Geek Proud, GeekOut.

My Magic the Gathering Deck

I’ve been following the misadventures of my friend Dave who has been picking up Magic: the Gathering over the past year. He recently messaged me, wanting to know more about what format most people play in standard play. Whilst this was a fair question, it was quite amusing to think that he had never played a game of Magic: the Gathering before I got him into it for the first convention I took him to.

I guess curiosity got the better of him and he built his first deck, the same way we all do: We watch, we get curious, we want in on the fun. So we speak to our friends who are playing the game and you accidentally say those words: “I’m thinking of buying a deck”. Suddenly, you’ve got all of these swaps in your hand and you don’t even know what to do with them. Then, you’re dragged by your ear to the nearest games shop… And you’re made to pick a deck. When I received my first deck, it was all about angels. For 5 mana, I could do mostly anything I wanted to, but I noticed very quickly that people were able to, using an official term here, curb stomp me.

Keyword Hell making Joel learn to be humble! Our friend Dave joins us in a Three For All (my own term. So original)

Keyword Hell making Joel learn to be humble! Our friend Dave joins us in a Three For All (my own term. So original)

With this in mind, I decided to build my own deck. A few of you who know me relatively well will be aware that I call my deck “Keyword Hell”. It could be worse, though in theory I really should have called it Keyword Ascension… I might just change it to that now. It sounds better and fits the theme of the deck nicely! So with this in mind, let me break down my deck for you, so if you ever challenge the mighty Keyword Ascension to a duel, you’ll know what to expect (like all of my friends do).

First of all, 20 plains cards. This is an important piece of the puzzle, as the size of the deck doesn’t allow for too much messing around. I don’t want to get “mana swamped”, nor do I want to be mana starved. 20 plains makes my deck about 1/3 mana. I heard from someone this is the optimal amount and needless to say, I rarely mess up. I think it’s because the theory of having 1 in every 3 cards to be lands means you should start the game with about 2 mana on average. I can say this certainly is true!


So what cards do I use that uses these mana cards? Let’s start with my “early game stealer”! The Student of Warfare, which really feels like such a cheap card for what she does – But compared to a lot of other cards out there, she’s the right power. So for 1 mana, she comes in to the battlefield as a 1/1 creature – That’s absolutely nothing. If I were to then pay just mana, she levels up. From level 2 (so really turn 2 unless I play something else), she becomes a 3/3 with First Strike (she attacks first, which means if a creature attacks and I block with her, then her damage is calculated first.) At level 7 (so turn 4 if I’m purely levelling up this creature), she becomes a 4/4 with Double Strike. Same as First Strike, but it does the damage first, then it does another attack on top. Because we’re targeting players as often as we can, by turn 4 she can do 8 damage per attack. Not bad, when a player only has 20 life!

Student of Warfare

Okay, but that’s not a hard hitting card. Instead, my hard hitting card is also a level up creature called the Transcendent Master. For 3 mana, he comes in as a 3/3. Nothing special again. But then for 3 mana for a 3/3 that’s still not too big a joke. Once you start to level it up, at level 6 (again, for just 1 mana, this time colourless mana), it becomes a 6/6 with Lifelink. This means by turn 5 you can have a 6/6 with lifelink, a chance to gain health equal to the amount of damage he does to a source. So if he were to attack and a 1/1 would block him, in theory he gives me 6 life (Though lots of people dispute this rule.) Instead, if he were to hit the opposing player, by turn 5 I am doing 6 damage + gaining 6 life. But that’s not so bad unto itself… It’s when it becomes a level 12+ does he become a real scary beast. Oh, did I mention this is easily doable by turn 6 with my deck? That’s a long time, but to get a 9/9 with lifelink and indestructible (creatures/destroy cards do not kill him), he becomes terrifying.

Transcendent Master

But I have a few cards scarier than this Transcendent Master…

Kor Spiritdancer, a 2 mana 0/2. Who would want that? Well, my deck is full of aura enchantments, which stack keywords up on my creatures. They also like to give power (1/0) and toughness (0/1) to the creatures. So okay, that’s nice that you can stack her with cards… But what of it? What if I mentioned that whenever you cast an aura on her, she lets you draw a card? Also, she gets +2 power and +2 toughness whenever you put an aura on her. Even if someone removed those auras from her, she’d still have the +2/+2! Crazy card.

Also, how about my all time favourite white card? It’s not even ‘Great’ but I love it to bits.

Without the added ability to be flying with this card, it'd be useless.

Without the added ability to be flying with this card, it’d be useless. With it… It’s painful!

Well, that’s all I’m going to show off for now. I have even cooler cards in this deck of mine, but people understand one way or the other, if this deck gets rolling – It’s easy to win games with it. Not too easy, it’s not perfectly built… But it’s fun for a casual gamer like me. So if you want to play a game with me and are coming to a meet soon, why not let us know what your favourite card that you run in a deck is? Have you seen any really cool Magic: the Gathering cards before? Let us know in the comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter.


2 responses

  1. Simon

    Cool post Tim! Just one (very) minor point, which is that the usual baseline for lands is 40%. 20 is as low as I’d be comfortable going in an average deck unless I had a specific plan based around getting lands, like reliably tutoring them.


    July 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    • Ooh thanks for the tip Simon! I am making some improvements ASAP – throwing in 4x ashas favor in place of the -1 damage level up guys :) I think it is a good compromise!


      July 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm

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