Basic 60 Card Deck

If you are new to Magic the Gathering, it can be difficult to learn how to build a mtg deck. A deck is a combination of cards that work together to create an efficient playing experience. Your mtg deck can include any number of cards, consisting of different spells or creatures, but it has been proven statistically to build your deck around a certain card combo and then adding cards that will only service your deck concept.

For now, let's start with a basic deck model; one that includes an equal number of lands, creatures, and spells and sticks to a total of 60 cards. With equal parts of each card type, you will insure that your deck performs well, statistically.

Step 1: Determine Your Deck Color & Mana Source

Magic the Gathering is divided between 5 conflicting magics, each with their corresponding lands, or Mana. Your first step to building a deck is to determine which magic you want to play with. To keep it simple, choose one color to play with. Now, determine which Mana corresponds with your magic.

White Creatures

  • White Magic corresponds with Plains: Use Plains for your Mana Source.
  • Black Magic corresponds with Swamps: Use Swamps for your Mana Source.
  • Green Magic corresponds with Forests: Use Forests for your Mana Source.
  • Blue Magic corresponds with Islands: Use Islands for your Mana Source.
  • Red Magic corresponds with Mountains: Use Mountains for your Mana Source.

Within the game, Mana gives you the ability to cast spells or summon creatures. Consider Mana to be your infrastructure - without it, you won't have the foundation to do much of anything. Once you have made your color choice, find 20 cards of the corresponding Mana. Your chosen Mana will become the staple of your deck and a necessary resource to caste all kinds of cards.

Step 2: Choose Your Creatures

Once you've picked your magic, you can now fill in your deck with the fun stuff. After all, 20 land cards are pretty boring without having something to crash in and stomp around with! Creature cards are an essential factor in your new mtg deck.

Creatures come in all shapes and sizes and cost different amounts of Mana depending on their power, toughness, and abilities. Sounds like a lot to determine? Well it is but for your first deck, don't worry yourself about choosing the right creatures. Find 20 creatures that correspond with your magic color and add them to your blossoming new deck.

MTG Colors

Keep in mind the casting cost of each creature. Located on the top corner of your card, the casting cost will generally consist of a Mana symbol, or Mana symbols, and a generic number icon. This will determine how much Mana you need to summon the creature. For example, a White Knight has 2 symbols that represent white Mana. Therefore, it will cost you 2 plains to summon the White Knight.

Other creatures will cost a lot more Mana to summon. Basically, creatures with small casting costs are easier to summon but may not pack that punch you're looking for. Larger creatures will generally take more resources to summon, but will have a stronger power, toughness, and ability. Having a nice mixture of both large and small creatures will give your deck a variety of strengths. The additional abilities of each creature are a nice benefit, too!

Step 3: Choose Your Spells

You've built on your Mana foundation by adding creatures. You can now play lands and use them to harness awesome beasts of all different sizes. Why not add spells to add a bit more flavor to the game? Like creature cards, spells come in all different types with equally different casting costs. You may have any of the following spells at your disposal:

  • Instants: These are spells that can be used at any point in the game. Generally, they will add hit points to your creatures, zap an opponent's creatures, or block a combat attack. Usually, instants only last for the duration of the turn they are played in.
  • Sorcery: These spells are allowed to be played only on your turn, but can certainly change the game by destroying all lands and creatures, or giving a player the ability to search their library for a desired card.
  • Enchantments: These spells can only be used during your turn, but are considered permanent modifiers until they are destroyed. Enchantments can add power to your creatures, or keep your opponent's creatures from attacking. They can be used to add a global effect to the game that everyone must abide by when playing.

A good mixture of spells will give your deck depth and variety. Choose 20 spells, whether they be instants, sorcery, or enchantments, and add them to your deck.

You should now have a basic 60 card deck with an equal mixture of lands, creatures, and spells. You now have a decent deck to play with and have learned how to build a mtg deck. If you are having trouble building a deck, visit your local trading card store or ask the pros at the next DCI Magic the Gathering Event.