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How to Create the Best Magic The Gathering Deck Possible

Updated on June 7, 2012
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So you want to put together your own custom Magic The Gathering deck? Well, depending on what kinds of strategies you want to add to your deck, the process can either be really difficult, or fairly simple.

First, let's go over some common mistakes for beginners:

  • Don't fill up on "bomb" cards (sorcery, instant, and other cards that have high damage; e.g. "Lightning Bolt"; "Fireball"). While it is good to have some of these in your deck, you don't want to overdo it. They're not going to be helpful in all situations and the best deck is a versatile one.
  • Don't focus too much on a few cards. It's great if they go well together, but make sure you have more than one card combination strategy. You're not always guaranteed to get the cards you want during every game and it's very likely you won't go through most of your deck in any given game. Make sure that your cards interact with each other well and have multiple ways of being useful in different situations.
  • Don't use filler cards if you can help it. Every card should matter and have a purpose in your deck. Just trying to make it to the card count (generally around 60 cards, for the record) isn't more important than having cards that are useful.
  • Don't have too many things going on at once. You want your cards to play well with each other, not make it impossible to get anything done. Try to make your deck versatile so you can win in a number of ways (e.g. a deck that has Infect aspects [puts a poison counter on your opponent; 10 of these poison counters kills them], but also card removal aspects to dwindle your opponent's deck to nothing [which kills them]), but don't overdo it.
  • Don't have too many colors in your deck. Stick to 1 or 2 deck colors. It's hard to get all the Mana/Land you'll need to cover more than 2 colors if you want to get anything done.

Now that you understand what not to do, here are some tips to make your deck more integrated:

  • Do make sure that you add lots of cards that make use of the aspects of your spells. A good example is that if you have some cards that helps you gain life (e.g. "Lifelink," when a creature enters the battlefield, you gain life, etc.), have cards that can play on that life gain to give you an even greater advantage (e.g. whenever you gain life, the creatures you control gain +1/+1, etc.).
  • Do make sure to have a good Land-to-Creature ratio. The average is around 40% Land cards in your deck. If your playtesting shows that this is too many, then adjust it as needed.
  • Do have a plan in mind when starting to create your deck. Notice patterns between cards and figure out ways to make them work off each other in a system. Figure out what you want your deck to accomplish beforehand.
  • Do playtest your deck when it is complete to see if it works the way you want it to. Adjust your deck as seems fit after playtesting.
  • Do keep your deck around 60 cards.

One more thing to keep in mind when choosing your cards:

Bomb (exceptionally good cards to base the theme of your deck around)
Removal ("Destroy target x," "deal x damage to y," etc.)
Efficient (cards that are good based on their mana cost; e.g. 1/1 Haste for 1 converted mana cost; 3/1 First Strike for 2 converted mana cost; Get More for Your Mana!)
Aggro (creatures to block with)
Dope (cards to fill up the rest of your deck) <-- make every card count!

B-R-E-A-D: an excellent way to remember how to choose the cards for your deck.

Now, my dear readers, that is all the tips I have for creating a well-balanced Magic The Gathering deck.

Leave a comment below with the deck you're sporting! Mono-red? Mixed green and white? Dragons? Goblins? Elves? Let us know!

The following items are a great way to get yourself started.

Magic the Gathering - MTG: Deck Builders Toolkit
Magic the Gathering - MTG: Deck Builders Toolkit

An affordable, easy way to get your collection started with all you'll need to begin a basic deck.

 

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