do you have any pet cards or general favorites?

Tortured Existence is probably my biggest pet card in the cube. I’ve really tried to go out of my way to create graveyard based synergies so the innocuous enchantment becomes a defensible pick. I really hope someone will live the dream and discard Arrogant Wurms and Basking Rootwallas to get back Yavimaya Elders and Citanul Woodreaders. Skred is another pet card. I pretty much overhauled all of my basics to support that one card.

Whats the pack one, pick one?

Pack One. What's the Pick?

Treasure Cruise
Kozilek’s Predator
Kodama’s Reach
Wild Mongrel
Delver of Secrets
Halimar Depths
Prismatic Strands
Krenko’s Command
Gore-House Chainwalker
Skywatcher Adept
Bramble Elemental
Soltari Trooper
Feeling of Dread

This is a pretty tough pack one, pick one. I would take Treasure Cruise or Oubliette.  Treasure Cruise is a possibility because I obviously love drawing cards and Oubliette is a reasonable removal spell and the only black card in the pack which is good for signaling purposes. There are plenty of other defensible picks in this pack though, Wild Mongrel is a good enabler for the madness, threshold, flashback stuff floating around, Krenko’s command is a proactive pick to be in tokens, and Soltari Trooper and Prismatic Strands could be defensible if you really like white weenie type strategies.

Pack One. What's the Pick?

Orzhov Guildgate
Frilled Oculus
Azorius Guildgate
Sanctified Charge
Searing Blaze
Ulamog’s Crusher
Doom Blade
Loyal Cathar
Force Spike
Boros Garrison
Cogwork Librarian
Krosan Tusker
Dauthi Slayer
Tortured Existence

This is also difficult. For me it would be between Doom Blade, Sanctified Charge, and Krosan Tusker. Blade is efficient removal, Charge is a closer for the token decks, and Tusker is really good in midrange strategies. I might also take Tortured Existence and lean hard on building a graveyard based deck, though I think this is not the correct pick.

Alright everyone, that’s all I have for this week. Tune in next week for a review of my buddy Phil’s power cube and a tournament report from the Wolfpack Invitational.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.


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