Magic Deck Lists

Last Updated December 31, 2017

I have been playing Magic collectible trading card game off and on for over 20 years. My kitchen table brews are usually built around a creature theme or type.

Serras and Knights
4 Serra Angel
4 Knight Exemplar
4 Mirran Crusader
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
4 Student of Warfare
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Always Watching
3 Disenchant
3 Griffin Guide
2 Spirit Link
2 Holy Day
2 Brave the Elements
2 Armored Ascension
1 Karakas
19 Plains

Mixed Knights
2 Kinsbaile Cavalier
3 Knight Exemplar
3 Fiendslayer Paladin
3 Knight of Meadowgrain
3 Knight of the White Orchid
3 Silver Knight
3 White Knight
2 Light from Within
3 Brave the Elements
3 Armored Ascension
3 Griffin Guide
3 Always Watching
3 Revoke Existence
3 Swords to Plowshares
20 Plains

Bird Deck
4 Aven Brigadier
4 Gustcloak Savior
4 Preeminent Captain
4 Aven Squire
4 War Falcon
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Always Watching
4 Oblivion Ring
4 Spirit Link
2 Brave the Elements
2 Double Cleave
20 Plains

War Deck
1 Iroas, God of Victory
1 Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas
2 Balefire Liege
4 Hearthfire Hobgoblin
4 Boros Swiftblade
4 Sky Terror
4 Stun Sniper
4 Squee's Embrace
4 Lightning Helix
4 Griffin Guide
4 Scourge of the Nobilis
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Plateau
16 Mountain

Shivan Dragons
4 Shivan Dragon
4 Skyship Stalker
4 Thunderbreak Regent
4 Dragonlord's Servant
2 Bloodmark Mentor
2 Archetype of Aggression
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Incinerate
2 Temur Battle Rage
2 Seething Song
2 Madcap Skills
2 Fork
2 Basilisk Collar
2 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Sol Ring
1 Ruby Medallion
20 Mountain

Wizards & Agents
2 Apprentice Wizard
2 Grand Architect
4 Viral Drake
4 Blighted Agent
4 Fog Bank
4 Bloodforged Battleaxe
4 Corrupted Conscience
4 Boomerang
4 Unsummon
4 Counterspell
4 Snap
1 Tolaria
19 Island

Elves & Snakes
2 Timberwatch Elf
3 Taunting Elf
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Blight Mamba
4 Glistener Elf
3 Naturalize
3 Fog
4 Giant Growth
4 Berzerk
4 Titanic Growth
4 Invigorate
1 Emerald Medallion 1 Pendelhaven
19 Forest

Black Discard
4 Ghastlord of Fugue
4 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Will-O-the-Wisp
4 Spectre's Shroud
4 Bad Moon
4 Dark Ritual
4 Doom Blade
4 Hymn to Tourach
1 Urborg
19 Swamp
Black Fighter
1 Necropolis Regent
1 Sengir Vampire
1 Mirri the Cursed
1 Ghastlord of Fugue
1 Ashling, the Extinguisher
4 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Knight of Infamy
4 Will-O-the-Wisp
3 Loxodon Warhammer
4 Bad Moon
4 Dark Ritual
4 Doom Blade
4 Hymn to Tourach
1 Urborg
19 Swamp

Sigarda's Liege
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
4 Oversoul of Dusk
4 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Watchwolf
4 Qasali Pridemage
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Sundering Growth
4 Shield of the Oversoul
4 Armadillo Cloak
2 Reprisal
2 Privileged Position
4 Savannah
1 Pendelhaven
1 Forest
2 Grove of the Guardian
6 Plains
1 Eiganjo Castle
1 Flagstones of Trokair

Cat Deck
1 Jareth, Leonine Titan
1 Raksha, Golden Cub
1 Felidar Sovereign
1 Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
2 Leonin Abunas
2 Skyhunter Skirmisher
2 Leonin Shikari
4 Leonin Den-Guard
4 Savannah Lions
1 Sword of Kaldra
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Loxodon Warhammer
4 Spirit Link
2 Righteousness
2 Disenchant
4 Bonesplitter
4 Trusty Machete
22 Plains

Pentarch Paladins
4 Pentarch Paladin
4 Kinsbaile Cavalier
4 Knight Exemplar
4 Daring Skyjek
4 Accorder Paladin
3 Griffin Guide
4 O-Naginata
2 Righteousness
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Disenchant
2 Spirit Loop
1 Balance
22 Plains

Legendary Creatures
1 Dromar, the Banisher
1 Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
1 Mindleech Mass
1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope
1 Teneb, the Harvester
1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1 Sun Quan, Lord of Wu
1 Hellkite Overlord
1 Phage, the Untouchable
1 Numot, the Devastator
1 Nicol Bolas
1 Progenitus
1 Captain Sisay
2 Elderscale Wurm
4 Elvish Piper
4 Priest of Titania
4 Orochi Leafcaller
2 Naturalize
2 Fog
4 Lightning Greaves
1 Quicksilver Amulet
1 Dragon Arch
1 Worldly Tutor
Forest (22)

Thundermaw Hellkites
4 Thundermaw Hellkites
4 Thunderbreak Regent
4 Ball Lightning
4 Bloodmark Mentor
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Seething Song
4 Temur Battle Rage
4 Madcap Skills
2 Basilisk Collar
1 Sol Ring
1 Shatter
1 Hammerheim
19 Mountain
Deck-building Tips
While there are other ways to win, the object of Magic is usually to reduce your opponent from 20 to zero life. To do this, either your spells are going to damage your opponent directly or you are going to need creatures. Here are some deck-building ideas that have worked for me.

  • Your goal should be to be winning or well on the way to winning within 6 or at most 7 turns in a 2-player game.
  • Play 20-24 lands. Less than this and you will get mana screwed too often. More than this and you will get mana flood too often — both are bad.
  • Non-creature cards that cost four or more mana should have a game-changing and/or decisive effect (e.g. Wrath of God, Armaggedon, Armored Ascension).
  • Creature cards that cost 5 or more mana should generally be very powerful so that when they hit the board the balance of the game is shifted significantly if not decisively in your favor.
  • Cards that cost 6 or more mana should be avoided without additional mana ramp.
  • Playing a tribal deck is generally better, especially for multiplayer (more than 2 players) because creatures can reinforce each other without the need for additional non-creature cards (e.g. Knight Exemplar). Most of my decks are tribal.
  • Vigilance (not tapping to attack) is an under-appreciated but powerful ability as it allows you to play offense your turn without sacrificing defense on your opponent's turn. Vigilance is worth the extra mana (e.g. Honor of the Pure vs. Always Watching), and critical in multi-player games.
  • You need defense as well as offense in your deck. You can go offense-heavy but at least 6 non-creature cards should be defensive in nature (e.g. swords to plowshares, disenchant, righteousness).
  • Plainswalkers, which I rarely play, are powerful. If a plainswalker appears on the board his biggest ability (the one that costs the most loyalty counters) often is winning. So you want to throw everything you can at that plainswalker.
  • Have some 1-mana creatures you can open the game with. Often these creatures will have haste or lifelink or some other nice ability. Sometimes you can sneak in 1 or 2 damage early before your opponent is able to block.
  • There are so many good cards out there that there is no need to play vanilla creatures (creatures without any abilities). There are a few exceptions like Watchwolf and Wooly Thoctar, but these are rare.
  • Cards that draw more cards like Brain Geyser are good (though I don't play a lot of them because I don't really do combo decks). Card advantage is good. But I don't put cards to search for other cards, instead preferring to run 3 or 4 of the card I would have searched for. If I get it, great; if I don't, I don't.
  • Flying is an important ability. You need to be able to get creatures "in the air" quickly. My favorite card for this is Griffin Guide — +2/+2 and flying for 3 mana. If the creature dies, you get a 2/2 Griffin token creature with flying.
  • I prefer cheap artifacts like Trusty Machete, Bonesplitter, and Darksteel Axe. My general rule is 2 or less mana to play and 2 or less mana to equip.
  • Cheap double-strike creatures are among the most powerful, e.g. Hearthfire Hobgoblin, Mirran Crusader, Boros Swiftblade. They can be "Griffin-guided" on turn 3 or 4, attacking for 6 or 8 flying damage.
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