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The Magic 30 Cube on Magic Online

October 25, 2022
Carmen Handy

Howdy, gamers!

If you've made it this far, it's because you inevitably heard about Magic 30 Cube, running on Magic Online, and want to learn a bit more about it. Before diving in, let me introduce myself; my name is Carmen Handy, and I'm a game designer on the Play Design team at Wizards of the Coast. The most front-facing work that I do involves tweaking cards in Standard sets and, most applicably, curating all the cubes we run on Magic Online. You might've read a couple of my write-ups on Vintage Cube, Modern Cube, or even my very own Proliferate Cube here on the mothership, and this article is no different.

If you want to get an idea of the passion and love I've poured into this, you've come to the right place. There's a ton to talk about, so let's jump right in!

What Is Magic 30 Cube?

Simply put: Magic 30 Cube is a celebration of Magic's history. A love letter to what the game has been about and all the different ways that people can play Magic. This cube is comprised of at least one card from every major release of new cards we've ever had (including unique releases like Global Deck Series: Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling and older Commander sets) with bits of the gameplay infused throughout the experience.

Despite pulling from all of Magic's history, the archetypes are distinct, and I'm hoping the feelings they evoke bring you back to opening some of your first booster packs or playing some of your first games. To reveal everything up front, the pre-defined archetypes are:

  • White-Blue (Azorius) Blink
  • Blue-Black (Dimir) Ninjas
  • Black-Red (Rakdos) Goblins
  • Red-Green (Gruul) Landfall
  • Green-White (Selesnya) Tokens
  • White-Black (Orzhov) Reanimator
  • Blue-Red (Izzet) Spellslinger
  • Black-Green (Golgari) Graveyard-matters
  • Red-White (Boros) Blitz Aggro
  • Green-Blue (Simic) Flash

Everything that's going on here is able to pull cards from throughout Magic's history while preserving the archetype's identity. For example . . .

Orzhov Reanimator

Unburial Rites Breath of Life 548550

Throughout Magic's entire history, one of the most resonant concepts has been taking a creature that was previously dead and using a spell like Breath of Life to return it to the battlefield. As Magic evolved, we saw players entirely skip the part of the game where their creature dies normally and they discard creatures straight to the graveyard with the likes of Oona's Prowler and Buried Alive. It's so cool that we still see it as one of the most popular archetypes in Vintage Cube to this day! The creatures being reanimated have changed, but the concept has survived the test of time, and it'll be exciting to see players resurrecting some of Magic's coolest heavy hitters.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath Angel of Despair Blazing Archon Sheoldred, Whispering One Angel of Serenity

Luckily, reanimating creatures isn't the only cool thing one can do with a graveyard.

Golgari Graveyard-Matters

Golgari Grave-Troll Ishkanah, Grafwidow 430405

Not everything from the graveyard comes back to life, and for most of Magic's history, players have been using their graveyard as a resource. With tons of green and black cards that can fill a player's graveyard in the early stages of the game, it's easy to turn the sheer cardboard in one's graveyard into an overwhelming advantage. Cards like Golgari Grave-Troll and Spider Spawning get supercharged as long as there are a ton of creatures to feed them, and there are even more cards that make it exciting to scrounge for resources where one would least expect them.

Satyr Wayfinder Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar

On top of the graveyard-matters themes, a bunch of the cards that can fuel a graveyard also do wonders for somebody who wants to put a ton of lands onto the table and figure out what to do with it later.

Gruul Landfall

Escape to the Wilds Omnath, Locus of Rage

Gruul Landfall is a bit different from some of the hyper-optimized mono-green ramp decks that'll show up in cubes, but that doesn't mean it packs any less of a wallop. There are a healthy number of ways to use lands early if you're into the aggressive stuff—Akoum Hellhound, Plated Geopede, you know the stuff. On the other hand, if you want to put the hammer down, there's Cultivator Colossus and Dragonlord Atarka to help make sure you've got something to do with all the extra lands you've put onto the table.

Spikefield Hazard 491835

A small frill across the cube is an upped density of red and green modal double-faced cards from Zendikar Rising to make sure that it isn't too hard to keep hitting land drops and have all the cool landfall cards working at every part of the game.

Rakdos Goblins

Muxus, Goblin Grandee Wort, Boggart Auntie Mad Auntie

On the note of frills across the cube, Rakdos Goblins has to be the archetype I'm the most excited about. Creature-type-matters is one of the oldest archetypes in the book, and it would've been doing Magic's legacy a disservice to not find a way to implement at least one of Magic's oldest creature types as a deck.

Why Goblins? They've just got so many cards that go into so many other archetypes.

Skirk Ridge Exhumer Patriarch's Bidding

For example, Skirk Ridge Exhumer and Patriarch's Bidding might be most at home in a deck that wants a bunch of Goblins, but they play double duty as role-players in the Orzhov Reanimator deck, with a ton of the best things to reanimate happening to be Angels.

A lot of Goblins also happen to be pretty good at going wide and attacking.

Boros Aggro

571546 571512 Siege-Gang Commander

For something a bit less about lords and more about smashing people, Boros Aggro has you covered. Figure of Destiny alone has spawned tons of riffs across all colors. Going wide and then attacking is the name of the game. If the complexity of other archetypes is daunting, this is one of the spots to do something that pulls a bit of generic cool stuff from Magic's history and unites it all in a cohesive package.

Boros Reckoner Lightning Helix 485344

A lot of these cards haven't had the chance to be in decks together before, but despite red and white going about being aggressive in different ways, they're all about sending damage upstairs and killing the opponent while they're still getting set up. Want to make things a bit bigger? We've got you.

Selesnya Tokens

Anointed Procession Deep Forest Hermit Glare of Subdual

Sometimes it isn't about dealing 20 damage. Sometimes it's all about dropping 100 creatures on the battlefield and presenting a completely insurmountable army. Between green and white, there are so many ways to do it, with aggressive and ramp-slanted ways to crush people with a stampede of creatures.

Angel of Invention Overrun

As a rule of thumb, white is going to have more anthems that help creatures turn over turn and at lower mana costs, which lends itself to a few bursts of tokens killing the opponent in the mid-game. Conversely, green is going to lean more into temporary buffs like Overrun, which will outright kill your opponent if you have enough creatures.

If you want your white tokens to go exceptionally long and grind your opponent to dust, you could also try blue cards:

Azorius Blink

571344 Brago, King Eternal 571393

It just so happens that a lot of white's best token producers are stapled onto the enters-the-battlefield triggers of creatures. It's natural to pair those cards with every exile-then-return effect you can find while you build up an engine of awesome value creatures. Yorion, Sky Nomad is even making an appearance as the lone companion in the cube to let people live the dream of never having to cut any cards from their perfect cube deck.

Exile effects aren't the only way to make use of enters-the-battlefield effects, however.

Dimir Ninjas

450653 Ninja of the Deep Hours 548393

Small creatures that already got their enters-the-battlefield value can look so innocuous when attacking. Having Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni pop out of a Man-o'-War is hardly what anyone ever expects, but it's something that absolutely will come up when playing blue and black together.

So many cards end up blending wonderfully with the ninjutsu mechanic that it was a no-brainer to include. Thalakos Seer works when being returned to hand or being blinked; Prickly Boggart counts as a Goblin for everything that cares and is good for sneaking Ninja of the Deep Hours onto the table; Storm Crow is good for meme-ing and for having an early evasive attacker. You get it.

The big thing to focus on when drafting Ninjas is to try and keep your creature count a bit higher than you normally would in a blue deck. If that's not your thing, you can always pair your blue cards with Mountains instead.

Izzet Spellslinger

Wee Dragonauts Arclight Phoenix Shark Typhoon

Cool stuff isn't reserved for creatures in Magic, and that's part of why the game's great! Izzet Spellslinger is great for letting you still play with a ton of the game's all-stars—Brainstorm, Lightning Bolt, Fact or Fiction, Counterspell, and so on—without having to give up ways to get your opponent dead.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy 571437 571464

Multi-format all-stars are sprinkled throughout blue and red to make sure that casting instants and sorceries is just as cool here as it is in other parts of the game. Just keep in mind that not all instant and sorcery effects are reserved for non-creature spells.

Simic Flash

Prophet of Kruphix Nimble Obstructionist Cloudthresher

Simic Flash is the final two-color archetype in the cube, and it's not something you'll want to forget while drafting. Despite a lot of green's presence in the cube looking more tap-out, there's a ton of ways that it can be tricksy with its creatures and continuously put pressure onto the battlefield, all while waiting to see what the opponent does before making a move. Just in case the green cards go a bit less . . . instant speed than desired, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Prophet of Kruphix are there to make sure you're never out of position.

30 Years of Magic

Momentary Blink Mystic Snake

Several of the archetypes in the cube are picked specifically to evoke memories of Magic's history. You can try and relive the glory days of Unburial Rites and Angel of Serenity, or assemble the original Splinter Twin combo in Earthcraft/Squirrel Nest.

All above archetypes are meant to be a blueprint for how to engage with the cube if you're worried about not being able to get a deck together but are by no means a track you're forced to stay on. One of the best parts of Magic is building your own decks, assembling your own contraptions, and telling your own stories.

I hope this cube gives you some games to forge into lasting memories.

Check out the complete Magic 30 Cube card list to see all the history that awaits!

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