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A Comprehensive Guide to MTG Arena Cube Draft

A Comprehensive Guide to Arena Cube – Dominaria United

DoggertQBones excels at cube so he's sharing his secrets with you! Whether you're just playing it for fun in the Arena Cube events or looking to get your as much wins as possible without losing a bunch of gold and gems, knowing what the top cards and archetypes are will be invaluable to you!

DoggertQBones excels at cube so he’s sharing his secrets with you! Whether you’re just playing it for fun in the Arena Cube events or looking to get your as much wins as possible without losing a bunch of gold and gems, knowing what the top cards and archetypes are will be invaluable to you!

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to go over one of my favorite Arena events ever: Arena Cube. Arena Cube is a combination of all the coolest cards ever released on Arena and bundled together for a fun, yet competitive Limited format. There’s a lot of people who are unfamiliar with Cube in general, but lucky for them, we have a guide on Cube drafting philosophy written some time ago that is still relevant now! If you want a general strategy guide to how to draft Cube, give that article a read.

If you want a full list of the cards in this iteration of Arena Cube, you can check out the full updated card list here, and the changes made since the last iteration! It’s also a bit old now, but you can check out my Arena Cube Draft Deep Dive where I show you all the picks, tell you what I went with, explain the reasoning why, and talk about anything else I was considering. Even if some of the cards change, the logic behind the picks should remain the same. Looking for more tips? Then check out my five tips to help you go infinite in Arena Cube Draft!

In this guide, after going over the Arena Cube event details, I’ll be focusing on the best archetypes in Cube and the key cards to look out for to see if that archetype is open. Happy Drafting!


Arena Cube Event Details

Arena Cube returns with a refreshed card list! You’ll find digital-only and Alchemy rebalanced cards that make this cube an exciting experience that’s unique to MTG Arena.

Alchemy cards have the “A-” prefix in their card names to identify them as MTG Arena rebalanced versions. You can learn more about rebalancing Donald Smith’s article Alchemy Rebalancing Philosophy.

In this event you open and pass around packs like a typical Draft, only the card pool isn’t a single Magic set, but rather a selection of some of the best cards available in MTG Arena you can see in the lists below.

This event is Phantom, so cards you draft are not added to your collection.

  • Duration: August 12, 2022 @ 8:00 AM PST to September 1, 2022 @ 8:00 AM PST
  • FormatArena Cube
  • Entry Fee: 4,000 gold or 600 gems
  • Match Structure:
    • Best-of-one matches (BO1): 7 Wins or 3 losses (whichever comes first)
    • Best-of-three matches (BO3): Three matches (regardless of wins/losses)

Rewards

Individual card rewards (ICRs) will be Historic cards not in Standard.

Best-of-One

WinsReward
7 Wins6,000 gold + at least 2 rare and 1 uncommon Historic ICRs
6 Wins5,000 gold + at least 2 rare and 1 uncommon Historic ICRs
5 Wins4,000 gold + at least 2 rare and 1 uncommon Historic ICRs
4 Wins3,000 gold + at least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs
3 Wins2,000 gold + at least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs
2 Wins1,000 gold + at least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs
1 Win500 gold + at least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs
0 WinsAt least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs

Best-of-Three

WinsReward
3 Wins6,000 gold + at least 2 rare and 1 uncommon Historic ICRs
2 Wins4,000 gold + at least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs
1 WinAt least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs
0 WinsAt least 1 rare and 2 uncommon Historic ICRs

Card List

You can check out the full card list and changes since the last version in the following places:


IMPORTANT NOTES FOR ARENA CUBE

embercleave_by_joeslucher
Embercleave Art by Joe Slucher

THERE WERE A LOT OF CHANGES

As a quick note, they changed over a lot of cards for this iteration of Arena Cube. While I’m happy with most of the changes, they definitely nerfed some strategies which happened to be my favorite – mainly Rakdos Sacrifice and Izzet Control. While that may be for the best as I wouldn’t be surprised if those were overpeforming, we’ll have different recommended archetypes moving forward.

WHITE IS MUCH BETTER THAN IT USED TO BE

White always had an issue where the cards were so vastly split in their applications. You can see White is open, but if the wrong half of White was open for you, you may not get the deck you wanted. Realistically, this is still the case more or less as right now you have the cards obviously geared towards aggro decks and cards obviously geared towards control decks.

However, I feel with this iteration that they both got rid of a lot of bad/situatinoal cards and mostly added to the aggressive side of White. I would still be hesitant to go into aggressive White strategies if they don’t see open as I don’t see the color comfortably supporting multiple drafters, but it may be more tenable than before.

BLUE IS GOOD, BUT MUCH WEAKER

Blue was very close in power level to Red in the last Arena Cube with just the small detriment that it wasn’t as easy to pair with other colors. However this time around, Blue got nerfed pretty hard in my opinion. Blue’s best two strategies were either going Big Control with Torrential Gearhulk, Scholar of the Lost Trove, and Sublime Epiphany or Mill with Teferi's Tutelage, Folio of Fancies, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. Neither of those card lists are complete of course, but you can likely guess what they took out this time around. Maybe Blue was too good according to internal data, but they really took out a lot of powerful cards from the color. Now instead of it being in line with Green and Red as the best colors of the cube, it’s much more middling.

There will still be strong decks in the color of course, but losing it’s two best archetypes is obviously brutal.

BLACK IS STILL OK, BUT LOST STOCK IN IT’S BEST ARCHETYPE

Per usual for Arena Cube, Black is likely the weakest color in Arena Cube and it doesn’t help that we lost the best cards from Rakdos Sacrifice either. That said, it was a decent color with the last iteration of Cube and they actually added in more aggressive options as well to make Mono Black Aggro a more viable archetype.

Par for the course, when approaching Black I would either look to only go Sacrifice or use it as a support color for the removal. As I said before, Aggro may be a more viable archetype so you can keep an eye on it, but unless all the cheap cards are flowing to you, I would be hesitant to go for that.

That being said, if you want to go base black and you feel like someone else may be doing the same, I’d immediately jump ship if you have the option. Black is definitely not strong enough to support 2 players going for it at the same time. If you want to go base one color and splash Black removal though, that’s very reasonable.

RED IS STILL INSANE

“With the last iteration of Cube I slated Red as the best color, and with the card changes, it may be even better than before! Out of all the colors, I would say Red has the highest amount of playables overall and the highest amount of the “best” cards in the cube.” This is what I said about Red with the last iteration of the Arena Cube, and I believe this remains true. Despite changing out a lot of cards, they didn’t really take out anything pivotal which is a big win for Red.

Between removal, aggressive threats, and bombs like Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Embercleave, and Experimental Frenzy. Furthermore Red has now gained powerful yet more situational cards like Smoldering Egg, Unholy Heat, and Goblin Dark-Dwellers to add further depth to the color. Realistically you can pair Red with any color and your deck should work out pretty well.

GREEN IS STRONG AND LIKELY THE BEST COLOR

Green was definitely the best color in the last iteration of Arena Cube as it leads to a plethora of archetypes, and that’s likely still the case. I will say that Red is definitely creeping on it now, but the versatility of Green is still really strong.

The changes to Green I would say were pretty much net neutral as while none of the cards it lost were that impactful, none of the cards it gained were much better. None the less, Green is good enough to support multiple drafters as going Big Green or Green splash x colors is going to be a safe and powerful strategy.


BEST ARENA CUBE ARCHETYPES

venerated-loxodon-art-by-zack-stella
Venerated Loxodon Art by Zach Stella

MONO WHITE 

KEY CARDS

Monowhite unsurprisingly, is one of the premiere aggro decks of Arena Cube. The deck looks to get on the board extremely quickly and overwhelm the opponent before they have a chance to enact their game plan. Although many people assume that Monowhite and Monored play out and are drafted similarly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Monowhite’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness, most of the cards you want are geared towards the early game.

The issue with this plan is that once the game starts getting towards turns 5+, you will start easily getting outvalued every turn until you can either close (another issue Monowhite can have) or you lose. Although this may seem like a massive downside, a good Monowhite deck can easily win the game between 4-6 very consistently anyway, so assuming you can get most of the cards you need, this downside is completely mitigated by the power of your deck.

To summarize, the advantage of going Monowhite is that it’s the fastest deck when you get the cards together, but you need to have a very low curve and this archetype won’t come together easily if someone else is also going for it.

MONO RED

KEY CARDS

Like Mono White, Mono Red is the other great Aggro deck you can get in Arena Cube. For better or for worse, Mono Red is generally a better Mono White. You can be almost as fast, you can grind way better, and the card quality is generally higher.

This may sound like I’m saying to always choose Red over White, but that’s not exactly the case. As I said before, since Reds card quality is so much higher, the chance of you fighting over the good Red cards is significantly higher than you fighting over the good White cards. Beyond Red being more highly drafted, Mono Red doesn’t really have any significant weakness. If you see good Red cards going late, I would heavily consider jumping in.

KEY SPLASH CARDS

I think there’s a big misconception that a lot of people have about aggro decks when drafting not just Arena Cube, but any Cube. I see so many people go for 2 color aggro decks where your colors are split down the middle, and that’s the easiest way to end up with an extremely mediocre deck. The sad reality about Cube is that you almost always can’t get the mana to work when you need to cast cheap cards that are different colors.

With that, I almost always opt going completely one color or to go for a very light splash of a color. If you decide you want to splash for a powerful card, make sure it’s a more expensive card so it gives you more time to find the colors you need to cast it. For Mono Red or Mono White, Angelfire Ignition and Showdown of the Skalds are more than worth the splash. They both only require one off color mana and both are insanely powerful.

Keep in mind though, if you’re looking to splash this, I would limit it to just one or two cards. Don’t start adding Lightning Strike to your Monowhite deck.

BIG GREEN

KEY CARDS

Big Green is as straightforward as it is powerful, ramp a bit, play a bunch of good spells, win the game. On top of being one of the better archetypes in the Cube, it’s also very easy to draft. The only issue I stated with it before is that since it can be so easy to draft, it’s easy to fight over green with other players at the table. The nice part about Green though, is that there’s a lot of good green cards and splashing for random good cards is relatively easy as Green is the color of ramp and color fixing.

The main issue with Big Green is that most of the decks lack interaction, so getting creatures that help you stabilize like Elder Gargaroth, Kogla, the Titan Ape, and Thragtusk are extremely important. Furthermore you have to remember to prioritize mid game bridges that can help defend you until you get into the late game, Trumpeting Herd is the perfect example of that.

RAKDOS SACRIFICE

KEY CARDS

I would say the best way to draft this deck is to take the universally best cards in the deck first and let the specific cards wheel. If you see a Rakdos card, you can likely assume you’re the only Rakdos drafter, but it’s not as obvious as before. Now I would look more towards the key Black cards to determine if the archetype is open. If key cards don’t wheel, you may be fighting with someone else and you should probably not try to win that fight. This archetype is not powerful enough to support multiple players in it so be ready to switch out when possible.

I know what you’re thinking though, why would you go through the trouble if the archetype isn’t that powerful? You should consider it as the archetype is really well positioned. Although none of the cards are that powerful, this may be the best synergy deck in the cube and can destroy most decks in Cube beyond pure Control when it comes together as the other decks don’t have great ways of stopping you from doing your thing.

AZORIUS CONTROL

KEY CARDS

Although there are a lot of ways to build Control in Arena Cube, I think Azorius stands out as the best among all the color combinations. Having access to Wraths, cheap removal, and the busted Azorius cards makes it really easy to get a great UW Control deck together. The most underrated aspect of UW though is easily Approach of the Second Sun. A big issue Control can have in Cube is not having enough ways to win the game, but Approach functionally solves that problem single-handedly.

A well built Control deck can easily smash every creature deck and most midrange strategies, but will struggle against decks that are just back to back powerful cards. When drafting the archetype, make sure to prioritize early removal and counterspells higher than everything else. The easiest way to get a mediocre Control deck is that you have a bunch of payoffs, but not enough ways to live early in the game leading you to get run over constantly.

IZZET TEMPO

KEY CARDS

Izzet is one of the scariest archetypes when it comes together as it’s such a good blend of aggression and interaction that it’s easily capable of crushing any other archetype pretty handily. You’re predominately looking for cheap spells and threats as your ability to cast way more spells than the opponent can carry you to victory.

The main issue with Izzet is it’s the blend of two very popular colors to draft so it’s not going to be easy to get this together. That being said, a lot of the tempo based Blue cards can go pretty late so if this deck is going to come together, it’s most likely off the back of the multicolor cards and the Blue cards nobody else wanted.

5 COLOR SOUP

KEY CARDS

The last and potentially my favorite archetype in Arena Cube is 5 Color Soup. Unlike all the other archetypes, this is by far the easiest to draft as there’s two rules: take lands and take bombs. The goal of this deck is to have as much fixing as possible so any good card you happen across becomes playable. Furthermore, if you notice that a lot of the packs are missing lands, that’s a huge signal that someone else is going for this strategy as well and you can decide what to do from there.

Although it may seem like you’ll end up with a bunch of random cards, 5 color soup can very easily come together assuming you have enough fixing for it. The few issues that 5 color can have is that it can be hard to know when to know when to pick a land over a spell and since the deck is naturally slow, aggro decks can be problematic if you don’t have adequate ways to deal with creatures. Furthermore, we did lose some of the better cards like Chromatic Lantern and Elvish Rejuvenator so it does hurt the ability to go into the archetype for free. With that in mind though, the best way to approach this archetype is to be a blend of midrange and control. Have enough early interaction to not get run over, solid cards for the mid game, and big late game payoffs like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Field of the Dead, Approach of the Second Sun, etc.

Despite it no longer being a free archetype to draft, Soup is still consistently powerful and is easily the deck I drafted the most, and to the most frequent success, in Arena Cube.


VIDEO


CONCLUSION

Although I listed what I believe to be the best archetypes, realistically speaking almost, every deck in Arena Cube is more than viable if you draft correctly. Don’t be dissuaded to try out other Color combinations if they seem open and/or you just want to try it out. Arena Cube is meant to be fun first, but use this guide to get more acquainted with the format or to try and break even as often as possible.

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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