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    Junior Member Sretnuh Nomead's Avatar
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    Here is a guide that Skankhair made over on the WotC boards:

    This is a guide I have been slowing putting together for a while. I never intended to post it here, but why not? It might help someone.

    You can download this guide in .doc and .pdf format here:

    http://www.magickcupboard.com/Skankhair/cph.zip

    This is a .zip file containing both the .doc and .pdf versions of the guide. Thanks to Dr. Worm for editting and formatting the guide into Word and Reader (these versions of the guide are all nice and pretty, so I suggest you DL them and print them out). Note that the Word and Reader version of this guide may be slightly out of date at any given time (as I occasionally make minor updates to the thread).

    1. Intro
    ----------------------------
    Chapter 1: Magic Theory
    2. Consistancy
    3. Card Advantage
    4. Tempo
    5. Mana Curve
    6. Mana Fixing
    ----------------------------
    Chapter 2: Decks
    7. Restrictions/Formats
    8. Deck Types
    9. Primers
    --a- White Weenies
    --b- Elves
    --c- Goblins
    --d- Affinity
    --e- Madness
    --f- Slide
    --g- Psychatog
    --h- Mono-Black Control
    --i- Fish
    --j- Mono-Blue Control
    --k- Wake
    --l- Sligh
    --m- Big Red
    --n- Tooth and Nail
    --o- Unblockable
    --p- Stompy
    --q- R/G Beatz
    --r- Black (4 easy steps for making a good Black deck)
    --s- Suicide Black
    ----------------------------
    Chapter 3: Beginner Myths and Info
    10. Life Gain
    11. Fatties
    12. Janky Combos
    13. What's a Sideboard?
    14. Glossary

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 1: Introduction

    Hi.

    I wrote this guide to help new and casual players understand the game of Magic better, and to help them improve their decks. I hope this guide provides people with a concise, easy to understand introduction to the wide world of Magic theory and some general information about some popular decktypes which I feel they should become familar with (since doing so will improve their overall understanding of the game). Reading this guide won't make you a Magic expert, but I hope it will at least give you some insight into how the experts think.

    Even if you are not a "newbie" I think this guide will help you. Most casual players and even many tournament players can play for many, many years before understanding most of this stuff. I had to have it taught to me, and there's a good chance it hasn't been taught to you yet. So don't turn away just because you've been playing more than a year.

    I am *NOT* what I would call an "expert". I have played since Unlimited and played in some tournaments, but I'm no pro. I just play for fun like most of you. But I do listen to the experts, have tried to gather and read as many articles written by the experts as I can find, and hope this guide suceeds at saving you the time of reading countless articles by providing the most basic and important information in one spot. I also want to make the information more "casual friendly" than many experts do. I will not focus on helping you win a T2 or T1 tournament, but rather, helping you make your deck better so you can beat your friends and/or go down to the cardshop and be able to win.

    Note that is guide is for constructed play (decks you make from cards you own), not limited play. What is limited? Go here: http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=44005

    Here are some resources you can use in addition to this guide:

    http://www.magiccards.info

    A GREAT Magic search engine. It has pictures, rulings, rules errata etc... for every Magic card. If you don't know what a card I mention does, search for it in MagicCards.info. You can also search by power/toughness, card text (such as trample, flying etc..), casting cost etc....

    http://boards1.wizards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=146

    These are the format and deck forums at the Wizards of the Coast site. These boards have helpful guides/primers/FAQs for each format, and lots of threads discussing the formats and decks. You can post your deck and get feedback, or just the threads and learn.

    http://www.themanadrain.com

    One of the most popular T1-related Magic sites. If you want to get into competitve T1 play, this site will be very important in your journey.

    http://www.starcitygames.com

    A respected Magic site covering all formats. Has a lot of great articles on all styles of play.

    Remember: Magic is a game. It's about having fun. Don't lose sight of that.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 2: Consistancy

    There are 2 basic Magic deck building rules in constructed play:

    -You may use no less than 60 cards in your deck.

    -You may not use more than 4 copies of any card other than the 5 basic land types (and their Snow-Covered variants) unless otherwise stated on the card.

    Make use of these rules. Exploit them.

    Why? How?

    Well, the "how?" is easy. Don't use more than 60 cards in your deck. Run 4 copies of the cards that you want to draw early and often.

    The "why?" is harder to explain.

    If you use more than 60 cards, the chance that you will draw any given card is lower than if you used 60 cards instead. This means you have less of a chance to draw the cards you need the most. The best thing to do is to run only the cards you need/want the most. Cut out the rest. If you have more than 60 cards in your deck, try to decide which cards are the least useful, or are useful less often. Remove them until you get down to 60 cards. This helps increase the chance you will draw the best cards.

    If you want to draw a card early and/or often, run as many as possible. In other words: Four. If you run fewer than 4, your chance of drawing it early and/or often goes down. If you want to draw a card, but you don't need it early, or don't want to draw too many, run 3. If a card is a finisher or a failsafe, you can run 2. Don't run 4 copies of spells that you can't play until turn 7 or so and/or only need 1 copy of to win, such as fatties like Akroma, Angel of Wrath. You will draw them too early and often. 2 or 3 is the right number of high manacost finishers. There are cases where 1 copy is the right number, but those cases usually involve tutors like Demonic Tutor, which allow you to get that card when you need it, so running copy is okay, and you only need to use that card once per game, so running more would take up space it doesn't need. Another reason to run 1 copy of a card is if you want 5 counter magic spells in your deck. Since you can only run 4 Counterspell, you can fill that 5th spot with Mana Leak.

    Aside from running 60 cards and 4 copies of the cards you want to draw early and often, there are other areas to consistancy.

    If you rely on a certain effect to win a game, run many cards that give that effect. An example is the deck U/G Madness. It uses cards that allow you to discard cards from your hand such as Wild Mongrel to play spells with a Madness cost (such as Basking Rootwalla) or Flashback (such as Deep Analysis) for a cheap mana cost. Since Madness needs both discard effects, and cards that can be played for less mana once discarded, it doesn't *JUST* run 4 Wild Mongrel and 4 Deep Analysis. It runs many discard enablers such as Aquamoeba and Waterfront Bouncer, and many Madness and Flashback cards such as Roar of the Wurm and Arrogant Wurm. Since so many of the cards do the same basic thing, a good Madness deck will get the pieces it needs early, often and without fail.

    So if your deck relies on drawing Megrim to do damage to your opponent, you will need more than 4 ways to get Megrim. How do you do that? There is one one card that does what Megrim does! Well, tutors can help. They give you more ways of "drawing" a card that gives you a Megrim effect. You can also try alternate win conditions that work with the rest of your deck such as The Rack. The point is: Don't make a deck that relies on drawing 1 card. You won't always draw that card and your deck will not be consistant.

    If your deck has a goal, a way to win (and EVERY good deck needs this), then you *NEED* to draw the cards to help you accomplish this goal. A consistant deck will draw the cards it needs. An inconsistant deck will not.

    In additon to tutors (such as Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Mystical Tutor...) you can increase consistancy with draw fixers like Impulse, Brainstorm and Serum Visions. In reguards to the next section, note that these cards no NOT generate card advantage directly as you lose 1 card and gain 1 card, but they make your draws better and can generate virtual card advantage (this is explained in the next section).

    One of the rules of Magic is that both players shuffle their deck and draw cards at random. But running the right amount of each card, lots of ways to get each effect you need (be it a 2/2 for 2 mana, or a way to kill a creature), draw fixers, and/or tutors, you make your draws less random, and thus are sort of bending the rules.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 3: Card Advantage

    The basic concept of card advantage is that it is an advantage to have more cards in play, and more cards in your hand.

    The best way to see this in action is to play a game with your friend. Both of you use decks that are evenly matched. Have 1 player draw 2 or 3 cards each turn, and the other player draw the normal 1. Tell me who wins. Actually, don't. I know who it will be.

    Another way to put it:

    Two players are playing a game. One drops a Serra Angel, the other kills it with Terror. The Black player drops a Visara, the White player hits it with Swords to Plowshares. They trade cards this way each turn, one never getting a better board position than the other. Now, if one of the players got to draw 2 cards per turn, they will draw more threats, and more answers. They will win the game.

    The math of card advantage works like this:

    +1 card in your hand = +1 card advantage
    +1 card in play = +1 card advantage
    -1 card in hand = -1 card advantage
    -1 card in play = -1 card advantage

    If you draw a Circle of Protection: Green, against a White deck, it is called a "dead card". Dead cards do not get you card advantage.

    +1 dead card in your hand = no card advantage
    +1 dead card in play = no card advantage

    If a "good" card become dead, either in your hand or in play, it is -1 card advantage.

    Good card because dead card = -1 card advantage
    Dead card become good card = +1 card advantage

    So if you play a Wrath of God, killing 6 of the other player's creatures and 1 of your own, you lost 2 cards (WoG and your creature), but they lost 6. You have netted 4 card advantage.

    If you play a Deep Analysis and then Flashback it, you will draw 4 cards. You lost 1 (Deep Analysis), so you net 3 card advantage.

    There is also virtual card advantage. If the other player has 20 creatures in their deck, and none have flying, and you play Moat, you have just generated vast virtual card advantage by making 20 of his/her cards "dead".

    It may not be very flashy, but card advantage wins games. Adding some cards that give you card advantage such as Night`s Whisper or Deep Analysis can vastly help a deck. If you are playing few creatures, Wrath of God-like cards can generate vast card advantage. Forcing another player to discard also generates card advantage. Fast aggro decks usually do not need card advantage THAT much, but it should be considered in pretty much every deck.

    Just as we wanted to abuse/use the 60/4 rule and the "draw randomly" rule in the second section, in this section we want to abuse the "you draw 1 card during each draw step" rule. Part of making good decks is about breaking/twisting the rules that keep the game balanced and fair.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 4: Tempo

    In the theme of twisting the rules (60/4, draw randomly, draw 1 card each turn), tempo advantage breaks the "you may play 1 land each turn" rule.

    Tempo advantage comes in many forms. Some examples:

    Sol Ring- play it on turn 1 with your land and on turn 2 (if you play another land) you can make 4 mana. Twice what you could make normally. This lets you play bigger spells sooner, or just more spells.

    White Knight (versus a less efficient creature)- For two mana, the White Knight gives you a 2/2 with First Strike and Protection from Black. Using it instead of a 2/2 for 3 mana gives you a tempo advantage. You got more for your mana, which is sort of like having more mana.

    So tempo advantage is about making more mana than you normally can and/or making your spells cost less and getting the most with your mana (by using spells that give you the best effect for the best price).

    If the other player uses all 4 of his lands to play a creature that costs 4, and you pay 1 mana to play a Swords to Plowshares to remove that creature, you generated tempo advantage. How? You got to use 3 mana on your turn, saving 1 mana for the StP. He didn't get to use any mana on his turn, since he wasted all 4 on a creature that was removed. You got to use your turn, he did not.

    If you make more mana, sooner than the other player, or get better spells/effects for the cost than the other player, and outdraw the other player, you are basically taking more turns than they are.

    This is part of the reason that most "good" players don't use many fatties like Akroma or other high casting cost spells. There *ARE* reasons to use cards like that, especially in control decks, but those high casting cost cards are often tempo disadvantage. You spend 6 4-8 mana on something, taking up your whole turn (in terms of casting spells) and have it stopped by a simple 1 or 2 casting cost spell like Counterspell or Terror and you just lost a lot of tempo (that is considering that the other player actually used the rest of his mana, other than the 1 or 2 he/she paid to stop your spell).

    The deck that wins first, wins. This means you either need speed, or stalling power (or a combination of both). Simply using a bunch of high casting cost spells and creatures will not win many games. You need to either be able to win first and fast, or to stall the other player long enough to play your win condition.

    Of course it's better to have a Darksteel Colossus in play on turn 1 than a Savannah Lions, but it's MUCH better to be playing several small, efficient creatures each turn and win on turn 4, rather than wait until turn 5-11 to play fatties. A cheap creature will get to attack many times before a fatty can even be hardcast. Those extra turns of attacking are tempo advantage. This doesn't mean that only weenies are good creatures, but it does mean that unless you have a lot of mana acceleration or a lot of stalling power (control), you should not be using fatties. Of course there are also tricks to getting fatties into play fast such as Tooth and Nail, Reanimation (Animate Dead), Oath of Druids, and Tinker. These spells generate tempo advantage too.

    Here's some more on tempo by bahamut17:

    Another important aspect of tempo is being able to utilize all the cards in your hand. Basically, it doesn't matter if you have 12 cards in your hands, if you only have the mana to play two of them!

    The first thing to notice is card type, Instants versus Sorceries. Cards with similar effects can be far more or far less effective by this simple distinction. Since sorceries usually must be played during your turn, your mana is tied up until your next Untap phase, giving the opponent a huge chance to gain tempo by dropping all thier threats as soon as the mana becomes available.

    Instants played during your turn are similarly misused. The best time to play instants is during YOUR OPPONENTS END-OF-TURN PHASE. Playing instants at this time keeps your mana untapped for the longest time, giving you the tempo advantage that comes with flexibility.

    Its also important to look at tempo lost, as opposed to tempo gained. When there are very many cards in your deck with high mana costs, the odds of drawing these cards, in single or multiple, in the early game, is greatly increased. Cards drawn in the early game that are not effective for awhile, or cannot be played are called "Dead Cards" and are to be avoided whenever possible. Dead cards reduce your hand size, a loss in card advantage, and thus a loss in tempo.

    This concept works in opposition too. A tempo boost is gained whenever you can CREATE Dead cards in your opponents hand. The most obvious method is Land Destruction, denying your opponent mana. Land Destruction decks are almost always based around cheap cards and creating tempo advantage though dead cards in the opponents hand. Another method is utilizing cards like Chill and Presence of the Master.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 5: Mana Curve

    The mana curve is about making the most of your mana. On turn 6, if you have 6 lands, you want to be playing something worth 6 mana. If your deck is full of 1cc spells, you will be weak on turn 6, so you either need to spread out your mana curve, be able to refill your hand with draw, or make sure you deck can win before you start to waste turns. If you are playing lands on turn 1-4, but not playing anything because all of your cards costs 5 mana, you are wasting turns.

    A mana curve looks like this:

    1cc: 12
    2cc: 8
    3cc: 6
    etc....


    Basically, it's the "curve" of your spell's casting costs. The best way to look at your mana curve is to type it out. How many 1cc spells do you have? 2? 3? etc...

    Many decks have very low mana curves like this:

    1cc: 24
    2cc: 12
    3+: 0

    A deck like this will be fast. If your deck looks like this, you need to win fast. If you cannot win within the first 3-5 turns, you may need to use better cards (to win faster) or some good finishers that may cost 3-5 mana or so. Why? Because if you are still playing 1 and 2cc creatures that are worth 1 or 2 mana, and the other playing is now playing 4 and 5cc creatures that are worth 4 or 5, the game can swing their way very easily. Another option is running a lot of draw spells to refill your hand so you can play 5 1cc creatures on turn 5, rather than just 1 or 2. You want to *USE* the mana you have, since the power of a spell is usually determined by its cost. In other words, not being able to use the mana you have is wasting mana, and thus losing tempo.

    Likewise, if your deck's curve looks like this:

    1cc: 0
    2cc: 0
    3cc: 4
    4cc: 12
    5cc: 12
    6cc: 4

    You are wasting turns 1 and 2 and probably 3. You either need to drop some of the higher casting cost spells to make sure you actually get to use turns 1-3 for something other than playing land, or you need to run some acceleration so that during those turns you can play things like Sol Ring or Llanowar Elves to help you get to turn 4 faster.

    So the mana curve will tell you what your deck needs. If your curve very low (lots of low cc stuff), you need to win before your curve starts to fall off. If your curve is high (lots of high cc stuff) you need acceleraion or control. If you don't have/can't get a fast win in a low curve deck, round out the curve so your later turns aren't so weak or run some draw. If you don't like the idea of mana acceleration in a high curve deck, either spread out your curve so you are playing stuff on turn 1-3, or run some cheap cost cards that will stall the other player such as Swords to Plowshares or Diabolic Edict so that they don't get to your their early turns either (and then you get them into the late game where your spells are better).

    The mana curve is also about keeping your turns un-cluttered. If your curve looks like this:

    1cc: 0
    2cc: 4
    3cc: 0
    4cc: 20
    5cc: 16

    Your first few turns are probably wasted, and your turn 4 and 5 are VERY busy. You will spend several turns playing a bunch of 4 and 5cc stuff that is only good on turn 4 and it won't be until turn 8 that you can drop 2 4cc spells in one turn.

    Another bad mana curve:

    1cc: 12
    2cc: 0
    3cc: 0
    4cc: 0
    5cc: 0
    6cc: 12

    You can play 1 spell on turn 1, and probably on turn 2 (which is good) and maybe 3 on turn 3 (also good), but by turn 4 you will only have 1 or 2 1cc spells in your hand at the most. Your 4th and 5th turns will be very weak. Your turn 6 will be strong, but on 7 you will likely be playing a 6cc spell, which is great on turn 6, but less great on turn 7.

    Keep in mind that control decks often don't really follow a mana curve. They usually just run a lot of stalling power and draw, which is usually all very casting cost to stall until they can play their win condition (which is usually expensive). So a control deck's curve may look bad. Maybe like this:

    1cc: 10
    2cc: 20
    3cc: 0
    4cc: 0
    5cc: 4

    This is fine for a control deck, but an aggro deck would want to drop some 2cc stuff for more 1cc stuff and either add some 3cc stuff or some draw.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 6: Mana Fixing

    If you are only using 1 color, you don't need mana fixing. However, if you are using 2 or more colors, you do.

    If you are using 2 colors and you run 10 of each of the basic lands of your colors, you only have 10 ways to generate each color. That's half as many as a 20 land deck of one color.

    Does this mean 2-5 color decks are bad? Hell no. But it does mean their manabase will need more than basic lands alone.

    With 2 colors, simply running 4 copies of a 2-colored land should be enough. The best 2-colored lands are the old Dual lands like Tundra. But they are expensive. A good, cheaper option are dual-plain lands. Here are all of them (they cover each of the 10 2 color combinations):

    Shivan Reef
    Caves of Koilos
    Yavimaya Coast
    Llanowar Wastes
    Battlefield Forge
    Karplusan Forest
    Underground River
    Brushland
    Adarkar Wastes
    Sulfurous Springs

    Running 4 copies of the dual-pain land of your 2 colors is very helpful, and will be all you need. Running 8 of each of the two basic lands, plus 4 of the proper pain land will give you 12 ways to make each color, rather than 10. It may not seem like much, but it helps.

    So or a U/G deck, this would be good:

    8 Forest
    8 Island
    4 Yavimaya Coast

    However, this is all if your spells only cost 1 colored mana (such as U, or 1G). If a lot of your spells require 2 colored mana (such as 1UU or WW) you will need more mana fixing.

    For example, a Black/White Knight deck with a lot of WW and BB spells would need a manabase like this:

    4 Plains
    4 Swamp
    4 Caves of Koilos
    4 City of Brass
    4 Thran Quarry

    This costs about 50 bucks and makes each color in 16 ways.

    Or, if you wanted to go all out and spend a lot of money:

    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Bloodstained Mire
    4 Caves of Koilos
    4 Scrubland
    4 Thran Quarry

    This costs about 160 bucks and makes each color in 20 ways (all 20 lands make both colors)

    As you can see, running spells that cost 1 colored mana is MUCH cheaper to do. So if you want a 2-colored deck, either be ready to spend money or stick to spells that only cost 1 of either colored mana. Stuff that costs 2 or 3 of the color is MUCH tougher to cast and requires a manabase that is about as expensive as a 3-5 color deck.

    However, a Knight deck is full of BB and WW stuff. So when it has 2 lands in play, it needs to make both colors in two ways right then. Stuff that costs 4WW doesn't require as much mana fixing because by the time you have 6 lands in play, you can probably make both colors even with basic lands alone. And stuff that costs 1W or 1B is easy because when you have 2 lands, you only have to make each color in 1 way, not 2.

    3-5 colors a lot harder to smooth out than 2 colors. A great option is using fetchlands like Polluted Delta and Flooded Strand to fetch the old Dual lands like Tundra (which count as the two basic land types that they portray: but they are not basic lands themselves).

    But if you want to save some money, stuff like City of Brass, Gemstone Mine, Thran Quarry, Grand Coliseum etc... will be great. Fill out the rest of the deck with dual-pain lands and you'll have a solid mana base.

    For example, if you are using all 5 colors and want 20 lands:

    This will get you each color in 4 ways:

    4 Plains
    4 Swamp
    4 Mountain
    4 Forest
    4 Island

    This will get you each color in 12-13 ways (depending on the color):

    4 City of Brass
    4 Gemstone Mine
    2 Shivan Reef
    2 Caves of Koilos
    1 Yavimaya Coast
    1 Llanowar Wastes
    1 Battlefield Forge
    1 Karplusan Forest
    1 Underground River
    1 Brushland
    1 Adarkar Wastes
    1 Sulfurous Springs

    The difference in price between the two manabases is large, but the top one will just not work at all. The difference in performance between the two manabases is VERY large.

    In addition to lands that make more than 1 color, you can also use spells that make more colors. Birds of Paradise is a classic choice. Things like Fertile Ground work too. Joiner Adept is another example. Notice these are all Green... most non-land color fixing is. So you may want to skew your lands towards Green to help you cast the Green mana fixers more reliably.

    Also take note that stuff like BoP and Fertile Ground also work as mana acceleration.

    In general, you want at LEAST 10 ways to generate each color your deck runs. If you cannot make a color in at least 10 ways, you should probably drop the color. It will make your deck more consistant and have fewer dead cards. 10-15 is a good number to strive for.

    With a proper manabase, a 5 color deck can be just as smooth as a 1 colored deck. Just be prepared to pay more for your manabase than decks of fewer colors run.

    There is also a way to do 3-5 color manabases called "Domain" (taken from the decktype "Domain") which uses a more Green manabase to take advantage of these Green mana fixers. Now here's Xoran to tell us more about it:

    Domain Primer (by Xoran):

    1. What's Domain?

    A multicolour deck to start with. It powers out the cards of Invasion block that had to do with many different types of basic lands: Tribal Flames par example. The best versions are most of the time green based, cause green has the best way of putting new lands into play.

    2. How do I make Domain?

    That's what this primer is all about, building a good multicolour manabase.

    3. Can I build a rainbow mana base on a budget?

    Quite, although more expensive means more consistent here, land and landfetching are just too good to ignore.

    4. Where do I start?

    We'll start with one colour: . This will be our base colour, it will fetch the other colours for us.

    In green we already have quite a bunch of cards to work with:

    Rampant Growth
    Explosive Vegetation
    Far Wanderings

    These cards build up your manabase by effectively wasting a turn, you just play these cards to build up.

    Faster ways:

    Harrow
    Crop Rotation

    Ok Harrow lets you sac a land, but still 2 extra lands is a bargain for 2G. Crop Rotation is perfect to sac a forest in an Elf deck to get Gaea`s Cradle or saccing a Glimmervoid for Tolarian Academy. As you see Rotations is more like a combo card, and not really for domain.

    Outside green we also have the lands to help us:

    Flooded Strand
    Polluted Delta
    Bloodstained Mire
    Windswept Heath
    Wooded Foothills

    with the fetchlands you can fetch whatever land you need the most at that time in the game, they also thin your library for the cost of 1 life.

    5-colour lands are even better, they come in different forms but they always do the same: For some cost you get the chance to have one mana of any colour.

    City of Brass
    Grand Coliseum
    Gemstone Mine -> my alltime favorite
    Thran Quarry
    Glimmervoid

    The Invasion Dragon legends have given us the lair-lands, each of them makes 3 different colours in an allied formation, examples are Riths Grove, Darigaazs Caldera and Dromars Cave.

    Really really budget options are things like Abandoned Outpost or Lotus Petal, they're subpar because it's lost afterwards. Use these only if you have no other ways.

    Don't play things like Journey of Discovery, Nature`s Lore and Wayfarer`s Bauble unless you have a really good reason to use them in your deck. I don't say they're bad - I use them too from time to time - but there are better options in green based domain.

    5. Why should I play Rainbow-domain?

    Because it's fun. What else can be said from a Turn 4 Cromat or Bringer of the Black Dawn. There are a lot of creatures to choose from, but there for I suggest you take a look at my legendary deck in my sig, just follow the link and you'll see it.

    (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthrea...hreadid=257681)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 7: Restictions/Formats

    When people say things like T1, Extended, Block etc... they are talking about DCI Magic formats. A list of the formats and which cards and sets and legal in each format is here:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...sources/banned

    Unlike some other collectable card games, there is no banned or restricted list as part of Magic rules. This means that you are allowed to run 4 copies of any real Magic card. However, many casual playgroups do follow DCI banned/restricted lists (B/R lists). Some decide to stay T2 legal, some T1 legal. Some have no B/R list at all, while others make their own.

    So if you are wondering which cards you can use in your deck: Any. No card is banned or restricted. However, in tournament play, it is different. Your deck must fit a format, and each format has a different B/R list. And if you ever meet some Magic players and become buds with them and want to play with them, you must be prepared to play decks that are legal in a format. Some playgroups will not allow you to use decks that are not legal in whatever format they prefer.

    It is up to each playgroup to decide which cards are allowed and which cards are limited to 1 copy per deck (restricted). If you and your friends don't know T2 from Extended, you don't have to worry about which cards you can and cannot use. However, if you want to play tournaments, you will need to know which cards are legal in the format you want to play in. Note that some tournaments (that are not run by the DCI) do not use the DCI B/R lists. Some use their own, or none at all.

    Even if you never want to play a tournament, you may want to get familiar with the formats. If you want to play some casual games in a cardshop you may be asked if you have any T2 legal decks. The people there may want to only play with/against Extended decks etc...

    In general though, for casual play, you can pretty much forget about the B/R lists. I have yet to play against a single person that wouldn't let me use any of my decks, no matter which I wanted, including my unrestricted decks.

    2 notes:

    -Cards from Unglued and any Portal/Starter set are not tournament legal. You can use them in casual (if the group allows it) though. Also, cards from Unglued and Portal/Starter CAN be used in tournaments if the EXACT same card was reprinted in a Core set (like 7th). So a Portal Thorn Elemental is legal since it's also in 7th. The 5 basic lands from Unglued are legal because basic lands are always legal (note that the Unglued basic lands are black bordered, and the rest of the set is grey bordered: grey bordered cards are never tournament legal).

    -You may use any version of a card that is legal in the format. So while Revised is NOT T2 legal, you can use a Revised Terror in a T2 tournament since Terror was reprinted in Mirrodin (as I write this, Mirrodin is T2 legal).

    A little overview of each of the 4 main formats:

    T2: This is the least powerful format. It only includes the current core set, plus the current 2 blocks. So it has a small cardpool. This is the most popular format and the best one to get started with since it's easier and cheaper to build T2 decks (since the cards are all easy to get and trade for). Top T2 decks usually cost 100-200 dollars.

    Extended: Like T2, but... well, extended. It features more core sets and more blocks. Because the cardpool is larger, you have access to more card interactions and cards which are too good to be reprinted in current sets. This format has slightly more power than T2. Top Extended decks usually cost 130-400 dollars.

    T1.5: This is basically T1, but all of the restricted cards in T1 are banned in T1.5. However, now the B/R lists for the two formats are looking pretty different. Either way, this is basically a powered down version of T1. This format is more powerful than Extended. Top T1.5 decks usually cost 300-500 dollars. Note that T1.5 will be getting a new name soon and is starting to split off from T1.

    T1: Aside from cards that deal with ante or flipping/tossing a card in the air, you can use at least 1 copy on any Magic card (aside from Unglued and Portal/Starter). In T1, the most powerful cards are all useable, though most are restricted. This is the most powerful format because it has the least limited cardpool. Top T1 decks can cost 1000-3000 dollars.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 8: Deck Types

    Aggro- A deck that tries to kill the other player as fast as possible. This is usually done by bringing their life total down to 0. Aggro decks are about attacking and/or direct damage. Killing with creatures and/or damage is what aggro does. Examples are: Raffinity, Gobvantage, White Weenies, Sligh.

    Control- Control is about "controlling" what the other player does. It's usually about stalling that player by stopping their gameplan long enough for you to play your win condition. Spells like Counterspell, Echoing Truth, Devour in Shadow, Swords to Plowshares, Duress and Wrath of God are all control oriented. Land destruction is also control. Most control decks will stall the other player so that they can build up enough mana to play a big fatty like Tidal Kraken and then procede to win, or a massive X spell like Fireball or Drain Life. Burn like Lightning Bolt can be used in aggro decks as direct damage to let their creatures attack unblocked, or to kill a player, but are also used in control decks to kill attackers. Control decks generally have 3 parts: Control, Draw, Win Conditions. Control decks love to draw cards as they need to draw more answers than the other player has threats. Black and Blue can do control by themselves. White and Red can as well, but are usually teamed up with another color. Green has very little in the way of control. Examples: Psychatog, Mono-Blue Control, Mono-Black Control, Astral Slide.

    Combo- Combo decks try to draw and play certain cards that, when used together in a certain way, ensure a lock or the win. Combo loves tutors and draw fixers such as Demonic Tutor, Demonic Consultation, Impulse and Brainstorm as well as massive draw such as Necropotence. Most combo decks "go off" which means once they play the final piece to the combo, they win. Some just lock the game so the other player cannot win, and then procede to slowly kill that player. These are often called Prison decks. They are sometimes refered to as Control decks since the combo controls what the other player can do to the point that they are locked from doing anything. But I think of them more as combo decks. Good combo decks win or lock on turn 1-3, and are usually very expensive. Combo decks tend to require expensive mana acceleration such as Black Lotus. Examples: Academy, Long.dec, Tinker, Stasis, Worldgorger Dragon.

    There are also hybrids of the types:

    Aggro/Control: Just like aggro, but adds control cards such as creature removal or counter magic. This is done to help the deck prevent combo decks from going off, to prevent aggro decks from playing key cards, or to prevent control from playing it's win condition. Examples: Madness, Suicide Black, Fish

    Aggro/Combo: Like aggro, but has a built in combo that ensures the win or the lock or helps improve the deck's speed. Usually can win by going aggro, or by comboing out, though many use combos that do not win the game itself, but rather help the deck win with aggro. Examples: Food-Chain Goblins, Mask, Goblin Bidding

    Combo/Control: Like combo, but uses control to help protect the combo and/or to stall aggro decks from winning. Or like control but with a combo as the win condition. Examples: Hulk, Oath, Control-Slaver

    In general:

    Aggro beats control. It plays many small threats and control doesn't have enough answers to all of them.

    Control beats combo. It can prevent combo from playing it's pieces.

    Combo beats aggro. It can "go off" before aggro wins by doing damage.

    This is just in general, not the case in every matchup. Also note that this is only considering "good" combo decks that win on turn 1-3. Most casual combo decks are slower than aggro, so casual aggro usually beats casual combo.

    Adding control to an aggro deck makes it slower, and thus worse against control and other aggro, but better against combo.

    Adding control to a combo deck makes it slower and thus worse against pure combo and aggro, but more able to protect itself from control.

    Adding combo to an aggro deck often makes it worse against control, but speeds it up against aggro and combo, making it better in those matches.

    Again, this is just in general, and not true for every deck.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9: Primers

    In the following sections I will explain the idea behind each of several decktypes, and provide a sample decklist.

    I do this because a lot of new players ask "what type of deck should I make?"

    Well, take a look at these decks and if any look like what you want, make it.

    Some things to know:

    -These decks range from 30-100 dollars, which I consider to be "budget". They are intended for casual play. They *ARE* all solid casual decks, but *NOT* optimal decklists. Don't expect to win any major tournaments with them (except Raffinity, which while not being the best deck in this section, is the best deck in it's tournament format). You can however beat your friends with them and even win smaller tournaments.

    -I do not claim to be an expert on any of these decks and offer these guides and lists just as examples for you to see if you are interested in any of these deck types. None of these decklists are perfect, nor optimal. Some card choices were made to keep the price down, not to make the deck as good as can be. But again, I feel these decks are all solid and even if you copy the lists card-per-card, you will likely beat your friends and will definity have a great casual deck that can win smaller tournies.

    -Feel free to change the decks to suit what you want, or to make the deck even cheaper. Again, these lists are just examples to show you what the deck looks like. You can change the decks around all you'd like. These lists are not definitive.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9a: White Weenies

    White Weenies is a decktype that uses cheap, well-costed creatures to get more for it's mana than other decks do. WW likes 1 and 2 mana creatures that have a power and toughness equal to their casting cost, plus an ability or two. It also likes creatures with P/T that are high for it's cost. Examples are: White Knight, Silver Knight, Savannah Lions, Tundra Wolves. WW uses cheap creature enchantments for pump and global pumpers like Crusade or Glorious Anthem. WW also tends to run some creature removal, usually Swords to Plowshares or Pacifism.

    WWE is a new variant that uses Equipment spells. Equipment gives you less pump for the mana than Creature Enchantments do, but aren't removed when the creature dies. This makes WWE suffer less card disadvantage since the equipment doesn't die with the creature, but costs the deck some tempo. WWE also uses Auriok Steelshaper for it's global pump rather than something like Crusade.

    WW Example:

    Land (1:
    16 Plains
    2 Kjeldoran Outpost

    Creatures (30):
    4 White Knight
    4 Silver Knight
    4 Longbow Archer
    4 Tundra Wolves
    4 Suntail Hawk
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Leonin Skyhunter
    2 Paladin en-Vec

    Other (12):
    4 Crusade
    4 Empyrial Armor
    4 Swords to Plowshares



    WWE Example:

    Land (1:
    16 Plains
    2 Daru Encampment

    Creatures (2:
    4 White Knight
    4 Silver Knight
    4 Longbow Archer
    4 Auriok Glaivemaster
    4 Auriok Steelshaper
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Leonin Skyhunter

    Other (14):
    4 Pacifism
    4 Bonesplitter
    4 Leonin Scimtar
    2 Sword of Fire and Ice

    When playing WW or WWE, stay aggressive. Attack, attack, attack. Don't worry about losing creatures. You need to win as fast as possible, and since you don't run a lot of land and do run a lot of creatures, you will probably draw more threats than the other player does, so you can afford to trade creatures with them.

    Both of these decks should cost 40-70 dollars.

    Some new CoK cards to look into: Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Devoted Retainer, Lantern Kami, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Reciprocate.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9b: Elves

    Aggro Elf decks make a lot of mana very fast and play a huge number of Elves quickly. Elf decks use pump from Timberwatch Elves or Alpha Status to make 1 or 2 huge Elves and attack for the win. Unlike WW which attacks with a swarm of creatures over and over, Elf decks usually make one Elf about a 15/15 and attacks twice with it, leaving the un-pumped Elves back as blockers. In other words, Elf decks tend to explode rather than to swarm.

    Land (1:
    16 Forest
    2 Wirewood Lodge

    Creatures (36):
    4 Priest of Titania
    4 Llanowar Elves
    4 Wellwisher
    4 Timberwatch Elf
    4 Defiant Elf
    4 Treetop Scout
    4 Quirion Ranger
    3 Taunting Elf
    3 Heedless One
    2 Elvish Lyrist

    Other Spells (6):
    4 Alpha Status
    2 Slate of Ancestry

    This deck can win on turn 3, but usually wins on turn 4 or 5. Elf decks are vulnerable to board sweepers and hosers but can be fast enough to take on control and other aggro with ease. Some Elf decks run more removal, and some splash Red to use it's excess mana to power out Fireballs. This is an example of a "hand grenade" aggro Elf deck. Shuffle your deck (pull the pin) turn 1 (3...) turn 2 (2....) turn 3 (1....) turn 4 (It either goes boom and you win, or it's a dud).

    This deck costs about 40 bucks to make.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9c: Goblins

    There are many kinds of Goblin decks. The best is Food-Chain Goblins (Red/Green), but it can be expensive to build (it is very cheap for a T1 deck, but can be expensive for casual). It uses Food Chain, Goblin Recruiter and Goblin Ringleader to power out many Goblins quickly and attacks with 2-4 Goblin Piledrivers for the win. Goblin Bidding (Red/Black) is popular and is basically a Goblin Sligh deck that uses Patriarch`s Bidding, Goblin Warchief and a lot of sac Goblins like Skirk Prospector and Goblin Sledder to bring many Goblins back into play on one turn. But my favorite Goblin deck (which is not as good as Food-Chain Goblins but is much better than Goblin Bidding) is Gobvantage.

    Gobvantage uses the same draw engine as FCG (Recruiter/Ringleader), and the same kill cards (Piledriver/Goblin Sharpshooter),but doesn't run Food Chain. Thus, it remains mono-Red.

    FCG is a great budget T1 deck, but it's pretty expensive for casual play. In my opinion, Gobvantage is the best casual Goblin decktype because it's easily better than every other Goblin decktype (other than FCG), but easier to budget than FCG. Since Food Chain costs 4 mana, and you need to power it out fast, FCG needs mana acceleration. The best mana acceleration costs money. Also, FCG requires at least a bit of color fixing. While a few Sol Rings and fetchlands may not cost THAT much, I think Gobvantage offers a better price/performance ratio when in the 40-80 dollar range. FCG becomes better when above 100 dollars, and you've added good color fixing and mana acceleration.

    Land (22):
    20 Mountain
    2 Goblin Burrows

    Creatures (30):
    4 Mogg Sentry
    4 Skirk Prospector
    4 Goblin Recruiter
    4 Goblin Matron
    4 Goblin Ringleader
    4 Goblin Sledder
    2 Goblin Warchief
    2 Goblin Sharpshooter
    2 Goblin Piledriver

    Other Spells (:
    4 Goblin War Strike
    4 Goblin Grenade

    Play the Recruiter (or a Matron to fetch a Recruiter) and then stack your library so you have a Warchief or two on top, followed by a Ringleader and then 4 other Goblins. The main Goblins you want are the Piledrivers, Sharpshooters and Sledders. Attack with everything, which makes your Piledrivers huge. The Sharpshooters kill all of their 1/1s and 2/2s for free, and can take down bigger creatures by sacing Goblins with the Sledder (put the +1/+1 from each sac on the Piledrivers). After each sac, the Shooters untap and can shoot again. They should have no blockers. The Piledrivers keep their pump even after your other attackers die. Finish off by sacing the rest of your Goblins to the Sledder and Sharpshooting the other player each time. The Piledrivers get even bigger.

    This deck usually does 30-60 damage on the turn it "goes off". It's great in multiplayer because it can kill many players at once and will outdraw pretty much any other deck. Your draw engine gets you 4 extra cards each turn, and they are in the order you want them (breaking the draw 1 card per turn and draw randomly rules: the Warchief also breaks the play 1 land per turn rule by making all of your Goblins cheaper). So in multiplayer games (which often run longer than 1v1) you will out draw other decks, and play more creatures than them (and kill all of their creatures with your Sharpshooters).

    The deck can also win without ever drawing a Recruiter or Matron by going pure aggro, but since you have 8 ways to get the Recruiter, and the Ringleaders let you dig 4 cards deep to get Goblins you need, getting a Recruiter is very easy.

    Some great Goblins to add in certain metas: Goblin Lackey- Great if you play against a lot of control and combo decks, but not as good against aggro (it is, however, always good in Goblin Sligh because you have burn to keep the path clear for him to attack unblocked). If you add the Lackey, Siege-Gang Commander is another great addition that works well with the Lackey. Siege-Gang Commander is a bit clunky for most Gobvantage decks, but with the Skirk Prospectors, he is a suitable card. Lackey puts it over the top and makes it a must-run. More Piledrivers would be great as well.

    Seething Song is also great in Gobvantage. If you add Seething Songs, Siege-Gang Commander becomes much more useable.

    Gobvantage is a great deck because it wins very consistantly on turn 5. Yes, turn 5 isn't super fast, but it does it virtually every game, while other aggro decks that can win on turn 4 usually win between 4 and 7. So while your friend's Ravager deck may be able to win on turn 4, Gobvantage is actually a much better deck because it goes off sooner, more often, and can just keep the Ravager player off the board thanks to the Sharpshooters.

    Against control or heavy removal, Gobvantage has to play like a Goblin Sligh deck, and it can do that fine. Gobvantage hates having it's Recruiters countered or it's Warchiefs killed. So if the other deck can prevent your clock-work combo, just go aggro.

    Gobvantage is also great because, unlike other aggro decks, it doesn't stall out. Skullclamp is so good because it gives aggro decks a way to keep in the game, even into the lategame. The Gobvantage draw engine is even better than Skullclamp. Way better.

    And again, Gobvantage is great in multiplayer since it has a good game from turn 1 to turn 20. However, the game usually won't last that long when Gobvantage is involved. Just don't overextend... fear the Wrath of God.

    Gobvantage can go combo (Recruit, Ringleader, 2-4 Piledrivers + 2-4 Sharpshooters), pure aggro (just play it like a normal Goblin Sligh deck), or tutor (Recruit, Matron) up Sharpshooters and control the board until you can go off.

    This deck costs about 60 bucks to make. You can make due with 1 Piledriver or 1 Sharpshooter and the deck will then cost abut 50 bucks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9d: Affinity

    There are 3 main kinds of Affinity decks. Ravager Affinity (or Ravffinity or Raffinity) is the best. The two budget versions of Atog Affinity and Broodstar Affinity. Broodstar Affinity can be pure aggro, or aggro/control.

    Affinity makes use of the Affinity mechanic and lots of cheap artifacts and artifact lands to play spells quickly.

    Here is a Ravager build:

    Lands (16):
    4 Seat of the Synod
    4 Vault of Whispers
    4 Darksteel Citadel
    3 Glimmervoid
    1 Blinkmoth Nexus

    Creatures (24):
    4 Myr Enforcer
    4 Frogmite
    4 Somber Hoverguard
    4 Ornithopter
    4 Arcbound Ravager
    4 Disciple of the Vault

    Other Spells (20):
    4 Cranial Plating
    4 Talisman of Dominance
    4 Night`s Whisper
    4 Welding Jar
    4 Thoughtcast

    Newer versions run Aether Vial and/or splash red for Shrapnel Blast.

    Budget versions just swap out the Ravager for the Atog (and must splash Red).

    Ravager Affinity is a top tier T2 deck at the moment. It can kill quickly by putting Cranial Plating on a flying creature or by attacking with everything, sacing everything to the Ravager for massive life loss with the DotV, and then sacing the Ravager to itself to put all of it's counters on whichever creature was not blocked.

    Here's an example of a Broodstar Affinity (aggro/control) deck:

    Land (16):
    4 Seat of the Synod
    4 Glimmervoid
    4 Great Furnace
    4 Darksteel Citadel

    Creatures (12):
    4 Broodstar
    4 Myr Enforcer
    4 Frogmite

    Other Spells (32):
    3 Shrapnel Blast
    3 Override
    3 Mana Leak
    3 Electrostatic Bolt
    4 Thoughtcast
    4 Thirst for Knowledge
    2 Damping Matrix
    4 Welding Jar
    4 Aether Spellbomb
    2 Eyes of the Watcher

    Most Broodstar decks are aggro/control like this one is. But some are pure aggro.

    Broodstar isn't as explosive as Ravager since it doesn't have the Ravager and DotV, but it is still very quick since Broodstar is usually a 6/6 or 8/8 Flying for 4 or 2 mana.

    And here's a Broodstar Affinity (pure) aggro deck:

    Land (20):
    6 Island
    4 Darksteel Citadel
    4 Vault of Whispers
    4 Seat of the Synod
    2 Great Furnace

    Creatures (22):
    4 Somber Hoverguard
    4 Broodstar
    4 Myr Enforcer
    4 Frogmite
    4 Ornithopter
    2 Lodestone Myr

    Other Spells (1:
    4 Thoughtcast
    2 Serum Visions
    4 Cranial Plating
    4 Welding Jar
    4 Talisman of Dominance

    Ravager Affinity costs about 120 bucks to make. Swapping in Atogs instead of Ravagers brings the deck down into the 50 dollar range. Broodstar Affinity decks are anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars. You can make budget Affinity decks without Broodstar, Ravager, or Glimmervoid (normally found in Atog Affinity and are the card that keeps Atog Affinity from being even cheaper) for as little as 30 dollars.

    Ravager wins on turn 4-6, Atog is a turn or 2 slower. Broodstar is a turn or two slower as well, with the aggro/control version being even slower, but is better against control and combo decks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9e: Madness

    Madness uses cards that allow you to discard from your hand, and cards that can be played for cheap from the graveyard, or as they are being discarded from your hand. It is an aggro/control deck that can take on pure aggro thanks to it's cheap fatties. This is a very popular and proven deck. Sort of like yesterday's Affinity (that's not to say it's dated now, but rather that it was the popular aggro-ish deck before Mirrodin came out- in fact in many metas, Madness is better than Raffinity).

    Land (22):
    8 Forest
    10 Island
    4 Yavimaya Coast

    Creatures (22):
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Wild Mongrel
    4 Arrogant Wurm
    2 Roar of the Wurm
    3 Wonder
    3 Waterfront Bouncer
    2 Aquamoeba

    Other Spells (16):
    4 Careful Study
    4 Daze
    4 Circular Logic
    4 Deep Analysis

    This deck can be made for about 40-60 bucks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9f: Slide

    Slide uses Astral Slide and Lightning Rift along with many cycling cards to stall creature-based decks long enough to play enough land to drop one of it's fatties. It also runs many board sweeping effects to keep creature decks down and out. Slide can stall by Sliding out (Astral Slide) or killing (Lightning Rift, WoG, Akroma's Vengeance, Slide and Dice) creatures while it tries to draw one of its 2 win conditon creatures, or it can play an Exalted Angel early, and simply Slide her out before playing a Wrath of God effect.


    Land (24):
    3 Plains
    3 Mountain
    4 Secluded Steppe
    4 Forgotten Cave
    4 Drifting Meadow
    4 Smoldering Crater
    2 Battlefield Forge

    Creatures (:
    4 Exalted Angel
    4 Eternal Dragon

    Other Spells (2:
    4 Astral Slide
    4 Wrath of God
    4 Akroma`s Vengeance
    4 Renewed Faith
    4 Lightning Rift
    4 Slice and Dice
    4 Fluctuator

    Slide is a little slow to get stable, so fast aggro decks can run over it. If you play against a lot of fast aggro decks like Raffinity or Goblins, you will need to run more early defense. However, Slide is great in multiplayer games since multiplayer games are slower, allowing Slide to get stable before it gets killed, and with so many Wrath of God effects, Slide can keep any number of players (who use creature-based decks) totally controlled. Most control decks can't control more than 1 player, and thus suck in multiplayer games, but Slide is able to control many players at once and is a great control deck for multiplayer games.

    Slide can be made for about 75 bucks.

    There are also W/R/G and W/G versions of Slide which are designed to take advantage of Eternal Witness. They Slide her out to get cards back to their hand. I haven't used this deck much, so I can't do a primer on it right now, but I may expand on this section by adding a W/G list later.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9g: Psychatog

    Psychatog is a Blue/Black control deck (though some versions run Red, White and/or Green as well) that stalls the other player long enough to build up it's graveyard and then attack with a huge Tog. Most Tog decks try to get to 9 land to play Upheaval and float 3 extra mana to play a Tog after Upheaval resolves. The next turn it attacks with the Tog, discards it's hard, removes it's graveyard and does about 25 damage.

    However, I prefer using Shadow Rift and Sunder instead of Upheaval. Why?

    After an Upheaval, the other player gets a turn (since your Tog just came into play and can't attack). This gives them a chance to play a 1cc creature to block.

    With Shadow Rift, Tog cannot be blocked by a 1cc creature. And with Sunder, the Tog stays in play, so he can attack that turn. Also, since you don't have to float any mana, you don't need as much land and can "go off" sooner.

    Lastly, since after Upheaval you must discard down to 7 at the end of your turn, with with Sunder and Shadow Rift you can go off that turn, you don't need to discard down and can usually feed the Tog more than 7 or 8 cards.

    So, I find the Shadow Rift/Sunder combo to be much faster. Also, you can win by just playing Shadow Rift and no Sunder. So it's not really a two-card combo. You just need 1. Sunder just lets you go off sooner. Gush can also help you go off sooner, so it doubles as card draw, or a 3rd and 4th Sunder. Against many decks you can even keep all of their blockers off the board and attack unblocked without Shadow Rift.

    Land (21):
    10 Island
    5 Swamp
    4 Salt Marsh
    2 Cephalid Coliseum

    Creatures (3):
    3 Psychatog

    Other Spells (36):
    4 Diabolic Edict
    4 Accumulated Knowledge
    4 Counterspell
    4 Snap
    4 Echoing Truth
    4 Fact or Fiction
    2 Sunder
    4 Gush
    2 Shadow Rift
    4 Isochron Scepter

    Tog can have trouble with fast aggro since it can't do much to stop aggro for the first 2 turns, but it can come back and get control of the board, even against fast aggro decks as long as you know when to mulligan and when to keep. Tog is great against combo, aggro/combo and combo/control.

    Tog is a proven decktype that has dominated T2 (when it was T2 legal), Extended (it is still a top Extended deck), T1.5 and it's T1 variant (Hulk), while falling out of favor now, was once the top deck.

    Extended Tog decks can cost anywhere from 30 to 100 dollars (or more). This one will be about 60 or 70.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9h: Mono-Black Control

    MBC runs a lot of creature and hand hate to destroy the other player's gameplan, and then drops some creatures to go in for the kill. The decklist I will post runs 4 Necropotence. This is one of the best cards ever printed and it is banned in every format other than T1 where it is restricted. In casual play however, you may run 4 if your playgroup allows. If they do, run 4. This deck is often called "Unrestricted Necro" now-a-days and is a very evil, powerful deck.

    Nantuko Shade is a very popular MBC creature, and many MBC decks run X damage spells like Consume Spirit or Drain Life. I prefer creatures to the X spells, and I prefer Visara to the Shade (and most would call me crazy for that). So be aware of your options and use what you want to.

    Land (20):
    18 Swamp
    2 Barren Moor

    Creatures (6):
    4 Hypnotic Specter
    2 Visara the Dreadful

    Other Spells (34):
    4 Necropotence
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Duress
    4 Chainer`s Edict
    4 Diabolic Edict
    4 Devour in Shadow
    1 Yawgmoth`s Will
    1 Yawgmoth`s Bargain
    4 Ivory Tower

    This deck costs about 100 dollars making it the second most expensive deck in this guide. The only deck more expensive is Ravager Affinity and I only posted that deck to show you what a "real" Affinity deck looks like since Broodstar Affinity isn't as good and is just a budget version of Raffinity now (though it was the top Affinity deck before Ravager came out). While this deck (MBC) is expensive, in a creature-dominated playgroup, it is easily the best deck I have covered in this guide. Even better than the more expensive Raffinity.

    More expensive MBC decks run Wasteland, Strip Mine and Nevinyrral`s Disk.

    Some new CoK cards to look into: Distress, Cranial Extraction, Kokusho, the Evening Star.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9i: Fish

    By: Xoran

    1. What's Fish?

    Fish is a T1 or T1.5 deck that works with little creatures and very cheap countermagic for the win. The deck's base is blue with often a little red splashed in for removal-burn.

    2. Can I make Fish on a budget?

    Yes you can, but you'll not be able to do tournaments with it. Fish can be cuild quite cheap, because most cards are commons or uncommons.

    3. Deck discription and decklist

    Manabase:

    4 Great Furnace
    4 Seat of the Synod
    4 Faerie Conclave
    2 Mountain
    8 Island

    Let's go over this first. As you see blue is the main color and red is only their to clear the way to your victory. But the Conclave is what makes the deck tick even more. Here you have a 2/1 Flyer every turn that is very difficult to remove.

    Creatures:

    4 Cloud of Faeries
    4 Spiketail Hatchling
    4 Razorfin Hunter
    3 Thought Courier
    3 Qumulox

    The Faeries are essentialy 0 mana cost 1/1 Flyer, but they can also untap your conclave so that they give mana in the same turn, or can attack and give mana, whatever suits you most. The Hatchling is a very annoying critter the often counters lots of spells.

    The Hunter takes out little critters, I know that Vulshok Sorcerer is better, but with the double red in her cost, she doesn't fit here. Your Courier gives you fresh cards, while discarding annoying ones. You could try Whirlpool Rider or even Whirlpool Warrior too, but I find the Courier quite good.

    Qumulox is a budget finisher, with some arti's in


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    Junior Member Sretnuh Nomead's Avatar
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    Section 7: Restictions/Formats

    When people say things like T1, Extended, Block etc... they are talking about DCI Magic formats. A list of the formats and which cards and sets and legal in each format is here:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...sources/banned

    Unlike some other collectable card games, there is no banned or restricted list as part of Magic rules. This means that you are allowed to run 4 copies of any real Magic card. However, many casual playgroups do follow DCI banned/restricted lists (B/R lists). Some decide to stay T2 legal, some T1 legal. Some have no B/R list at all, while others make their own.

    So if you are wondering which cards you can use in your deck: Any. No card is banned or restricted. However, in tournament play, it is different. Your deck must fit a format, and each format has a different B/R list. And if you ever meet some Magic players and become buds with them and want to play with them, you must be prepared to play decks that are legal in a format. Some playgroups will not allow you to use decks that are not legal in whatever format they prefer.

    It is up to each playgroup to decide which cards are allowed and which cards are limited to 1 copy per deck (restricted). If you and your friends don't know T2 from Extended, you don't have to worry about which cards you can and cannot use. However, if you want to play tournaments, you will need to know which cards are legal in the format you want to play in. Note that some tournaments (that are not run by the DCI) do not use the DCI B/R lists. Some use their own, or none at all.

    Even if you never want to play a tournament, you may want to get familiar with the formats. If you want to play some casual games in a cardshop you may be asked if you have any T2 legal decks. The people there may want to only play with/against Extended decks etc...

    In general though, for casual play, you can pretty much forget about the B/R lists. I have yet to play against a single person that wouldn't let me use any of my decks, no matter which I wanted, including my unrestricted decks.

    2 notes:

    -Cards from Unglued and any Portal/Starter set are not tournament legal. You can use them in casual (if the group allows it) though. Also, cards from Unglued and Portal/Starter CAN be used in tournaments if the EXACT same card was reprinted in a Core set (like 7th). So a Portal Thorn Elemental is legal since it's also in 7th. The 5 basic lands from Unglued are legal because basic lands are always legal (note that the Unglued basic lands are black bordered, and the rest of the set is grey bordered: grey bordered cards are never tournament legal).

    -You may use any version of a card that is legal in the format. So while Revised is NOT T2 legal, you can use a Revised Terror in a T2 tournament since Terror was reprinted in Mirrodin (as I write this, Mirrodin is T2 legal).

    A little overview of each of the 4 main formats:

    T2: This is the least powerful format. It only includes the current core set, plus the current 2 blocks. So it has a small cardpool. This is the most popular format and the best one to get started with since it's easier and cheaper to build T2 decks (since the cards are all easy to get and trade for). Top T2 decks usually cost 100-200 dollars.

    Extended: Like T2, but... well, extended. It features more core sets and more blocks. Because the cardpool is larger, you have access to more card interactions and cards which are too good to be reprinted in current sets. This format has slightly more power than T2. Top Extended decks usually cost 130-400 dollars.

    T1.5: This is basically T1, but all of the restricted cards in T1 are banned in T1.5. However, now the B/R lists for the two formats are looking pretty different. Either way, this is basically a powered down version of T1. This format is more powerful than Extended. Top T1.5 decks usually cost 300-500 dollars. Note that T1.5 will be getting a new name soon and is starting to split off from T1.

    T1: Aside from cards that deal with ante or flipping/tossing a card in the air, you can use at least 1 copy on any Magic card (aside from Unglued and Portal/Starter). In T1, the most powerful cards are all useable, though most are restricted. This is the most powerful format because it has the least limited cardpool. Top T1 decks can cost 1000-3000 dollars.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 8: Deck Types

    Aggro- A deck that tries to kill the other player as fast as possible. This is usually done by bringing their life total down to 0. Aggro decks are about attacking and/or direct damage. Killing with creatures and/or damage is what aggro does. Examples are: Raffinity, Gobvantage, White Weenies, Sligh.

    Control- Control is about "controlling" what the other player does. It's usually about stalling that player by stopping their gameplan long enough for you to play your win condition. Spells like Counterspell, Echoing Truth, Devour in Shadow, Swords to Plowshares, Duress and Wrath of God are all control oriented. Land destruction is also control. Most control decks will stall the other player so that they can build up enough mana to play a big fatty like Tidal Kraken and then procede to win, or a massive X spell like Fireball or Drain Life. Burn like Lightning Bolt can be used in aggro decks as direct damage to let their creatures attack unblocked, or to kill a player, but are also used in control decks to kill attackers. Control decks generally have 3 parts: Control, Draw, Win Conditions. Control decks love to draw cards as they need to draw more answers than the other player has threats. Black and Blue can do control by themselves. White and Red can as well, but are usually teamed up with another color. Green has very little in the way of control. Examples: Psychatog, Mono-Blue Control, Mono-Black Control, Astral Slide.

    Combo- Combo decks try to draw and play certain cards that, when used together in a certain way, ensure a lock or the win. Combo loves tutors and draw fixers such as Demonic Tutor, Demonic Consultation, Impulse and Brainstorm as well as massive draw such as Necropotence. Most combo decks "go off" which means once they play the final piece to the combo, they win. Some just lock the game so the other player cannot win, and then procede to slowly kill that player. These are often called Prison decks. They are sometimes refered to as Control decks since the combo controls what the other player can do to the point that they are locked from doing anything. But I think of them more as combo decks. Good combo decks win or lock on turn 1-3, and are usually very expensive. Combo decks tend to require expensive mana acceleration such as Black Lotus. Examples: Academy, Long.dec, Tinker, Stasis, Worldgorger Dragon.

    There are also hybrids of the types:

    Aggro/Control: Just like aggro, but adds control cards such as creature removal or counter magic. This is done to help the deck prevent combo decks from going off, to prevent aggro decks from playing key cards, or to prevent control from playing it's win condition. Examples: Madness, Suicide Black, Fish

    Aggro/Combo: Like aggro, but has a built in combo that ensures the win or the lock or helps improve the deck's speed. Usually can win by going aggro, or by comboing out, though many use combos that do not win the game itself, but rather help the deck win with aggro. Examples: Food-Chain Goblins, Mask, Goblin Bidding

    Combo/Control: Like combo, but uses control to help protect the combo and/or to stall aggro decks from winning. Or like control but with a combo as the win condition. Examples: Hulk, Oath, Control-Slaver

    In general:

    Aggro beats control. It plays many small threats and control doesn't have enough answers to all of them.

    Control beats combo. It can prevent combo from playing it's pieces.

    Combo beats aggro. It can "go off" before aggro wins by doing damage.

    This is just in general, not the case in every matchup. Also note that this is only considering "good" combo decks that win on turn 1-3. Most casual combo decks are slower than aggro, so casual aggro usually beats casual combo.

    Adding control to an aggro deck makes it slower, and thus worse against control and other aggro, but better against combo.

    Adding control to a combo deck makes it slower and thus worse against pure combo and aggro, but more able to protect itself from control.

    Adding combo to an aggro deck often makes it worse against control, but speeds it up against aggro and combo, making it better in those matches.

    Again, this is just in general, and not true for every deck.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9: Primers

    In the following sections I will explain the idea behind each of several decktypes, and provide a sample decklist.

    I do this because a lot of new players ask "what type of deck should I make?"

    Well, take a look at these decks and if any look like what you want, make it.

    Some things to know:

    -These decks range from 30-100 dollars, which I consider to be "budget". They are intended for casual play. They *ARE* all solid casual decks, but *NOT* optimal decklists. Don't expect to win any major tournaments with them (except Raffinity, which while not being the best deck in this section, is the best deck in it's tournament format). You can however beat your friends with them and even win smaller tournaments.

    -I do not claim to be an expert on any of these decks and offer these guides and lists just as examples for you to see if you are interested in any of these deck types. None of these decklists are perfect, nor optimal. Some card choices were made to keep the price down, not to make the deck as good as can be. But again, I feel these decks are all solid and even if you copy the lists card-per-card, you will likely beat your friends and will definity have a great casual deck that can win smaller tournies.

    -Feel free to change the decks to suit what you want, or to make the deck even cheaper. Again, these lists are just examples to show you what the deck looks like. You can change the decks around all you'd like. These lists are not definitive.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9a: White Weenies

    White Weenies is a decktype that uses cheap, well-costed creatures to get more for it's mana than other decks do. WW likes 1 and 2 mana creatures that have a power and toughness equal to their casting cost, plus an ability or two. It also likes creatures with P/T that are high for it's cost. Examples are: White Knight, Silver Knight, Savannah Lions, Tundra Wolves. WW uses cheap creature enchantments for pump and global pumpers like Crusade or Glorious Anthem. WW also tends to run some creature removal, usually Swords to Plowshares or Pacifism.

    WWE is a new variant that uses Equipment spells. Equipment gives you less pump for the mana than Creature Enchantments do, but aren't removed when the creature dies. This makes WWE suffer less card disadvantage since the equipment doesn't die with the creature, but costs the deck some tempo. WWE also uses Auriok Steelshaper for it's global pump rather than something like Crusade.

    WW Example:

    Land (1:
    16 Plains
    2 Kjeldoran Outpost

    Creatures (30):
    4 White Knight
    4 Silver Knight
    4 Longbow Archer
    4 Tundra Wolves
    4 Suntail Hawk
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Leonin Skyhunter
    2 Paladin en-Vec

    Other (12):
    4 Crusade
    4 Empyrial Armor
    4 Swords to Plowshares



    WWE Example:

    Land (1:
    16 Plains
    2 Daru Encampment

    Creatures (2:
    4 White Knight
    4 Silver Knight
    4 Longbow Archer
    4 Auriok Glaivemaster
    4 Auriok Steelshaper
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Leonin Skyhunter

    Other (14):
    4 Pacifism
    4 Bonesplitter
    4 Leonin Scimtar
    2 Sword of Fire and Ice

    When playing WW or WWE, stay aggressive. Attack, attack, attack. Don't worry about losing creatures. You need to win as fast as possible, and since you don't run a lot of land and do run a lot of creatures, you will probably draw more threats than the other player does, so you can afford to trade creatures with them.

    Both of these decks should cost 40-70 dollars.

    Some new CoK cards to look into: Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Devoted Retainer, Lantern Kami, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Reciprocate.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9b: Elves

    Aggro Elf decks make a lot of mana very fast and play a huge number of Elves quickly. Elf decks use pump from Timberwatch Elves or Alpha Status to make 1 or 2 huge Elves and attack for the win. Unlike WW which attacks with a swarm of creatures over and over, Elf decks usually make one Elf about a 15/15 and attacks twice with it, leaving the un-pumped Elves back as blockers. In other words, Elf decks tend to explode rather than to swarm.

    Land (1:
    16 Forest
    2 Wirewood Lodge

    Creatures (36):
    4 Priest of Titania
    4 Llanowar Elves
    4 Wellwisher
    4 Timberwatch Elf
    4 Defiant Elf
    4 Treetop Scout
    4 Quirion Ranger
    3 Taunting Elf
    3 Heedless One
    2 Elvish Lyrist

    Other Spells (6):
    4 Alpha Status
    2 Slate of Ancestry

    This deck can win on turn 3, but usually wins on turn 4 or 5. Elf decks are vulnerable to board sweepers and hosers but can be fast enough to take on control and other aggro with ease. Some Elf decks run more removal, and some splash Red to use it's excess mana to power out Fireballs. This is an example of a "hand grenade" aggro Elf deck. Shuffle your deck (pull the pin) turn 1 (3...) turn 2 (2....) turn 3 (1....) turn 4 (It either goes boom and you win, or it's a dud).

    This deck costs about 40 bucks to make.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9c: Goblins

    There are many kinds of Goblin decks. The best is Food-Chain Goblins (Red/Green), but it can be expensive to build (it is very cheap for a T1 deck, but can be expensive for casual). It uses Food Chain, Goblin Recruiter and Goblin Ringleader to power out many Goblins quickly and attacks with 2-4 Goblin Piledrivers for the win. Goblin Bidding (Red/Black) is popular and is basically a Goblin Sligh deck that uses Patriarch`s Bidding, Goblin Warchief and a lot of sac Goblins like Skirk Prospector and Goblin Sledder to bring many Goblins back into play on one turn. But my favorite Goblin deck (which is not as good as Food-Chain Goblins but is much better than Goblin Bidding) is Gobvantage.

    Gobvantage uses the same draw engine as FCG (Recruiter/Ringleader), and the same kill cards (Piledriver/Goblin Sharpshooter),but doesn't run Food Chain. Thus, it remains mono-Red.

    FCG is a great budget T1 deck, but it's pretty expensive for casual play. In my opinion, Gobvantage is the best casual Goblin decktype because it's easily better than every other Goblin decktype (other than FCG), but easier to budget than FCG. Since Food Chain costs 4 mana, and you need to power it out fast, FCG needs mana acceleration. The best mana acceleration costs money. Also, FCG requires at least a bit of color fixing. While a few Sol Rings and fetchlands may not cost THAT much, I think Gobvantage offers a better price/performance ratio when in the 40-80 dollar range. FCG becomes better when above 100 dollars, and you've added good color fixing and mana acceleration.

    Land (22):
    20 Mountain
    2 Goblin Burrows

    Creatures (30):
    4 Mogg Sentry
    4 Skirk Prospector
    4 Goblin Recruiter
    4 Goblin Matron
    4 Goblin Ringleader
    4 Goblin Sledder
    2 Goblin Warchief
    2 Goblin Sharpshooter
    2 Goblin Piledriver

    Other Spells (:
    4 Goblin War Strike
    4 Goblin Grenade

    Play the Recruiter (or a Matron to fetch a Recruiter) and then stack your library so you have a Warchief or two on top, followed by a Ringleader and then 4 other Goblins. The main Goblins you want are the Piledrivers, Sharpshooters and Sledders. Attack with everything, which makes your Piledrivers huge. The Sharpshooters kill all of their 1/1s and 2/2s for free, and can take down bigger creatures by sacing Goblins with the Sledder (put the +1/+1 from each sac on the Piledrivers). After each sac, the Shooters untap and can shoot again. They should have no blockers. The Piledrivers keep their pump even after your other attackers die. Finish off by sacing the rest of your Goblins to the Sledder and Sharpshooting the other player each time. The Piledrivers get even bigger.

    This deck usually does 30-60 damage on the turn it "goes off". It's great in multiplayer because it can kill many players at once and will outdraw pretty much any other deck. Your draw engine gets you 4 extra cards each turn, and they are in the order you want them (breaking the draw 1 card per turn and draw randomly rules: the Warchief also breaks the play 1 land per turn rule by making all of your Goblins cheaper). So in multiplayer games (which often run longer than 1v1) you will out draw other decks, and play more creatures than them (and kill all of their creatures with your Sharpshooters).

    The deck can also win without ever drawing a Recruiter or Matron by going pure aggro, but since you have 8 ways to get the Recruiter, and the Ringleaders let you dig 4 cards deep to get Goblins you need, getting a Recruiter is very easy.

    Some great Goblins to add in certain metas: Goblin Lackey- Great if you play against a lot of control and combo decks, but not as good against aggro (it is, however, always good in Goblin Sligh because you have burn to keep the path clear for him to attack unblocked). If you add the Lackey, Siege-Gang Commander is another great addition that works well with the Lackey. Siege-Gang Commander is a bit clunky for most Gobvantage decks, but with the Skirk Prospectors, he is a suitable card. Lackey puts it over the top and makes it a must-run. More Piledrivers would be great as well.

    Seething Song is also great in Gobvantage. If you add Seething Songs, Siege-Gang Commander becomes much more useable.

    Gobvantage is a great deck because it wins very consistantly on turn 5. Yes, turn 5 isn't super fast, but it does it virtually every game, while other aggro decks that can win on turn 4 usually win between 4 and 7. So while your friend's Ravager deck may be able to win on turn 4, Gobvantage is actually a much better deck because it goes off sooner, more often, and can just keep the Ravager player off the board thanks to the Sharpshooters.

    Against control or heavy removal, Gobvantage has to play like a Goblin Sligh deck, and it can do that fine. Gobvantage hates having it's Recruiters countered or it's Warchiefs killed. So if the other deck can prevent your clock-work combo, just go aggro.

    Gobvantage is also great because, unlike other aggro decks, it doesn't stall out. Skullclamp is so good because it gives aggro decks a way to keep in the game, even into the lategame. The Gobvantage draw engine is even better than Skullclamp. Way better.

    And again, Gobvantage is great in multiplayer since it has a good game from turn 1 to turn 20. However, the game usually won't last that long when Gobvantage is involved. Just don't overextend... fear the Wrath of God.

    Gobvantage can go combo (Recruit, Ringleader, 2-4 Piledrivers + 2-4 Sharpshooters), pure aggro (just play it like a normal Goblin Sligh deck), or tutor (Recruit, Matron) up Sharpshooters and control the board until you can go off.

    This deck costs about 60 bucks to make. You can make due with 1 Piledriver or 1 Sharpshooter and the deck will then cost abut 50 bucks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9d: Affinity

    There are 3 main kinds of Affinity decks. Ravager Affinity (or Ravffinity or Raffinity) is the best. The two budget versions of Atog Affinity and Broodstar Affinity. Broodstar Affinity can be pure aggro, or aggro/control.

    Affinity makes use of the Affinity mechanic and lots of cheap artifacts and artifact lands to play spells quickly.

    Here is a Ravager build:

    Lands (16):
    4 Seat of the Synod
    4 Vault of Whispers
    4 Darksteel Citadel
    3 Glimmervoid
    1 Blinkmoth Nexus

    Creatures (24):
    4 Myr Enforcer
    4 Frogmite
    4 Somber Hoverguard
    4 Ornithopter
    4 Arcbound Ravager
    4 Disciple of the Vault

    Other Spells (20):
    4 Cranial Plating
    4 Talisman of Dominance
    4 Night`s Whisper
    4 Welding Jar
    4 Thoughtcast

    Newer versions run Aether Vial and/or splash red for Shrapnel Blast.

    Budget versions just swap out the Ravager for the Atog (and must splash Red).

    Ravager Affinity is a top tier T2 deck at the moment. It can kill quickly by putting Cranial Plating on a flying creature or by attacking with everything, sacing everything to the Ravager for massive life loss with the DotV, and then sacing the Ravager to itself to put all of it's counters on whichever creature was not blocked.

    Here's an example of a Broodstar Affinity (aggro/control) deck:

    Land (16):
    4 Seat of the Synod
    4 Glimmervoid
    4 Great Furnace
    4 Darksteel Citadel

    Creatures (12):
    4 Broodstar
    4 Myr Enforcer
    4 Frogmite

    Other Spells (32):
    3 Shrapnel Blast
    3 Override
    3 Mana Leak
    3 Electrostatic Bolt
    4 Thoughtcast
    4 Thirst for Knowledge
    2 Damping Matrix
    4 Welding Jar
    4 Aether Spellbomb
    2 Eyes of the Watcher

    Most Broodstar decks are aggro/control like this one is. But some are pure aggro.

    Broodstar isn't as explosive as Ravager since it doesn't have the Ravager and DotV, but it is still very quick since Broodstar is usually a 6/6 or 8/8 Flying for 4 or 2 mana.

    And here's a Broodstar Affinity (pure) aggro deck:

    Land (20):
    6 Island
    4 Darksteel Citadel
    4 Vault of Whispers
    4 Seat of the Synod
    2 Great Furnace

    Creatures (22):
    4 Somber Hoverguard
    4 Broodstar
    4 Myr Enforcer
    4 Frogmite
    4 Ornithopter
    2 Lodestone Myr

    Other Spells (1:
    4 Thoughtcast
    2 Serum Visions
    4 Cranial Plating
    4 Welding Jar
    4 Talisman of Dominance

    Ravager Affinity costs about 120 bucks to make. Swapping in Atogs instead of Ravagers brings the deck down into the 50 dollar range. Broodstar Affinity decks are anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars. You can make budget Affinity decks without Broodstar, Ravager, or Glimmervoid (normally found in Atog Affinity and are the card that keeps Atog Affinity from being even cheaper) for as little as 30 dollars.

    Ravager wins on turn 4-6, Atog is a turn or 2 slower. Broodstar is a turn or two slower as well, with the aggro/control version being even slower, but is better against control and combo decks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9e: Madness

    Madness uses cards that allow you to discard from your hand, and cards that can be played for cheap from the graveyard, or as they are being discarded from your hand. It is an aggro/control deck that can take on pure aggro thanks to it's cheap fatties. This is a very popular and proven deck. Sort of like yesterday's Affinity (that's not to say it's dated now, but rather that it was the popular aggro-ish deck before Mirrodin came out- in fact in many metas, Madness is better than Raffinity).

    Land (22):
    8 Forest
    10 Island
    4 Yavimaya Coast

    Creatures (22):
    4 Basking Rootwalla
    4 Wild Mongrel
    4 Arrogant Wurm
    2 Roar of the Wurm
    3 Wonder
    3 Waterfront Bouncer
    2 Aquamoeba

    Other Spells (16):
    4 Careful Study
    4 Daze
    4 Circular Logic
    4 Deep Analysis

    This deck can be made for about 40-60 bucks.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9f: Slide

    Slide uses Astral Slide and Lightning Rift along with many cycling cards to stall creature-based decks long enough to play enough land to drop one of it's fatties. It also runs many board sweeping effects to keep creature decks down and out. Slide can stall by Sliding out (Astral Slide) or killing (Lightning Rift, WoG, Akroma's Vengeance, Slide and Dice) creatures while it tries to draw one of its 2 win conditon creatures, or it can play an Exalted Angel early, and simply Slide her out before playing a Wrath of God effect.


    Land (24):
    3 Plains
    3 Mountain
    4 Secluded Steppe
    4 Forgotten Cave
    4 Drifting Meadow
    4 Smoldering Crater
    2 Battlefield Forge

    Creatures (:
    4 Exalted Angel
    4 Eternal Dragon

    Other Spells (2:
    4 Astral Slide
    4 Wrath of God
    4 Akroma`s Vengeance
    4 Renewed Faith
    4 Lightning Rift
    4 Slice and Dice
    4 Fluctuator

    Slide is a little slow to get stable, so fast aggro decks can run over it. If you play against a lot of fast aggro decks like Raffinity or Goblins, you will need to run more early defense. However, Slide is great in multiplayer games since multiplayer games are slower, allowing Slide to get stable before it gets killed, and with so many Wrath of God effects, Slide can keep any number of players (who use creature-based decks) totally controlled. Most control decks can't control more than 1 player, and thus suck in multiplayer games, but Slide is able to control many players at once and is a great control deck for multiplayer games.

    Slide can be made for about 75 bucks.

    There are also W/R/G and W/G versions of Slide which are designed to take advantage of Eternal Witness. They Slide her out to get cards back to their hand. I haven't used this deck much, so I can't do a primer on it right now, but I may expand on this section by adding a W/G list later.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9g: Psychatog

    Psychatog is a Blue/Black control deck (though some versions run Red, White and/or Green as well) that stalls the other player long enough to build up it's graveyard and then attack with a huge Tog. Most Tog decks try to get to 9 land to play Upheaval and float 3 extra mana to play a Tog after Upheaval resolves. The next turn it attacks with the Tog, discards it's hard, removes it's graveyard and does about 25 damage.

    However, I prefer using Shadow Rift and Sunder instead of Upheaval. Why?

    After an Upheaval, the other player gets a turn (since your Tog just came into play and can't attack). This gives them a chance to play a 1cc creature to block.

    With Shadow Rift, Tog cannot be blocked by a 1cc creature. And with Sunder, the Tog stays in play, so he can attack that turn. Also, since you don't have to float any mana, you don't need as much land and can "go off" sooner.

    Lastly, since after Upheaval you must discard down to 7 at the end of your turn, with with Sunder and Shadow Rift you can go off that turn, you don't need to discard down and can usually feed the Tog more than 7 or 8 cards.

    So, I find the Shadow Rift/Sunder combo to be much faster. Also, you can win by just playing Shadow Rift and no Sunder. So it's not really a two-card combo. You just need 1. Sunder just lets you go off sooner. Gush can also help you go off sooner, so it doubles as card draw, or a 3rd and 4th Sunder. Against many decks you can even keep all of their blockers off the board and attack unblocked without Shadow Rift.

    Land (21):
    10 Island
    5 Swamp
    4 Salt Marsh
    2 Cephalid Coliseum

    Creatures (3):
    3 Psychatog

    Other Spells (36):
    4 Diabolic Edict
    4 Accumulated Knowledge
    4 Counterspell
    4 Snap
    4 Echoing Truth
    4 Fact or Fiction
    2 Sunder
    4 Gush
    2 Shadow Rift
    4 Isochron Scepter

    Tog can have trouble with fast aggro since it can't do much to stop aggro for the first 2 turns, but it can come back and get control of the board, even against fast aggro decks as long as you know when to mulligan and when to keep. Tog is great against combo, aggro/combo and combo/control.

    Tog is a proven decktype that has dominated T2 (when it was T2 legal), Extended (it is still a top Extended deck), T1.5 and it's T1 variant (Hulk), while falling out of favor now, was once the top deck.

    Extended Tog decks can cost anywhere from 30 to 100 dollars (or more). This one will be about 60 or 70.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9h: Mono-Black Control

    MBC runs a lot of creature and hand hate to destroy the other player's gameplan, and then drops some creatures to go in for the kill. The decklist I will post runs 4 Necropotence. This is one of the best cards ever printed and it is banned in every format other than T1 where it is restricted. In casual play however, you may run 4 if your playgroup allows. If they do, run 4. This deck is often called "Unrestricted Necro" now-a-days and is a very evil, powerful deck.

    Nantuko Shade is a very popular MBC creature, and many MBC decks run X damage spells like Consume Spirit or Drain Life. I prefer creatures to the X spells, and I prefer Visara to the Shade (and most would call me crazy for that). So be aware of your options and use what you want to.

    Land (20):
    18 Swamp
    2 Barren Moor

    Creatures (6):
    4 Hypnotic Specter
    2 Visara the Dreadful

    Other Spells (34):
    4 Necropotence
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    4 Duress
    4 Chainer`s Edict
    4 Diabolic Edict
    4 Devour in Shadow
    1 Yawgmoth`s Will
    1 Yawgmoth`s Bargain
    4 Ivory Tower

    This deck costs about 100 dollars making it the second most expensive deck in this guide. The only deck more expensive is Ravager Affinity and I only posted that deck to show you what a "real" Affinity deck looks like since Broodstar Affinity isn't as good and is just a budget version of Raffinity now (though it was the top Affinity deck before Ravager came out). While this deck (MBC) is expensive, in a creature-dominated playgroup, it is easily the best deck I have covered in this guide. Even better than the more expensive Raffinity.

    More expensive MBC decks run Wasteland, Strip Mine and Nevinyrral`s Disk.

    Some new CoK cards to look into: Distress, Cranial Extraction, Kokusho, the Evening Star.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9i: Fish

    By: Xoran

    1. What's Fish?

    Fish is a T1 or T1.5 deck that works with little creatures and very cheap countermagic for the win. The deck's base is blue with often a little red splashed in for removal-burn.

    2. Can I make Fish on a budget?

    Yes you can, but you'll not be able to do tournaments with it. Fish can be cuild quite cheap, because most cards are commons or uncommons.

    3. Deck discription and decklist

    Manabase:

    4 Great Furnace
    4 Seat of the Synod
    4 Faerie Conclave
    2 Mountain
    8 Island

    Let's go over this first. As you see blue is the main color and red is only their to clear the way to your victory. But the Conclave is what makes the deck tick even more. Here you have a 2/1 Flyer every turn that is very difficult to remove.

    Creatures:

    4 Cloud of Faeries
    4 Spiketail Hatchling
    4 Razorfin Hunter
    3 Thought Courier
    3 Qumulox

    The Faeries are essentialy 0 mana cost 1/1 Flyer, but they can also untap your conclave so that they give mana in the same turn, or can attack and give mana, whatever suits you most. The Hatchling is a very annoying critter the often counters lots of spells.

    The Hunter takes out little critters, I know that Vulshok Sorcerer is better, but with the double red in her cost, she doesn't fit here. Your Courier gives you fresh cards, while discarding annoying ones. You could try Whirlpool Rider or even Whirlpool Warrior too, but I find the Courier quite good.

    Qumulox is a budget finisher, with some arti's in play he's most of the time a 5/4 Flyer for 4 even lower, depending on the situation.

    Other Spells:

    Here we have the real treats of Fish.

    4 Daze
    4 Gush
    4 Thoughtcast
    4 Pentad prism
    4 Sunken city

    Daze is a perfect counter in Fish, just playtest it and you'll find out yourself. The same goes up for Gush, completely tapped out? Well you still can draw 2 cards extra, wow sign me in anytime.

    Thoughtcast works best at or lower of course, but still it's a good drawer that deserves testing. The Prism is one of the best commons printed in Mirrodin block imo, it helps filtering your enemy color mana base perfectly. The City at last is the tool to finish your opponent off, all 2/2 Flyers, a 3/2 Conclave and a 6/5 Qumulox, are most of the time quite deadly.

    The last card is optional, you can easily fit in something different (I just pick this one because it's one of my favorite commons of all time):

    4 Quicksilver Dagger

    Ping, draw...red and blue's perfect harmony.


    4 Putting money in

    You like Fish? Good. Ah you want to play tournaments with it, or you just want to knock out your friends 200 dollar Ravager

    deck? Great. Here's what you got to do:

    Daze -> Force of Will BEST.....COUNTER.....EVER.....STOP

    Volcanic island -> 2 is most of the time enough if you have fetchlands like:

    Polluted Delta or Flooded Strand

    Draw:
    Diminishing Returns

    Counter:
    Arcane Denial

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9j: Mono-Blue Control

    By Xoran

    1. What's MUC?

    Monoblue Control, has the nickname permission because of the tonload of countermagic, so your opponent really has to ask your permission to play his/her spell.

    2. Can I make MUC on a budget?

    Yes, MUC has fallen out of grace for tournaments so you should be able to make it quite cheap.

    3. Deck Discription and decklist

    4 Faerie Conclave
    18 Island

    The Conclave is a game-winner on it's own, it often attacks unblocked and gives you mana, and is very difficult to get rid off. Seize the power of manlands.

    Countermagic:

    This is very difficult, because it depends of what your friends are playing. If your friend plays with affinity you shouldn't play Remove Soul but Energy Flux. Just to say that non-hard counters (all counters that don't say "counter target spell") leave room for evasion, in other words your opponent can get around them at some point.

    Against creatures:

    Remove Soul
    Propaganda
    Soul Barrier

    Against artifacts:

    Energy Flux

    Against echantments:

    Aura Flux

    General non-hard counters:

    Mana Leak
    Condescend now you can completely forget Power Sink

    Counters that you shouldn't use:

    Vex
    Foil
    Miscalculation

    Those are counters that are subpar, unless you really have a good reason to use them, there are better things out in the field.

    Card Draw:

    Ok, now you can counter a lot, but still you see that a 4/4 Myr Enforcer is greeting you on the field, and in 5 turns the game'll be over, so what do you do? You draw cards to answer this dangerous thing, searching for options, like Unsummon or something familiar.

    Good cheap card draw:

    Accumulated Knowledge
    Compulsion -> cycle all your cards for 1U
    Concentrate
    Deep Analysis
    Brainstorm great with fetchlands or against Duress
    Ophidian don't laugh, more experienced players will now this little snake. And if you don't like it you can still enjoy the magnificient artwork.

    Toolbox:

    Cunning Wish comes to mind, in casual your complete instant binder becomes available to you. You have 1 card you need, well go get it. In other words with this card you can put 1-offs in your sideboard to fetch.

    Mystical Tutor is better for 1-offs in your deck, you need something, well tutor for it.

    The Kill:
    Ok you've managed to maintain board superiority with blue, now it's time to set up your kill, preferable with something that can kill on it's own, without help. I know Morphling is one of the best, but we're talking about casual here.

    Palinchron
    Zephid
    Amugaba
    Mistform Skyreaver
    Quicksilver Dragon
    Tidal Kraken

    are very fine options and have evasion so your opponent can't easily kill them. 4 turns later, he should be dead.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9k: Wake

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a Mirari`s Wake in play on turn 1? You get to make double mana and your creatures get +1/+1. That sure would be nice... but outside of T1, 5 mana on turn 1 is hard to come by.

    The decktype "Wake" tries to get the same effect as a turn 1 Mirari's Wake by stalling the other player with control until it can make the 5 mana it needs to play Wake. Since you keep the board clear until the turn 4 or 5 that you drop Wake, it's essentially turn 1.

    Wake, like many decks, started as a T2 deck. It was traditionally Blue, White and Green. Since the concept of Wake isn't good enough to cut it in the more powerful formats, we never really got to see what a Wake deck would look like if it got to use cards outside of the T2 legal sets of the time. But this is casual, so we can make Wake without boundries (other than budget).

    To keep costs down, I've decided to make this Wake deck simply White and Green. With the additional tools that White gives us outside of Wake's T2 start, I don't think we *NEED* Blue. Adding Blue will help, that is certain, but with the decks hard to pay for color requirements (such as Wrath of God's double White), the amount of money you'd need to spend to make the deck run smoothly at 3 colors is fairly high. Keeping it at 2 colors saves us some money.

    Here is what I consider to be a pretty good, budgety, casual W/G Wake deck:

    Land (24):
    12 Plains
    8 Forest
    4 Brushland

    Creature [and creature effects] (:
    4 Decree of Justice
    4 Exalted Angel

    Other Spells (2:
    4 Wrath of God
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Moment`s Peace
    4 Mirari`s Wake
    4 Wing Shards
    3 Armageddon
    3 Renewed Faith
    2 Mirari

    Because WoG and Exalted Angel are about 10 bucks each, this deck is pretty close to 100 bucks. But you can cut the Angels and run 4 more control cards in their place if you'd like. If the cards you add are cheap, that saves about 40 bucks.

    Note that you play Armageddon AFTER you play Wake and AFTER you play Decree. You can rebuild from it much faster, and it pretty much shuts down the other player's deck: stopping them from finding answers to your legion of Soldier tokens.

    If you'd like to add Blue, some good cards to use are:

    -Mana Leak
    -Deep Analysis
    -Cunning Wish
    -Echoing Truth

    I've also thought about adding Llanowar Elves to help get Wake out a turn sooner, or to serve as a chump blocker in a pinch, but I'm not sure how well they would work out. Birds of Paradise would be even better, but would easily put the deck over the 100 dollar limit I would like to stick to with this guide.

    Another great card to add would be Balance. It's fairly cheap (4 or 5 bucks) and could go in for the Exalted Angels if you'd like. I'm reluctant to list it in the deck because it can stunt your land growth, but after some testing it may prove to be a great addition to the deck. It's easily one of the most powerful cards ever printed, but against low mana curve aggro decks, it can stall you nearly as much as it stalls them by killing your lands.

    And keep in mind that these prices are only if you get a bit of a deal. With the other decks in this guide, I gave you worst-case estimates for the cost of the deck. So if you are surprised at the price of the deck when you buy it, I want you to be pleasantly surprised. Wake is full of many 5-15 dollar cards, so to keep the cost of the deck under 100 bucks, you'll need to search for better deals than you do with the other decks in this guide. So in this Wake primer, I'm giving you best case estimates of cost, not worst case. So be prepared to have to hunt for the best deals with this deck.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9l: Sligh

    Sligh is a mono-Red deck with a VERY low mana curve that tries to win as fast as possible by using cheap burn and cheap aggressive creatures.

    Land (16):
    14 Mountain
    2 Forgotten Cave

    Creatures (20):
    4 Jackal Pup
    4 Grim Lavamancer
    4 Slith Firewalker
    4 Mogg Fanatic
    4 Goblin Cadets

    Spells (24):
    4 Lightning Bolt
    4 Chain Lightning
    4 Incinerate
    4 Shock
    4 Seal of Fire
    4 Ankh of Mishra

    This is a Sligh example for a more aggro-heavy metagame. Traditional Sligh runs some cards which, IMO, aren't practical in an aggro-heavy meta (and most casual playgroups are aggro-heavy). Even Jackal Pup is a little questionable in a pure aggro meta. But I still think it's worth running. No Mox Monkey either. It's not very good outside of a powered metagame.

    This Sligh example is pretty expensive. It would likely go for well over 100 bucks unless you got a great deal on some of the cards. While this build isn't exactly a tournament build, it's a little more like the "real thing" than some of the other decks in this guide. You could budget it further by replacing the somewhat expensive Lightning Bolts, Chain Lightning, Grim Lavamancer and Mogg Fanatics with any other 1 mana burn spells or creatures you have. It's not very flashy, but stuff like Raging Goblin does fine in budget Sligh. If you drop the fairly expensive cards I listed and run cheap commons instead, the deck falls easily into the 'less than 100 bucks' category, and with further budgeting, can even be dropped to 40 bucks or so.

    The thing to remember is that Sligh needs 1 and 2 mana spells. Keep the mana curve low. So don't budget the deck by replacing the 1 and 2cc spells with 2 and 3cc spells. Keep everything cheap, cheap, cheap. Even if you use "bad" cards, as long as the casting costs are all low, you can maintain the essence of Sligh and win games on pure speed.

    Sligh is also good at topdecking. With so little land, you will draw threats more often than most other decks. Use burn to clear away early blockers so that your creatures can get through unblocked, and then when you have the other player within finishing range, start tossing the burn a their face.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9m: Big Red

    Big Red is a mono-Red control deck that uses burn for creature removal (control) as well as for finishers along with Arc-Slogger. Being a T2 deck in the current T2 environment (as I write this, that includes 8th, Onslaught Block and Mirrodin Block), it has to deal with a lot of artifacts and a lot of Affinity. After the Champions (ChK) Block comes out, Big Red's card choices may change a bit, but the idea behind it will likely remain viable.

    Here's a standard "real deal" example of T2 Big Red:

    Land (20):
    13 Mountain
    4 Great Furnace
    3 Blinkmoth Nexus

    Creatures (:
    4 Arc-Slogger
    4 Solemn Simulacrum

    Other Spells (32):
    4 Fireball
    4 Electrostatic Bolt
    4 Shrapnel Blast
    4 Barbed Lightning
    4 Detonate
    4 Pulse of the Forge
    4 Slice and Dice
    4 Damping Matrix

    This deck costs over 100 bucks. So let's try a budget version:

    Land (20):
    16 Mountain
    4 Great Furnace

    Creatures (3):
    3 Arc-Slogger

    Other Spells (37):
    4 Fireball
    4 Electrostatic Bolt
    4 Shrapnel Blast
    4 Barbed Lightning
    4 Detonate
    4 Shock
    4 Slice and Dice
    4 Damping Matrix
    3 Magma Jet
    2 Starstorm

    This version only costs about 50 bucks and can be brought down to 40 by replacing the 2 Starstorms with any 2 burn spells you have laying around.

    These 2 decks are T2 legal as I write this (Onslaught, Mirrodin, 8th), but that is about to change as the Onslaught block will be cycling out. This is casual anyways, so let's try adding some older cards that aren't T2 legal at all, and let's make the deck less tweeked for the current T2 meta.

    Land (20):
    16 Mountain
    4 Great Furnace

    Creatures (3):
    3 Arc-Slogger

    Other Spells (37):
    4 Fireball
    4 Disintegrate
    4 Shrapnel Blast
    4 Barbed Lightning
    4 Seal of Fire
    4 Shock
    4 Slice and Dice
    4 Incinerate
    3 Magma Jet
    2 Starstorm

    And huzzah, there's a solid casual Big Red deck for about 40-50 bucks.

    If you want to add a little non-T2 money to it, Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning would be great.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 7: Restictions/Formats

    When people say things like T1, Extended, Block etc... they are talking about DCI Magic formats. A list of the formats and which cards and sets and legal in each format is here:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x...sources/banned

    Unlike some other collectable card games, there is no banned or restricted list as part of Magic rules. This means that you are allowed to run 4 copies of any real Magic card. However, many casual playgroups do follow DCI banned/restricted lists (B/R lists). Some decide to stay T2 legal, some T1 legal. Some have no B/R list at all, while others make their own.

    So if you are wondering which cards you can use in your deck: Any. No card is banned or restricted. However, in tournament play, it is different. Your deck must fit a format, and each format has a different B/R list. And if you ever meet some Magic players and become buds with them and want to play with them, you must be prepared to play decks that are legal in a format. Some playgroups will not allow you to use decks that are not legal in whatever format they prefer.

    It is up to each playgroup to decide which cards are allowed and which cards are limited to 1 copy per deck (restricted). If you and your friends don't know T2 from Extended, you don't have to worry about which cards you can and cannot use. However, if you want to play tournaments, you will need to know which cards are legal in the format you want to play in. Note that some tournaments (that are not run by the DCI) do not use the DCI B/R lists. Some use their own, or none at all.

    Even if you never want to play a tournament, you may want to get familiar with the formats. If you want to play some casual games in a cardshop you may be asked if you have any T2 legal decks. The people there may want to only play with/against Extended decks etc...

    In general though, for casual play, you can pretty much forget about the B/R lists. I have yet to play against a single person that wouldn't let me use any of my decks, no matter which I wanted, including my unrestricted decks.

    2 notes:

    -Cards from Unglued and any Portal/Starter set are not tournament legal. You can use them in casual (if the group allows it) though. Also, cards from Unglued and Portal/Starter CAN be used in tournaments if the EXACT same card was reprinted in a Core set (like 7th). So a Portal Thorn Elemental is legal since it's also in 7th. The 5 basic lands from Unglued are legal because basic lands are always legal (note that the Unglued basic lands are black bordered, and the rest of the set is grey bordered: grey bordered cards are never tournament legal).

    -You may use any version of a card that is legal in the format. So while Revised is NOT T2 legal, you can use a Revised Terror in a T2 tournament since Terror was reprinted in Mirrodin (as I write this, Mirrodin is T2 legal).

    A little overview of each of the 4 main formats:

    T2: This is the least powerful format. It only includes the current core set, plus the current 2 blocks. So it has a small cardpool. This is the most popular format and the best one to get started with since it's easier and cheaper to build T2 decks (since the cards are all easy to get and trade for). Top T2 decks usually cost 100-200 dollars.

    Extended: Like T2, but... well, extended. It features more core sets and more blocks. Because the cardpool is larger, you have access to more card interactions and cards which are too good to be reprinted in current sets. This format has slightly more power than T2. Top Extended decks usually cost 130-400 dollars.

    T1.5: This is basically T1, but all of the restricted cards in T1 are banned in T1.5. However, now the B/R lists for the two formats are looking pretty different. Either way, this is basically a powered down version of T1. This format is more powerful than Extended. Top T1.5 decks usually cost 300-500 dollars. Note that T1.5 will be getting a new name soon and is starting to split off from T1.

    T1: Aside from cards that deal with ante or flipping/tossing a card in the air, you can use at least 1 copy on any Magic card (aside from Unglued and Portal/Starter). In T1, the most powerful cards are all useable, though most are restricted. This is the most powerful format because it has the least limited cardpool. Top T1 decks can cost 1000-3000 dollars.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 8: Deck Types

    Aggro- A deck that tries to kill the other player as fast as possible. This is usually done by bringing their life total down to 0. Aggro decks are about attacking and/or direct damage. Killing with creatures and/or damage is what aggro does. Examples are: Raffinity, Gobvantage, White Weenies, Sligh.

    Control- Control is about "controlling" what the other player does. It's usually about stalling that player by stopping their gameplan long enough for you to play your win condition. Spells like Counterspell, Echoing Truth, Devour in Shadow, Swords to Plowshares, Duress and Wrath of God are all control oriented. Land destruction is also control. Most control decks will stall the other player so that they can build up enough mana to play a big fatty like Tidal Kraken and then procede to win, or a massive X spell like Fireball or Drain Life. Burn like Lightning Bolt can be used in aggro decks as direct damage to let their creatures attack unblocked, or to kill a player, but are also used in control decks to kill attackers. Control decks generally have 3 parts: Control, Draw, Win Conditions. Control decks love to draw cards as they need to draw more answers than the other player has threats. Black and Blue can do control by themselves. White and Red can as well, but are usually teamed up with another color. Green has very little in the way of control. Examples: Psychatog, Mono-Blue Control, Mono-Black Control, Astral Slide.

    Combo- Combo decks try to draw and play certain cards that, when used together in a certain way, ensure a lock or the win. Combo loves tutors and draw fixers such as Demonic Tutor, Demonic Consultation, Impulse and Brainstorm as well as massive draw such as Necropotence. Most combo decks "go off" which means once they play the final piece to the combo, they win. Some just lock the game so the other player cannot win, and then procede to slowly kill that player. These are often called Prison decks. They are sometimes refered to as Control decks since the combo controls what the other player can do to the point that they are locked from doing anything. But I think of them more as combo decks. Good combo decks win or lock on turn 1-3, and are usually very expensive. Combo decks tend to require expensive mana acceleration such as Black Lotus. Examples: Academy, Long.dec, Tinker, Stasis, Worldgorger Dragon.

    There are also hybrids of the types:

    Aggro/Control: Just like aggro, but adds control cards such as creature removal or counter magic. This is done to help the deck prevent combo decks from going off, to prevent aggro decks from playing key cards, or to prevent control from playing it's win condition. Examples: Madness, Suicide Black, Fish

    Aggro/Combo: Like aggro, but has a built in combo that ensures the win or the lock or helps improve the deck's speed. Usually can win by going aggro, or by comboing out, though many use combos that do not win the game itself, but rather help the deck win with aggro. Examples: Food-Chain Goblins, Mask, Goblin Bidding

    Combo/Control: Like combo, but uses control to help protect the combo and/or to stall aggro decks from winning. Or like control but with a combo as the win condition. Examples: Hulk, Oath, Control-Slaver

    In general:

    Aggro beats control. It plays many small threats and control doesn't have enough answers to all of them.

    Control beats combo. It can prevent combo from playing it's pieces.

    Combo beats aggro. It can "go off" before aggro wins by doing damage.

    This is just in general, not the case in every matchup. Also note that this is only considering "good" combo decks that win on turn 1-3. Most casual combo decks are slower than aggro, so casual aggro usually beats casual combo.

    Adding control to an aggro deck makes it slower, and thus worse against control and other aggro, but better against combo.

    Adding control to a combo deck makes it slower and thus worse against pure combo and aggro, but more able to protect itself from control.

    Adding combo to an aggro deck often makes it worse against control, but speeds it up against aggro and combo, making it better in those matches.

    Again, this is just in general, and not true for every deck.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9: Primers

    In the following sections I will explain the idea behind each of several decktypes, and provide a sample decklist.

    I do this because a lot of new players ask "what type of deck should I make?"

    Well, take a look at these decks and if any look like what you want, make it.

    Some things to know:

    -These decks range from 30-100 dollars, which I consider to be "budget". They are intended for casual play. They *ARE* all solid casual decks, but *NOT* optimal decklists. Don't expect to win any major tournaments with them (except Raffinity, which while not being the best deck in this section, is the best deck in it's tournament format). You can however beat your friends with them and even win smaller tournaments.

    -I do not claim to be an expert on any of these decks and offer these guides and lists just as examples for you to see if you are interested in any of these deck types. None of these decklists are perfect, nor optimal. Some card choices were made to keep the price down, not to make the deck as good as can be. But again, I feel these decks are all solid and even if you copy the lists card-per-card, you will likely beat your friends and will definity have a great casual deck that can win smaller tournies.

    -Feel free to change the decks to suit what you want, or to make the deck even cheaper. Again, these lists are just examples to show you what the deck looks like. You can change the decks around all you'd like. These lists are not definitive.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9a: White Weenies

    White Weenies is a decktype that uses cheap, well-costed creatures to get more for it's mana than other decks do. WW likes 1 and 2 mana creatures that have a power and toughness equal to their casting cost, plus an ability or two. It also likes creatures with P/T that are high for it's cost. Examples are: White Knight, Silver Knight, Savannah Lions, Tundra Wolves. WW uses cheap creature enchantments for pump and global pumpers like Crusade or Glorious Anthem. WW also tends to run some creature removal, usually Swords to Plowshares or Pacifism.

    WWE is a new variant that uses Equipment spells. Equipment gives you less pump for the mana than Creature Enchantments do, but aren't removed when the creature dies. This makes WWE suffer less card disadvantage since the equipment doesn't die with the creature, but costs the deck some tempo. WWE also uses Auriok Steelshaper for it's global pump rather than something like Crusade.

    WW Example:

    Land (1:
    16 Plains
    2 Kjeldoran Outpost

    Creatures (30):
    4 White Knight
    4 Silver Knight
    4 Longbow Archer
    4 Tundra Wolves
    4 Suntail Hawk
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Leonin Skyhunter
    2 Paladin en-Vec

    Other (12):
    4 Crusade
    4 Empyrial Armor
    4 Swords to Plowshares



    WWE Example:

    Land (1:
    16 Plains
    2 Daru Encampment

    Creatures (2:
    4 White Knight
    4 Silver Knight
    4 Longbow Archer
    4 Auriok Glaivemaster
    4 Auriok Steelshaper
    4 Savannah Lions
    4 Leonin Skyhunter

    Other (14):
    4 Pacifism
    4 Bonesplitter
    4 Leonin Scimtar
    2 Sword of Fire and Ice

    When playing WW or WWE, stay aggressive. Attack, attack, attack. Don't worry about losing creatures. You need to win as fast as possible, and since you don't run a lot of land and do run a lot of creatures, you will probably draw more threats than the other player does, so you can afford to trade creatures with them.

    Both of these decks should cost 40-70 dollars.

    Some new CoK cards to look into: Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Devoted Retainer, Lantern Kami, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Reciprocate.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9b: Elves

    Aggro Elf decks make a lot of mana very fast and play a huge number of Elves quickly. Elf decks use pump from Timberwatch Elves or Alpha Status to make 1 or 2 huge Elves and attack for the win. Unlike WW which attacks with a swarm of creatures over and over, Elf decks usually make one Elf about a 15/15 and attacks twice with it, leaving the un-pumped Elves back as blockers. In other words, Elf decks tend to explode rather than to swarm.

    Land (1:
    16 Forest
    2 Wirewood Lodge

    Creatures (36):
    4 Priest of Titania
    4 Llanowar Elves
    4 Wellwisher
    4 Timberwatch Elf
    4 Defiant Elf
    4 Treetop Scout
    4 Quirion Ranger
    3 Taunting Elf
    3 Heedless One
    2 Elvish Lyrist

    Other Spells (6):
    4 Alpha Status
    2 Slate of Ancestry

    This deck can win on turn 3, but usually wins on turn 4 or 5. Elf decks are vulnerable to board sweepers and hosers but can be fast enough to take on control and other aggro with ease. Some Elf decks run more removal, and some splash Red to use it's excess mana to power out Fireballs. This is an example of a "hand grenade" aggro Elf deck. Shuffle your deck (pull the pin) turn 1 (3...) turn 2 (2....) turn 3 (1....) turn 4 (It either goes boom and you win, or it's a dud).

    This deck costs about 40 bucks to make.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 9c: Goblins

    There are many kinds of Goblin decks. The best is Food-Chain Goblins (Red/Green), but it can be expensive to build (it is very cheap for a T1 deck, but can be expensive for casual). It uses Food Chain, Goblin Recruiter and Goblin Ringleader to power out many Goblins quickly and attacks with 2-4 Goblin Piledrivers for the win. Goblin Bidding (Red/Black) is popular and is basically a Goblin Sligh deck that uses Patriarch`s Bidding, Goblin Warchief and a lot of sac Goblins like Skirk Prospector and Goblin Sledder to bring many Goblins back into play on one turn. But my favorite Goblin deck (which is not as good as Food-Chain Goblins but is much better than Goblin Bidding) is Gobvantage.

    Gobvantage uses the same draw engine as FCG (Recruiter/Ringleader), and the same kill cards (Piledriver/Goblin Sharpshooter),but doesn't run Food Chain. Thus, it remains mono-Red.

    FCG is a great budget T1 deck, but it's pretty expensive for casual play. In my opinion, Gobvantage is the best casual Goblin decktype because it's easily better than every other Goblin decktype (other than FCG), but easier to budget than FCG. Since Food Chain costs 4 mana, and you need to power it out fast, FCG needs mana acceleration. The best mana acceleration costs money. Also, FCG requires at least a bit of color fixing. While a few Sol Rings and fetchlands may not cost THAT much, I think Gobvantage offers a better price/performance ratio when in the 40-80 dollar range. FCG becomes better when above 100 dollars, and you've added good color fixing and mana acceleration.

    Land (22):
    20 Mountain
    2 Goblin Burrows

    Creatures (30):
    4 Mogg Sentry
    4 Skirk Prospector
    4 Goblin Recruiter
    4 Goblin Matron
    4 Goblin Ringleader
    4 Goblin Sledder
    2 Goblin Warchief
    2 Goblin Sharpshooter
    2 Goblin Piledriver

    Other Spells (:
    4 Goblin War Strike
    4 Goblin Grenade

    Play the Recruiter (or a Matron to fetch a Recruiter) and then stack your library so you have a Warchief or two on top, followed by a Ringleader and then 4 other Goblins. The main Goblins you want are the Piledrivers, Sharpshooters and Sledders. Attack with everything, which makes your Piledrivers huge. The Sharpshooters kill all of their 1/1s and 2/2s for free,

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    Awesome guide, this should help any noob who wants to get a good foothold in Magic, the Gathering.
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE</div><div class='quotemain'> They will shoot you and cut you up and step on the pieces and burn them and assemble the ashes and shoot them again and grind them into sand and scatter the sand into the sea and boil the sea away and gather the hardened remains and melt them into a rock and shoot the rock and burn what&#39;s left and launch the remains into the sun and...
    </div>
    **or**
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE</div><div class='quotemain'>The most powerful gun in the galaxy won&#39;t help if your opponent if bashing your brains out with a rock</div>

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