Welcome to Magic Arcanum. I’m Ryan Gomez
and I’m so glad you’re here because it’s story time. Last week I gave you a
rundown on Ravnica and a couple people in the comments said that they were new
to the Magic story and that video really helped them. That makes me really happy.
I’m glad you liked it! I created Magic Arcanum to be a source
of great stories and usually that means covering the lore but sometimes it means
offering great tips that are gonna help you become a better player, and that is
what we’re doing today, but don’t worry! I will still work in some fun trivia and
world-building as we do it. This week I want to share the best deck building tip
I ever got as a player in the hopes that it helps you. Maybe you’re new at
Magic or you’ve been playing for a while and you’re just trying to teach your
friend… …either way the advice in this video is
gonna be a big help to you. It’s called the rule of 9 and it will help you with
any 60 card deck for formats like standard, modern, pauper and even Magic
Arena. Now maybe you’ve started your collection with something like the bulk
lots from TCGplayer which are a great way to get a lot of cards really cheap.
You’ve got this huge pile in front of you and you’re trying to figure out your
very first deck. It’s overwhelming. There are so many cards, so many choices, so
many different strategies – you’ve got to pick 60 cards to go into your deck. That
is so many! The rule of nine makes it way easier, okay, here’s how it works:
picture your 60 card deck or better yet grab 60 empty card sleeves and set aside
24 of those for your lands. Why 24 lands? Some smart people have done the math and
they’ve decided 24 is the best place to start. Yes some decks will need more
lands and some will need less but that is the last thing you want to tinker
with. Lands are like gas you put in your car. You usually get regular, sometimes
you just splurge for premium, but you don’t want to be throwing nitrous in
there if you don’t know what you’re doing, right? And even if you were trying
to get that last bit of performance there are other things that you could do
first before you start making adjustments there. So for now just trust
me and put those 24 aside, okay? Perfect. Thank you. Tada! We just turned 60 empty
slots into 36 by reserving 24 as lands. Take those remaining 36 sleeves and
divide them into nine piles – – hence the rule of nine. Each pile will
have four sleeves in it: math! And guess what? Your
deck can have up to four copies of a card aside from basic lands which we
already took out of the equation. So this means when you make your first deck you
don’t have to pick 60 cards. You just need to pick nine. Let me show you how it
works. I’m gonna start with The Eldest Reborn. It’s my favorite card in
standard right now. It’s a saga from Dominaria that tells the story of
Nicol Bolas using the Planeswalkers spark that he stole from Venser to
reclaim his form after being defeated by Tetsuo Umezawa. If you want to hear more
about that story let me know down in the comments and I will add it to the list.
It’s too much to cover here today. So in go four copies, taking up one of my nine
overall slots. Now I ask myself what works well with The Eldest Reborn?
It’s a permanent that’s gonna end up in my graveyard and if there’s a way I can
get it back to my hand I can cast it again. How about Golgari Findbroker?
These cards have great synergy. If there’s a Findebroker in my graveyard
when I reach the third verse of The Eldest Reborn, I can bring it back to
play and then I can use the Findbroker’s ability to get The Eldest Reborn back
from my graveyard into my hand, and then I can cast it again. So I want four
copies of Golgari Findbroker, absolutely. This elf is from Ravnica and
as part of the Golgari Swarm, works down in the sewers claiming
different treasures and trinkets amongst all the garbage that winds up down there.
So that’s two out of our nine slots filled up so far and our deck is turning
out to be black and green. Another way I can get more use out of The Eldest
Reborn is to cast it earlier than turn five: Llanowar Elves lets me do that
because I can tap them for mana along with my lands, so let’s add four of those.
Llanowar Elves come from Llanowar, a region on Dominaria. This card has been
a part of Magic for 25 years. It was even in the very first set! But for a while
they stopped reprinting it because they thought it was too confusing. You see the
original art shows one elf but the card is called Llanowar ELVES, so they thought
people wouldn’t understand. Then, in 7th edition,
they gave it new art that had two tough-looking elves in there but then
they decided that was also confusing because
people wouldn’t understand why two elves are only a 1/1 creature. So they decided
to scrap it and try again with Elvish Mystic in Magic 2014. This is what we
call a functional reprint. Magic does it quite a bit actually. With our return to
Dominaria, it seemed like a good time to bring back the famous Llanowar Elves.
This time the art has three of them, but they’re still just a 1/1…that’s none of
my business. All right so where can we go next?
How about Steel Leaf Champion? We can power them out as early as turn two if
we start with a Llanowar Elves and he’s a great target to bring back from
the graveyard with The Eldest Reborn if we don’t have a Golgari Findbroker already in there. Hey look at that! All our creatures so far are elves, and
that’s good because we can give them all a buff if we add Elvish Clancaller. She
has an ability that strengthens all of our elves and another ability that we
can use some of our extra mana on if the game starts to go long.
You might hear someone call this an elf lord. That’s a nickname from way back in
the early days of Magic: they’re referring to a card called the Lord of
Atlantis. He gave all his fellow merfolk plus one plus one and islandwalk, so to
this day any creature that gives that same creature type a plus one plus one
bonus we call a lord. So since our deck already has a squad of elves and a lord
in it we’re gonna look for more elves to add if we can find any. I like Thorn
Lieutenant. It’s got a built-in ability that discourages our opponent from
messing with it and another one of those useful abilities that we can spend mana
on to make it into a real threat. So with that we have six out of our nine slots
already filled. Our deck is looking really good! We’ve got a strong elf theme
going on. We can ramp up to play The Eldest Reborn and then we can buy it
back with Golgari Findbroker. The last three slots I’m going to give very
specific roles but I’m gonna leave the actual cards in them a little less
defined. First we need some sort of removal, some way to get our opponent’s
best creatures off the board. If you can afford it, Vraska’s Contempt is a good
choice here. It can deal with creatures and opposing Planeswalkers. Assassin’s
Trophy is another strong contender for this spot but I don’t love giving
my opponent a land so instead I’m gonna use Murder because it’s pretty
affordable and there’s lots of copies available out there, but if you want to
upgrade in this spot you’re certainly free to do that! So the next thing I want
to address is that our strategy is kind of weak to sweepers. Sweepers are cards
that sweep away a bunch of creatures off the board so if we run into something
like Golden Demise, Deafening Clarion, or Star of Extinction, that would be really
bad for us! One way to counter that strategy is to
make it painful for our opponent to try and kill all of our elves. Check out
Poison-Tip Archer. He’s an elf himself so he will benefit from our lord and also
punish our opponent if they try to sweep away all the other elves. He can also
block and kill just about anything, including angels, which are really
popular right now. Izoni, Thousand-Eyed would be another way we could stand up
to sweepers. All of our dead elves get a second chance at life as one-one bugs, or
if she’s already on the table we can activate her ability as many times as we
can afford in response to a sweeper being played. I’m gonna add the archer to
my list but if you’ve got some copies of Izoni
don’t be afraid to add her if you want to. For the last of our nine slots I want
a way to draw more cards. Most of our elves are pretty cheap so we’re gonna be
emptying out our hand pretty fast and having a way to refill means that we can
keep playing creatures and dig deeper into our deck to find The Eldest Reborn.
Beast Whisperer is a great option here. Most of our cards in our deck are
creatures so we’re gonna probably be able to chain a bunch of them together
just keep drawing more. He’s also an elf so he gets the buff from Clancaller as
well. Recover could also work, it’s a good budget option. We’re usually gonna have
something dead in the graveyard we want to bring back, so we can get that, like an
Elvish Clancaller or Thorn Lieutenant. We also get to draw another card as well
and the flavor text kind of works with Golgari Findbroker, so that’s like a
flavor win. I’m gonna put Beast Whisperer on my list but again these are just
suggestions and you’re free to do whatever you want so go nuts! Now we’ve
got four copies of our nine cards. That gives us 36 out of our 60 card deck.
We’re almost done! So now let’s talk about lands. We set aside 24 of them at
the start and since our deck wound up more
green than black, I’m gonna say 14 forests, 10 swamps. We won’t know exactly
what we need until we do a little bit of play testing. If you have lands that make
both colors you can feel free to swap those in too. Look for Golgari Guildgate,
Overgrown Tomb, or Woodland Cemetery. If you’ve got Memorial of Folly or
Memorial to Unity you could put those in, too. Now I can already hear some of you
like cracking your knuckles and getting ready to type a really strong opinion in
the comments, which is great, I’d love reading those, I really do, but before you
say anything just remember this is only a starting point for the deck, so be nice.
I never promised it was gonna win your FNM. The whole idea is to break the
creation part of the deck down into nine bite-sized pieces and after you do that,
you take your deck and you play games with it. Lots of games. Lots and LOTS of
games. Okay then you figure out what works and what doesn’t, and you make
changes. Don’t be in a rush to swap too many cards at once though: get a feel for
what’s causing your deck to lose games and then make tiny adjustments. If you
draw too many lands too many games in a row, take out just one or two and put in
one or two more cards that let you draw more cards. Does your opponent have a lot
of removal spells but not many creatures of their own? Take out a few of your
Murders and add in some more elves so you can overwhelm them. Making your first
deck doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The rule of nine makes it easy to get a good
baseline for your deck and from there you can begin to tinker and experiment
and find out exactly how many cards you need in each slot. So that is my tip for
you this week! I hope you guys find it useful and if you’ve got any of your own
advice on how to make better decks, make sure you leave it down in the comments
beneath this video, then like the video and subscribe to the channel so you
don’t miss the great stories and tips you’ll only find here on Magic Arcanum.
Make sure you get caught up on all the other videos we’ve done too and come
back next week because I have something extra special for you guys – you’re really
gonna love it! I’ll see you then.