Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching people

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Atifexe
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Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching people

Postby Atifexe » 27 Jun 2015, 11:39

Alex just mentioned this idea on Adam's stream, and this is something I think we folks could do collaboratively quite well! Does anyone want to work together on this with me?

How I would suggest going about this would be to start off with five people constructing decks on TappedOut or a similar site, each tackling a different colour. Once we had initial drafts based on personal flavor, we could open the floor to everyone to suggest tweaks and alterations to match the decks against each other and make them easier to learn, should the need arise.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby fantôme » 27 Jun 2015, 12:12

Maybe something to consider: perhaps define a format/power-level before people start, if you want the decks to be balanced?

Would the idea of this be that each deck is very representative of it's colour's attributes on the colour-pie?
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby Atifexe » 27 Jun 2015, 12:23

That's a good point. Alex was talking about intro level, with cards like Giant Spider and Shivan Dragon.

Indeed, the idea would be that each deck encapsulates a lot of what could be considered the 'domain' of its colour. To that end, Alex suggested Red would include some burn, some goblins, and the aforementioned Shivan Dragon as the big beefy top-end. Green would have stuff like Llanowar Elves, Giant Spider, and Giant Growth, with a general theme of ramping into big creatures with a few combat tricks for support. The suggestion for White was token aggro, with a bit of a soldier theme. Black was the colour I'd like to tackle, with the intent of making it zombie-themed and including one or two distinctive cards like Typhoid Rats and Diregraf Ghoul. Blue wasn't discussed, from what I recall.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby fantôme » 27 Jun 2015, 12:36

That's interesting, I've never really related colours to tribes - but it absolutely makes sense to introduce Magic's most prolific races.

Each individual will have their own ideas about what each colour is about, personally:
White = small creatures, combat tricks.
Blue = drawing cards, counterspells.
Black = removal, undercosted creature with drawbacks.
Red = burn, small-midrange creatures.
Green = ramp, big creatures.

And in terms of fundamental flavour:
White = "good".
Blue = deceitful.
Black = "evil".
Red = chaotic/artful.
Green = nature lovin'.
Atifexe
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby Atifexe » 27 Jun 2015, 12:59

I feel it's worth noting that Blue also has an association with fliers, Black with graveyard shenanigans, Red with haste/impetuousness, White with protection/damage prevention, and Green with opposing artifice/enchantment (in keeping with the 'loving the natural').

I'm not sure if counterspells are a good choice for introducing someone to the game - the timing requirements on it can be kind of complex, and in my experience teaching people the game, it can take a bit for them to grasp not just what can be countered and how to use a counterspell, but when it's better to hold their mana and when to get a creature down.

Maybe if we want to associate keywords with colours, we could go with:
White:
    Primary: Vigilance
    Secondary: Lifelink
Blue:
    Primary: Flying
    Secondary: Hexproof?
Black:
    Primary: Deathtouch
    Secondary: Fear
Red:
    Primary: Haste
    Secondary: Flying (Dragons)?
Green:
    Primary: Trample
    Secondary: Reach

In the past, I built matched Red and Green decks for teaching a friend. They worked pretty well, though while some of the elements took some getting used to (such as the planeswalkers in each deck). Red was built around Bloodthirst and direct damage or aggressive creatures, while Green had ramp and hexproof creatures (which actually encourages using the damage spells on the player, rather than creatures, which in turn fuels the Bloodthirst).

I'm just throwing ideas out there, of course; there's no real reason to lock in a specific mechanic to a specific colour.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby Myrph » 29 Jun 2015, 11:44

I did something like this a while back, but built it around the Ravnica guilds, and tried as much as I could to build around the guild and colour mechanics. Was a pretty cool project and made for some interesting decks, especially as I'd tasked myself to only use commons and uncommons for budget reasons. For the most part they came out fairly well balanced, but the Orzhov deck did end up being somewhat overpowered, to the point I could run it against other players casual decks with a solid chance of victory.

I know in the past as well Wizards has built 40 card mono colour beginners decks which they distributed to LGS which held regular events, usually updating with each or every other core set. Curiously enough, I think the red decks for a while had a Shivan Dragon in, although I can't remember what the others were.
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Atifexe
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby Atifexe » 01 Jul 2015, 12:10

Learn to Play: Mono-Black Zombies

This is my first draft of the mono-black deck, built at 60 cards. There's room for three more cards, and I'm not sure what to plunk in. I was thinking along the lines of 2x Altar's Reap (introducing the idea that black treats creatures as disposable) and +1 Corrupt. Alternatively, once Magic Origins comes out, 3x Undead Servant (more graveyard interaction) might be fun. Please, feel free to make suggestions for those slots, as well as for adjustments to the deck!

It can be quite easy to tip the balance unfairly in one direction or another if one forgets to include counters to specific types of evasion. That's why this deck was designed with four Carrion Crow - The last time I tried to design starter decks, one of them wound up with flying while the black one wound up lacking any counter to that except (numerically insufficient) targeted removal. As a result, black consistently lost.

If no one else wants to lay claim to a colour, I'll get started on Blue next. If someone else wants to jump in, I'm happy to stand back or to switch to another colour.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby BlueChloroplast » 02 Jul 2015, 13:27

I was reading comments on this on Mark Rosewater's blog. You want to keep it simple, but have some complex cards to draw them into the interesting depth of the game.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby Atifexe » 03 Jul 2015, 15:57

In the vein of assessing complexity/ease of understanding, Wormfang Drake is a card I would like opinions on.,
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby BlueChloroplast » 03 Jul 2015, 17:01

Well the card's effect only has to be remembered when it enters or leaves the battlefield which lessens the complexity. Understanding what you have to do is clear. Understanding when to use it and what on is more complex. For a beginner it might seem to be just a downside; but I can see it could be interesting with enter the battlefield effects. I think it is a good card as you can use it in simple ways (exiling a weak creature that is less useful) and more complex ways (temporary stealing their creature, then exiling it after you attack them with it).

I found some teaching advice from MaRo (Mark Rosewater): Rule #1 of teaching someone Magic: It is more important that the person have fun than anything else including learning all the rules.

and
http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/Magazi ... ily/mm/200
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby SixFootTurkey » 11 Jul 2015, 21:57

One issue I see with Wormfang Drake, is that it uses the old wording for exile. It might be best to teach new players using current terminology, rather than forcing them to immediately learn new terms after having just learned the game. (Also, there's a reason they changed some of the wording.)

For 'learning', I would prefer not having creatures that have a ltb effect, especially not one that affects the board like this. It actually adds a decent bit of board complexity, as I can definitely see either player forgetting about the ltb effect. They'll probably catch it when it dies, but they may not have factored it into their plans, and burning a creature only to find another blocker you weren't expecting isn't exactly fun. (It also might be more complex than you give it credit for, as the exiled card will enter the battlefield untapped; that's not something inherently obvious if you're learning the game. Or they might not quite understand that you can't return a token to the battlefield if you're using tokens.)

The drake can also be dead in hand if they don't have creatures on the battlefield, which is something you would want to play around, knowing our deck has a few copies of this card; new players won't play this way, and will feel bad if they can't cast their drake.

On a similar note, if someone figures out that you can kill the only on board creature in response, they'll be left sacrificing your drake; another bad feeling for Blue.

In short, where possible I would avoid situations where a beginner who 'knows the game' might be inclined to call a judge or stumble on the answer. (This goes hand in hand with letting them play, and limiting intervention as much as possible.)

Edit: Oh, I think a lot of what goes into a 'new player deck' depends on the players you are making them for. When making them for known potential players, you may have a better idea on their mentality; when making them for wide use, you want to try not to alienate anyone who may use them.

As the complexity topper it may be a stretch, but I don't think it would be overly complex if it weren't for the potential 'bad feels' moments.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby crovax873 » 22 Jul 2015, 17:30

I used to do this to teach new kids when I was in High School. However, that was almost then years ago and they have shifted what each color actually DOES between now and then. When I started, mana acceleration was in green and black. Good times...

But when I did used to do it, my friend and I had great results. We kind of grew our Magic community.
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Re: Build 5 monocolor decks for the purpose of teaching peop

Postby SixFootTurkey » 23 Jul 2015, 08:33

Oh, I would recommend trying to use a few cards/strategies that are standard relevant, if the simpler ones.

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