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Deck Building

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Anonymous
September 15, 2005 7:20:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

I am brand spanking new to M:tG. I am looking for web sites or forums or
old usenet articles that dicuss deck building for beginners. I am trying
to read all the newsgroups and have learned some things but mostly about
specific cards and events, not much about "if your opponent has X type of
deck you may want to try these cards or build a Y type of deck."

Anything would really be appreciated.

Thanks!

MC

More about : deck building

September 15, 2005 7:20:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

> I prefer to play pressure/utility type decks

What does that mean?

Peter
Anonymous
September 15, 2005 9:34:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

M C <hawaiian_punch66@fkshdjkshkjsh.com> sent:
> I am brand spanking new to M:tG. I am looking for web sites or forums or
> old usenet articles that dicuss deck building for beginners. I am trying
> to read all the newsgroups and have learned some things but mostly about
> specific cards and events, not much about "if your opponent has X type of
> deck you may want to try these cards or build a Y type of deck."

> Anything would really be appreciated.

Magic's a big game. Unless you're looking at the top of the tournament
scene, there are so many different decks and strategies that it's not
really possible to get a chart of deck types and strategies. Just look
at, for example, the following site: (sorry about the hideous colour)

http://www.magicdeckvortex.com/deck_definitions.htm

There are so many different types of deck and different strategies! It
would help if you gave us more information:

What format are you looking at? Casual, tournaments?
What kind of cards do you have access to?
If you've got there yet, what kind of decks do you prefer to play?
What kind of decks do your opponents prefer to play?

For example, I play casual many-player games, I have cards from about
Ice Age onwards, I prefer to play pressure/utility type decks (not
really represented on the duelling scene) and the only decks I despise
playing against are the ones that repeatedly blow everything up.

--
-- zoe
Related resources
Anonymous
September 15, 2005 9:51:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

Hello Zoe,
> Magic's a big game. Unless you're looking at the top of the
> tournament scene, there are so many different decks and strategies
More like I am looking from the bottom of the barrel. :) 

> http://www.magicdeckvortex.com/deck_definitions.htm
Thanks for the link. I'll definitely learn what I can from this.

> What format are you looking at? Casual, tournaments?
Casual play. With friends locally and/or online. Maybe small tournaments
once I feel confident.

> What kind of cards do you have access to?
Well, I have the 8th and 9th edition core starter sets. A friend who plays/played
extensively has given me a lot of cards but I have yet to really go through
them or even try to build them.

> If you've got there yet, what kind of decks do you prefer to play?
Not there, yet.

> What kind of decks do your opponents prefer to play?
I think my friend likes to play mainly black (just from listening to him
talk about it) but as to what theme, I am not quite sure. He mentioned clerics
and, I think Memring...

My friend is good but I don't want to keep pestering him about decks and
such so I am trying to venture out on my own and learn what I can between
the times we meet (face-to-face or online).

I am sure I am asking for some pretty vague and/or esoteric and/or voluminous
information but I am not sure what else to do except bug my friend all the
time (we both work so free time is already limited).

Again, thanks!

MC
September 16, 2005 9:13:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

Got it. I find I gravitate towards two deck types. Either "Here's a
kooky idea, let's exercise it to the fullest" combo-ish decks built
around a card or two, or "Let me use creatures to kick your ass to the
fullest".

I'm not a big fan of "combo's that go off" to win, because I like the
play the most, not the winning (though I'm awfully fond of winning), so
decks that hold the ground until they can win in a single turn aren't
my style.

I like Sulfuric Vortex. I should do something with that card.
Peter
September 16, 2005 9:26:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

For a while I was considering trying to pre-write a column about
beginner deck-building. I felt like I'd learned a lot in the couple
years since I'd started (Onslaught) and I noticed that most of my sons
friends (and my son) really hadn't figured out some of the basics, like
mana-curve and so on.

I think I have the Table of Contents here somewhere. Let me see.
Yeah, here it is. This will give you an overview of the basic things
you might think about when putting together casual decks. (If you want
to put together a tournament deck, take one off the 'net.)

A: 'fun' vs. winning
- casual vs. tournament
- wacky fun, but still want to win!
B: Basic construction
1: The win condition (The Whole Point!)
a) The goal: 20 life! (or deck-milling, or 10 poison, or 10 coin
flips, or 20 or more creatures in play or in the graveyard, or 50 or
more life, or Coalition Victory, or Battle of Wits, or Door to
Nothingness, or...)
b) Focus: pick one general goal, concentrate on it (see the 4/60
rule)
c) Must-haves vs. "support staff"
d) Comfort zone
2: Backup win conditions
3: Four of each card
a) Mix n' match similar cards
b) Fatties
c) When to break the rule (6, 3, 2...; same/similar function)
4: 60 cards
a) when to break the rule
b) rarity
c) cutting that last card
5: card value
a) power vs. cost
b) maximum utility
c) maximum synergy
d) Instant vs. sorcery: waiting (you want the most information
possible)
6: Mana base
a) land count: too little/too much
b) "All I needed was a swamp!" Land mix vs. card costs
c) other mana sources (creatures, artifacts, spells)
7: Mana Curve
a) Smaller spells mean faster setup
b) larger spells mean more power (sometimes)
c) Watch the curve
8: the metagame
C: Synergy
1: Across zones of play
2: Multi-use cards (maximum usefulness- in every zone!)
3: Cards backing up weaknesses of other cards / deck weaknesses
4: (Backup Win Conditions)
5: comfort zone of card choices / play testing/practice
D: Getting the Edge
1: Speed
a) Mana Acceleration
b) Draw / tutoring (incl. Land-fetch)
c) Recursion
d) Weenies
e) "Tricks" (Buried Alive, Affinity, Elvish Piper, Tooth/Nail,
etc.)
f) Dual vs. Multiplayer
2: Control
a) Blue: Counters/Bounce
b) Red: Destruction/Burn
c) Black: Discard / Sacrifice
d) White: Healing/prevention/Life Gain/Destruction
(Attack/Block/mass)
e) Green: Creatures (Fatties, anti-flyers)
f) Dual vs. Multi
3: Evasion (the goal: reduce life!)
a) Flying
b) Trample
c) Unblockable
d) Regen
4: Combat Tricks
a) Boosting
b) damage prevention
5: 'strategy' speed - how fast can you get your base strategy into
play
E: Your Opponent Hates You (stop your opponent from stopping you)
1: smash face, ASAP
2: removal
3: control
F: Play testing
G: New cards from new sets

A: That is, when you talk about tuning your deck you sometimes hear
people talk about how casual magic is supposed to be "fun" and how they
like to just throw some cards together in a deck. However, fun to me
is not being mana-screwed, and, oh yeah, I also like winning sometimes.
So, even in casual I try and build the best deck possible.
B.1: Pick a single goal for your deck and build to it, like a mission
statement for a company.
B.2: If possible, have a backup win condition. For example, you may
want to use Door to Nothingness, but it might be nice to have a couple
of Bringers to help you out in a jam.
B.3: Four of each card, why, and when to break that rule
B.4: 60 card decks, why and when to break that rule
B.5: evaluating cards to pick the best cards for your deck
B.6: Figuring out your mana base, mono, dual and multi-color decks.
B.7: Figuring out and smoothing your mana curve
B.8: Paying attention to and building for your local (casual) metagame
C: Synergy: the way all the cards play together to make a more powerful
whole.
D: Different ways/things to look for to increase the power of your deck
E: Know that your opponent is trying to stop you from winning and build
to protect yourself from their threats
F: Play test, tweak, test, etc.
G: How to incorporate new cards from new sets

Anyway, this should give you an idea of some of the things you should
look at when trying to put together an effective deck. All my best
(and most fun to play) decks check in well on most if not all of these
points. All my not-so-great decks clearly misfire on several.

So, I hope that helps give you a starting place.

Someday I'll write the whole set of articles.
Peter
September 16, 2005 9:55:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

Okay, a couple more articles I found in my archive that might interest
you:
- http://www.classicdojo.org/school/schooldex.html
A "classic" apparently revered by such big hitters as Mike Flores.
It's such a solid basis for deck-building that, even though it's from
eight years ago, all the points still apply, even if the examples are a
little dated.

- http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/expandnews.php?Ar...
A modern commentary on the previous article.

- http://www.pojo.com/magic/Deck%20Garage/jason/2004/0329...
A list of ten common deck-building mistakes. A good way to help
yourself think about how your deck is constructed.

Enjoy!
Peter
Anonymous
September 16, 2005 3:46:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

Risser <knucklehead000@yahoo.com> sent:
>> I prefer to play pressure/utility type decks

> What does that mean?

Pressure refers to pushing the opponents to make commitments where they
would rather leave their options open. It can be aggressive, setting a
clock for the opponents to march to (e.g. Sulfuric Vortex) or it can be
more of a defensive strategy (e.g. Meishin, the Mind Cage). It's
designed to disrupt the opponents' game plans without looking too much
like an immediate threat, which is a crucial aspect of multiplayer
games. Utility refers to my usual toolbox approach - plenty of card
selection strategies and cards to deal with the opponents when they
get out of hand. I may pull out an old decklist, give it a tweak and
post results next week :) 

--
-- zoe
Anonymous
September 16, 2005 4:02:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

M C <hawaiian_punch66@hotmail.com> sent:
> Hello Zoe,
....
> Casual play. With friends locally and/or online. Maybe small tournaments
> once I feel confident.

>> What kind of cards do you have access to?
> Well, I have the 8th and 9th edition core starter sets. A friend who plays/played
> extensively has given me a lot of cards but I have yet to really go through
> them or even try to build them.

When looking at older cards, check up on Gatherer for the latest text
and rulings ( http://gatherer.wizards.com ) - especially for cards that
look complicated. The rules have changed a lot over the years, so some
really old cards just won't make much sense to look at compared to the
modern rules. The Gatherer contains the Oracle text for each card,
which is how they would be written under today's rules.

>> What kind of decks do your opponents prefer to play?
> I think my friend likes to play mainly black (just from listening to him
> talk about it) but as to what theme, I am not quite sure. He mentioned clerics
> and, I think Memring...

Black decks are pretty good at recurring creatures from the graveyard,
causing direct life loss to players, and killing creatures. They're
not very good at dealing with enchantments or artifacts, and can often
have problems with other decks' black creatures. Black usually has
more opportunity to use life as a resource - paying life to kill
creatures, make creatures bigger, draw cards and so on. You may find
that black decks force you to discard cards from your hand, too.

There are cards specifically designed to "hose" a black deck, but that
can be a little too blatant - you could also try to thwart the common
strategies. Red cards can stop black from gaining life, for example.
Blue cards can redirect black's spells. Artifact creatures are useful
against blacks "fear" ability. White is notorious for getting in the
way of black - cards with "protection from black", cards that stop the
use of the graveyard as a resource. Green also sports a little bit of
"protection from black", and has much more efficient creatures.

No idea what 'Memring' is - could be Memnarch? Moonring Mirror?
Neither of these is a black card.

> My friend is good but I don't want to keep pestering him about decks and
> such so I am trying to venture out on my own and learn what I can between
> the times we meet (face-to-face or online).

> I am sure I am asking for some pretty vague and/or esoteric and/or voluminous
> information but I am not sure what else to do except bug my friend all the
> time (we both work so free time is already limited).

I know how the free time thing works out, it can be difficult to
organise a game when you have long-distance relationships, toddlers and
academic work to consider, for example.

Hope this has been helpful for now. Maybe look through your cards and
see what you'd like to use in your first deck? Top tip - look for
efficient creatures (lower casting cost, higher power and toughness)
to start the deck off. How about some Trained Armodon and Elvish
Warrior? I'm sure it's a cliche to start off with a green deck, but
maybe I'm biased - my first deck was green :) 

--
-- zoe
Anonymous
September 17, 2005 5:35:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy (More info?)

"M C" <hawaiian_punch66@fkshdjkshkjsh.com> wrote in message
news:XigWe.26358$Z31.18392@fe50.usenetserver.com...
>I am brand spanking new to M:tG. I am looking for web sites or forums or
>old usenet articles that dicuss deck building for beginners. I am trying
>to read all the newsgroups and have learned some things but mostly about
>specific cards and events, not much about "if your opponent has X type of
>deck you may want to try these cards or build a Y type of deck."

Sorry, I can't help you much with sites or forums.. but here's some advice
and suggestions.

1. Very basically, there are three types of decks: Aggro (aggressive, I beat
you over the head with as many creatures as I can), Control (I stop you from
being able to play or use your cards, until I win with one or two
creatures), and Combo (I ignore you until I have my combo available, at
which point I outright kill you). When you start playing, you will probably
play an Aggro deck, as they are generally the simplest and easiest decks to
pilot. Just remember not to play all your creatures as soon as you can
without good reason.

2. A *VERY* basic casual Aggro deck formula is this: 20 creatures, 20 lands,
20 spells. If you're playing casual, you generally have more time to build
up your resources, so operating with 'only' 20 sources of mana is ok. Once
you really get the hang of how the game operates, you can start looking at
building it under your own rules. Most tournament-level decks in ANY format
run somewhere around 24 slots for mana in a 60-card deck; more for control
decks, less for aggressive decks. But for a deck just to have fun with, a
20/20/20 gives you a good mix of everything, and it's easy enough to
remember. Also, one other note: You can have any number of basic lands in
your deck that you want. Most other cards are maxed out at four copies of
each.

3. Don't clog your deck with the high-costing stuff. If you run 20 lands and
all your creatures and spells cost four or more? You'll be sitting there, on
average, for the first five or six turns not being able to do anything
except maybe dropping land into play, which doesn't make for a fun game. As
a very rough estimate, at least 75% of your non-mana slots should cost under
four mana, and probably at least two-thirds of THAT should be around 1 or 2
mana. (So, 60 cards, 20 for mana leaves 40 cards, 30 should cost under four,
and 20 of that should be 1-2; in other words, 20 cards at 1-2 mana, 10 more
at 1-3 mana, and 10 at whatever cost you want.) Keep in mind, these are VERY
rough numbers, but you want a reasonable chance of being able to play
something earlier rather than later. When you design your decks later, or
start looking at decklists online, you may see numbers outside these
ranges - a deck based on Mishra's Workshop and Goblin Welder, or the Urza
lands in 8th and 9th Edition, can handle cards with much larger mana costs
because the lands can produce so much mana. Just remember not to jam all the
BIG stuff in without a way to handle it all, and you'll be ok.

4. You saw me mention formats in point #2. There are five different major
formats for the game. A synopsis of the biggests ones is as follows:
- Type 1, aka Vintage. Allows cards from every set except the Un-sets (ie
Unhinged and Unglued), and until October 20th won't allow cards from the
Starter/Portal sets either. Banned cards are ante cards and manual dexterity
cards (ie, cards that require you to physically manipulate them oddly, such
as flipping them in the air). Restricted cards are simply too powerful to
allow more than one of in your deck.
- Type 1.5, aka Legacy. Type 1's kid brother. Follows the same sets as Type
1, but has its own Banned/Restricted list. For the most part, the more
disgustingly-powerful cards in Type 1 (which are Restricted there) are
Banned in Legacy - but there's a few cards you can run 4 of in Legacy that
are Restricted in Vintage.
- Type 1.x, aka Extended. The half-breed of Type 1 and Type 2 (see below).
Currently allows cards from Sixth Edition and Tempest on up; this will
change on October 20, when (after a three-year cycle) it will be reduced to
7th Edition and Invasion on up - and Ravnica (the new set to come out -
prerelease is the weekend of September 24) will be made legal for it and all
other formats.
- Type 2, aka Standard. The definition for Standard is the most recent base
set plus the two most recent blocks. Currently that is Mirrodin block
(Mirrodin, Darksteel, and Fifth Dawn) and Kamigawa block (Champions of
Kamigawa, Betrayers of Kamigawa, and Saviors of Kamigawa); on October 20th,
Mirrodin will rotate out and Ravnica will take its place.
- Block Constructed. Each block has its own format available. For example,
there's Mirrodin Block Constructed, Kamigawa Block Constructed, and soon
there will be Ravnica Block Constructed. Cards from one block are generally
not allowed in a deck for another block.
There are other formats as well, such as Peasant Magic or Two-Headed Giant,
but most of them follow the rules for one of the other formats, with a
couple more restrictions (eg, Peasant Magic could be anything from Block to
Type 1, with the restricted list removed and replaced with 'No rares
allowed, no more than five uncommons, use the most common rarity for a
card's printing to determine its rarity). A list of the formats Wizards of
the Coast supports and the Banned/Restricted lists for them is available at
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=judge/resources/ba....

You said you're a beginner; hopefully this is enough to get you started.
Start with playing only a single color at first, and have fun with it. :) 

Hope this helps!
Erich
!