Does the MTGO Cube Need a Different Prize Structure?

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If you come to this site often, it should be obvious by now that I'm a fan of the MTGO Cube. Although I have a lot of problems with how poor Magic Online is as a platform, I have mostly good experience with the Holiday and Legacy Cubes. At this point, Cube is quite literally the only reason I log on to MTGO.


My point is, I'm not really writing this article to call out MTGO on another dismal failure—in general, I think that the Cube drafts run relatively well and that the prize pools are pretty solid. But I question exactly how they are put together. Check it out:


These are the details for the Swiss draft, which I exclusively play because (spoiler) I think it's a better, more applicable payout. You can enter with 16 phantom points, and a 2-1 will earn you a freeroll for your next draft. Going 3-0 gets you enough for one and a half drafts, which is pretty decent.

On the other hand, we've got the single-elimination draft details:


Here, MTGO pays out in a combination of phantom points and booster packs for the current flashback draft (which is, right now, Odyssey). The problem is that you have to win the draft in order to earn enough phantom points to draft again. Coming second nets you the same amount of boosters, but if you're just looking to draft the Legacy Cube, you're out of luck. Third through eighth places are basically the same as the Swiss draft.

Obviously, this payout is more appealing if you have interest in drafting the flashback format, but for a lot of Cube enthusiasts, that's not even a consideration. You can, of course, sell your booster packs and roll into another draft with actual tickets, but that's something I try to avoid at all costs. Since phantom points can only be used for this type of event, I try to play this type of event only with phantom points. Otherwise, I'm converting my actual currency into a mostly worthless currency.

I'd like to jump in the more competitive and faster moving single-elimination events, but when I weigh the prizes across the two options, I always go with Swiss. Although 18 phantom points and three boosters is ultimately worth more than 24 phantom points, being able to freeroll a draft with a 2-1 record just makes the Swiss drafts more appealing for those of us looking to just draft the Cube as frequently as possible for as little as possible.

What do you think? Does the prize package for single-elimination drafts keep you out of them, too, or am I on my own here? Sound off below.

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Danny Brown

Danny is a Cube enthusiast and the former Director of Content for Quiet Speculation.

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Posted in Cube, Free, MTGO

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3 thoughts on “Does the MTGO Cube Need a Different Prize Structure?

  1. As a player pretty new to MODO, I completely agree. I did unfortunately have to pay some up front into worthless currency, and at first (when the payout was vintage masters) I jammed a few 8-4s, since in normal draft it’s the best payout. Then a friend pointed out what you said in this article and I haven’t gone back.

    I love that averaging 2 wins (which I, even as a newer player, can do easily) lets you just draft forever. Plus in my case Swiss lets me get more familiar with the cards and their interactions, and get a good idea of whether or not my deck is actually good, or if I just got lucky. I don’t really care if they switch the 8-4 prizes though, because with all the extra upside of Swiss it will be hard for me to go back.

  2. I play mostly in the single elimination cubes (because there’s a higher level of opponents) and many times I make it at least to the final. In the past two weeks I have played numerous drafts and probably have only “lost” 5 or 10 tix.

    I think the main issue is that currently the prize is Odyssey boosters. Which you can only sell at around 1.600 since it’s a block without many useful cards (not modern, and without so much for legacy and vintage) I believe if they had combined the cube drafts along with flashback drafts of a different block (something like Timespiral for example, Lorwyn, or Alara) there would be more motivated people.

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