Magic The Gathering A Brief About Deck Building

21 Apr

Ok so it has been a little while since I have felt like a plainswalker or purchased any new decks or those cards you just need to power up your deck specifically. If your new to this game or like me only recently have come back into this than building a deck is probably of some importance to yourself.

New Players

The easiest way to get into magic the gathering if you are a new player or recently started is in my opinion not to bother creating a deck from scratch get yourself or go halves with a friend in buying the two player deck or the dueling decks (if you go for the duel decks I’d recommend Elves Vs. Goblins). Have a few games with this swap decks allowing each of you to understand each deck and their relevant strategies.

Mistakes To Avoid

It’s all too easy as a new player when building your first deck to go for the ‘cool’ cards without understanding the mana costs or the rules text fully. Personally I would avoid using blue magic cards when building a deck for the first time. Whenever possible try to avoid running more than 60 cards in a deck for reasons of reliability (Magic The Gathering is a game of probability as well as skill) Don’t necessarily go for one colour many of the deck themes are dual coloured which are designed to support the weaker elements of their primary colour, Example being white and green the green element supporting the life gain ability of white with beefy creatures.

Try to avoid making a blue deck straight the way as many blue styles rely on stack control mainly instants. My first deck was a simple creature feature black and green not understanding the full mechanics of the game I relied on just the bulk of creatures.

Find a Mechanic That Works

With a game like Magic The Gathering there as so many mechanics available to the player that it can quickly become confusing some established deck builds such as my own goblin deck relies heavily on a mechanic called Storm, whereas others prefer haste or madness decks there are way too many mechanics for me to explain on here. My advice to a player if they find a mechanic they find interesting then build a deck around that particular rule for example if you enjoy using a red haste deck make one which features mainly haste creatures which fit in with your idea for your deck.

Deck Construction 101

When constructing a deck it is often a good idea to consider the percentage of cards within your deck, theres no foolproof technique for constructing a deck some players prefer to run 24 lands which allows them to run 36 other cards within it (presuming you are making a 60 card deck) whilst others prefer to run 20 lands (which accounts for 1/3 of your deck). Apart from lands the most amount of a single card that you can have is 4 in the one deck however. The amount of lands used in your deck is up to yourself there is no exact science to where this is concerned however many prefer to run 24 land where they have bigger creatures or more expensive spells costing around 5 or 6 mana to cast my advice is if the majority of your spells cost 4 or less mana to pay then by all means run a deck with just 20 lands. if you are dual colouring in your deck than many prefer to run 24 lands as a standard (when upgrading a pre made deck I start by removing the extra lands in place for extra spells). A good tip for the new deck builder is to consider battery lands or terramorphic expanses which can help you overcome potential mana difficulties the battery lands allow you to put charge counters on these which you can use to bring out bigger spells faster thus allowing you to be able to control the game quicker.

Terramorphic expanses are a useful addition to dual coloured decks they allow the player to sacrifice them to search for a basic land and put it into play tapped in a dual coloured deck the usefulness of this card becomes quite apparant fairly quickly however it also has some usefulness although not as much as it does in a dual coloured deck.

For many people the first colour deck they create is usually the colour they started playing although sometimes this may not always be the best deck for them, my favourite deck is actually one of my weaker decks in comparison to the others. If you have bought a pre made deck than most of the work is already done for you although it will contain hints on upgrading the deck within the insert personally I find that the majority of the cards they suggest are usually expensive to purchase monetary wise and dont necessarily optimize or make the deck overall more reliable.

Deck reliabilty is an important factor to consider when constructing the deck when starting to upgrade a pre made deck you will probably notice the more useful cards arent necessarily the rares within your deck they will be the ones where you have more than two of such a card the reasons for this can be explained with simple mathematics. Example being if you are running four of a certain card you are more likely to see it come out within a game than a card that you only have one of. Now I’m not saying to avoid single cards completely some cards are classed as restricted (meaning only one allowed within your deck) but always consider if you go for this approach to devise a block of restricted cards for this purpose I will explain blocks further in this article.

Block building

Before upgrading your or constructing a new deck consider breaking down the deck into 15 blocks of 4 which equates to running 60 cards. My advice would be to get out the cards you are interested in or are already in the deck that you are currently upgrading and sort them out onto your table or whatever you are using and put them in piles of how many of each of that card you have the highest pile you should have is lands which will either equate to one third of a deck or 6 blocks of your 15 blocks. Next consider what each block is going to represent you may decide to just run creatures within your deck which works well for a new player or a tribal style deck

An Example Deck

This is a deck I made a while ago while it is fairly simple to understand there are a few things you should understand about it. The deck works best when it storms ideally you would use a combo of rite of flame, seething song a 1 mana goblin and then emptying the warrens for 8 the decks main power comes from these cards, although dont be too disapointed if you dont see that exact combo in your hand, with cards like coat of arms and reckless one you should be able to swarm your opponent fairly quickly.


20. Mountains


4. Goblin Mountaineer

4. Goblin King

4. Reckless One

4. Mogg Sentry

1. Siege Gang Commander


4. Seething Song

2 Dogpile


2. Goblin War Strike

4. Rite of Flame

4. Empty The Warrens


4. Boggart Shenanigans


1. Coat Of Arms

1. Howling Mine

1.Thrumming Stone

 Playing the Deck

The decks main strengths are speed and agression with a decent combo and a bit of luck can allow you to win in turn three. Cards like dogpile and War Strike deal damage to players or their creatures dependant on the amount of creatures you have attacking or goblins on the battlefield. With a bit of practice with storming the novice player can quite easily upgrade this deck to suit their own needs viable options include Raging Goblins which are one mana creatures with haste.

It is important to notice however this deck isnt unbeatable and will struggle against burn decks somewhat despite the mechanic of mountain walk.



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