Peasant Cube on a Budget – Land

Cube construction

Hi everyone! Welcome back once again to our monthly discussion on how to set up your own Peasant cube! We’ve now made it all the way through to the final section – non-basic land. This might seem a shorter and less exciting job than the other areas, but its setup is crucial in how playable your cube is, and how well it supports decks with two or three colors.

But Firstly, The Rules Again

Before we go jumping in, let’s remind ourselves of what we set out to achieve:

  • We wanted to build a 360-card cube
  • We intended to stick to the rules of Peasant construction – only cards with at least one printing at a rarity of common or uncommon could be legally considered
  • Because we were on a budget, we didn’t want to use anything that was more than $3 a copy at the time of writing
  • We wanted to build a cube with an even color distribution
  • We were going to fill out the top 80% of the cube using the list of Top Cards at to identify the most popularly-run cards using our parameters above
  • We were going to fill out the last 20% of the cube according to our own personal taste, with an eye on the archetypes we were trying to support
  • And finally, we weren’t going to pretend that the end result was the Definitive Real Ultimate 360-Card Peasant Cube… just a half-decent starting point for someone starting out on their own Peasant Cube adventure.

We’ve already worked our way right through seven of the eight cube sections to be constructed – you can catch up on our previous efforts for white, blue, black, red, green, colorless and multicolor by following the links. Now it’s time to go ahead and polish off our final section – the non-basic lands!


How Do We Break This Section Up?

You may (or may not) recall that we committed to a non-basic land section that was 40 cards wide, back when we were plotting things out initially. How do we divide this section up so that it meets all our criteria above?

Good question, that one. The answer is that you stick to putting in cycles of land… mostly. As with all things Magic, there are exceptions. Approaching a 40-card land section, I would personally normally assign the first 30 cards to cycles of lands, covering the colors evenly. It’s particularly important to get the color balance right here – having better lands for particular colors is a great way to make certain color combinations much stronger in your cube than others. And yet, there are no doubt some awesome utility lands you will want to put in too – that’s what the last few slots are there for.

This is how I would normally break things up, anyway. This time around, we’re at the whim of the CubeTutor list. Let’s at least pick out the initial 80% and see how evenly it falls.

Non-Basic Land

We’re chasing the top 80% of our 40-card non-basic land section. That means we want to look at the top 32 Peasant-legal lands on CubeTutor. Doing that gives us the following:

You can at least see the theme here – we have three cycles of lands all trying to get in, along with some utility lands (most of which are fairly obnoxious and won’t survive the budget cuts). For the record, this has handed us the entire set of ten lifegain duals (e.g. Dismal Backwater), eight of the ten Ravnica Karoos (e.g. Dimir Aqueduct) and five of the ten Guildgates. The rest of the Karoos and Guildgates are just off the list. It’s probably going to end up being a good start to swap all the over-budget stuff for the missing copies of these.

Sticking to the Budget

Let’s just lop out all the stupidly obnoxious things that our list gave us. Goodbye, City of Brass, Strip Mine, Wasteland, Maze of Ith and Ancient Tomb. You’re never going to be under $3 ever again, any of you!

That’s five cards we’re saying farewell to. Let’s start righting a few wrongs by putting our last five Guildgates into the list (that would be Izzet Guildgate, Boros Guildgate, Golgari Guildgate, Selesnya Guildgate and Dimir Guildgate).

Maintaining Our Color Balance

Rather than having to worry about mana curves (like we’ve had to do with the other seven sections), what we really want to maintain here is our balance between the colors. In our list of 32 so far, there are only two things we really need to fix to achieve this – add the last two Ravnica Karoos, and drop Treetop Village. The Village is a fantastic card, and handing green something like this while denying the other four colors access to something similarly monocolored and potent would unbalance things a little.

However, to get both Karoos in, we would need to drop one of the three remaining utility lands we’ve kept so far. That would mean dropping Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse or Mishra’s Factory…. three of the top four Peasant-legal lands of all time on CubeTutor. That doesn’t sound like a wise decision. Let’s just commit to expanding our list to 33 to fit both Rakdos Carnarium and Gruul Turf in, and then leaving our final adds at seven. It’s just more sane that way.

Having Fun With the Final Adds

Okay, we’ve come out of the other side with 33 of our 40 cards. It’s handed us three evenly-balanced cycles of ten land and three more-than-worthy utility lands. This means we’re after our final seven cards for the entire cube.

It’s probably a good idea to look back at the archetypes we were trying to support, in order to see if we can add further support while maintaining a color balance (this gives us an opportunity to put Treetop Village back in, too, if we want to). Looking back, 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. Can we add a non-basic land to support each of these while remaining balanced?

Some options jump out here – Ramunap Ruins fits red like a glove, Memorial to Genius is a good option for blue and Fertile Thicket will ramp for green (it’s clearly not as good as Treetop Village, but it fits our green archetypes a lot better). We’ve got to do a little more legwork for the other two colors, though. The only decent creature buff effect on a white land is Shefet Dunes. At least it’s not terrible, and it works with Ramunap Ruins if you’ve decided to draft Boros. Black does not have access to anything that forces discard, reanimates or destroys at this rarity, so we’re stuck looking for something that enables these things to happen – Dakmor Salvage is probably about as good as we’re going to get.

So we’re down to the last two. Let’s toss in two highly-rated cards – Buried Ruin will help out the colorless section, and Urza’s Factory will produce tokens and riff with Mishra’s Factory for a laugh.

The Final Product

And we’re done! We’ve now got all 360 cards assigned in our cube! Our non-basic land section looks like this:

The Lifegain Duals

Bloodfell Caves

Blossoming Sands

Dismal Backwater

Jungle Hollow

Rugged Highlands

Scoured Barrens

Swiftwater Cliffs

Thornwood Falls

Tranquil Cove

Wind-Scarred Crag

The Ravnica Karoos

Azorius Chancery

Boros Garrison

Dimir Aqueduct

Golgari Rot Farm

Gruul Turf

Izzet Boilerworks

Orzhov Basilica

Rakdos Carnarium

Selesnya Sanctuary

Simic Growth Chamber

The Guildgates

Azorius Guildgate

Boros Guildgate

Dimir Guildgate

Golgari Guildgate

Gruul Guildgate

Izzet Guildgate

Orzhov Guildgate

Rakdos Guildgate

Selesnya Guildgate

Simic Guildgate

Colored Utility Lands

Dakmor Salvage

Fertile Thicket

Memorial to Genius

Ramunap Ruins

Shefet Dunes

Colorless Utility Lands

Buried Ruin

Evolving Wilds

Mishra’s Factory

Terramorphic Expanse

Urza’s Factory

Looking good (and powerful)! I trust you’ve enjoyed the journey through cube construction!

Join me again next month as we put the entire cube together, talk about any improvements we could make to what we’ve chosen, and look at a test draft!


  1. There are multiple arguments for not including the gates, since the khans/alara tri lands already exist.

    Making sure more people get to play games has to be more important than whatevet concerns one would have about tri lands creating too many 3 color decks.

    1. As someone who actually runs the set of ten tri-lands in my own Peasant cube in place of the Karoos? Absolutely agreed. I would probably even run the Gates ahead of the Karoos myself, given that Circuitous Route is a card.
      But yes, some excellent discussion already on which land cycles are the best to put in – if you’re not putting the tri-lands in, you’re forcing drafters into more of a two-colour deck. And that may be what you want as a cube designer (just not me – I like gold too much)!

    2. My group’s peasant cube is designed around the Ravnica guilds and their themes. We only run 2 color lands to help keep players in a more focused deck (typically 2c) instead of just mashing something together; don’t get me wrong, that still happens, but play is much more consistent when helped into 2 colors.
      Thanks for the builders’ guide Mr. Hughes

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