Welcome back to How to Play Magic: The Gathering: Baby’s First Magic Deck! This is Part 2 of the series where we continue to build this mono Green ‘Food’ themed deck by Mason Clark. In case you missed it, you can catch up with part 1 here. Let’s start with talking about Planeswalkers.
Now that you have your 25 Creature cards, and 21 Land cards, Vivien, Monster’s Advocate is next on the list. Vivien is a Legendary Planeswalker. Legendary means you can only have one copy on the battlefield at one time, except for very specific situations that state otherwise. Legendary can apply to any permanent card, not just Planeswalkers. Vivien is a Mythic Rare, so again, it’s up to you. I can tell you from experience, however, she can be deadly in the right hands, and I highly suggest investing in at least one copy of her for your collection. If this card is not a priority right now for you, you can decide to replace it with anything you want, using the search feature we talked about.
It’s really hard to find something that beats her ability saying you may cast creatures from the top of your library though. According to lore, Planeswalkers have the ability to travel between the realms freely as they contain the Planeswalker’s Spark. They are not creatures, and you cannot make them fight. Instead they come onto the battle field to aide you, the player, in battle with their abilities. For example, Vivien, Monster’s Advocate comes into play for a total mana cost of 5. She counts as a Green permanent and her abilities allow you to look at the top of your library at any time, and if that card is a Creature card, you may cast it if you have the mana available. Any. Time. You. Want.
Planeswalkers have Loyalty counters, which are similar to a Creature’s toughness, or a player’s Hit Points. When Vivien’s Loyalty counters reach zero, she leaves the battlefield and enters the graveyard, also known as your discard pile. Planeswalkers can be targeted by your opponent as if they were another player on your team, unlike Creature cards. If you’re casting your Planeswalker, you’ll want some ways to protect them. Planeswalkers do not attack or tap like creatures do. Instead you can use their abilities to increase, or decrease their Loyalty counters, using their various abilities to influence the game.
Vivien, Monster Advocate enters the battlefield with 3 Loyalty counters. Once she’s cast, you can choose to add a loyalty counter to “create a 3/3 green Beast creature token,” and also “put your choice of a vigilance counter, a reach counter, or a trample counter on it.” You could also choose to take away two Loyalty counters, which triggers an ability to search your deck for a Creature card of “lesser converted mana cost” than the creature you just cast, “put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.” For this ability to work properly, you’d need a creature to play, with enough mana to cast it.
There are planeswalkers for every color and color combination. You can check out the full list of planeswalkers here, or search for specific colors in MtgArena.
Okay, so we have our 21 Lands, our 25 Creatures, and possibly 1 Planeswalker in our first magic deck, let’s talk about another unique type of Spell card, the Instant. While most other spells are limited to the two Main phases of a term, an Instant, and its sister ability Flash, can be cast at any point, during anyone’s turn. Does your opponent have a big flier, and all your potential blockers are tapped? Ram Through will still make your tapped creature do damage to their attacking creature, thus killing it before it touches your HP. Is your opponent attacking with a big Beanstalker Giant, and all your creatures just got sent to the graveyard? Flash in that Wildborn Preserver before declaring blockers to eat the damage, even if their Giant is flying. At any point, it can be anyone’s game.
The Magic deck we’re modeling ours after calls for a couple Ram Through cards and a Wilt card in the sideboard. The sideboard is an additional 15 cards that you can use to make slight changes to your deck in between rounds, depending on what your opponent is using. The Wilt card has the ability “destroys a target artifact or enchantment” so it’s useful against someone who uses artifacts and enchantments, but not so much against just plain creatures. Reach, the ability to block creatures with flying, is another ability worth keeping in your side board, in case you come across an Angels or Dragon deck, but if your opponent isn’t using flying, there maybe something better to put in that slot instead, like a Trail of Crumbs in our case.
Other Spell Cards
Enchantments, Sorceries, and Artifacts, along with Creatures and Planeswalkers, can only be cast during the Main Phases of your turn, unless it specifically says otherwise. Also, like Creatures and Planeswalker cards, Enchantments and Artifacts are considered ‘permanents’ since they sit on the battlefield. They do not have a power or toughness, unless they are also Creature types, or turn into Creature types; however, certain types of Artifacts (Equipment) and Enchantments (Aura) can be attached to other cards you or your opponent controls. Artifacts and Enchantments may also have abilities such as Flash.
The deck we’re building calls for Enchantments and Artifacts that help create ‘Food’ tokens to feed to our creatures. Go ahead and use the search method to find other cards If you’re missing some cards to add in, or if you can’t find good replacements, look over at the sideboard and see if you have access to those cards to throw in.
Baby’s First Magic Deck
If you followed along with this exact build, you should have a mono Green Food themed magic deck consisting of a 60-card library and a sideboard of 15 cards. As long as you have 60 cards and 21–24ish Land cards, go ahead and try it out in MtgArena, or whatever format you play Magic in. To see it in action before you spend your hard-earned Wildcards, give me a follow over on Twitch.
Stay tuned for a more installments of How to play Magic the Gathering, with the next post in the series, The Turn…