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 CubeTutor.com 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.
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:
- Evolving Wilds
- Terramorphic Expanse
- City of Brass
- Mishra’s Factory
- Strip Mine
- Izzet Boilerworks
- Maze of Ith
- Scoured Barrens
- Swiftwater Cliffs
- Jungle Hollow
- Thornwood Falls
- Simic Growth Chamber
- Wind-Scarred Crag
- Dismal Backwater
- Golgari Rot Farm
- Tranquil Cove
- Blossoming Sands
- Bloodfell Caves
- Ancient Tomb
- Rugged Highlands
- Azorius Chancery
- Azorius Guildgate
- Dimir Aqueduct
- Simic Guildgate
- Orzhov Guildgate
- Boros Garrison
- Rakdos Guildgate
- Orzhov Basilica
- Selesnya Sanctuary
- Treetop Village
- Gruul Guildgate
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
The Ravnica Karoos
Colored Utility Lands
Colorless Utility Lands
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!
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.