Community Voices

The History of The Cube Format

February 16th, 2023 — Parker LaMascus
The Curator
Memory Jar


Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and The Matrix hit theaters. The cinematic masterpiece The Cube (no relation) has just been released on VHS (short for Video Home System, a kind of antique Blu-Ray).
“They were playing Power and even Contract from Below even at the beginning. But apparently they weren't playing for ante, so Contract was just a draw 7. Seems fair.”
— Guillaume Matignon


Tom Van de Logt wins the Magic World Championship, held in Toronto, Canada. Y2K escalates a computer error into a full-blown panic. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is the best-selling Playstation 1 game of the year.
“I'm going to bring you immeasurable joy, like nothing you've seen before.”


Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring normalizes the 3-hour action movie, much to society's detriment. Magic: Online launches in 2002, probably by forking the UX of Microsoft Excel.
The Grinder
Cryptic Command
Ajani Vengeant

The Invitational Era

Time Spiral block releases along with Taylor Swift's first studio album. The iPhone 1 is the first cellphone capable of lightsaber noises. The DVD mail rental service Netflix launches on-demand streaming with a mind-boggling 1,000 titles available.
“All the cool cards from Magic are in here... Library of Alexandria, Rakdos Augermage, Mox Sapphire, Ancient Hydra... This is a crazy, wacky, very fun format.”
“Cube started as the pro player's kitchen-table Magic.”


Mythic rares and planeswalkers debut in Magic. The Tesla Roadster, though very cool, is the first of Elon Musk's many unneeded ego trips. Iron Man uncorks a tidal wave of superhero films, each more unremarkable than the last.
“They blow you up today; you blow them up tomorrow. It's just business.”
— DJ, a fictional person with a Grinder mentality
The Playtester
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Training Grounds
Wurmcoil Engine


Christopher Nolan's Inception mis-educates the entire world on what 'inception' means. The last Hunger Games book ruins the series for everybody.
“Everyone who played Cube left the experience a happier person, and that was enough to convince me something awesome was going on.”
— Tom LaPille
“Powerful cards are not at all required to create a good cube.”
“Cube is a cool and legitimate thing.”
“When I was new, I anticipated that most cube changes would be strict upgrades... As you begin to think of the cube as a set, other reasons become more prominent.”
— Thea Steele


The first official Commander preconstructed decks hit shelves. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is responsible for many an overdue homework assignment. The Modern format begins with a tournament in Killadelphia.
“The main key to outsourcing card evaluation to Constructed is understanding that format.”

The MTGO Era

Return to Ravnica block releases. Yours truly learns to play Magic with my brother. We have just purchased our first cards and are trying to decide why we opened 300 copies of Sky-Eel School. (Don’t buy repacks, people.)
The Designer
Riptide Laboratory


The Office airs its final season. The video streaming company Netflix begins producing original content. Lucasfilm announces the theatrical return of Star Wars. Feel old yet?
“If the choice is between good gameplay and good cards, gameplay wins out every time.”
The Abstractionist
Mind Grind
Thespian's Stage
Voice of Resurgence

The CubeTutor Era

“Cube is not just drafting... Cube provides you with experiences you can't get anywhere else.”
“Cube is a casual format and there are no clear-cut rules. You have every right to build it the way you prefer!”



Yours truly is living in Boston, where even one's eyelashes will freeze, so I don't remember anything from this year.
“Hatchi matchi! ABT, baby: Always Be Thraben!”


The Companion mechanic is given a functional erratum two months after the mechanic's debut, which makes it safe to unban Lurrus of the Dream-Den in Vintage.


Brainstorm is legal in the Historic format just long enough for people to complain that their Blue opponent didn't miss any land drops and barely won — again!


2023 and Beyond

Lucky Paper Newsletter

Future Sight — Matt Cavotta