[Guide] Read this before posting a new thread:

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This is meant to be a general deck-help. A number of criterias will be listed, and if your deck does not fulfill those criteria, there is absolutely no reason for you to post your deck. It will be a waste of time for all involved.

BASIC DECK BUILDING GUIDELINES

1. A deck is 60 cards (minimum) and 15 cards in sideboard.
*Going over 60 cards is not recommended.
*Your landcount should be between 22-27, normally settle on 24.
*A sideboard is either 0 or 15 cards, nothing more, nothing less. These are cards that are outside the game (not removed from game!) and can only be brought into the game after the first round against the same opponent for round two. The deck and sideboard combined can not contain more than four copies of the same cards (unless it is basic lands). Be aware that sideboards are usually for tournaments, usually not needed for casual games.

If your deck has over 60 cards for no particular reason, you gimp yourself and have less chance of drawing the card you need (unless you are Roy Spires).

2. Consistency is also important:
*Four of a card is a card that is important to your deck and you wouldn't mind having in your opening hand.
*Three of a card means the card is important, but a little less important than the card you have four of. You wouldn't want to see these more often than the cards you have four of.
*Two of a card are high-costed cards, so there is even less of a chance to draw them early in the game, but later in the game when you can actually cast the spells as well.
*One of cards is not recommended, unless you have tutor-cards (Diabolic Tutor, for example).

3. What is the goal with your deck? How will you reach that goal?
*You need to find cards that work well together. Randomly picking cards because they have the same colours is automatic failure in constructed.
*"Work well together" means that every card you put in the deck must have a meaning for the deck and the goal you want to reach.
*Check the rules in case you have misunderstood some card interactions.
*"Threats" are cards that can win the game, usually creatures, but some spells fit this description as well.
*"Answers" are cards that hinder your opponent from winning the game, buying you time to find your threats.

4. General deck-types.
a) Aggro. Aggressive decks that comes out the gates, guns a'blazin', trying to take down the opponent before they ever understand what hit them. Will typically employ cheap creatures that can attack ASAP. These decks are mainly creature-driven, and tend to hate board-sweepers. Examples: White Weenie, Sligh and Red Deck Wins.
b) Control. As the name, again, implies; These types of decks try to have answers for as many situations they can think of while making the deck. Instead of busting open a can of whoop'ass like the aggro-decks, these decks have a gameplan that involves surviving mostly anything and win with a few select win-conditions. Typically you will find more spells than creatures in decks like these. Examples: Sonic Boom, Big Mana and The Rock.
c) Combo. X+Y+Z= ??? = Profit! It is all about finding some insane card-interactions, placing them together in a deck and if the "combo" (combinations) work, you most likely win the game! Some combo-decks has a gameplan similar to a Control-deck, which involves surviving until the combo gets online and ends the game with victory. Reveillark + Bodydouble + Riftwing Cloudskate + Mirror Entity was a major combo-deck before rotation. In Standard now, TwinSanity seems to be the only functional one, but donating Immortal Coil with Puca's Mischief could be the new thing.

5. Mana Curve.
The idea with mana curve is to be able to cast your spells when you want to, and not sit with answers in your hand and not being able to use them. It is even more complicated than that, as the deck won't work if the mana curve does not work. For example, if your deck has only cards that cost four or more mana, you can't do anything until you have four mana. This ties the card-choices up with land-count and other mana-fixers.

*Think about the number of low mana-costed cards you have in the deck contra expensive mana-costed cards.
*Cards that cost 0, 1 and 2 mana are cheap. 3 and 4 are middleground, but 5+ is considered expensive.
*The game is usually not about "who empties his hand first", that is usually a sure way to lose the game.
*There are a few "philosophies" concerning the "corrrect" mana curve, but this a choice regarding what your gameplan is.
a) Aggro would usually want lots of cheap threats (Mogg Fanatic, Knight of Meadowgrain etc) so that they can attack as fast as possible early in the game, keep the pressure up and then fling out a huge critter to finish the deed (like Demigod of Revenge). This means that the mana curve must be tight. The current Red Deck Wins should be checked out, it has a very tight mana curve and this fact is part of the reason it is a Deck to Beat. If all is perfect, this deck only need to use 12 cards in total to beat the opponent, counting lands as well.
b) Control needs cheap answers for the cheap threats (Pyroclasm, Remove Soul etc) to buy time until the big spells can be brought into the game. In a way, a control deck has a similar curve as aggro, but with mostly answers instead of threats.
c) Combo, as mentioned, can play similarly as both control and aggro, but can also be very peculiar in every way possible. For instance, the Elfball deck has many cheap elves that can make mana, which means huuuuge spells coming very early in the game OR all the cheap elves can rush the opponent! Combo decks can be vulnerable if the deck is just about The Combo TM, but if the curve allows the Combo to work very fast, like before turn 4, the game will be usually be won.

For additional help, seek it here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1098443 (Standard FAQ)

Hopefully this will help the new deck-builders! Good luck!

NB! If you got questions about deck-building, standard or anything Magic-related, post them in this thread and answers will be given momentarily.

Written by tekaa,
edited by Axl_Strife.
I would like to reword your account of the number of a certain card you want in a deck:

5 or more- Only 11 cards can be a 5-of or more, and it's deck dependent.
4- You want this in your opening hand.
3- You want to get one a game.
2- You want one a game if the game goes a long time.
1- Either it's tutorable, or there is no way you'd ever want more than one.

0- You don't need it.

The 5+ and 0 statements are not to be noted in most cases.
I would like to reword you account of the number of a certain card you want in a deck:

5 or more- Only 11 cards can be a 5-of or more, and it's deck dependent.
4- You want this in your opening hand.
3- You want to get one a game.
2- You want one a game if the game goes a long time.
1- Either it's tutorable, or there is no way you'd ever want more than one.
0- You don't need it.

Fixed.
Fixed.

Broked.
I would like to reword your account of the number of a certain card you want in a deck:

5 or more- Only 11 cards can be a 5-of or more, and it's deck dependent.
4- You want this in your opening hand.
3- You want to get one a game.
2- You want one a game if the game goes a long time.
1- Either it's tutorable, or there is no way you'd ever want more than one.
0- You don't need it.

The 5-or-more and 0 statements are erroneous in over 90% of all deckbuilding. The flaw in the quoted is in decks where redundant cards occur, but as a more basic guideline for a starting point I approve.
The flaw in this is in decks where redundant cards occur, but as a more basic guideline for a starting point I approve.

That is a point I did not think about. It could go under the 5+ section technically, although I meant that to be for same-name as more than a four of cards. But yes, you can technically have 12 grizzly bears. Not that you'd ever want to.
Sticky this, please :P
Good job, Tekaa and Axl! Cookies for all!
IMAGE(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f382/Guardman/MTGDarkness3.jpg) http://forums.mtgdarkness.com/ MTGDarkness: A Magic: the Gathering forum.
Mmm! Cookies!
Bump.

Thanks for the cookie.


On topic: People these days REALLY need to recognize the difference between what a control, midrange, and aggro deck is, and which cards belong where. I hate nothing more than when people suggestRiver Kelpie or Cruel Ultimatum in my Grixis aggro...


~~Inappropriate content removed~~ ORC_Nashira
On topic: People these days REALLY need to recognize the difference between what a control, midrange, and aggro deck is, and which cards belong where. I hate nothing more than when people suggestRiver Kelpie or Cruel Ultimatum in my Grixis aggro...

That's a main reason why the Article Database needs to be updated. I'ma see if I can get a link put up in the OP to that info.
Good points, Banshee.

At editorial request, the OP now has a link to the FAQ written by Atma.
One of cards is not recommended, unless you have tutor-cards (Diabolic Tutor, for example).

What are the current standard-legal tutor cards?
What are the current standard-legal tutor cards?

Beseech the Queen and Idyllic Tutor come to mind. Primal Command.
Comics Magic #$%! - a sfw blog (at least, there's no nudity!) The blazekite is a simple concept, really - just a vehicular application of dragscoop ionics and electropropulsion magnetronics. Idiot.
Beseech the Queen and Idyllic Tutor come to mind. Primal Command.

diabolic tutor. All the harbingers and liliana vess semitutor.
Yay! It is stickied!

If anyone got suggestions to add, just let me know
Yay! It is stickied!

If anyone got suggestions to add, just let me know

Perhaps a breif explanation of what aggro, control, and combo mean, I'm not even positively sure, and some basic examples of cards that fit into each, so that decks can be correctly labeled.
Good idea, X! I will put it up as soon as I'm able
QUESTION!!! Are the Elves vs. Goblins and From The Vault:Dragons cards legal in Standard?
QUESTION!!! Are the Elves vs. Goblins and From The Vault:Dragons cards legal in Standard?

Good question. I have seen it before and the answer is very simple:

All versions of a card are legal if they are printed in a legal set and are not banned.

No cards are banned in Standard and the legal sets are:

Tenth Edition
Lorwyn
Morningtid
Shadowmoor
Eventide
Shards of Alara

So whatever cards from From the Vault that are printed in these sets, such as Hellkite Overlord, are legal in Standard.
I started playing this game last week and am addicted. But alas, I am still newbsause. What is a sideboard, and how does it contribute to your main deck? Gameplay?
I started playing this game last week and am addicted. But alas, I am still newbsause. What is a sideboard, and how does it contribute to your main deck? Gameplay?

Well you have a side board of 15 other cards that between rounds (of your current game) you may switch out cards from your current decklist, and add in cards from your SB. This can give your deck answers to other decks. Its a way of fine tuning your deck against the opponent your currently playing.
I am Blue/White
I am Blue/White
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and rational. I value control, information, and order. I love structure and hierarchy, and will actively use whatever power or knowledge I have to maintain it. At best, I am lawful and insightful; at worst, I am bureaucratic and tyrannical.
Ah ok, thanks a lot!
If anyone got suggestions to add, just let me know

It also seems like some people don't understand the importance/reasoning of 1-drops ,2-drops, etc., or what, exactly, the mana curve is. (Myself included on the latter.)
How about a list of magic lingo?
I am Blue/White
I am Blue/White
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and rational. I value control, information, and order. I love structure and hierarchy, and will actively use whatever power or knowledge I have to maintain it. At best, I am lawful and insightful; at worst, I am bureaucratic and tyrannical.
Reasonable requests.

I will update the OP with some more guidelines ASAP.
Reasonable requests.

I will update the OP with some more guidelines ASAP.

Also, if you could indicate that this is a good place to ask questions, like the ones a few already posted; that would deter new posters from making a brand new thread for a simple question and prevent even more clogging. Thank you.
All in the service of preventing the clogging of them intertubes!
How about a list of magic lingo?

Yes. ...and maybe something on sideboards.
Maybe something on... what everybody else said. I can't think of anything right now, I might come up with something later.
I have a question, can you target a token with something that puts target creature into your hand? It'd make sense to me. The token would be destroyed because it can't go into you're hand.
I have a question, can you target a token with something that puts target creature into your hand? It'd make sense to me. The token would be destroyed because it can't go into you're hand.

Yes. If you Unsummon a token. It is automatically removed from existence upon the resolution of the spell.

This is more of a Rules question, and you will get better and faster help if you ask there.
Yes. If you Unsummon a token. It is automatically removed from existence upon the resolution of the spell.

This is more of a Rules question, and you will get better and faster help if you ask there.

I figured you could but wasn't sure, thanks.
Could you explain how to link to cards in gatherer within your post? I cant seem to find out how to do this.
[..c]card name[../c]

Without the periods
Could you explain how to link to cards in gatherer within your post? I cant seem to find out how to do this.

And to sblock you [noparse]
Show
stuff inside
[/noparse] or [noparse][/noparse].

[noparse]
[/noparse]

[noparse]
Show
To hide stuff!
[/noparse]

[noparse][smallcaps]to scream quietly![/smallcaps][/noparse]


Awesomenessly Awesomeness


Show
[smallcaps]I am yelling quietly in the dark because I am Super Awesome![/smallcaps]




[..c]card name[../c]

Without the periods

[noparse][noparse]Black Lotus[/noparse][/noparse] = [noparse]Black Lotus[/noparse]
c) Combo. X+Y+Z= ??? = Profit! It is all about finding some insane card-interactions, placing them together in a deck and if the "combo" (combinations) work, you most likely win the game! Some combo-decks has a gameplan similar to a Control-deck, which involves surviving until the combo gets online and ends the game with victory. Reveillark + Bodydouble + Riftwing Cloudskate + Mirror Entity was a major combo-deck before rotation. In Standard now, TwinSanity seems to be the only functional one, but donating Immortal Coil with Puca's Mischief could be the new thing.

Could/shouldn't this part be auto-carded?
I started playing this game last week and am addicted. But alas, I am still newbsause. What is a sideboard, and how does it contribute to your main deck? Gameplay?

A sideboard is 15 cards (no more, no less) that you can use during tournaments (or casual, in casual no one cares). In 3 round tournaments, after the first round, if a card in your sideboard would be good against an opponents deck, and you realize this after the first game, you can switch that/those cards out with cards originally in your deck, so you have a better chance of winning next game. At all times your sideboard must be 15 cards, even between games.
Hey, so here's a little background information on my situation. I started playing during the Odyssey Block (Between Apocalypse and Odyssey) and played up until the end of the Onslaught Block. Very quickly, I constructed my own decklist and began practicing at local events until one year I made it to Regionals. I stopped playing becuase I did not enjoy the creature race themed decks coming out with the release of the Mirrodin Block. I played decks like Mono-Black Control with Nantuko Shades and later evolved into a UG-Madness theme with Wild Mongrels and Basking Rootwallas.

Now i've stayed a distance for a while not keeping up to date with the blocks and sets that have been released since then, which is about 20 sets.

Can anyone tell me a little about the current atmosphere of Magic? What kind of themes are still around? Creature-themed Goblin/Elve type decks? Mono-Coloured Control decks? Combination Wake-Like Decks?

Also, from what I remember, most sanctioned tournaments such as a Grand Prix, a Regional, or a Worlds event were Standard T2, which meant that it was usually around the most recent 7 sets or what have you. Has that changed? Are sanctioned tournaments still primarily Standard T2? Or does the term Standard T2 even exist anymore?

Sorry for all the questions, just a little curious as to the state of Magic since i've left... making a decision whether or not I want to come back.

Thanks!
Hey, so here's a little background information on my situation. I started playing during the Odyssey Block (Between Apocalypse and Odyssey) and played up until the end of the Onslaught Block. Very quickly, I constructed my own decklist and began practicing at local events until one year I made it to Regionals. I stopped playing becuase I did not enjoy the creature race themed decks coming out with the release of the Mirrodin Block. I played decks like Mono-Black Control with Nantuko Shades and later evolved into a UG-Madness theme with Wild Mongrels and Basking Rootwallas.

One question at a time. First, I would like to welcome you back. I'm sure it has been a long road, but no one can overcome the addiction. Congrats, you tried, you learned, and now you want to play. Ready?

Now i've stayed a distance for a while not keeping up to date with the blocks and sets that have been released since then, which is about 20 sets.

Can anyone tell me a little about the current atmosphere of Magic? What kind of themes are still around? Creature-themed Goblin/Elve type decks? Mono-Coloured Control decks? Combination Wake-Like Decks?

The meta right now is mostly controlled by a few select decks. The best of them are Fae and 5cc (arguably). The rest of the meta is made up of token and Reveillark variants. There is a Swans of Bryn Argoll deck that is also extremely good.

However, Lorwyn block was very creature based. It had fae, gobbos, elves, merfolk, kithkin, and Giants. Shadowmoor had a multi-colored hybrid theme. And Shards of Alara also had a multi-color theme, but it was a 3-color theme.

Also, from what I remember, most sanctioned tournaments such as a Grand Prix, a Regional, or a Worlds event were Standard T2, which meant that it was usually around the most recent 7 sets or what have you. Has that changed? Are sanctioned tournaments still primarily Standard T2? Or does the term Standard T2 even exist anymore?

Yes, Standard is still played and still the most popular format by far. (Although, Elder Dragon Highlander is creeping up there.) Those types of tournaments are actually broken into different formats in which T2 is still among them.

Sorry for all the questions, just a little curious as to the state of Magic since i've left... making a decision whether or not I want to come back.

Thanks!

No problem. You came to the right place and I thank you for not making an eye-sore that some people call a thread. I hope I was helpful.
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