Deck Help - Second Sphere

Phyrexian Forum: Deck Help - Second Sphere

This is a post that can be found here:

Puschkin explains that this forum is the most commonly mistreated. Please read the following if you are new to the site.

By Puschkin (Puschkin) on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 04:26 am:


Welcome to Phyrexia!
This is going to be a guideline how to post threads here in deckhelp in that way, that we can actually help you. No, I am no mod or something like this and you can of course post whatever you want. But since the mods, or more precisely the webmaster, never thought of it and since I am running constantly into incoherent posts that are tough to read and give advice to, I do what Nike does, am just doing it. Simply put, instead of posting certain things in multiple posts again and again, I just do it once, bigtime. You can ignore this all of course. But then I will ignore your post also.

How to use this document
Below you´ll see a summary of what to keep in mind while posting here. Each point will be explained in detail below that list, reading that is recommended but not necessary. It IS possible to skip parts of the guidelines while posting your deck. However, the more you skip, the less answers you´ll get and the less accurate answers will be. Additionally, all missing parameters will be set to “default values” as stated in brackets in the guidelines. For example, if you don´t state the format of your deck, we will assume that the format is Type I.

This volume has a sister volume regarding regular newbie mistakes in deckbuilding: [in work, to be edited if ready]
You might want to read that, too. The other regulars of this site can link to this document in the appropriate posts. It would be nice if they included the numbers of guidelines he should read especially, to save him time.

Rundown of guidelines (and default values)
1) Indicate the format your deck is designed for (Type I)
2) Indicate if your deck is for tournament play or casual play (tourney)
3) Indicate if your deck is for 1-on-1 or multiplayer (1-on-1)
4) Specify of what card pool you are working off, if it´s for apprentice or Magic Online, state this (Type I without Power)
5) Include an as long as possible description of your deck and what it should do (no default, we are bound to common sense)
6) Describe your metagame (our individual understanding of a general metagame)
7) Specify what we should do with it, where you have problems and what to fix (optimising the deck)
8) Miscellaneous (N/a)

1) The Format
Formats specify what card sets and individual cards are allowed to build a deck, for example Type II, the most played format, allows currently 7th edition, the Invasion Block and the Odyssey Block.
It´s important to know what format you are playing because
a) There are cards which are powerful/useless in this particular format only
b) We know which cards are legal to suggest
c) Play styles differ in formats heavily

If you don´t care about formats, state this. It is assumed that you know what the formats are and which cards are banned and restricted in these formats. You´ll find help regarding this topic in the other thread mentioned above.
Example: You submitted a White Weenie deck. Without stating the format, someone might suggest Wrath of God, a staple card for white decks. If this deck was meant for Type I, Wrath would be a bad choice since creatures aren´t very common in Type I and the ones that are played are very fast so that Wrath might come too late. But in Type II Wrath of God is a very solid card and almost never a bad choice if you have enough access to white mana.
NOTE: There is one common problem: Casual decks are most likely Type I decks cause it makes no sense to leave any cards aside while playing for fun. Type I is the last format using a restricted list. Now, there are numerous players who don´t care for formats and restrictions at all, casual players of course. Dear chaos-players, all cards on the restricted list are there for a good reason. The great majority of players prefer keeping that list. Especially in casual games which are made for fun it would be important to use that list. If you don´t see why this is important, it´s most likely that you aren´t a good enough player yet to realize it. If you still insist on an illegal deck, state this, but be prepared to get few responses. We have no experiences with your personal wild environment and unrestricted Type I formats equal guaranteed first-turn-kills all day long if you know what you are doing. BORING.

2) Tournament or Casual?
This one is obvious. Nevertheless it is not stated very often. A deck built for tourneys is built to win and nothing else. A casual deck is built for fun. And although everyone defines fun differently and although winning is still one objective, there are other things of interest like using cool cards, staying within a theme or making an odd deck idea work. After all you play casual to use styles and cards that would have no chance in a tourney.
And this does of course alter what cards to suggest.
Example: Stating “casual” also means that we will try to keep the deck´s theme, even if it isn´t that powerful to begin with, whereas we might suggest to change your deck´s whole structure if necessary if you stated “for tournament play”.

3) 1-on-1 or multi-player?
I still can´t imagine why people leave this important fact out. Multiplayer plays a whole lot different than 1-on-1, and I am not speaking of obvious ones like cards affecting all players (can you say “Con-gre-gate”?). I am speaking of things like stalling/staying power, speed of your deck, diplomatic issues, being the target of multiple attacks and so forth.
Example: Normally walls are bad choices to increase defence in 1-on-1. You´d be better off using a regenerating creature that can also attack. But in multi, where you can be attacked multiple times, a wall might be the better choice, because it won´t be tapped after the first attack in opposite to the regenerating creature. Not to speak of that defence is by far more important in multi than in 1-on-1.
NOTE: Unless specified otherwise, we assume that “multiplayer” refers to free-for-all games or “chaos games” how they are called sometimes.

4) Your card pool
It doesn´t help you very much if we suggest 10 cards that you don´t have access to. So state things like “Everything from Exodus on” or “mostly Type II stuff” or “anything under 15$”. If you are using something like Apprentice, state this, because that´ll mean we can suggest what we want.

5) Deckdescription
You might think that it´s obvious what your deck is going to do. You may be right if your deck lacks focus or “just attack and go for the win” is your game plan. But remember, the more general your description, the more unfocused our suggestions. Statements like “I want to win with big trampling creatures” or “I try to survive and finish them all with one big Eartquake” are still general but tremendously helpful, especially in keeping your deck in theme. Otherwise we would morph your deck into the standard deck of the corresponding deck´s colour very fast.
All other decks, especially combo-decks, should have explanations, at least how the combo works/how you plan to get control of the game.

6) Your metagame
It´s helpful to know your metagame, that is, to know what kind of decks you regularly play against. This includes types, formats, strategies and also things like skill level of opponents, or specific cards.
Example: If I know that you are playing against a lot of White Weenie decks with your black.dec I might suggest Black Knight, but if your metagame consists of lots of red burn decks instead I might suggest Bottle Gnomes for the same card slot.

7) The task
It´s not only that we like to know what to do with your deck. 90% of the time it´s optimising it anyway. But, like in all previous issues, the more we know, the better we can help. This includes posting information like “I have problems against flyers”, “It´s not fast enough”, “I have troubles with getting the right mana” or simply “It´s 63 cards, which should I cut?”. Everything helps.

8) Miscellaneous
I´ll just list all other things that happen from time to time and that might be true for posting outside this sphere as well.
Name your Thread properly. "Help this deck" is not very informative but "R/G Type II aggro deck" helps remembering your thread.
Skim the Sphere before posting, perhaps there is already a thread running which covers your issue.
All-caps are annoying.
Sorting your decklist helps tremendously. Sort by card types, colour or logical things like “combopieces, mana …”.
Using paragraphs = tech.
If you are using brand-new cards or old ones that aren’t used normally, state what they do if they are very important to the deck.

Respect the regulars on this site and the guys helping you with your deck. They dedicate their spare time to help out a guy they´ve never met and that they will mostly likely never meet in real life. If you don’t get the answer you wanted, it’s most likely your fault. On the other hand, you can count on that if someone flames you or pawns on you undeserved, we will haunt him back.

That´s it for now, help us helping and everyone has saved a lot of time, effort and anger.