Cube drafting has been rapidly catching on throughout the community. People are finding quite a lot of fun taking the best cards ever printed and drafting with them. Max has written a couple of articles on cube drafting here and today I want to talk about it as well. While a lot of players have implemented “All monsters are all types” rules, similar to Battle Pack 3 was in top cut of a YCS, to make the cards work better together, my cube is a little different. My cube is designed with a rule of “All cards are all archetypes.”
This means that any time a card references a specific archetype we treat it as if the archetype were not there. For example, part of Nekroz of Brionac’s effect reads “You can discard this card; a 1 “Nekroz” monster from your Deck to your hand, except “Nekroz of Brionac.” This effectively means that you can discard Nekroz of Brionac and add any monster from your deck to your hand. Mask Change reads “Target 1 face-up “HERO” monster you control; send it to the Graveyard. Then Special Summon 1 “Masked HERO” monster from the Extra Deck with the same Attribute.” This means you could do something like send Performage Damage Juggler to the graveyard to special summon El Shaddoll Construct. You could then use Damage Juggler to search for any monster in your deck and have Construct send any card from your deck to the graveyard. Then when Construct is destroyed you can add any spell or trap back from the graveyard.
Sounds broken, right? It is! In a good way though. Every card gives you powerful options and in any given hand you’ll probably have access to every card in your deck. While this kind of power and consistency may seem like too much, it doesn’t actually work out that way. Power and consistency aren’t inherently bad for the game, they’re only bad for the game when they are one-sided. In this cube that definitely isn’t the case as on any given turn both players have access to every card in their deck at little to no cost.
What is perhaps the coolest part about the all archetype rule is that you get to take advantage of lots of cards you’d otherwise never get to play with. Not only do you get to play these cards that wouldn’t be good enough in advanced format, they are also often some of the best cards in the cube! For example, Gusto Griffin says “If this card is sent from the hand to your Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 “Gusto” monster from your deck,” meaning that if it’s sent from hand to graveyard in this cube you get to special summon any monster from your deck!
Gravekeeper’s Stele allows you to add any two monsters back from your graveyard to your hand.
Nimble Angler says “If this card is sent from the hand or Deck to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon up to 2 Level 3 or lower “Nimble” monsters from your deck, except Nimble Angler,” meaning you can special summon any 2 level 3 or lower monsters from your deck if Angler is sent from hand or deck to the graveyard.
Absorb Fusion says, “Add 1 Gem-Knight card from your Deck to your hand, then you can apply this effect. Fusion Summon 1 “Gem-Knight” Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck by banishing Fusion Materials listed on it from your hand or your side of the field. You can only activate 1 “Absorb Fusion” per turn. You cannot Special Summon monsters the turn you activate this card, except “Gem-Knight” monsters.” This means you can add any card from your deck to your hand and then have the optional effect of conducting a fusion summon for any monster as well. All without a downside, because the last line effectively reads “You cannot Special Summon monsters the turn you activate this card, except monsters.”
You could use Absorb Fusion to Fusion something like Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss, which in this version of cube only requires 3 monsters with different names to fusion summon it. Once its summoned you can send a card from your hand to the graveyard to draw a card during each players turn!
In a normal game of Yu-Gi-Oh you’re playing your 5 or 6-card hand against their 5 or 6-card hand, but in this version of cube drafting you’re playing your 40-card deck against their 40-card deck. It’s entirely a battle of wits, because both players will have virtually unlimited options available to them at every point.
I don’t also do the “all types” rule that most players use. As good as the effects already are in my cube, there are just too many powerful interactions when you add all types on top of it. You can easily create loops with cards like Mind Master to quite literally do anything, from draw every card in your deck to absolutely unbreakable boards and it’s just too much with both all archetypes and all types.
From a design standpoint I still had to take some precautions against unbreakable boards in the cube with just all archetypes. It’s only a battle of wits if both players truly have all the options in their deck available to them at any given point. I didn’t want to turn it into a game of “search and protect the floodgate,” so I eliminated any cards that could potentially prevent the opponent from playing after you had set up a board, like El Shaddoll Winda.
I also had to eliminate some infinite loops. I had to ban X-Saber Gottoms after Chris found a loop where you summoned Gottoms, special summoned Blackwing Gale (because Gottoms is a Blackwing), bounced Gale to summon Grapha from your graveyard (because Gale is a Dark World), tributed Grapha for Gottoms (because Grapha is an X-Saber), and then repeated it until the opponent couldn’t play.
The next issue I had to solve was the problem of being OTKed. At first there was a significant advantage to the player who went second. With no cards that could create unbreakable boards in the cube, the best strategy quickly became to go second and kill your opponent on your first turn through their board. I wanted much more interaction than that and needed a way to stop OTKs.
I decided to fix this problem by adding lots of Waboku-like cards to the cube. There are plenty of archetype-specific versions of these cards like Nekroz of Valkyrus and Heroic Challenger – Swordshield. I expanded on this by completely removing all defensive traps that didn’t just stop damage. Cards like Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss could sometimes resemble floodgates too easily. By adding the damage stopping element to the cube, I could ensure that games would last for a considerable amount of turns.
Because of the ability to search any card at any time, it was easy to make sure you survived until your next turn. Players would have to manage their resources effectively to ensure that they could continuously end each turn with a damage-stopping card to ensure against OTKs. You have to come up with innovative ways to live like using Madolche Anjelly to summon a Majespecter Monster from your deck. The Anjelly would prevent it from dying in battle and the Majespecter’s own effect would prevent it from being destroyed or targeted by card effects, making it virtually indestructible for a turn. This is on top of getting the Majespecter’s (Majespecter Yata for example) effect to search for any Spell when it is summoned off of Anjelly!
Designing the cube with lots of OTK stoppers has really made it skillful and fun, but the one problem I am still working on coming up with a solution for is how long the turns can take. With virtually unlimited decisions at your disposal it’s not uncommon for a player’s turn to go between 5 and 10 minutes, which can get boring for the other player. I want to come up with a way of shortening the turns, without taking a lot of options away. If anybody has any suggestions on a creative way to fix this problem, I’d love to hear them in the comments section.
Cube drafting with archetypes has honestly been on the most fun experiences I’ve had in this game. Every cube is something different and figuring out a new puzzle every time is very rewarding. Before we go, I have one final announcement. My book, Road of the King, teaching players how to win tournaments will make its debut next month on March 19 at the ARG Circuit Series in Detroit! It’s been a ton of work, but I’m excited to say it’s finally done and will soon be available for anyone who wants to step your game up. Until next time, play hard or go home!