Deckbuilding is one of the most fundamental aspects of Magic. Whether you’re building a limited deck through drafting, or trying to build a standard deck, it’s basically the most important part of the game. But it’s also the hardest part, especially for new players. Everything from knowing how cards interact to knowing how much mana to put into a deck is hard, at least at first. I’ve only scratched the surface of standard deck building, but I’ve learned a lot already.
Back in December, Astro gave me a deck building kit for Christmas. (Yeah, she’s awesome.) I immediately opened all the packs, sorted them and decided to, well, build a deck. I’d opened Olivia in one of my packs and lots of other vampires, so I decided to make a black and red vampire deck. I was pretty confident it was going to be the best first-try deck ever. I picked what I thought were all my best vampire cards and stuck some solid instants and sorcery cards like Murder and Mind Rot in there. I basically tried to get all my most bad ass red and black cards into the deck. Looking back, I don’t think it was terrible, but it probably wasn’t as good as I thought. And when I played against Astro’s white deck, I got beaten every single time.
I’ve learned a lot since then. Like, for example, that having a playset of cards (four of the same) in a deck is better than just having one because you’re more likely to draw it. (I didn’t have any duplicates in my vampire deck.) I also know that even though it’s good to have a theme, like vampires, it’s also important to know how cards interact and that just because two cards are the same creature type doesn’t mean they both need to be in the deck.
My second attempt at a deck was an Izzet deck that I built up from one of my first draft decks. The key cards in the deck were Goblin Electromancers, Teleportal and Dynacharge. The idea was to survive and get enough creatures out so I could smash my opponent when I played the spells for their overload costs. It was a pretty fun deck when it worked, but it didn’t really run that smoothly. Probably because it only used Return to Ravnica cards and M13 — I didn’t even look at the Innistrad block because I didn’t know I could. I didn’t have a firm grasp on what cards were playable in standard, so I just stuck with the cards I knew were legal.
Since then I’ve built a couple really strong mostly red decks with the help of some of the guys at my LGS. I had a really fast and strong red deck with a little black splashed in that was really fun. It had Reckless Waifs, Stromkirk Nobles, Ash Zealots, Pyreheart Wolves and lots of burn spells. I played with it a lot, and since it was a straightforward aggressive deck I won a fair amount of matches. It was actually pretty competitive.
For my latest deck, I changed that deck from splashing black to splashing green for a deck posted in my LGS’s Facebook group. It’s pretty bomb, and really fun to play. It incorporates some new Gatecrash cards, too, which is fun. I’m still getting used to playing it, and I don’t really know the art of side boarding yet, but I’m working on it. I might even try standard at FNM some day! I still have a lot to learn about standard deck building, though, so for now I’ll keep looking at the decks the pros play, and why they work and go from there. Obviously they know what they’re doing. I’ll also continue to bug my Magic friends for help. They’re really the ones who have taught me everything about deck building.
But even though I’m not the best at it, deck building is still my favorite part of Magic. That’s probably why I like drafting so much; you have to build a deck on the spot. I’d say I’m a lot better at building draft decks than I am at building standard decks. More on that later!
All for now,