By William Lemons  

I moved into a new home recently, and as I finally got around to unpacking my home office I finally started putting away all of my old Magic: The Gathering cards. I got started playing this game in high school, so I have been collecting cards on and off for nearly twenty years now. (wow, really? It’s been twenty years?)

I have a lot of cards

I have a lot of cards

I mean REALLY a lot of cards

I mean REALLY a lot of cards

Not pictured: a few more boxes of cards

Not pictured: a few more boxes of cards

Anyway, I think even back then it was clear game design was something I had a real passion for. The basic rules of Magic are fairly simple, but there were so many cards, with so many different possible combinations, that there were a lot of crazy things you could pull off in a match if you got the right cards in your hand. So I wanted to share some of my favorite strategies and card combinations from decks I have played in the past (and still have).

If these guys don’t kill your opponent quickly enough, they’ll happily kill you instead

If these guys don’t kill your opponent quickly enough, they’ll happily kill you instead

This first set of cards is a fairly common theme/strategy in magic decks. Sometimes called “Black Suicide” it’s all about playing low-cost, powerful creatures, that typically have some drawback that makes them dangerous to keep around for too long. It’s a very aggressive strategy (which I love) but there is a chance that it can backfire. And if you don’t win the match quickly, you probably will run out of gas. It’s got a very high risk/reward factor, which is something I really enjoy.

Some creatures just want to watch the world burn

Some creatures just want to watch the world burn

Speaking of risk vs. reward, this is from a deck I call “The Lhurgoyf Stands Alone.” It’s sort of a difficult combo, but if you can get it to go off right, you can end up with a giant, lumbering earth-monster on your side, while clearing the board of every other creature and resource – leaving your opponent completely helpless while they desperately struggle to try and stave off their inevitable destruction.

To quote Bart Simpson: “I must only use this power to annoy!”

To quote Bart Simpson: “I must only use this power to annoy!”

I think Black-Blue is probably my favorite color combo in magic. There are some card combinations that are just gleefully horrifying if you can pull them off. Like how two enchantments that are already irritating on their own can turn a pretty good card into and OMG-are-you-kidding-me-this-is-the-worst card.

And finally, there are some decks I’ve put together because the concept was just too fun not to, like my “Flip & Fling” deck. The idea of taking a really, really big guy and haphazardly chucking him at your opponent for huge amounts of damage just makes me chuckle. It’s pretty unreliable, but that 1 in 10 times it works out like you planned is enough to make the whole thing worthwhile.