This Pauper Cube, originally created by Adam Styborski in 2008, is beloved and frequently cited as one of the more iconic pauper cubes for Magic the Gathering. In the intervening years, The Pauper Cube moved from a multicolor focused cube of all commons (and some technical commons) to a cube of commons that should probably have never been printed to (more often than not) a collection of synergistic cards that encourage repeatable and varied play across each of the different color pairings.
What Makes This Cube Great?
There are many reasons players enjoy the Pauper Cube:
- It’s inexpensive! Magic is 25+ year old game with rare and collectible cards as expensive as you can imagine. However, even the priciest commons come at a cost far lower than many other cards. Building a cube, and keeping it updated, is easy when your upfront investment and maintenance costs are low.
- It’s interactive! Every color gets to play some of the Magic‘s iconic cards. From Lightning Bolt to Counterspell to Doom Blade to Rancor, many of the cherished cards we fell in love with when learning the game are featured in the cube because they were commons.
- It’s skill-testing! There are obvious archetypes and strategies to use, and there is variety for players that have been around the game longer. If you like maximizing value and discovering interesting synergy between cards, the Pauper Cube is for you.
What Are The Construction Rules For The Cube?
While “only commons” seems like a simple rule, there are a few complications:
- Pauper, as a competitive format, using commons as designated in Magic Online. As such, there are several “commons” online that never received a common printing in paper.
- Some sets and releases, such as Unstable, can never be published through Magic Online and therefore can never become Pauper legal.
The solution here was to include any common legality. While the cube breaks the popular ways to define Pauper, it’s because a cube can be whatever you want it to be that this cube takes the widest approach. While this makes a handful of “commons” unexpected for competitive and casual players, it’s also easy to swap or cut those cards from your own take on the cube. That’s what cubes are for.
Where Can I Find The Cube List?
There are many cube and decklist sites out there, but my Google Sheet for the Pauper Cube is where I prefer to keep the list updated. (It’s also linked in the menu for easy access.) A spreadsheet is boring, but without bells and whistles (and plenty of space to make my own sorting customization) it’s helpful for focusing on what matters. With a Change Log reaching back five years it’s possible to see how the cube reshaped itself. The sheet also tracks the tokens you’ll need, shows which specific version of a card I’ve chosen to use and even links to helpful resources and ways to support the cube.
Since the cube is a Google Sheet you can also create your own copy and instantly start tracking your changes, create a CSV version to upload for your favorite Magic deck content site or even customize your summary however you’d like to.
How Often Is The Cube Updated?
Expect an update corresponding to each set release, although some supplemental sets (especially releases such as the annual Commander series) might not result in changes. While we review cards during every regular and supplemental Magic release, we aim not to make changes simply for the sake of making changes. Our goal is to improve the experience of drafting, playing, and talking about the Cube as updates are made. Each update changes some of the game play experience, adding new cards to update strategies and (generally) focusing on one or two color pairs. While some changes will increase power level of archetypes or strategies, we also seek to ensure that the Cube experience never feels fully “on rails” or too repetitive.
How Do I Buy/Build The Cube?
The current list is large enough that it can be difficult. We will endeavor to provide a list each update that can be imported to your prefered online retailer. If you grab the list from one of our third party copies (Cube Cobra or Cube Tutor), we’ve had better luck doing a bulk upload in lots of 50-60 cards at a time.
With the full list as a Google Sheet you can copy the entire list—or just the cards you need—to submit to your favorite online retailer, share it with your local game store’s manager or poll your friends for which cards they can share.
How Many Copies Of Each Basic Land Do I Need?
Since Magic releases a variety of common dual lands (that are included in the cube) I run 40 to 50 copies of each basic land. I highly recommend using basic lands where there is a tree in the artwork.
It Turns Out the Pauper Cube is for Me! How can I be More Involved?
Many of our conversations and requests for feedback are on our Discord server. Stop in and let us know how the cube is playing for you.
If you’re a little more patient, you can also share feedback or ask questions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.