Good morning all, it seems I’m on a quest, that of building a new deck! I thought I would chronicle my effort with this new deck here. I’ll write it up in pieces and post one every few days until I get the final list posted. Feel free to comment and make suggestions, constructive criticism, etc…
I know that I said in my last post that I would write about my Animar deck next, but I think getting this down while in the process is important. Stay tuned though, the Animar article will follow shortly after this series!
I was listening to the Horde of Notions podcast the other day, and it struck me that Adena (@prsgrrl on Twitter) and I are very similar in our love of anything token, especially the ultimate enabler of tokens, Doubling Season! This was right after she talked a little bit about her Ghave, Guru of Spores/Doubling Season deck. My interest was piqued! I already have a Blue/Green Doubling Season deck that is pretty sweet. It started out using Experiment Kraj as the commander, but evolved fairly recently to using Momir Vig, Simic Visionary. It piles out tons of tokens and then boosts them up. What is the deck missing? Black and white, and all of the insane token producing cards that they encompass! Of particular interest are quite a few new cards from Dark Ascension that I really want to incorporate!
Once I’ve made the decision to make a new deck the process has started. Depending on my mood I have a couple of different approaches that I take. I can either build the deck completely using an online deck building tool (my favorite is www.deckbox.org), or I can pull out my collection and start rifling through it! In this case I kind of mixed methods. I started by doing a search on Deckbox with anything in green, white, black or colorless that had the word “token” in the text box. When I was done I had a list of around a hundred cards. These included many things that I don’t have, including anything from Dark Ascension. These cards don’t get cut simply because I don’t have it. If the card is great and in my price range, then I will try to obtain it. I prefer to use cards that I already have, but sometimes you just need that one card that really makes the deck.
Next comes some research. First, I asked Adena via Twitter for her list, but I haven’t heard back from her, so I checked a great resource, CMDR Decks on You Tube and he did have a Ghave deck video! I watched the video and wrote down the names of any cards that struck an interest in me. Unfortunately his deck was not really build around tokens and it didn’t even have Doubling Season! However, I did get a few ideas, so I added them to my list on Deckbox. Another option is to check out various forums for ideas and deck lists. I don’t really like to do this too much for a several reasons, the first of which is that I am not going to have a lot of the cards that other people have and once you start asking for advice on your list what you typically end up with a couple of great posts with ideas surrounded by a plethora of posts just listing off someone’s favorite cards. The second reason is that every person has their own approach to a particular deck, as I found with the CMDR Deck video on Ghave. The only reason I asked Adena for her list was because I know that she loves Doubling Season and it’s effect, so I know the deck it going to be the type of deck that I want. Even though I won’t have all of the cards that she has in her list, I’ll still get some great ideas if she sends it to me.
My next step is to drag out the binders and boxes and start digging. Usually if I want to build the whole list online, then I just need to look for specific cards, but in this case for some reason I decided that my online list of cards was just an outline, and also it primarily contains cards that deal strictly with tokens, as a result the deck would be pretty unbalanced if I lose focus and don’t do any more research on it. At this time I’ve gone through about half of my collection and have stacks of cards that I might want in the deck. At this time that stack is probably close to two-hundred cards! By the time I finish going through my collection I might have a stack of three-hundred cards or more! I know it sounds daunting, but this approach is really a catch-all. Most every card with the word “token” or “put a +1/+1 counter” in the text box got pulled from the collection, as well as various other cards that will hopefully balance the deck out (removal, answers, etc…) It seems like it would be hard to cut that down, but in the end it should be pretty easy to trim the stack down to at least half of what it is when I finish pulling cards… hopefully.
This is also the time when you want to decide what to do with other decks that might contain cards that you need for the current deck. In my case I currently have two standard legal decks that I decided would be taken apart, therefore I can pull whatever cards I want out of those for use in the Ghave deck. I also have the skeletons of roughly 4 Commander decks that contain cards in the colors I am looking for, as well as the stack of cards rejected from my last deck (Dakkon Blackblade). These I don’t mind cannibalizing for the new deck. Finally, I have three Commander decks that I would prefer not to touch if possible. I don’t have the collection that some have, so for cards that I really want in the deck, I may have to start pulling cards from those decks, but I will keep very careful track of which cards I pull from which decks and I simply replace them with a land card that has the name of the shared card written in sharpie so that I can quickly locate what is missing and switch it out depending on which deck I want to play. In this case I have a game night tomorrow night, and I don’t know that my first draft of the Ghave deck will be ready by then, so for that reason I’m not pulling any cards at this time from those decks. If I get far enough along with the deck to where I think it will be ready to play tomorrow night, then I may go ahead and pull the cards.
Once all of the cards that you think you might want in the deck are separated out from the collection, that ‘s when the real building begins…