Magic: The Gathering/Print version


Magic: The Gathering

The current, editable version of this book is available in Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection, at
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering

Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.


Vintage Format

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=judge/resources/sfrvintage

The Vintage format allows the use of all cards in the magic cardpool, barring those found in the Unglued/Unhinged sets, and those found on the banned and restricted list. This list can be found on the link provided above.

A banned card is a card that cannot be played at all. In vintage, only "athletic" cards, cards which require you to perform some sort of physical feat like flipping a card or spinning a card, and cards that deal with the "ante" are banned. Ante was how magic was originally played, with players essentially playing each other for a card in the other's deck. The only other card that is banned from the format is Shahrazad.

If a card is restricted, a deck may only contain one copy of it between the maindeck and the sideboard. These are cards that are either format-warping, incredibly strong, or as recently declared by Aaron Forsythe in an article, "un-fun".



Legacy Format

Legacy (along with Vintage) is considered an eternal format because the card pool never rotates. This means that all the sets that are currently legal will continue to be legal and any new sets will automatically be included in the legal card pool. (Except of course for cards on the banned and restricted list)

It evolved from Type 1.5, a format defined by a banned list that merely consisted of all banned and restricted cards in the old Type 1. In 2004, the format was revitalized by separating the banned list from the rechristened Vintage and banning many old, powerful, and expensive cards such as Mishra's Workshop, Mana Drain, and Bazaar of Baghdad. The result is that Legacy has a lower power level than Vintage, which makes for longer games, and is considerably more affordable. The DCI has attempted to promote the format with the addition of a Legacy Grand Prix circuit. In 2007, the company announced that this format had selected for the final individual portion of the World Championships prior to the fixing a problem that they had made after moving the championships from summer/fall to fall/winter.



Two-Headed Giant Format

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=judge/resources/sfr2hg



Commander Format

Originally and alternatively known as Elder Dragon Highlander, or EDH, Commander is a multiplayer Constructed format of the Magic: the Gathering trading card game. It is characterized by the use of a Commander, or General, and the 100-card singleton deck.

Deck ConstructionEdit

There are four rules for building a commander deck:

  1. Commander/General: The deck must include a Commander, also known as a general, which must be a Legendary Creature. "Commanderness" is an inherent quality of the Commander: it can neither by removed nor copied, and a Commander is still a Commander even if that Commander is being controlled by another player.
  2. Color Identity: The deck cannot include any cards that feature mana symbols not found on the Commander, e.g. a deck whose Commander is Alesha, Who Smiles at Death may include cards that contain Mountain and/or Swamp and/or Plains symbol but may not contain cards that include Forest and/or Island symbols; the exception to this rule is reminder text, e.g. a deck whose commander is Gonti, Lord of Luxury may contain a Crypt Ghast, even though the reminder text includes a Plains symbol.
  3. Card Copies: Except for basic lands and cards that mention otherwise, such as Relentless Rats or Shadowborn Apostle, a deck may not contain more than one copy of any card.
  4. Size: A Commander deck must be exactly 100 cards, including the Commander. In other words, an EDH deck consists of one Commander (or two if both have Partner) and 99 (or 98) other cards.

There is also an official banlist for Commander, and a deck should not include any cards on the banlist without prior consent of other players of a particular instance of a Commander game.

GameplayEdit

The game starts as other Magic formats with players shuffling their decks, cutting the decks of their opponents, and drawing an initial hand of seven cards. Given that Commander is traditionally a multiplayer format, all players draw a card during their first turn. The only differences between EDH gameplay and traditional gameplay concern the Commander:

The Commander begins the game in the Command Zone, and may be cast at any legal time that its controller has sufficient mana. If at any point the Commander would be removed from the battlefield and placed into a different zone (e.g. graveyard, hand, library, or exile), its controller may instead redirect the Commander to the Command Zone. When casting a Commander from the Command Zone, a Commander's mana cost is equal to its printed mana cost plus two colorless mana for each time it has been previously cast from the Command Zone; this is colloquially known as the "command tax". However, when casting a Commander from anywhere other than the Command Zone, its cost is equal to its printed cost. Finally, if any player takes 21 or more combat damage from a single Commander over the course of a game, that player loses in spite of that player's current life total.



Standard Format

Standard (also known as Type 2) is a Constructed format where the total card pool is restricted by sets. Normally, this standard format pool consists of cards from the most recent core set and the two most recent expansion blocks.

The core set is currently comprised of the Magic 2011 core set(m11), the Magic 2012 Core set (m12), the Zendikar block and the Scars of Mirrodin block.

Players must have at least a 60-card deck (and optional sideboard containing exactly 15 cards) consisting of cards of any printings that are legal in the current standard format. Players must be able to shuffle their decks without assistance. Decks (including the sideboard) may contain no more than 4 copies of any card other than basic lands. In addition, certain cards may be "banned" (the card may not be used). There are currently two banned cards in the Standard Format. Jace, The Mind Sculpter and Stoneforge Mystic.

As of July 15th, 2011, the sets legal in Standard are:

Battle For Zendikar BLOCK
Battle for Zendikar
Khans of Tarkir BLOCK
Khans of Tarkir
Fate Reforged
Dragons of Tarkir
CORE SET
Magic Origins


After January 22nd Standard Legal Sets will consist of

Battle For Zendikar BLOCK
Battle for Zendikar
Oath of the Gatewatch
Khans of Tarkir BLOCK
Khans of Tarkir
Fate Reforged
Dragons of Tarkir
CORE SET
Magic Origins


Since the format now rotates twice as fast with the new block rotation pattern effective with the rotation of Khans of Tarkir on April 8, 2016, decks have a maximum shelf life of one years, meaning that the format is quick to change and easily impacted. There are deck archetypes that have waxed and waned through the years, but maintain their existence in some form or another (prowess white, white black warriors, black blue control, red aggro), while others (usually combo decks) are spawned from the centerpiece card (Hardened Scales, Nantuko Husk), and are thus usually subject to their key card leaving Standard.



Block Format

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=judge/resources/sfrblock



Prismatic Format

Prismatic is a format where each and every deck much have at least 250 cards and at least 20 cards of each color. (this does not include artifact.) Multicolor cards count as one of their colors.



Extended Format

As of October 7, 2013, not supported by the DCI. http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=judge/resources/sfrextended



Emperor Format

In Emperor (a six player format), two players are the emperors, and the remaining four players are the guards (two for each emperor). Players can only attack, target, and affect the players sitting immediately next to them. If an emperor dies, his or her team loses.

The main strategy for the emperor player is to use cards that give everybody bonuses (card draws, mana production, creature power, life gain, etc.) This enables the emperor's guards to play larger threats more quickly and ultimately should cause the opponents to lose due to being overwhelmed by powerful threats and answers.

Some Emperor formats ban alternate win cards (Barren Glory, Mortal Combat, etc.) to prevent abuse of the amount of time it would take to get past the emperor's guards and stop that condition from happening. Generally by suspending a Greater Gargadon with Barren Glory to sacrifice all of his other permanents or use Cephalid Illusionist and Shuko to empty one's deck into their graveyard with Mortal Combat.



Highlander Format

Highland Format takes its name from a memorable line from the movie 'Highlander': There can be only one!. Only one copy of any Magic card (other than basic land) is allowed in a highlander deck. Any magic format can be converted into a highlander-type format if this rule is followed.



Mental Magic Format

Mental Magic, which many players have called the most skill-testing format in the game, is a variant in which each player may play cards in their hand not as they are named but as any card with the same mana cost, however each card name may only be used once per game. For example, a card costing UU could be played as Boomerang, Counterspell, or Mana Drain, regardless of the actual card that it is. However, once one of these spells has been named, no other card may be cast as that spell for the rest of the game. Cards can be named in other places than in hand, as well. For example, although a creature spell once cast will remain the same creature as long as it remains in play, cards in the graveyard can be named for flashback purposes. A popular play is to use a 3U spell to cast Inspiration, and then afterward to use the same 3U spell in the graveyard to cast Deep Analysis upon oneself. This gains the player a great deal of card advantage, which is almost always paramount in Mental Magic. "187" effects, namely creatures with a comes into play effect, are another popular trick to gain card advantage. After one player has gained a crushing amount of card advantage he/she usually attempts to finish his/her opponent with a creature that is difficult to kill, such as one that cannot be targeted, is indestructible, can phase out at will, etc.

Rather than traditional constructed or draft decks, Mental Magic is often just played from a 'stack' of cards, that may simply be random or designed for this purpose. The two players may therefore play from the same deck, which is composed entirely of spells. The spells may then be placed face down on the field as land. These lands, sometimes referred to as "Utopia," can tap to produce one mana of any color and have the basic supertype, although they do not count as having any particular land type. For instance, a Utopia land can produce white mana and cannot be destroyed by Wasteland, but does not enable your opponent's creatures with Plainswalk.

Mental Magic also has its own banned list, which is composed of every card on the Vintage banned and restricted list, as well as some additions of cards that are considered to be too powerful given the mechanics of the format. For example, Trade Routes, which enables players to return lands to his/her hands, is often banned due to the fact that these "lands" can now be played as new spells. Additionally, cards that enable players to search their library for cards (Survival of the Fittest, for example) are often banned as well.

There is no one set of rules for Mental Magic. Due to the fact that cards that are playable from the graveyard are almost always extremely powerful (Flashback; Squee, Goblin Nabob; Haakon, Stromgald Scourge; etc.), many players ban naming cards in a graveyard altogether. Also, there are many different interpretations of how "search" abilities like Ramosian Sergeant should be handled.



5-Color Format

5-Color Format exists in slightly different variations in the online and offline Magic communities. 5-Color was initially a fan-created format, not supported by the DCI. The basic rules could be summarized as follows:

  • Decks must contain a minimum of 250 cards
  • Decks must have no less than 20 cards of each color
  • No more than four of each non basic land card
  • The game is played for ante, and ante cards, including Contract from Below, are legal

A full list of rules, including banned and restricted cards, is maintained at: http://www.5-color.com/

Due to the popularity of this non-sanctioned format, WotC created a similar format in the Magic online game.



Type 4

Type 4 is a casual format with two fundamental rules:

  • Players may play spells for free (i.e., players have infinite mana)
  • Each player may play only one spell per round(this serves as a limitation to balance the first rule)

Due to these two rules, the format is also known as "Limited Infinity". Some players use additional rules, such as 'only rares and uncommons are allowed'.

Since the mana cost of spells is irrelevant, players can more freely use powerful rare cards in ways that would be impossible in "normal" Magic. This makes the gameplay very dynamic and exciting. Also it means that players can use cards that are normally "unplayable" due to prohibitively high mana costs, allowing players to utilise cards which are in low commercial demand. This makes the format quite cheap to get into; along with the "high thrill" gameplay, this has made the format quite popular.

Due to the nature of the format, many cards are banned - for example, a Fireball would instantly win the game, due to the players having infinite mana to pump into it. Also, there are many cards that are extremely weak in constructed Magic but extremely powerful in Type 4 - such as Vedalken Orrery, which allows the controller to play threats during other players' turns.

To prevent the format from becoming excessively overpowered, players' decks are usually drafted, rather than constructed. Often one player would construct a stack of approximately 200 cards, which is then distributed amongst the players using one of several drafting methods - eg Booster Draft, Rochester Draft, or Winston Draft.



Assassin Format

Assassin Format is typically played in groups of five or more. The name of each player is put into a hat (or whatever) and each player draws a name, to be kept secret. The rules are thus: A player may only attack the player whose name they drew, or any player that has attacked them at any point in the game (universal effect cards can be played, just as long as your target could be hit with it, e.g. Skullcage, Radiance). If they drew their own name they may attack any or all other players (strategy here, simply build up your forces until you can swamp a player, since no one can target you until you attack them). All types of spells, with the exception of those with universal effects, may only target the player drawn or players who have since attacked you (counter spells, creatures, instants, sorceries...). Any method of attack goes. Speed rules are usually enforced, since this format tends to take over an hour to play.



Riviera Live Draft

Riviera Live DraftEdit

FeaturesEdit

  • Huge common library
  • Draft as you play
  • No manascrew

Using the large Common Library, players "draft-as-they-draw". Flexible, controlled land drawing allows opportunistic change of strategy in mid-game.

Excellent for people wanting to play Magic casually, as it takes out the deckbuilding and card sorting aspects of the game - both of which can be tedious to some people. Popular with occasional or low-budget players, veteran players with harsh timetables and draft enthusiasts.

How to playEdit

SetupEdit

  1. One huge Common Library of assorted cards - anything except basic lands (we use a nice combination of Core Set, Ravnica block and Fifth Dawn).
  2. Five distinct piles for basic lands - face up.
  3. To get their starting hand, each player draws 14 cards from the common library, then removes 7 of them from the game.
  4. Give each player 40 random cards from the Common Library, this is their Private Library.
  5. Flip the top card of the Common Library FACE UP in the middle of the table. This card represents the Sugar Pile, and everybody can see what it contains.

Draw stepEdit

  • Draw the top card from the Sugar Pile, OR
  • Draw the top card from your Private Library, OR
  • Look at the top 3 cards from the Common Library, put one on the Sugar Pile, remove one from the game, and draw the third.

LandsEdit

Once per turn during your main phase, as a Sorcery, you may remove a card in your hand from the game in exchange for a basic land.

  • If you throw away a blue spell, you can pick an Island. Red spell, a mountain, etc.
  • If you throw away a multicolored or hybrid spell, you get to choose which kind of basic land to draw. Example: remove Boros Guildmage from your hand, pick a Plain or a Mountain.
  • If you throw away a colorless or costless card (such as artifact or land), you may pick any basic land among the five.

Private LibraryEdit

  • Library manipulation, "draw a card" effects, searching for a card, shuffling, milling... All of this target Private Libraries.
  • A player loses when his or her Private Library gets empty.

MiscEdit

  • Each player still has an independent graveyard, and cards go there as normal.
  • The owner of a card is the player who most recently drew it from the Sugar Pile, Common or Private Library into his or her hand.



Star Format

Star Format is a 5-person variation of Magic. In Star, a player wins when the two players opposite that player lose (more precisely, the players that come third and fourth after that player in turn order). Players may attack and target any player. The format is called Star because if one draws a line between each player and the players opposite them it forms a pentagram (star). Star can be adapted to work with any of the standard formats. Additionally, it can be adapted for more than five players, by simply deciding which players must lose for a given player to win.



Vintage Decks & Strategies

The below decks may be moved around between the tiers as new cards, trends, discoveries and interactions make certain strategies more or less competitive than they were previously. Please add to this page but do not modify existing decklists without making note of the changes.


Tier One StrategiesEdit

These are the cream of the crop, these strategies are the ones that are consistently winning tournaments and have no significant weaknesses or matchups that can't be won.

Oath PrimerEdit

This deck wins by playing and activating Oath of Druids, often taking advantage of Forbidden Orchard to ensure that the opponent has at least one creature in play.

Mana Drain VariantEdit

Team White Lotus (TWL) Oath

Article at Star City Games here.

GWS OathEdit

This is the variant that has recently became very popular and has placed high in numerous tournaments. It too runs no Mana Drains in favor of Impulse and a black splash for additional Tutors and Duress. As a result, this variant can be built on a budget without losing any cards when one utilizes the ten proxies that most American tournaments now allow.

List & ExplanationEdit

Oath of Druids

Maindeck:

Artifacts

  • 1 Black Lotus (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Emerald (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Jet (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Pearl (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Ruby (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Sapphire (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 2 Sensei's Divining Top

Enchantments

  • 4 Oath Of Druids

Instants

  • 1 Ancestral Recall (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Brainstorm (*now Restricted in Vintage, like Ponder)
  • 1 Crop Rotation (Now Unrestricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Force Of Will
  • 4 Impulse
  • 4 Mana Leak
  • 1 Vampiric Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)

Legendary Creatures

  • 1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
  • 1 Griselbrand

Sorceries

  • 1 Ponder
  • 2 Preordain
  • 1 Demonic Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Duress
  • 1 Gaea's Blessing
  • 1 Imperial Seal
  • 1 Time Walk (Restricted in Vintage)

Basic Lands

  • 2 Island

Lands

  • 2 City Of Brass
  • 1 Flooded Strand
  • 4 Forbidden Orchard
  • 3 Polluted Delta
  • 1 Strip Mine (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Tropical Island
  • 1 Underground Sea
  • 4 Wasteland

Sideboard:

  • 1 Darksteel Colossus
  • 2 Triskelion
  • 2 Choke
  • 3 Ground Seal
  • 3 Annul
  • 3 Oxidize
  • 1 Tinker (Restricted in Vintage)

Variations of this build, popularized by team GWS, have placed in the top 8 of the GenCon Vintage Championships and several Starcity Power 9 events. This has become the most popular form of Oath of Druids decks. Tinker-Darksteel Colossus can be run maindeck. It does have the advantage of getting around Meddling Mage and Chalice of the Void, however is bad if the opponent controls a Goblin Welder. Razia is starting to take the place of Spirit of the Night as the deck's second large hasted flier. The deck plays as an aggro-control deck disrupting the opponent until it finds Forbidden Orchard and Oath of Druids to win. Other cards commonly played are Mystical Tutor, Misdirection and Chalice of the Void.

Decklist posted by team GWS.

Drainless Tinker VariantEdit

This variant runs no Mana Drains in favor of Impulse and a black splash for additional Tutors and possibly Duress. As a result, this variant can be build on a budget without losing any cards when one utilizes the ten proxies that most tournaments now allow. In addition, it runs Tinker as an additional way to combo out.

List & ExplanationEdit

Search:

  • 4 Brainstorm (*Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Impulse
  • 2 Sensei's Divining Top (This was a new addition to the list.)
  • 1 Ancestral Recall
  • 1 Time Walk
  • 1 Imperial Seal
  • 1 Vampiric Tutor
  • 1 Mystical Tutor
  • 1 Personal Tutor
  • 1 Demonic Tutor

Disruption:

  • 4 Duress
  • 4 Mana Leak or Daze
  • 4 Force of Will
  • 1 Misdirection

Combo:

  • 4 Oath of Druids
  • 1 Tinker
  • 1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
  • 1 Razia (edited)
  • 1 Gaea's Blessing

Mana: (Had been tweaked since then.)

  • 1 Black Lotus
  • 1 Mox Emerald
  • 1 Mox Jet
  • 1 Mox Pearl
  • 1 Mox Ruby
  • 1 Mox Sapphire
  • 1 Strip Mine
  • 1 Island
  • 1 Underground Sea
  • 2 Tropical Island
  • 2 Wasteland
  • 2 Flooded Strand
  • 3 Polluted Delta
  • 4 Forbidden Orchard

Some of the Drainless Oath builds including the first such build (listed above) run Tinker and Darksteel Colossus as an additional way to combo out quickly. This gives the additional advantage of an alternative win condition in situations when Oath of Druids is neutralized by cards such as Meddling Mage, Forbidden Orchard, Goblin Bombardment, or Wasteland targeting Forbidden Orchard. Such variations sometimes run Imperial Seal, Mystical Tutor and Personal Tutor to help grab Tinker, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, or disruption. Other Drainless Oath builds such as the one above do not run either Tinker or Darksteel Colossus and instead run Razia, Boros Archangel.

Other variations on the deck include running cards such as [b]Muddle in the Mixture, Crop Rotation, Chalice of the Void, Pithing Needle, Regrowth, Library of Alexandria, City of Brass, more Sensei's Divining Top and on occasion running three creatures rather than two[/b] in order to significantly decrease the probability of being slowed down by an active Goblin Welder. Some rarely even run cards such as Yawgmoth's Will, Enlightened Tutor, Engineered Explosives and Balance.

Decklist reprinted with permission from the original author, Centroles, who posted this in May 28, 2005.

Stax PrimerEdit

The Stax deck in Vintage wins through a board-lock created by cards like Trinisphere, Smokestack, Tangle Wire and lots of other cards that restrict the number of spells being played.

The advantage of Stax is that it has a lot of permanents, so it does not care about Tangle Wire or Smokestacks.

The win conditions are Karn, Silver Golem, Sundering Titan or Triskelion who could be reanimated with Goblin Welder, also a quite important part of the deck. Even 2 Goblin Welders could create a Tangle Wire of fading 4 permanently which makes playing impossible for your opponent.

Gifts PrimerEdit

GG Gifts Artifacts

  • 1 Black Lotus (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Engineered Explosives
  • 1 Lotus Petal (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mana Crypt (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mana Vault (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Emerald (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Jet (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Pearl (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Ruby (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Sapphire (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 2 Pithing Needle
  • 1 Sol Ring (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Time Vault

Artifact Creatures

  • 1 Darksteel Colossus

Instants

  • 1 Ancestral Recall (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Brainstorm
  • 4 Force Of Will
  • 2 Gifts Ungiven (Now restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Mana Drain
  • 1 Mystical Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Thirst For Knowledge
  • 1 Vampiric Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)

Sorceries

  • 1 Burning Wish (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Demonic Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Flame Fusillade
  • 1 Imperial Seal
  • 1 Recoup
  • 1 Time Walk (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Tinker (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Yawgmoth's Will (Restricted in Vintage)

Lands

  • 4 Island
  • 3 Flooded Strand
  • 1 Library Of Alexandria (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 2 Polluted Delta
  • 2 Underground Sea
  • 2 Volcanic Island
  • 1 Tolarian Academy (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Snow-covered Island

Meandeck Gifts Artifacts

  • 1 Black Lotus (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Lotus Petal (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mana Crypt (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mana Vault (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Emerald (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Jet (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Pearl (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Ruby (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Mox Sapphire (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Sol Ring (Restricted in Vintage)

Artifact Creatures

  • 1 Darksteel Colossus

Instants

  • 1 Ancestral Recall (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Brainstorm
  • 1 Echoing Truth
  • 1 Fact Or Fiction (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Force Of Will
  • 4 Gifts Ungiven
  • 4 Mana Drain
  • 3 Misdirection
  • 1 Mystical Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Rebuild

Sorceries

  • 1 Burning Wish (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Demonic Tutor (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 4 Merchant Scroll
  • 1 Recoup
  • 1 Time Walk (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Tinker (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Yawgmoth's Will (Restricted in Vintage)
Lands
  • 4 Island
  • 2 Flooded Strand
  • 3 Polluted Delta
  • 2 Underground Sea
  • 2 Volcanic Island
  • 1 Tolarian Academy (Restricted in Vintage)
  • 1 Snow-covered Island


Note: As of April 24th, there is an errata on Time Vault, causing the Flame Fusillade/ Time Vault/ Infinite Damage combo to no longer work.

Note: As of September, 2008, Time Vault has received additional errata which allows it to combo with Voltaic Key to take infinite turns. This has subsequently made everything written on this wiki more inaccurate than it already was. Go somewhere else to get information on Vintage. (perhaps www.themanadrain.com)

Control Slaver PrimerEdit

A Standard Decklist Lands

  • 1 Library of Alexandria
  • 1 Tolarian Academy
  • 2 Polluted Delta
  • 2 Flooded Strand
  • 4 Volcanic Island
  • 2 Underground Sea
  • 4 Island

Creatures

  • 4 Goblin Welder
  • 1 Triskelion
  • 1 Pentavus

Spells

  • 4 Force of Will
  • 4 Mana Drain
  • 1 Echoing Truth
  • 1 Darkblast
  • 4 Brainstorm
  • 1 Fact or Fiction
  • 1 Ancestral Recall
  • 4 Thirst for Knowledge
  • 2 Mindslaver
  • 1 Rack and Ruin
  • 1 Gifts Ungiven
  • 1 Time Walk
  • 1 Tinker
  • 1 Demonic Tutor
  • 1 Yawgmoth's Will
  • 1 Vampiric Tutor
  • 1 Black Lotus
  • 1 Mana Crypt
  • 1 Mana Vault
  • 1 Sol Ring
  • 1 Mox Emerald
  • 1 Mox Jet
  • 1 Mox Pearl
  • 1 Mox Ruby
  • 1 Mox Sapphire

The First Primer by Rich Shay aka The Atog Lord

An article on Burning Slaver, a Control Slaver variant, by Brian Demars

Belcher PrimerEdit

The Mountains Win Again PrimerEdit

Everything Wins Again PrimerEdit

Everything Wins Again is a metagame hate deck designed to have a 50/50 matchup against any deck in the metagame preboard, and a 51/49 matchup postboard.

This is done by completely sacrificing manabase immunity to Wasteland for the support of all five colors. Sometimes this element is forgone in favor of a four color manabase depending on the metagame.

The first and only top 8 of this deck was recorded here.

6. Andrew Fox "Everything Wins Again"

Maindeck (60 cards):

  • 1 Mox Emerald
  • 1 Mox Jet
  • 1 Mox Pearl
  • 1 Mox Ruby
  • 1 Mox Sapphire
  • 4 Dark Confidant
  • 1 Demonic Consultation
  • 1 Duress
  • 1 Ancestral Recall
  • 2 Brainstorm
  • 1 Curiosity
  • 1 Daze
  • 1 Disrupt
  • 1 Memory Lapse
  • 1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
  • 1 Seal of Removal
  • 1 Spell Snare
  • 1 Time Walk
  • 2 Fire/Ice
  • 3 Hide/Seek
  • 3 Meddling Mage
  • 1 Call of the Herd
  • 1 Sylvan Safekeeper
  • 1 Gorilla Shaman
  • 1 Pyroblast
  • 4 Swords to Plowshares
  • 1 Children of Korlis
  • 3 Jotun Grunt

Lands (18):

  • 2 Bloodstained Mire
  • 4 City of Brass
  • 2 Flooded Strand
  • 2 Mishra's Factory
  • 1 Island
  • 1 Plains
  • 1 Plateau
  • 1 Scrubland
  • 1 Swamp
  • 1 Taiga
  • 1 Underground Sea
  • 1 Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15 cards)

  • 1 Artifact Mutation
  • 1 Darkblast
  • 1 Flametongue Kavu
  • 1 Gifts Ungiven
  • 1 Hide and Seek
  • 1 Meddling Mage
  • 1 Pyrokinesis
  • 3 Pyrostatic Pillar
  • 4 Serenity
  • 1 Spell Snare

Everything Wins Again builds up incremental card advantage over the course of the game by confusing the opponent and causing them to misplay. This is done by playing almost no repeating cards in a given game so that the opponent cannot correctly find the 'optimal' play in any given situation.

Tier Two StrategiesEdit

Dragon PrimerEdit

Fish PrimerEdit

Fish is a tier two Vintage Deck that tries to win throug little creatures like "Isamaru", "Kataki, War´s Wage" and "Meddling Mage". Secondly Fish includes a lot of hate-cards and counters like Force of Will and Stifle or Trickbind. As an answer for creatures it has 4 Swords to Plowshares, the best Spot-Removal ever printed.

It´s a nice opportunity to start with playing Vintage and a so called Budget-Deck, the most valuable cards are Force of Will and probably Meddling Mage.

At a high player-skill it could even reach the Top 8 of a T1 tournament.

Grimlong/Deathlong PrimerEdit

Food Chain Goblins PrimerEdit

Famous decksEdit

Here are some famous decks of tournament winners:

Zak Dolan 1994 world championEdit

  • 1 Library of Alexandria
  • 4 Savannah
  • 4 Tropical Island
  • 4 Tundra
  • 2 Strip Mine

15 lands

  • 1 Clone
  • 2 Old Man of the Sea
  • 1 Time Elemental
  • 1 Vesuvan Doppelganger
  • 1 Birds of Paradise
  • 1 Ley Druid
  • 4 Serra Angel

11 creatures

  • 1 Ancestral Recall
  • 1 Control Magic
  • 1 Mana Drain
  • 1 Recall
  • 1 Siren's Call
  • 2 Stasis
  • 1 Timetwister
  • 1 Time Walk
  • 1 Regrowth
  • 1 Armageddon
  • 2 Disenchant
  • 1 Kismet
  • 4 Swords to Plowshares
  • 1 Wrath of God
  • 1 Black Lotus
  • 1 Black Vise
  • 1 Howling Mine
  • 1 Icy Manipulator
  • 1 Ivory Tower
  • 1 Mana Vault
  • 2 Meekstone
  • 1 Mox Emerald
  • 1 Mox Jet
  • 1 Mox Pearl
  • 1 Mox Ruby
  • 1 Mox Sapphire
  • 1 Sol Ring
  • 1 Winter Orb

34 other spells

Sideboard

  • 1 Chaos Orb
  • 1 Circle of Protection: Red
  • 1 Copy Artifact
  • 1 Diamond Valley
  • 1 In the Eye of Chaos
  • 1 Floral Spuzzem
  • 2 Karma
  • 1 Magical Hack
  • 1 Power Sink
  • 1 Presence of the Master
  • 1 Reverse Damage
  • 1 Sleight of Mind
  • 1 Kismet
  • 1 Winter Blast

15 sideboard cards



Legacy Decks & Strategies

The below decks may be moved around between the tiers as new cards, trends, discoveries and interactions make certain strategies more or less competitive than they were previously. Please add to these primers any information or strategies that you have to offer.

Tier One StrategiesEdit

Threshold PrimerEdit

Threshold is an evolution of Extended Miracle Gro/Super Gro lists. With the low amount of lands and high density of control, it uses Cantrips to find land early game and more cantrips and control midgame-lategame. This deck wins by using Threshold creatures, such as Nimble Mongoose and Werebear. More recently, Tarmogoyf has also been adopted due to its efficiency. This deck has many variations. ÐIt ranges from 3-4 colors, and each of those colors give it a different form of control or win conditions. White which happens to the most popular, is splashed for Swords to Plowshares, Meddling Mage, and Mystic Enforcer. As for the Sideboard, it is splashed for Tivadar's Crusade, Armageddon, Jotun Grunt, Worship, and at times, Nantuko Monastery. Red is splashed for maindeck Burn (Lightning Bolt, Fire // Ice, and/or Magma Jet/Chain Lightning) and Fledgling Dragon, and Pyroclasm for the Sideboard. Black is splashed for Dark Confidant and Ghastly Demise, and Pernicious Deed, Duress, Darkblast, and Diabolic Edict for the Sideboard.

Goblins PrimerEdit

Goblins is a pure aggro build that usually uses Aether Vial and Goblin Lackey to speed large numbers of goblins into play to overwhelm the opponent quickly. Goblin Piledriver, Goblin Warchief, Goblin Matron, and Goblin Ringleader are staple cards used towards this effect with many maindecked or toolbox goblins for specific removals and damage sources. Some common cards are Gempalm Incinerators, Mogg Fanatic, Goblin Sharpshooter, Siege-Gang Commander, and Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker. Goblins usually runs a touch of direct damage aside from these in the form of Lightning Bolt or Tarfire, and some land based land destruction in the form of Dust Bowl or Wasteland. Goblins is generally mono-red but has been known to spash white for sideboarded disenchants or black for Patriarch's Bidding.

Tier Two StrategiesEdit

Survival PrimerEdit

Survival decks involve using Survival of the fittest combined with early mana acceleration to search through a toolbox deck of well chosen creatures such as Anger, Genesis, Squee Goblin Nabob, Rofellos. There are several sub-versions of this deck that all play very different.

ATS (Angry Tradewind Survival) splashes blue in for Tradewind Rider and more control oriented cards (counterspell, force of will, mystic snake) and plays a slower paced game that involves using survival to find answers in creature form and Tradewind riders to lock the board. This build usually performs poorly against heavy aggro, such as goblins.

Survival combo. The original incarnations of this deck involved using recurring nightmare to reanimate fatties that were tossed in the graveyard with survival. The main creature focus of this deck were ones with come in to play effects such as Nekrataal, Uktabi Orangutan, Cloudchaser Eagle, Avalanche Riders etc. This deck is more aggressive than ATS, and in its time was THE survival deck. Also popular for quite some time now is to have a Volrath's Shapeshifter in play then toss multiple fatties or utility creatures with survival (such as morphling and krosan cloudscraper). These deck styles do not do well against decks with any type of disruption or control so they are currently not seeing much play.

Currently many players are working with R/G survival which focuses on using aggressive, efficient creatures to maintain board position, while survival guarantees finding answers in the early game and a finisher in the mid to late game. This has an advantage over previous builds which fall apart if the player can't resolve and keep a survival on the table. most versions agree on using burning wish to pull in key cards in poor match ups, namely against combo decks.

While this is a very fun deck to play; it can be rather expensive to build, and every incarnation seems to perform poorly against one of the main 3 archetypes(being combo, control/disruption , aggro).

Pikula & Variants PrimerEdit

Bw Pikula is a deck created by Chris Pikula, which happens to be a spin-off of Pikula's favorite decks from 96; Necropotence.

By replacing the Necropotence with Dark Confidant, and splashing White in for Vindicate, Swords to Plowshares, and Gerrald's Verdict, it created a perfect monster for the format. By mana screwing the opponent, and heavy discard, as well as Dark Confidants to keep the engine going, disruption and threats come constant.

Some other versions replace Red for Terminate and Blazing Specter, and Green for Pernicious Deed.

Faerie Stompy PrimerEdit

Faerie Stompy is a monoblue aggressive deck. This deck uses blue flying creatures such as Cloud of Faeries, Mulldrifter, Sea Drake, Serendib Efreet, and Sower of Temptation. This deck also uses Trinket Mage to search for Relic of Progenitus, Sigil of Distinction, Engineered Explosives, and Seat of the Synod. If a player controls a Chrome Mox and Ancient Tomb or City of Traitors but no other lands in play, Sea Drake's "comes into play effect" will not trigger.

Mana Sources:

  • 4 Chrome Mox
  • 4 City of Traitors
  • 4 Ancient Tomb
  • 9 Island
  • 1 Seat of the Synod

Creatures:

  • 4 Sea Drake
  • 4 Serendib Efreet
  • 3-4 Mulldrifter
  • 3-4 Cloud of Faeries

Instants:

  • 4 Force of Will

Artifacts:

  • 4 Chalice of the Void
  • 0-2 Umezawa's Jitte
  • Sword of Fire and Ice
  • Sword of Light and Shadow

Tier Three StrategiesEdit

Angel Stompy PrimerEdit

Angel Stompy is an accelerated White Weenie evolution that uses Turbo Accelerants, such as Ancient Tomb, Chrome Mox, and/or City of Traitors. The deck uses Equipment as Draw Engines and Removal such as Sword of Fire and Ice and Umezawa's Jitte, while using utility creatures and beaters to abuse the Equipment. The deck was created by Zilla from the Source.

It's most famous moves are...

Turn 1: Ancient Tomb, Chrome Mox, and Facedown Exalted Angel. Turn 2: Play Plains, Tap Plains, Chrome Mox, and Ancient Tomb, Flip Exalted Angel, and attack.

Some versions of Angel Stompy splash Blue and/or Black for Spectral Lynx, Meddling Mage, Duress, Srendib Efreet, and Brainstorm.

Stax PrimerEdit

Stax is a Prison deck ported from Type 1.

It uses Trinisphere, Crucible of Worlds, Tangle Wire, Uba Mask, Chalice of the Void, Sphere of Resistance, and Smokestack to create a board lock, and restrict the number of spells being played.

This deck uses a mana base of Ancient Tomb, Crystal Vein, and City of Traitors with Mox Diamond for extra speed. These land are very synergistic with Crucible of World because discarded land to Mox Dimonds can be replayed as well as replaying sacrificed Crystal Vein or City of Traitors. Crucible also allows the Stax player to replay sacrificed lands from Smokestack. Although the deck is much less powerful than the flame vault stax deck it is still a strong rogue deck seen with a top 16 place at worlds by Brandon Adams.

Flame Vault Stax is a Stax deck utilizing Flame Fusillade and Time Vault to inflict infinite damage. Also Time Vault could combo with Stasis and Smokestacks skipping infinite turns winning by decking. Time Vault was errataed to fix the combo and any power Time Vault had to create a prison lock.


Newer versions of the deck are designed by Chris Coppola and Brandon Adams.

Red Burn PrimerEdit

List & ExplanationEdit

The best burn decks runs a base with only the fastest most efficient burn spells available and very few if any nonland permanents. Thus these decks make up for their inability to draw cards by making all of the removal and bounce in your opponents hand worthless. Magma Jet also serves a similar goal in making sure that the cards you draw are indeed cards that help you win. Spells:

  • 4 Lava Spike
  • 4 Chain Lightning
  • 4 Lightning Bolt
  • 4 Mogg Fanatic or Thunderbolt
  • 4 Rift Bolt
  • 4 Magma Jet
  • 4 Incinerate
  • 4 Flame Rift
  • 4 Flamebreak
  • 4 Fireblast

Lands:

  • 4 Mountain
  • 4 Snow Covered Mountain
  • 4 Plateau or Mountain
  • 4 Bloodstained Mire or Barbarian Ring
  • 4 Wooded Foothills

Explanation of the Alternatives

Lighning Helix/Plateau - There are two types of metagames, those where nonbasics and Wastelands run rampant, and those where nonbasics are few and far between. In the former, while the life gain and the ability to sideboard Disenchant are great reasons to splash white, the added versatility of Disenchant is offset by the added vulnerability to Wasteland. And the life gained by running Lightning Helix is offset by the life lost from Plateau since running a playset of Price of Progress is a must in such metagames. Thus, Lightning Helix is best thought off as an alternative to Price of Progress in those precisely those metagames where nonbasic lands and Wastelands are few and far between. In such metagames, Lightning Helix compensates for the life loss associated with the incredibly effective Flame Rift and Flamebreak.

Price of Progress - This card can be an absolute bomb against those decks that run multiple nonbasic lands. While many of the current decks fit this mold, a few decks run no such nonbasic lands and thus it is debatable if this card should be maindecked or sideboarded. If you choose not to run it, splash white and run Lightning Helix.

Barbarian Ring - This land has the slight disadvantage of not being saccable to Fireblast. It's a tough call. On one hand, it is very effective against Blue based control strategies and thus warrants consideration in decks running Lightning Helix. But on the same token, in mono Red builds running Price of Progress, the added vulnerability to both Wastelands and your own Price of Progress is just not worthwhile.

Mogg Fanatic - This is an excellent one drop creature that finds its way into most burn decks. Though it violates the no nonland permanent rule that burn decks live by, the fact that it can be sacrificed to deal damage compensates for this. The only reason not to run this would be in an almost entirely creature dominated environment where it will never get through to deal even as much damage as a Shock. But even then, it still warrants consideration.

Thunderbolt - This is an excellent alternative burn spells that replaces Mogg Fanatic in high toughness creature dominated metagames. It can also be used in burn decks that can't afford the Plateaus for the white splash though they play in areas where running Price of Progress is not worthwhile. It can even replace Flame Rift in environments where such life loss unacceptable.

Flame Rift - The main reason that Flame Rift is used is because that one extra damage lets you win the game a full turn faster a third of the matches you play. But it can replaced in metagames where you often find yourself being outraced.

Chain of Plasma - This serves the same purpose as Thunderbolt, as an alternative burn spell. But Thunderbolt is almost certainly the superior option. Chain of Plasma has the small but still relevant liability of being bounced back in situations where you don't have any cards to discard or simply don't want to discard (when you are holding a Fireblast for example). A good opponent would never bounce back Chain of Plasma unless it is advantageous to them. Thunderbolt on the other hand has no real drawback since there are so many other burn spells in the deck that can deal with creatures when necessary. In addition, the ability of Thunderbolt to destroy four toughness flying creatures when necessary is actually a positive.

Flamebreak - Burn wants to aim everything for the dome without caring about the creatures that your opponent is casting. This card lets it do that by clearing the board of opposing creatures while still dealing damage to the dome. Leaving this card out of the deck is not an option.

Popular Cards That Shouldn't Be Run

Volcanic Hammer - This is yet another alternative to Thunderbolt and Chain of Plasma. It shouldn't be run, simply because the sorcery speed is a bigger drawback than the drawbacks of either of the other cards. Playing your cards at the end of your opponents turn is a critical component of playing burn decks, and this interferes with that plan. Incinerate in just a much better card.

Grim Lavamancer - While a few people feel that this card is ultimately too efficient not to run, it clearly violates the no nonland permanent rule and also is a bit too slow. These are the same reason that a number of other nonland permanants such as Ankh of Mishra, Sulfuric Vortex and Cursed Scroll are not utilized in this deck.

Ball Lightning - While the main reason this card fell into disuse, Mana Drain, no longer exists in Legacy, it's high casting cost makes it only usable as a finisher. And the fact that this a creature that can be targeted by removal or blocked makes it an unreliable finisher at that.



Reprinted with permission from the original author Centroles.



Standard Decks & Strategies

Standard (or Type 2) is a Constructed format where the total card pool is restricted by sets. Normally, the standard format pool consists of cards from the most recent core set and the two most recent expansion blocks. Currently, the core set is Magic 2011 and the expansions are the Scars of Mirrodin block and Zendikar.

Players must have at least a 60-card deck (a sideboard containing exactly 15 extra cards is not optional) consisting of cards of any printings that are legal in the current standard format; however, players must be able to shuffle their decks without assistance. Decks (including the sideboard) may contain no more than 4 copies of any card other than basic lands. In addition, certain cards may be "restricted" (only one copy of the card allowed) or "banned" (the card may not be used).

As of July 16th 2011, the sets legal in Standard:


CORE SET

Magic 2011 Magic 2012


Zendikar

Zendikar

Worldwake

Rise Of The Eldrazi

Scars of Mirrodin

Scars of Mirrodin

Mirrodin Besieged

New Phyrexia


Beginning from September 30th 2012, standard will consist of the following sets:

CORE SET

Magic 2012

Scars of Mirrodin

Scars of Mirrodin

Mirrodin Besieged

New Phyrexia

Innistrad

Innistrad



Since the format rotates each year, decks have a maximum shelf life of two years, meaning that the format is quick to change and easily impacted. There are deck archetypes that have waxed and waned through the years, but maintain their existence in some form or another (White-Defensive, Blue-Control, Black-Kill and Weaken, Red-Direct Damage, Green-Creature Based ), while others (usually combo decks) are spawned from the centerpiece card (Tooth and Nail, Enduring Ideal), and are thus usually subject to their key card leaving Standard.