Cube in the Time of Covid with Rotisserie Draft
Rotisserie Draft is somehow the simplest way to draft while breaking established conventions. If you had never drafted before, it might even be what you’d expect a draft to look like. Players spread the whole draft pool face-up, take turns choosing cards one-by-one, build decks, and brawl. There are good reasons Rotisserie Draft isn’t the top draft method for limited and cube players, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a ton of fun as an occasional treat.
You can Roto draft in paper, but since only one player makes a choice at a time, it’s especially suited for playing asynchronously and remotely. Players can draft on the go, keeping track of picks in a shared spreadsheet. If collaborative spreadsheet building with your friends doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, our spreadsheet template may change your mind.
Find seven friends. Do a rotisserie draft.
The draft is extremely simple. Typically, eight players participate. Each player in turn drafts a card from the entire cube. Picks are public to the whole table. The draft ends after each player has 45 cards. To mitigate the advantage of taking the first turn, picks snake back and forth rather than continuing in a circle. The first and eighth drafter end up taking two picks in a row. The turn order also adds some very interesting texture to the draft.
The framework that can be adapted for your group. Compared to a booster draft, you get to pick all the best cards first and rarely end up with dead picks, so it’s reasonable reduce the picks to less than 45. You can also switch to double picks later in the draft, once players are in a clear lane, to speed things up.
Practically speaking, to organize an asynchronous draft, it’s important to have a line of communication for all players. Whether through a text thread or a dedicated Discord channel, drafters should notify the next person in the pick order once it’s their turn. More importantly, you’ll need a space for all the inevitable trash talk.
Before starting the draft, decide on the cube you’re drafting and details of the draft. Make sure everyone’s on the same page about how quickly people are expected to take picks. Be prepared for the draft to take a while: at least a week if people are moderately glued to their phone or computer, but potentially much longer.
You can play your decks any way you like, but in the spirit of keeping things asynchronous, games are usually played in a round robin: a player playing each of the other seven in a best of three match. This lets players organize games at their convenience and get a lot of games out of the decks they’ve invested a lot of time in drafting.
Arguably the most fun part of a rotisserie draft is designing a spreadsheet. We’ve created a template with all the features you need for your draft to go smoothly. You can fill in the blanks and start drafting right away, or take the time to make it your own.
- Auto-fills player names in the draft and matches
- Highlights the next drafter and pick spot
- Validates and auto-completes picks
- Styles picks with the card’s colors
- Checks cards off the cube sheet as they’re taken
- Tallies and graphs game and match wins
To use the template fill in two sets of blanks:
- Player Names on the ‘overview’ sheet. Players will appear in the draft in the listed order, so you’ll likely want to randomize them.
- Cube List on the ‘cube’ sheet. If the cube you’re drafting is on Cube Cobra, you can export the cube as a CSV, open it, and copy the ‘name’, ‘type’, and ‘color’ columns into the template.
One caveat is that card names must be unique for automation to work. If your cube includes duplicate cards, you’ll need to number them. Remember to remove numbers if you’re moving your list somewhere else.
The overview sheet has some blanks intended for information for your players. Use it for a primer, a link to your group’s Discord, or to clarify the rules of the draft.
Beware that many cells include formulas for all the automatic features, including some apparently empty spaces. Personalize your draft sheet, but check empty spaces for formulas before making changes.
The cube list template is long enough to accommodate most cube sizes without any need for copying formulas. You can delete extra rows at the bottom to speed up the sheet.
Google Sheets allows you to protect sheets, allowing viewers to only edit particular cells. Depending on the level of pranksmanship in your playgroup you may want to ‘protect’ the sheets except for the range of draft cells, and the columns of match outcomes on the matches sheet. Just so you don’t end up with a cube with a few more lotuses than you intended.
We hope you have as much fun drafting as we did building the template.
If you have any question or problems with the template, want to contribute improvements, or just want to share a story about your good cube times, don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected].