Opinion

Should Wizards of the Coast Make Retail Cube Product?

There are so many ways to enjoy playing Magic the Gathering, from kitchen table Magic to professional level Magic, but should Wizards produce more products aimed at the casual side of Magic such as a retail cube?

This is a hot question that pops up with every supplemental product release, especially any time a new Masters set pops up. People go nuts with around half of the community screaming blue bloody murder because “how dare a company wanting to make money, reprint cards I was never going to sell” and the other half screaming “it’s about time you reprinted X card, oh this set is going to be SO MUCH FUN TO DRAFT!”

But at the end of the day, what are we really looking at when it comes to additional play? Why should we want cube stuff at all? If you’ve never played a cube, here are some of the basics:

  • Made up of around 360 (usually) amazing cards. A 360-card cube can support exactly eight players. If you create three fifteen-card booster packs for each player and every card in your cube will be drafted
  • Made for redrafting in mind, with each time a potentially different experience
  • Cube power level (how hard it is to draft, how fast games end, how expensive the Cube is) varies greatly and can be updated with each new set
  • Cube cost can be as little or as much as you want/can afford
  • Contains many, MANY hours of drafting fun
  • Is highly portable, making it fairly easy to take to a GP or convention

So what’s the deal with Wizards not producing a Cube retail product? Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?

YOU CAN’T REPRINT THE RESERVED LIST.

Yeah I know, right? You simply can’t expect Wizards to risk a class-action lawsuit, even though I WANT A CUBE the easy way. So many items on the list are far more expensive than I can afford, such as Black Lotus. but do we NEED those cards in our cube to make it FUN? No, not at all. In fact, a lot of those style of cards (Moxin included) make some cubes busted and un-fun. Some cubes contain Kiki-Jiki combos you can draft or Storm-related combos, but we don’t NEED those, we just want a great drafting experience.

I’m not saying “MAKE YOUR OWN PROXIES” as a part of this post at all, I think proxies don’t enhance the fun as usually the proxies you’re making are of cards that are far too cost prohibitive, such as Bayou, and don’t enhance the fun of a cube, but rather they stunt the fun. “Oh Chesh, how dare you say effective mana ruins the fun!”, okay sure you’re right, having good dual lands doesn’t kill the cube’s fun and adds consistency, but why not try the pain lands instead? Steam Vents, Overgrown Tomb, and their other counterparts are great for solving the dual land issues and adding in those delicious fetch lands.

A BRIEF ON WHY THE RESERVE LIST EXISTS.

Once upon a time, Wizards did a reprint of a number of very hard to find cards, and almost completely killed the game and the secondary market. The game was a lot smaller than it is now, and to save the game, Wizards decided the best move was to create a list of cards they will NEVER reprint to attempt to save the hobby.

Look, you can scream until your blue in the face, but Mark Rosewater has already discussed (in depth, multiple times, even on his PODCAST) as to WHY there are issues re-issuing Reserved List cards and why Wizards simply CAN’T do it. Look at the image above, that’s one sexy land, isn’t it? The thought that went in to that card templating was genius but it will never really see a modern print run, because the Reserve List exists. See below tweet for more on this.

BUT CHESH, GOLD BORDER CARDS EXIST!

As one of MTG’s most well recognised Cube Format leaders, April has tried to discuss this before and every time she tries to make a well thought out argument, people whine and cry about the points made. This whole reprint issue, as much as I personally HATE it, keeps coming back and people simply don’t realise exactly what it means and why these cards CAN’T be reprinted.

DARMOK AND JALAD WITH EYES WIDE

Man, look at those Conspiracy, Commander and Masters products. They’re great aren’t they just? Pity that you can’t use those for your cubes at all. Nope, not at all, not one tiny little bit… COUGH COUGH I MUST BE SICK COUGH.

Masters sets, Conspiracy sets, COMMANDER sets all contribute to cube options and are some of the BEST places to get some of those Cube staples you’re looking for. Be it Fetch lands, Filter lands, Elesh Norn, Snapcaster Mage and so many more cards. Let’s not forget that some sets (ESPECIALLY Commander) have cards that you may never get elsewhere (such as Fiery Confluence), and this makes them amazing for Cube resources.

BUT THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS COST

As April points out, the cost for a Cube to be put out would be staggeringly apocalyptic, no one would be able to secure one at a reasonable price AT ALL.

This is a massive deterrent for Wizards, or any OTHER company, making any sort of high-level product containing these reprints.  Scalpers exist and over-price and under-populate product. On the flip side, flooding the market is a sure fire way to kill the secondary market for good, killing retailers and front-facing locations (such as your FLGS).

What say thee? Agree to disagree, or do you also think that, while Wizards COULD put out some form of Cube, it would be a really terrible move?

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Al Caynes

Cheshire is an avid TCG, CCG and boardgame player, having played games like MTG for over 20 years. Loves to stream and create content for all of you, the people.

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