Welcome back to our monthly discussion on how to set up your own Peasant cube on a budget! Today we delve into the section of the cube that I seem to enjoy putting together the most – multicolor!
But Once Again, Rules First
As per usual, let’s remember exactly what the rules are before we rush headlong into danger:
- We’re aiming to build a 360-card cube
- We’re going to stick to the rules of Peasant construction – only cards that have had at least one printing at a rarity of common or uncommon are legal
- Because we’re on a budget, we want to limit ourselves to cards that are currently $3 a copy or less
- We’re going to aim for an even color distribution within the cube
- We’re going to fill out the first 80% of the cube using the Top Cards list at CubeTutor to find the most popular cards within the boundaries above… and then fill out the last 20% to our own tastes
- We’re definitely not going to pretend that this is the empirical, definitive list-to-end-all-lists for a peasant cube
We’ve taken a look at the five mono-colored sections and the colorless section already (you can catch up on what we did for white, blue, black, red, green and colorless by following the links). But now it’s time to go for gold!
How Do We Break This Section Up?
Remembering back to our previous articles, we committed to picking out 30 multicolored cards. This differs from all the other sections – we had 50 for each of the five colors, 40 colorless, and we’ve committed to having 40 non-basic lands. The five colors themselves are really the heart of the cube, the colorless cards fit any decks and are usually pretty utilitarian, and the non-basic lands help people actually play the cards they’ve drafted (hopefully, anyway).
When we get to multicolored cards, these are pretty much the icing on the cake – they often tie archetypes together, and guide us in our drafting (when we draft, we normally have to commit to at least two colors, so the multicolor cards we put in the cube can often end up as signposts to drafters). It’s also really hard to have a strong multicolor Limited environment without really good non-basic lands and color-fixing – it works currently in Guilds of Ravnica / Ravnica Allegiance Limited environments because the set designers have gone to the trouble of putting Guildgates in every pack, put excellent land fetching in the set, and so on. This is perfectly possible to do in a cube, but we haven’t committed to that too much here, and we don’t want to leave drafters with a totally loaded pool of multicolored cards that they’re never going to be able to resolve. So we’re sticking with 30 here. By all means season your own cube to taste (I also run an EDH cube for my multicolor-loving playgroup – it has no less than 55 multicolor cards in it before I even get to the generals, and we achieved that by leaving the mono-colored sections at 45 cards each to make room).
Splitting out the thirty cards is pretty simple, however. Given these cards are the icing on the cake, we don’t want to worry too much about creature-to-spell ratio, mana curves or anything like that – we just want thirty awesome cards that act as draft signposts and are spread evenly across the colors. So to that end, we’re going to pick three cards for each two-color combination – two off the CubeTutor list, and one hand-picked at the end.
We also want to remember a few cards we left out earlier on that had off-color abilities, like Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Elves of Deep Shadow – these are traditionally included in the multicolor section, as you’re only ever going to want to draft them for a deck in these colors. The same also holds true for cards with off-color additional mana costs, like Dismantling Blow or Ancient Grudge.
Okay, we’ve laid the groundwork. Ten guilds, three cards each, start your engines. My sons will be furious with me if I refuse to refer to each of the ten color combinations by their proper Ravnican guild names, so here goes!
The first two cards turned up here are Baleful Strix and Shadowmage Infiltrator. The Strix is a wonderful card, but it’s going to get knocked off once we start looking at budget. The Infiltrator was downshifted to uncommon in Masters 25, so it’s both Peasant-legal and within budget (and wonderful)!
For Gruul, we are handed Bloodbraid Elf and Burning-Tree Emissary – two solid cards. For the record, Ancient Grudge was card #4 in the list (just to highlight the fact we’re catching the off-color cost cards, not just the shiny gold ones)!
If you had to pick two Peasant-legal Selesnya cards, your mind would probably flick automatically to Kitchen Finks and Qasali Pridemage. Both heavily played in Modern, both incredible Limited cards too. And that’s what CubeTutor handed us. I don’t think the Finks are going to last long once we start talking budget, though!
Putrefy is way out on its own in this guild – it is far and away considered the best black and green Peasant-legal card. Elves of Deep Shadow actually comes in at #2, at the top of a very large pack of cards vying for second place.
Sticking to the Budget
So, we’ve picked our initial 20 – let’s see how much of it we have to drop due to budgetary concerns. Believe it or not, Baleful Strix is the only card currently over our $3 budget as of the time of writing – it has spiked on the back of speculation that it’s about to become Modern-legal in Modern Horizons. Somehow, Kitchen Finks, Lightning Helix, Boros Charm and Bloodbraid Elf, all cards that have been well over our $3 mark in the past, are all currently under thanks to reprinting.
For now, we’ll just replace Baleful Strix in the list with the next card off the CubeTutor list that is under budget – and that is the wonderful utility of Far // Away.
Looking at the Curve
Let’s at least pretend we care about the curve a little bit here before we soldier on. Checking the 20 cards we’ve picked out so far, we have a curve of 2-9-7-1-1-0. That’s a pretty big lump at the CMC2-3 mark.
For the record, our creature-to-spell ratio is a perfect ten creatures to ten spells. It’s amazing how these things seem to sort themselves out in multicolor if you ignore them!
So when we add our final ten, we probably want to stick to five creatures and five spells (just because we can, more than anything… not out of necessity), and it wouldn’t hurt to add some splashier cards at the top end of the curve.
Having Fun With the Final Adds
Now that we’ve come to the final ten multicolor cards, we want to start adding some draft signposts if we’re able to. That means we need to remind ourselves of the draft archetypes we aimed for with our mono-colored sections – we can then pick a final card for each guild with the appropriate archetypes in mind.
With our head back in our previous articles, we can see that white was about tokens and global creature buffs, blue was control and card advantage, black was removal, reanimation and discards, red was burn and aggro, and green was Elves and ramp. Let’s see what we can add for each of these combinations!
Firstly, Azorius wants something that plays with tokens, creature buffs, control and/or card advantage. We’ve already got Reflector Mage and Azorius Charm here, and between them they cover everything but tokens. That said, there’s not really too many Azorius token generators out there. Let’s hit the top of our curve instead and tick the card advantage box in the process – Cloudblazer wants onboard. It’s a classic blink target, it’s evasive, it gains us life and it hits the card advantage brief. While we haven’t got a lot of blinking in Azorius, this definitely signals that we’re interested in card advantage and control.
Dimir is looking for something that controls, discards, draws cards, reanimates or removes. It’s already got Shadowmage Infiltrator (which draws cards) and Far // Away (which discards and controls the board state). So reanimation and/or removal? Not too many cards do both things. We’ve got lots of removal, so let’s head down the reanimation route – Extract from Darkness is a bag of fun. This signals that we want to fill up graveyards in Dimir and then pillage them!
Rakdos is after reanimation, removal, discarding, burn and aggro. I barely even need to put my mug down before I think of Blightning, which was just off the initial list, and is an absolute Limited classic. It’s aggressive, it burns, it discards, it says “I’m here to take names, and I’m getting impatient”. Exactly what we want to signal to people drafting Rakdos.
Gruul wants burn, aggro, Elves and/or ramp. We’ve already got Bloodbraid Elf and Burning-Tree Emissary here, so we have aggro, ramp and even Elves covered. Can we find a Gruul burn spell? We can do better than that… Zhur-Taa Druid will burn opponents and ramp at the same time! That signals to Gruul drafters that we want to ramp, and we want to hurt people while we’re doing so.
Selesnya is after Elves, ramp, tokens and creature buffs. It’s already packing Kitchen Finks and Qasali Pridemage… but they don’t exactly do too many of those things. Fortunately, we have Selesnya Guildmage, which covers almost all of the bases – it’s an Elf, it makes tokens and it buffs creatures. If anything, its abilities are something to ramp into. Excellent – just the message we want to send for this guild.
Orzhov wants to make tokens, buff creatures, discard, reanimate and remove. It currently has Tidehollow Sculler and Mortify, which cover the removal and discard sections. Can we make tokens, buff creatures and reanimate all in one sitting? Not really, but Zealous Persecution certainly covers the creature buffing nicely, and doubles as removal. It’s not a bad card to have sitting around.
Izzet wants to control, draw cards, burn and be aggressive. It already has Electrolyze and Izzet Charm, which definitely do all of that already, so we have a free swing here. Let’s get those two (and all the others) back with an evasive, aggressive creature in Bloodwater Entity. This guy is a sneaky house in Limited formats, and does a lot of great work next to decks heavy with instants and sorceries. Exactly where we want to point Izzet drafters.
Golgari is looking for discard, reanimation, removal, Elves and ramp. It currently has Elves of Deep Shadow and Putrefy, which cover everything but discard and reanimation. We can’t do both in one card in Peasant… but Life // Death is surprisingly under budget and really, really good. Let’s go with that.
Boros is chasing tokens, creature buffs, burn and aggro. It already has Lightning Helix and Boros Charm, which definitely cover the aggro and burn area. Can we make tokens and buff them in one handy package? You bet we can – that’s Sunhome Guildmage‘s gig. It’s a great card to use in the late game here, buffing your team after you’ve cleared the way aggressively. I’ve seen it close out Peasant games for Boros before. Definitely what we want to signal here.
Finally, we have Simic. It wants to draw cards, control, ramp and play Elves. We wanted to try and pick five creatures and five spells, and we’re down to needing a creature here to do this (but that’s okay… that’s kind of Simic’s jive). We’re already running Trygon Predator and Coiling Oracle – an Elf, some card draw, some control and some ramp. All bases covered. So let’s just try and pick something a little higher up the curve. My Simic-loving son will demand that I slot his favorite Peasant Simic card in here – it’s Horizon Chimera, and it actually fits beautifully. It’s higher in the curve, it can act as pseudo-removal if you flash it in as a blocker, it’s going to enjoy all of blue’s card draw. I think he can have his way!
The Final Product
Okay, we’ve completed our 30-card multicolor section! Our final curve wound up at 2-13-10-2-3-0, which isn’t terrible – at least it’s got a curve! Here’s what it looks like, split into the ten guilds, with their casting costs listed next to them:
Azorius Charm (2)
Reflector Mage (3)
Far // Away (5)
Rakdos Cackler (1)
Zhur-Taa Druid (2)
Bloodbraid Elf (4)
Qasali Pridemage (2)
Kitchen Finks (3)
Izzet Charm (2)
Life // Death (3)
Boros Charm (2)
Lightning Helix (2)
Coiling Oracle (2)
Trygon Predator (3)
Horizon Chimera (4)
That’s all looking pretty tasty! I hope you enjoyed our journey through multicolor! What cards would you have added?
Join me again next month as we hit our final section of the cube – filling out the non-basic land!
Martin first caught the Magic: the Gathering bug at university in Australia in 1995, just as Fourth Edition was released (naturally just missing the era of opening dual lands in booster packs). One degree, career, marriage and two kids later, he is still slinging cards across a kitchen table with friends and is spreading the infection to the next generation via cube, EDH and multiplayer formats.