Finding a good deck for your play group

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I find myself torn when making a casual deck for my play group.  I want a deck that can win, sure.  However, I don't want a deck that just wins and doesn't make the game any fun (for me or perhaps everyone else).  So, I have to compromise when making a deck.  I think, "Sure this card works great for this combo, but it's probably too good for my friends."

For example, I have a Spine of Ish Sah deck.  I considered using cards like Tinker and Master Transmuter, but I thought they were too potent for my circle of friends.  So, I decided to use Shape Anew instead.

How do you cope with decisions like this?  What sacrifices have you made so your deck wasn't too good?  Do you have no regard for situations like this and make the most ruthless deck possible?  I use the Gatherer and it definitely helps.  I'm just wondering where everyone else stands on this topic.
Welcome to the boards, Mathwizardpimp!

For myself, it was a bit drastic, but I sold off all my ABU dual lands and most of the super cards I had.  From there, one method is to either self-restrict key cards to one copy (like in my Tinker-Blightsteel Colossus deck), or simpler (and more fun for me), build LOTS of decks and only trot out your "super decks" once every few sessions.  With enough decks, you reach a point where you simply lack the cards to put the best into every deck, resulting in either a distinct tiering among your decks, or all of your decks being about the same power level, and the good cards spread throughout them.

For a challenge, try to NOT use the same cards in each deck of each color.  For example, only pack a playset of Exsanguinate in one black deck, using alternate cards in your other B or Bx decks.

You can let your friends borrow your decks or you can "gift" or trade better cards/decks to your buddies.  Until recently, my decks often far outstripped most in my group.  With time and new cards (and online singles purchases), their decks have improved drastically, but there are still games where up to nine people are all playing my decks; at least it makes the games go quickly.

Try alternate formats (team games, Star, Archenemy, Commander, pauper, Planechase - any of these combined) to shake up just how great the decks are.

Lastly, you could just keep bringing the super decks, and hope your friends step up their game, causing a bit of an arms race.

Cheers!


A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
Thanks for the response.  Definitely some useful tips in there.  And I despise cards like Exsanguinate in multiplayer lol.  I don't like any "multi-opponent" effects, especially ones that benefit you more greatly based on how many opponents.
Yeah, I'm not a fan of Exsanguinate.

My playgroup (not that we actually manage to get together much any more) are at a roughly-even power level; one player has slightly better decks, but overall the win rate is fairly even and the 'best deck' is still not so strong that the rest of the table can't expect to bring it down. I'm probably a bit behind because I'm awful at actually playing the game. But we all have a good number of decks (from 4ish to 40ish, with an average probably around 15), giving our games enough variety that nobody begrudges the odd high-powered deck showing up. But we're a pretty close-knit group, so everybody is easy going.

So uh, yeah. I'd say that having a good variety of decks decreases the impact of the powerful ones, as well as making the game interesting for opponents and encouraging them to try building new decks themselves. My group has members who started with one deck (well, everyone does), but borrowing spare decks from other members led them to expand their own collections
You can also look at making group hug decks with win condition.

A friend has a deck starting with Howling Mine and Rites of Flourishing and ending with milling one of the player.
I just made a deck around group hug through draws and group hate through Underworld Dreams and Liliana's Caress. No idea how it is going to far as I'm going to try it for the first time tomorrow but it will be fun at least

After it depends on your metagame. I know mine is pretty hard including some players using Force of Will and revised duallands. 

-= Multiplayer decks =-

White Weenie Lifegain

Furnace Spawn Bloodcrank Larkfolk (viable in 1vs1 too) Defendabarbs (Based on CadaverousBl00m's deck) Red Deck Burn (Based on Tich's deck) White Knights Graveclamp
Thanks for the response.  Definitely some useful tips in there.  And I despise cards like Exsanguinate in multiplayer lol.  I don't like any "multi-opponent" effects, especially ones that benefit you more greatly based on how many opponents.

Those effects are why I love multi-opponent (or multi-player, as well) cards and games!  While Exsanguinate pushes the envelope too far for some metas, being able to swoop in with a giant-sized Chandra's Spitfire after a 2-point Earthquake in an 8-player game is too explosive to go unplayed.  In a related vein, some cards that are awful in a dual are suddenly kings and queens in MP games: Syphon Mind and Mana Geyser are overpriced in a dual, but against multiple opponents, they become bargains at their casting costs.  This subsequently means I can often pick up these cards on the cheap.

Group hugs with win conditions are great: Everyone loves drawing cards and gaining extra mana with my UR Prosperity-Mana Flare deck... until the Firestorms, Psychosis Crawlers, and Runeflare Traps come out.  My monowhite Oath of Lieges deck accelerates games nicely... until I slap Armored Ascension on a double striker and start removing opposing players from the game.  Rites of Flourishing and Horn of Greed are (suspiciously) loved until Multani, Maro-Sorcerer lands and begins to swing.  Even after your opponents learn your decks, they will often keep you around and just gamble that they can benefit and win before you go off - and often, they can.

If you would, post a decklist or two, Mathwizardpimp.  An entire decklist can give us a better idea of what you and yours have going on.

@Foxykeep - if you haven't already considered Anvil of Bogardan for your Underworld Caress deck, do so.  Wheel and Deal and Windfall, as well.

Cheers!
A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
Thanks for the nice response, krichaiushii.  Ok here are 2 decklists from me with the theme included.  It should be obvious which "overpowered" cards I left out.

This is a UR madness deck.  I chose to leave out Basking Rootwalla and I didn't include black because I'm not a huge fan of the color, even though there are several good black madness cards.  The goal is pretty simple: defend myself with some counters and burn spells while building card advantage through manipulation of the madness mechanic.  Then I have a few beaters.

Desolate Lighthouse x4 (rest of land is simply Mountain and Island, although I am acquiring more dual lands)
Psychosis Crawler x3
Fiery Temper x4
Sonic Seizure x2
Burning Inquiry x2
Faithless Looting x2
Reckless Wurm x4
Circular Logic x4
Looter il-Kor x4
Obsessive Search x4
Dreamscape Artist x2
Frantic Search x3
Tolarian Winds x2

This is a RG aggro deck.  It centers around taking creatures that have haste and an end of turn sacrifice effect and flinging them for tons of quick damage.  I used to have Uktabi Drake, but I cut him after some time.  I think Green Sun's Zenith might go nicely in here.

Rootbound Crag x2 (again, the rest are basic lands and I am trying to obtain more dual lands)
Primal Forcemage x4
Harmonize x3
Timbermare x3
Groundbreaker x3
Manamorphose x3
Bloodbraid Elf x4
Blitz Hellion x3
Fling x4
Spark Elemental x4
Ball Lightning x3
Firecat Blitz x2

-= Multiplayer decks =-

White Weenie Lifegain

Furnace Spawn Bloodcrank Larkfolk (viable in 1vs1 too) Defendabarbs (Based on CadaverousBl00m's deck) Red Deck Burn (Based on Tich's deck) White Knights Graveclamp
@krichaiushii : They are in
The deck list for those who want to check out.



I have a R/B version of Draw=Death, that uses 12 creatures like Pack Rat, Wall of Souls & Aether Membrane.
Underworld Dreams, Spiteful Visions & Molten Psyche (with artifact lands) for win-con.

Even with those 12 creatures, I still often find myself short of defence.
How do you survive long enough with no defence and no way to kill threats? 


I try not to include many powerful cards in MP decks. 
Makes for unfun games when you get a whole table gang up to kill you and you sit out the next 30 minutes.....

I like silly combo decks for a bit of fun every now and then. 4 Treasure Hunt, 4 Zombie Infestation, and a single reset in Elixir of Immortality with about 50 basic lands was fun for a few games. Then I'll find another silly combo with the cards I've got.

I like Veteran Explorer, and others that can accelerate the game, they're always great for MP.
You can let your friends borrow your decks or you can "gift" or trade better cards/decks to your buddies.  Until recently, my decks often far outstripped most in my group.  With time and new cards (and online singles purchases), their decks have improved drastically, but there are still games where up to nine people are all playing my decks; at least it makes the games go quickly.

Try alternate formats (team games, Star, Archenemy, Commander, pauper, Planechase - any of these combined) to shake up just how great the decks are.



You could also look into doing a Deck Draft. I did one in college last year, we changed the rules a bit. Everyone who wanted to particiapte put thier decks into the pot. Then everyone drafted 3 decks and we played three 4-man multiplayer games with everyone rolling for tables. It worked very well, players with weak decks got a crack at some real powerhouse decks, other got to play a deck they were interetsted in but wouldn't build because someone already built it, and everone had fun.

Face it, you're pretty much here as a meat shield.

 

If you are at Georgian Court Univeristy or Monmouth Univeristy PM me. If you are out by York College of PA, I can help you reach the group there.

Razjah - I like the Deck Draft idea and will suggest it this week.

MathWizardPimp - I'm not the best at Madness decks, but do know that Hammer Mage is an awesome spellshaper in some metagames.  Balduvian Horde might also be worth considering.  As for your second deck, maybe a reusable Fling-effect?  Bloodshot Cyclops is the only one I can think of at the moment, however.

Cheers!

 
A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
Hammer Mage definitely seems usable.  Balduvian Horde seems a little slow and impotent even for me.  Bloodshot Cyclops seems like a cool idea.  Maybe I could explore other sacrifice effects that are based on a creature's power, but doesn't necessarily deal damage equal to it.  Maybe like a gain life or draw card ability or token ability or something.
If you're looking to try different things with a Fling deck;
I'd try Kiln Fiend & Delver of Secrets (maybe Wee dragonauts?) with all 12 of the blue cantrip (Ponder, preordain, brainstorm) together with Lightning Bolt, Gitaxian Probe, some cheap counter and maybe even something like Lava Dart for extra pump.

Whack in a couple Whispersilk Cloak and you have an alternative to Fling to sneak them through for lots of damage.
 The best thing about Cloak, is that Fling doesn't need to target, so you can Fling following combat. ;)