Basic Level up moments eight, nine and ten are the meat of the deckbuilding level up moments. If you are not a deck builder personality, then it may be seen as a necessary evil to play the game. Some may prefer to netdeck. While some in the magic community may think netdecking is a dirty word, that is not the case. If you are playing competitive EDH, then it is better to netdeck the top tier decks. You can take the time to build and tweak a deck. The deck runs the risk of not be competitive enough or is similar in build to something already out there.
This is not competitive EDH though. Someone should not be looked down upon for netdecking. Building your own deck does have its advantages. One is better understanding what is in the deck and how the cards are planned to work together for synergy. This better understanding leads to better lines of gameplay more efficient games and a more enjoyable game experience. Basic Level Up Moment Eight talked about your deck having goals. Now that you know what is a goal of every deck and what is the specific goal of your deck it is time to build on that concept. From these goals, decks begin to have card packages.
The Package Concept
If you ever played the early editions of Dungeons and Dragons you will remember you picked your character class. When you did so you could also pick a kit. The kit was premade that allows you to customize your character that would enhance gameplay. Much like a character kit is to a character in DnD, a card package is to your commander deck. You select the deck you want to build and play. Then you select your card package to enhance or focus your deck. These packages are linked directly to the goals of your deck and what your deck accomplishes. These packages assure that you will be able to accomplish what your deck sets out to do.
Card packages starts out as a list of categories of cards your deck needs. Then it allocates a number of cards to each category. The number of total cards in all categories adds up to 99 excluding your commander. This limits your design space. It also focuses your deck so that you do not put too many cards in any one package and over represent it to the detriment of other packages. Then you select cards to fill each package. Usually, this will not be too difficult. Each color has specific strong cards in each category. Sometimes your deck is looking for a unique way to fill these card slots to synergize with other cards. If not, then you can immediately slot in the strongest cards in that category that you own or can afford.
Slotting on a Budget: Force of Will
Often there are similar cards that can do the same thing for less. Force of Will is one of the strongest removal spells in blue. However, many people do not have or desire to spend the $100 to purchase this card for a casual format. So you can pass over it for the next strongest card. Pact of Negation is similar to Force of Will and costs approximately $10. While these two counterspells are free to cast. If you are willing to hold up two mana Negate will counter most instant win conditions and costs $0.25. If you hold up two blue mana the original Counterspell costs a little more at $1.25. This option counters any spell. It is up to you the deck builder to do the research needed to fill your card packages with the best cards that fits your play style and budget.
The Tools for the Job
You will always pay something to build a deck. If you do not play money then you will pay time doing the research to make it affordable. There are several websites that will help you do the work for an affordable deck. Gatherer is a decent search engine along with EDHREC to find the card options. New comer Archidekt not only helps you search for cards but you can also see what others are building. It also links in to EDHREC to provide recommendations to upgrade your deck as well. Many local game shops base their prices on Star CIty Games or Channel Fireball. You do not need to buy your cards online. Checking these online stores will give you a baseline price of what your cards will cost.
Packages Your Deck Needs
Every Deck has three goals it is trying to accomplish, they are in short mana, disruption or removal and card draw for multiple lines of play. For each goal there will be a package.The default for these three packages are 10 cards each. Sometimes your strategy will emphasize more of one of these goals over the other. You may to tweak these numbers. Other times your individual strategy will be so card intensive it may reduce the number of cards you can allocate to these packages. Also every deck needs land. This is another card package this package should run from 36 to 40 lands. The size depends on how many non mana generating lands you plan. Another factor is how many cards search for lands out of your deck.
Finally there is a card package called Miscellaneous. This is a special package. Some cards and card effects are so strong that you want to include despite not fitting into another package category. This category is a catch all that brings a little diversity to your deck. A special twist that strengthens it that when it comes up your opponents may not be expecting it. This also is a category that can be used to strengthen up a weak spot. This category can also protect from cards that are currently wrecking your meta. Often this is the card category that gets cut down to make room for the other essential categories of your deck.
Packages a Specific Deck Needs
Normally every deck needs creatures and twenty cards is the minimum for this package. If you are playing tribal, then you do not have a creature package but a tribal package and a tribal matters package. If you are playing super friends you have a planeswalker package. Some decks you are trying to win by a combo. If it is the go to win condition than allocating the space for it is important. It’s worth creating a card package. This package can be as small as just the combination or cards that allow you to bring out the combination faster. The specific packages for your deck can be as general or as specific as you want. The critical factor is that you are slotting cards and disciplining yourself to a specific amount of design space for your deck to run well.
This is a quick summary of Card packages as well as giving you an understanding on how to quickly create and assign card totals to these package. This time we took a look at the theory behind card packages. Next time we will show some examples on how to create card packages and the logic behind assigning card slots for each package.
As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you.