Magic: The Gathering Arena is slowly starting to pick up pace, and soon will hopefully be one of the biggest online trading card games. Rivaling Hearthstone from Blizzard and Artifact from Valve. In saying that, new players may not fully understand how to build their first couple of decks to help earn card packs and slowly climb the ladder.
Magic: The Gathering Arena is a little different from Hearthstone as it has different “colour” cards and requires you to play “land” to then play creatures and spells. In this guide I’m going to assume you understand the basics of the game, such as playing land, tapping cards, and the way the game is played in general.
How To Pick Your Deck
Before anything you should have a look at what cards you have available to you after completing the tutorial and opening some packs. Read through some of the higher cost ones and see if they have synergy with lower cost ones. Synergy is how cards play together. For example cards that buff others, or allow you to stack buffs. Make sure to stick to one or two colours though, as the more variety you have the harder your deck will be to play successfully.
Once you’ve chosen your favourite couple of cards and decided what colours to play, you can then decide how much land you need. For the purpose of this guide I will assume you are playing a black/green deck. This means that you likely have a few big creatures that you can bring back from the dead and buff. (My prefered style of play)
The amount of land people recommend will vary from player to player. Some recommend 17-18, and others around 24. Ultimately this comes down to what your deck is based around and the colour you choose to play.
Now we get into the nitty gritty of choosing your land. You are likely to want half of each colour if playing a 2 colour deck. If your deck leans slightly more one way than the other, obviously you want to have more in that colour. You should also look at land cards that give you a choice of colour or add colourless land. This will stop you from being unable to play both sets of cards.
For example, cards such as Foul Orchard and Overgrown Tomb, these cards will allow you to add either black or green mana. This can really help you out both in the mid and late game.
Now, this is where a guide could become tricky to follow. Especially as i’m not giving you a deck to follow. Essentially you want to pick creatures that work with the main overarching idea of your deck.
For example, if you’ve picked a card that allows you to sacrifice other creatures to add power to it, such as Undercity Necrolisk. You are going to want some low cost, weak cards to throw out early and mid game so you can sacrifice them and buff your main card. Some of these cards could include Diregraf Ghoul, Doomed Dissenter and Walking Corpse. These are all low cost cards (less than 3 mana) that you can play early game to be aggressive, and save until the mid game to help feed up Undercity Necrolisk. (These cards have quite strong synergy that we mentioned earlier on in the guide.)
Once you have enough creatures, roughly 20 should be enough. You are ready to start adding spells and enchantments to your deck.
(Don’t take 20 as the “end all be all”, if you find this number is too high or too low, add other cards. It’s your deck after all!)
Spells and enchantments are some of the quirkiest parts of Magic: The Gathering Arena. If utilised correctly, they can be insanely powerful and turn the tide of the match quickly. Again, you will want roughly 20 or these types of cards in your deck. You want them to really synergise with the rest of your cards.
Now, it’s not a bad idea to have a variety of spells and enchantments. You'll want some that buff, some that nerf, and some that change the way you’ll play the rest of your match. Some good green spells include Rabid Bite and Titanic Growth. Rabid Bite lets you dispatch of both strong and weak creatures, depending on what you currently have on the board. Titanic Growth can let you buff up a weak creature, or make a strong one even stronger.
There is a huge array of spell and enchantments in Magic: The Gathering Arena, and I would suggest you look at what you have unlocked. Read through them, and really focus on the cards that both interest you and seem effective.
Now, for our theoretical black/green deck, we have Undercity Necrolisk, and some cheap creatures. So why don’t we add Open The Graves to our deck to increase its synergy, this will allow us to revive the low cost and even high cost creatures as 2/2 zombies. This means we can sacrifice low cost cards and buff Undercity Necrolisk whilst still keeping creatures in play.
We can further increase our synergy by adding cards like Death Baron. This card buffs all skeletons and zombies that we control by giving them +1/+1 and deathtouch. This means we are able to turn our low cost 1/1’s into 3/3’s that kill anything they hit, whilst also increasing Undercity Necrolisk’s attack and defense.
The main goal of Magic: The Gathering Arena decks is similar to Hearthstone and really all trading card game decks. To have cards that work extremely well together, but don’t rely on one strategy. It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, so creating a deck that has one main strategy, but many paths, is the key to success.
This guide has barely scratched the surface of Magic The Gathering Arena deck building, the only way to improve is to practice. Once you understand synergy and the basics of the game, you'll be climbing the ladder like a pro!
If building your own deck isn’t really your thing, and you don’t want it to be, there are plenty of websites that exist that can show you pre-made decks. But with Magic: The Gathering Arena not having the ability to trade or buy certain cards, it could be costly to follow them to a T. Always look for alternatives, or use them as a guide instead of a bible.
If you have any questions regarding Magic: The Gathering Arena, check out their subreddit everyone is super helpful!