Magic Games Day

This weekend just gone I took part in my first Pre-Constructed Magic Tournament.

That makes 3 Magic Tournaments in the last 2 Months, the first of which were constructed using Cards you got on the day.

This format of Tournament really gave me a chance to design a deck that would (or should) work well, and was my first attempt at constructing a deck for a tournament.

The main trick of a format like this is to design a deck that doesnt beat you. What I mean by that is that the Deck does not have too little Mana, too many High Cost cards or no real strategy.

So my Plan? Well after a bit of research, and asking people at my local store I found that when you build a deck (any deck really, but especially for a tournament) you should make sure you have a clear strategy.

So what is the deck meant to do? Is it meant to Poison your Opponent, Burn them, Mill them, Control them, Rush them? There are many different strategies and I have barely scratched the surface of what is possible.

I decided a while ago to try my hand at a Red Deck and this is what I have been using for the last few weeks. The aim of a red deck is damage... basically burn... take the opponent out as quick as possible.

To that end my deck included lots and lots of cheap Burn spells, and ways to buff them. I am running very light on Creatures, so I have also included some low cost spells to kill multiple enemy creatures.

However you do need to have a backup strategy... after all what happens if my Opponent plays a card like Leyline of Sanctity which means I cannot target him with my direct damage spells. In these cases I will resort to some big Creatures to attack in the combat phase, and will switch most of my Damaging spells to target their creatures and take them out so they cannot block me.

So with a Strategy in mind I now need to figure out a Deck Composition. I know that a lot of people use many different ways of figuring this out, myself I took a roughly a third of my deck as land... so as I was running a 63 card deck I had 20 Land. I also included 4 Myrs that can be tapped to give me Red Mana... these were for early pushes and if required blockers.

With 24 of my Cards decided I then picked the rest of my deck. I wont be going into big details as to which card I picked and why, I am just going to list the deck I took, the 15 card sideboard and what I learned from the tournament.

So below is my 63 Card Deck:

20 x Mountain

4 x Lightning Bolt
4 x Cerebral Eruption
4 x Iron Myr
4 x Arc Trail
3 x Hoard-Smelter Dragon

3 x Lave Axe
3 x Fire Servant
3 x Fireball
3 x Reverberate
2 x Melt Terrain
2 x Galvanic Blast

2 x Blood Crazed Goblin
2 x Prodigal Pyromancer
2 x Pyroclasm
1 x Dragon's Claw
1 x Inferno Titan

This deck did not do badly for me, however the main problem I had was that of Mana. I would struggle to draw mana, and this meant in my first 2 Matches on Saturday that I had some problems getting off the ground. Please understand I am not blaming the deck purely for this, as the construction is my fault. My opponents beat me fair and square as I had not thought about the Mana carefully enough.

The problem is that while the Iron Myrs fufill two roles, they do allow my opponent to destory, enchant or even control my Mana... meaning I could wast two Mana to bring it out and instead of getting to use it the following turn it dies, setting back my start.

Below are a quick summary of some of the Cards I used.

Blood Crazed Goblin is an excellent card, as it is a Cheap 2/2 blocker... and when I damage the opponent it is a cheap 2/2 attacker.
Reverberate is an awesome card, especially as it allows me to unleash two Lava Axes in the same turn for only 7 Mana. With my Fire Servant up one time I did that I managed to hit my opponent for 20 damage in one go.
Pyroclasm did not really get used, mainly because it would kill Iron Myrs... and this would reduce my Mana Effectiveness so I decided against it, in future hower I will certainly be keeping this card.
Arc Trail proved very useful, with its cheap cost, and ability to slow my opponents game down, by clearing out cheap creatures and still dealing damage to them.
Melt Terrain was also a Star for me in a few games as it really screwed with my opponents early game... the 2 damage is just a nice bonus.
Cerebral Eruption is a very nice card, and with 4 of them I can really frustrate my opponent, and it can wipe out creatures on the battlefield... you just need a little luck as to what card it turns over.

I am going to rebuild and tweak this deck a little, and I will post a revised deck list up in the next week or so.