An In Depth Guide to MTG Arena Chromatic Cube
Hello everyone! I don’t know about you, but I love Cube, so whenever Cube comes to Arena it’s always a great time. Although Arena generally has the standard Arena Cube with some changes, they made a lot of changes to this one to turn it into the Chromatic Cube! This Cube has a much heavier emphasis on going multiple colors which should give each draft and game a much more unique feel compared to the Arena Cube!
Chromatic Cube dropped today and you’ll run through July 8th. Today I’ll go over what I believe are the best archetypes are in the Cube, the key cards, and important notes to keep in mind. Before I continue, you can read Magic’s official article on Chromatic Cube right here.
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR CHROMATIC CUBE
This is Functionally a Clunkier Arena Cube
So the appeal of Chromatic Cube is that Wizards is actively encouraging a lot of splashing of cards, and to that end, they added significantly more multicolor cards to facilitate this. Furthermore, they also added multicolor cards that are even 3+ colors to further push this theme. With that, expect this cube to be slower and weaker than the Arena Cube overall.
Aggro is Much Worse
If you look at the card pool, they nixed most of the aggressive creatures from the Arena Cube. It won’t be impossible to get an Aggro deck together, but it’s going to be way harder than it used to be. You’ll likely be forced into 2 color aggro where aggro decks generally want to be monocolored which is also a detriment to the archetype as a whole. That being said, once people catch wind of how hard it is to draft aggro, it will ironically get easier to draft it as the odds of something else trying to get into it will be much lower.
Take the Hard to Cast Cards Late, Not Early
A big mistake I imagine a lot of players are going to make is taking a restrictively costed card then trying to build around that moving forward. Instead of tunneling yourself into certain colors early, try to find the main open colors then you can work on the splashing from there. Not only will your deck be way better on average, assuming you find the open lanes those good cards should just fall into your lap naturally!
White is Extremely Fragmented
Looking through the card list, it looks like White doesn’t know what it wants to be. You have some aggressive cards, some midrange cards, and some more controlling or synergy cards. With that, it’s going to be very hard to get a super focused base White deck as the color looks kind of all over the place. In a slower format, something like Monowhite Aggro could easily be one of the best decks, but securing all the cards to make that possible seems significantly more difficult in this cube than it was in the previous one (and it wasn’t easy then either!) However, this Cube is all about being 2+ colors so being a bit more unfocused probably isn’t as detrimental as it initially seems.
Blue is Excellent
Unsurprising in any iteration of Arena Cube, Blue is still a very good color for two main reasons. One, the card quality is just super high overall. Cards like Search for Azcanta, Voracious Greatshark, Commence the Endgame, Shark Typhoon, Sublime Epiphany, Alrund's Epiphany, Nexus of Fate, and Scholar of the Lost Trove are all excellent and easily first pickable in this cube. Second, being the counterspell deck in a clunkier cube where it’s going to be harder to punish you for constantly holding mana open is a pretty large inherent advantage.
Black is Strong and Focused
Black really struggled in Arena Cube as it was a really weak color since it felt unfocused and the card quality was low, but I believe thats finally no longer the case. The cards are now divided into two(ish) neat camps: sacrifice and midrange. Black has a lot of focus in the card pool so it’s going to be very easy to draft a solid deck when it’s open. Furthermore, since it has a lot of interaction, Black is also a great support color in this cube as well. It’s nice to see Black finally being a reasonable color after many iterations of Arena Cube.
Red is a Great Support Color, but a Weak Main Color
This is the first time ever Red hasn’t been one of the best colors, but again, it’s nice to get a change of pace. Somewhat similar to White, Red feels extremely unfocused on what it’s trying to accomplish. Trying to draft a base Red deck that isn’t just a random midrange pile is going to be extremely difficult as the cards are going to pull you in a lot of different directions. I would recommend you try to establish a different base color and use the open Red cards to complement the strategy you’re drafting towards. Of course if Red is wide open then you can just go in and likely get a great deck out of the deal, but even that might be challenging considering how much the card archetypes and power levels fluctuate.
Green is the Best Main Color to Draft
Who could’ve guessed in a Cube based on splashing that Green would be good? Green has functionally all the advantages you can ask for in this cube: it’s focused, it works well with other colors, and the card quality is high. Like every other color you have some duds in this combination, but if you think Green can support your deck, it’s likely in your best interest to go for it. Considering how slow this Cube is, it’s going to come down to who’s deck is the most powerful and having the consistency to cast your good cards sooner is an overwhelming advantage.
BEST CHROMATIC CUBE ARCHETYPES
You could look at Wizard’s proposed archetypes, but take most of those with a grain of salt. What they intended the archetypes to be versus what the best archetypes look like are quite different.
AZORIUS BLINK CONTROL
So unlike Arena Cube, going the traditional Control route in UW is much more difficult with the lack of Wraths and fewer counterspells. With that, you want to approach it as a more value based deck that’s looking for strong ETB creatures and ways to blink them.
It won’t be the easiest archetype to get as the cards aren’t super focused towards this goal, but Wizards proposed archetype of UW tokens looks pretty underwhelming so this lane should be open more often than not. Furthermore, White is likely the weakest color in this Cube so the real limiting factor will be how open Blue looks.
The main concern for Azorius is your win conditions as there aren’t as many bombs that look to close out games as there were in previous iterations so cards like Finale of Glory or Starnheim Unleashed go up in value compared to previous Cubes.
- Search for Azcanta
- Voracious Greatshark
- Shark Typhoon
- Sublime Epiphany
- Vraska's Contempt
- Crux of Fate
- Liliana, Dreadhorde General
- The Eldest Reborn
- Enter the God-Eternals
- Silumgar's Command
So you may have noticed this archetype has a lot more key cards than others, and that’s a really good thing. This isn’t the case that you need all these cards to work, but rather there’s so many good cards in this archetype that you should’nt have a problem getting them assuming it’s open. I expect this to be one of the best archetypes as there’s a wealth of strong cards to pick up and this is excellent at dismantling clunky decks.
Another feature about Dimir that shouldn’t be ignored is that you can easily move into Grixis to support all the different Nicol Bolas. All 3 of them are excellent cards so if you’re base Dimir and have any Red fixing, they’re definitely worth the splash.
This archetype is as powerful as it is difficult to put together. Functionally, this deck is entirely based around flashing back a broken spell like Sublime Epiphany or Magma Opus, so getting one (or ideally both) of those cards is the only way this archetype is even viable. That being said, for whatever reason those cards frequently wheeled in Arena Cube, so it’s not impossible that this trend will continue.
In terms of power level, this is probably the strongest deck in the Cube as playing a Scholar with an Epiphany or Opus in the graveyard will generally win the game on the spot or just Overloading a Mizzix’s Mastery will likely accomplish the same. You need to draft ways either to ramp or interact in the interim so you don’t get run over by whatever your opponent is doing. Unlike Dimir, splashing for the Bolas trio is way less worth it (especially Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God as that’ll be uncastable), but you still can if you have the proper fixing.
Although Rakdos Dragons is the cooler archetype, Sacrifice is definitely the more powerful route. Rakdos’s biggest problem was always good Control decks, and considering there’s next to no wraths in this iteration of Cube, I believe Rakdos may go from one of the weaker of the good archetypes to one of the best. Many decks won’t have that much removal so setting up really synergistic board states seems way easier and you’ll be able to apply pressure way faster than most of your opponents.
The easiest way to tell if this is open is if the small Black creatures wheel. If you’re seeing a good amount of them, you can safely dive headfirst into this archetype as no other deck (beyond maybe Orzhov) makes good use of those cards. With that, it makes it really unlikely that someone is suddenly going to cut into this archetype later in the draft compared to the others.
- Emergent Sequence
- +2 Mace
- Lotus Cobra
- Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
- Esika, God of the Tree
- Oracle of Mul Daya
- Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
There’s a good reason Green is the best color, and it’s green soup. What this means is that you’re a base Green deck just splashing for any card you want to play. You need to prioritize fixing very highly as you’ll generally be able to wheel bombs other people don’t want rather late. A secondary reason this archetype is so good is that it can easily be a Field of the Dead deck and Field is even better in this Cube than it was in Arena Cube. Not much more to say about this archetype beyond it’s easy to draft and very powerful.
It may seem weird differentiating Green Soup and 5 Color, but the major contrast is that 5 color doesn’t have to be base Green. Generally this starts as a Field deck that looks to pick up every piece of fixing possible to be an even split of 4+ colors where Green soup will always be inherently base Green. This will always be one of the best archetypes to get into if you decide to do it early. Other people will prioritize synergy cards in their opening packs and you can pick up a lot of lands then cruise into the next packs picking up the random bombs others don’t want.
Thank you for reading!