Magic Deck Lists

Last Updated May 27, 2018

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. These are not intended as competitive, tournament-level decks.

Serras and Knights
4 Serra Angel
4 Angel of Jubilation
4 Knight Exemplar
4 Benalish Marshal
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
4 Student of Warfare
2 Swords to Plowshares
2 Always Watching
2 Disenchant
2 Griffin Guide
2 Brave the Elements
2 Spirit Link
2 Holy Day
2 Righteousness
1 Karakas
19 Plains

Mixed Knights
2 Baneslayer Angel
2 Kinsbaile Cavalier
4 Knight Exemplar
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
4 Mirran Crusader
4 Silver Knight
4 White Knight
3 Armored Ascension
3 Griffin Guide
3 Always Watching
3 Disenchant
3 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sol Ring
20 Plains

1 Commander Eesha
4 Aven Brigadier
3 High Sentinels
4 Preeminent Captain
4 Aven Squire
4 Soulcatcher
4 War Falcon
4 Always Watching
2 Oblivion Ring
2 Spirit Loop
2 Wing Shards
2 Reprisal
2 Disenchant
1 Brave the Elements
1 Pearl Medallion
4 Always Watching
20 Plains

Liege Double-Strike
1 Iroas, God of Victory
1 Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas
2 Balefire Liege
4 Hearthfire Hobgoblin
4 Boros Swiftblade
4 Sky Terror
4 Figure of Destiny
3 Run Amok
4 Lightning Helix
4 Griffin Guide
4 Scourge of the Nobilis
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Sol Ring
4 Plateau
8 Mountain
8 Plains

Shanghai Shivans
4 Shivan Dragon
4 Skyship Stalker
4 Scourge of Valkas
4 Dragonlord's Servant
4 Slumbering Dragon
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Temur Battle Rage
4 Run Amok
2 Fork
2 Shatter
2 Basilisk Collar
1 Ruby Medallion
1 Sol Ring
20 Mountain

Wizards & Agents
4 Apprentice Wizard
2 Viral Drake
2 Clone
4 Fog Bank
4 Blighted Agent
4 Bonesplitter
4 Unsummon
4 Counterspell
4 Snap
2 Boomerang
2 Redirect
2 Diplomatic Immunity
2 Followed Footsteps
1 Tolaria
19 Island

Elves & Snakes
3 Taunting Elf
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Blight Mamba
4 Glistener Elf
4 Giant Growth
4 Berzerk
4 Titanic Growth
4 Invigorate
3 Naturalize
3 Fog
1 Infiltration Lens
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Trailblazer's Boots
20 Forest

4 Ghastlord of Fugue
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Order of the Ebon Hand
4 Will-O-The-Wisp
2 Royal Assasin
4 Dark Ritual
4 Bad Moon
4 Tainted Strike
4 Go for the Throat
2 Swiftfoot Boots
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
5 Forest
2 Grove of the Guardian
6 Plains
1 Eiganjo Castle
1 Flagstones of Trokair

1 Regal Caracal
1 Felidar Sovereign
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Jazal Goldmane
4 Lone Rider
4 Trained Caracal
4 Sacred Cat
4 Ajani's Sunstriker
4 Griffin Guide
4 Bonesplitter
4 Righteousness
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Reprisal
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Disenchant
1 Sol Ring
1 Healing Salve
2 Always Watching
20 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 Run Amok
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Sol Ring
1 Ruby Medallion
1 Skullclamp
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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