Creating a DM Cube: Part 2

Welcome back as we continue this journey on creating a Dice Masters Draft Cube. We’ve got a lot of information and data to look at today.

Using all 3 sets of D&D Dice Masters (including all OP or Promo cards) in to our cube puts us at a total of 433 cards. Basic Actions account for 33 of those. So, if we have every OP card to include, that puts us at 400 cards. Most MtG cubes I’ve seen posted about online have 360 cards, so we’re in that ballpark. I comfortable having 400 just so I can say it has every D&D DM card.

The first thing I’d like to address is how to handle Basic Action Cards. As many of you know, Draft Packs contain just 2 BACs that you must use. No matter what. If players have one consistent complaint with the Draft Packs, it’s the Basic Action mandate. I do like how the Draft Packs have kept us from seeing Magic Missile and Resurrection every single game. But it’s no lie that not all Basic Actions are created equal. I think a good balance between open and set Basic Actions is being able to choose your own from a very small selection. In all 3 D&D sets, we have 33 BACs. Here’s the cost breakdown:

As you can see, out of 33 total BACs, 19 of them cost 3 or less. Over 50% of the BACs in all D&D sets are able to be purchased on your first turn, even if you are going first with only 3 dice. If each player is given 3 BACs with their Cube Draft Pack, they have, approximately, a 3% chance at getting any single BAC. With the above numbers, that means a player has a total 93% chance of getting a 3 cost or less BAC in at least 1 of their 3 BACs.

Additionally, 12, or 36%, of the 33 BACs have a global ability. Using that same line of thinking, any player will have a 76% chance of getting at least 1 BAC with a global ability when taking 3 random Basic Actions.

Because these numbers are so favorable and open up team building possibilities while still providing some limitations I’ve decided to give each player 3 random BACs, with the ability to choose 2 of them for their team. This also lets me provide a full draft pod of 8 players with more than enough total BACs so there’s still some variability.

Now that the Basic Action Card distribution is resolved, let’s look at general rarities of cards in the draft pack. A typical Draft Pack has 12 cards: 7 common, 3 uncommon, 2 rare/super rare. I mentioned in my previous article that more rare does not necessarily equal more useful in Dice Masters. Because of this, I don’t think it’s very critical to emulate that rarity distribution in our own Cube. But I understand that a decision like that could have monstrous implications if made all willy-nilly. I did some research. I used Pink Frankenstein’s adaptation of the retrobox website to include Tomb of Annihilation. I created 4 draft packs using the specified rarity distribution seen in the Draft Pack product. (I included Starters with Common, and OP/Promos with the Rare/SRs) I then created completely random Cube draft packs. I now want to see what a simulated first pick might be in each of these draft packs. Let’s start with the packs simulating the Draft Pack rarities. I’ll highlight my selection for first pick, and discuss them afterwards.

Draft Pack #1, simulated rarities:

Gold Dragon: Lesser Dragon (ToA, common)

Dragon Statue Trap: Lesser Trap (ToA, common)

Elf Thief: Lesser Harper (FUS, common)

Limited Wish: Lesser Spell (BFF, common)

Human Fighter: Lesser Emerald Enclave (FUS, common)

Glabrezu: Lesser Fiend (FUS, common)

Wraith: Lesser Undead (FUS, common)

Dwarf Wizard: Greater Harper (FUS, uncommon)

Unicorn: Greater Beast (BFF, uncommon)

Elf Thief: Greater Emerald Enclave (FUS, uncommon)

Zombie: Paragon Undead (BFF, rare)

Tabaxi Rogue: Paragon Harper (ToA, rare)

Cone of Cold: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Heist: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Improvised Weapon: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Draft Pack #2, simulated rarities:

Dwarf Wizard: Lesser Emerald Enclave (FUS, common)

Troll: Minion Humanoid (FUS, starter)

Tomb Guardian: Lesser Construct (ToA, common)

Green Dragon: Apprentice Dragon (BFF, starter)

Blue Dragon: Master Dragon (BFF, starter)

Vampire: Apprentice Undead (BFF, starter)

Human Paladin: Minion Order of the Gauntlet (BFF, starter)

Doppelganger: Greater Monstrosity (ToA, uncommon)

Purple Worm: Greater Beast (BFF, uncommon)

Displacer Beast: Greater Monstrosity (FUS, uncommon)

Drow Assassin: Paragon Humanoid (BFF, rare)

Yuan-ti Pureblood: Epic Humanoid (ToA, super rare)

Chainmail Armor: Basic Action Card (FUS)

Create Food and Water: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Mordenkainen’s Sword: Basic Action Card (FUS)

Draft Pack #3, simulated rarities:

Skeleton: Lesser Undead (BFF, common)

Elf Wizard: Lesser Harper (BFF, common)

Flesh Golem: Lesser Construct (FUS, common)

Captain Laskilar: Captain of the Stirge (ToA, common)

Chwinga: Lesser Elemental (ToA, common)

Basilisk: Lesser Monstrosity (ToA, common)

Ring: Lesser Gear (FUS, common)

Gelatinous Cube: Greater Ooze (FUS, uncommon)

Kobold Trap: Greater Trap (ToA, uncommon)

Dragonborn Sorcerer: Greater Emerald Enclave (ToA, uncommon)

Lich: Paragon Undead (FUS, rare)

Mummy: Legendary Undead (BFF, OP)

Fireball: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Banishment: Basic Action Card (FUS)

Magic Missile: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Draft Pack #4, simulated rarities:

Wererat: Lesser Lycanthrope (BFF, common)

Bronze Dragon: Apprentice Dragon (FUS, starter)

Zombie: Lesser Undead (BFF, common)

Yuan-ti Abomination: Lesser Monstrosity (ToA, common)

Elf Druid: Lesser Emerald Enclave (ToA, common)

Amber Golem: Lesser Construct (ToA, common)

Hill Giant: Apprentice Giant (FUS, starter)

Goliath Fighter: Greater Lords’ Alliance (ToA, uncommon)

Storm Giant: Greater Giant (FUS, uncommon)

Drizzt: The Hunter (FUS, uncommon)

Strahd: Master of Ravenloft (FUS, OP)

Fenthaza: Dreams of the Black Opal Crown (ToA, rare)

Guardian of Faith: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Cone of Cold: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Dimension Door: Basic Action Card (BFF)

So, in our 4 packs that simulate the Draft Pack rarities, we selected a common, a super rare, an uncommon, and an OP as our first picks. Draft Pack #1 has some real fun cards, but nothing beats the common Elf Thief. It’s probably one of the top 10 cards in this set to draft if you see it. Honestly, that Draft Pack #2 is stacked. There might only be a handful of cards than can edge out the uncommon Purple Worm, but SR Yuan-ti is one of them. Further down in that pack there’s 2 different dragons with Breath Weapon and a Golem with Fabricate. Everyone is getting something useful out of that pack. Draft Pack #3 I think is the weakest, although having your first pick as an Adventurer with Attune, while also sitting on Magic Missile is a pretty great set up. I think Strahd barely edges out Fenthaza or the Amber Golem in Pack #4, simply because they also have Cone of Cold as an available BAC. Purchasing Cone of Cold and Strahd on your first 2 turns could open the door to gaining some fast and easy experice.

Now, let’s look at 4 draft packs that were generated with no regard for rarities, and compare some of the cards we see; especially the first overall picks.

Draft Pack #5, random rarities:

Vampire: Master Undead (BFF, starter)

Mind Flayer: Lesser Humanoid (BFF, common)

Lich: Paragon Undead (FUS, rare)

Kobold: Paragon Humanoid (BFF, rare)

Halfling Thief: Lesser Lords Alliance (BFF, common)

Gnome Ranger: Apprentice Emerald Enclave (FUS, starter)

Deck of Many Things: Epic Magical Object (FUS, super rare)

Copper Dragon: Legendary Dragon (BFF, OP)

Red Dragon: Greater Dragon (ToA, uncommon)

Tomb Guardian: Paragon Construct (ToA, rare)

Mummy: Legendary Undead (BFF, OP)

Half-Orc Fighter: Greater Lords Alliance (BFF, uncommon)

Cloudkill: Basic Action Card (FUS)

Create Food and Water: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Blessing: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Draft Pack #6, random rarities:

Ras Nsi: The Ravager of Chult (ToA, uncommon)

Flesh Golem: Lesser Construct (FUS, rare)

Tabaxi Rogue: Greater Lords’ Alliance (ToA, uncommon)

Red Dragon: Paragon Dragon (ToA, rare)

Kobold Trap: Lesser Trap (ToA, common)

Bronze Dragon: Apprentice Dragon (FUS, starter)

White Dragon: Master Dragon (FUS, starter)

Pit Fiend: Lesser Fiend (BFF, common)

Carrion Crawler: Lesser Aberration (BFF, common)

Poison Dart Trap: Greater Trap (ToA, uncommon)

Hill Giant: Lesser Giant (FUS, starter)

Magic Sword: Paragon Gear (BFF, rare)

Polymorph: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Stinking Cloud: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Resurrection: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Draft Pack #7, random rarities:

Green Dragon: Minion Dragon (BFF, starter)

Goliath Fighter: Greater Lords’ Alliance (ToA, uncommon)

Owlbear: Lesser Beast (BFF, common)

Frost Giant: Paragon Elemental (BFF, rare)

Half-Elf Bard: Master Lords’ Alliance (FUS, starter)

Silver Dragon: Paragon Dragon (ToA, rare)

Copper Dragon: Lesser Dragon (BFF, common)

Goblin: Greater Humanoid (FUS, uncommon)

Elf Wizard: Greater Order of the Gauntlet (FUS, uncommon)

Flesh Golem: Lesser Construct (FUS, common)

Minotaur: Greater Humanoid (BFF, uncommon)

Limited Wish: Lesser Spell (BFF, common)

Heist: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Shocking Grasp: Basic Action Card (FUS)

Candlekeep: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Draft Pack #8, random rarities:

Dracolich: Lesser Undead Dragon (BFF, common)

Frost Giant: Lesser Elemental (BFF, common)

Ring of Winter: Epic Magical Object (ToA, super rare)

Drow Assassin: Minion Humanoid (BFF, OP)

Owlbear: Paragon Beast (BFF, rare)

Elf Thief: Paragon Emerald Enclave (FUS, rare)

Human Paladin: Minion Order of the Gauntlet (BFF, starter)

Tomb Dwarf: Lesser Undead (ToA, common)

Wraith: Lesser Undead (FUS, common)

Gold Dragon: Lesser Dragon (ToA, common)

Tyrannosaurus Zombie: Lesser Undead (ToA, common)

Goblin: Paragon Humanoid (FUS, rare)

Charm: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Scorching Ray: Basic Action Card (ToA)

Fireball: Basic Action Card (BFF)

Taking a look at these randomized draft packs, nothing jumps out at me as unbalanced. It would be nice to have more than 2 dice for cards with swarm, but even still, I think the rare Kobold is the cream that rises to the top in Draft Pack #5. I think you could take the Halfling Thief to slow down your opponent, and there might be a case to be made for the OP Copper Dragon, but give me the Kobold. In Draft Pack #6, there’s no clear cut win condition or ramp. I think the White Dragon is just the best utility card at 5 cost, with Breath Weapon 2, and the potential to keep some opposing characters from blocking. Truth be told, I think this is a pretty undervalued dragon. The player using Draft Pack #7 could walk away with the draft taking the dreaded Hal-Elf Bard, yes THAT Bard, with their first pick. That means they are passing the rare Silver Dragon in a draft with so many dragons, but the Bard is still probably the best overall card you could draft in this cube. Draft Pack #8 probably wants the Ring of Winter, to be able to keep the door open for any high cost win conditions that come around to them.

If we look at all 8 first picks, we have:

Elf Thief: Lesser Harper (FUS, common)

Yuan-ti Pureblood: Epic Humanoid (ToA, super rare)

Dragonborn Sorcerer: Greater Emerald Enclave (ToA, uncommon)

Strahd: Master of Ravenloft (FUS, OP)

Kobold: Paragon Humanoid (BFF, rare)

White Dragon: Master Dragon (FUS, starter)

Half-Elf Bard: Master Lords’ Alliance (FUS, starter)

Ring of Winter: Epic Magical Object (ToA, super rare)

Which breaks down to 2 starters, 1 common, 1 uncommon, 1 rare, 2 super rares, and 1 OP.

In 8 Draft Packs, 4 with set rarities and 4 with random rarities, we had 6 different rarities of cards draft first. In each of the 4-pack selections we had at least 3 different rarities selected as first picks. I think that’s an excellent sign, and personally, shows we could go either way with this. For the ease of making the packs we are going to use draft packs of 12 cards with randomized rarity distribution.

I’m going to start gathering the cards and dice together needed for this cube, because the next part will come down to determining how to physically distribute the dice. Will 12 random cards be selected for each player, draft, then pull the needed dice? Or do I make pre-packaged draft packs including dice so the dice on the table can be read to evaluate during the draft process? I think I’m going to need to try it both ways. Next time, I’ll let you know what I figure out. Thanks for reading, and feel free to let me know what you think of this whole process.

 

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