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Subject: Question about which creatures should be in a deck rss

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Nick the Greek
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I am new to magic so my question may sound a little stupid. I have been looking at all those creature cards and apart from those that have special abilities like flying, reach, trample, lifelink and a few others, I do not see any point in adding other standard creatures in a deck.

I have the impression that it is a must to have fliers or creatures with reach in your deck. Those are all-time blockers (except they can't block creatures with trample), so why should I bother getting other creatures? I think that it is the best way to keep your deck viable, if you decide to include any creatures in it.

Now I may be wrong and short-sighted, but any advice would be welcome.
 
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Jon
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Special abilities usually increase the casting cost of creatures. If you plan on getting any creatures out early (or for cheap), plain-jane is sometimes the way to go.
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Jeff Thompson
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Merfolk Looter is an awesome card that doesn't do "creature-like" things.

Birds of Paradise might be the most played creature ever. (It does have flying, but is a 0/1.)

Any creature that as "Whenever this creature enters the Battlefield..." (aka 'comes into play effects') are sweet, especially if you have ways of getting them onto the battlefield repeatedly.

Also, some creatures have disadvantages, making them cost less. These can be very powerful if you can either mitigate the disadvantage or even turn it into an advantage.

It is not a must to have fliers or reach. I'll take a beefy green 6/6 against 4 1/3 fliers.

Creating a Magic deck is a lot of the fun of Magic. It is also much more difficult to do well than actually playing Magic.

Creatures are just a type of card with different attributes. Sorceries are also important.

Check out the various deck lists on Wizard's site (and other sites). you'll be amazed at what decks work and how what they contain.

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Douglas Buel
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Well, the number and type of creatures that you use is going to be a factor toward the pace at which your deck tries to kill the opponent.

Suppose I play a deck filled with 2/2s and spells that kill creatures. Meanwhile, you play a deck filled with 4/4s.

I'm going to run you over. It's less mana to play 2/2s than 4/4s. Sure, you're eventually going to start playing your 4/4s. But before that happens, I'll have played 2/2s and swung on you a lot.

When you finally start plunking down 4/4s, I'll just use my spells that kill creatures to kill them while I keep swinging. You might stick a 4/4 eventually, but it'll be too late. You'll be dead.

In this scenario, my creatures don't fly. I don't need them to. I have so many and they cost so little mana that I just steamroll you. So abilities don't mean much in this situation.


Here's another example. Suppose you play a deck with a bunch of creatures that fly. Meanwhile, I don't play any creatures at all. I just play spells that kill creatures and spells that drain your life total directly. Consume Spirit, for example.

All things being equal, when you play creatures, I let a few of them hit me. Then I just kill them all. You play more creatures, and I get hit some but I also kill them. Then I raise my life total back up by draining you with Consume Spirit. A few of those and you're dead.

What good did flying do you? You didn't even have anything to fly over. The best thing for you in this situation would have been either for your creatures to be as fast or as cheap as possible, for you to have some way to get them back from the graveyard (usually involving a noncreature spell), or for you to stop my spells directly (again, usually involving a noncreature spell on your part.) Flying didn't mean a single thing.


So, abilties that seem good in combat suddenly don't seem so important when there's no blocking. That's why there are so many creatures with no abilities or abilities that don't relate to blocking. There are a lot of times when there is no blocking.
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Tiago Nunes
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If you have a very aggressive deck it pays off to have simpler creatures that don't have special abilities (maybe only haste or a sacrifice ability), that way when your opponent finally gets that creature with a nice ability (they're always more expensive) you've already chewed your opponent's a life a good bit.

There are other types of situations that warrant special creatures, like creatures that combo with other cards in your deck.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Ramza01 wrote:
I have the impression that it is a must to have fliers or creatures with reach in your deck. Those are all-time blockers (except they can't block creatures with trample)


They can block creatures with trample. They may not prevent excess damage from rolling over onto you, but they can block em.

They can't block creatures with Shadow, or protection-from their color, or in many cases Fear, but that's a discussion for another time.


Ramza01 wrote:
, so why should I bother getting other creatures? I think that it is the best way to keep your deck viable, if you decide to include any creatures in it.


Speed. As others have mentioned, the extra abilities carry with them extra cost - generally speaking, an X/Y Flying creature costs more than an X/Y creature with no ability. A card that costs more mana is harder to get out earlier.

Consider two creatures that were considered powerful in the early days of Magic - the Erhnam Djinn and the Juzam Djinn. Not only did they not have flying or trample or any useful abilities, both of these creatures had NEGATIVE abilities (The Erhnam Djinn was a Green creature that, every upkeep, forced you to give an opponent's creature forestwalk until your next upkeep. The Juzam Djinn simply did one damage to you during your upkeep). But they were considered GREAT cards - because they were cheap, and as a result, they were fast.
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Jimmie Hayes
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dbuel wrote:
Suppose I play a deck filled with 2/2s and spells that kill creatures. Meanwhile, you play a deck filled with 4/4s.

I'm going to run you over.


2/1s. Savannah Lions.

Course, I haven't kept up with this stuff in years. Just sayin'
 
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Nick the Greek
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Thanks for the insight, guys! Building a deck is way more complicated than I had thought. I think I will stick for a short while with the preconstructed duel decks and planechase decks and figure out later what needs to be changed.
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Leif Norcott
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Ramza01 wrote:
I am new to magic so my question may sound a little stupid. I have been looking at all those creature cards and apart from those that have special abilities like flying, reach, trample, lifelink and a few others, I do not see any point in adding other standard creatures in a deck.

I have the impression that it is a must to have fliers or creatures with reach in your deck. Those are all-time blockers (except they can't block creatures with trample), so why should I bother getting other creatures? I think that it is the best way to keep your deck viable, if you decide to include any creatures in it.

Now I may be wrong and short-sighted, but any advice would be welcome.


First off flying creatures and reach creatures can block creatures with trample, trample just allows excess damage to hit the opponent. Another thing is that as most have mentioned above synergy (basically looking at the speed and the power of your deck) is important thus making wildly different creatures useful in different decks. My suggestion is to try drafting or constructed when you feel you got a good grasp on the rules and you will see how cards that might appear weak at first can be stronger than you thought.
 
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Jimmie Hayes
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Ramza01 wrote:
Thanks for the insight, guys! Building a deck is way more complicated than I had thought. I think I will stick for a short while with the preconstructed duel decks and planechase decks and figure out later what needs to be changed.


No idea what a planechase is but...

Yes, that's precisely what you should probably do. The easiest way to learn this stuff is incrementally. Pick a precon based on some aspect of the game that you like, it might be a speed-oriented deck, indirect damage, permission (control), or whatever.

Then, as you play other people with different decks, pay attention to the cards, especially cards that are of the same colors as yours. You might see some that will fit well with the type of decks that you are playing. You'll also be able to see the weaknesses in your deck. Can these cards help to strengthen the deck in that area? If so, those are definitely cards that you should consider including.

Eventually, you'll be able to build decks from scratch but that requires a vast knowledge of the available card set. Actually, you don't need to know all of the cards. You can generally just focus on specific subsets based on what you are trying to achieve with your deck. I'm starting off on a tangent so I'll leave this to you for now. There are plenty of resources on advanced deck building out there.
 
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Marshall Jansen
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When you want to put cards in a deck, the key is to think of how much resources you have to play with.

In a creature-based deck, you're going to want about 1/2 your creatures to be low-cost (1 or 2 mana), about 1/3 of your creatures to be mid-cost (3-4 mana), and the last 1/6 of your creatures to be high cost (5 or more mana). In a deck like this, you'll hope to play out your tunrs like this:

Turn 1: land, low-cost creature
Turn 2: land, low-cost creature
Turn 3: land, two low cost creatures
Turn 4; land, mid-cost creature
Turn 5: land, low-cost creature, mid-cost creature.

Note that what's going on here is CONSTANT pressure.

Many beginners make the mistakes of playing with lots of 'awesome' creatures, with costs of 3-4 mana minimum. For these players, they may be playing like this:

Turn 1: land, pass
Turn 2: land, pass
Turn 3: land, pass
Turn 4; land, mid-cost creature
Turn 5: land, mid-cost creature.

On Turn 5, they've got two good creatures. However, if you were playing against them with the more balanced deck, on turn 5 you'd have 7 creatures to their 2, and have had lots of turns running over them 'for free' as they have no defense.

Now, this is very simplistic, and doesn't take into account other spells, mana acceleration, and all that... but for first starting out, it's a good rule of thumb.

As you get better, you'll have a better idea on how you want to win... aggressive creatures, direct damage, control with a big finisher, combos, whatever.
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Douglas Buel
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vliam wrote:
dbuel wrote:
Suppose I play a deck filled with 2/2s and spells that kill creatures. Meanwhile, you play a deck filled with 4/4s.

I'm going to run you over.


2/1s. Savannah Lions.

Course, I haven't kept up with this stuff in years. Just sayin'


No, no, your point is quite valid.

But in this day and age, you can sometimes get a 2/2 for W!
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Jimmie Hayes
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Oh my. That just seems wrong. I'm sure there are good reasons for it but, in my old way of thinking, it just seems wrong.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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dbuel wrote:
But in this day and age, you can sometimes get a 2/2 for W!


How about a 7/8 for 1G? (Admittedly, Tarmogoyf has been a deemed a mistake, and it's not 7/8 off the bat, but it often is 4/5 or 5/6.) The 2/2 for W have drawbacks like being Legendary or requiring that you reveal a creature of a specific type in your hand to cast it, but they're still not that far out there. Wild Nacatl can easily be a 3/3 for G in the right deck.

vliam wrote:
Oh my. That just seems wrong. I'm sure there are good reasons for it but, in my old way of thinking, it just seems wrong.


Creatures have gotten a lot better than they used to be. (Notice how not a single one of the really old completely broken cards was a creature.)
 
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Daniel Gill
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I'm going to chime in here and simply list some of the most aggressive creatures in the game.

Some of these are still quite viable. I think Derelor is a decent budget alternative to the Juzam Djinn. You can play him just as quickly, he won't damage you but his drawback is a little harder to manage. A 4/4 for 4 is still really good though. Su-Chi after the rules changes I guess is 1000% better but if you want a Thrull derelor is a thrull and they work well with other cards like Thrull Champion.

The main reason you don't see too many Thunder Spirits is mainly just because he is sorely under rated and well because of the set he is in many people might not know about him. A 2/2 with flying with first strike for 3 is just busted. Even now.

Juggernaut
Su-Chi
Derelor
Balduvian Horde
Order Of The Ebon Hand
White Knight
Erg Raiders
Ghazbán Ogre
Kird Ape
Rainbow Efreet
Thunder Spirit


*Removal*
Serrated Arrows
Triskelion
 
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