anima wanted a guide to make his very own decks in mtg so here it is. i don't pretend to be an expert in mtg but i know enuff to make my very own jank decks +_+
it's a wip.
a general guide to deckbuilding in standard
This guide is intended to help complete beginners in constructing their own decks in Standard Constructed Magic. It will follow my general thought process when I construct decks. If you wish to play with other ggftw users on Cockatrice, feel free to join the #mymmogames channel at irc.rizon.net!
The requirements for Standard decks are as follows:
- Must contain cards from sets legal in the current rotation
- Must contain a minimum of 60 cards
- Must not contain more than 4 of any individual card excluding basic land types
Standard Format Deck Construction : Daily MTG : Magic: The Gathering
Advanced Search - Gatherer - Magic: The Gathering
DeckStats.net Magic: The Gathering Deck Builder + Statistics
The Drafting Process
This guide assumes you want to win with your deck.
There are a number of ways to win in Magic:
- when your opponent's life counter is reduced to 0
- when your opponent draws a card without any left in his/her library
- when your opponent has 10 poison counters
- when your opponent concedes
- any other card that changes or adds a win condition, such as
Laboratory Maniac or Battle of Wits or cards that add a loss condition, such as Door to Nothingness or Final Fortune
Before you begin a deck, it's important to know what you want to achieve with your deck. This part becomes easier when you have a theme in mind. Themes can be something as simple as creating a deck that centers a certain monster tribe (such as angels), or around a game mechanic (such as reanimation or discard). They can also revolve around card types (such as an enchantment based deck) or be based off a single card (such as a Battle of Wits deck).
Picking your theme often goes hand-in-hand with picking the win condition for your deck. You should always keep in mind what your win conditions are, and what you are putting into your deck to help you achieve this.
Although it may seem difficult at this point to choose what you want to do with your deck, there are ways to make this decision process easier. Consider the color pie:
Colors in Magic play a large part in determining the structure of your deck. For example, colors such as Red or White nearly always tend to have fast, low-mana creatures with high synergy (for aggro decks) and colors such as Black and Green tend to have more powerful creatures at the expense of a higher mana cost. The general mechanics of each color is discussed in more detail in this article about the Color Pie.
Because each color has their own respective strengths and weaknesses, multi-colored decks are generally more successful as they can provide the tools to deal with a larger variety of threats. Mono-decks can easily be just as successful decks with the right cards in Standard, though.
Land, Capital, and You
Having a good mana foundation is imperative for a successful deck, to play the cards you need to win. It's not too uncommon to be mana-screwed or mana-flooded in a given game. That being said, there are ways to overcome this.
For most players, the rule of thumb of mana bases is 40% of your deck. So, a typical deck with 60 cards would have 24 land cards. This is assuming your deck has a normal mana curve, with the median card having a CMC (converted mana cost) of 4. Depending on your mana curve, you can get by with less land or be forced to add in more. A low mana curve is skewed to the right, and is probably an aggro deck. A deck with a high mana curve is skewed to the left, and is probably a control deck. Additionally, cards that act as mana sources can help you reduce the number of land cards in your deck. As a general rule, reduce your land count by 1 for every 2 alternate mana producers in your deck. Multi-colored decks are more difficult to create a stable mana curve. Divide the land color in proportion to the color of spells in your deck, using dual lands and probably land fetchers in 3+ colors.
To check your mana curve, I recommend posting your deck list on DeckStats.net
as the fastest option.
Finding Your Cards
When you have in mind the general purpose of your deck, it's time to start finding cards to suit its purpose.
A simple way to search for cards is using Wizard's Gatherer search engine, specifically its advanced search, located here:
Advanced Search - Gatherer - Magic: The Gathering
Because this guide is specific to the Standard format, you want to isolate cards that are standard legal. To do this, click the drop menu next to "Format", select "and", type in Standard in the box, and press Add.
But when we search with only Standard as the only condition, we are suddenly flooded with a ton of cards.
To further narrow your search, play around with the settings. You can be as specific as you want to be, even going as far as specifying the CMC of cards. When you finish adding all your conditions, just press search and the cards with your set conditions will be listed.
For example, if I wanted to find Blue instants with less than 3 CMC, this would be the conditions I would set in Gatherer before pressing "Add" to all of them.
Picking your Cards
Decks are most efficient with a total of 60 cards, not counting sideboard. If you have a typical 24 land count in your deck, that leaves 36 cards for you to pick to create your deck. Therefore, each card needs give you as much use as possible to warrant adding it into your deck.
There are a couple of general ways to determine whether or not to add a card in your deck.
Having monsters with efficient mana cost for their body is great and all, but how well do they work with your other cards? There are few cards that are consistently great by themselves. Most of the time, you will need to work with multiple cards that have beneficial interactions with each other. This also means that cards that have contradicting or crappy interactions should not be included together in your deck. With all this in mind, you should still be wary of
With a card pool into the hundreds, you can run into cards that have similar effects, with maybe some nuance. Having redundant cards narrows the scope of your deck. Generally, there is little need to run 8 copies of various counterspells. Running 3 copies of Vapor Snag
and Cyclonic Rift
is also overkill. Figuring out which version of the same effect to keep is contextual, but the more flexible cards tend to win out. For example, Cyclonic Rift can be used early game to disrupt your opponent's tempo, but can be overloaded late game to give you major board advantage. At this point, it's good to point out that you want to consider your card's
Basically, how cards operate under normal conditions. Cards can be uncastable based on functionality. If you're running an enchantment aura or equipment heavy deck, you best be sure you have the creatures available to use them, or they're just a dead card in your hand/on the field. This also applies to cards that depend on other cards to be useful, like Myr Superion
. On another level, this is also something you need to keep in mind when adding planeswalkers into your decks, because most of them need to be protected by other monsters or cards before acting as a real threat.
Additionally, mana efficiency is important to consider, especially colored mana. Running Dreadbore
is probably a better idea when running a Black and Red deck than Murder
. If you're running Blue and White, Detention Sphere
is probably a better card than Oblivion Ring
. On the other hand, multi-color restrictions can easily hinder card consistency. There is little point in having cards in your deck if you don't have the means to cast them when you need to.
You can also increase your deck's consistency by adding cantrips, or cards that replace themselves, such as Thought Scour
, Think Twice
, or Abundant Growth
. These type of cards thin your deck to give you a higher chance of drawing your game-winning ones.
In the course of picking the right cards for your deck, it's also important to consider your potential opponent in the mix. You should always have some form to answer threats from your opponent, whether it be countering their spells before being cast, bouncing their cards back to their hand/library, or removals. You should assume that your plan A will not always work, and be prepared with way to win provided your plan just got f'd in the a.
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