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Deckbuilding 201 - Building on the Basics

In my first series of deckbuilding articles we started by examining the different deck archetypes and what they look like in Mythgard. From there, I took a tour through each of the five Paths, discussed their strength and weaknesses, and detailed some things to consider when building or playing with the Path. Hopefully these basics gave everyone a good foundation for building some decks of their own. It is time to build upon those basics.

Expanding our horizons?

Mono-coloured decks only have to worry about their curve, which due to the burning system, is more forgiving than some other games. Two-coloured decks also have relatively few issues. Their many concern is double-gemmed two-drops; you cannot play them on curve with a 1-drop or 3-drop of the opposite colour. Three colour decks are a different beast and require precise deckbuilding. Even still, they often curve poorly and can lose the odd game due to their resources. So why add a third colour?

Necessity is the mother of invention

Decks often become three colours to gain access to an effect that would be otherwise unavailable. For example, Green, Blue, and Orange combined only have one card that gains life. Playing a control deck with any two of these colours can be difficult without branching out to another colour. Decks trying to make a combo work may also expand to three or four colours in order to assemble the required pieces. (I haven't saw a successful example of this since Alpha.)

When is it successful?

Three colour decks will almost always been control decks. Aggro decks dislike the awkward curves and midrange decks value consistency above all else--not fighting to find the correct gems. As control decks are in it for the long game, they are OK stumbling out of the gate a bit as long as they don't fall flat on their face. They also often have the tools to catch-up from a slow start.

Building a tri-colour deck -Mana Curve, Gem Curve, and Minimum Gems

The manacurve for tri-colour decks has to be flexible. You cannot always expect to have the correct colour at the right time, You need to play cards that you are comfortable playing off-curve and should shy away from cards that require other specific cards to be played the turn before. This often leads to decks playing more individually powerful cards than synergies.

The "minimum gems" of the deck are the set of gems that you must burn to be able to cast every card in your deck. The greediest reanimator list might have GGGPPPBBBB for their gems, giving no wiggle room. In contrast, a control deck with a light splash might only require BBYYYG. This is important to keep in mind, because you are often forced to burn a card of the wrong colour because you require the mana. You don't want to look yourself out of casting certain cards. Keep the minimum gems low allows for the most flexibility when burning and also simplifies your gem curve.

The gem curve examines what gems, or gem combinations, you require to play cards on curve. For example, it may look something like this:

1: Y/O

2: B

3: YY

4: BB/OO

Taking a closer look you may notice that some of the curves don't work:



That doesn't make the deck unplayable, but they are considerations that should be taken into account when building a deck. Sometimes concessions need to be made for the sake of the gem curve.

Just a splash?

Splashes in Mythgard can be for as little as just a single card. For example, a Rainbow's End control deck may opt for a single copy of Bald Mountain; It being its own gem source. The lighter the splash the more late-game oriented the cards should be. This gives allows time for the correct resources to be drawn without affecting the gem curve.

Light splashes should stick to single gem cards. This keep the minimum gems low, thus allowing more flexibility when burning.

More is less

Having more cards of the splash colour makes being unable to cast cards of the splash colour less likely. But it also make it less likely to draw cards of the main colours. This can be taxing on a deck with a high minimum gem total. How do you get the ration correct?

Math and Practice

Math and practice as the two easiest ways to get the gem and card distribution right. Even a few games against the AI should help to eliminate an glaring issues with the mana or gem curve. For a lot of deckbuilders the numbers eventually become second nature, but for newer builders a Hypergeometric Calculator can be an invaluable tool.

Construction continues...

I have a few more advanced deckbuilding articles planned, and a new Deck Tech, focusing on my favourite deck from Alpha, coming soon.

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