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Brad Nicholson avatar 1:36 PM on 10.01.2008  (server time)
Magic the Gathering: Building Your Deck

All right, so it’s been awhile. Blame Japanese RPGs, medieval women, Aztec sacrifice, and late Geometric authors. Seriously. Before I get into the real point of this post I first want to point out where I’m at in Magic: The Gathering. It’s been a crazy experience, learning and exploring my first real card-based game. One of my earliest articles at Destructoid was over the fact that I missed the boat on the card game phenomenon. I assumed games like Culdcept Saga were completely over my head. Now – after exploring Magic I have found new possibilities for entertainment.

I had a stunning amount of preconceived notions, both about card games and really board games in general. Obviously, I make my living writing about the digital kinds of games so I just assumed that tabletop stuff was just boring. I’ve had a hell of a good time thus far with Magic and I’m thankful the people at Wizards of the Coast for opening my eyes to it. There’s a great deal of thought that goes into every game. There are multiple, critical strategic ways to go about it, and there’s awesome a bunch of room to explore and create your own unique content. And that’s what making a deck is all about. Creating Magic on your own.

I’m not the greatest Magic player thus far. My girlfriend tosses me constantly and I almost got beat by a 7th grader. I’m not saying that they lack skill, but I’d like to think that I have an upper hand when it comes to games. It dawned on me that my losing wasn’t because of my skill (although, I’m sure it’s in question), it’s because the deck that I wanted needed to be created by me.

So – how do you make your own deck? Hell, that’s a question I’m still asking myself. But here’s what I did and perhaps it can shed some insight into the process of evaluation, research, and conversation that one needs to have when thinking about jumping to the tier after theme decks.

The first thing I did was go to my Magic shop. These guys don’t know my name quite yet, but they’re getting familiar with my beautiful mug at this point. My main goal was to create a deck that had significant control mechanisms, but also had the opportunity to churn out a bunch of low-level monsters to feed into my girlfriend’s Kitthkin deck of evil. I was advised about a bunch of cards that would be acceptable for this task. At this point I went home, drew up some plans and started on my journey.

From here I bought a base theme deck called “Evincar’s Tyranny.” I figured that I could still use the nudge, but the lower amount of cards gave me the opportunity to supplement the deck with the cards I wanted. I eventually settled with cards designed to make my opponent discard. I bought several “Unmakes,” “Raven’s Crime,” “Ravenous Rats,” “Terror” instants, and a few of the regenerating “Drudge Skeletons.” In the end, I had a deck that couldn’t necessarily withstand the wrath of the Kithkin deck of evil, but it could control the power of it by constantly making the player discard.

And that’s exactly what I did – game, after game, after game. In fact, I actually succeeded in making my girlfriend so mad that she decided to visit the Magic store to get her own deck to counter my shenanigans. For the longest time I didn’t think consistent victory against her unstoppable deck was possible. I didn’t really factor in my own ingenuity.

Of course – I cheated the process. Regardless, it still feels good. Victory eternally mine until she goes through the same steps that I did. Then I’ll have to change. And you know what, that’s pretty cool. Constant evolution.

Speaking of that – Magic is going through a change as well. The upcoming Shards of Alara decks are on the horizon. My next blog will be the last until I get my hands on all of the new stuff, but I thought I’d take a second to point out the features, etc.

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