Monday, April 20, 2009

Pros & Cons of Buying a Deck

Since I've found out there are weekly Magic tournaments in Canton, I've been considering the possibility of getting a deck together so that I can play. Unfortunately, the format of most of these events seems to be Standard (Type II), which consists almost entirely of new cards. Since I don't have many new cards, this means no Standard deck for me. So, what are my options?

I could buy a bunch of Shards of Alara, Conflux, and whatever other sets are still in the Standard rotation, and put together a deck from them, trading any valuable cards that don't fit my strategy for those that do. To achieve a deck of significance in this way, however, is an expensive undertaking. I couldn't say for sure how many booster packs it would take to put together a competitive Standard deck, but I'd imagine I'd need at least a couple of boxes. If that's the case we're talking a minimum of $150-$200, and that's really not an option right now.

An alternative strategy would be to buy a ton of new cheap cards online, perhaps all commons and uncommons, and then put something together from them. I'm sure I could get something workable out of such a card pool, but probably nothing ultimately competitive, which would be my real goal for this exercise.

A final option that may not be significantly more expensive than this past one, would be to study a bunch of newer cards online, try to come up with an interesting and competitive deck, and then mail order all the cards needed. The advantages here are that I wouldn't be wasting money on a bunch of extra cards that don't fit into my deck. Ideally I would only buy cards that will make the final cut, and since I would emphasize inexpensive cards in my deck building process, I should be able to get a deck together for a fraction of the cost of buying a bunch of new cards randomly. At first glance this website about building Magic decks on a budget seems like it could be very helpful.

The negative side to this strategy is that I can't play test the deck as I construct it, and thus I could end up with one that doesn't really work that well. This would of course entail buying additional cards to fix my deck. A second downside here is that only having just enough cards for one deck means I could easily become bored and not really have much of an option to change things up at all. All this being said, this is still the most tempting of the options I've listed, and I think I could put together something fun to play for a very modest amount of money.

(Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast.)

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