The Value of Gold

When it comes to cubes, it’s all about the gold.

Okay, maybe not ALL about the gold, but the gold cards are an undeniably important part. When you design the multicolored section of your cube, make sure you consider the basic properties of multicolored cards.
Multicolored cards are often considered the most fun to draft
There is something undeniably exciting about multicolored cards. Something that makes them more attractive to acquire and feel better to play. For examples of this, look no further than the multitude of cubes that people have created that consist entirely of gold cards. You may even be one such creator. Because multicolored cards are often some of the most exciting cards in your cube, especially for new players, it would be in your best interest to make sure they are as exciting as can be. This has nothing to do with balance, but drafting is usually about having fun. If people often have fun doing something with your cube, you should be trying to cultivate that fun. Remember though, in a traditional cube and without the appropriate manafixing, too many multicolored cards can be a problem. You want to limit the number of multicolored cards you include to avoid flooding the cube with them. Because of this, you need to be very selective with the cards you choose to fill these valuable slots.

Wizards often uses multiple colors to justify unique and above-curve effects
The power level of multicolored cards is often a step above their mono-colored equivalents. This is no design oversight, as multicolored cards require you to diversify your mana base and generally lower the consistency of your deck. Now this may go without saying, but you should be keeping this in mind. Your multicolored cards need to be worth drafting. The effects they offer should either be worth adding an additional color to your deck, or sturdily support an archetype in those colors. You need to be careful with simple effects like Terminate or Detention Sphere. Ask yourself, is the power level of these cards enough to justify splashing for? Is terminate really that much better than Doom Blade? Is detention sphere really that much better than Oblivion Ring? They certainly don’t provide unique effects. Often times, a player drafting UB who picked up a terminate early on may just choose to cut it from their final list to keep from having to splash red. If that is happening, I feel the multicolored slot is being wasted.

Early in a draft, multicolored cards advertise the multicolored archetypes that you support
This is important, especially if you support some of the more fringe deck archetypes in your cube. When you include Gelectrode, you’re telling your drafters that spells-matter is totally a thing and ensuring them that if they start drafting it, they will continue to see support for it in later packs. Conversely, you should be avoiding cards that send the wrong kind of message. If you are playing Knight of the Reliquary, you better be supporting some kind of lands-matter archetype.

Later in the draft, multicolored cards reward players for drafting their respective archetypes
If you are knee-deep in RW aggro and you see a white flier, you will probably take it. But if instead you see a UW flier, you are going to pass it up, as it is likely not worth splashing blue for. Because of this, someone else who is drafting UW fliers may be able to pass on it early and expect it to wheel back around to them. This allows them to draft more powerful cards and rewards good drafting decisions. At the same time, when you are committing to an archetype, nothing feels better than seeing a gold card in your colors that supports your strategy.

Throughout the draft, multicolored cards can be used to signal which archetypes are open
Though this is less true at the beginning of drafts, and less helpful at the end of drafts, it is worth mentioning. Seeing a very powerful gold card wheel may just be the incentive needed to convince a drafter to draft another archetype.

Basically, what I’m really saying here is this: Stop playing removal spells, generic efficient beaters, and broadly powerful planeswalkers in your multicolored slots unless you have a *really* good reason to be doing so. The gold cards are supposed to be the fun cards! They’re the cards that tie your archetypes together. They tell your drafters what your cube is about. Nothing says “Draft midrange goodstuff” like generically good gold cards. Disagree? Make your case in the comments, I would love to hear what you think.

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