A few months ago, I started teaching my boyfriend how to play Magic The Gathering. Now, I know what you’re thinking- isn’t HE supposed to be teaching ME that sort of thing? In most relationships, sure. But we’re on pretty equal playing fields when it comes to our nerd-cred. He’s a rocket scientist, and I played magic competitively for a few years (somewhere in there, it evens out). #relationshipgoals

Anyways, he’s been casually playing in drafts for the past couple weeks. This weekend he brought home a “Deck Builder’s Toolkit” box, and we spent the better part of Sunday getting started on building him a deck for standard, which is what ultimately inspired this blog post.

See, when you want to build a deck for the first time, there are a ton of things to keep in mind.

It’s not one size fits all.

Everybody has their own play style. If you’ve found that you enjoy being super aggressive & dealing tons of damage- there’s a deck for that. If you’ve found you enjoy the long play, and building a strategy around denying your opponent the ability to make plays- there’s a deck for that too! Find out what play-style you enjoy the most, and then move on to choosing what colors you want in your deck.


Each color has it’s own personality.

For example, white cards can typically be used for enhancing your creatures or denying your opponent the opportunity to do things. Blue cards can be super controlling and block your opponent from being able to accomplish anything- the combination of white and blue cards in a deck can make a great control deck.

Green cards have a ton of creatures that you can use to trample your enemy. They also have cards that allow mana ramping, or getting lots of mana super fast, so you can play those giant creatures. If you made a green & white deck, you could have massive creatures from the green that are further enhanced by your white cards- you can see how quickly that could become a pain in the ass for your opponent!

Black cards are maniacal! I’d never date a guy with a mono-black deck, for fear he’d kill me in my sleep, because he’s probably a sociopath. Black cards are used to destroy creatures. You can also take life from your opponent, poison people, and make people discard their cards- all around mean stuff.

Similarly, red cards are pretty destructive as well. A lot of the creatures have haste, so you can play them immediately. They’re very aggressive, and generally fast-play decks. You can build a pretty solid burn deck in just about any standard rotation.

Here’s a fun quiz I found for determining which colors match your personality. Zero surprise- I got white & blue.  Thanks, Internet.


Rotation & Meta are muy importante!

There’s a once a year rotation schedule that introduces new sets of cards into standard competitions. As the new set is introduced, another set will rotate out, and the process continues annually. What this means is that the deck you build may have a few cards that you’re going to have to replace within the next year. If you’re building a deck close to a new rotation, I’d suggest not basing it off of cards that are about to be illegal in standard.

Also- Keep in mind what’s going on in standard. Follow competitions, see if there’s anything meta-breaking going on. I like checking out the pro’s deck lists on Star City Games.

If you learn one thing today:

Even though it may feel expensive, you’ll ultimately have a better deck if you determine the specific cards & buy those individual cards from a store (online or brick & mortar). In my head it makes way more sense than buying an entire box of booster packs and hoping to get what you want eventually.

I also personally enjoy the experience of going to a store and talking through my ideas with the employees while buying the cards. They can be an excellent resource for your decision making!


Let’s be real- there’s a ton to keep in mind. Between colors, mana cost, rotation, creature types, abilities, and combos- it’d be hard (nearly impossible) to cover it all in a single blog post. However, these are the items I think are most essential for at least getting started in deciding what type of deck you want to build.

So, do your research. Define your preferred play-style. Check out what’s in standard. See which cards match your personality, ,and GLHF!


photocred: 1. el_filipo 2. mtgsalvation.com 3. magic.wizards.com 4. playlivenation.com