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Help me create a good Magic: The Gathering deck?

heretoinformheretoinform __BANNED USERS regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I recently came into about 3,000 magic cards for free, which makes me want to learn how to play.

Can you guys give me some tips on making the deck? Like general proportions of creatures to mana(?) cards, etc? I would like to make a deck utilizing the combination of white and green cards, because I read somewhere that white cards heal or do stuff like that and green cards have powerful monsters (plus I think the elves look cool haha).

Thanks.

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    LackadaisicalLackadaisical Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    It's a complicated process that depends on what the cards are, the average casting cost, the availability of mana acceleration...also, what format you want to play, what color you would like, etc...gonna need a bit more info.

    Lackadaisical on
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    LardalishLardalish Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    First off, Critical Failures is our subforum for all tabletop games, Magic gets lumped into that so I would suggest going and posting the the magic thread there.

    That said, here are the rules for the game.

    As for deck construction, I learned through trial and error mostly. Ill take a deck idea and build something, play some people with it, make changes, play some, make changes etc etc till I get it where I like it. Some good rules of thumb, you want about 1/3 of your deck to be lands, try to have some good cards for each mana cost (IE: some good cards that cost one, some that cost two, some that cost three etc.), try to have more of a few cards rather than a bunch of singles. You dont want a deck full of one of each card, you want four of the good cards and so on.

    So yeah, theres some basic pointers and the rules, if you go read and post around in the magic thread in the Critical Failures thread you'll have better luck.

    Lardalish on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Basic tips:
    1/3 of the deck should be mana/land to start with. When you play with the deck, alter it from there.
    Look on the back of the card. See those little dots of color? Each color works well with it's neighbors.
    Go through your pile of cards, sort them by color for your own sanity, and read them all. Anything that sounds fun to you, set it aside. You might be able to find patterns.
    Some decks live on alot of tiny creatures. Some decks rely on getting alot of mana very fast. Some decks rely on multiple cards working together.

    My favorite deck to play with, which is I think the only one still constructed that I have, is all green. It is elf heavy, but uses certain els and Legendary lands to generate a ton of green mana fast. That way, I can get out my really big creatures. Some of my elves let me look through my deck to put those creatures into my hand. I also have a number of +X/+X enchantments to buff anyone let through my opponents defenses. I also have a fun little enchantment that forces all defending enemies to block the enchanted creature. See all everything kind of supports everything else? That's my preference for playing.
    I have a friend who loved a deck based on counter-spells. Pissed me the fuck off.

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    ChenChen Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I never understood the appeal of life gain and I never will.

    General info: A deck usually consists of 60 cards. You can have a max of 4 of the same card in one deck. About 40% of them are lands to produce mana. To win you need to reduce your opponent's life total to 0 (or to 'deck' your opponent but that should come up rarely).

    Usually this is done by doing the smackdown with creatures. Creatures differ in cost, size and abilities. You need variety in their costs to be able to play one each turn. Size lets it deal more damage and/or survive better in combat. Abilities are a bit trickier to explain which you will learn over time. The cost/size ratio is important to assess if the creature is any good or not. You don't want to pay a lot of mana for an insignificant body.

    Spells generally help your cause by supporting your creatures, by killing your opponent's to prevent them from attacking or blocking, or by various other ways. As with creatures the cost plays a role depending on how powerful it is. Generally, the more expensive the spell the more it influences the game.

    Anyway, the only way to get better is to play and to enjoy.

    Chen on
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    SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Chen wrote: »
    I never understood the appeal of life gain and I never will.

    General info: A deck usually consists of 60 cards. You can have a max of 4 of the same card in one deck. About 40% of them are lands to produce mana. To win you need to reduce your opponent's life total to 0 (or to 'deck' your opponent but that should come up rarely).

    Usually this is done by doing the smackdown with creatures. Creatures differ in cost, size and abilities. You need variety in their costs to be able to play one each turn. Size lets it deal more damage and/or survive better in combat. Abilities are a bit trickier to explain which you will learn over time. The cost/size ratio is important to assess if the creature is any good or not. You don't want to pay a lot of mana for an insignificant body.

    Spells generally help your cause by supporting your creatures, by killing your opponent's to prevent them from attacking or blocking, or by various other ways. As with creatures the cost plays a role depending on how powerful it is. Generally, the more expensive the spell the more it influences the game.

    Anyway, the only way to get better is to play and to enjoy.

    Hehe I've seen some pretty funny life gain decks. Usually ends up with the life-gain deck gaining about 30 life per turn and putting out Howling Mines and Millstones to make their opponent run out of cards before they can kill the lifegain deck.

    Spawnbroker on
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    skyybahamutskyybahamut Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    60 card deck:

    20-22 Land

    for green/white you are going to be focused on LOTS of creatures with enchantments to help and any removal that you can muster.

    For creatures I have a "worth it scale"

    Each +1/+1 per mana spent is worth it, each ablity like trample, first strike or flying is worth one mana.
    therefore a 3/3 is worth 3 mana, but watchwolf, a 3/3 costs two and is g/w to boot and only costs 2 is better
    Cantrips are good (cards that let you draw another card when you play it)

    Lands that can produce more than one type of mana are great too.

    skyybahamut on
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    X3x3nonX3x3non Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Basic tips:

    My favorite deck to play with, which is I think the only one still constructed that I have, is all green. It is elf heavy, but uses certain els and Legendary lands to generate a ton of green mana fast. That way, I can get out my really big creatures. Some of my elves let me look through my deck to put those creatures into my hand. I also have a number of +X/+X enchantments to buff anyone let through my opponents defenses. I also have a fun little enchantment that forces all defending enemies to block the enchanted creature. See all everything kind of supports everything else? That's my preference for playing.
    I have a friend who loved a deck based on counter-spells. Pissed me the fuck off.

    Ahhh Elven Pipers. When I was in High School some dude had a few of these rare cards and I was sooooo jealous. I have long been out of the loop but they were out of my budget as a high school student.

    I also vaguely remember the almighty AVATAR OF WOE
    of which I had two! Good times.

    X3x3non on
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    XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I gave up on this game some years ago now, but I used to play tournaments at a low level.
    Since people have mainly been giving casual advice here so far, I'll try and offer some balance.

    First things first, don't be distracted by big, flashy cards. Impressive though they may be, only a very specialised deck is liable to get them to work in most games.
    Your meat-and-drink cards should mostly be costing 2, 3 or 4 mana, with a few fives. If you include anything costing six or more, make sure it's something powerful enough to justify that cost. One-mana cards tend to be weaker, so you should only be using a few except in very specific decks.

    The majority of decks (leaving out some of the fancier stuff for a minute) divide into two types: aggression or control. Pick one and stick with it, choosing all your cards to fit. A focused deck is much more likely to win.

    Aggression decks are usually based around lots of cheap and medium-cost creatures, and those creatures should generally have a high power instead of a high toughness. They should be as efficient as possible for their cost- expensive small creatures with powerful abilities tend to be much less useful in this kind of deck. Every colour but blue has lots of useful creatures for this kind of approach.
    Spells in this kind of deck should be focused either on helping your creatures attack more effectively or on destroying your opponent's creatures. Anything else should be secondary.

    Control decks are based around countering an opponent's resources until you are in a postion where you effectively control the game and can attack safely. Decks of this kind tend to be slower. Their creatures should mostly still be low or medium cost, but more focused on high toughness or abilities that make them hard to kill. Small, ability-focused creatures can be useful, but don't have too many of them.
    The key concept to understand with a control deck is Card Advantage. If you opponent loses a card and you don't, you gain an advantage. If your creature kills theirs without dying itself, that's card advantage. if your cheap creature or spell kills their expensive creature or negates their expensive spell, that's also card advantage, although of a lesser sort. If you play a card that lets you draw multiple cards, that's card advantage. If you manage to kill multiple enemy creatures or make you opponet discard multiple cards with just one spell...
    I think you see where I'm going here.
    While aggressive decks are focused on damage, control decks should be focused on getting ahead on cards. Every spell you have should either counter an opposing threat cheaply, counter multiple opposing threats, or give you cards. You're in it for the long game.

    Mechanics to be wary of: land destruction and life gain. Although these can be useful in the right decks, they seem more powerful than they are.

    When in doubt, compare cards to other cards of the same cost to see how much they do for that amount of mana. Look for those that seem to be the most efficient.

    Above all else, a good deck is useless if you don't know how to use it. If you win or lose a game, analyse the individual choices you made, not just the cards you drew.

    Xagarath on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Got a buddy to play with?

    As I assume you're not in the position to make any OMFG Tier 2 awesome decks, you may just want to begin by making cool "themed" decks and duking it out. Elves v. Goblins, Fire v. Water, and so forth. You'll get the hang of what's good and what's not worth your time as you begin to play some games. Try to stick to mono-colors and aim to have fun, because if you're playing to win you'll get frustrated and upset quick.

    The Crowing One on
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    XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Other word of advice: if someone insists on only playing Type 2 tournament rules in casual play, or something similar, you might be better finding someone else to play against to start with, as honestly that's not casual at all.

    Xagarath on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Type 2 is when you can only use cards from the newer series, fyi

    Improvolone on
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    ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I had a magic deck that was pure green. All my creatures were elves and many elves got bonuses from other elves in play. All my enchantments benefited only elves. It was a cool cascade effect because within a few turns I had a table full of elves that were +15/+15.

    The only other deck style I played around with was a red and blue deck. I didn't have a lot of creatures except for walls. Most of my blue cards were counters to stump my opponent and the majority of my red cards were burn cards to kill his monsters or preferably kill him.

    Shogun on
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    Cynic JesterCynic Jester Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Check out this thread. It's the MtG thread over in CF. There's a lot of a good info there and a lot more people who will answer your questions.

    In general though, the 20 land in a 60 card deck is horrible advice unless you're running a deck with a very low average mana cost, one color and no cards that cost above 3 mana. Arcanis had a really good post back in the MtG thread. *digs*
    Arcanis' Mana, Math, and You class, First (and hopefully only) Lecture

    We have 20 land in our deck, and 8 1cc cards

    1/3 and 2/15 flat chance to draw either one right off the top as our first card

    we will be taking 7 cards of our 60

    let's be a little non-random; our rip was something, something, something, land, something, something, 1cc

    so let's look at it from the land perspective; our probabilities were 20/60 (33%), rising to 36% to when we drew our land. we have 57 cards remaining, giving us a probability of 14% to draw a 1cc, ending with ~15% when we drew our 1cc. without taking a specific example, it's about 30% to see a similar hand (one with a land and a 1cc in the opening grip).

    we have a ~35% to draw another land on the next card.

    let's change it up and add four land, keeping our 8 1ccs. our percentage shakedown starts at 40% and rises until we draw our land fourth card (42%). our probability to draw our 1cc remains the same. given our something, something, something, land, something, something, 1cc hand, we would have a 43% to draw another land on our next card. without using our specific hand-picked example, we have a 36% chance to see a similar hand.

    this is just with one land, mind you, we'd ideally want to see 3 land, 4 spells.

    if this seems unconvincing, let's look how easy it is to not get land

    you have a 66% chance to see any one card in your opener that is not a land; the number shrinks as you draw more cards. dropping our 'not lands' down to 36, our chances of seeing a not land drop to a flat 60%, once again shrinking with every card drawn. our chance of seeing a land as the 6th or 7th card we drew, for example, is 43% and 44% respectively (with 24, the rate of course drops the less land you have)

    also, as a closing note I am not a math person so if anyone knows better please correct me

    Cynic Jester on
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