Cube in the Time of Covid with Rotisserie Draft

February 22nd, 2021 — Anthony Mattox

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.

How to 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.

Getting Organized

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.

Playing Games

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.

Spreadsheet Template

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.

To get started, open the template and click ‘file’ > ‘make a copy’. See all the automations in action in a completed draft.

Template Features

  • Automatically pull in the Cube list from Cube Cobra
  • Automatically build a round-robin tournament sheet for up to 12 players
  • Automatically build the draft sheet based on pick count and when double picks start
  • Randomizes player seating
  • Auto-fills player names in the draft and matches
  • Highlights the next drafter and pick spot
  • Validates and auto-completes picks
  • Styles picks with colors of the cards
  • Checks cards off the cube sheet as they’re taken
  • Tallies and graphs game and match wins
  • Highlights invalid, duplicate picks
  • Links to each card on Scryfall

Draft Spreadsheet Template

Filling in the Blanks

To use the template fill in two blanks on the “Setup” sheet:

  1. Player Names in any order
  2. Cube Link to your list on Cube Cobra

Click “Load Cube List” to automatically import the Cube List with relevant attributes for every card. Click “Randomize Seating” to fill in players in a random order and update the ‘matches’ sheet for the number of players you have.

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.

Check out our format guide for Rotisserie drafting and the ‘Setup’ sheet in the template for more details.1

Sharing 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. Alternatively, invite your players directly so you can share your sheet publicly with the world in view only mode so everyone can follow along with your draft!

Happy Drafting

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].

  1. When first published the sheet was much more limited and we hadn’t yet built our format guide. This section was updated 2023-06-27 with the release of a new, more powerful template.

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