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14, Jul, 21

How to Brew A Magic the Gathering Deck

Article at a Glance

Want to know how to brew a Magic: The Gathering deck? Of course you do because one of the most entertaining aspects of MTG is the joy of building your own decks. Whether it’s for standard, modern, or even commander, brewing a deck can be a great form of self expression. At times though, it can be a daunting task if the deck you’re trying to build has a lot of moving parts, or you don’t have access to or don’t want to use online resources to assist. Well today, we’ll talk through the process of how to brew your own Magic deck.

How to Brew a Magic: The Gathering Deck – What’s Our Deck Doing?

The first thing that we want to think about is “what is our deck looking to do”? We usually will have a card or a few cards in mind that we want to build around. If we don’t have specific cards we want to work with, then even a theme can be a good place to start. A couple good examples of this are “I want to build a deck using The Book of Exalted Deeds and Faceless Haven” or “I want to build an equipment deck”.

How to Brew a Magic: The Gathering Deck – What Are Our Core Cards?

The next step is to figure out our core cards. What does that mean? Let’s use the Book of Exalted Deeds example for this. Our core cards are The Book of Exalted Deeds, Faceless Haven, and Search for Glory. The first 2 are our combo that we wanted to build around, and the Search for Glory is core because it can help us search for either of our combo pieces, and additional lands as well. Core cards can be more than just these for other decks, but a good way to think about this is “What cards are required for this deck?”

READ MORE: Forgotten Realms MTG Introduces Powerful Combo with the Book of Exalted Deeds. Is it too good?

How to Brew a Magic: The Gathering Deck – Add Supporting Cards

The next thing to do once we have our core, is to add support cards. This can take the form of various creatures, to other spells that help out advance our plan. For our Book of Exalted Deeds deck example, one consideration is looking for ways for us to gain life. A few sets of cards that really will help us out with this could be angels. Angels provide us with evasive creatures that can hold our opponents at bay, and many of them support the life gain theme. Not to mention we get to use these angels as a back up for the second ability of the Book of Exalted Deeds. Another card that we definitely want to have is Revitalize, which can gain us 3 life and draws us a card. When we’re done with that, start adding other cards to fill the rest of the deck.

READ MORE: These 3 Decks Are Must Try For Standard 2022 On Magic Arena

How to Brew a Magic: The Gathering Deck – Filling in the Gaps

The last step before heading to testing is filling out the rest of the deck. This is a pretty vague step, but some lines of thinking could be “What stops my deck?”, “What does my curve look like and how many lands am I playing?” “What else can help me accomplish my overall game plan?” Let’s answer each of these questions for our Book deck. What stops our deck? Removal and creatures stop our deck. To answer this we’re including Elite Spellbinder to get removal out of our opponent’s hand, and a few copies of Portable Hole and Minimus Containment to remove problematic permanents from the board. For our curve, we’re fairly low to the ground, with most of our cards around 3 mana cost, so we’re playing a total of 24 lands with 1 Emeria’s Call. To advance our game plan, we’re ultimately looking to gain a ton of life, which buys us time to set up our combo, so including a few Cleric Class can help with this.

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How to Brew a Magic: The Gathering Deck – Trimming Cards

If we end up adding too many support cards, we may need to trim some cards. When trimming cards, card evaluation becomes incredibly important. Questions to ask yourself when doing this could be “What role does this card fill?”, “What strategy does this card help our deck deal with?”, or “Are there other cards in my deck that do this same thing better?”. If you struggle to find answers to these questions or the answers are very narrow in scope, then those cards may need to be cut. This can be tricky, because say we’re adding a really niche card to combat a deck we faced a couple times on the ladder, and we lost handily to that deck, we’re going to remember that. We can often over compensate against a strategy and incorporate suboptimal cards, just because we lost to it a couple times.

READ MORE: This Fact About Commander Decks Weirded Us Out

How to Brew a Magic: The Gathering Deck – Test, Test, Test

The next thing to do is to go and play the deck! Whether that’s playing with friends, or jumping into some ladder matches, we need to make sure that our card choices work out. And don’t only play a couple of games, rather, you’ll want to play maybe 10-15 games to start, to give all of your cards opportunities to be played in your games. Then depending on how those cards are performing, you may need to make changes. If you’re doing a best of 3 format, then look to build and test out a sideboard for decks you’re facing at the time, or decks you’ll expect to face.

Here’s the deck that we ended up building through this process for reference on where we landed. This deck is a Standard 2022 deck list, so feel free to try this out. These ideas and methods can definitely be applied across formats, and now you’re armed with a solid baseline for brewing and building your own Magic decks. What are some of your favorite brews that you’ve made over the years? Let us know in the comments!

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