Be Creative at Your Next Tournament

With Friday Night Magic and sponsored Clix and Star Wars tournaments often held at local comics shops, the focus of gaming overall can shift from casual to tournament play. People start bringing in decks and teams based off strategies they've read online, and suddenly the "fun decks" and "fun teams" aren't cutting it anymore.

How does a Magic player compete with Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks and teams without losing his or her own flavor of the game? How does a Clix or Star Wars player compete with solid established teams without having to resort to a formulaic build? Read on to find out!

Give a netdeck a little twist. (M:TG)

"Netdecks," meaning Magic decks that have been popularized on the Internet from tournament players, are usually highly optimized and streamlined. If you want to give a deck from MTGdecks or DeckLists your own stamp, but you don't want to venture too far from "what wins tournaments," you might try changing out a few cards.

For instance, if that Blue/Black Control netdeck you're looking at doesn't have enough life loss for your taste, you might change in a couple "lose-life" cards in place of some of the control elements. If the White-based creature netdeck doesn't have enough control, you can look through Gatherer to look for cards in White that control what you're looking to control on the field.

Introduce a little-used team symbol/faction. (Clix, SWMinis)

So everyone's been stomping face with Superman in the recent Clix tournaments. How about introducing some Suicide Squad pieces, or maybe some Outsiders? Maybe DC isn't your bag; how about creating an Ultimate X-Men team, or a Sinister Syndicate group? You can even play an Indy team symbol, playing 2000 AD or Danger Girl! Observe what other people have been running and try something completely different--the results just might shock you! (And don't push aside the Wildcards; they can be especially helpful filling in abilities that the other team members don't have.)

As for SWMinis, the same applies--if everyone's been running Sith and Rebels lately, how about building a nifty little Separatist team, or perhaps an Old Republic team? Don't forget, you can splash in some Fringe for extra unexpected punch.

Explore a new color. (M:TG)

It can be scary dipping your proverbial toe into a totally new color, but it can be just the impetus you need to build a deck just for tournaments. One way you can try a new color is to build a dual-color deck combining it with a color you already know very well--for instance, if you know White backwards, forwards, upside down and inside out, but don't know Blue very well, you might want to try a White/Blue combination. Check out what the color can do, and what might interest you--check out my article on Magic colors' philosophies here.

Browsing Gatherer, as I noted before, can also help you learn what abilities make up the total flavor of each color. I experienced this firsthand when I created my Black/White deck. I knew that I liked life-gain, so I wanted to explore Black (a color I was not familiar with at all) to see if it contained any life-gain, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it did! I then combined my newfound Black cards with old favorite White cards, and a new deck idea was born.

Try adding a little support. (Clix, SWMinis)

If you're used to playing very fast and aggressive teams in Clix, you might want to try adding a few pieces that have high attack values, but also have a couple of clicks with support powers. (Support powers include Perplex, Outwit, Probability Control, Support, and Telekinesis mostly, but can also include Incapacitate and Leadership as well.) Adding some of these powers can help boost your team if it's forced to go long-game, as well as bolstering the team in the early-game stages.

This idea also works for Star Wars--looking for pieces that have healing, ability to reroll initiative, or boosting commander effects is key. Also, getting pieces together that give each other attack bonuses is always good.

Learn more about this layout design!