Making a Khans of Tarkir Cube

This post is not about programming like most of my other posts. I’m taking a break from that to write about making a Magic: The Gathering draft cube.

Khan’s of Tarkir is the favorite draft set of most of my friends, but most importantly for me and my partner. The set will eventually go out of print and become expensive and drafting having any cost for players can be hard for me to get my friends who haven’t played magic to try drafting. So obviously, making a cube that mimics retail packs is what I need.

I spent some time in figuring out the best way to cube a set that feels like retail packs with some ability to modify gameplay at will, like add more rares or fixing, etc. I also found this helpful post, http://www.channelfireball.com/articles/cube-design-set-cubes/, on cube design that covers many considerations in different ways to do it.

Goals

Want it to feel fairly close to a retail boosters pack.

  • Allow for duplicates or absence of cards, like real packs.
  • 10 commons / 3 uncommons / 1 rare or mythic + 1 ‘foil’ (any rarity)
  • Support 8 players
  • Not take forever to shuffle
  • Balance number of cards in cube with other goals
  • Substitute unplayables with other cards to make it more fun

Cube composition

This is the (possibly changing) final draft of cube: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KK8T5hOeuFV32Q9YBpuRiCM6m5_Pn5hIcyslNF-vAHQ/

To make ideal packs, I think I would just have infinite pools of completely random cards sorted by rarity with the right ratio of Mythics to Rares in the Rare pool. So this is what we need to approximate.

Khans of Tarkir contains: 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares

I think 5 of each Common allows for enough variance without being too many cards. I’d consider going to 6, but 101 sleeved cards is a lot of cards.

3 of each Uncommon is 240 cards, not bad.

Others suggest 1 of each rare and mythic as a general rule. As I understand, 1 in 8 packs (12.5%) have a mythic in the rare slot. If I did 1 of each, I’d have nearly double at 22% mythics. Also then we couldn’t have duplicates of rares, which happens all the time. So I went with 2 of each rare and 1 of each mythic. This gives us a mythic chance of 14.2%. I’m ok with that being slightly more common than normal.

[Edit 9.9.2016] I decided the fetch lands are pretty unexciting rares and just don’t add a lot to Khans limited, so I took them out. This changes the above math to 15.6% mythic. Still seems fun, also more playable rares. We’ll see how this goes.

I Ugin’s Nexus is a terrible draft card, so I replaced it with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon himself, both are mythic rares, so it doesn’t screw that up.

How to create packs

Keep Commons, Uncommons, Rares(+Mythics) in 3 piles. Shuffle each pile.

Create 3 packs per player with 10 Commons / 3 Uncommons / 1 Rare.

What about that last common/foil?

My simple solution is to just grab a handful of cards from each pile, shuffle them together and just sprinkle one on each pack. You can decide how ‘generous’ to be in rarity composition as it will modify the feel of the draft a bit. I’d error on more commons because more often than not, this would actually just be a common. I think this is more fun, as ‘hot’ packs where there are two rares are pretty cool when they aren’t all the time.

Summary

I hope this is a fun set to play. I haven’t built it out yet. Looking for some feedback.

Again the list:

  • 5 of each Common
  • 3 of each Uncommon
  • 2 of each Rare (remove all the fetch lands)
  • 1 of each Mythic (remove Ugin’s Nexus, add Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)

Total: 856 cards

Full card list in a format you can use

Also here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/31-08-16-khans-cube/

5 Ainok Bond-Kin
5 Alabaster Kirin
5 Defiant Strike
5 Erase
5 Feat of Resistance
5 Firehoof Cavalry
5 Jeskai Student
5 Kill Shot
5 Mardu Hateblade
5 Mardu Hordechief
5 Rush of Battle
5 Sage-Eye Harrier
5 Salt Road Patrol
5 Siegecraft
5 Smite the Monstrous
5 War Behemoth
5 Cancel
5 Crippling Chill
5 Disdainful Stroke
5 Embodiment of Spring
5 Force Away
5 Glacial Stalker
5 Jeskai Windscout
5 Monastery Flock
5 Mystic of the Hidden Way
5 Scaldkin
5 Singing Bell Strike
5 Taigam’s Scheming
5 Treasure Cruise
5 Weave Fate
5 Wetland Sambar
5 Whirlwind Adept
5 Bitter Revelation
5 Debilitating Injury
5 Disowned Ancestor
5 Dutiful Return
5 Kheru Dreadmaw
5 Krumar Bond-Kin
5 Mardu Skullhunter
5 Molting Snakeskin
5 Rakshasa’s Secret
5 Rite of the Serpent
5 Rotting Mastodon
5 Shambling Attendants
5 Sidisi’s Pet
5 Sultai Scavenger
5 Throttle
5 Unyielding Krumar
5 Act of Treason
5 Ainok Tracker
5 Arrow Storm
5 Barrage of Boulders
5 Bloodfire Expert
5 Bloodfire Mentor
5 Bring Low
5 Canyon Lurkers
5 Leaping Master
5 Mardu Warshrieker
5 Shatter
5 Summit Prowler
5 Swift Kick
5 Tormenting Voice
5 Trumpet Blast
5 Valley Dasher
5 Alpine Grizzly
5 Archers’ Parapet
5 Awaken the Bear
5 Dragonscale Boon
5 Feed the Clan
5 Highland Game
5 Hooting Mandrills
5 Kin-Tree Warden
5 Longshot Squad
5 Naturalize
5 Sagu Archer
5 Savage Punch
5 Scout the Borders
5 Smoke Teller
5 Tusked Colossodon
5 Woolly Loxodon
5 Abomination of Gudul
5 Abzan Guide
5 Efreet Weaponmaster
5 Ponyback Brigade
5 Snowhorn Rider
5 Abzan Banner
5 Jeskai Banner
5 Lens of Clarity
5 Mardu Banner
5 Sultai Banner
5 Temur Banner
5 Bloodfell Caves
5 Blossoming Sands
5 Dismal Backwater
5 Jungle Hollow
5 Rugged Highlands
5 Scoured Barrens
5 Swiftwater Cliffs
5 Thornwood Falls
5 Tranquil Cove
5 Wind-Scarred Crag
1 Wingmate Roc
1 Clever Impersonator
1 Pearl Lake Ancient
1 Empty the Pits
1 Ashcloud Phoenix
1 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Hooded Hydra
1 See the Unwritten
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Narset, Enlightened Master
1 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Surrak Dragonclaw
1 Zurgo Helmsmasher
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 End Hostilities
2 Herald of Anafenza
2 High Sentinels of Arashin
2 Master of Pearls
2 Dig Through Time
2 Icy Blast
2 Kheru Spellsnatcher
2 Thousand Winds
2 Bloodsoaked Champion
2 Grim Haruspex
2 Necropolis Fiend
2 Retribution of the Ancients
2 Crater’s Claws
2 Dragon-Style Twins
2 Howl of the Horde
2 Jeering Instigator
2 Hardened Scales
2 Meandering Towershell
2 Rattleclaw Mystic
2 Trail of Mystery
2 Abzan Ascendancy
2 Ankle Shanker
2 Avalanche Tusker
2 Butcher of the Horde
2 Crackling Doom
2 Deflecting Palm
2 Duneblast
2 Flying Crane Technique
2 Ivorytusk Fortress
2 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Kheru Lich Lord
2 Mantis Rider
2 Mardu Ascendancy
2 Mindswipe
2 Rakshasa Deathdealer
2 Rakshasa Vizier
2 Sage of the Inward Eye
2 Sagu Mauler
2 Savage Knuckleblade
2 Siege Rhino
2 Sultai Ascendancy
2 Temur Ascendancy
2 Trap Essence
2 Utter End
2 Villainous Wealth
2 Altar of the Brood
2 Dragon Throne of Tarkir
2 Ghostfire Blade
3 Abzan Battle Priest
3 Abzan Falconer
3 Brave the Sands
3 Dazzling Ramparts
3 Seeker of the Way
3 Suspension Field
3 Take Up Arms
3 Timely Hordemate
3 Venerable Lammasu
3 Watcher of the Roost
3 Blinding Spray
3 Dragon’s Eye Savants
3 Jeskai Elder
3 Mistfire Weaver
3 Quiet Contemplation
3 Riverwheel Aerialists
3 Scion of Glaciers
3 Set Adrift
3 Stubborn Denial
3 Waterwhirl
3 Bellowing Saddlebrute
3 Dead Drop
3 Despise
3 Gurmag Swiftwing
3 Kheru Bloodsucker
3 Mer-Ek Nightblade
3 Murderous Cut
3 Raiders’ Spoils
3 Ruthless Ripper
3 Swarm of Bloodflies
3 Arc Lightning
3 Burn Away
3 Dragon Grip
3 Goblinslide
3 Horde Ambusher
3 Hordeling Outburst
3 Mardu Blazebringer
3 Mardu Heart-Piercer
3 Monastery Swiftspear
3 War-Name Aspirant
3 Become Immense
3 Heir of the Wilds
3 Incremental Growth
3 Pine Walker
3 Roar of Challenge
3 Seek the Horizon
3 Sultai Flayer
3 Temur Charger
3 Tuskguard Captain
3 Windstorm
3 Abzan Charm
3 Armament Corps
3 Bear’s Companion
3 Chief of the Edge
3 Chief of the Scale
3 Death Frenzy
3 Highspire Mantis
3 Icefeather Aven
3 Jeskai Charm
3 Kin-Tree Invocation
3 Mardu Charm
3 Mardu Roughrider
3 Master the Way
3 Ride Down
3 Secret Plans
3 Sultai Charm
3 Sultai Soothsayer
3 Temur Charm
3 Warden of the Eye
3 Winterflame
3 Briber’s Purse
3 Cranial Archive
3 Heart-Piercer Bow
3 Witness of the Ages
3 Frontier Bivouac
3 Mystic Monastery
3 Nomad Outpost
3 Opulent Palace
3 Sandsteppe Citadel
3 Tomb of the Spirit Dragon