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If there’s something that humans are very good at, it’s categorizing things - themselves, cats, colors, even Hogwarts houses. That’s because we’re adept at recognizing patterns, not just in how things look, but how they interact with one another. In Magic, we often see recurring themes and patterns in how certain decks play out, and how they interact not just with your opponent, but the board state as well.
We call these archetypes, because we see them come up in almost every format again and again like an old friend, or in some cases, an old nemesis. By labeling these different deck archetypes, we can understand what a deck is trying to do just by hearing the name of it. If I say “Red Deck Wins”, you know this deck is focused on a Aggro strategy, has no Control elements, and uses cards like lightning bolt and goblin guide. It immediately tells you what the deck is trying to do, and how going about it.
In this episode, we’ll be exploring the three primary types of deck archetypes we see in Magic: The Gathering: Aggro, Control and Combo. We’ll talk about their strengths, their weaknesses, and how to evaluate cards to build these archetypes in both Limited and Constructed.
Which of these archetypes should I play?
This depends on the format, and also on the timing. If you’re looking for a good win rate, the best time to play an Aggro strategy is usually right after a set comes out in Standard. Because the format is still being in some ways “figured out”, being proactive and focusing on just killing your opponent is an effective way of getting those early wins.
Once a format becomes more defined, it’s easier to build a Control deck to beat what other people are doing, which is usually at the end before the next set is released, or before rotation. Combo is sprinkled throughout the lifespan of a format sometimes, when and if there is a good busted combo in a Control deck. If people are playing a lot of Aggro decks, then it’s a good time to do one of those Engine decks, as long as it’s fast and can kill by turn 5 if there isn’t interaction.
But honestly, the real answer to this question is: any of them you want! What is amazing about Magic: the Gathering as a game is its flexibility. You can express yourself through gameplay in almost any way you might wish. I love my Modern Merfolk deck, and no matter how it’s doing in the meta, I’ll continue to play it, regardless of what other people think. For you that might be your Cat tribal Standard deck, your Burn deck, or even 8 Rack. Whatever you choose, follow your bliss and fine tune it to the best of your ability. Different people play Magic differently, and in that lies the inherent beauty and freedom of the game.
Music Courtesy Of:
"Vintage Education" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0