Author Topic: M:tG Deck Tips?  (Read 24879 times)

Offline Amechra

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4539
  • Thread Necromancy a specialty
  • Respect: +97
    • View Profile
M:tG Deck Tips?
« Topic Start: April 28, 2012, 01:27:06 AM »
Alright, in an extremely generic manner, I would like to ask what steps I would have to consider while making a creature-free deck.
"There is happiness for those who accept their fate, there is glory for those that defy it."

"Now that everyone's so happy, this is probably a good time to tell you I ate your parents."

Offline billking

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • I'm new!
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #1: May 10, 2012, 07:03:59 PM »
1) Contrary to popular belief, creatureless decks actually care MORE about having a good mana curve than creature decks. If a creature deck misses its curve and gets expensive threats instead, it can still win by dropping large threats later. If a creatureless deck misses its curve, it will be quickly destroyed by many small creatures. Relying too heavily on a sweeper, such as Wrath of God, is a bad idea; good opponents will hold creatures in hand if they are winning handily and expect a sweeper, and then cast them in a flurry when you're tapped out after casting the sweeper.

Having a good curve is especially important against aggressive decks that play red (for direct damage) or blue (for Mana Leak). Such decks might be able to ignore a sweeper entirely, by going for direct damage after the sweep or by simply preventing the sweeper from ever resolving.

Find constructive things to do with your early mana. If you are running pure combo deck, cards like Ponder, Preordain, and Telling Time can be vital early plays to ensure you "go off" as soon as possible. If you're going for more of a combo-control, cheap, one-for-one removal, like Lightning Bolt or Tragic Slip, is important to clear out small but efficient creatures so that your opponent must dedicated medium-size creatures to your board sweepers. Don't learn too hard on cheap, one-for-one removal though, or your opponent may counter with tokens or with large creatures.

2) Make sure you have multiple routes to card advantage. Creature-based decks regularly experience card advantage by manuevering into a situation where their big creature effectively cancels two or more smaller creatures; even if the creatures do not actually trade, one card preventing two cards from attacking is virtual card advantage. As a creatureless deck, you will never have this in your favor, and many cards that are balanced by this concept become devastating against you ó for example, the spell Lingering Souls can generate four 1/1 creatures with one card, which is not that a big deal against someone who controls a single 1/2 or larger flier, but devastating against you if left unchecked; sweepers are often circumvented by cards that create tokens more than one time.

Permanents (non-creature ones, I guess) can be good here. For example, a single Night of Soul's Betrayal shuts down both castings of Lingering Souls, plus all other Lingering Souls remaining in the opponent's deck! Many Planeswalkers can shut down multiple creatures with a single card. You also want sweepers and/or pure card drawing to get card advantage. Keep your mind open to "impure" sweepers, such as Arc Trail, which is just as useful against a 2/1 and a 3/2 as a Wrath of God would be but at half the mana cost.

3) Planeswalkers are more powerful against you, since you cannot attack them with creatures as a check against their power. You can remove them three ways: direct removal such as Oblivion Ring, direct damage such as Lightning Bolt, or by running the same planeswalker yourself. The third option is particularly attractive in combination with creature sweepers; since the #1 enemy of planeswalkers are creatures, and you're not running creatures, cards like Wrath of God have a double synergy.

Offline Sinfire Titan

  • Hustler 3
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
  • You have one round to give a rat's ass.
  • Respect: +28
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #2: May 10, 2012, 10:53:22 PM »
Alright, in an extremely generic manner, I would like to ask what steps I would have to consider while making a creature-free deck.

Honestly, your best bet will be the Storm decks out there. Like this old one:

(click to show/hide)

The Empty the Warrens can be replaced by Grapeshot, while the Xantid Swarms can be replace with Pact of Negations (if you can afford them).

I hate saying this, but Lion's Eye Diamond is irreplaceable. This deck is very expensive, but it is top tier. A lesser, cheaper version of it would be feasible but it would take time to hammer out.
Concerned about how moderation works here? Please PM this account.

Offline Halinn

  • Legendary Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2067
  • My personal text is impersonal.
  • Respect: +31
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #3: May 11, 2012, 10:46:45 AM »
If one wants to try a budget Storm deck, perhaps try Sac Land Tendrils

(click to show/hide)

It's less resilient against disruption than normal Storm, but about as fast.

Offline JohnnyMayHymn

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 744
  • Former Lord of the Kitchen Sink
  • Respect: +10
    • View Profile
    • Faux Blast
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #4: May 11, 2012, 01:31:45 PM »
What format are you wanting to play? Standard, 1.5, casual multiplayer etc...

How much do you want to spend/ or how exhaustive is your mtg collection?

To a lesser extent, if it's casual, how powerful are your friends decks?

In any case, you need to decide on a win condition.  Then find ways in that(those) color(s) to protect yourself and disrupt your opponent while you set up the apocalypse. 
Alternatively, you could choose a good lock, then pick a win condition that fits.
Then as stated before, you need a consistent manabase.

Casual multiplayer is a special case b/c sometimes you can trick everyone into thinking you're harmless until its too late.

Things that are your friends: tutoring, card drawing, discard, counterspells, milling, mass removal, (reusable)targeted removal, card selection, stealing others permanents, graveyard recursion, etc etc
 
The Emperor
Can you find the Wumpus?

Offline brujon

  • Legendary Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2424
  • Insufferable Fool
  • Respect: +40
    • View Profile
    • My Blog (in PT-BR)
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #5: May 17, 2012, 10:48:45 AM »
Also, there are a lot of pretty good lands that can become creatures. You still won't have any creatures on your deck, but you at least have the option to have some if you need to, like if you need to block a heavy hitter that managed to slip past your first line of defenses. And like always, you need to consider strategy. Why no creatures at all? There are many creatures nowadays that work more like sorceries that are also creatures. There's so many "when it enters the battlefield" effect creatures, and recurrent cheap creatures, that most decks (outside of legacy, that is), have at least 2 or 3 creatures. If you play planeswalkers, you'll want at least some chump blockers to prevent your planeswalker from being attacked directly. Lastly, you'll want to sideboard heavily against aggro decks. If you're going combo or burn, which are the two deck types that come to my mind when i think of a creature free deck, you need some time to "go off", which can be a problem if you're going against fast aggro decks, like Bant Aggro, Goblins, Fairies, etc... Sweepers aren't a great way of dealing with those kinds of deck because they usually have great recovery mechanics for a sweeper or, like said before, can drop a lot of critters following a sweeper, and you really don't have a whole lot of space for sweepers in your deck... They're there just to get you some breathing room. Best defense against those kinds of deck is messing up their mana curve. Land destruction, or some form of mana control (winter orb, etc..). If they don't have enough mana to drop a lot of critters at once, they don't recover well from a sweeper, and can't really build enough damage faster than you can get your combo online, or whittle them down with cheap burn spells. Many planeswalkers also can also somewhat defend themselves, creating tokens to block creatures that want to hit them, returning creatures to the player hands, etc...

There's not much generic advice that can be given for playing a creatureless deck, if we don't at least know what the general strategy will be. Is it control, combo, aggro, or some novel strategy?
"All the pride and pleasure of the world, mirrored in the dull consciousness of a fool, are poor indeed compared with the imagination of Cervantes writing his Don Quixote in a miserable prison" - Schopenhauer, Aphorisms: The Wisdom of Life

Offline Amechra

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4539
  • Thread Necromancy a specialty
  • Respect: +97
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #6: May 17, 2012, 03:41:05 PM »
I was more looking for general ideas, as it were; I actually don't currently have the cards to build a strong deck, and I'm saving up for college, so there isn't any luck there.

In other words, I was asking just to get a general idea of how I would approach it in a meta-game manner; the only person who is actually serious about Magic in the area (i.e., the only other person who stands a chance of beating me without luck, since the two of us are just teaching a bunch of other people, none of whom have quite got the hang of it yet), runs a graveyard deck, which means my basic choice of making a mill deck doesn't work very well, so I've been exploring options.

I do have a couple graveyard-clearers, but I'm worried that I don't have enough... Though Liability and Falkenrath Nobles make life just a little harder for him, with maybe a Mage of the Abyss for him to chew on, though I'm not sure if I should...

Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, we play very informally; basically, it is any deck size, with any cards we can scrape together.
"There is happiness for those who accept their fate, there is glory for those that defy it."

"Now that everyone's so happy, this is probably a good time to tell you I ate your parents."

Offline JohnnyMayHymn

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 744
  • Former Lord of the Kitchen Sink
  • Respect: +10
    • View Profile
    • Faux Blast
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #7: May 17, 2012, 03:52:28 PM »
In that case try turbo fog you just use a bunch of fog effects and card drawing and throw in some shuffle-my-graveyard-into-my-library effects.  Shure let him get all his creatures out, just prevent the damage :D
One of the cheapest control decks to put together as well.

Or try a pile of counters with one big flyer, let him stock his graveyard and just counter the reanimating cards
The Emperor
Can you find the Wumpus?

Offline Amechra

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4539
  • Thread Necromancy a specialty
  • Respect: +97
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #8: May 17, 2012, 04:07:47 PM »
To clarify: he runs a BG deck based around getting as many monsters into the graveyard to bump the power and toughness of his creatures into the 40 range. I mean, I do have a counter to this, but I would need to get out Palace Guard and Ghost Form out at the same time, and get that out early...

Wow, I had not noticed how well those cards combo before this...
"There is happiness for those who accept their fate, there is glory for those that defy it."

"Now that everyone's so happy, this is probably a good time to tell you I ate your parents."

Offline Sinfire Titan

  • Hustler 3
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
  • You have one round to give a rat's ass.
  • Respect: +28
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #9: May 18, 2012, 12:49:09 AM »
A simple Relic of Progenitus will be enough to stop him (most decks these days run cards like that on sideboard because of how many ways there are to interact with the graveyard), and even a simple Go for the Throat or Sever the Bloodline is enough to deal with something like Lord of Extinction or Sutured Ghoul.

A most vital aspect of this game is consistency, and going over the 60 card minimum seriously affects your consistency. I recommend, above everything else, that you keep to the minimum (or a maximum of 63 cards, if you absolutely have to). More cards means your percentage chance of drawing what you need when you need it drops, resulting in you getting plowed something fierce. Only one deck in all of Magic (barring Highlander formats) should be more than 63 cards (Battle of Wits, BTW), and even that deck requires very good piloting skills to be worth it.
Concerned about how moderation works here? Please PM this account.

Offline Amechra

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4539
  • Thread Necromancy a specialty
  • Respect: +97
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #10: May 18, 2012, 02:07:24 PM »
Thanks for that advice; I always try to stay around 60 cards, because I usually only have singles of a given card, and it makes them easier to find...
"There is happiness for those who accept their fate, there is glory for those that defy it."

"Now that everyone's so happy, this is probably a good time to tell you I ate your parents."

Offline Mindstab_Thrull

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Squee must die!!
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #11: May 19, 2012, 11:13:59 AM »
Alright, in an extremely generic manner, I would like to ask what steps I would have to consider while making a creature-free deck.

If you're trying for a "generic" creatureless deck, there's a few things you can look at.
1. Cards the remove your choice of more than one card type, ideally ones that say they remove permanents. I'm talking about Vindicate, Maelstrom Pulse or even Oblivion Ring here. Anything that gets a *permanent* off the board will also work with creatures, and aren't useless if you're not worried about their creatures.
2. Mass removal of some sort, the best being the kind that hist the opponent as well. Lavalanche is a good example, or any of the various Earthquake/Hurricane variants.
3. Using his own cards against him. This could be something as simple as Mind Control or Volition Reins to something more sneaky. A few years ago I was at a Vintage tournament in the US. I was playing an (admittedly bad) Psychatog variant, but I knew Worldgorger Dragon was a big deck.. so I added Animate Dead and Stroke of Genius to my list, both to fuel the Tog and to give me a way to win with my opponent's own Dragon! (Short version: Animate Dead + WGD = both cards bounce in and out of the battlefield, all based on triggered abilities, and you can tap your lands and artifacts for mana in between, allowing infinite mana so you can win with Stroke of Genius at your opponent for more than his library.)

You said his graveyard is the key. See the graveyard as an extension of his hand. Play with cards that are ok on their own but really good against the graveyard - Nihil Spellbomb sees play because at worst it'll get you another card, and at best it kills the graveyards.

Good luck!

Offline Nemo

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #12: June 29, 2012, 02:22:48 PM »
Is there any interesting wincon for black that doesn't involve creatures? I want to make cycle of decks that don't involve creatures [or involve them in weird ways, like token spawning instants or artifacts that turn into creatures and stop being them at end of turn], but I can't find anything reliable and fun while staying pure black.

EDIT
Was building pretty normal drain deck but then drifted from the idea:
4x Consume Spirit
21 x Swamp
2 x Demonic Rising
2 x Homicidal Seclusion
3 x Killing Wave
3 x Tragic Slip
3 x Black Sun's Zenith
3 x Go for the Throat
3 x Geth's Verdict
4 x Innocent Blood
3 x Damnation
3 x Grasp of Darkness
3 x Reassembling Skeleton
3 x Liliana of the Veil

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 05:48:18 PM by Nemo »

Offline Sinfire Titan

  • Hustler 3
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
  • You have one round to give a rat's ass.
  • Respect: +28
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #13: June 29, 2012, 06:19:07 PM »
Profane Command, Exsanguinate, Consume Spirit, and Soul Burn are all kill conditions for mono-Black. Hell, you could run 2 of each and get away with it (though I'd personally go PC*3, Ex*3, CS*3, no SB). Also Death Cloud, but you have to build around that.

Use Gauntlets of Power, Caged Sun, Extraplanar Lens, Doubling Cube, Nirkana Revenant, Cabal Coffers, and Liliana of the Dark Realms (not currently in print, but it will be in about a week or so) to ramp your mana. Solemn Simulacrum and Wayfarer's Bauble both help you accelerate, and it never hurts to have a few mana rocks.

Obviously you shouldn't try to run all of that, but this should give you a marvelous starting point.

There are a ton of options for this style of deck (Death Cloud has been an archtype for years in various formats), so look around.
Concerned about how moderation works here? Please PM this account.

Offline Amechra

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 4539
  • Thread Necromancy a specialty
  • Respect: +97
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #14: June 29, 2012, 07:53:39 PM »
Hey, Sinfire Titan, can you look over my current deck load-out for my Mill deck? These are literally the best cards that I have for Mono-Blue, and if you have suggestions, can you please restrict them to commons (I just found a place where I can by 'em at $.25 a pop, which is nice.)

Creatures
Archivist x1
Arctic Merfolk x1
Deranged Assistant x1
Halimar Wavewatch x1
Merfolk Looter x1
Merfolk Mesmerist x3
Merfolk Spy x1
Mistmeadow Witch x1 (Planning on removing, and replacing with... something.)
Sandbar Merfolk x1
Sea Scryer x1
Seasinger x1
Selhoff Occultist x1
Shriekgeist x1 (Potentially could trade a guy for another one, I guess...)
Silver Myr x1
Soratami Mindsweeper x1
Stern Mentor x1
Stonybrook Banneret x1
Vedalken Infuser x1
Whirlpool Rider x1

Sorceries, Instants, and Enchantments
Call to Mind x1
Cancel x1
Chill of Foreboding x1
Dreadwaters x1
Escape Routes x1
Fuel for the Cause x1
Jace's Erasure x2
Mystic Retrieval x1
Narcolepsy x1
Peel from Reality x1
Tezzeret's Gambit x1
Think Twice x1
Tome Scour x1
Unsummon x1
Volrath's Curse x2

Artifacts
Culling Dais x1
Decimator Web x1
Elixer of Immortality x1
Grindclock x1
Isochron Scepter x1
Obelisk of Esper x1
Reito Lantern x1
Shriekhorn x1
Voltaic Key x1

Lands
Halimar Depths x1
Islands x12
"There is happiness for those who accept their fate, there is glory for those that defy it."

"Now that everyone's so happy, this is probably a good time to tell you I ate your parents."

Offline Sinfire Titan

  • Hustler 3
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
  • You have one round to give a rat's ass.
  • Respect: +28
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #15: June 30, 2012, 01:58:14 PM »
THe first thing to catch my attention is the number of 1-of's. The second is your land count. Unless that 12 is supposed to be a 21, you are running far too few lands (and even 22 lands is lowballing it). Third, you should try Star City Games, Channel Fireball, or Cool Stuff if you want to pick up some commons (their prices are fair, although shipping is annoying).

Here's a sample list I cooked up. It isn't perfect, but it's cheap (about $30). And I know you asked to restrict it to commons, but you are going to need rares (Chancellor of the Spires is incredible).

4 Merrow Witsniper
3 Mindshrieker
2 Kederekt Leviathan
4 Chancellor of the Spires
3 Dimir Doppelganger
2 Deadeye Navigator
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Duskmantle, House of Shadow
4 Bojuka Bog
7 Island
3 Swamp
3 Blue Sun's Zenith
3 Increasing Confusion
4 Induce Paranoia
4 Counterspell
4 Elixir of Immortality

Deadeye Navigator can reuse Merrow Witsniper, Chancellor of the Spires, and even Kederekt Leviathan if things get messy. This allows you a nice spread of abilities, up to and including reseting the board. Dimir Doppelganger is the most expensive card in the deck ($1.50 according to Star City), but it allows you to hate their graveyard and steal their creatures all at the same time. Bojuka Bog is your best friend, completely and effortlessly getting rid of their graveyard and preventing some of the more common reanimator strategies.

Blue Sun's Zenith is, unfortunately, your only source of card draw. If you want, cut the Mindshriekers for Dimir Guildmages. This will give you not only more card draw, but a nice bit of disruption (or you can use Azure Mage, to avoid drawing attention to your draw outlet). Blue Sun's Zenith also has a double-purpose: It's a targeted kill spell. Forcing them to draw their library is a legitimate way of finishing a game.

An alternate to the Zenith is Otherworldly Atlas, which is very potent but capable of backfiring on you (and prone to the Leviathan's EtB trigger).




As I said, it isn't quite what you asked for, but the deck really is dirt-cheap. If needed, I can help set you up with some trades (over at MtGSalvation).
Concerned about how moderation works here? Please PM this account.

Offline littha

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2952
  • +1 Holy Muffin
  • Respect: +22
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #16: June 30, 2012, 02:16:17 PM »
I once ran a deck with no creatures in it, was in Mirrodin block though... 

Mycosynth Lattice + March of the Machines + Darksteel Forge

Need to make sure you have a non-land way of making mana...

Offline Nemo

  • Lurker
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Respect: 0
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #17: July 01, 2012, 01:09:17 PM »
Yeah, I know drain tricks. Though never thought about usind doubling cube, thanks :). Littha, if you have anything that gives them +1/+1, you don't. Like  http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=222744 this guy.

Offline littha

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2952
  • +1 Holy Muffin
  • Respect: +22
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #18: July 01, 2012, 11:07:09 PM »
Definitely but you have to watch out for people killing off that creature in one way or another.

Offline Pencil

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 446
  • - your advertisement could stand here -
  • Respect: +4
    • View Profile
Re: M:tG Deck Tips?
« Reply #19: July 09, 2012, 10:31:02 PM »
too bad mill is in fact not a Deck...
Movie Quote of the Week (Brazil):
Sam Lowry: Is that one of your triplets?
Jack Lint: Yeah, probably.