Hello, players. This is MTG on Budget's first article for Cards Realm, and for starters I would like to introduce you to the topic we will be covering in the future: *budgeting.* Our beloved game, Magic, may just be a hobby for many - while for others, it may be a way to make some money (be it by playing the game, selling cards or creating content for it), and because of the high demand for some cards, this game can be a little expensive. If you are just a kitchen table player, you can set up several decks without spending much. With less than $20 you can already play the game just fine. However, if you're looking to get off the kitchen table and moving into the slightly more competitive scene (whether it's a FNM, a weekend tournament, or even a Grand Prix), it gets more serious, and, depending on the format, the amount you need to invest can (and probably will) exceed $1,000. When you enter the competitive scene, you will want to build a strong deck. And for that, you will look for cards that best suit your strategy. However, you are not the only one looking for those cards, and the higher the demand for the card is, higher is its price. And this is where budgeting comes in, your ace in the hole. For our strategy, we use cards that are not so sought-after. Similar cards, which by themselves may not be that good, but are still consistent in our strategy. Let's see an example with a well-known deck in almost all formats: Burn (for this example I'll use the Pauper version). [deck](17009) The idea behind this deck is simple (although playing it may not be that simple), we want to play 7 sorceries that deal 3 damage each to your opponent, causing a total of 21 damage, thus ending the game. Let's look at an example game: You start the match with 7 cards in your hand. 1st turn: You play a mountain and then play a [card](Chain Lightning), so you end with 5 cards in your hand. 2nd turn: You draw a card, play one more mountain, then play a [card](Lightning Bolt) and a [card](Rift Bolt), so you have 4 cards in your hand. 3rd turn: You draw another card, play one more land, and then play a [card](Lava Spike), a [card](Skewer the Critics), and another [card](Chain Lightning), dealing a total of 18 damage. On your 4th turn you draw yet another card and play a [card](Lightning Bolt) for a total 21 damage, winning the match. Let's go to the analysis now. Regardless of the cards you play, the game will end in only four turns (there is a chance that the second or third draw is a [card](Thunderous Wrath), so you can deal 5 damage and sum 21 in your third turn, but it is a very slim chance). So if I don't have enough money to buy the most expensive cards on the deck (like [card](Lava Spike) or [card](Lightning Bolt)) I can replace them with [card](Lightning Strike) or a [card](Shock) and my number of turns should still be the same. Although [card](Lightning Strike) costs more, if I wait to play it in the 4th turn I will have enough mana for it. And as that leaves me in need of dealing 2 more damage, I can use a [card](Shock) instead. Given these considerations, I can use the following list without losing much: [deck](17010) Something I always say (and repeat), is that budgeting is a great way for someone who can't afford much to get into the competitive scene via smaller tournaments and still have a chance to win something out of it. But if your intention is to be a higher-level competitive player, I would advise to slowly "evolve" your deck into its non-budget version. In small tournaments, like a FNM, you can get a good position (if you train well and study your local metagame). But as you move into larger tournaments, your budget deck is at a disadvantage. In short, *budgeting* your decks is a perfect choice for kitchen table players as well as an option for those entering the competitive scene. I hope you enjoyed this article and see you soon!
Hey, guys! I'm Ariel and this is *All Against Arena.* This series is all about the presentation, creation and/or adaptation of unusual or unexplored decks that, nevertheless, works great and provides what all games should provides us with: *fun!* Today, I am going to show you the deck I played last Monday, in our (portuguese-speaking) live stream, over at [link](https://www.twitch.tv/cardsrealm)(Cards Realm Twitch channel): *Fires of Grixis!* I must confess: This deck, if not the strongest, is currently one of the strongest in Arena. The synergy with the card that names it is amazing! Speaking of which, we have the enchantment of the new edition (*Throne of Eldraine*) [card](Fires of Invention), which is the main synergy between all cards. When this enchantment reaches the battlefield, it opens up a range of possibilities! So we have: 4 [card](Drawn from Dreams) and 4 [card](Narset, Parter of Veils) so we can make the best choices against our opponent, "hunting" whatever suits us best. In addition, we have 7 more planeswalkers to define the game: 3 [card](Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God), 2 [card](Chandra, Awakened Inferno) and 2 [card](Liliana, Dreadhorde General). This deck proved to be very strong against several decks from the current meta, I didn't see any major disadvantages in it. Maybe I could swap 3 [card](Rankle, Master of Pranks) with 3 [card](Murderous Rider) for better synergy and better answers against planeswalkers. I will test this substitution in the future. Check out the list: [deck](17011) But a video is worth a thousand words, so take a look at my test run - though it's in portuguese, it's worth a watch! [youtube](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfeMUAyusbk) Although we lost the first (and only) match, this deck is still great, very strong and with good answers in ranked matches. It's the deck I'm using to rank up and it has worked very well so far! I recommend this deck even more so now that [card](Field of the Dead) has been banned. Want to see more decks like this? I'm live every Monday and Thursday at 10pm at our [link](https://www.twitch.tv/cardsrealm)(portuguese-speaking Twitch channel!)
Hey, guys o/ Ari here - and today we'll talk about another way to play Magic, the Cube Draft. If you play Magic, you probably heard about Draft, specially because the format became more popular and accessible after the release of Magic Arena, but you may still not know much about Cube Draft. The most common way to play cube is at a kitchen table with your friends in a more laid-back and casual way, but the format is also available seasonally on Magic Online. In Magic Arena it is not yet possible to play cube, but Wizards stated it is interested in adding the format to the platform. Cube Draft is a format where players create a "cube", which is simply a pool of (pre-selected) cards for the purpose of drafting and playing with limited decks. And what is the criteria for selecting these cards? The answer is that there is no set rule, each person will establish their own criteria for building their cube. I often say that building a cube is a great way to play "WotC designer". Sure, you won't be designing any cards per se or anything like that, but you'll have the opportunity to explore synergies between cards that have never been together in a Standard set Draft, or in any other collection ever released by Wizards. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571625888.jpg) Recently I decided to build a cube and my main motivation was that I could choose the cards I like best. Each cube is unique and somehow expresses the personality of its creator. Of course I am not saying that it is just about choosing your favorite cards at random, it is part of the challenge to maintain the balance between the colors and archetypes of the cube so that the gaming experience is enjoyable. My friends Leandro Koji and Lucas Valente have their own cubes, and they agreed to help me with today's article. Lucas tells us a little about his relationship with Limited formats and what motivated him to build a Vintage Cube: *"Draft and Sealed have always been my favorite formats, I love the puzzle that is assembling the best deck with what's given to you, especially in Draft, which involves a lot more strategy and skill than luck.* *It amazes me that there is a format where everyone starts with the same conditions and where the possibilities of decks are endless. In competitive play, the ones in advantage are those who have some of the few decks in the meta, usually the most expensive ones.* *What kept me from playing Draft every week were the prices, instead of the measly 15 reais (approximately 4 dollars) of a Friday Night Magic, the Draft cost 5 times more, and even though I had the money to play it, most of my friends didn't. One of the motivators for me to build a cube was being able to draft infinitely at no cost, another motivator was to make use of my collection. I've been playing since the late 1990s and I've had a lot of good cards, which are a lot of fun to play, but for the sake of the meta, don't fit in most of the Constructed formats."* Leandro, on the other hand, learned of the cube through social networks, became interested in it and set up a Pauper cube. For him, the cube differential is in the deck building, and he cites something that bothered him in store Drafts. *"In store Drafts, it's kind of instinctive to have "profit", you pick the expensive card that will call the draft, so deck building becomes secondary and sometimes you can't even play with the cards you're dealt. Cube is the opposite, as no one will take the cards home, the intention is always to build good decks or picking cards with the aim of messing with your opponents. Lately I have less time to go to Magic stores, so it has become more practical for me to gather people at home to play the cube"* My cube is still being built and I realized that assembling a cube from scratch is not as simple a task as it seems, I came across many questions. How many cards should I use? How to balance the colors? How to create synergies between the cards? What archetypes will I use? Will it be a Singleton cube? What power level do I want for my cube? My God! Which theme to choose? Thousands of Magic cards have been released since the game's inception and choosing which ones will be part of your cube will require some dedication, so the first step in building a cube should be choosing a theme. Choosing the theme will limit your options and make card mining less painful. Since I already have access to Pauper and Vintage themes in my friends' cubes, I ended up choosing to build a Historic theme, which is the new format that came up containing all the existing cards in Magic Arena, basically the Ixalan collection. The choice of theme should not be tied only to formats as in the examples I cited. As I said, each cube is unique and completely customizable, you can choose themes based on what you want, mechanics, tribes, card frame. Want to play only with old frames? Ok. You can also choose your theme based on a plane. How about Ravnica? Mirrodin? Why not build a cube with all Innistrad sets? Innistrad, Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon? The possibilities of themes are many, choose something that pleases you and is within your reach. You also don't have to create your cube from scratch, there are lots of cube lists on the internet that you can reference, for example, Wizards shares their cube lists in Magic Online. One tool that makes life much easier for those who are building or already have a cube is [link](https://www.cubetutor.com/home)(CubeTutor.com), a website created by Ben Timarsh that helps creating, refining and maintaining your cube. The site organizes the lists very well and has various features such as graphics and even an indicator of how many tokens you will need for your cube. There you can also find various lists of cubes and filter them by theme. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571625974.PNG) [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571625981.PNG) For a first cube, 360 cards is the recommended number, as it supports exactly eight players. Over time, most players increase this number to get a greater variety of decks. I recommend starting with the 360 cards and adding more after a few tries. Perhaps the most complicated task is finding the color balance, it is not mandatory, but it is very important to keep the same number of cards for each color, a good starting point for a 360-card cube is to use something like the template below: [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571626004.PNG) According to Lucas, there are several factors and techniques to balance the power level of colors in the cube. He tells us a little about his experiences: *"At first it is nice to rely on other lists and ask yourself why you made each choice. One technique I tried to use for a while, but it didn't work out, was to put the WotC-created card cycles, for example, the Knights M20 drop 5 cycle. Although there are five knights, one for each color, created to be balanced with each other, within the cube, the archetypes can make them look very unbalanced. The best way is trial and error, asking for feedback for those who play and fine-tuning it. And the cool thing is, this part is also a lot of fun."* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/m20-core-set-2020-cavalier-of-flame-125.jpg) Leandro also had the trial and error phase with his cube and gave us some tips: *"In the beginning it was hard, any card I saw made me want to add it to the list, I wanted to incorporate all the staples of the format and consequently have access to Pauper's main decks, archetypes, themes and combos. Then I studied a little, and concluded that it would be better to have more synergy and make the cube less extensive. Instead of putting five mechanics in each color, I started to put a mechanic that was versatile, for example: Young Wolf would be a good pick for a Golgari Aristocrats, Simic Counters or Gruul Stompy.* *Some cards do not work very well in the cube, one example is Delver of Secrets which has its potential "impaired", and it was always the last option to be chosen during drafts. Another example is the Priest of Titania which would work very well with elves, but then I would have to use many Elf cards, which would limit the synergy of green with other colors."* Usually a cube builder is constantly making small changes, almost therapeutically. For me, the cube is another great way to play Magic the Gathering, but as the idea of this article was just to present the format to those who didn't know it yet. I'd be going :D. I hope you got interested in the cube, it really is a format that deserves a chance as it has already provided me with a lot of fun, and although it is casual, it is a format that I also recommend for those looking to improve their drafting and deck building techniques. Leave your comment about the cube! Do you own or have ever played a cube? What do you think of the format? Would you like to read more cube articles? Thanks so much for reading and until next time o/
The Pioneer format has just been [link](https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/announcing-pioneer-format-2019-10-21)(announced to the world of Magic) and lots of people are already putting their minds into creating decks to break the format. And even though we don't have a crystal ball to guess about it, we already have a clue of which cards are likely to be played. And some decks that, as they have been strong in the past, should remain strong in this new terrain. *STAPLES* Before talking about the cards that are likely to be played in this format, I would like to talk about a strange movement that occurred. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A bunch of (presumable) Pioneer staples rose in price dramatically, about 9 days before the format was announced.<br><br>Which is, I'm sure, a completely normal and coincidental thing to have had happen. <a href="https://t.co/bP0gAvdBeB">pic.twitter.com/bP0gAvdBeB</a></p>— April King (@CubeApril) <a href="https://twitter.com/CubeApril/status/1186316078248579072?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 21, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> Apparently, the likely staple cards of this new format already spiked in price 9 days before the announcement. We don't know if information was leak, but it is important to note that we will not talk about cards that are necessarily cheap, as stores have already raised the prices of most. *STAPLES - LANDS* In a format without Fetchs, shocks + checklands + fastlands will be kings, guarantee them all now. Also make room for some special lands: [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571716753.jpeg) [card](Mutavault) and [card](Unclaimed Territory) will be staples on every tribal deck. [card](Mana Confluence) will appear on combo decks of 4 or more colors. We should also see [card](Field of the Dead) played on some decks, while we see control decks with [card](Field of Ruin). *STAPLES - ARTIFACTS* [card](Smuggler's Copter) and [card](Aetherworks Marvel) were oppressors in Standard, so much so that they were banned. Mox Ambar is a strong artifact that we have to closely watch. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571717305.jpeg) *STAPLES - BLUE* The blue color is probably the color that Wizards of the Coast will see the most within these next few months. It has 3 key pieces that should come in many decks: [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571717998.jpeg) We should also see [card](Opt) and [card](Censor) played on some decks. *STAPLES - GREEN* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571718382.jpeg) Frontier was the predecessor format to this one, and it was reigned by [card](Collected Company). [card](Deathrite Shaman) will be really good in a format that have delve + rally decks. *STAPLES - WHITE* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571718635.jpeg) Without [card](Path to Exile), I see the white color on this new format more as a support color. The color is still strong and brings cards like the Teferis (Hero of Dominaria and Time Raveler), but should always be accompanied with other colors as well. Some white cards stand out, such as [card](Rally the Ancestors) or [card](Blessed Alliance). *STAPLES - BLACK* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571718875.jpeg) The efficiency of the black color can make it one of the strongest colors in this new format. [card](Deathrite Shaman), [card](Thoughtseize), [card](Fatal Push), and [card](Stitcher's Supplier) are extremely strong cards that are played in other formats. *STAPLES - RED* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1571719225.jpeg) Red comes with cards like [card](Ramunap Ruins) which allows that last damage point in burn decks, [card](Burning-Tree Emissary) that is played in almost all formats for being a "free" 2/2 creature who still helps with your mana and [card](Goblin Rabblemaster), a very valuable creature. Red is currently extremely fast and we will have to see how the meta will adapt to it. *DECKLISTS* Below are some decks that are bound to be played in this new format. [deck](17109) [deck](17111) [deck](17115) [deck](17110) I'll leave it here [link](https://cardsrealm.com/decks/folder/69-pioneer)(a folder with lots of decks that me and my friends thought about in this new format.)