What is a Cube?

A cube is a pre-assembled collection of cards made for drafting into decks to then battle against the other players you have drafted with. Unlike a traditional draft, where players are opening booster packs (and also keeping the cards they draft), a cube is meant for one thing: battling. All cubes are preconstructed to ensure the drafting pool contains a balanced mix of cards. In Pokémon, this means a card pool with complete Evolution lines (something you can’t guarantee will be present in booster packs). Cubing is particularly fun in Pokémon because it offers cards that were previously overshadowed in competitive play the opportunity to shine.

Base–Fossil Cube (360 cards)

Water (40)Fire (35)Grass (41)Psychic (36)

4️⃣ Squirtle
3️⃣ Wartortle
2️⃣ Blastoise
4️⃣ Poliwag
3️⃣ Poliwhirl
2️⃣ Poliwrath
3️⃣ Magikarp
2️⃣ Gyarados
3️⃣ Seel
3️⃣ Dewgong
3️⃣ Psyduck
2️⃣ Golduck
2️⃣ Articuno
2️⃣ Lapras
2️⃣ Vaporeon
4️⃣ Charmander
3️⃣ Charmeleon
2️⃣ Charizard
4️⃣ Vulpix
2️⃣ Ninetales
3️⃣ Growlithe
3️⃣ Arcanine
4️⃣ Ponyta
3️⃣ Rapidash
3️⃣ Magmar
2️⃣ Moltres
2️⃣ Flareon
4️⃣ Bulbasaur
3️⃣ Ivysaur
2️⃣ Venusaur
4️⃣ Nidoran♂
3️⃣ Nidorino
2️⃣ Nidoking
4️⃣ Venonat
2️⃣ Venomoth
4️⃣ Exeggcute
3️⃣ Exeggutor
4️⃣ Grimer
2️⃣ Muk
2️⃣ Scyther
2️⃣ Pinsir

4️⃣ Abra
3️⃣ Kadabra
2️⃣ Alakazam
3️⃣ Gastly
2️⃣ Haunter
2️⃣ Gengar
4️⃣ Drowzee
2️⃣ Hypno
4️⃣ Slowpoke
3️⃣ Slowbro
2️⃣ Mewtwo
3️⃣ Jynx
2️⃣ Mr. Mime
Fighting (31)Lightning (24)Colorless (80)Trainers (73)
4️⃣ Machop
3️⃣ Machoke
2️⃣ Machamp
4️⃣ Sandshrew
3️⃣ Sandslash
4️⃣ Mankey
3️⃣ Primeape
2️⃣ Hitmonchan
2️⃣ Hitmonlee
4️⃣ Onix
4️⃣ Magnemite
2️⃣ Magneton
4️⃣ Pikachu
2️⃣ Raichu
4️⃣ Voltorb
2️⃣ Electrode
2️⃣ Zapdos
2️⃣ Electabuzz
2️⃣ Jolteon
3️⃣ Dratini
2️⃣ Dragonair
2️⃣ Dragonite
4️⃣ Pidgey
2️⃣ Pidgeotto
2️⃣ Pidgeot
4️⃣ Rattata
3️⃣ Raticate
4️⃣ Doduo
3️⃣ Dodrio
2️⃣ Clefairy
2️⃣ Clefable
4️⃣ Jigglypuff
2️⃣ Wigglytuff
4️⃣ Spearow
3️⃣ Fearow
4️⃣ Meowth
3️⃣ Persian
2️⃣ Chansey
3️⃣ Farfetch’d
3️⃣ Porygon
2️⃣ Kangaskhan
2️⃣ Snorlax
3️⃣ Lickitung
3️⃣ Tauros
4️⃣ Eevee
2️⃣ Ditto

3️⃣ Double Colorless Energy
4️⃣ Bill
2️⃣ Clefairy Doll
2️⃣ Computer Search
3️⃣ Defender
4️⃣ Energy Removal
3️⃣ Energy Retrieval
4️⃣ Energy Search
3️⃣ Full Heal
4️⃣ Gust of Wind
2️⃣ Imposter Professor Oak
2️⃣ Item Finder
2️⃣ Lass
3️⃣ Mr. Fuji
3️⃣ PlusPower
4️⃣ Poké Ball
3️⃣ Pokédex
2️⃣ Pokémon Breeder
3️⃣ Pokémon Center
2️⃣ Pokémon Trader
4️⃣ Potion
3️⃣ Professor Oak
2️⃣ Scoop Up
2️⃣ Super Energy Removal
3️⃣ Super Potion
4️⃣ Switch
🛒 Buy Cube on TCGplayer | ⬇️ Download as Excel file

In addition to the 360 cards listed above, I recommend having 40 each of Fire, Lightning and Fighting Energy, and 45 each of Water, Grass and Psychic Energy cards so that players have access to the Basic Energy cards needed to build their decks.

The Design

This cube was designed with simplicity in mind, but not at the expense of being extremely fun to play. While other Pokémon cubes contain cards that span across decades, I purposely limited the cards in this cube to the game’s first three sets, which are full of iconic and well-known cards that don’t have a lot of text to read or memorize. And while other cubes contain unpredictable amounts of cards, I used consistent card counts based on each card’s rarity: if a card is common, there are 4 copies, uncommon there are 3, rare there are 2. This helps players better know what to expect and to not be overwhelmed by the drafting process. With less surprises, the drafting process goes by quickly, since players will not need to constantly pause to read cards and ask questions. This saved time means more games of Pokémon! (And isn’t that the main goal in life?)

How to Play

Setting Up

This cube is designed to be drafted by exactly 8 players. Drafting works the same as a typical booster draft, with players each receiving 45 cards and dividing them into three 15-card “packs.” If you already know how to draft, you can skip past this part.

  1. Seat each player at the same table. (Note: Seats should be assigned randomly for the most fair gameplay.)
  2. Perform a thorough shuffle of all 360 cards.
  3. Deal each player 45 cards face-down. There should be no leftover cards if done properly.
  4. Have each player divide their 45 cards into three 15-card “packs” (without looking at any of the cards).


Once players have their cards divided into three 15-card packs, it’s time to draft! There are three drafting phases: one for each pack.

  1. Each player picks up or “opens” one of their 15-card packs by looking at the cards (without showing anyone else the cards)
  2. Each player chooses one card from their pack, then places it face-down into what will become their collection
  3. Each player passes the remaining cards to the player to their left
  4. Each player chooses a second card from the remaining 14 cards passed to them, adding it to their collection
  5. Each player passes the remaining 13 cards to the left, repeating this process until each player is passed the single remaining card in a pack
  6. Give players a moment to review the cards they drafted (each player should now have 15 cards total in their collection) before opening the second pack
  7. Each player opens their second 15-card pack, again choosing one card to add to their collection
  8. The second pack is drafted the same way except it is passed to the right each turn
  9. When the second round of drafting is complete, let players again review the cards they have selected
  10. The third and final pack is drafted identically to the first, being passed to the left each turn

Deck Construction

After the third and final round of drafting is complete, each player will have 45 cards total (the same amount of cards they had in their three packs to begin). Players can then use as many of these cards as they choose combined with unlimited access to Basic Energy cards to build a 40-card deck. These 40-card decks will be used to battle 4-Prize games.

Tournament Structure

Any tournament structure (Swiss, Single Elimination, Double Elimination, etc.) can be used in a cube, though I recommend against Single Elimination, as it can be disappointing to spend the time drafting and constructing a deck only to play a single game with it. My personal favorite playing structure for this cube is Double Elimination since it works great for eight players and also ensures everyone will get to play at least two games. I also recommend Best-of-1 over match play. Players enjoy opportunities to draft the perfect deck and will generally enjoy a second round of cubing over one lengthy tournament that is drawn-out by match play.

Finishing Playing

When you are finished playing, remove the Basic Energy cards from your deck, keeping them separate from the draftable cards. Restore the rest of the cards to the cube. Once all 360 cards have been regathered, you’re ready to play again!

Embracing the Imperfections

While the earliest sets don’t give equal love to each of the types (Grass type has a lot more Pokémon than Lightning type, for example), that’s okay! Just as every Pokémon format has its own overpowered and underpowered cards, the game manages to finds a natural balance. This under-representation of certain types adds a level of strategy to the drafting process that wouldn’t otherwise be present if all types were equally represented. That’s because players may be hesitant to draft a weak type, which can enable another player to easily obtain that type and in turn build a strong and consistent deck.

And while Base Set contains many overpowered Trainer cards, you’ll hardly mind them in the small doses they are present in this cube. For example, there’s only 2 Super Energy Removals total, so you won’t find it challenging to build up those Stage 2 monsters that you never could playing the Removal-filled Base–Fossil format. Sure, there’s no denying that a player lucky enough to draft a Professor Oak Trainer card is going to have an advantage over opponents who aren’t fortunate enough to find one, but what fun would Pokémon be without these strong cards to root for when opening packs?