Warning: major uber long geek-speak ahead. Only for the terminally bored.
After so many months of collecting and playing Magic: The Gathering, I have finally confirmed, once and for all, my favourite deck archetype. I mean, I’ve known it for quite a while now (and so do all my friends opponents nemeses) but I decided it once and for all with the birth of my very first self-made deck.
All my previous decks had been gleaned off the internet (with at most a few minor adjustments of my own) and this is the first deck where the idea (although not terribly original, I haven’t found a similar deck online yet) and the decklist were totally created by me (with due credits to some of my friends for playtesting).
So, for me, there are certain types of M:tG decks. Some are classified by their game speeds and tempos (fast, mid, slow etc.), some by their strategies and combos while others are known by their colours (red-white tokens etc.)
Personally, I’ve never taken to slow decks. Usually blue-centric, these decks are often control-based or feature convoluted, uber game-winning combos where, the moment the chain starts, the opponent can just concede. I’ve never been a good enough player to even bother considering these (although I’d like to be able to, someday).
Combo/novelty decks are fun and I’ve made a few in my time (when I can afford them) but, just as their name implies, they’re usually for entertainment and have no lasting viability against even normal decks. Usually, all it takes is a little spell to break the combo and that’s it. So, while my Where Ancients Tread deck is doing inexplicably well (meaning to say winning at least 30% of the time), it’s not an archetype I’d want to focus on.
The first type of gameplay that appealed to me as a beginner (thanks to its user-friendly idiot-proof nature) was a fatties deck, where the deck just consisted of trying to get huge creatures into play to win. Instead of introducing me to the finer points of gameplay however, making one of these just highlighted the skill difference between my friends and I.
Moving on, I decided to ditch the slow-ish fatties style and head to the extreme end, getting a blazing-fast burn-weenie deck that features quick (and cheap casting cost) burns and cheap casting little creatures that did a decent amount of damage. While the deck was marginally successful, I just didn’t feel it for some reason. Plus, for its price (I spent the most money on this one), it had no mid-to-late-game presence at all and had no depth. What you see was what you’d get. Not very interesting.
So, that leaves me with the early-to-mid-game thronging style, which is apparently where I’ve found my niche.
Usually quite idiot-proof and potentially fast, these decks nonetheless are able to hold out through to the mid-game (unlike, say, the zoo deck, which has to win by turn four) and usually features a whole slew of cards that synergise around a certain theme, pump each other up and throng the opponent mid-game for the win (usually aided with a few basic control spells to ensure a smooth set-up).
From my first very successful deck (my elf throng deck, which boasted of a 65% win rate) to the Pauper (commons only a.k.a. cheap) Slivers deck to my recent Bant-styled exalted deck and to the one I just made yesterday (a Knight Of New Alara multi-coloured deck), this has definitely been the deck style I’m most comfortable.
So, while it might not be as satisfying a win as, say, pulling off the Swans Of Bryn Argoll combo deck that’s so the rage nowadays, and while I might not be making any more since I’ve so many decks of this style already (so much so that I can barely choose between them) and I’m kinda broke, it’s definitely the deck style that I’d choose to go with for that reliable gameplay and solid win rate.
Mid-game throngers FTW!
eta: Whoa, this was certainly much longer than expected. I was only planning for it to be a three para rant.