Updated: Apr 12
If you were to search for tips and tricks to improve you deck you would be overwhelmed with a sheer number of results. Lower your curve but, not too much; put in more card draw and more removal; have 20 mana ramp cards; if you watch this 5 minute video it will make your deck unstoppable! I personally have one thing that I do to improve my decks. It's not fancy, quick or exciting but, it works every time. That is to play your deck over and over and over again. It's simple but, players don't do this often due to one fact: it's boring. However, it does work. Don't believe me? Then talk to any professional player and ask how much time they put into playing the same deck again and again to work out the smallest details when playing. There is one key rule though that needs to be followed when doing this. To start off you will not make any changes to the deck during the time you play your deck repeatedly. You have 99 cards and the chances of you getting certain cards or combos off won't be apparent until you've played a number of games to see how consistent things are. This, in turn, helps you determine if you need more tutors and card draw or if you have too much. As well, it will help you determine how often cards become useless when you play against others. Sure that one spell has won you that crazy game where you were behind and when you dropped it no one could stop you. However, if it only happens once out of twenty games I would consider that a dead card. Not making changes also allows you to learn your cards as sometimes when we build decks we are using cards we are not familiar with. We need to play them more in order to establish if they really are useful or just taking up a spell slot. You also learn whether you are getting enough lands and mana ramp for all those spells and abilities needed. If you are constantly missing land drops or having to mulligan your opening hand, you will notice it after playing the same unchanged deck multiple times. After you've played a number of games you can then determine the changes to be made. Using myself as an example, on a typical game night I will play the deck at least twice for the next three months before I make any changes. That's 24 games that would have been played with that deck and more than likely I would know of at least a handful of cards that are useless. I don't remove them right away though. I look at them and try to find out why they are dead cards in the deck. Is the casting cost too high or difficult? Does it become a target the moment it comes out? How much setup is required before it can be used? Do I even like the card? All of these questions matter as that one card may affect other spells in the deck. Inspiring Statuary is useless if I remove all artifacts except for the mana ramp cards. Sphere of Safety is less useful if I go from 15 enchantments down to 10. From here I will figure out what new cards I would like to incorporate in and repeat the process all over again until I find there are no more changes to make in the deck. There is one really good side effect of this process that I absolutely love. Players start associating you with that deck and they will go out of their way to put aside or show you cards they feel would be an excellent addition. From there you may have a discussion on why it would be great or not and both of you start understanding each others deck building ideas and theories. In fact, that is how one of the other hosts of the show, Daniel, and I got together and became friends. Both of you might not agree but, that's beside the point. You're learning from each other which is the more important piece of the puzzle and you find that you can create and fine tune your decks more efficiently than before.