First, if I want to describe how truly awesome AnteCube is, I need to give a little background.
I was listening to The Eh Team podcast, and that Jay Boosh guy kept making everyone talk about Ante League every episode. Ante League is a format where each player gets three packs of different expansions from different blocks and shuffles them up with five of each basic land. Then, you pick how many cards you want to ante and remove that many cards from the top of your library from the game. After that, you draw seven, and play a game of Magic. Once you’re done play, though, the person that lost the game has to give their opponent the cards that they anted. But since they are still your cards at the moment, you might as well draw something on them. That, is the true meaning of Ante League, in my opinion. Every card is now an adventure of, “What would I draw on that?” During game play, the pictures can be the cause of some hilarity as well.
This got me thinking. Ante League sounded really fun, but I did not think there would be any way to convince my friends to buy three packs of cards, and then remember to bring it every week so we could play a few games, and draw on stuff. One day, while I was staring at a pile of cards I opened from pack over the past few months, and I got an idea. An awful idea. A wonderfully, awful idea. I’ll just get a 1000 card cardboard box, throw most of the pile of cards of random packs in it, add twenty of each basic land into a different section to keep them separated, and I started taking it to the card store with me. The first thing I do when I get to the card store is play shuffle the pile of cards, and then sort out two random piles of forty-five cards (three packs) and add five of each basic land. For some reason they agreed to play.
A lot of people seem to not like this because you draw on cards, and I have often not liked it when people draw on cards for the sake of drawing on them. For some reason, drawing on them because you lost them during an ante game seems fine to me. There is also something else people do not see at first too. The loser is not actually a loser. Anyone that loses as ante gets to draw a picture. It seems like there are two winners in a two player game of ante.
My favorite rule of AnteCube is that there are no mulligans. I don’t know if that is in the Ante League rules, but I like it because it just makes the weirdest games of Magic ever. Sometimes, a turn two Seacoast Drake can win you the game if the other person just has nothing. It seems like it would be pretty frustrating at times, but it never really is for some reason.
Anyway, after the first play session I had another idea. I went on the internet and found some old packs for pretty cheap, and I also found some cheap repacks too. When I received my pack of Homelands, Fallen Empires, and a few repacks, I added them to the cube. My group needs to make a decision soon on if we want to keep expanding the cube to theoretical infinity or keep it relatively small, say less then 300 cards. Currently, it is at 206 cards. With Theros on the horizon, I can’t say how many drafts I’ll do, or if I’ll end up buying a box or not. I still want to buy a couple older pack to add to the cube, also. Honestly, I’m still on the fence about the if I want to expand it or keep it condense. I’ll have to discuss it with my group.
Here are some of the major players so far in the cube:
Towering Indrik/Giant Spider: These two stop all air attacks.
Briarpack Alpha: Surprise! Blocker! Oh yeah, your 4/4 that you wanted to ride to victory is now dead.
Hamletback Goliath: There is not a whole lot of removal that can deal with this guy yet. So, if you can manage to get him online that growing huge fast he can win the game easy.
Act of Treason: Taking fatties to swing with is awesome. Paired with a sacrifice outlet, it can be crazy good.
Blood Bairn/ Any Sac. Outlet: Sam Black is right. So far, if it says, “Sacrifice a creature” on it, it is good.
Cat Warriors: Forestwalk in a five-color-mostly-basics mirror is pretty good.
Wall of Frost: This wall can completely neuter your opponent’s plans of attacking. It gives them hard decisions. Seven toughness is way too good, too.
Clockwork Beast: He’s pretty big. I’ve never had to buyback counters on him because he usually wins the game in a couple swings.
Haze Frog: Fog with removal. Goes along with Briarpack Alpha.
Deadeye Navigator: AKA dodge all of your removal.
Tower of Calamities: Removal every turn is awesome. Eight mana might be a lot, but when games go more than twenty turns and forty-five minutes, it is not bad.