Cube Draft encompasses many of the most enjoyable aspects of Magic, combining elements of both Constructed and Limited play, trading, and playing the game with friends. To prepare for this format, a player (or, if you prefer, your entire playgroup) prepares a "cube" — a specifically selected set of at least 360 different cards. Many cubes contain upwards of 720 cards to provide more variety among drafts.
Once the cube has been built, you can use it for any draft format. The most popular option is to build makeshift "booster packs" out of 15 randomly selected cards from the cube and then run a regular Booster Draft. But you can also use your cube for Winston Draft, Solomon Draft, or any other kind of draft format.
Building a cube is a great way to get some extra play value out of your favorite cards, or even out of cards that haven't found a home in your Constructed decks. The best aspect of it is how personalized it is. Every cube is different, and you can build the pool of cards you'll draft with however you choose. Some players even create intricate lists of the most powerful Magic cards ever created and try to include each one in their cube.
Cube Draft is a popular format on Magic Online which is held on occasionally on selected periods. The Magic Online Championship Series occasionally adopted Cube Draft as one of the formats they played throughout the whole season. Various Cubes are on offer, usually based on the format; Vintage and Legacy Cubes are popular, while Modern cubes and other personally curated cubes rotate in and out.
MTG Arena released its first Cube experience in April 2020 with Cube Sealed, primarily to showcase the card list and potential gameplay. The pool was drawn from the Historic format. With pod drafting released during the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths update, the Arena Cube premiered on June 12th and ran for two weeks, until the release of Core Set 2021.
A second iteration of the cube, the lower-powered Tinkerer's Cube, was released on September 4th in advance of Zendikar Rising. A third iteration was announced for June 25th, ahead of Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, called the Chromatic Cube.
Having been on offer in January 2021 and April 2021, it seems clear that the Cube will be open for play for a fortnight before each new Standard set comes out.
- Wizards of the Coast (August 11, 2008). "Casual Formats". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Tom LaPille (June 05, 2009). "A Boy and his Cube". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Max McCall (November 27, 2012). "Power, Cubed". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (January 27, 2015). "What's in the Mystery Box?!". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.