64 Card Decks? What's the magic number?

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A few people I've talked to online and a few friends I've also spoken with have stated that they sometimes run decks with exactly 64 cards. When asked why, they state that usually their decks are 60-61 cards, but on the more causal decks they run 64 so they are not forced to cut as many of the fun cards they enjoy.


The number 64 really stuck out and I was curious. I've been told one of the reasons is because it's an integer of eight (or something like that). What's the significance of this? Magic cards are legal in sets of four, so am I missing something? I also note that in the XBL game and in the deck builders apps, you can take your deck to exactly 64 cards while only having to add one extra land to compensate for it. If you go over this, it forces the deck up to 66 which adds another additional land, so 64 is right on the borderline.

So, if your going to break the 60 card rule...why 64? What's the significance? Is it a statistic thing?
I would never break the 60 cards. There is no reason to. If you feel like you need more than 60 you're wrong. 
I used to hold the 60-card minimum as absolute law (though I have always run 41 in limited... I've found my mana balance is usually happier at 24-17 or 23-18 than 23-17).

Then, I threw together a deck that was almost highlander, practically colorless, and 66 cards big.  It worked like a charm, far exceeding my low expectations, and so help me I've been terrified of trying to cut it down to size.

Theory-wise, there is no good reason to go over 60 cards, but if you do exhaustive testing and find that in practice running 61 rather than cutting anything gets you better results, go for it.

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try it out and see how it works. Personally i see no need to play that much and rather play a 60 card deck that keeps me on a nice bell curve. Lots of two and three drops, less four and above drops
If you find that you're having trouble cutting your deck down, it's a simple process to fix that:

1. Statistically, you're not gonna have over 60 cards in a deck that are all equally good. One of the cards has to be the worst. Find that card.
2. Remove the card.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 until your deck has exactly 60 cards.

Even in casual, if you find that there's simply too many ideas which you wanna stuff into the same deck and thus can't cut it down... Make another deck and put it in there. Otherwise, it's likely going to end up as a bunch of disjointed jank.
61 is not bad if you are running exactly 21 lands. It is usually easy to remove that extra card though, the only time it is ever tricky is when you are toolboxing something with tutors. In that case though just move the least likely toolbox critter to the sideboard.

Using the minimum, maximizes the effectiveness of the overall strategy and maximizes the use of your strongest playset of 4.

If you have no strategy and no powerful cards it really does not matter how many you play with, you will lose more often of course, but some people play to lose.
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I would never break the 60 cards. There is no reason to. If you feel like you need more than 60 you're wrong. 


Not always.

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I would never break the 60 cards. There is no reason to. If you feel like you need more than 60 you're wrong. 



Standard Valakut did (for more mountains), but that's about it.

Other Valakut builds have used Prismatic Omen.
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I see. Well, not to open a can of worms here, but allow me to drag the 61 card debate into the fray.


Now, the idea of having that one extra slot might not seem like a lot but when your REALLY not wanting to cut that last card you love it makes all the difference. There has also been a lot of debate on the fact that it does not effect your ability to draw other spell cards, just lands (based on this article at gatheringmagic.com):  www.gatheringmagic.com/the-extra-card-fa...


So, is 61 a little more acceptable? Can I expect to run a higher risk of not drawing enough land because of it?
For casual, have as many damn cards as you want. For competitive, max out at 60.
Yeah, I agree, but even though it's casual and not a tournament setting, I still want to be competitive and play to win. I'm trying to determine if 61 vs 60 really puts me at that much of a disadvantage. I know the advantage of the extra card is appealing, but I don't want to defeat the purpose if it throws everything off.
You could be playing Battle of Wits.

You could be facing a metagame in which mill is very popular.

You could have a lockdown control deck, so that nothing much happens, and so you expect to win by being the last player to draw a card. And, of course, if you're using Blue's other ability, card draw, you'll need extra cards to compensate for that.

You could be playing Modern, where, on the one hand, there isn't a small pool of good cards for which you want the maximum chance of drawing them, and on the other there isn't a tiny pool of obvious must-haves that you need the maximum chance of drawing - the Power Nine or the original duals. So if you increase your deck to half again its size with cards that are just as good as the ones you've started with, you haven't lost any draw consistency.

So I can think of a few reasons - not necessarily good ones - for playing more than 60 cards, even if you are playing to win.

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Used to stick to the 60 card limit, and for anyone new, I'd definitely recommend it. The reasoning is sound - you'll draw your best cards more often.

However, there's definitely a solid, logical reason to go up to a few cards over 60 (the highest I've seen any competitive player go is about 67) - land:nonland ratio. You can fine tune the ratio with more precision if you're willing to budge from 60 cards. 24/60 (0.4) and 25/60 (0.417) give you two options; 24/61 (0.393), 25/61 (0.410) and 26/61 (0.426) provide 3 more. The values are similar to above, but are different enough that the most efficient land:nonland ratio may actually be gained by going up to 61 cards. And of course, being more flexible allows for more fine tuning - but then, of course, you'll reach a point where the minute decimal gains become negligible (you could argue that it happens from 60-61 cards, but ultimately it comes down to what someone deems negligible).

There's an article I often refer to when looking at the land:nonland ratio maths:

www.gatheringmagic.com/the-extra-card-fa...
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Yeah, I agree, but even though it's casual and not a tournament setting, I still want to be competitive and play to win. I'm trying to determine if 61 vs 60 really puts me at that much of a disadvantage. I know the advantage of the extra card is appealing, but I don't want to defeat the purpose if it throws everything off.


it's not that much of a disadvantage, in the same way the deck thinning from arid mesa and bros isn't that much of an advantage. very few games will be won or lost on a single card. but it's still better to have a tighter deck.

 
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My decks fall into one of two categories; casual and competitive(obviously).

Casual decks are whetever I damn well please. These are decks I build around themes for fun, to play with my wife and 9-year old daughter, etc. These decks don't typically revolve around a win condition, specific mechanic, etc. My series of Ravnica guild-themed decks fall into this category, and are all between 65-75 cards. A little bit of everything thrown in with the kitchen sink.

My competitive decks stick to the 60-card rule as much as possible. These are decks I build specificaly to win games; no neato artwork, no cute stuff, no "themes," just built to compete. These decks usually have some gut-punch of a combo that makes people want to strangle me, so I don't use these on casual nights or against my daughter, who is still learning the game.

I'll be completely honest; they aren't that much better than my bloated casual decks, but I'm at least trying to somewhat take deck-building seriously with these.

I have to have a clear divide between deck goals, because if I built all competitive, all the time, I'd burn myself out and it'd stop being fun. If I played my casual decks all the time, I'd never win any games. It's a balance that keeps things interesting for me.

I can't think of a hard a fast reason why 61-64 cards would be a thing. Everyone builds a little differently, so maybe it's just a house-rulle of sorts they go by.
Even with casual decks, I try to limit myself to 65. It's much harder to get the land balance right with higher numbers.
There are occasions where running 61 cards is actually more mathematically sound, but unless you are a very good deck builder with a decent knowledge of statistics there really isnt a good reason to.

Its worth noteing that:
...
You could be facing a metagame in which mill is very popular.

You could have a lockdown control deck, so that nothing much happens, and so you expect to win by being the last player to draw a card. And, of course, if you're using Blue's other ability, card draw, you'll need extra cards to compensate for that.

You could be playing Modern, where, on the one hand, there isn't a small pool of good cards for which you want the maximum chance of drawing them, and on the other there isn't a tiny pool of obvious must-haves that you need the maximum chance of drawing - the Power Nine or the original duals. So if you increase your deck to half again its size with cards that are just as good as the ones you've started with, you haven't lost any draw consistency.

So I can think of a few reasons - not necessarily good ones - for playing more than 60 cards, even if you are playing to win.


These are all really really bad reasons.  You are better off just hating out mill with cards designed to do so rather than bulking up your deck.  Pretty much the same for Prison style decks, you just need the ability to put your graveyard back in your library.

Not sure what you are saying about Modern.  In any deck you have cards that are important and cards that are less important.  Thats why you vary the amount of each card, to change your chance of drawing it relative to the others.  Each additional card dilutes the control you have over that chance a little bit more.  You certainly dont want to be playing some giant 90 card pile.

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