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Cube Spotlight Series: CubeCon Cartographia

Posted on Oct 17, 2022

The Cube Spotlight Series returns with themes near and dear to my heart—geography and exploration. The power of lands shines in this offering, which will be live for a week on Magic Online starting October 19 at 10 a.m. Pacific (17:00 UTC). Here's designer John Terrill to illuminate the wonders of CubeCon Cartographia.

For a video presentation of this article, check out John's YouTube channel.

Welcome, intrepid explorer, to CubeCon Cartographia, a mapmaker's paradise! It is up to you to chart a course through a land marked by unstable and shifting terrain, powerful enchantments, arcane artifacts, and a whole menagerie of ferocious creatures. Apply your draughtsman's craft to Magic drafts, for you will draw a map anew each time you venture into this realm.

I'm John Terrill of the Cultic Cube YouTube channel. I am delighted to bring a second cube to the wonderful Cube Spotlight Series on Magic Online! I'm one of the organizers of CubeCon, a celebration of my favorite format being held in Madison, Wisconsin this weekend—concurrent with CubeCon Cartographia's appearance on MTGO. I hope that this cube allows those of you who aren't able to attend CubeCon to share in the joy of exploring new Cube environments!

CubeCon Cartographia is a cube that encourages you to find novel ways of plotting out decks whose pieces work in harmony. The format is defined first and foremost by its deep access to lands. We stray from the path of Cube tradition by breaking Singleton for fetch lands—there are two copies of each fetch land here. Mana fixing is very good! Moreover, we have many lands that do things, from destroying permanents and making tokens to buying back your graveyard. This abundance of lands allows more of your draft picks to find their way into your main deck instead of languishing in the sideboard.

Barbarian RingCastle ArdenvaleTakenuma, Abandoned Mire417820

A second hallmark of the cube is its number of planeswalkers: zero! Here, you construct your own 'walker-like value machines through the interaction of cards in your deck. Resilient engines that produce turn-over-turn value while dodging creature removal are available, and you'll find these in categories such as enchantments, artifacts, and, well, lands!


Historian's BoonFounding the Third PathCurrency ConverterKessig Wolf Run

Enchantments run wild across the land of CubeCon Cartographia, and the terrain fairly hums with magical energy. The enchantress archetype is one that you can absolutely explore here. It's based in Bant colors, but there are deep options for enchantments across the color pie. This strategy can be tuned for explosive, all-in power that suits up enchantment creatures and leverages inexpensive enchantments that affect the board to continue beating down.


Archon of Sun's GraceRancorSeal of FireAphemia, the Cacophony

Alternatively, the enchantment archetype can play a long game, controlling the board and assembling overwhelming value through the interaction of its non-creature enchantments. Magic runs deep in this world! Sweep away your opponents' creatures and allow your enchantments to work in concert to compose a fresh army.


Weaver of HarmonyShark TyphoonHallowed HauntingThe Elder Dragon War

If cold steel and coiled springs are more your speed, artifacts abound in CubeCon Cartographia. Artifacts offer one of the routes to an aggressive strategy, as prototypical Red Deck Wins decks and their cousins aren't supported in quite the same way here as in traditional cubes. Our format is rife with inexpensive colorless creatures. Moreover, red and white both offer creatures that interact with artifacts or improve when surrounded by them. Blue boasts tools to animate otherwise lifeless lumps of ore. Black, red, and white support self-sacrificial Aristocrats strategies that can be built with artifact sacrifice in mind.


417693Esper SentinelRise and Shine423731

Many hopeful archaeologists visit CubeCon Cartographia in search of rather more ostentatious artifacts than Gingerbrutes and Bomat Couriers. Ever more exciting discoveries reward careful excavation, and the patient archaeologist may unearth monumental treasures.


Oswald Fiddlebender519295Goblin Welder417795

If we are to support archetypes whose tools range across the colors, we need access to good mana! This imperative motivates our inclusion of a generous number of fixing lands. If you want your mana base to be reliable, you should be able to realize that dream, though you'll still have to make difficult decisions about when to take the land or the spell. In this realm, while decks may be colorful, individual cards tend to be monocolor. Multicolor cards are in comparatively meager supply here, and they serve specific roles rather than being generically powerful versions of replaceable effects. These multicolor cards often act as bridges between various archetypes.

Dance of the Manse489874Phylath, World SculptorGalazeth Prismari

You can play a two- or three-color deck and prioritize having excellent mana. Such an approach unlocks, for instance, a classic Zoo deck, defined by aggressive and over-statted creatures, often in Naya or Jund colors. Zoo decks offer an aggressive strategy that is built on a flexible mana base. Your menagerie may, after all, prove fragile if your deck struggles to find in-color mana sources on time.


Skyshroud EliteLoam LionBronzehide LionMayhem Devil

Of course, you can take a greedier approach to drafting lands by snapping off a whole bevy of fixing to support a Rainbow deck. Your payoffs won't lie so much in Cube-staple gold spells but rather in the best of what the single colors have to offer, as well as in a complement of color-intensive powerhouses, such as The Kami War and Omnath, Locus of Creation. Moreover, a deck with an immoderate mana base may capitalize on domain strategies.


The Kami WarOmnath, Locus of CreationHerd MigrationScion of Draco

Lands not only allow you to cast your spells, but they can also win games on their own. Dark Depths combo is available, as is Field of the Dead (though no Golos!). There are creature lands aplenty, which are awesome, resilient threats on their own and can be improved with tools such as Tatyova, Steward of Tides and Sylvan Advocate.


Tatyova, Steward of TidesSylvan AdvocateCrawling BarrensEmergent Sequence

Many more creatures exist that love lands, such as Greensleeves, Maro-SorcererTitania, Protector of Argoth; and The Gitrog Monster. Lands in general and lands that put themselves in the graveyard are beloved of innumerable spells in the CubeCon Cartographia, such as those which rely on mechanics like landfall, domain, delve, revolt, and delirium.


Greensleeves, Maro-SorcererThe Gitrog MonsterKazandu MammothTasigur, the Golden Fang

It has been an enormous pleasure developing and playtesting this cube with many friends who are brilliant cube designers. The cube was born of late-night brainstorming with CubeCon colleagues Gwen Dekker and Jonathan "TeamJbro" Brostoff. I was honored to have friends join later who devoted many hours to intensive conversation about the cube: Elliott "Sniffygull," Derek Gallen, Brandon Harrison, Dan Schneider, and David White. Soon thereafter, we began playing in earnest, aided enormously by the deep insights of Paul Baranay, Zach Barash, Chill MTG, Richard Dietz, Wilson Fisher, Usman Jamil, JuliusF, Parker LaMascus, David McDarby, Brad Vanhook, and Jon Westoff. I am deeply thankful to the wonderful cadre that has developed a hazy topography into a dynamic landscape!

I can't wait to see what exciting new coordinates you chart as you explore CubeCon Cartographia! If I don't see you at CubeCon, be sure to Tweet your sweet builds to me. Here's to dizzying vistas, sublime prospects, and the magic of Cube Draft!

John Terrill
Twitter: @CulticCube


Name Color
Alseid of Life's Bounty WHITE
Esper Sentinel WHITE
Giant Killer WHITE
Hopeful Initiate WHITE
Hotshot Mechanic WHITE
Loam Lion WHITE
Thraben Inspector WHITE
Toolcraft Exemplar WHITE
Cathar Commando WHITE
Ethersworn Canonist WHITE
Ingenious Smith WHITE
Lion Sash WHITE
Oswald Fiddlebender WHITE
Spirited Companion WHITE
Stoneforge Mystic WHITE
Twinblade Geist WHITE
Blade Splicer WHITE
Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr WHITE
Monastery Mentor WHITE
Moon-Blessed Cleric WHITE
Thalia, Heretic Cathar WHITE
Archon of Sun's Grace WHITE
Emeria Angel WHITE
Serra Paragon WHITE
Angel of Invention WHITE
Timeless Dragon WHITE
Sanctuary Warden WHITE
Sun Titan WHITE
Angel of the Ruins WHITE
Path to Exile WHITE
Secure the Wastes WHITE
Swords to Plowshares WHITE
Prismatic Ending WHITE
Banishing Slash WHITE
Servo Exhibition WHITE
Dismantling Wave WHITE
Day of Judgment WHITE
Sram's Expertise WHITE
Wrath of God WHITE
Makindi Stampede WHITE
Planar Outburst WHITE
Portable Hole WHITE
Citizen's Crowbar WHITE
Dancing Sword WHITE
Halvar, God of Battle WHITE
Maul of the Skyclaves WHITE
Spear of Heliod WHITE
Candletrap WHITE
Legion's Landing WHITE
Paladin Class WHITE
Swift Reconfiguration WHITE
All That Glitters WHITE
Journey to Nowhere WHITE
Michiko's Reign of Truth WHITE
Seal of Cleansing WHITE
The Birth of Meletis WHITE
Triumph of Gerrard WHITE
Banishing Light WHITE
History of Benalia WHITE
The Restoration of Eiganjo WHITE
Touch the Spirit Realm WHITE
Felidar Retreat WHITE
Hallowed Haunting WHITE
Historian's Boon WHITE
Leyline Binding WHITE
Castle Ardenvale WHITE
Cave of the Frost Dragon WHITE
Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire WHITE
Emeria's Call WHITE
Sea Gate Stormcaller BLUE
Snapcaster Mage BLUE
The Reality Chip BLUE
Animating Faerie BLUE
Emry, Lurker of the Loch BLUE
Sai, Master Thopterist BLUE
Urza, Lord High Artificer BLUE
Whirler Rogue BLUE
Sphinx of Clear Skies BLUE
Cyberdrive Awakener BLUE
Torrential Gearhulk BLUE
Mirrorshell Crab BLUE
Murktide Regent BLUE
Thought Monitor BLUE
Boon of the Wish-Giver BLUE
Brainstorm BLUE
Consider BLUE
Curator of Mysteries BLUE
Fading Hope BLUE
Hieroglyphic Illumination BLUE
Spell Pierce BLUE
Windcaller Aven BLUE
Censor BLUE
Counterspell BLUE
Evasive Action BLUE
Impulse BLUE
Joint Exploration BLUE
Lose Focus BLUE
Mana Leak BLUE
Miscalculation BLUE
Remand BLUE
Waker of Waves BLUE
Worldly Counsel BLUE
Metallic Rebuke BLUE
Scatter to the Winds BLUE
You Find the Villains' Lair BLUE
Dig Through Time BLUE
Hard Evidence BLUE
Ponder BLUE
Preordain BLUE
Sleight of Hand BLUE
Rise and Shine BLUE
Treasure Cruise BLUE
Aether Spellbomb BLUE
The Blackstaff of Waterdeep BLUE
Witching Well BLUE
Mnemonic Sphere BLUE
Midnight Clock BLUE
Bind the Monster BLUE
Dress Down BLUE
Ensoul Artifact BLUE
Founding the Third Path BLUE
In Too Deep BLUE
Omen of the Sea BLUE
Ominous Seas BLUE
Sunken Field BLUE
Imprisoned in the Moon BLUE
Mirrodin Besieged BLUE
Annex BLUE
Control Magic BLUE
The Antiquities War BLUE
Primordial Mist BLUE
Shark Typhoon BLUE
Kiora Bests the Sea God BLUE
Academy Ruins BLUE
Otawara, Soaring City BLUE
Jwari Disruption BLUE
Glasspool Mimic BLUE
Bloodsoaked Champion BLACK
Carrion Feeder BLACK
Cult Conscript BLACK
Dockside Chef BLACK
Gnarled Scarhide BLACK
Indulgent Aristocrat BLACK
Knight of the Ebon Legion BLACK
Aphemia, the Cacophony BLACK
Blade of the Oni BLACK
Blood Artist BLACK
Bloodghast BLACK
Bloodsky Berserker BLACK
Brain Maggot BLACK
Cordial Vampire BLACK
Eternal Taskmaster BLACK
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia BLACK
Kitesail Freebooter BLACK
Nullpriest of Oblivion BLACK
Scrapheap Scrounger BLACK
Skyclave Shade BLACK
Voldaren Bloodcaster BLACK
Zulaport Cutthroat BLACK
Braids, Arisen Nightmare BLACK
Callous Bloodmage BLACK
Fain, the Broker BLACK
Sedgemoor Witch BLACK
Woe Strider BLACK
Erebos, Bleak-Hearted BLACK
Pitiless Plunderer BLACK
Cavalier of Night BLACK
Doomwake Giant BLACK
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen BLACK
Noxious Gearhulk BLACK
Herald of Anguish BLACK
Tombstalker BLACK
Cut Down BLACK
Fatal Push BLACK
Cast Down BLACK
Go for the Throat BLACK
Heartless Act BLACK
Ultimate Price BLACK
Shadow Prophecy BLACK
Assassin's Ink BLACK
Bone Shards BLACK
Duress BLACK
Thoughtseize BLACK
Unearth BLACK
Feed the Swarm BLACK
Grim Discovery BLACK
Painful Truths BLACK
Ruinous Path BLACK
Toxic Deluge BLACK
Victimize BLACK
Damnation BLACK
Drag to the Bottom BLACK
Executioner's Capsule BLACK
Dead Weight BLACK
Bitterblossom BLACK
The Meathook Massacre BLACK
Attrition BLACK
Bastion of Remembrance BLACK
Curse of Shallow Graves BLACK
Underworld Connections BLACK
Phyrexian Scriptures BLACK
Tasigur, the Golden Fang BLACK
Hive of the Eye Tyrant BLACK
Ifnir Deadlands BLACK
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire BLACK
Volrath's Stronghold BLACK
Hagra Mauling BLACK
Bomat Courier RED
Dragon's Rage Channeler RED
Falkenrath Pit Fighter RED
Goblin Banneret RED
Goblin Guide RED
Goblin Welder RED
Goldhound RED
Grim Lavamancer RED
Inventor's Apprentice RED
Rabbit Battery RED
Reinforced Ronin RED
Stromkirk Noble RED
Voldaren Epicure RED
Bloodthirsty Adversary RED
Cemetery Gatekeeper RED
Flametongue Yearling RED
Goblin Cratermaker RED
Goblin Engineer RED
Lizard Blades RED
Magda, Brazen Outlaw RED
Magmatic Channeler RED
Radha's Firebrand RED
Audacious Reshapers RED
Breya's Apprentice RED
Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin RED
Professional Face-Breaker RED
Pia and Kiran Nalaar RED
Cavalier of Flame RED
Nesting Dragon RED
Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded RED
Akoum Warrior RED
Combustible Gearhulk RED
Dargo, the Shipwrecker RED
Greater Gargadon RED
Burst Lightning RED
Galvanic Blast RED
Lightning Bolt RED
Unholy Heat RED
Abrade RED
Cathartic Pyre RED
Fire Prophecy RED
Lightning Strike RED
Searing Blaze RED
You Find Some Prisoners RED
Fireblast RED
Chain Lightning RED
Faithless Looting RED
Firebolt RED
Reckless Impulse RED
Roil Eruption RED
Tribal Flames RED
Pillage RED
Burning of Xinye RED
Wildfire RED
Experimental Synthesizer RED
Pyrite Spellbomb RED
Cursed Mirror RED
Hammer of Purphoros RED
Embercleave RED
Molten Vortex RED
Seal of Fire RED
Goblin Bombardment RED
Omen of the Forge RED
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker RED
Valakut Exploration RED
Fires of Invention RED
The Elder Dragon War RED
Barbarian Ring RED
Den of the Bugbear RED
Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance RED
Spikefield Hazard RED
Arbor Elf GREEN
Birds of Paradise GREEN
Elvish Reclaimer GREEN
Experiment One GREEN
Gilded Goose GREEN
Ignoble Hierarch GREEN
Llanowar Elves GREEN
Noble Hierarch GREEN
Pelt Collector GREEN
Skyshroud Elite GREEN
Wild Nacatl GREEN
Bramblewood Paragon GREEN
Destiny Spinner GREEN
Lotus Cobra GREEN
Masked Vandal GREEN
Merfolk Branchwalker GREEN
Nishoba Brawler GREEN
Sakura-Tribe Elder GREEN
Sanctum Weaver GREEN
Sylvan Advocate GREEN
Weaver of Harmony GREEN
Cartographer GREEN
Courser of Kruphix GREEN
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove GREEN
Kodama of the West Tree GREEN
Ramunap Excavator GREEN
Reclamation Sage GREEN
Scute Swarm GREEN
Setessan Champion GREEN
Eidolon of Blossoms GREEN
Renata, Called to the Hunt GREEN
Acidic Slime GREEN
Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer GREEN
Titania, Protector of Argoth GREEN
Hooting Mandrills GREEN
Primeval Titan GREEN
Rampaging Baloths GREEN
Avenger of Zendikar GREEN
Cultivator Colossus GREEN
Crop Rotation GREEN
Tear Asunder GREEN
Traverse the Ulvenwald GREEN
Emergent Sequence GREEN
Farseek GREEN
Gaea's Blessing GREEN
Life from the Loam GREEN
Nature's Lore GREEN
Sylvan Scrying GREEN
Splendid Reclamation GREEN
Herd Migration GREEN
Exploration GREEN
Rancor GREEN
Utopia Sprawl GREEN
Wild Growth GREEN
Fertile Ground GREEN
Ranger Class GREEN
Roaring Earth GREEN
Seal of Primordium GREEN
Sylvan Library GREEN
Teachings of the Kirin GREEN
Enchantress's Presence GREEN
Jugan Defends the Temple GREEN
Song of the Dryads GREEN
The Weatherseed Treaty GREEN
The Mending of Dominaria GREEN
Boseiju, Who Endures GREEN
Treetop Village GREEN
Bala Ged Recovery GREEN
Kazandu Mammoth GREEN
Dance of the Manse AZORIUS
Soulherder AZORIUS
Shorikai, Genesis Engine AZORIUS
Baleful Strix DIMIR
Rona's Vortex DIMIR
Vohar, Vodalian Desecrator DIMIR
Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth DIMIR
Judith, the Scourge Diva RAKDOS
Mayhem Devil RAKDOS
Prosper, Tome-Bound RAKDOS
Invigorating Hot Spring GRUUL
Chishiro, the Shattered Blade GRUUL
Phylath, World Sculptor GRUUL
Bronzehide Lion SELESNYA
Nature's Chant SELESNYA
Sythis, Harvest's Hand SELESNYA
Knight of the Reliquary SELESNYA
Cruel Celebrant ORZHOV
Hidden Stockpile ORZHOV
Doom Foretold ORZHOV
Sprite Dragon IZZET
Prismari Command IZZET
Galazeth Prismari IZZET
Assassin's Trophy GOLGARI
Deathrite Shaman GOLGARI
Binding the Old Gods GOLGARI
The Gitrog Monster GOLGARI
Baird, Argivian Recruiter BOROS
Goblin Trenches BOROS
Showdown of the Skalds BOROS
Quandrix Apprentice SIMIC
Tatyova, Steward of Tides SIMIC
Colossal Skyturtle SIMIC
Omnath, Locus of Creation MULTICOLOR
Esika, God of the Tree MULTICOLOR
Kenrith, the Returned King MULTICOLOR
Hangarback Walker ARTIFACT
Stonecoil Serpent ARTIFACT
Walking Ballista ARTIFACT
Gingerbrute ARTIFACT
Signal Pest ARTIFACT
Vault Skirge ARTIFACT
Arcbound Ravager ARTIFACT
Metallic Mimic ARTIFACT
Ornithopter of Paradise ARTIFACT
Patchwork Automaton ARTIFACT
Porcelain Legionnaire ARTIFACT
Steel Overseer ARTIFACT
Foundry Inspector ARTIFACT
Phyrexian Metamorph ARTIFACT
Scrap Trawler ARTIFACT
Crystalline Crawler ARTIFACT
Solemn Simulacrum ARTIFACT
Traxos, Scourge of Kroog ARTIFACT
Steel Hellkite ARTIFACT
Myr Battlesphere ARTIFACT
Myr Enforcer ARTIFACT
Ancient Stone Idol ARTIFACT
Metalwork Colossus ARTIFACT
Scion of Draco ARTIFACT
Mishra's Bauble ARTIFACT
Animation Module ARTIFACT
Bloodforged Battle-Axe ARTIFACT
Bonesplitter ARTIFACT
Currency Converter ARTIFACT
Eater of Virtue ARTIFACT
Expedition Map ARTIFACT
Retrofitter Foundry ARTIFACT
The Ozolith ARTIFACT
Cranial Plating ARTIFACT
Fellwar Stone ARTIFACT
Guardian Idol ARTIFACT
Liquimetal Torque ARTIFACT
Nimblewright Schematic ARTIFACT
Prismatic Lens ARTIFACT
Servo Schematic ARTIFACT
Spare Supplies ARTIFACT
Star Compass ARTIFACT
Sword of the Animist ARTIFACT
Treasure Map ARTIFACT
Crucible of Worlds ARTIFACT
Cultivator's Caravan ARTIFACT
Heirloom Blade ARTIFACT
Lantern of Revealing ARTIFACT
Magnifying Glass ARTIFACT
Manascape Refractor ARTIFACT
Mirage Mirror ARTIFACT
Nettlecyst ARTIFACT
Renegade Freighter ARTIFACT
Skyclave Relic ARTIFACT
Worn Powerstone ARTIFACT
Fleetwheel Cruiser ARTIFACT
Ramos, Dragon Engine ARTIFACT
Celestial Colonnade LAND
Flooded Strand LAND
Flooded Strand LAND
Hallowed Fountain LAND
Irrigated Farmland LAND
Tundra LAND
Creeping Tar Pit LAND
Fetid Pools LAND
Polluted Delta LAND
Polluted Delta LAND
Underground Sea LAND
Watery Grave LAND
Badlands LAND
Blood Crypt LAND
Bloodstained Mire LAND
Bloodstained Mire LAND
Canyon Slough LAND
Lavaclaw Reaches LAND
Kessig Wolf Run LAND
Raging Ravine LAND
Sheltered Thicket LAND
Stomping Ground LAND
Taiga LAND
Wooded Foothills LAND
Wooded Foothills LAND
Horizon Canopy LAND
Savannah LAND
Scattered Groves LAND
Temple Garden LAND
Windswept Heath LAND
Windswept Heath LAND
Godless Shrine LAND
Marsh Flats LAND
Marsh Flats LAND
Scrubland LAND
Shambling Vent LAND
Silent Clearing LAND
Fiery Islet LAND
Scalding Tarn LAND
Scalding Tarn LAND
Steam Vents LAND
Volcanic Island LAND
Wandering Fumarole LAND
Bayou LAND
Hissing Quagmire LAND
Nurturing Peatland LAND
Overgrown Tomb LAND
Verdant Catacombs LAND
Verdant Catacombs LAND
Arid Mesa LAND
Arid Mesa LAND
Needle Spires LAND
Plateau LAND
Sacred Foundry LAND
Sunbaked Canyon LAND
Breeding Pool LAND
Lumbering Falls LAND
Misty Rainforest LAND
Misty Rainforest LAND
Tropical Island LAND
Waterlogged Grove LAND
Spara's Headquarters LAND
Raffine's Tower LAND
Xander's Lounge LAND
Ziatora's Proving Ground LAND
Jetmir's Garden LAND
Savai Triome LAND
Ketria Triome LAND
Indatha Triome LAND
Raugrin Triome LAND
Zagoth Triome LAND
Ash Barrens LAND
Ash Barrens LAND
City of Brass LAND
Evolving Wilds LAND
Fabled Passage LAND
Fabled Passage LAND
Gemstone Mine LAND
Mana Confluence LAND
Prismatic Vista LAND
Prismatic Vista LAND
Terramorphic Expanse LAND
Blast Zone LAND
Crawling Barrens LAND
Dark Depths LAND
Darksteel Citadel LAND
Dust Bowl LAND
Field of the Dead LAND
Inventors' Fair LAND
Mishra's Factory LAND
Rishadan Port LAND
Roadside Reliquary LAND
Thespian's Stage LAND
Vesuva LAND
Wasteland LAND