The General Magic: The Gathering Thread

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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby MrParivir » 20 Jun 2011, 07:02

Great news! Maybe now the field will open up for new decks, even if only for a little while. I imagine Jer is happy if the last lrrcast is anything to go by.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby MowDownJoe » 20 Jun 2011, 08:59

aeric90 wrote:Well I'm certainly hoping I'll see some more creative ideas in decks now. I was looking for a creative way of using Sword of War and Peace without going down that road myself.

Puresteel Paladin is supposed to be a good deck. I'd imagine that and a few artifact creatures will get the job done.

But yeah... Jace the $80 gone. Wow.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Stinkychops » 20 Jun 2011, 09:31

I've never met a person in real life who has been in possession of these cards or spoken to me of partaking in this hobby.

How would one organise a game of it.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 20 Jun 2011, 09:43

Spread the infection?

Beyond that, check out local gaming stores (especially ones that stock the cards), local gaming societies at universities and such, essentially proactively go out and seek the people that enjoy the game. It's world-popular and multi-million, it is unlikely you exist in a vacuum.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Icefall » 20 Jun 2011, 20:50

I'll start out by saying I'm a bit new still to MtG even though I've been interested in it for a long time and understand the basics. I just never had anyone to play with back in 1997, so in the end I wasn't really building decks and playing against people, just collecting cards for their nice art work.

Fast forward to now and I do have some friends who are into MtG to play with and we're all wanting to set up matches together, but I've never built a deck while some of them have 4 or 5 different sets. I saw some people earlier in this topic mention decks set up to revolve around stealing control of the opponent's summons and so on to defeat them. This sounds like an fun play style so I'm interested in how to go about building a deck like this. It feels a bit overwhelming with so many cards around at this point, so I'm not sure where to begin. I'd ask my friends for help, but I'd rather surprise them with my deck when we finally do play.

Thanks in advance for all your help!
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Ottoman » 20 Jun 2011, 21:17

Theft is a trait found mostly in blue and red.

Here's a Gatherer Database search for all cards that have the phrase 'Gain control of target [X]'.

As you can see, the blue ones tend to have effects that place things under your control permanently. Red, on the other hand, has cheaper one-shot effects.

If you go with blue, I suppose the best strategy would be to have a few chump blockers, walls, and counterspells as a temporary defence, and rely on wining with only the stolen permanents. For red, your deck should probably be half theft and half damage; burn your opponent down, clear out there little guys, then grab a decent creature just long enough to turn it on them for a killing blow.

(If you do make a blue deck, though, make an entirely different deck as well, and alternate them. There's a word for people who play blue control decks all the time. . . and it's 'dicks'.)

There are plenty of guides and tutorials on making decks from scratch - even some good ones. If that still seems too overwhelming, you can start with an intro deck like 'Presence of Mind' from M10 and modify it.

I hope that helps. . . keep in mind that I'm hardly a pro, either, and I build decks more with the intent of having fun with my friends than of winning.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby NecroVale » 20 Jun 2011, 21:39

Ok, sort of random question time, and maybe it's been brought up already, but I haven't seen it.

When you are building a deck, how do you decide if a card is "worth it"? Also, what pros and cons do you take into consideration before letting a card in your deck?
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby RytelCSF » 20 Jun 2011, 22:18

It really depends on what exactly your deck is trying to do. Cards that are vital in an aggressive deck can be worthless in a controlling deck and vice versa. Cards that are otherwise mediocre at best can become excellent due to synergy. And lest I forget, sometimes cards that really have no place in a given deck are in there just because they make me smile whenever they're cast (looking at you, Goblin Snowman).

As for letting a card into your deck, I'd advise not to try and fix what isn't broke. It's only natural to want to play with new (or new to you) cards; they're brand new and shiny and have cool new abilities and look really strong. However, trying to awkwardly wedge them into a deck that doesn't need them will often work about as well as it sounds. However, nigh every deck, whether or not people want to admit it, has cards that simply aren't pulling their weight. I say, identify these cards, replace them with the new and interesting, and try it out. If all else fails you can just revert it back.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Ottoman » 20 Jun 2011, 22:33

Weighing the value of a specific card depends on how you build the deck to begin with. The best way to do that is to start with a clear idea of what you want the deck to do. In order to be effective, decks should be built with that one purpose in mind. It's easy to get trapped into including 'backup strategies' or 'what-if' cards, but ultimately those will only be weaknesses. The more focused you can be on one strategy, the more effective that strategy will be. And of course, the fewer cards, the better.

I start a deck by making a pile of all the cards that happen to catch my interest as I'm browsing through them, with the deck's goal in mind. The first step is to cut out all of the things that aren't contributing to that goal, but which I inevitably put in because they're shiny and I am a magpie. Sure, it's tempting to drop a Darksteel Juggernaut into any deck with artefacts in it, because 'why not?', but that draw could mean the difference between Shriekhorning someone to death this turn, or putting a creature out only to lose to a Lightning Bolt next turn. Every draw has to help you win the way you want to win, so absolute ruthlessness is necessary when cutting out unrelated cards.

Once there's a pile of only relevant cards, it gets more difficult. Speed is important for lots of decks, so I'll sort by CMC and start trimming from the top. Things to consider here are absolute cost (will I be able to reliably use this?) and relative cost for effect (am I getting bang for my buck?). A cheap mediocre card is often more helpful than an expensive good one, yet it's usually advisable to have a couple of big expensive bombs as game-enders. It's a matter of having four Shriekhorns and one Keening Stone, not the other way around.

After that, if more trimming is necessary, it really becomes a matter of taste, intuition, and guesswork. Sure, Tome Scour is fast, but Psychic Drain is scalable. . . Mesmeric Orb helps with Metalcraft and milling, but depending on the opponent's deck, it could hurt me more than them. . . a Signet gets me free colour, but is slower, while a Talisman will be hitting me if I don't get a good land balance, but is more versatile time-wise. . . and so on. While you're in the initial building stage, deciding the value of the cards within an already-narrowed pool is very subjective.

Ultimately, you have to play with different iterations of the deck to see which cards are most valuable. A few games will reveal which cards are truly helping and which are just taking up space. Several rounds of modification are always necessary to tune a deck up.

TL;DR: Deciding value comes in several steps. Is it relevant to the deck? > Is it cheap? / Does it fit into the mana curve? > Is it worth the price? > Does it regularly help in games?

That's my method, anyway. I think most people would agree on the steps, but might rate their importance differently.

Oh, that's right, PS time: Before any of these steps, look for combos. Is there some way to accomplish what you're trying to do with just a couple of cards? Start with those, then build the rest of the deck around them. It works best with blue, of course, so you can devote most of the rest of the deck to tutoring.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Roadie » 20 Jun 2011, 22:45

for me it depends on the type of deck, in some decks i will have some 8 and 7 cast cards if i have a surefire way to get that high by about turn 4 or 5. other situations (again for me personally) i like to have a curve from 1 cost through 4 and 5 cost with about 30% 1cast, 20% 2cast, 20% 3cast, 4cast, and 5 cast and above each 10%

but that system works for speed and tournament style decks not for combo, creature heavy or anything but those specific types i build.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Ollie, don'tcha know! » 21 Jun 2011, 02:36

My rule for costs is unless I have ramp or a substantial amount of control, I keep it equal to or below 4CMC.

@Icefall, It definitely sounds like a fun idea, but be prepared to crash and burn against any kind of Weenie deck (i.e., a deck with lots and lots of very small creatures that are useless on their own)
That said, every deck has its weaknesses
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Icefall » 21 Jun 2011, 04:29

Ottoman wrote:If you go with blue, I suppose the best strategy would be to have a few chump blockers, walls, and counterspells as a temporary defence, and rely on wining with only the stolen permanents. For red, your deck should probably be half theft and half damage; burn your opponent down, clear out there little guys, then grab a decent creature just long enough to turn it on them for a killing blow.

(If you do make a blue deck, though, make an entirely different deck as well, and alternate them. There's a word for people who play blue control decks all the time. . . and it's 'dicks'.)

There are plenty of guides and tutorials on making decks from scratch - even some good ones. If that still seems too overwhelming, you can start with an intro deck like 'Presence of Mind' from M10 and modify it.

I hope that helps. . . keep in mind that I'm hardly a pro, either, and I build decks more with the intent of having fun with my friends than of winning.

Thank you for the info and links ^_^ Yeah the blue stuff seems most interesting to me. I can see how quickly that type of deck can come off as pretty mean, but given that my friends like to do smack talk in games, which I'm usually not good at retorts for, I'll just let my cards do my talking for me, maybe? >_> I agree though and want to play for fun, so I guess that's why decks that do something a bit different than straight forward gameplay interest me.

Ollie, don'tcha know! wrote:@Icefall, It definitely sounds like a fun idea, but be prepared to crash and burn against any kind of Weenie deck (i.e., a deck with lots and lots of very small creatures that are useless on their own)
That said, every deck has its weaknesses

One of my friends likes to play elf decks and line up a ton of them, so I guess a control set wouldn't be good for that? Not that I won't go 'RAWR!' and give it my best shot anyways, haha.


Looking around, some of those simic cards might be good for having a control deck but offering variety for other attacks as well. So I guess I'm aiming towards a blue/green deck with a control focus. How does one go about deciding how many of any one card to put in a deck? I know the standard deck is 60 cards total right? So like 1/3 lands, 2/3 other cards?

Thanks again for your time and suggestions, guys!
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 21 Jun 2011, 04:38

My basic methodology is "Does it add towards the goal of the deck?", "Does it add anything new to the deck?", and "Is there anything cheaper or more effective that does the same thing?"
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Ollie, don'tcha know! » 21 Jun 2011, 04:42

It's not really the control that will fail against Weenies and Elves, as long as you keep the Cancels and stuff back for their Joraga Warcallers and other cards that turn their elves into huge killing machines.

But this whole 'take control of their creatures' idea would be amazing against Green Ramp or someother deck with big 'you win' cards, but taking control of a Squadron Hawk or Leonin Skyhunter for one turn won't do much.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 21 Jun 2011, 04:50

Unless you pair it with a sacrifice effect like Butcher of Malakir and Carnage Altar, that way you can get a card advantage and keep them out of a creature and make them lose a second one.

Ordinarily, having random cards chucked in of a different colour is a bad move, but adding black into a blue control deck gives you access to cheap destruction effects to help bolster your defences and keep your opponent at a disadvantage regardless of what you steal from them.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Yaxley » 21 Jun 2011, 06:58

Ollie, don'tcha know! wrote:It's not really the control that will fail against Weenies and Elves, as long as you keep the Cancels and stuff back for their Joraga Warcallers and other cards that turn their elves into huge killing machines.

In very general terms, aggro decks beat control decks, control decks beat combo decks, and combo decks beat aggro decks. It's called the metagame clock and it has been part of Magic theory since nearly the beginning.

I know I've linked this article before, but I think it's such a great primer on deck construction that I'll post it again. And if that looks too complicated or boring, just ignore it and have fun. Having fun seems to be the real key.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Ottoman » 21 Jun 2011, 07:00

Icefall wrote:How does one go about deciding how many of any one card to put in a deck? I know the standard deck is 60 cards total right? So like 1/3 lands, 2/3 other cards?
Yeah, 1/3 is the rule of thumb for land, although you can easily get away with a few less in a cheap deck.

As for other cards, I prefer to have at least two copies of each, if not three or four. Like I mentioned earlier, you want your draws to be focused and reliable, so the more homogeneity the better. Then again, it can help to have different cards with similar effects, as that gives you more flexibility. (Like, I'd put in two Smother and two Swat rather than four of either one.) And of course, big expensive things work fine as one-ofs, and it's okay to have some other things sprinkled in as one-ofs, too.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby RytelCSF » 21 Jun 2011, 07:39

Ottoman wrote:
Icefall wrote:How does one go about deciding how many of any one card to put in a deck? I know the standard deck is 60 cards total right? So like 1/3 lands, 2/3 other cards?
Yeah, 1/3 is the rule of thumb for land, although you can easily get away with a few less in a cheap deck.


I would recommend playing a few more land than you think you might necessarily need until you get a feel for how the deck runs. Drawing a land when you needed a spell sucks, but not drawing any lands and thus locking yourself out of all your spells sucks a lot worse.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 21 Jun 2011, 08:24

By the same token, I also play 2x Dispel and 2x Turn Aside in my Myr Engine deck, with another two of each in the sideboard. If they use targetting spells, like Enchantments or Sorceries, I'll swap out Dispel for Turn Aside, whereas if they use instants, like Counterbore or Doom Blade, I'll swap out for Dispels, which keeps me flexible.

As 1-mana counterspells, they're virtually invaluable for holding together a tight combo deck against competitors, and the variety lets me tackle all comers.

As for land, I typically go by the 1/3 rule of thumb, but you can have a few less in a low-mana deck, or have a few more in a deck able to get them out, or where a lot of the cards are higher cost.
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Stinkychops » 21 Jun 2011, 10:08

Lyinginbedmon wrote:Spread the infection?

Beyond that, check out local gaming stores (especially ones that stock the cards), local gaming societies at universities and such, essentially proactively go out and seek the people that enjoy the game. It's world-popular and multi-million, it is unlikely you exist in a vacuum.

Oh no, I have no interest in playing.

I was just curious.

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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby NecroVale » 21 Jun 2011, 13:45

Ollie, don'tcha know! wrote:@Icefall, It definitely sounds like a fun idea, but be prepared to crash and burn against any kind of Weenie deck (i.e., a deck with lots and lots of very small creatures that are useless on their own)
That said, every deck has its weaknesses


Wash out the Weenies!!!

:P :P
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Trymantha » 21 Jun 2011, 14:19

NecroVale wrote:
Ollie, don'tcha know! wrote:@Icefall, It definitely sounds like a fun idea, but be prepared to crash and burn against any kind of Weenie deck (i.e., a deck with lots and lots of very small creatures that are useless on their own)
That said, every deck has its weaknesses


Wash out the Weenies!!!

:P :P


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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 21 Jun 2011, 14:27

My ninjas usually Echoing Truth them in the case of tokens, of bounce/kill them with Mistblade Shinobi/Throat Slitter. My Myr initiate the inifi-Galvanizer combo to block incomers (though usually they just attack lethally beforehand, or wipe the field with Nevinyrral's Disk).
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby Ottoman » 21 Jun 2011, 16:06

Did somebody in this thread order a Pyroclasm?
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Re: Magic: The Gathering: Whatcha mean, there's no thread yet?

Postby gcninja » 23 Jun 2011, 00:53

just ordered New Phyrexia Devouring Skies (Blue/Black)and 5 2011 Core Set Booster Pack. I've found card kingdom to be one of the best places for great deals on cards, aside from almost always being out of stock.
Where to do you buy yours, if you buy online as opposed to in person?
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