Playing Magic like a total casual
I bought a bunch of the latest set, Throne of Eldraine, and have been enjoying the hell out of playing sealed deck with it. But now, of course, the usual dilemma: What to do with all these damned duplicates?
The problem is that to make competitive decks, I'd still need to shell out for second, third and fourth copies of key cards that have been driven up in cost by the market. When people talk about Magic being "expensive", it's because they're deriving their enjoyment from winning under tournament-grade rules.
Most players play "kitchen table Magic", which is to say, they play with whatever cards they own. Ever since the end of high school, I've always had a shit ton more cards than anyone else I get to play with regularly, so that doesn't really work out fairly. So now what? Mostly, I play sealed or preconstructed decks. But neither truly uses my existing collection.
I sat down yesterday and decided to make the 4-6 most fun decks I could out of cards only from Throne of Eldraine, spread fairly evenly between colors. The goal was to use all cards I own, so I wasn't about use 4 Oko, Thief of Crowns (the latest hot card, at least until it was banned last month) in any of them.
I also wanted them to be balanced for play against each other, so that meant I couldn't min/max one deck with every high-price card I've opened. The preconstructed Ravnica guild decks from last year was more or less the power level (and fun level) I was trying to hit. They're super re-playable because they're balanced and focused, but not hyper-focused.
So I went thru this exercise, and then I reverse engineered what I'd come up with into a set of rules you could follow to come up with something similar. A usual constructed deck will have 22-24 lands (the full range is 17-25). That means you're typically working with 36-38 cards. Here's what I'll call a first attempt at codifying it:
- Normal constructed rules: 60 cards, max 4 copies of a card.
- 10 rares max, of which 3 can be mythic.
- Must include 5 different rares.
- Only 1 rare may exceed 2 copies.
- Must include 10 different non-rare, non-land cards (9 if using a Relentless Rats effect).
- Cannot have more than 4 playsets (a playset is 4 of the same card).
The biggest problem is the rules feel a bit weird to grok in the abstract. You kinda need to have a decklist in front of you to know if your deck conforms to it. Mostly, it's trying to prevent "rare stacking" by capping you to 17% rares and discouraging any playsets of them. I didn't outright ban using a playset because of alt-win condition cards like Hedron Alignment, which is exactly the kind of goofy behavior this is trying to encourage. Basically, you're allowed 1 build-around rare.
I'll post my Eldraine deck lists once I've finished and playtested them a bit.
In before "someone already invented this in a Reddit you've never heard of." 😁