Introduction

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Roganzar:
Nice article, looking forward to reading more.
I got out of Magic around Mirage and only recently got sucked back in by friends with Innistrad.
Which meant I fell right back into the "buy to many damned cards" habit. Also, the "I can't stop making decks" habit, similar to being an alt-aholic with MMOs.

I feel your pain. I had told myself when I got back to playing in Scars of Mirrodin that I'd only buy what I needed for certain decks off the internet and here I am with two fat pack boxes of Innistrad and tons of useless rares from boosters (and not a single Garruk Relentless goddammit)

Oh, I see what you're trying to do. You're trying to get me back into the game after the umptenth time I've gotten out of it. Well it won't work (it probably will)!

Nonetheless, I look forward to future articles. I've always been more of a casual player, so I've haven't seen much of the more technical side of the game.

Cool article, nice to see MTG getting some attention on this site.

As for myself? I play magic casually with friends, currently running two almost, but not quite standard decks. Mono White knights(which plays by making my knights indestructible and then buffing them up to the point of insanity), which is kinda aggro, which is basically throw dudes at guys, with some fun removal and some great protection(mirran crusader FTW!). I also run mono blue mill with Invisible stalkers and trepidation blades for an alternate win condition.

I got into Magic late and shortly in High School. Made a SURPRISINGLY effective five color Sliver deck built around Crystaline Sliver, Sylvan Library/Abundance combo and Aluren. I later built a gravyard manipulation deck using Tortured Existence and Hell's Caretaker/Recurring Nightmare... Then nothing. For years.

Now, with Duel of the Planeswalkers, I've gotten back in it. Cheap, accessible and relatively balanced. Fun game, awesome fun.

Why is Inkmoth Nexus in your deck when it's the only infecter? Yeah Tezzeret's there to buff it, but still...

Encaen:
Also, the Ramp thing actually had me scratching my head a bit when I was writing, as I wasn't too sure what to call this style of Ramp deck other than than "Aggro." It's not Control, and it doesn't really look to Combo like Valakut used to. It kind of got defaulted to the Aggro category for lack of a better fit in the 3 broadest archetypes. Do you think it fits better elsewhere?

How about a Mid-Range deck? Or even more appropriately a Big Mana deck? I know it sound's like a 'Pistol!' in a game of rock-paper-scissors, but those names are used for a reason. ;)

Anyway I'm a MtG player since 2004, and tournament player since 2006 up until now (although I had a few year gap in between). No accomplishments except from some local tournaments here and there, but I'm trying. I was playing GP In Milan this October, and this weekend I'm going to attend the second biggest open tournament in Poland.

I'm from the opposite side of spectrum from you. I'm an aggro player at heart, and the only control deck I enjoyed was an old 'Invasion-Time Spiral Extended' Izzet-Tron deck, without unfun mumbo-jumbos like Mindslaver/Academy Ruins (Demonfire and Sundering Titan all the way!). Back to aggro, I'm currently playing a tier-b deck at best, UW Humans. That's because after seeing Champion of the Parish, and looking at SOM gems like Mirran Crusader and Hero of Bladehold, I decided that White Weenie might fun to play. It was, but it died horribly whenever an opponent blasted Day of Judgment in my face. Now with Moorland Haunt and Mana Leak, at least I have SOME way of defense. And since I don't have much cash to build some other deck, I stick with my guns, especially since it's not that weak as you could think it is.

I run a Blue/White Grinder deck. If it had a Planeswalker dedicated right to it, it'd be a mix between Lord of the Unreal, Jace Beleren and someone randomly punching Freddy Krueger in the junk. Seriously, thank you 2012 and Innistrad for allowing me to make a Victorian, Lovecraftian Nightmare, big hugs. I started playing right when the 2012 Core Set came out, and apparantly it's a mark of considerable status if I can almost beat up Sliver Decks... So yeah....

An ongoing Magic column? I hope it's accessible to noobs! I'm going to start playing next year (Mostly just with my brother though). I asked for some of the cards for Christmas, a Deck Building Box, Intro Packs, Booster Packs, etc. Might buy the Duels of the Planeswalkers game on Steam as well...

I have 13 decks I enjoy playing

Edit:

Damn... you're UB Control deck is drastically different from mine...

My potential top tier standard decks are Tempered steel, illusions, humans, and UB Control

I say potential, because I'd have to tweak a few of them with expensive cards I'm not to particularly concerned about for casual play *cough*inkmoth*cough* *cough*Mox opal*cough*

So many inkmoths.... I only own 1...

That being said... the first deck I made since coming back to the game is a mono ramp Eldrazi Green.

I love that deck...

I started back when the friend brought back a bunch of cards from dragonflight after winning the "we're showing this brand new game" tournament. Played till about visions? I do somewhat dread a new escapist article talking about the game might cause me to relapse!!

I was very happy to see this column. I had just recently gotten into magic... Even so, my friends and have played pretty obsessively. I started playing a month after the 2012 set came out... So yeah, I'm real fresh to the game.

I have not played competitively... yet xP. Currently having tons of fun with a slightly moderated grave born deck. =D

Pft, underpowered? I'm running a mono-green aggro and a mono-blue Commander deck. I only play casual, cos I really don't have the time and money to play at events, and even then my decks are only average at their best.

Oh... some people like to build decks based on what they pulled... that's exactly how my UB control deck works. With the exception of a few lower cost trades and a Wurmcoil trade, I pulled every card from a pack.

It all started when I had 3 darkslick shores collecting dust.

Here's my UB control

http://www.mtgdeckbuilder.net/Decks/ViewDeck/292122

I don't go to tournaments, so I don't have a full sidebar.

deth2munkies:

I play at 3rd Coast Cards in Houston (Katy)

That's where I bought my "From the Vault: Dragons"

:D

Also the dual lands and grave titans I needed for the zombie deck before the idea was scrapped and it became my current UB control

Oh yeah... that reminds me... I did buy the grave titan, I didn't pull it...

I've been playing since 1999, I main Demon and started a vampire and a werewolf deck and I only play casually(meaning I use any cards I please in a deck to play for fun.)

I haven't played in person in years plus I'm afraid to with the Elitism that happens in games these days I'll get trampled not only by the game but by my opponent insulting me.

Azure Knight-Zeo:
Why is Inkmoth Nexus in your deck when it's the only infecter? Yeah Tezzeret's there to buff it, but still...

Because it's one of the best cards in standard right now.

That top 8 deck list is why I wouldn't never play MtG competitively. Four of those decks are identical, down to the sidebar. It really sucks the fun out of magic when people are playing with net decks.

Aside from that, I enjoy casual magic with a couple buddies. We all play fun theme or combo decks and it's usually a blast. Tournament play is just too cut throat for me, especially when that rock/paper/scissors aspect is taken to the extreme and you literally need to be playing one of a few decks, or very minor variation of, to compete.

Oh, and I hate the Annihilator mechanic. I find it a bit game-breaking when one card can destroy multiple permanents every turn. I know a lot of it comes down to blocks being designed to compete only with other decks comprised of cards from the sets in that block, but Annihilator is one of the mechanics I don't enjoy.

I took a similar break from MtG as you did, but I was lucky enough to start playing when Unlimited was in production. Unfortunately I didn't buy too many cards from Arabian Nights, but I had lots from Antiquities up to the start of 5th ed. when I finally lost interest and the will to spend money on MtG. I ended up giving all my cards to my cousin and he still has them and we now play together again, but all those old cards are out in storage somewhere. Hopefully they are not damaged.

We've now been playing agains since the Shards of Alara block, and I've purchased a good amount of Lorwyn stuff (which I quite enjoy), as well as everything up to Innistrad . I have a pretty fun Goblin Rogue deck (most cards from Lorwyn block, but any rogue/goblin is acceptable) that is quite effective. My other really fun deck is a just a creature deck, but all the creatures are boars, oxes, swine and that type of four legged creature. It's silly and not terribly good, but a blast to play when it rolls out perfectly.

Well this is going to be an interesting series.

Vintage combo player, reporting here.

I never could stand Standard (heh) purely because of the tiny cardpool. Out of all the player archetypes I'm closest to good ol' Johnny. I spend my spare time finding weird cards and breaking the hell put of them.

My most successful deck to date was a Vintage take on the "Fruity Pebbles" deck, which utilised Enduring Renewal, Goblin Bombardment and an Ornithopter to loop it for 20 damage. Currently I'm working on a U/B zombie mill deck with some of the nice cards that have come in from Innistrad.

But I digress, welcome to the 'scapist.

Awesome, a magic column!

I'm currently playing a U/R delver deck, with small creatures, some burn and some blue goodness. Pretty fun to play, because you basically win with one or two creatures that just won't die because of your counterspells.

Zom-B:
That top 8 deck list is why I wouldn't never play MtG competitively. Four of those decks are identical, down to the sidebar. It really sucks the fun out of magic when people are playing with net decks.

Aside from that, I enjoy casual magic with a couple buddies. We all play fun theme or combo decks and it's usually a blast. Tournament play is just too cut throat for me, especially when that rock/paper/scissors aspect is taken to the extreme and you literally need to be playing one of a few decks, or very minor variation of, to compete.

Just so you're aware; that 75 they all played isn't a net deck; it's a team deck. Thats what teams do; they find the best list and all play it.

And, sure, the decks in any given format tend to channel down to a smaller number, often half a dozen or less, of really good decks...but again, there is a lot more skill than people give credit in selecting which deck is right for the day and tuning it.

Anyway, interesting article. I'd agree with some others that a deck who's primary game plan is six drops can't possibly be called aggro; I'd call it combo before calling it aggro, and I'd call it control before calling it that. (It's game plan involves staying alive until it can start dropping a mit full of enormous/enormous threats).

I'd also, were I playing deck-doctor for your list (assuming I wanted to play basically the list presented) make a few changes

Firstly, dismember is awesome, but at its least awesome when you are playing black and at its worst when you are playing a controlling black deck. The four life is very relevant - for 1 mana removal spells you need 'em against aggro and dismember is sometimes going to be a brick. Try wring flesh or similar.

Secondly, with Tez you're mostly going to be +1ing him, and you're going to wiff a fairly high percentage of the time. He's not a great card if you're going to wiff one turn in 4; this deck will wiff one turn in two.

Third, royal assassin - did it become 1997 again and I not notice?

Anyway, just some thoughts. Well done though on getting the gig and keeping the conversation rolling!

Dudes, it's ALL about B/G Infect.

Phyrexian Crusader>This format.

I don't really play it anymore outside of an occasional game with my brother and cousin like twice a year.
The last time I checked into Magic, I was like "WTF those 2/2 creatures cost only 2 mana? either blue or black? and they come with this nice additional ability??? back in the day, 2/2 creatures cost 3 mana and then not always had nice effects!"
To me it really seemed that (to increase profit), many of the "new" editions have too strong cards. After reading your article, I think the low efficiency of control, the extinction of combo decks and the prevalence of aggro decks might result from new editions' cards simply being too strong.

This is basically what is preventing me from playing sometimes. Along with the cost of it. Playing Magic is expensive enough as it is but I couldn't use any of the cards I own because they are too old/wrong editions and then many of them would simply be underpowered compared to the new ones.

Question to the author (or any other Magic-savvy person): What would be a good, fun and cost-efficient way to get back into Magic in your opinion?
I thought about maybe signing up for a booster draft friday night Magic but then again I'm one of those socially awkward Internet people and very shy :(

rofltehcat:
I don't really play it anymore outside of an occasional game with my brother and cousin like twice a year.
The last time I checked into Magic, I was like "WTF those 2/2 creatures cost only 2 mana? either blue or black? and they come with this nice additional ability??? back in the day, 2/2 creatures cost 3 mana and then not always had nice effects!"
To me it really seemed that (to increase profit), many of the "new" editions have too strong cards. After reading your article, I think the low efficiency of control, the extinction of combo decks and the prevalence of aggro decks might result from new editions' cards simply being too strong.

This is basically what is preventing me from playing sometimes. Along with the cost of it. Playing Magic is expensive enough as it is but I couldn't use any of the cards I own because they are too old/wrong editions and then many of them would simply be underpowered compared to the new ones.

Question to the author (or any other Magic-savvy person): What would be a good, fun and cost-efficient way to get back into Magic in your opinion?
I thought about maybe signing up for a booster draft friday night Magic but then again I'm one of those socially awkward Internet people and very shy :(

The new cards are not really OP, you just have to get used to the faster paced games. Also MTG is not that Pricy. On good MTG selling sites boosters are like 3 bucks for 15 cards. Which if you have a part time job that you put 20-30 hours a week into with 10-12 dollars an hour, that's at least 200 dollars in the week. Which would be about 66 booster packs and is about 990 cards. Sure there are other things to put your money into, and there is tax and shipping but still MTG is pretty easy to get into, and if you need a planeswalker the average one is 5-10 bucks. Also I prefer personally the newer faster paced games.

I primarily play FNMs at the local game store, but I have entered a Starcity tourney once or twice. First time was right after Innistrad came out, and my deck did pretty well. The second was after Innistrad was out for a bit, and everybody, I mean goddamn everybody, was running blue and a full playset of Snapcaster. Out of 18 people (about 8 or 10 that came up from Ontario (I live in a really small town)) 14 was running blue. Only 4 people (myself included) decided to run something else. One was a werewolf deck, the other 2 were Kessig wolf run, and I ran Zombies.

I'm sorry, nothing against UX control, but when everybody plays it, it gets annoying after a bit. I think Snapcaster was one of the worst cards in the set. Even Kessig can be dealt with, Spellskite can steal its boosts. No one plays tribal anymore, which makes me sad.

I started as Worldwake was in its prime, and I got hooked to aggrocontrolcombo (yes, all three at the same time) decks. My first real deck was a WR lifegain deck that ran Lord of Shatterskull Pass, Cunning Sparkmage, Basilisk Collar and Kor Firewalker.It was hilarious to use the Sparkmage Collar combo to ping my Opps field, then swing with a huge Lord.

But, that was not to last. It wasn't that good, and I had to tear it apart. But, my next deck, ohhh my next deck. I decided, you know what, Imma go with a theme. I look at my cards, and some of the cards on gatherer, and decide that Goblin's fiery suicide, and humorous flavour text, was perfect for me. I make it a challenge, the only creature I am allowed to have will be goblins. Shortcutters, Tunnelers, and Battle Rattle Shamans were my bread and butter, until I found my Winstigator.

To clarify, Warren Instigator is a small goblin, 1/1 for RR, but it has 2 key abilities. First, it has double strike. Woo, a double striking goblin, how useful! But, it's real use came with it's second ability. "Whenever Warren Instigator deals combat damage to an opponent, you may put a Goblin permanent from you hand onto the battlefield." Turn three double Siege Gang Commander anybody? Or how about sneaking in a chieftain during combat to power up all my gobbos?

When Scars came out, my deck really took off. Mountain, Memnite, Kuldotha. Mountain, Bushwacker Kicked, Swing for eight. Mountain, chieftian, swing for 10. Lightning bolt. I put 2 Koths in my deck, providing Mountain damage by turn 6. I was the king at FNMs, regularly winning 10 packs a week. People started playing goblins, there were 6 at its highest, and we only usually got around 18 people. But, none of them were as focused, as streamlined, as mine. I literally spent a year fine tuning it, honing it to a razor edge. And then Zendikar rotated out and I wept. I did not weep for Winstigator. I did not weep for Lightning bolt. I did not weep for Goblin Guide. I wept for Goblin Bushwacker. RR for a 2/1 haste that gave all my other goblins +1/0 and haste. This common was a bomb for me, and it is really easy to see why.

But, I had to move one, so I made a Black Zombie deck. I was working on it for a few months, and it seems to have come together. I finally had my 4 Phyrexian Crusaders (getting them was like pulling teeth), my 4 Cemetary Reapers, and my 2 Geth, lord of the Vaults. It seemed to work fine, and Innistrad came out. 3/4 Flying zombie for 3? Yes please! Oh wait, it's in Blue, well that should be fine. I'll just splash in Blue. What's this, 5/6 Flying Zombie that can be played from the graveyard for 3? Oh god yes! Also, in blue? Ehh, UB it is! What's this, your mana hates you? Ok, as they say, once you go black...

So, now I play Black zombie controlcomboaggro, which is really fun. My only mana ramp to speak of is Solemn Simalcrum, but that's fine. I like it jus the way it is.

Oh, right, this thing had an article. First, take out curiosity and Stalker. Run Vault Skirge instead. Also, run 3/3 of Doom Blade and GFTT. or 3/2/2 of DB, GFTT and Dismember. Take out Royal Assassin, and put in Grave titan. Batterskull seems, off, in your deck. I would suggest a Wurmcoil Engine or two.

rofltehcat:
I don't really play it anymore outside of an occasional game with my brother and cousin like twice a year.
The last time I checked into Magic, I was like "WTF those 2/2 creatures cost only 2 mana? either blue or black? and they come with this nice additional ability??? back in the day, 2/2 creatures cost 3 mana and then not always had nice effects!"
To me it really seemed that (to increase profit), many of the "new" editions have too strong cards. After reading your article, I think the low efficiency of control, the extinction of combo decks and the prevalence of aggro decks might result from new editions' cards simply being too strong.

Actually, the game has just come out of a period where the best deck - by a large margin - was a control deck. Multiple cards were banned to pull its power down. You can't look at the results of a single tournament and judge that only aggro is good enough.

A month ago the best deck was U/B control. A week before that it was solar flare (UWB reanimator/control). At the end of the last standard season (before inistraad) it was probably a combo deck; twin, maybe. Combo decks tend to die out immediately post-rotation because their are less cards for the critical interactions to exist.

Question to the author (or any other Magic-savvy person): What would be a good, fun and cost-efficient way to get back into Magic in your opinion?
I thought about maybe signing up for a booster draft friday night Magic but then again I'm one of those socially awkward Internet people and very shy :(

Most people are pretty friendly, at least where I am from - remember, most magic players are pretty socially awkward as well! Which isn't to say there will be no jerkholes, but hey. Drafting is certainly a good way to get back into magic, if you mean real life magic.

Otherwise, duels of the planeswalkers is pretty cheap and is almost magic. You can get it for 10 bucks off steam or xbla, I believe.

Modo (magic online) is also available. It isn't cheap, but you can draft to your hearts (well, wallets) content and it is real magic.

edit: Oh, and, as it seems to be something people are doing: I started in revised, before legends was released. Played more-or-less constantly in the interim; currently on a minor break due to being upset with wizards over the whole 'lets screw worlds' thing.

im a particularly terrible M:TG player, but I try.

I fell in and out of the game a lot, due to not having people to play. my first real step in it was Time Spiral through people I met, but since those same people I met played out to legacy and vintage, ive always had to duke it out with Mirrodin and Kamigawa, ever since i started.

I started playing again a little while ago because of my fiancée, who was in the same boat as I. we're not cuthroat in the slightest, but as we got into the 2010/2011/2012 core, and the scars arc of mirrodin, things got...crazy as she still had cards from eras all the way up to ice age, but mostly ravinica.

most of my decks are with her, but here's what I tend to play, and id bet more then half fit in legacy or vintage because of one card or another i used from her collection.

Illusion Tribal- U
Zombie tribal- UB (they just seem to have a hard time staying dead- tryed to combo inistrad tribal with older zombies, middling success.)
Human Tribal/w Gideon-W (just an excuse to use the gideon i pulled, the humans do some pretty serious damage.)
unmodified Myr of mirrodin deck (because ive yet to find a way to make it better, and scrambling Myr make me happy.)
"goblin" tribal, R (but with no goblin grenades, it just kinda stinks)
"spirit" tribal, UW (innistrad and kamigawan spirits with a couple white charge cards and lockdowns)
And my personal favorite...

Mill- mono blue. now this deck is most definitely legacy or vintage. i literally put together a hodgepodge of draw, monsters to provide defenses, and a kit of milling cards, and the whole plan is "hold out for this to work". the first time i did a 30 card mill with keening stone. or forced Hedron crabs landfalls around, was pretty satisfying. but ill freely admit its probably not fun for anyone else in the room, specially when someone else wants in on our matches.

but y'know what? when she's packing elf-tribal, Garruk 1.0, chandra nalaar 1.0, Kamigawan spirits and a W soldier deck around Ajani, all of which stretch back easily to Kamigawa and ravinica at least, id say most of the reasons I even win are because she doesn't swing every time its sensible.

...then again, she's probably waiting to chain a blanchwood armor-overwhelming stampede.

I've always been partial to red/green weenie. When I change it up I add white and build Zoo. That being said I haven't played in ages.

I started playing a year ago around the release of Scars of Mirrodin.

When I discovered the EDH (now Commander) format I made it my main. Slower, more fulfilling games with a chance for Combo.

Now playing (Generals): Rafiq of the Many (GWU), Glissa, the Traitor (BG) and Crosis, the Purger (UBR).

Favorite color: Green

Least favorite color: Red

To be fair, half of that top 8 was tempered steel, a deck which is famous for being powerful but easily hated out of the metagame. Noone was prepared for it, and it swept into top 8.

If you like mana ramp, I'm kind of surprised you aren't going Kessig Wolf Run. There are around four different variations of the deck, and it is probably the most fun I've ever had casting a turn two rampant growth into a turn 4 titan.

Though I started playing in Ice Age, Tempest was really my kicking off point. After which I quit for a few years and got back on the horse for one more round with Ravnica. At that point I had built a blue/black deck of evil milling denial. Want your favorite card? hope you haven't discarded it already.
After that, and winning 3 tournaments in a row at the local store my friend owned, I hung up my MtG boots (decks) and moved on to Warmachine.

Casual player here. The only tournaments I will play in are drafts, because the playing field is leveled. I don't have the time or inclination to research deck strategies and fork out the money to have a "top tier" deck for constructed.

I get in and out the game based on the set. I got into the game during Onslaught block with a white Cleric tribal deck.

Mirrodin and Kamigawa were "meh" to me, but I loved Ravnica. Dual-color decks are my favorite. I skipped Time Spiral because it was mostly made to appeal to the fans of the old school that I wasn't a part of.

Lorwyn was cool. Dual-colors and tribal, it tapped into the two past sets I really liked. I got big in during Lorwyn and that got me to look into Time Spiral as well.

Zendikar I liked, but interest petered off afterward with the newer stuff.

I imagine I'll get into it again when another set comes along that piques my interest.

mrverbal:

Secondly, with Tez you're mostly going to be +1ing him, and you're going to wiff a fairly high percentage of the time. He's not a great card if you're going to wiff one turn in 4; this deck will wiff one turn in two.

Third, royal assassin - did it become 1997 again and I not notice?

Yeah... I was telling my friend that if he is just turn fouring in hopes for a sword, he might as well just tutor it up.

And royal assassins are da sheet.

YAAAAY!!! A Magic column! I've been wondering if the Escapist would ever hit upon this topic outside of LRR, and I'm glad it has!!!

Can't wait to read more of what you have in store!

I've been playing for a long, long time (Ice Age) and still like the game. Though I tend to prefer to play in pubs so I can have a pint; it helps keep things at a more casual level. Not bad casual, just casual.

Anyway, I live in Portland OR, so if someone's out there and likes that idea you're welcome to join.

Also, I started writing about all the stuff I play here: http://swingfor20.blogspot.com/

I'm still working out the kinks in the writing but practice, practice, practice.

Good luck with the Escapist gig!

i may be stupid, which is a likely possibility, but i need some help with darksteel sentinal.
it says it is indestructible and that lethal damage doesn't destroy it, but that it is still put in the graveyard if it's toughness hits zero. so what does that mean? in my head im thinking this means that its toughness can't go below 1 by simple battle but im also pretty sure im wrong. so help please.

fangclaw:
i may be stupid, which is a likely possibility, but i need some help with darksteel sentinal.
it says it is indestructible and that lethal damage doesn't destroy it, but that it is still put in the graveyard if it's toughness hits zero. so what does that mean? in my head im thinking this means that its toughness can't go below 1 by simple battle but im also pretty sure im wrong. so help please.

Well,

Damage doesn't reduce toughness as such; it's that if you've been dealt as much damage as your toughness, that is 'lethal' damage.

But it can be killed by -1/-1 counters or by cards like last grasp. (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=89056)

So any amount of regular damage won't kill it. It also doesn't get killed by cards which 'destroy' it (like doom blade). But it is killed by having zero toughness, or which remove it from the game (like revoke existance) or which make you sacrifice it (like cruel edict).

Does that help?

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