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Arena Cube Event

Arena Cube Draft Guide

Learn how to play the latest edition of Arena Cube in this Draft Guide, including the best cards and archetypes you should build for this format!

Hello everyone! It’s always an exciting time when cube season arrives! Arena Cube is making its return to MTG Arena on 21st of August. And even better, it’s going to be the next format for the upcoming Arena Open.

I want to get this out of the way first and make sure you guys never ever get confused about the following again. There are three different Cube formats on MTG Arena: Tinkerer’s Cube, Chromatic Cube and Arena Cube. All have unique cards, themes and require different approaches to drafting. The one that we are talking about today is Arena Cube and it’s more or less a collection of staples from current and past eras of various constructed formats. Read more on the differences between Cube drafts in Arena here.

Basic Approach

When you open your first pack you are often going to look at 15 super powerful cards that could all be 1st picked in any other draft environment. You are probably wondering “How do I decide then?”. There is usually not a clear right or wrong pick early on. Your constructed knowledge will come in handy here since the power level is so high. Replicating successful constructed strategies is a great place to start out.

You want to be looking for standout effects that will enable certain strategies or cards that are worth building around. For example, a powerful mana dork (Llanowar Elves) or a mana rock (Key to the Archive) will be a very important enabler for a ramp strategy. Cards like Torrential Gearhulk, Magma Opus, and Sublime Epiphany are all good build arounds for a combo/control deck that was present in multiple constructed formats. Embercleave would be a great reason to play creature aggro while Young Pyromancer would be a spells-heavy archetype pay-off. I’ll talk more about archetypes later.

To make things more approachable I will list what I believe are the top 10 cards in Arena Cube to 1st pick. This is pretty subjective and once you get more familiar with the format, I would suggest that you form your own list to play better to your strengths.


I strongly recommend locking into your colors before taking dual lands too highly.  There are plenty of lands and more often than not you are fine playing only two colors. This is not MTGO where Fetch Lands can fix for all of your colors since they aren’t on Arena yet (until the end of the year).

That said, you want your mana to be better than in a normal draft so even in two colors dual lands are highly recommended. My rule is to take the lands that you know you will play. Fabled Passage is a land I’d value higher because it fixes for all colors.


This Cube wasn’t designed with specific archetypes in mind but more as a collection of good cards. As I mentioned earlier, one way to approach this is by replicating decks that played those cards in constructed by forming your own archetypes in a more abstract sense. It’s going to be easier to understand that by separating that into four basic categories: Control, Aggro, Midrange and Ramp. Do you follow? We’re ready to deep dive now.


I have a list of cards that I will pick over anything when drafting control: Key to the Archive, Torrential Gearhulk, Magma Opus, Sublime Epiphany, and Midnight Clock. Those are the main win conditions and ways to go over the top of anything. After those, I will value cheap removal and counter spells over everything else.

The best color for removal is red since we get Unholy Heat, Lightning bolt, Abrade and more. Keep in mind that you want majority of your cards to control the game and only few win conditions for a solid control core. Don’t go crazy taking too many overpriced “limited bombs”. Build it like you would a constructed control deck with only a few ways to win in the late game.

From my experience, the Izzet color pair performs the best since it’s harder to find cheap and effective interaction in black or white. Don’t be shy about splashing powerful win conditions like Scarab God or Approach of the Second Sun in your blue decks.

Key Cards


Looking at the list of aggro cards in ARENA Cube, they removed a lot of cheap red creatures. That leaves white as the best color for weenie/aggro decks. I would really look for a mono white lane if it is open since that is probably going to be the best and most consistent rout. Let’s separate aggro into two sub-archetypes: Weenies and Stompy.


Weenie decks utilize am extremely cheap creature curve filled with one and two drops backed up by removal to go under opponent’s plays and win as fast as possible. Make sure you prioritize one drop creatures extremely high when drafting this. Most of the better ones are in white.

If you don’t end up in mono white, Boros is a great alternative to fall back into. Showdown of the Skalds and Embercleave are some of the good pulls into red. The difficulty in finding white removal is also a decent reason to look into other colors.

Key Cards


Stompy wants to get momentum early with one mana elves that ramp into three, four, and five drops to finish the game fast with giant beaters. I’d say stompy is strictly a red green deck in this format. Red compliments green well with efficient removal/burn and dragons for some extra top end. Take every one mana ramp creature high.

Some of the best spells to ramp into are Esika, God of the Tree, Verdurous Gearhulk, Glorybringer, and Halana and Alena, Partners. Embercleave and Primal Might can finish the game out of nowhere in this sort of deck.

Key Cards


I don’t want to get into too many details here since this is my least favorite archetype. I will draft midrange when everything else fails. It’s just a pile of generic good cards backed up by removal that can function in any color combination. I’d value discard spells higher since you really want your threats to stick. Obviously Black is often the best color for that.

Most of the constructed midrange decks are black based so preferably follow that path if you get stuck here. Just look at the quality there: Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Noxious Gearhulk, Lolth, Spider Queen, Grave Titan, Liliana of the Veil, etc. You might also remember some of the good old constructed staples in red: Crucias, Titan of the Waves, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

Key Cards


Ramp got way better with the inclusion of big expensive spells like Breach the Multiverse, Etali, Primal Conqueror, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Cityscape Leveler and more. What I’m saying is that we really needed reasons to ramp and now we have them.

The concept is simple, play anything that gets you ahead on mana early to cast your powerful expensive spells ahead of curve. A lot of the ramp comes in the form of mana elves in green. Don’t forget that there are also plenty of colorless mana rocks floating around. Key to the Archive, Mind Stone, Worn Powerstone, Solemn Simulacrum, and Golos, Tireless Pilgrim are all extremely powerful and you should value them fairly high if you want to get your ramp deck together. In fact, I’d argue that the best ramp is actually colorless.

Key Cards


Hopefully I gave you all a good place to start with ARENA Cube. This is by no means the end of everything you can do in this format. This article is only tackling the most basic concepts. The whole point of a format that has no real predetermined archetypes is to explore and figure out your own paths. Get creative and most importantly have a great time doing it! 

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