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Theory

How Many Lands Should You Include in Your Cube?

July 25th, 2022 — Andy Mangold
Volcanic Island
Prismatic Vista
Ash Barrens
Retail Limited
“Manabases in retail draft decks are terrible.”
Fixing Land ASFAN
Avg. Number of Fixing
Lands in Draft Pool
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
Guilds of Ravnica
1.1
3.3
26.4
Ravnica Allegiance
1.1
3.3
26.4
Theros Beyond Death
0.16
0.5
4
Modern Horizons
0.14
0.4
3.2
War of the Spark
0.1
0.3
2.4
Dominaria
0.08
0.25
2
Throne of Eldraine
0.05
0.16
1.28
Zendikar Rising
0.07
0.2
1.6
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
0.98
2.94
23.52
Streets of New Capenna
1.02
3.05
24.4
Constructed
Fixing Lands
Fixing Land
Ratio
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
40 Card Deck
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
Historic Uro Midrange
21
0.35
14
126
Modern Uro Omnath
18
0.3
12
108
Modern RW Burn
16
0.27
11
96
Legacy Temur Delver
15
0.25
10
90
Modern UR Blitz
15
0.25
10
90
Standard Esper Doom Foretold
20
0.25
10
90
Legacy UB Ninjas
14
0.23
9
84
Legacy Snowko
13
0.21
9
78
Modern RG Midrange
13
0.21
9
78
Standard UB Flash
12
0.2
8
72
Legacy BG Depths
11
0.18
7
66
Standard RG Aggro
10
0.17
7
60
Pauper RW Monarch
9
0.15
6
54
Standard UR Tempo
8
0.13
5
48
Pauper UB Delver
8
0.13
5
48
Pauper UR Faeries
7
0.11
5
42
These numbers are pulled from a handful of constructed decks played in their respective metas at time of writing. The lists used are the representative decklists from MTGGoldfish's metagame breakdowns.
Brainstorm
Mox Opal
Blood Moon
“On average, players maindeck roughly ⅔ of their fixing lands, with the remaining ⅓ being off color.”
Fixing Land
Density in Cube
Number of Decks
Average Maindeck
Fixing Lands
Average Sideboard
Fixing Lands
Maindecked Fixing
Land Percentage
2%-3%
433
0.75
0.52
59.23%
3%-4%
1467
1.06
0.96
52.49%
4%-5%
1578
1.23
0.91
57.33%
5%-6%
3426
1.44
0.85
62.84%
6%-7%
5613
1.89
1.20
61.15%
7%-8%
5549
2.05
1.33
60.66%
8%-9%
10224
2.37
1.50
61.19%
9%-10%
12543
3.04
1.48
67.27%
10%-11%
11183
3.43
1.51
69.36%
11%-12%
10836
3.82
1.68
69.44%
12%-13%
9285
4.54
1.36
76.96%
13%-14%
2037
4.02
1.50
72.86%
14%-15%
1207
3.87
1.74
69.01%
15%-16%
280
4.83
1.49
76.48%
16%-17%
88
4.16
1.25
76.89%
17%-18%
68
3.49
1.19
74.53%
18%-19%
24
3.92
1.08
78.33%
Big thank you to Lucky Paper contributor Jett Crowdis for helping to crunch these numbers, and to Cube Cobra for providing the raw data.
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
(100% Maindecked)
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
(75% Maindecked)
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
(67% Maindecked)
Historic Uro Midrange
126
168
189
Modern Uro Omnath
108
144
162
Modern RW Burn
96
128
144
Legacy Temur Delver
90
120
135
Modern UR Blitz
90
120
135
Standard Esper Doom Foretold
90
120
135
Legacy UB Ninjas
84
112
126
Legacy Snowko
78
104
117
Modern RG Midrange
78
104
117
Standard UB Flash
72
96
108
Legacy BG Depths
66
88
99
Standard RG Aggro
60
80
90
Pauper RW Monarch
54
72
81
Standard UR Tempo
48
64
72
Pauper UB Delver
48
64
72
Pauper UR Faeries
42
56
63
Note the same percentage of fixing lands between 40 and 60 card decks are not actually equivalent. Because some aspects of the game, like starting hand size, are absolute, a smaller deck with the same percentage fixing as a larger one will have a slightly more consistent mana base. This effect is much more pronounced at the extremes: for example, a 10 card deck would _always_ hit all of it's sources by turn three regardless of how few there were.
Frank Karsten’s Manabase Math
Colored Mana Sources Required to Reliably Cast Spells
Mana cost
Example spell
Number of Colored Mana
Sources Required
{4}{U}
Primordial Mist
6:  {U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}
{3}{W}
Restoration Angel
7:  {W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}
{2}{R}
Goblin Rabblemaster
8:  {R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}
{1}{R}
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
9:  {R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}
{4}{B}{B}
Grave Titan
9:  {B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}
{G}
Llanowar Elves
10: {G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}
{3}{U}{U}
Mystic Confluence
10: {U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}
{2}{W}{W}
Wrath of God
11: {W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}
{1}{B}{B}
Liliana of the Veil
12: {B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}{B}
{2}{G}{G}{G}
Vorapede
13: {G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}{G}
{R}{R}
Eidolon of the Great Revel
14: {R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}{R}
{1}{U}{U}{U}
Cryptic Command
14: {U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}{U}
{W}{W}{W}
Benalish Marshal
16: {W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}{W}
All these numbers are for a 40 card deck. Math by Frank Karsten, with card names replaced with recognizable Cube cards and less common mana costs excluded.
Most Demanding
Color A Mana Cost
Most Demanding
Color B Mana Cost
Fixing Lands Required
(17 Land Deck)
Fixing Lands Required
(16 Land Deck)
Fixing Lands Required
(15 Land Deck)
{W} Isamaru, Hound of Konda
{2}{R} Goblin Rabblemaster
1
2
3
{1}{G} Lotus Cobra
{3}{R}{R} Glorybringer
2
3
4
{1}{U} Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
{2}{B}{B} Damnation
3
4
5
{R} Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
{W} Kytheon, Hero of Akros
4
5
6
{1}{G} Sylvan Caryatid
{1}{U}{U} Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer
4
5
6
{1}{W}{W} Brimaz, King of Oreskos
{3}{G}{G} Nissa, Who Shakes the World
5
6
7
{1}{B}{B} Liliana of the Veil
{2}{R}{R} Pia and Kiran Nalaar
6
7
8
{U}{U} Counterspell
{2}{W}{W} Wrath of God
8
9
10
The above numbers assume that all of your lands produce colored mana — for every utility land you include you'll need another dual land to offset it.
Fixing Lands
per Deck
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
(100% Maindecked)
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
(75% Maindecked)
Equivalent
Fixing Lands in
360 Card Cube
(67% Maindecked)
5
40
53
60
6
48
64
72
7
56
75
84
8
64
85
96
How many lands is too many lands?
Abundance
Price of Progress
Mana Severance
Fixing Land
Density in Cube
Number of Decks
Average Uncastable
Cards in Pool
2%-3%
433
7.79
3%-4%
1467
7.91
4%-5%
1578
7.67
5%-6%
3426
7.65
6%-7%
5613
8.01
7%-8%
5549
8.23
8%-9%
10224
8.00
9%-10%
12543
7.60
10%-11%
11183
7.33
11%-12%
10836
7.03
12%-13%
9285
6.45
13%-14%
2037
7.07
14%-15%
1207
7.13
15%-16%
280
6.62
16%-17%
88
7.28
17%-18%
68
7.94
18%-19%
24
8.33
Defining an "uncastable" card is not a perfect science. To arrive at the above numbers, we considered a card "uncastable" if it was in the sideboard of the deck in question and of a color matching two or fewer maindeck cards (excluding colorless spells). There are undoubtedly some false positives and false negatives here, but the trend is nonetheless representative.
“96-120 lands is the most you can include at 360 before players start ending up short on playable, non-land cards.”
Competition for Land Slots
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Nature's Chant
Collected Company
Cryptic Command
Open Fire
Going Even Higher
What About Five Color Good Stuff?
Niv-Mizzet Reborn
Scion of Draco
Bring to Light
Tribal Flames
“Good mana-fixing makes all of the decks in your cube better, including the aggressive ones.”
Conclusions

Lucky Paper Newsletter

Prismatic Vista — Sam Burley