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Some Advice on Tuning Magic: The Gathering Decks

I would advise new deck-tuners to check out the ramifications of the following few rules before spending money better used to increase your collection on books:

  1. When you are tuning decks, try to have at least 1/3 of the cards be lands.
    1. When you are tuning blue decks which include Spell Blasts, Power Sinks, and that sort of thing, 1/3 land will not be enough; I usually include at least 1/2 lands, although only 5/9ths of these need to be Islands.
    2. When you are tuning green decks which are composed of mostly one-point spells, you only need to have 1/4 of the cards be lands or so.
  2. Do not attempt to make decks which are larger that 80 cards; perhaps you will have more variance, but most of the time all that will happen is you will end up with a hand full of red lands and blue cards.
    1. Decks which are 60 cards are good; 40 cards are perhaps better, but they are not tournament legal, so I don't use them.
    2. Do not play games with those accursed "FastLand" or "No-LandMuggins" rules, it will just give you a distorted image of how well you tune your decks. All games should be played through to the end and logged truthfully.
  3. It is easier to make good decks if you include fewer different colours; usually I use only two, although I have sometimes used three. With four and five colour decks you will usually have the wrong colours of land in your hand and it will not work.
  4. Some people usually play with decks that are composed of "friendly" colours, others prefer "enemy colours". I don't think that it makes much difference, but I only play with the "friendly" decks. It is impossible to make a three colour deck with is "friendly". (If they took the definitions of these out of the rules, look at the back of any Magic card; there will be a little circle of coloured beads near the center of the card; adjacent colours are friends, opposite colours are enemies. Every colour has two friends and two enemies. (White's friends are Green and Blue, White's enemies are Red and Black; Blue's friends are White and Black, Blue's enemies are Red and Green) A friend's friend is your enemy. With these above facts, you now know all the friends and enemies.
  5. It is better to have three copies of a "bad" card that one "good" card; you can count on the "bad" card appearing and plan your moves around it, whereas the "good" card is never there when you need it.
    1. You are only allowed to have four copies of each individual card (under the Unlimited tournament rules), so make the best of it and try to think of groups of cards with similar effects.
    2. If you only put one or two of each card into your deck, you will usually experience a much more chaotic and varied game then if you have four of each card.
      1. Usually, in more chaotic games it is somewhat more difficult to plan ahead moves into the future. Also, some of the newer cards are built to be used in large groups (Such as the Plague Rats of Unlimited), and will not work optimally if present one at a time.
      2. Although, if you manage to tune a truly good chaotic deck, your opponents will find it hard to defend against you.
  6. Circle of Protections do not increase your chances of winning, they merely increase your chances of annoying your opponent so they refuse to play against you.

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