Next Level Cube: Cube Parameters – A Reminder for Myself
Maybe (but maybe not) some of you noticed that I didn’t review Return to Ravnica so far for my limited card pool, which I use to build Next Level Cubes. There’s a couple of reasons for this: Firstly, when the card list became known, I busied myself with writing an extensive German limited preview for that set, and wasn’t exactly keen on doing another review on my blog soon after. Secondly, I realized that for a lot of cards I couldn’t make a decision before I saw the next expansion, Guildcrash, because I need certain multicolor and especially hybrid cards in cycles to construct the delicate color balance in complicated environments. Thirdly, I am right now spending a lot of time designing my own cards to free myself from the restriction of only being able to use officially released cards (and, while I’m at it, improving a few things which have always bugged me), and thus am less inclined to think about improving my card pool when that matter isn’t too pressing right now.
One thing I put a lot of thought into at the moment are cube parameters: How many cards, how many rarities, exact distribution – it’s really hard to get those numbers right for four-player-drafts. Actually, you have to compromise at all ends, because it is simply impossible to meet the following three goals at once: Give players access too as many cards as in normal drafts, have single cards come up with comparable frequencies, and set the bar for cards which actually get played at roughly the same height. The mechanism of two-thirds-draft helps, as does careful construction of cubes, but in the end everything has to give a little.
After reiterating my wish list and the resulting calculations for the umptieth time, I finally set on the following numbers: Four 13-card-boosters for each player, still setting the last four cards from each booster aside (making it 9/13th draft now instead of two-thirds, but I guess I’ll keep the name); each booster containing six commons, six uncommons and one rare; overall 448 cards split into 160 commons, 224 uncommons and 64 rares. Thus, the chance that any single card will be in the draft pool is 3/5 for a common, 3/7 for an uncommon and 1/4 for a rare. I hope this will enable me to create a draft experience as close as possible to that of drafting a typical block in the regular way for four players.