December 2, 2022

The Gathering Standard Format 60 Card Deck

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Key tips and tricks for creating a 60-card deck in Magic: The Gathering Standard format for players new to the MTG tabletop game.

With a game that’s almost 30 years old, Magic: The Gathering is an expansive tabletop strategy card game rich in lore and playing formats. For new players, it can make knowing how to build a standard-sized deck a little intimidating.

Standard is the main seasonal competitive format in MTG, using the most recent versions of the sets, the oldest being replaced each fall. While there is no maximum deck size, as long as players can shuffle it without help, the minimum number of cards each deck must have is 60.

Related: Magic: The Gathering 2022 Set Release Roster

When building a deck, players can design it in a number of ways. They can choose a powerful card such as a planeswalker and build their deck around its abilities in a manner similar to the Commander format. If they’re missing a powerful card to serve as a centerpiece, starting with one of the main mana types in the game – Forest, Plain, Swamp, Island, and Mountain – is the way to go. These types can also be combined into a deck, and players aren’t limited to just one type of mana.

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How to build a deck for Magic: The Gathering

After choosing what type of Magic: The Gathering deck they wish to make, players will have to choose their cards. There can only be four of each card in a single deck, with the exception of basic lands, and the deck total must be at least 60. There are also cards that have become prohibited for playing in the game. Standard format throughout the season, such as being overpowered when played with other cards, so players are advised to check that their cards are not on the Wizards of the Coast official banned list. Only base mana does not change and can be used from any set because its base function does not change.

The types of cards players choose should also take into consideration what their opponent’s deck might have. For example, a creature with the “flying” ability can only have its damage blocked by another creature with flying, or a creature with “range”. If the deck is running low on creatures with flying, other cards such as instant, sorcery, artifact, and enchantment spell cards that grant flying and range abilities to creatures can be added.

One of the most important aspects of building a deck is the mana ratio. This ratio determines how many basic land cards players will need in their decks to “cast” combat and defense spell cards in a game. Too much mana can cause players to become “inundated with mana” or remove mostly base mana cards and not enough spell cards to attack. The reverse can also happen when players become “mana hungry” and have too little mana to play their spell cards. These two elements leave players free to allow their opponent to directly attack their life points, which is unfavorable for them to win a game.

There are a number of ways to calculate or estimate this more precisely, but as a general rule, base mana should be about a third of their Magic: The Gathering deck, or 20 to 24 cards in a 60-card deck. For a deck that is “one-color” or that is only one type of mana, players can normally remove an additional base mana card, preferably not exceeding 20 mana to avoid running out of mana. For a deck that contains multiple types of mana, not going below 22 of all mana types combined is ideal.

The other thing that Magic: The Gathering players should take into account the “mana curve” or how much mana each card needs to play and how many cards share that same requirement. An ideal mana curve favors cards that cost less mana to play, such as two to three, with cards requiring four, five, and six or more mana cards in fewer numbers. This allows players to build up their forces early in the game to attack earlier or defend themselves until they draw their higher cost cards while building up the mana they need to play them.

Apart from the standard, there are several other formats that players can explore in Magic: The Gathering, including Modern which includes many older sets, and the free Commander format. There are thousands of maps for players to explore and combine to discover their favorite playstyle or develop new ones. Anyway, the first of the players Magic: The Gathering Standard deck is just the start of a much larger magical multiverse.

Next: MTG’s Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Looks Set To Reinvigorate The Standard

Magic: the gathering arena is free to download for PC.

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