[MTG1] MaSTA SoLIDUS' Guide to deck-building

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[MTG1] MaSTA SoLIDUS' Guide to deck-building

Post by MaSTA SoLIDUS on Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:03 am

Magic is an awesome game to play with people. But playing the game with a store-bought deck is like racing a car right off of the lot. Yeah, it might seem fun at first, but as you get accustomed to the culture, you see that what you have won't cut it, and it becomes less fun because you then realize how short-handed you are.

With this knowledge, you should look to begin to build a deck for recreational play. I say that, because if you aren't already aware, official Magic tournaments have different rules for decks. But, lots of times building a deck for play amongst friends can result in tournament ready decks. If you're new to Magic, or thinking about getting started, don't worry about anything I just said in the last paragraph.

Beginning: Laying Plans

The simplest thing I can say in regards to beginning the process is figure out what style you'd like to play. Personally, I have a preference for fast decks...this means it takes very few turns of play for my deck to yeild either some ability (enchantments, artifacts, etc.) or creatures. I will detail the types of decks I'm familiar with, and what they accomplish so you can at the least get an idea of where to start.


Deck Style.

  • 'Fast' - A deck that has the ability to, within 3 turns of play, either have a creature in play, have a spell in hand able to play, or have an enchantment or artifact in play. Generally fast decks revolve around small creatures and semi-weak spells.



  • 'Slow' - A deck that takes more than 5 turns to yield any significant material. Generally slow decks have some sort of way to stave off quicker opponents--either through enchantments that hinder an opponents creatures, or something of the sort. Once slow decks get going, the thought is they are very, very difficult to stop, because the creatures in them either have really high power/toughness or have abilities that warrant the high mana cost.



  • 'Average' - A deck that can vary between fast and slow. These are the how most fat pack decks are built, and many decks used in recreational play resemble this trait. It has a range of mana cheap and mana expensive creatures, and has a average assortment of spell cards. Because this deck is without a specific design, it is up to the player to use what he/she has drawn and determine how to play it according to the pace and flow of the game.

Once you've decided what kind of style to play, you can determine a color of choice. Recent sets released have focused on multi-colored decks, but for the purpose of this exercise I suggest sticking to one color. While it makes your deck easier to counter, it also ensures that you will have a pronounced advatage of any opponent you play (Seeing that Circle of Protection isn't as widely circulated).

Here is a breakdown of what each color (basically) offers. There are instances of colors having different abilities, but for the purpose of building a general use deck, use this as a guide.


White - Restorative Magic. Generally fast creatures. Cleric, Angel, Soldier are some Creature Types.

Black - Destructive Magic. Generally slow, powerful creatures. Zombie, Demon, Beast are some Creature Types.

Blue - Deceptive Magic. Creatures lean on the fast side, but this color has a wide variety. Wizard, Beast, Merfolk are some Creature Types.

Green - Tribal Magic. Creatures speed depends on its type, as certain types are predisposed to different styles. Elf, Beast, Treefolk are some Creature Types.

Red - Barbaric Magic. Like Green, Creature speed depends on it's type. Barbarian, Goblin, Dwarf are common Creature Types.


Now that you've chosen both a style of play and color, you can begin to build a deck.

This is the hard part.

I can't give you much more help on what to do to build a deck outside of these general rules:


  • For every 2 non-land cards, have 1 land card. It doesn't necessarily have to be a basic land. It's best to have about 2 lands in your first hand regardless of color or style.
  • For faster decks, have a slim deck--this means do not overload it with spell cards or creatures. The reason is simple: the more cards in the deck, the less likely you are to see any of them. Fast decks need effeciency. Unless you have cards that allow you to search for specific cards (The Dark Supplicant is an example), always adhere to this rule for a fast deck.
  • For slower decks, it is agreeable to have every 4 non-land cards for 2 land cards, because the mana cost for many of them will not be met in a good enough timeframe with the 2-to-1 ratio.
  • Also, for slower decks, if the purpose if to have many heavy hitting creatures, outnumber them with spells that a) allow you to find them, b) hold off an opponents attack, or increases your life or decreases theirs directly. Outnumbering these heavy creatures with spells will allow you to build mana and keep your opponent off guard until they come. A good ratio for non-creature spells to creature spells in this case is 2-to-1.
  • Average decks can vary between the rules stated above, as long as the deck is built intentionally according to them.
  • In the same way it is hard to see particular spells in a fast deck with a lot of cards it is hard to see them in slow decks. But the purpose of a slow deck is to build big strength, so having a good variety in a larger deck makes sense with that strategy.
  • Good size for fast decks: between 40-60 cards.
  • Good size for average decks: 55-75 cards.
  • Good size for slow decks: 60-85 cards.

Finally, be sure to go to The Gatherer for specific details. It offers lists, pictures of cards, and sorts the data as you need to see it. What to know how to build a good treefolk deck? Go see what that type deos well at the gatherer, write a list of cards needed (according to these rules, of course) and go to a local card shop and find them!

Hopefully this basic guide gives you some insight on how I go about building decks for recreational play, and offers you some tips on how to do it for a fun, winning deck.

Please Discuss what I offered in the Discusions Thread. Thanks.

_________________

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MaSTA SoLIDUS
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