Magic: the Gathering Gameplay Tips
To Keep This Hand, Or Not to Keep This Hand? That is the Question
Deciding whether or not to keep a hand can make or break a game--you may want SO badly to keep a hand because it's got all your combo pieces, or because it's got two of your favorite spells. But don't get so caught up in what that hand can possibly do in ten turns; focus on what that hand can do for you in the next 3 turns. Generally, keep a hand that has at least 2 lands, but not more than 5, and make sure that you have spells you can play in the first 3 turns, with converted mana costs of 1, 2, or 3.
Are Creatures Necessary?
Creatures do battle for you on the field, and can be used to block combat damage which would otherwise damage your Life Points. But it is possible to build a successful deck without creatures, as long as you include creature control spells like the following:
- Destroy creatures, like Doom Blade;
- Send creatures back to opponent's hand, like Boomerang;
- Keep a creature from attacking or blocking, like Pacifism;
- Keep a creature from using its abilities, like Prison Term.
Why Bother Gaining Life?
Most of the decks I've made are based around life-gain, in some form. Life-gain is usually disregarded by most "serious" players, since most folks don't see it as a viable part of a strategy. But for me, it's my personal flavor of Magic. I like to win in unexpected ways, after a good hard struggle in which it's anyone's game for a while, so life-gain helps extend the game for me. Plus, it lets my opponents see how their decks play in longer games as opposed to the usual 5-turn-kill mode. (Several of my opponents have discovered new combos or interactions in their decks while playing me, because they've literally never seen their decks play past 10 turns!)
For more about how to use life-gain in your M:TG decks (and why it's fun and not boring), take a look at my article called "Life Gain: It's Not Just a Stall Tactic Anymore!"