Building your first Magic Deck: A look at the Deck Builders Toolkit

A quick note to regular readers: Todays article is aimed at new and returning players to our fine game. As a result, todays article might not be as useful to you as it will be to newer players. We certainly hope you do enjoy and get some use out of it, but we understand if you don’t. All we ask is if you do know someone who is just starting their Magic journey, please point them to this article in the hopes they find it useful. Together we can grow the Magic community and bring even more people into this fine hobby. Cheers everyone. -James.


It’s a tale as old as time. You go around to your friend’s house for some reason or another, and when you get there you see them playing a strange game with what appear to be playing cards. But these aren’t your regular cards. They have pictures of monsters and wizards on them and your friend keep saying things like “Bolt the bird” and “Attack you with my Baloth”. After a few minutes your curiosity gets the better of you and you ask them what they are playing. This is where you first learn about Magic the Gathering.

After they take you through a quick game you start to get an idea of the rules and to your surprise, you discover you kind of enjoy this little card game. You also find out that they sometimes go to your local comic book store to play games with other people. You decide to pop in and consider getting some cards yourself. You end up taking to the assistant behind the counter and they offer to give you a demo game. About half an hour later you emerge from the store with a better understanding of the game and one of these.

You are told that if you combine the two free thirty card decks included in this pack together you will have your first ‘Standard’ deck. Your feeling pretty good about life and head over to your friends to challenge them to a game with your Green and Blue cards. You shuffle up your deck, keep what you are told is a good starting hand…. and quickly lose in spectacular fashion. We have all been here.

Your friend tells you what you have is an intro deck and while you can play games with it, you would do well to improve the deck before you play them again. You head back to the store and ask the assistant what you need to get to ‘upgrade’ your deck. They offer you a Planeswalker deck, but you have become attached to these cards and don’t really want to start all over again with a new deck. They then point you to this.

They tell you it’s a Deck Builders Toolkit and you like the sound of it, so you pick one up. But what do you do next? What cards do you add to your deck? What cards do you take out? How mana lands do you run? These are the question we will help you with today.

The Deck Builders Toolkit is a product from Wizards of the Coast that aims to expand the collection of new and returning players, as well as giving them the tools they need to build their first decks. They’re ideal for upgrading the free intro decks you can get from your local gaming store. Inside the tool kit you will find the following;

125 cards from Magic’s most recent sets.

4 fifteen card booster packs from recent sets.

100 basic land cards (20 plains, 20 islands, 20swamps, 20 mountains and 20 forests).

A deck builder guild.

And a reusable storage box to hold all your cards.

You already know the basics, but they guide also gives you a reminder of how to build a deck.

Your deck must have the at least 60 cards.

You can play up to four copies of any one card (except basic lands-which you can have as many as you want).

You want to run about 24-25 lands, 17-22 creatures, and about 13-18 other spells.

If you already have the intro deck you will have the start of the deck you want to build. Don’t worry if you don’t as you will have enough card to build a deck from scratch. We will also not be using the boosters just yet as there is no guaranty that they will have cards we can use in our deck. The first thing you want to do is arrange your cards into their individual colour to get a better idea of what the card you have available to you. For our intro deck we are going to be looking at the Green and Blue cards to improve our deck (been the two colours we started with). After sorting our cards, we find these are what we have assess to.

Now before we go ahead and build a deck, there are two key tips I want you to think about.

You want to include between 2-4 copies of cards you want to use in your deck. Playing only a single copy of Ursine Champion might be ok, but it does mean that you there is less chance of you drawing this card throughout the game. In contrast, playing a full 4 copies of Llanowar Elves mean you have a greater chance of seeing one or more of them during your games. You well be of course limited to what you have available, but if you can run multiple copies of a spell you should.

You also want to make sure your ‘mana fixing’ is correct. It is very tempting to play as many giant creatures as you can when you first get into the game. However, this can lead some new players to try and run a Riddlemaster Sphinx, a Shivan Dragon and a Colossal Dreadmaw all in the same deck. While this might sound like a great idea, in reality it makes is very hard to make sure you have access to all the available colours of mana when you need them.

Stick to one or two colours to begin with. This will make building you deck a lot easier. Also make sure you have a good number of each basic land card you need. If you are playing with a deck that is a 50/50 split of both Green and Blue, then you will want to have an equal number of forests and islands. But if your deck is primarily Green and is only running one or two Blue cards you may want to play more forests and only a hand full of islands.

Using these guild lines, I set to work improving our Green/Blue intro deck. After a few minutes of tweaking, this is what I came up with.

The plan of the deck is simple. Play cards like Llanowar Elves and Manalith to ‘ramp’ you up to the mana you will need to play a Riddlemaster Sphinx, Colossal Dreadmaw or an Aggressive Mammoth. These ‘bombs’ (as they are known) will help you get in and threaten your opponents’ life total. After a few attack phases you should hopefully have done enough damage to be declared the winner.

Now after playing a few games you might decide to change and swap out for some different cards, or even try a different colour out altogether. You will also want to crack open those 4 booster packs to expand your collect even more, or even pick up some more cards from your local store. But this is the joy of Magic the Gathering. Building and testing your decks, trying out new strategies, and seeing what works and doesn’t work is all part of the fun. It might take a while, but you will learn more about the game and what your preferred play style is by doing so.

We certainly hope you have found todays article useful. If you have enjoyed it why not subscribe to keep up to date with all the latest goings on with us here at Master of Magics. We bring out new content each week for Magic the Gathering for a variety of different formats and play styles.

A massive thank you to Wizards of the Coast for providing us with the Core Set 2019 Deck Builders Toolkit, and to Patriot Games Sheffield for providing the Intro deck we used in todays article. Both where provided for free and we were not compensated in any way for todays article.

Until next time everyone no matter what format you play or where you are playing remember, Good Luck and Have Fun.

In response...