As this is my first article for www.mtgcasualplay.com, I thought I would start off with my philosophy and deranged way of building decks. For me, deck building is all about the journey, and really one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game for me. I can’t tell you how many nights me and my best-friend have spent building, cutting, rebuilding, and re-cutting the same decks. I find that deck building, for my atleast, is the core of the game. It is in the arena of building that you can truly get a look into a players thought processes, strategies, and get a idea of what kind of player they are.
There is a certain amount of pride and relief when you finally get a deck tuned just right. The first time it rolls out seamlessly in a game makes all the trial and error beyond worth it. The odd thing about my decks is that they almost always end up in a entirely different place than where they started. Most players I know make their initial builds, then make minor tweaks here and there, but the essence of the deck remains the same. My decks very rarely, if ever stay in the same vein they started in.
Take my initial Bloodrush deck for example. The deck started out as a RG deck utlizing the mechanic to win on combat tricks. My initial build was as such:
As you can see the deck stayed very honest to the mechanic, and was one of the most fun decks I played. My group tends to get really competitive, and this deck allowed me a great deal of versatility. Some games I played it very Aggro, while others I went more midrange, but the more I played it the more I realized that while combat tricks were fun, and could win you games, it was not the best way to build the deck. So I sat down and began to cut things out that were not very useful. Disciple, Zhur-Taa, and Rubblehulk were the first cuts. Those cards just were really strong enough to make it. Then I took out mortars and defiance as the sorcery speed was slowing me down a turn to use it. By the end of cuts I looked at my board and noticed that I really did not have much red left, so I went through all of green cards and came up with this deck instead:
What started out as Bloodrush became more green flash and a splash of Bloodrush. This is usually how most of decks end up. I think that is the best part about the game though. The endless amount of strategy and combinations you can through together are staggering. The green flash deck ended up being one of my most competitive decks to date, and gave a lot of blue decks hell. I play in tournaments and try to make FNM whenever I can, and this deck held its own just about everytime. I never went undefeated with it, but I have also never went worse than 2-2. It was super fast and had just enough removal to deal with early threats and allow for my guys to constantly swing in. It became a running joke that I played Strangleroots sideways because they were always going to be swinging. The wild shift in this deck is the normal for me, and actually not the best example of just how drastically my decks can change. If you like a mechanic build around it, but do not be afraid to really change it and uses it as an accent piece in a better deck.
When it comes to editing and cutting a deck my group has found that it is much easier, and yields better results, to build in teams. They may sound odd but over time I found that I was keeping cards in decks that were ultimately useless to the deck for the simple fact that I liked them. My group has nights where we take new decks, or decks we have been working on, and lay them out on a table taking turns going over each others decks. The feedback and questions this generates is great not only for the growth of the play group, but also as a deck builder it is truly interesting to see what someone else can make of your deck without any background.