Beginner Deck Choice

Posted: April 05, 2018

If you are new to MTG, you are immediately presented with a plethora of choices, tasks, rulesets and a vast and colorful lore. As it is often the case, the best way to learn magic is to jump straight in to the game and try out what you can do. MTGA comes with 10 preconstructed decks and some card packs to help you tune them up before you jump into the fray. If you are anything like me though, you don’t want to go in blindly. What deck to choose and how to improve it without investing too much?
One of the most defining characteristics of any deck is its color identity - the color of mana and spells it runs. Wizards of the Coast have prepared a handy wheel-chart to show what personal traits associate with each color.

Each color can be very vaguely associated with certain design principles and mechanics, but they can differ between sets and often get blurry when associated with other colors:

  • White [W]: Armies of tokens, healing, mass removal and anthem effects.
  • Blue [U]: Card draw, counterspells and control, evasive creatures.
  • Black [B]: Death, removal and self harm to achieve victory at any cost.
  • Red [R]: Aggressive creatures, burn spells, sacrificing efficiency for speed.
  • Green [G]: Giant creatures, brute force and mana acceleration.

Each and every color combination exists in the game, but is not necessarily a viable option in the somewhat limited MTG: Arena format. The dual color combinations are named after the Guilds of Ravnica (BR - Rakdos, UG - Simic etc…), the tri-color combinations after the Shards of Alara (three neighbouring colors of the pie, UBR - Grixis, BRG - Jund etc..) and the tribes of Tarkir (two neighbouring colors with their opposite; wedges, BGU - Sultai, URW - Jeskai etc…).

The combinations of colors usually compensate for each other's weaknesses and shortcomings, or allow players to run answers they otherwise couldn’t (i.e. Black has no way to handle Enchantments and Artifacts in MTGA, so it’s commonly paired with white). Monocolored decks are relatively rare in Magic. The most common one is hyper aggressive mono-red aggro deck called RDW, that finds all the best and fastest ways to kill its opponents within one color. There are some mono-white and green decks popping up occasionally but are mostly off-meta.

The second most important characteristic of any deck (or arguably the most) is the general playstyle. In the broadest sense, playstyle can be split into three groups:

  • Aggro (Aggressive, generally creature based strategies that try to kill the opponent as soon as possible, very proactive playstyle)
  • Control (Slow decks, trying to establish control of the board through use of removal and counterspells, then end the game, very reactive playstyle)
  • Combo (Decks trying to stall the game long enough to establish a combination of two or more cards that generally wins them the game)

The 4th option is midrange decks. They generally try to control the early game, then quickly end the game once they reach 5-6 mana. Midrange decks take the role of Aggro/tempo decks against control decks, and the role of the control/attrition deck against aggressive opponents.

Without knowing much about either the game, the meta or both, how to know what deck to choose? We’ve prepared a short quiz to help you pick the deck to best suit your general playstyle and flavour.

You can find the rest of our decks here or take a look at the current metagame in our Meta Snapshot.


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