My Magic experience and Questions

A place to talk about standard, casual, limited and everything in between.
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Pimpin J
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My Magic experience and Questions

Postby Pimpin J » 08 Apr 2013, 16:16

So thanks to LRR and the Friday Nights series, this weekend I bought a 2013 starter set for about $20. Even though there pre-built color sets out there I thought it would be more fun and financially made sense to buy this box.

I was a little disappointed that it only had 4 booster packs wrapped, and the rest of the cards were just in a regular wrap, but whatever lets crack some packs! I opened the packs and took a look, although i knew nothing of what i was looking at. A friend had to explain to me how the rarity is noted on the cards. After looking through the cards I found that i had pulled 3 mythic rares! Yay me!
One of the mythics was a Sublime Archangel which I understand is valuable.

My friend had bought 4 booster packs and with some lands i loaned him for the day we made decks and had a game so i could figure out how to play. He made a red/green deck and I made a Blue/white one. I really didn't look at the cards too much I was really just throwing a good mix or creatures and spells in. I kinda held my own for a while but in the end I loss. However the seed is planted and now I am hooked. I'm looking on Craigslist for bulk cards at cheap prices, and I want to hit my favorite comic book shop soon to play some magic.

I don't see myself getting too invested in the game. I might buy a pack here and there but I'm not gonna buy $100 boxes or anything like that. Honestly I am just looking for some causal games for fun.

Thanks LRR for turning me on to new crack. :D
Last edited by Pimpin J on 19 Jun 2013, 21:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My first Magic experience

Postby Lemegeton » 11 Apr 2013, 07:02

Pimpin J wrote:I don't see myself getting too invested in the game. I might buy a pack here and there but I'm not gonna buy $100 boxes or anything like that. Honestly I am just looking for some causal games for fun.

Thanks LRR for turning me on to new crack. :D

i said those exact words to myself about a year ago when i started playing and now i find myself spending more and more on magic. it starts off casual but then you actually would like to win a few games and then its got its hooks into you.

Pimpin J wrote:Thanks LRR for turning me on to new crack. :D


you wont be saying that when you can't sleep cos your building decks in your head. especially around spoiler time.
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Re: My first Magic experience

Postby Drecon » 11 Apr 2013, 14:29

I remember when I had recently started out (some 15 years ago...) and I had to force myself to keep walking straight ahead while walking past the store. Had to put a hard rule for myself to buy a maximum of one pack a week...

Welcome into the fold. Have fun with the greatest game ever designed (in my not so humble opinion :p)
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Re: My first Magic experience

Postby Pimpin J » 11 Apr 2013, 15:55

Unless a booster box sells for $20 I don't ever see myself buying one.

I have bought some card sleeves, mainly for Sublime Archangel I pulled, and while I was there I bought a gatecrash booster. And even then I could feel myself wanting to buy more.

I have looked for deals on Craigslist and Ebay(although I have determined that Ebay will not have any steal deals.)

I did find a local craigslister who was selling about 700+ cards some rares and mythics and foils and well as commons and uncommons for $25.
I am splitting the cost and the cards with a friend.

Figured it was a good way to help build a collection.

Looking forward to having some fun games.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Pimpin J » 12 Apr 2013, 13:56

So I have a few questions regarding the etiquette of playing and general magic stuff.

Booster pack - I am so confused by these. I don't know which ones I should pick up or buy. Will any pack do? Should i go after older ones? Is there a difference between the expansions?

Gameplay - How many cards should i put in my deck for casual games?
How many of each type?
Can I use older expansions? Is there such a thing as too old?

Hmm i guess that is all for now.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby DSmaster21 » 12 Apr 2013, 14:30

Pimpin J wrote:So I have a few questions regarding the etiquette of playing and general magic stuff.

Booster pack - I am so confused by these. I don't know which ones I should pick up or buy. Will any pack do? Should i go after older ones? Is there a difference between the expansions?

Gameplay - How many cards should i put in my deck for casual games?
How many of each type?
Can I use older expansions? Is there such a thing as too old?

Hmm i guess that is all for now.


Booster Pack: I would just get new packs as older packs are often more expensive and cannot be used in tourneys. Unless casual is your thing (based on the second set of questions) in which case buy randomly to build an unusual collection and then move on to singles.

Gameplay: It depends on who you play against. I have many decks. Some I know not to use when playing this friend and some vs this friend. I have very competitive friends who want me to use my tourney decks but I also have friends who love ikea guns. It really depends on who you play and what you each want out of the game.
I will say that most people do want to see semicompetitive decks so try to stay ten or fewer cards above the minimum.
Twenty-Four lands is the typical starting point for any deck and most play within the 21-27 range. Creatures vs other spells depends on the deck ie control and aggro.
Older should be fine but like I said some people casually play standard and some play standard casually. (Spikes and Johnnys)(Timmys kind of do both)
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Rootbreaker » 16 Apr 2013, 07:19

Pimpin J wrote:So I have a few questions regarding the etiquette of playing and general magic stuff.

Booster pack - I am so confused by these. I don't know which ones I should pick up or buy. Will any pack do? Should i go after older ones? Is there a difference between the expansions?

Gameplay - How many cards should i put in my deck for casual games?
How many of each type?
Can I use older expansions? Is there such a thing as too old?

Hmm i guess that is all for now.

A booster pack (of any recent set) contains 1 rare or mythic rare, 3 uncommons, 10 commons, and a basic land from a given core set or expansion. You can look up what cards are available in any given set on gatherer.wizards.com

Buying individual booster packs is not an efficient way to buy cards. You can bulk booster packs by buying boxes, or buy single rares you're interested in and bulk commons/uncommons.

60 cards is the minimum to make a constructed deck, and you should try to stick to that in general. Remember that if you add more cards to your deck, you should add more lands to keep the spell:land ratio consistent. Your deck should probably be about 40% land.

To start with, creatures should probably take up most of your other slots. As you get more experience, you can figure out how to build decks with fewer creatures, but those are generally trickier to get right.

What cards you're allowed to play with depends on what format you're playing. Ask the people you're planning to play with what format(s) they play and what cards are legal.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Kapol » 16 Apr 2013, 23:31

Booster packs: The set depends on what you want to get into. If you're playing casually, then any pack will do. If you intend to go to FNMs, then you're normally going to be playing standard. Standard is the two current blocks, the 'blocks' being the three sets between the general expansions (Magic 2013, Magic 2014, etc). Currently in Standard is M13, Avacyn Restored, Innistrad, Dark Ascension, Return to Ravnica, and Gatecrash. The first 4 sets will be cycling out when Thenos comes out, and as such won't be able to be used in standard.

You want to stick to a 60-card deck almost all the time. Each card beyond that is a chance not to draw the card you need when you need it.

You can have 4 of any non-basic land in a deck, and as many basic lands as you want, if that's what you mean by type. Starting out, you'll likely want to stick with creature-focused decks.

I personally say that you should start with a baseline of 20 land in a 60 card deck, 1/3 of it, and adjust it as necessary to the deck. Decks with big stuff will normally want more a decent amount more land (24), or only a couple more (~22) if you're running a decent amount of mana-ramp. If you're more fast aggro with small creatures, then 20-21 will normally be fine, though you can add more if you find you need to (don't go below 20 in nearly any circumstances though). If you're playing control-type decks that play a lot of spells or want to keep mana open, then you're going to want to play a lot of land, starting at 24.

Again, the age of the pack is dependent on what you want to play. Standard is recent (and normally easy to find) packs. That's what I'd stick with more often than not.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Pimpin J » 21 Apr 2013, 11:33

So so i have most of the general rules down but still have some questions.

I am trying to bulk up my card numbers so i have been looking online at Craigslist and Ebay. Would y'all recommend buying other peoples bulk cards and if so at what price per lets say 100 or 1000.

Are rare cards better or just worth more money?

What dice do i need, and what do they do? I see in the videos they use dice and gems for stuff but can't figure out what.

So I got the idea of what standard and even what expansions are considered standard now. My question is what do i do with old cards? For example in 2014 I'm sure they will release another core pack for that year, making the 2013 non standard. So what do i do with my 2013 cards?

What are poison counters?

Thats all for now and thanks for all your help!
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Kapol » 21 Apr 2013, 12:08

Pimpin J wrote:I am trying to bulk up my card numbers so i have been looking online at Craigslist and Ebay. Would y'all recommend buying other peoples bulk cards and if so at what price per lets say 100 or 1000.


The price is entirely dependent on the cards you're getting. Really, most of the time buying random cards in bulk isn't the best idea. If you want to get into casual play, then most of the time you can buy a decent bulk or assorated commons and uncommons for pretty cheap. It's best to look and see if they mention what set they're from too. But really people selling in bulk are usually trying to get rid of the jumble of cards that'll never see use. At least that's the way I see it.

Are rare cards better or just worth more money?


It depends on the rare. Some rares are worth a lot because they're very good and many people want them. The shocklands in standard are a pretty good example, even if they're not quite 'chase rares' (rares worth a LOT of money that many hope to get). Other rares are worth less than most uncommons because many people find them unplayable. You'll find some uncommons (like Boros Charm or Rancor) are worth more than a lot or rares from the set because they're more widely used and often better.


What dice do i need, and what do they do? I see in the videos they use dice and gems for stuff but can't figure out what.


Dice have a number of uses. They can be used as +1/+1 counters, represent tokens (or the number of tokens if you have the specific token physically and need to keep track of numbers), and so forth. d20s are often used as life counters as well.

Personally, I've gotten some spindown life counters (d20s fashioned to specifically be used as life counters, which you can get by going to a place that sells magic and dice or from getting a fat pack) and a cubix dice container that comes with 36 small D6. These have been all I've personally needed.

So I got the idea of what standard and even what expansions are considered standard now. My question is what do i do with old cards? For example in 2014 I'm sure they will release another core pack for that year, making the 2013 non standard. So what do i do with my 2013 cards?


Firstly, 2013 and the Innistrad block won't cycle with 2014. They're cycle out with Theros, which is released September 27th. Secondly, there's really nothing TO do with them. You can use them casually still, try to sell them (though their value will go down a lot by then), or keep them for other formats (modern, EDH, Legacy, etc).

What are poison counters?


Poison counters are something from the Scars block that you likely won't deal with in standard. It worked like this: creatures with Infect deal damage in -1/-1 counters. These creatures, when they hit a player, don't hurt their life total. They give them poison counters equal to their power. A player with 10 or more poison counters loses the game in most formats. I think it's 20 or more in EDH/Commander. That's all there really is to it.

Thats all for now and thanks for all your help!


Glad to be of assistance. Might as well pull others into this hell fun and exciting game as best I can.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby AzureAngel17 » 21 Apr 2013, 13:45

Keep your old cards! There are formats that are fun to play even after sets rotate out of standard, plus you can still use the old versions of cards that get reprinted in future sets, and the core sets (2013, 2014, etc) tend to be almost entirely reprints.

Our group has several players who all jumped in at different times, so it can be fun to have each player show up with decks from different blocks.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Jamfalcon » 21 Apr 2013, 14:53

I have a pretty different point of view from Kapol in terms of bulk cards and standard. It obviously is a difference of playgroups. I know Kapol likes to go to a lot of events and such, whereas I've only been to one (RTR prerelease) and found it not to my liking. I play in a very confined group of five people, one of which isn't even around that much any more. We've all been playing since Scars of Mirrodin, and in that time I don't think anyone has gone to more than... seven or eight events. So we're clearly not a super competitive group.

So, my thoughts on bulk boxes are pretty much opposite. Three out of five people in the group have bought boxes of 1,000 bulk commons and uncommons (which were $10, I believe) from a card store, and a lot of us have bought random bulk rares (which worked out to about $0.18 each). You're not going to get your money back by any means, especially from the commons and uncommons; Kapol is certainly right that they are not amazing cards, since if they were worth anything they'd be sold on their own. (The exception is probably if you find someone who wants to stop playing their game, in which case buying their collection could be a pretty solid investment.) But the bulk cards, especially when you're building up a collection, are a lot of fun to play with and allow you a lot more to experiment with than just buying intro decks and boosters. Chances are pretty bad that you'll be able to make anything standard legal (or too competitive in standard, probably), but whether or not that's a concern to you I can't say.

Which brings me on to the second point. Nobody in my group plays standard at all. We aren't people that want to spend a lot of money on the hobby, and while the game is designed and balanced primarily for standard and limited, playing with whatever cards you have available still fairly balanced, provided nobody decides to spend $200 buying the best possible deck combining cards from all series'. Again, if you're just building decks from a small base of cards, and everyone else is doing the same thing, you get a lot more options. There are certain strategies and combos in standard that seem to be the go-to things, whereas playing very casually means that I can, say have a mono red deck with fifteen expensive (mana-wise) dragons, or an eldrazi spawn deck, or one built around the "...of Empires" cycle from M12, and still be competitive with all of my friend's decks.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Tzimisce » 21 Apr 2013, 19:42

if your lucky and go to some tournaments, you can get commons and uncommons from the players, and see how play.

there are some scammers out there but the most part your player base will help its own, i enjoy helping because i enjoy a challenge.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 22 Apr 2013, 14:14

Kapol wrote:
Pimpin J wrote:I am trying to bulk up my card numbers so i have been looking online at Craigslist and Ebay. Would y'all recommend buying other peoples bulk cards and if so at what price per lets say 100 or 1000.
The price is entirely dependent on the cards you're getting. Really, most of the time buying random cards in bulk isn't the best idea. If you want to get into casual play, then most of the time you can buy a decent bulk or assorated commons and uncommons for pretty cheap. It's best to look and see if they mention what set they're from too. But really people selling in bulk are usually trying to get rid of the jumble of cards that'll never see use. At least that's the way I see it.
For people selling in bulk, this is probably true. However, with companies selling in bulk, like Card Kingdom, you usually get better value.
Kapol wrote:
Pimpin J wrote:What are poison counters?
Poison counters are something from the Scars block that you likely won't deal with in standard. It worked like this: creatures with Infect deal damage in -1/-1 counters. These creatures, when they hit a player, don't hurt their life total. They give them poison counters equal to their power. A player with 10 or more poison counters loses the game in most formats. I think it's 20 or more in EDH/Commander. That's all there really is to it.
Poison counters come from long before the Scars block, but I think that's when they were most recently used.
Tzimisce wrote:If you're lucky and go to some tournaments, you can get commons and uncommons from the players, and see how play.
When I went to a tournament at MAGfest, I found a couple of guys who had bought a RTR booster box together, and split it between them. They cracked the packs, picked out the rare, and put the rest in a pile. When they were leaving, I saw they left the pile. I was like "You're leaving these cards?" One of the guys was like, "You want 'em? Take 'em." So I got an entire booster box of commons and uncommons for free. :)
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Jenelmo » 23 Apr 2013, 08:25

AdmiralMemo wrote:
Kapol wrote:
Pimpin J wrote:What are poison counters?
Poison counters are something from the Scars block that you likely won't deal with in standard. It worked like this: creatures with Infect deal damage in -1/-1 counters. These creatures, when they hit a player, don't hurt their life total. They give them poison counters equal to their power. A player with 10 or more poison counters loses the game in most formats. I think it's 20 or more in EDH/Commander. That's all there really is to it.
Poison counters come from long before the Scars block, but I think that's when they were most recently used.

Poison was first used on Pit Scorpion and Serpent Generator from Legends('94)
AdmiralMemo wrote:
Tzimisce wrote:If you're lucky and go to some tournaments, you can get commons and uncommons from the players, and see how play.
When I went to a tournament at MAGfest, I found a couple of guys who had bought a RTR booster box together, and split it between them. They cracked the packs, picked out the rare, and put the rest in a pile. When they were leaving, I saw they left the pile. I was like "You're leaving these cards?" One of the guys was like, "You want 'em? Take 'em." So I got an entire booster box of commons and uncommons for free. :)

A lot of times when people draft they leave the common+uncommons because they don't want/need them because they can't trade/sell them
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 23 Apr 2013, 08:39

Jenelmo wrote:
AdmiralMemo wrote:When I went to a tournament at MAGfest, I found a couple of guys who had bought a RTR booster box together, and split it between them. They cracked the packs, picked out the rare, and put the rest in a pile. When they were leaving, I saw they left the pile. I was like "You're leaving these cards?" One of the guys was like, "You want 'em? Take 'em." So I got an entire booster box of commons and uncommons for free. :)
A lot of times when people draft they leave the common+uncommons because they don't want/need them because they can't trade/sell them.
Yeah, but this wasn't a draft. This was just a booster box they bought. :D That's why it surprised me.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Tzimisce » 23 Apr 2013, 20:50

I ran a gameshop and ive seen lots of new players get cards. When i moved i gave away 3 3600 count boxes to a new players made, his day!
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Pimpin J » 04 May 2013, 09:59

So I have acquired about 2800 or so cards and I am in the process of sorting them by expansion and color. Very tedious by the way. Now about 99% are common and uncommon.

Can I make decent decks with C/UC or do i need rares?

I am getting multiples of a lot of cards, how many should i keep of each?


More questions to come.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 04 May 2013, 12:52

You can make decent decks with commons and uncommons. Not absolute competitive "win games 95% of the time" decks, but pretty fun decks to play with your friends.

Regarding multiples, remember that it's a max of 4 copies per deck. If you don't see a card going in more than 1 deck of yours, keep 4 and put the rest for trade/sale. If it can go in multiple decks, either do the same and just swap them in and out of decks as you play with different decks, or just keep more of them.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Lord Hosk » 04 May 2013, 21:47

Pimpin J wrote:So I have acquired about 2800 or so cards and I am in the process of sorting them by expansion and color. Very tedious by the way. Now about 99% are common and uncommon.

Can I make decent decks with C/UC or do i need rares?

I am getting multiples of a lot of cards, how many should i keep of each?


More questions to come.



First, if you are playing casually with your buddies you can make some great decks from uncommons and commons.

Secondly, there is a format or rather a subset of every format called "Pauper" which allows only Basic Lands and Common rarity cards. My old LGS had a very active pauper group that played Standard pauper the first and third Wednesday of the month, 100 card singleton pauper on the second and anything goes pauper on the fourth week. Check with your local store.

Thirdly, as to how many multiples, it really depends on what you plan to do, just deck build for yourself? keep 5, you can always move a few cards around between decks. Building for friends to play and let them deck build? 10ish.

Fourthly, land, I would pick your 20 favorite land of each of the 5 types and get rid of the rest. I like matched land, some people like no matched land it doesnt really matter to game play at all a plains from 7th edition taps for 1 white the same as one from Alpha or Dragons Maze. Right now I have 10 of one version of art from each of the 5 types from revised. Every pack other than dragons maze has one possibly two basic land in it.

Oh I forgot foil land tap for foil mana which is exactly the same as normal mana but somehow better ;)

Last, if you are building decks to play with friends don't worry about expansion or rarity, just build what seems fun, and always try to keep the decks on par. If Deck A wins 90% of the time, no one will want to play so tone it down take out some of the cards that seem to really obliterate, or replace some cards in the other deck or decks to make them stronger.

Back in the day my buddies and I had 5 almost exactly even decks one in each color in 5 identical boxes (no sleeves at the time) we would just each pick one and go.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Pimpin J » 07 May 2013, 15:07

OK so i have my cards separated by expansion, color and even set Modern/Standard.

So I am in the process of making decks now.

My next question is about game play.

I see in the videos dice and little crystal gems used.
What are those and wheat do they do?

Also about the set up when i put my graveyard on the left side of me my friend gets annoyed and says it needs to be near my cards. Is that something that will annoy other players or what?

I am a little confused on the stack but there is a thread here im trying to understand.


Other than that I think i am ready to go. Unless yall have anything else i should know about.

Oh and in the 1st firday night video paul had some book. Where do you get that book?
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby Duckay » 07 May 2013, 15:27

ETA: People use dice to show their life totals, or dice and/or gems to show things like counters (+1/+1 or -1/-1 on creatures, some abilities produce charge counters, and so on) or to demonstrate tokens that they don't have a card for.

As long as your graveyard is in a distinct spot where it can't be confused for anything else, I don't think it overly matters where it is. I think, though, you will find that in a lot of cases it will be easy to have it near your library because of any effects that require you to put cards from your library into your graveyard, and so you don't get your graveyard confused with anything on the battlefield.

(ETA2: I originally only answered the graveyard question, then realized I could answer the dice question, too. But I was ninja'd.)
Last edited by Duckay on 07 May 2013, 15:31, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby AzureAngel17 » 07 May 2013, 15:29

Many people use twenty-sided dice as life counters, since you start at 20 and [typically] work your way down to dead. (Personally I like to use either a cell-phone app or two ten-sided dice for my life counter.) Other dice and gems are often used as counters, such as +1/+1 counters on your creatures or loyalty counters on your planeswalkers. In situations where a lot of token creatures are created, some people will also use dice to show how many of a particular token there are.

Edit: Just went back and watched that episode of Friday Nights. I think that was the Magic 2012 version of the "Basic Rulebook."

Here's a link to the latest version of that. This portion of the Wizards site is the general go-to resource for rules publications.
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Re: My first Magic experience and Questions

Postby tamaness » 07 May 2013, 23:12

I usually set my library and my graveyard to my left, and set my lands, artifacts, and auras/enchantments to the right of that, with creatures above. I have no idea where I get that from, as the Portal playmat (I started with Portal way back when) had everything arranged mirrored right-left from how I arrange stuff.

As long as they're identifiable, I don't think it really matters where they go.

I generally use 2 10-sided die for a life counter, but have taken to using Gathering Utilities instead. I generally use D-20s as token and counter indicators, but it's really fun to use gems for +1/+1 counters when you're running a counter manipulation deck.
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Re: My Magic experience and Questions

Postby Pimpin J » 19 Jun 2013, 21:39

So I have put together a few decks, I will post my first one that I have actually tested...against 1 friend. However I have won a few games so I kinda dig it.

I got it out of a starter book for M13.

Its a white deck with:

Serra Angel x2
Divine Verdict x1
Captain's Call x1
Ajani's Sunstriker x1
Glorious Charge x3
War Falcon x3
Serra Avatar x1
Sublime Archangel x1
Crusader of Odric x3
Attended Knight x4
Oblivion Ring x3
Odric, Master Tactician x3
Ring of Thune x4
Pacifism x4
Aven Squire x4
Plains x24

Now I know that adds up to more then 60, but I take a card or 2 out before I play a game. I just like to have extras.

So what do you think?

Any suggestions?
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