"Must have" cards

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Venton, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Venton Member

    So I was sitting around, pondering this and that while waiting for quitting time to roll around. I was reading some threads here and started thinking about when I started plaqying Magic and some of the cards you HAD to have in your deck. I haven't been paying much attention to the newer epansions, but are there any cards that you almost have to include in your deck depending on what color or deck-type you're playing?

    I guess it was based on the available cards at the time (4th ed./Ice Age) and the newish Type II format, but it seemed there cards you couldn't do without.
    Off the top of my head I can remember plenty of restricted cards: Feldon's Cane, Balance, Zuran Orb, Land Tax, Recall.
    Pre-4th ed,: Sol Ring, Maze of ith, Regrowth, Demonic Tutor, not to mention the Power 9.
    Later on: Thawing Glaciers.
    Of course in a mono-color deck you would have things like Dark Ritual, Swords to Plowshares, Llanowar Elves (or Birds), Lightning Bolt, Counter Spells.

    Anyway, I felt like putting my rambling thoughts on here.
  2. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    Island. You have it in your deck or you lose. That's MY theory.

    The next best card is Dwarven Pony.... no. wait... Dwarven Pony is better.

    Seriously, now. I'm a counter/control freak and must have efficient counters (counterspell, Force of Will, Force Spike, Daze, etc.).

    Ransac, cpa trash man
  3. Venton Member

    Well duh! I have at least one Island in ALL my decks, no matter what color they are!

    You do run with 4 Storm Crows I hope.
  4. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    Look KJ, people do put creatures in decks......

    I really must have sigil of sleep or upheaval in my deck......
  5. Killer Joe Active Member


    I mean, who's gonna clean up after those creatures? Me? Heck NO! Why waste valuable card slots with creatures unless they are equivilant to being spells like the new cards in Lorwyn! :D
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Of course it depends what kind of deck, but these have been the staples for me...

    White: Swords to Plowshares and Disenchant. To a lesser extent, there are also cards like Land Tax, White Knight, Mother of Runes, and Ivory Mask, but they're more deck-specific.

    Blue: Force of Will, Brainstorm, Counterspell, Mana Leak, Arcane Denial, and Frantic Search, Force Spike, Daze, Impulse. And to a lesser extent--well, a LOT of cards.

    Black: Dark Ritual, Hymn to Tourach, Duress, Drain Life, Corrupt, Demonic Tutor, Necropotence, Diabolic Edict, Mind Twist, Pestilence, Hypnotic Specter, and Animate Dead. Slightly less pervasive cards include Yawgmoth's Will, Exhume, Buried Alive, Contagion, Abyssal Gatekeeper, Megrim, Planar Void, Coercion, Demonic Consultation, Vampiric Tutor, Darkling Stalker, and Persecute.

    Red: Lightning Bolt, Incinerate, Stone Rain, Ball Lightning, Chain Lightning, Pyroclasm, Earthquake, Red Elemental Blast/Pyroblast, Fireblast, Mogg Fanatic, Kird Ape, and Seal of Fire/Shock. To a lesser extent, a bunch of goblins and other such creatures as well as some other damaging spells like Pyrokinesis.

    Green: Rancor, Llanowar Elves/Wood Elves, Elvish Spirit Guide, Giant Growth/Briar Shield, Bounty of the Hunt, Fog/Undergrowth, Wall of Roots, Wall of Blossoms, Sylvan Library, Birds of Paradise, and Naturalize. Also some other elves and some typical huge creatures.

    Gold and whatever: Fire/Ice, Lim-Dul's Vault, Armadillo Cloak, Terminate, and maybe some slivers or something.

    Artifacts: Mana Vault, Sol Ring, Lotus Petal, Memory Jar, Black Vise, The Rack, Juggernaut, Ashnod's Altar, Cursed Scroll, Ivory Tower, Soldevi Digger, Zuran Orb, Nevinyrral's Disk, Powder Keg, and too much else for me to remember.

    Lands: The five basics and their snow-covered counterparts, Strip Mine, Wasteland, the original dual lands, City of Brass, and the Mercadian Masques depletion counter lands. To a lesser extent, the Ravnica duals, the Invasion duals, the Planeshift Lairs, Tolarian Academy, Yavimaya Hollow, Gaea's Cradle, Thawing Glaciers, Reflecting Pool, Gemstone Mine, the Onslaught fetch-lands, and Maze of Ith.
  7. YoungBeard New Member

    In addition to the above, for red I almost always include at least one Fireball; for green, Creeping Mold. I find these two to be incredibly useful cards.
  8. Ephraim New Member

    There is no such thing as a "must-have" card. In fact, should you ever find that a particular card appears to have become indispensable to your strategy with a colour, then you owe it to yourself to stop using the card altogether to prevent your ability to innovate form stagnating.
  9. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    And the award for "Most Adamantly Casual Player" goes to..... EPHRAIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on down and accept your year's supply of Legions, Fallen Empires, and Homelands packs!!!!

    Ransac, cpa trash man
  10. Venton Member

    So you're saying Ransac should give up his Dwarven Pony? Somehow I don't think that will happen anytime soon.
  11. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    That's just silly. While I can't speak for Venton, I don't think he meant "must-have" as "must be in every deck." I interpreted it to mean "staples." I highly doubt Venton actually uses Feldon's Cane in every deck he builds. And there are a handful of cards that really have appeared in nearly every deck I built of a certain color or strategy. Why build a mono-black deck without Dark Ritual when I can build a faster one by using Dark Ritual? Why build a slow control deck without Nevinyrral's Disk when I can build a more resilient one with the Disk? Not that there aren't exceptions, but I've used these cards A LOT because they work. And that way, I get a chance to actually show off the rest of my deck.
  12. Ephraim New Member

    I was being a bit more vehement than I actually feel, but I wanted to highlight a counterpoint to which I nominally subscribe. I like changing up the selection of cards that I use, sometimes solely for the sake of using different cards.

    Why not use Dark Ritual, for example? Sometimes, Cabal Ritual is a superiour choice. Instead of Nevinyrral's Disc, I've been known to use Plague Boiler or Razia's Purification, often to excellent effect (especially in the case of Razia's Purification.) I like using cards that work differently or even worse than my favourite staples. It keeps my eyes open to new strategies and tactics. I intentionally deviate from something that "just works" so that I never learn to rely on those cards as a crutch.
  13. Ransac CPA Trash Man

    Plague Boiler rox!

    Ransac, cpa trash man
  14. BigBlue Magic Jones

    I will add this tidbit to the discussion...

    Often, you don't realize how useful a card is until you actually use it - and sometimes recognize an interaction with another card or cards you never saw (or thought of).

    So, I agree with Ephraim in that you should try different cards - even those which appear weaker. Sometimes those "weaknesses" can be turned into strengths.

    One example I have is in the Home Again League. I've always considered Paralyze to be a weak card - since the cost is payable eventually and it can be disenchanted... I've always felt it's better to have more effective removal... (those assertions can be debated, but that's not the point). The point is, I tried it in HAL since I didn't have much else to use, and it really works quite well - especially when paired with any kind of mana deprivation deck. I have even gone so far as to add it into other decks.

    So, if there's a card you think is useless, try putting it in a deck where you think it would have some effect - even a minor one. You might find it's stronger than you thought.

    In terms of Must Haves - the other valid point is that if you play consistently with certain cards, your opponents will learn that and find ways to take advantage of you - and deal with those cards.

    That said... almost every red deck I own has 4 Lighting bolts... as does about every red deck I've ever faced... Almost every black deck runs 4 Rituals mine or others I've seen... The reason is they broke the mold. If I had played in the earliest days - I can assure you I would have traded for as many Ancestral Recalls as I could have - and run 4 in every blue deck for the same reason, short of any of recalls, I dont' think I have a blue deck without any counters. For White it's disenchant and/or swords. For Green it's Giant Growth or Rancor in "most" decks.
  15. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    But in what percentage of decks? I would guess that at least 95% of the time, Dark Ritual is going to be better and if I'm only running one of the two, it's going to be Dark Ritual.

    The Disk is a bit different. The only card I can think of comparable to Dark Ritual would be Cabal Ritual. But depending on what effect you're looking for, Disk could be compared to Wrath of God, Tranquility, Shatterstorm, Powder Keg, Pernicious Deed, etc. When I refer to Nevinyrral's Disk as a staple, I mean that it can fill a role as a "reset button" in control decks that might not have access to anything else. But I have built a great many control decks with no Disks. It's all about whether the rest of the deck needs that reset button, and there are a lot of control decks that can be built this way (or have access to something else that might fill the role in a different way--like Plague Boiler). This is much less true for Dark Ritual, where monoblack decks that don't want a cheap mana accelerator are uncommon. Nether Void decks are a good example of an exception, but who plays Nether Void?

    That makes sense, but there are certain cards that, as BigBlue says "break the mold." I COULD use Volcanic Hammer in place of Lightning Bolt, but I'm just not inclined to. It's not that I hate variety or fear leaving my comfort zone. It's just that losing a game I might have won because I deliberately used a strictly inferior card would feel like I was applying some sort of handicap, which might be good to do against a less experienced opponent or something, but otherwise I just don't find it worth the effort.

    Now, if we're talking about cards that aren't strictly inferior, that's different. Finding a niche for a little-used card can be fun and it's part of what being a casual player is about--or maybe more accurately it's MOST of what being a casual deckbuilder is about. I don't know. I was never a good deckbuilder...

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