Using the handy search by cost function in 2015, you can easily ensure you have the right balance of non-land cards. Unfortunately, Magic is rather lacking in specific cost cards, so using the way it organises as a base, I suggest you have around this amount of cards in deck.
4 cards at 1 Land cost
14 cards at 2-3 Land Cost
14 cards at 4-5 Land Cost
3 cards at 6+ Land Cost
I’d suggest keeping the instants/sorceries/etc at around 2-4 cards per land cost catagory. Give or take. There will be exceptions to this with certain builds, but this is basic building!
- Creatures are mostly low-cost
- Great for instants and other non-creature cards that can do direct damage to creatures and players
- Very weak end game. If you’re into the long con, Red is no good.
- Creatures are mostly low-cost, and thus, low damage.
- You’re screwed if you play against a white life gaining deck, or a blue control deck. A good hand from them and they’ll be able to protect themselves from your early onslaught and stay the course. Possibly causing you to lose the game from running out of cards!
- Flying? Reach? What’s that! Don’t expect to see much of that in a red deck
- Biggest creatures! Green gets the monsters.
- Really great for getting plenty of land out.
- Really does over-rely on it’s creatures. You’d better hope you don’t come up against a really good defence as something like a blue control deck or a white weenie deck (lots of little ones) could whup it.
- The good creatures are high cost, as are the good abilities. This isn’t a quick game. Red could drown you in fire before you’ve even begun to build up.
- Control control CONTROL. Don’t like what your opponent has summoned? Return it to their hand. Don’t fancy taking damage? Whip out an instant that’ll keep you healthy. Blue has an answer for pretty much everything.
- ~*~*~*flyiiiiiiiiing*~*~*~ They may not be the strongest creatures, but they fly. And unless your opponent also has flying creatures, creatures with reach, or cards to counter them…. well. They can’t block you now, can they?
- Your creature game is poor, blue.
- If you’re new to magic, blue can be a s**t to play. Playing on PC means that you get to read what each ability means, but without a comprehensive knowledge of the game, it won’t mean jack to you. Even with a good knowledge you might screw up way more than usual.
- Without a doubt, the freaking SWEETEST looking deck. That art, man. That art.
- Nice balance, good creatures and good spells.
- Great at getting stuff in the graveyard from either your, or your opponents deck. Giving you an advantage if you play a deck which gets strength from creatures in your graveyard, OR giving you an advantage by sending all your opponents cards straight to the graveyard without them even getting out the deck.
- A bit of a s**t. The good abilities often cost a lot of mana, sacrifice your own creatures, or even cost your own life. Black is a dangerous game. Come up against white (which often has protection from your creatures, too) and you’re in a sticky situation.
- Pretty slow. With card costs in the middle and ability costs quite high, you need a lot of land out for this deck to be effective. Get land stiffed and you’ll lose.
- Sooooo many cheap creatures. Some even fly!
- Oh, flying. You are wonderful.
- Great at defense. Plenty of blockers and board control cards.
- Gives you life. Lots of white cards give you life. Which is great if you’re not into dying.
- The art is rubbish. If you’re a bit shallow about your cards like me, playing white feels like playing “my Dad is bigger than your Dad”. Blech.
- Can be a slow game, making you a bit lost against red.
Sometimes, if you play Meatspace Magic, where you can source special cards on eBay and generally buy your way to being a pro, mono-colour decks are ok. I mean, at least you’ll always draw the right kind of land. However, with the addition of lands that can be two colours, and with a good balance, it’s really not nessecary to go all one colour. There’s no plus side to it on PC. Bad lands? Restart the game. Simple.
Magic isn’t played by colour, it’s played by type of deck. Deck types are generally agressive, defensive, and control. Your deck will likely be one of these, so it’s important to pick cards that address these specific issues as opposed to having all cards the same colour.
That being said, playing multi-colour decks is risky. Duo-colour is best. That way you only have two land types to worry about as opposed to 3, 4, or even 5. Those lands that are multiple colours often enter tapped, so are of no use to you right away.
You can also play enemy colours together – I’ve not played with this much in the PC version yet, but it has it’s draws IRL. Even still, often enemy colours together are less beneficial than strong complimentary colours as finding duo colour cards who are enemies is a bit more tricksy. I often play a green/black deck, which are considered enemies.
Red is allied with black and green
Green is allied with red and white
Blue is allied with black and white
Black is allied with blue and red
White is allied with blue and green
Red is enemies with blue and white
Green is enemies with black and blue
Blue is enemies with red and green
Black is enemies with white and green
White is enemies with black and red
Control decks are all about messing with your opponents strategy. Filled with counterspells, cards which can unsummon creatures, and cards which can stop creatures attacking entirely, this deck keeps you protected by stopping your opponent from being able to get to you. Often control decks are non-creature heavy (well, more so than the other decks), and keep a few creatures around to do the dirty work once the other cards have been targetted with other cards.
Aggressive decks are all about damage. They play quick, they play dirty and they play nasty. You’re bringing out creatures and spells fast, all of which do damage, fast. Think red decks. Burn your opponent before they even get a chance to get enough land together to counter you.
Defensive decks are all about the long con. These decks often involve keeping yourself very well protected, either through the use of creatures, or spells. In a defensive deck, you keep yourself safe to bring out plenty of land in order to play big cards. Defensive decks are where you bring out 6+ land cards most often.
As you can see, they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Control might stop an agressive deck in it’s tracks, but it could also leave you wide open while an agressive deck just keeps bringing out things to damage you. Defensive decks could keep you safe from an aggressive deck to play the long con, or they could halt you from being able to bring out your big guns. Aggressive decks could kill before other decks can build, or they can be destroyed through their lack of a safety net for themselves. They’re all double-edged swords, and as you play, you’ll discover the type you like playing best, or maybe even combine the types (often in the form of enemy colours).
In Meatspace Magic, you can make special kinds of deck which serve particular functions.
For example, you could have a vampire deck which specialises in strength and life draining
You could have an all angel deck where everything flies and gives you life
You could have a deck which has cards giving you a win criteria such as “when you have X gates, you win the game”, and cards which support it.
You could have a deck which graveyards all of your cards but gives you loads of flashback
When you’re deck building you’ll see a “synergy” count. Special decks generally have very high synergy and a specific game-plan. As yet, I’ve not made any really good synergy decks on Magic 2015. It falls down a bit in that regard. I will update this section of the guide if there are any changes there, until then, you just want to be following the “basic” mechanics of deck building.