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SPOTLIGHT CUBE SERIES: TEMUR CUBE
Posted in Magic Online on January 11, 2021
The Spotlight Cube Series has been going on for several years now, yet it's still always exciting when we get a new designer and a new cube up to share. Getting Ellie to design a cube for us was a real win, and when she proposed the idea of Temur Cube
One thing to know: there are multiple copies of some lands in the cube. That's a deliberate design decision Ellie made to compensate for the fact that there are simply much fewer multicolor lands when you're missing two colors. So, if you see two copies of the same fetch land or shock land while you're drafting, rest assured that things are working as intended.
This is also the first spotlight cube for which Play Design's feedback included a note that they were surprised and impressed with an archetype that none of the testers had seen before. Maybe some of you out there have played this before, but it's new to me: a deck based around draw-sevens like Wheel of Fortune and Wheel of Fate. It's super sweet. If you can pick up Molten Psyche, I think you'll be in for a wheely good time.
Digital product manager, Magic Online
What's up, Cubers!? I'm Ellie. You may know me from my streams on Twitch (twitch.tv/ellieoftheveil), articles for Magic.gg or Channel Fireball, or Twitter (@ellieoftheveil). I prefer to keep a low profile unless there are snacks involved, but my latest project is definitely worth standing in the spotlight: Temur Cube!
The idea for this cube was born when I was invited to Mythic Championship VII Long Beach. My favorite experience was playing Autumn Burchett's Bant Cube. I was taken aback by how many archetypes three colors could support and how fun it was. That experience led to me thinking over three-color variations I would like, and I eventually settled on Temur.
My goal with this cube was to include the strategies I enjoyed playing the most. That's the great thing about cubes to me: they're personalized. Of course, this means not every cube is for everyone, but that's Magic. You will be seeing a lot of combos and potential degeneracy. Some of you may even say to yourselves, "This is more of a combo cube than anything else." You would be mostly correct. But not to worry, other archetypes are present.
In order to deal with the over-the-top combos, mono-red aggro had to be swift and vicious. If the picks are obvious in this, that's because I wanted to make sure that those less familiar with the cube could fall into this deck and still have a chance of winning against the other powerful strategies. You will not find a true burn deck; rather, the aggressive form of red is based on creatures, the majority of which have converted mana costs of 1 and 2.
Giving up white and black meant that I could make space for artifacts. Players can find several different flavors of artifacts in the cube. Urza, Lord High Artificer and Master of Etherium may pull you toward a mono-blue shell with a potential for a combo finish. Green will likely be happy to pick up a mana rock or two to help cast its payoffs or any one of the Eldrazi titans in the cube. There are no artifacts that produce green mana; this is by design as green doesn't need any help with ramping. However, this means if your artifact deck is multicolored, it will most likely be blue-red, with cards like Daretti, Scrap Savant, and Trash for Treasure working very well with Emry, Lurker of the Loch.
A familiar Draft archetype for many, green ramp relies mostly on mana-producing creatures to get to the cube's heavy hitters, whether that be Eldrazi titans or some other freakishly large creature that never missed their Wheaties. Standard format warpers such as Nissa, Who Shakes the World; Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath; and Hydroid Krasis are also in the cube. For those of you who like that sort of thing.
This deck functions by and large like the Legacy Elves list. The cube is complete with Gaea's Cradle, your usual mana-generating suspects—I mean Elves—and mana sinks such as Allosaurus Shepherd. Eladamri, Lord of Leaves is even better than usual in a three-color cube and will help you get past your opponent's larger creatures just in time.
Temur Cube would not be complete without the possibility of assembling a heavy-hitting red-green creature deck. Gruul can lean toward a landfall theme with cards like Brushfire Elemental on the low end, and Omnath, Locus of Rage or Moraug, Fury of Akoum at its top-most end.
One of my favorite experiences of drafting Autumn's cube was losing to Thoralf Severin playing mono-blue Storm. Now I was still a baby Cuber back then, so I hadn't seen mono-blue Storm in action. I had only ever seen it as blue-red, and it was awesome. That being said, when it comes to storm, you have two options. You can go the more traditional blue-red route with cards like Goblin Electromancer, Grapeshot, and Empty the Warrens, or you can go the mono-blue route with Brain Freeze, High Tide, and Palinchron.
This archetype is more of an umbrella term for whatever blue-red deck you end up with that rewards you for playing spells. Of course, one is the aforementioned Storm, but that is not going to be your only option. Stormchaser Mage, Thing in the Ice, and Talrand, Sky Summoner may lead you to a more creature-based deck. The Locust God and the many wheels may take you down that route. These decks are also likely to have some sort of combo finish, whether that be through combos such as Sneak and Show, Omni-Show, or Splinter Twin, all are possibilities.
With this cube, you can go under or over, fast with mono-red or slow with an Opposition deck. It's up to you. Just have fun with whatever route you take. I wanted to make sure that drafts weren't so rigid that individual cards only had certain decks to play in and not too loose that newer players got lost in the shuffle. That being said, a lot of cards are multipurpose, and each color has the potential to go in several different directions. Designing this cube was an incredible challenge for me. I hope you all get to enjoy what it has to offer! I'll be streaming it this week on Twitch at twitch.tv/ellieoftheveil!