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CardShark Content - Jerry Melton (8/29/2005)

[Editor's note: I had to do a last-minute bit of editing after I posted the article, so chances are the forum link at the bottom is gone. Here's that link, I have no idea why it keeps disappearing after I edit a previously posted article.
http://ccncomics.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1039 ]

Hello everybody. Welcome to part 1 of my mini series of articles! It has been a while since I wrote an article, but that's alright! Today I'm going to explain to all of you (mostly the casual/newbie Magic crowd) how to create better decks and be a better Magic player in general! I'm sure this idea has been used once before somewhere, but I thought it would be nice to give my own (serious) opinion on the topic... I mean, it wouldn't hurt right?

First of all, depending how experienced you are, you may or may not know why certain things are true in Magic. It's easy to tell a new player ´´Always play with 60 cards!´´ or ´´Don't use Craw Wurm
Craw Wurm
Craw WurmSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
6
Toughness:
4
in your deck!´´ but most people fail to explain just why that is... or at least fail to get across to the other player. I'm going to attempt to get across to that player with this article.

So, how do you build good decks? How do you become a better player? Why do you keep losing, or why do you never win consistently? Well, let's find out. There are so many different ways to play Magic and different levels of seriousness in the game, so it very difficult to know where to start... and it is also very difficult to know what to talk about. Like I said, this article is going to be for newer Magic players or anyone looking for tips to improve their game. Let's start with deck building.

When you create a new deck, you need to keep a few things in mind.

1.) What format am I going to play? How serious am I about the game, and how serious are my opponents? (For those of you who don't know what format is, it is a set of ´´rules´´ that limits players from using certain cards or certain number of cards in decks. Some formats allow all cards, and some only allow the newest. Others allow special rules, and so on.)

2.) What cards do I have access to? (Before you start brainstorming a deck, try to get ideas based on what kind of cards you own or can get. You may have a massive collection of cards, or you may have a small stack of them. You may be able to buy four copies of the most expensive cards, or you may only be able to buy $10 worth of cards.)

3.) What do I want my deck to do? (Make a goal for your deck. Maybe you know a neat combo? Or maybe you want to beat a certain deck? Whatever the goal, make sure it is clear. It will help a lot when you build your deck.)

4.) What colors or cards are best to meet your goal? (Certain colors are best at doing certain things. If your deck wants to use tons of flyers to finish your opponent off, black or red might not be the best choices. Know what the colors are capable of doing. If your deck wants to beat a certain deck, find cards that are extremely good against it. If their deck runs powerful enchantments or artifacts, consider cards that destroy them. If their deck uses a lot of creatures, consider cards that damage or destroy all creatures.)

And so on. At this point (if you have been following the steps) you should have a pretty good idea of what you want your deck to look like. If you just sit down and start building a deck, it will usually come out sloppy and run clunky. It is always a good idea to plan your decks with a clear goal in mind.

Now how do you expand on that idea? Start deciding on what cards to use in it. One EXTREMELY important thing that every player needs to keep in mind while building decks is that you need to be able to play each card in your deck with ease. If your deck has to struggle to play certain cards, or if your deck has cards that often time get stuck in your hand, you should probably remove the cards. That might sound like common sense, but many newer players make this mistake.

Here's another blatantly obvious tip: only run powerful cards in your deck. Well, what makes a powerful card? Let’s find out.

A powerful card is one that your deck can easily cast. Like I said earlier, if you have to struggle to play a card because it is too expensive or for whatever reason, then it doesn't belong in your deck. If a card has situational effects (effects that you can only use in certain situations), then it may get stuck in your hand a lot of the time. Depending on the card, you may want to drop it from your deck. It's a terrible thing to have cards you can't cast. Also, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Study cards and get a good idea of how much certain abilities cost. For example, you can usually get 1/1s for 1 mana, 2/2s for two mana, about a 3/3 for 3 mana. And so on. However, once you slap an ability like flying onto a 2/2, it now costs 3 mana! Some cards are overcosted, that’s a fact. It’s up to you to find these cards and avoid them.

Another thing that powerful cards do is ´´affect the board´´. Cards that make an immediate change when they come into play. You see, cards that don't change the game when they come into play are often times (but not always) trash cards. It is always good to play cards that force your opponent to divert attention to it (AKA, putting threats on the board). It is not good to play cards that your opponent doesn't have to worry about.

Well, there you have it. Part one of my article. Stay tuned for part two next week, I'll wrap up deck building tips in it and explain how to play your decks. I have a lot to say on this subject, so expect lots of articles in this mini series! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!


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