Magic Multiplayer Politics and Political Deck Ideas
Magic the Gathering: Multiplayer Politics
In a chaos multiplayer game (4 or more people) where only one person can win magic multiplayer politics is a key to win any game. It is always in your best interest to have someone else do the work for you, whether it is removing permanents or attacking and damage. You can't always come out smelling like a rose, as you have to invest your resources somewhere. However, as the number of players in a magic multiplayer game increases, politics and commitment become more intricate and important. It dawned on me some time ago that the magic metagame can be used as a weapon as much as a tool.
I called decks that worked with this in mind "poly" or political decks. I have two political decks that are quite different. After a bit more theory I'll explain my mono blue multiplayer deck, blufusion (blue confusion), among my best magic decks. It has an amazing track record because multiplayer politics is often the most powerful weapons of all.
the basics of mtg multiplayer strategy
The first part of winning multiplayer politics is to know your group. What is acceptable in group play? I've heard tell of groups where counter magic is a mortal sin. My deck is mono blue, so it has some countering ability. (Why not take advantage of blue's strongest strategy?) This deck, especially with its low creature count, simply won't work in these groups, period. You also have to take into account players reactions to specific cards. My mono blue deck has some a number of morphs, but many of the players in my group concluded the only "playable" morph is Willbender, and I often got my other morphs zapped for this reason.
Know the players. My group had a green player (played green in spirit as well as deck) who was quite forceful in trying to get the other players to do what he wanted. He made convincing cases but he also revealed every last part of his plan. We had a player reknowned for bomb dropping, and we also had a player that didn't understand multiplayer magic except by trying to beat everyone at once (often had cards to do it). I developed a reputation as a sneaky player, always holding terrifying instants in the safety of my hand. These modes of play and attitudes of players gives you great direction in magic multiplayer politics, though it should be noted that some players are more diverse in strategy than others.
Enough theory. I'm sure you'd like to get your hands on a deck that does precisely what I've just outlined. Here it is.
Check out http://gatherer.wizards.com for cards you don’t recognize.
Magic the Gathering
Mono Blue Multiplayer Deck
Blue Creatures Blue Spells Artifact Spells 2 Drift of Phantasms 3 Ray of Command Sol Ring Seasinger 2 Siren's Call Eon Hub Draining Whelk 2 Homarid Spawning Bed 2 Apprentice Wizard 2 Counterspell Illusionary Wall 2 Brainstorm Mischievous Quanar 2 Gigadrowse Suq'Ata Firewalker Phantasmal Terrain 2 Voidmage Apprentice 2 Deflection 3 Manta Ray 2 Illusionary Terrain 2 Disruptive Student Confiscate Willbender 2 Iceberg Air Elemental 2 Mystic Remora
Having gone through this deck you might be asking, "Where's my Win Condition?" It's a decent question to ask. The biggest critter on this board is Draining Whelk, if you counter a big spell, but there's only one. I'll go through the deck's logic, and then give you example play. First, this deck features one of biggest strengths in magic multiplayer politics: looking innocuous. If you missed this deck's win conditions it's because the deck is made to look like it has no win conditions. Players don't always bring serious, winning decks to the table. If you play a bunch of innocuous three and four drops you're going to look nonthreatening. Now let's go to
Win condition one: theft
Beat your opponents with their own spells and permanents. There few things that catch a player off guard. Redirecting a spell they thought was theirs, stealing their own permanents and winning with them both qualify. Here's where mutliplayer magic politics comes in: you have great power, but no one knows that because your win conditions are currently controlled by other players. Moreover, all these effects are instants--which means you can harness their power at any time a threat comes out including threats to weak players you know you can beat later on. Now,
win condition two: Homarid Spawning Bed
I repeat, Homarid Spawning Bed. Yes, I have one games with 1/1 Camarid tokens. Remember all that funky blue creatures that made this multiplayer deck look innocuous? Well, grind them into the Spawning Bed and pull together six to ten tokens. Near the end of the game it's enough to win, especially if you can seize control of the largest remaining creature.
Win condition: Gigadrowse
This is my favorite card, and works wonders in magic multiplayer politics. Find a person that needs to be killed and tap down his/her attackers or blockers. With several players on the board, this ensures a kill without you even bothering to kill. Now that's political!
How the deck works in practice
Stage One: Funky Blue Creatures. As noted the first aim in manipulating the metagame is to appear weak. You cast a whole bunch of obscure underpowered blue creatures. Your goal in this stage of the game to look like some ill conceived mono blue theme deck. Look out for nibblers (people who take advantage of the early game by reducing life totals across the board). One special note: do not underestimate the power of Disrupting Student. Players eager to cast their win condition can be a bit stupid.
Stage Two is setting up your engine to kill your opponents. Now almost every card only has one or two copies but don't fret, the multiplayer environment usually gives you time to draw them. Like any mono blue deck, blufusion would like to keep its mana open and cast spells. There are two big considerations at this point. First, you want to have Iceberg out and be putting a lot of counters on it. You might also be faced with a player with an overpowered deck. Remember that part of multiplayer politics is to respond to power rather than gathering it. Feel free to use some of the deck’s power on those players, if you have to. But always remember the mtg maxim: always wait until the last minute.
Stage Three is when you really start killing people. Spotting the time for this transition is mildly dependent on the game, recognizing it is actually easy once you've played it a few times. Like many mono blue decks, it wants to cast all its spells at once (Gigadrowse is pretty mana intensive). This deck likes to hoard lots of nasty blue spells in its hands. By the time you feel ready to use all those ice counters to keep your other lands open is around the time you should be killing people. Here are the moves to make: sacrifice your funky blue cards for Camarid tokens. In the end game you’re going to want chump blockers rather than funky abilities. It’s about this time to use Gigadrowse and/or Siren’s Call to tap down the blockers of the most powerful player. Keep a Ray of Command open if you expect to be attacked after Siren’s Call. Also, win conditions should be all over the board. Taking control of your opponent’s creatures and redirecting his or her bombs can often win you the game.
Check out some of my other magic related hubs