Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Guest Post for MTGCasualPlay

Solitary Confinement

When I'm not playing Magic, or reading about magic, or resleeving cards, I like to watch other people play Magic. Read all about it on my guest post over at, "Yelling at the TV."

MTGCasualPlay has a ton of great articles about MTG from some cool guys. Even if Commander isn't your format, from Legacy to Standard, they have you covered. You'll find something to like.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Drawing Cards Covers a Multitude of Sins

Memory Jar

I am not a good deckbuilder in any format, Commander included. But with enough card drawing, I can pretend to be a good deckbuilder.

Good news.

You can, too.


Look at it this way, imagine you are playing a game of Magic against exactly the same deck except you start the game with the entire deck in your hand and your opponent doesn't.

Who will win this game?

Smart Ass

I can see it now: one of you smart asses is already pointing out that you would lose the game since you can't draw a card, but ignore the basic rules for this example.

What I'm getting at here is that if both decks are the same, the person with all the cards wins because that person never misses a land drop, always has exactly the right spell at the right time, and can curve out every turn for the rest of the game.

You play lands.
You play spells.
You win.

If you screw up either of those first two steps, you lose.

In the Commander format, because of its singleton nature, you will have a high degree of variability from game to game. You don't get the consistency that you would from the formats with smaller decks and with more copies of each spell available. Anything you can do to reduce that variability will lead to a more consistent deck.

Some people don't like this plan.

Demonic TutorDiabolic Tutor

Running too many tutors can lead to predictable, stale games. The kind of games where everything plays out the same way every time. And if it doesn't play out that way, it typically means that you lose.

So, we're going to dance around this by drawing more cards.

I'm not saying that this plan of attack will make everyone happy. In the end, drawing more cards does make your deck more consistent. But losing because your deck sucks isn't really playing a good game of Magic either.

In other words, if you jam pack your deck with tutors, the consistency goes way up. If you jam pack your deck with card drawing, your consistency goes up without going totally bonkers.

For a concrete example of what I'm talking about, take a look at my mono-black control deck, "The Usual Suspects." Click the playtest button and test out a few opening hands.

Night's WhisperSign in BloodAmbition's CostAncient Craving

There are roughly eleventy billion ways to draw cards with this deck. It's basically ramp, sweepers, and card draw, with enough cool creatures to make winning the hard way a kick in the pants.

Pestilence Demon

Like I said before, I'm not a good deckbuilder. I'm relying on the strength of the creatures I put in this pile, ways to draw those creatures, and making all my land drops. Night's Whisper is great, not because it draws me two cards, but because there's a good chance that one of those two cards is going to be a kick ass creature or another spell that draws me even more cards.

Maybe you aren't playing a black deck. That's fine. Drawing more cards will still work for you.

Rhystic StudyPhyrexian Arena

If you are playing blue or black, finding more card drawing is easy.

Hunter's InsightSoul's Majesty

It's actually surprisingly easy to find card drawing in green, also.

Mentor of the MeekOutpost Siege

White and red need to lean more on artifacts, but the card draw is out there.

SkullclampMind's Eye

Along with some sweet artifacts, every color has a way of ripping into a grip of filthy cards.

What does this mean to you?

Let's not make this too complicated. You can't go wrong by drawing more cards. If your deck is unwieldy, inconsistent, or frustrating, draw more cards. Take a hard look at making cuts and then slot in cards that get you cards.