“Deck construction” deconstructed – Part 1

Hi, 'Counterspell' here, today we are going to talk about deck building in standard. I find deck building is a really simple concept to learn but a very hard concept to master. So today we are going to talk about basic deck building skills and then in my next article I hope to go more in-depth to card selection and synergy.

To start we need to look at a few factors of the current Standard environment. One of the first factors I see is that we have a set rotating out this means that we will want to have a general idea of what the new set will be like before we go and build our deck. So my plan is to look over any spoilers I can find including the ManaNation spoilers on the site and see what we can find out. I will not talk about the specific cards in the spoilers but this will give us a general idea of what we are going to see in the new set and allow us to start looking into the basic design of our deck. Other things that we need are the current decks being used. Most new decks are variations on the current decks in standard so we need to know what is being used and how it is being used, this way we can use old ideas for our new deck and know what weaknesses the other decks will or may currently have.

After looking at the various spoiler cards (67 officially spoiled cards, including land at the time this article was written) we can see some very strong cards coming to the forefront of magic. We know that with the change we lose a lot of competitive decks but the new cards coming out seem rather high in casting cost, so it’s hard to say if there will be a major change to how the game is played. The major things I am seeing that will probably go into a deck are Landfall, Allies, and Quests. We see kicker and traps as well but I don’t think this will change the format much as kicker never seemed to live up to its full potential, and I think traps are costed too high to play as you don’t want to have to wait for a "Magical" moment to play them. So judging by what I see I would say the next big thing for me will be Landfall. And Landfall seems like it would go great in a Red/Green Ramp deck.

Now you may wonder why I say this. Let’s start with the obvious: We have an abundance of land search in the format which is why ramp decks always stick around in one way or another. With Landfall the deck automatically gets a bonus for finding lands. So it’s an auto include to have Landfall in any ramp deck. I chose red for a specific reason, we need creature control and on top of that it has a nice landfall ability that gives us just that. Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle is a great landfall card that you can have multiple in play can wipe out a creature board or kill the opponent quickly. To use this it requires a lot of red land but with land search we can accomplish just that. Green was chosen for its ability to search for lands not to mention green has the best blockers to build up defense while you search for your lands. The rest is just filler for a basic red/green deck.

This doesn’t mean that we will use red and green, this just means that the way Zendikar is unfolding we are seeing lots of strong red and green that make me want to move this way. If fairies manage to stick around after the change (miracle needed here) this deck idea would work as landfall is harder to counter and lands are almost impossible to stop from coming into play (Right now I believe it is impossible to stop them but new cards come out all the time). So this means that all counterspell decks will have a tough time dealing with this deck and it should be fast enough to hold back white weenie in whatever form it will take.

Will this idea work? I don’t know. No one will know until we have more information on the new set and we can play test. This means that the ideas we take away will change constantly as new cards come out. Everything evolves and so should our thought pattern. So that being said we need to decide what direction to take our new standard deck. Do we combo (Three to four cards to create a game winning situation), Overrun (amass a huge army and Attack), control (Keep the opponent on the defensive while we slowly win) or clear a path (Burn everything needed to attack straight on)? These are some of the different styles we can choose from, these are all very effective. The chatter online seems to be saying creature heavy is the way to go so I would say 'clearing a path' or 'overrunning' would be our best bet.

[deck align="right" designer="Counterspell"]
4 Birds of paradise
4 Borderland Ranger
3 Elemental Appeal
4 Giant Spider
3 Oracle of Mul Daya
3 Rampaging Baloths
4 Wall of Fire

4 Firewild Borderpost
4 Rampant Growth
3 Recross the Paths

4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnicle
10 Forest
10 Mountain

3 Eternity Vessel
3 Trace of Abundance
3 Electropotence
3 Plated Geopede
3 Llanawar Elf
[/deck]So now we have a basic deck idea and a direction we want to take with it. In order to go further we need to know what specific cards to use. We discussed some ideas earlier on what to use and the potential idea behind the deck. Here is a starting deck list that I have made that we will use for the basis of our new deck.

Now I know there are cards some people do not like in this deck but, I decided to build the deck this way so that it was well rounded and it accomplished its goal the best way it could. So after a few more preview cards and searching the current standard cards we should start seeing this deck evolve. So for next time we will quickly review this info and start choosing cards.

So before my next article take on one of the below tasks and post your thoughts in the comments!

The 1st choice - Criticize: Don’t like the deck idea or don’t think it will work? Tell me and why and give ideas as to how to change it or what deck idea you think will work.

The 2nd choice - Homework: Look through the spoiler’s and see potential cards we can use. As well as, go through current card lists and come up with cards that will work well for this deck.