Andrew Colman – The Puzzle Box: White Section

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The opposite of a profound truth may very well be another profound truth. – Niels Bohr

I have to be honest, I voted for the $400 version of this cube. The vote came very close between $200 Money Workingand $400 and I was hoping that if I just gave it another day things might turn out my way. Alas, at $200 it stayed. Now I am not sure if building a cube for $200 being difficult is a profound truth, but after coming up with the white section it seems, first of all, that it is at least a real truth, but more so, that the opposite might be true as well. The accumulation of the cards, or building, of a $200 cube should be very easy. It also may ending up costing you, if you try really hard, less than $200 dollars.

One thing became clear to me as I was putting the first section of this list together: this was going to have to be a theoretical $200 build. It would be possible if every seller on TCGPlayer was a super shipper participant, but it is not so. First of all, there is absolutely no room for shipping fees with only $25 allocated per section, no way no how. Second, if you can’t handle white-bordered cards you better get out your sharpie because this cube is going to be full of them. Third, I avoided any cards that were in damaged condition and I only needed to get one that was heavily played, but lightly played and moderately played are the name of the game. Well, Magic is the name of this game, but there are a lot of non-NM cards in this cube.

The other side of truth: Even though I built this list using TCGPlayer low I think you can actually build it for less than $25. So many of these cards are worth so little that if you put out a call for the cards worth under 50 cents – which is 25 of 36 – you could get most of them for free from you friends. The rest of the cards should be really easy to pick up in trade as throw-ins or for really good value.

The Puzzle Box : White Section


Final Price $24.83


Just a reminder, we are shooting for a powerful-feeling cube for little money – that’s the goal. Thus, we will need powerful cards. Luckily for us, at least some of them are cheap. Cards like Balance, Armageddon, Swords to Plowshares, Gideon Jura, Hero of Bladehold, Mirran Crusader, and Day of Judgment are worth high picks in a non-budgeted cube. Unfortunately, there were some slots that needed filling that weren’t so cheap, Banslayer Angel devolved to Serra Angel, and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite – who is a control finisher as well as a solid reanimator target – I replaced with the best white finisher/reanimator target I could find: Vengeful Archon[card], a 7/7 flyer that, for a cost, kind of does what Elesh Norn does – decrease damage towards you and increases damage towards them simultaneously. If you have a white finisher/reanimator target you like better, feel free to switch it up. Also, [card]Isamaru, Hound of Konda was in the list for a long time until I realized that I was paying $1.56 for one point of toughness compared to a Savannah Lions that I had cut early on. In the end, the lion ate the hound and that was that.

Another card that seems a bit odd in this list is Shrine of Loyal Legions. You can fit it into you curve in an aggro deck and use it to help swarm, or you can drop it on turn two in a tap-out control deck. After you’ve drawn the game out long enough it kind of acts as an Entreat the Angels-style finisher. And as soon as you can replace it with Entreat the Angels, do it! I love that card so much I play Noxious Revival in my cube, and take it high, so I can Entreat twice for good measure!

One thing that was a bit of a problem is that the budget only allowed for one Wrath. If you can help me out with this issue that would be great. I made up for it by adding two one-for-one removal spells: Arrest and Pacifism. It’s not ideal, but I am open to suggestions.

I could be convinced to take out Disenchant to add another aggressive one drop. This list comes from a powered cube with all of the swords and fast mana, so Disenchant is probably not as needed here, but I’ll leave it in for now and will address it later.

Seeing as this is the first of the build the cube articles, there is still a little bit of housekeeping to do. After this week, I’m planning to cover two sections per article. The multicolored and land sections will each get their own article.

After the cube’s completion, I’ll discuss new cards as they come out, but as a rule, the final cost will be governed by the TCGPlayer low. This also means if one of the cards in the list finds a home in a Modern or Legacy deck and spikes, thus becoming too expensive, it will get cut from the list. I’d like this to be a continuing resource for future cube builders to come and have a place to find a powerful list for $200. This also means that we wait with bated breath for rotation and ban hammers!

But again, this is a starting point that’s meant to give you an awesome play experience quickly. If you have a Baneslayer lying around, boot that Serra Angel and go to town!

Next time we’ll cover the blue and black section. Thanks for hangin’!


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Andrew Colman

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Andrew Colman

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  1. I truly think that restrictions breed creativity. You are adhering to the rules a bit more stringently than anyone would really expect you to be held and what that is doing is forcing you to be resourceful. Exercises like this can be fun and I know how much work is going to this on your end due to the restrictions of the project. This was thoroughly entertaining- I almost want to impose more restrictions to see how you cope.

    1. This has been fun so far. As far as restriction breeds creativity, I feel like the tighter the rules get the more creative you have to get. For instance if you have to create a sunset landscape and you’re only given a green crayon… Have you ever tried this? Me neither, but I think I’ll include my to-be sad attempt at it in the next article. If anyone wants to join me in this venture you can twittermailmpost it to me at @awcolman. If you want to give me some more restrictions that stay within the original goal project I’d be happy to embrace them ;)

      Glad I can be entertaining!


  2. Nice job Andrew.

    How about something like Phyrexian Rebirth for a second wrath? I think it’s bulk. I actually like 6cc wraths in a small cube anyway, just because aggro is already at such a disadvantage. I know you don’t have room for Catastophe in your budget (it’s like $2.50) but that doubles as your second Armageddon as well so it’s good value.

    1. Hey Anthony!

      Thanks very fort he comment! Two things:

      1. I really like the Phyrexian Rebirth tech! Prolly take out arrest for that, also not the worst control card as you don’t totally loose value if you wrath after you’ve used pacifism. A well timed one of these and its a total stabilizer, I’d actually like to try this one in my cube, yes worse than everything else but seems like fun, and is another knob to turn.

      2. As far as aggro being worse in this cube, I have kept the percentage of aggro creatures to control cards the same as wtwlf’s cube which to be very particularly managed. The joy of this cube is that it would be easier to balance aggro vs control because there aren’t as many slots so you just yoink a control card and add a one drop or two drop.

      Always appreciate your feed back!


    • Sean on November 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm
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    This is really sweet, I’m hoping the next iteration comes sooner than this one did after the first! I’m totally new to cubing and trying this build out as my first so I’m really excited about it. Keep it up!

    1. Hey Sean,

      I an on a schedule, one week beer the next week cube, if you’d like to see a weekly article on cube make it known to the powers that be. Once this one is built I’ll be exploring different types of cubes in some detail and see if we can in the next long while have a few different lost of super duper awesome playing cubes for less that our 200$ price point. Or maybe we’ll build a 4 man 50$ cube and try to see what that might actually look like. The options are endless! I’m glad you’re enjoy this series so far.

      Be sure to read the beer articles as well because the next one is going to cold and crazy! Penguins and chickens might be showing up…

      Thanks again for the comment


  3. Traditional Japanese Trick opening puzzle boxes as we know them were first made in the Hakone region from about 1870’s by master woodworker Ryugoro Okawa.
    Japanische Puzzlebox

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