Cards are now graded on a scale from 1-10 instead of 1-3. Originally, we chose a three-point scale because we identified three describable attitudes towards testing a new card. We were able to explain the difference between a “1”, a “2”, and a “3”, compared to a ten-point scale where describing the difference between a “6” and a “7” was much more difficult.
However, our old, three-point system was much less intuitive. A card that scored highly might have had a rating of “2.7”, but “2.7” does not intuitively feel like a high score. In addition, the three-point system with only one significant figure only created 21 different possible average ratings: 1.0, 1.1, 1.2... through 3.0. As average ratings naturally tend towards the center many cards ended up with identical averages, erasing nuance and making comparisons more difficult. The new, ten-point system has 91 possible average ratings, allowing for higher fidelity without added complexity.
The question we are asking has not changed: respondents are still scoring their subjective attitude towards a given card in the context of a specific cube of theirs. Given that this question is relative, we have decided to retroactively translate past survey responses to the new scale. A “2” in the previous system is now a “5”, a “3” is now a “10”, and so on and so forth. A note has been added to all the prospectives whose responses were collected with the three-point system and have since been translated for full transparency.
If you have any questions or concerns about this change please get in touch by emailing [email protected].
For each new Magic: the Gathering set we conduct a survey of Cube designers to collect information about which new cards they plan on playing in their cubes. While there is no shortage of subjective set reviews written by individuals, our aim to paint a more broad picture of how a new set is perceived. This allows players to compare their own evaluations to the community at large and is a resource for those who aren’t able to review the whole set themselves.
Our survey is conducted between the set’s full-spoiler and official release. We believe there is a unique value in recording people’s first impressions of new cards before they have had time to play with them extensively. In the long run, we hope to use the data we’ve collected to examine how perceptions of card power-level change over time in the hopes of building a more robust and self-aware understanding of the game.
Our approach is simple: we ask Cube designers to share a ranked list of cards they plan on testing in their own cube or cubes from each new set. The cards are scored as follows:
Low grade. Cards you are testing, but don’t think will make the cut long-term.
Medium grade. Cards you believe could have staying power in your cube, but aren’t slam dunks.
High grade. Cards you think will be staples of your cube for years to come.
These rankings are subjective and cube designers test cards by different metrics. For example, a respondent may think a card is powerful, but give it a low grade if they are worried it will be too oppressive in their cube, or if they maintain strict numbers of cards in specific guilds or mana values and don’t think there will be room for it. Conversely, less powerful cards may be ranked highly if they provide an effect that a player is especially interested in adding to their cube. Our goal is not to somehow quantify the “best” Cube cards, but instead to celebrate diverse approaches to the format.
Cards are summarized by their average rating and their consensus value, which is an indication of how much users agree on a card’s rating. The consensus of a card is just 1 – σ, where σ is the standard deviation of the card’s rating across users testing it. Because the rating is from 1 – 10, the consensus ranges from 0 – 1. Note that not all combinations of consensus and average rating are possible.
Participants in our surveys are Cube designers that subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on social media, or are members of one of the following communities, to which we specifically reach out:
If you’re an organizer or member of a Cube community not listed here and would like to participate in future surveys drop us a note at [email protected].
The Lucky Paper set prospectives are conceived by founding contributor Jett Crowdis and written by Jett and Parker LaMascus.
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