Christmas is a great time for many in the world; a wonderful holiday for families to spend time with one another, eat great food, wear crappy sweaters, watch cheesy movies, and make fun memories. It's also a time for presents. PRESENTS.
So, for today's article we wanted to offer you a few resources to help you with your deck building skills that you may or may not know about. Think of it as our gift to you.
What's In Standard
Are you one of those people that jumps into standard now and then but doesn’t stick around? Are you new to the format or the game all together? If so, you may struggle to know what is actually legal in the standard format. Luckily, there is a resource for that.
What’s in Standard is a really simple, streamlined look at what sets are currently legal in standard, what sets recently rotated out, and when to expect the next round of rotations. It also gives a list of any bannings in the format, a brief explanation of what the format is, and any other formats that relevant to the list provided (i.e. Brawl), making itself a comprehensive look at, well, what’s in Standard.
So great, now we know what sets are legal, but how are we as players expected to search for those cards? There are a few options, but one of the best is the OG Gatherer.
Gatherer is Wizards of the Coast’s own card search engine. It spans the entirety of the game, providing images, eratta oracle text (updated card wordings), as well as a comprehensive list of the rules that affect the card. While the UI is a bit dated, its overall strength is the many searchable queries that you can find in its “Advanced Search” function. Want to search for all Red or White uncommons that draw you cards from a specific expansion or format? No problem, just fill in your criteria, and hit submit. Gatherer also has the added benefit of being the de facto rules enforcer; since it is owned and maintained by Wizards of the Coast, you can trust that everything relevant has been updated about your card or interaction.
A competitor to the Gatherer search engine, Scryfall really impressed me as a leader in the market. Not only does it have similar functionality to Gatherer with a more striking and modernized user interface, it does have a few additional search functions that Gatherer just doesn't have. Since it appears to be Wizards of the Coasts position to not acknowledge the secondary card market, Scryfall benefits by offering the additional ability to search by price as well as provide links to pricing data and to the actual cards from major sellers on the market. I do find its search function to be a little more confusing than Gatherer though, as it seems to approach things a little differently (and I started om Gatherer). However, Scryfall has become my default card search, with Gatherer at a close a second.
Ask a Magic Judge
I don't know about you, but I know I've had several games of Commander, Standard, Modern, etc where an interaction happens and no player can agree on what the rules state for this scenario. Sometimes, there aren't any rulings to even reference. Or maybe you aren't sure what a specific ability does. Next time, you can do what I do and ask a Magic judge.
Ask a Magic Judge is a fantastic resource for every player that doesn't have a judge nearby. It is maintained and populated by Magic Judges ready and willing to answer your questions. I've even gone on there and had been able to help some folks with simple questions that I new that answers too. But its a fantastic resource for those late night games where you need an answer relatively quick and where you can't rely on online forums to give you an immediate answer. I love this website.
Have you ever wanted to know the math of your deck? Deckstats is my go-to deck builder.
While the card search function when building your deck can be finicky, the Analyze Deck feature is one of the best tools I have ever come to use. Once analyzed, Deckstats will show you your average converted mana cost, you converted mana cost curve, your land color ratio and distribution, the cost of each card, the total deck cost, and even will tell you what formats your deck is legal in. You can also pull up a visual decklist for yourself or practice drawing and mulliganing your hands. Heck you even have the option to see the probability of drawing a certain card by a specific turn. Deckstats is powerful and there even more features than I have outlined here. There is a reason I use no other deck building platform to brew my decks.
Another fantastic resource is Untap. It is a little similar to something like Cockatrice or Xmage, but it has a few things better going for it. It doesn't have automatic rules enforcement or anything like that, instead it relies on your understanding of the system and goes in with the understanding that you know the rules of the game. Instead of playing like MTGO, it instead is better described as a paper table game, online.
The ultimate goal of this website is to be a deck tester, a means for you to build decks, give them a test against real players, and then figure out how to tune it so that you'll know exactly what cards to buy to build your deck for FNM or a tournament. The other great thing about this is that it is entirely a web portal, no downloadable client is necessary. The website as a whole has gone through a lot of updates and is getting better offering chat room features, card search, some deck storage, the ability to export or import your deck lists, and the ability to solo play for play against and opponent. There are games live for every format and for even other TCG games that you might like to play, like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, DBZ, etc. It is a great website and a great resource for you grinders.
Jeremy and I find ourselves checking this website out at least once a week. It is a great service for those tournament grinders that are constantly trying to find the best deck to build and play. It is also great for people like us who don't like playing meta decks, and would rather figure out what most people in our meta will likely be playing and then build decks to counter them. Being able to pull up the top 8 deck lists for a variety of formats and events, whether it be in paper or even digital platforms, is a fanstastic resource for everyone. Its a great way to see how the winning decks differ from similar lists, and how prevalent a certain archetype is in the overal meta game. I find myself both loving and hating going to this website as the natural conflict of my Spike vs Johnny personalities rages on in my head.
There are some great sites out there to utilize to better enhance your #MTG game, strategy, and experience. I know for a fact there are even more than these, and you may be reeling at the fact that I've omitted some of the best out there, MTGGoldfish, TappedOut, EDHRec to name a few. While these are great resources, I felt that they definitely already see a ton of attention, and I personally don't think the ones I've listed here see enough. If you have others, feel free to drop them in a comment down below and why you love/use them. Finally, to wrap up this little gift to you, our readers, we at Land Say Go want to wish you a Very Merry Christmahanakwanzika, and a very Happy New Year. We'll see you on Wednesday.