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Magic: the Gathering Deck Building Basics

So, you’ve decided to finally take the financial plunge that is Magic: the Gathering and you want to know what to look out for when making your first deck. Recently, I invested in my third ever booster box which doesn’t come cheap – So join me as I look at building decks in Magic: the Gathering and some hints and tips I like to share with people.

Magic: the Gathering is a very easy game which introduces a lot of complex mechanics, via keywords and card types. With the occasional argument over rules, you had better know your deck back to front. With this said, it’s best to pick a block and build your deck around the block, unless you know of some specific cards you really want to include in your brand new amazing cards. During the unboxing of our 36 booster packs, we got two Planeswalkers. Jake got himself Jace, Unraveler of Secrets whereas I got a rather odd Planeswalker called Arlinn Kord.

The flip-side of Arlinn Kord

The flip-side of Arlinn Kord

When I first saw the flip mechanic, I was immediately sceptical. After all, this was a card that you would have to have some kind of token in your deck for and I’m quite against carrying tokens typically. It means more space in a bag, or more space in a box – However, when I saw all the cards that could work in this deck, I was immediately intrigued. I grabbed all of the Wolf and Werewolf cards I could find, shoved them into a deck and would you believe it worked alarmingly well? Well, it did.

This goes to show that when Wizards of the Coast put together a new Magic: the Gathering block, it’s worth paying attention to the expansion you’re buying. Whilst we didn’t buy the newest of the new, we bought a pretty new set of cards. I’ve been a firm believer that if you stick to your core theme, you’ll always get a shockingly good deck. My little Werewolf deck I believe could be a new one for me to build up over time, as I’m keen to see just how well a Werewolf deck could do. It’s red and green, which is one of the first times I’ve felt a multi-coloured deck has worked well for me… But how do you know what goes well together?

Sage of Ancient Lore

I’d recommend finding cards you really want to build a deck around. Once Jake and I had our Planeswalkers, we knew we wanted to include them in a deck. The Jace card is an excellent support card, allowing you to stop your opponents in your tracks. With this in mind, Jakes deck is around stopping the flow of his opponents. Meanwhile, my Werewolf deck was built with the concept of non-stop aggressive pressure. From turn 1, my deck has the ability to start dealing some horrible punishment on my opponents, which is what you’d look for in a red deck. The longer the game goes on, the bigger my Werewolf creatures get.

Whilst I’m still not huge on the flip mechanic, I do see its use. It’s a unique play style, which really gives this deck an advantage against a lot of traditional decks. By forcing people to actually consider their actions, it slows the pace of the game right down. But this was a mechanic that was introduced specifically in this block, Shadows of Innistrad. My last successful deck was my pure white deck which I call Keyword Ascension. The majority of the cards in that deck are from the Zendikar block, with a few others jotted in. When you decide to build a deck, look in the block you’re building your deck from – You may come across some truly perfect combinations, which is how the game is meant to be played.

If you’re like me, you probably will just rush out there, get a lot of cards and start deck building. Split the costs of a booster box with a friend and make two or more decks. It’ll be worth it, as you can then test your decks with one another, test to see if you have enough lands (which typically people say to have about a third of your deck as lands) and enough creatures to spells. In my new red/green deck, it has 14 red creatures, 16 green creatures, 20 red spells, 17 green spells and 21 lands (one of which can be either red or green), making up an 88 card deck. Now get out there, get yourselves a booster box and share with us what madness you create – But hey, in the mean time, let me know what you currently play as in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


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