Tips for EDH deck construction

  • #1
    Hi, I am relatively new to EDH -- in fact, I don't even have an EDH deck yet! That said, I am very interested to play EDH and since I do have a stash of ridiculously random cards, I think I could yet make some good of it Wink

    Anyway, I have some queries on building an EDH deck so I hope that someone could help me with this. Basically, how do you go about building a very basic EDH deck. Particularly: -
    1. What is the typical land count for an EDH deck? Particularly, how many lands would you be shooting for in a fast aggro-ish deck, a slowish control deck, an aggro-control deck or a tempo-based deck?
    2. How many creatures are we looking at for an aggro-ish deck? How about a reanimator deck? How about something more controllish?
    3. What elements are said to be of added importance in EDH? I heard that Flashback gets better in EDH. What other mechanics are good?

    I realise that for question 1 and 2, it depends on the deck. Some decks could go with an almost all land strat (or have some sort of Mana Severance stopgap somewhere) or a minimal land strategy (for Goblin Charbelcher shennanigans). Similarly, I realise that some decks need no creatures to win. What I am asking is what is the "typical" "basic" numbers or ratios. I am not looking for a real value really, just a rough estimate which I can go on.

    That and I am not exactly to looking to build the bestest EDH deck -- most of the stuff I am using is from my stash of random cards (though I would be getting some cards here and there). I am just looking for ratios for some ratios for some simple fun basic EDH deck Grin
  • #2
    40 is the standard starting point for land as far as i'm concerned. Then add a half dozen artifact fixers and such after that. Add or subtract land based on density of fixers, your gameplan, and how much your general costs. As for mulligans... while a 2-3 land hand is good for 60, a 3-4 land hand is a keeper in EDH.

    Aggro decks are very tough to pull off in EDH, because your little aggro critters will be outclassed well before they can deal lethal. Combo and control are the real contenders in the format.

    Giant spells and fatties are quite playable in EDH, since you should have plenty of time to cast them. Creatures below 4cc should really just be utility unless they're disgusting or forward your deck's gameplan or something.

    Counterspells are great, and sweepers are more important than spot removal, but PACK BOTH. Remember artifact/enchant removal, and graveyard hate. Recursion is awesome. So is versatility. Tutors are king.
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  • #3
    I think 35 lands are good enough

    I do not really see many aggro decks in EDH. Most aggro should be in bant color.
    rafiq,jenara are good choice.
    wydwen and hound are not bad too.

    Most of the aggro in EDH are "army of one".

    does tokens count for aggro too? not sure about that
  • #4
    As a rule of thumb I would say 35-40 mana producing cards (for 2+ color decks you have signets, possibly borderposts and obelisks as artifacts that make mana)

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  • #5
    All of my decks, regardless of stereotype seem to be 40 ish lands.
    Probably 42 lands + mana-facts.

    But as with everything, just keep playing it and see if you get too few / many and adjust to taste.

    As for creatures most people get by on around 10-20.
    I like lots of creatures, myself, and that seems to work well enough for me.
    My rofellos aggro is about 35 creatures, while the Teferi control around 20.
    (And believe it or not with those generals, they're both very casual)

    As for EDH-based "good", 3 things are top of the list:
    1) Card advantage. You just won't win by powering out your starting hand and beating face with it.
    It's a long game, you need to win the long game and the only way to win is cards.
    2) Recursion. You only get 1 of any card, so getting to reuse it is effective CA.
    Flashback, Buyback, Regrowth-effects, they're all good.
    3) Sweep. You'll never get anywhere trading card for card, and there's always some shroud / protection-from-your-colours that you want to get rid of, so disk it ;-)

    Big stuff is very playable (spelljack>counterspell) so never think "that's too expensive"
    e.g. almost every black deck runs Plague Wind, which should tell you something about what I'm saying here Smile

    Just a few things - hope they help.
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  • #6
    Thanks for the speedy replies. Does the usual tip applies where 2 mana producer with CMC<2 could replace 1 land?

    I am shooting for Grand Arbiter Augustin IV to lead my armies so yeah, I suppose there will be mostly fatties running around in the form of Draining Whelk, Aeon Chronicler and the like.

    Quote from purple_pixie

    3) Sweep. You'll never get anywhere trading card for card, and there's always some shroud / protection-from-your-colours that you want to get rid of, so disk it ;-)

    Just a few things - hope they help.

    Just for curiousity, by sweep, you meant "board sweepers" rather than Kamigawa's terrible "Sweep" mechanic? Just making sure....
    Last edited by fzian: 11/30/2009 7:27:01 AM
  • #7
    Definitely the board sweepers, Wrath of God, Armageddon, Jokulhaups, Nevinyrral's Disk, Planar Cleansing, etc.

    The typical creature count can vary a lot depending on what you're looking to do. However, if everyone you're going to face is aggro, you have to consider that.

    I've got some decks with almost 35-40 creatures and some with maybe 15.

    One of the best ways to start off, if you've definitely picked Grand Arbiter Augustin IV as a general is to check out the deck database (here) and that will give you a pretty solid starting point.

    Depending, it would be a really cool deck to use effects like Loxodon Gatekeeper, Hokori, Dust Drinker, Mystic Remora, Rhystic Study, Thorn of Amethyst, Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, Windborn Muse, Yosei, the Morning Star - just slow everything down to a crawl. Could be a lot of fun...oh, and winter orb.
    Last edited by Ubershaum: 11/30/2009 8:35:07 AM
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  • #8
    As mentioned 40 land is the starting point. I will drop that to as low as 37 if I'm running mana fixing / signets (usually you want at least a handful of these).

    Card advantage is absolutely key. Everything you play should be resilient or recursive.

    That being said, I'm currently dabbling in pyrrhic/aggro decks just to accelerate the pace of our games. I won't likely win very often, but if I can consistently turn a 3 hour game into a 1 hour game that's an accomplishment I'll be proud of :p (i.e. coalhauler swine, price of progress, acidic soil, heartless hidetsugu)
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  • #9
    I'll generally play 37-38 lands with 6-10 accelerants depending on the deck. Unless you're playing something gimicky like Isamaru, Hound of Konda this really won't be affected by whether it's aggro or control. Creature counts in EDH tend to be relatively low (even counting Trinket Mage and Eternal Witness-style creatures I have decks with <10). I'd say 20-25 creatures is average though (counting utility creeps). Aggro decks don't necessarily have more, control decks don't necessarily have less (though there are some creatureless combo or control decks). Anything that gives obvious card advantage should be used preferentially (Mystic Melting, Dismantling Blow, Annihilate, Austere Command, etc.)
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  • #10
    I am still new but this is what I have noticed so far.

    Land- I run 37 with a few artifact mana fixers. I generally like half my land to produce 2 or more types of mana and the rest I run basics. I have never used a 4 color general or higher. Best lands to get to help mana fix are the Vivid lands. I rarely have mana problems following this.

    Tutor- Tutor type cards are such a help. The obvious ones of course if you play black, Liliana Vess is great for tutoring if you ask me. Fabricate, Trinket Mage, and Godo, Bandit Warlord are some good examples.

    Draw/ponder- find a way to keep cards in your hand and cards that will help. Sensei's Divining Top is a very nice ponder and creatures, equipment or spells to draw. I like equipment that helps you draw. skullclamp
    A means to an end........
  • #11
    Creature-based aggro can be done, but it requires a pretty tight strategy (like elf-ball synergies or reanimator/nether shadow/dredge-type stuff).

    General-based aggro (like Rafiq, Uril, Isamaru, etc.) are easier, but still require some forethought to protect your asset from being hated off the board.

    I'd agree that Control and Combo are easier to pull off, but who wants easy? Go for aggro if you like; I've seen some seriously good aggro decks.

    Still, even with aggro, I'd say err on the side of too many answers and too few threats, especially in multiplayer, but really in 1v1 as well. This usually means err on the side of fewer creatures. Definitely a quality over quantity thing. To give you an idea of what I mean, I don't think I've ever seen an EDH deck that would want to run Tarmogoyf. Even a potential 8/9 for 1G is kind of sub-par in this format.

    As for lands, I shoot for 35-40 with about 5 accel cards (depending on the deck of course).
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  • #12
    Hi again. Another quick question. How many board sweepers should a blue-white controllish deck run? Does it matter if one of the sweeper is a Nevinyrral's Disk-Capsize combo?

    I went to my local playgroup to test my first EDH deck and I am quite impressed by what I saw.

    Apparently, aggros are possible but most of them are backed up with a combo of some sort. I have seen a brutal Sliver Queen-led EDH abusing Sliver Queen with Mana Echoes to brutal effects. One other play a Teneb, the Harvester EDH backed up by highly efficient utility creatures (Archon of Justice, Eternal Witness, Genesis, Angel of Despair, Shriekmaw and Living Death, along with its merry gang of Eladamri's Call, Survival of the Fittest and its merry friends.

    As for lands, I am liking 37 lands for my UW Control with multiple card selection and draw engines and about 3-4 mana rampers but that's just me. I will be posting my deck up for your kind comment in the developing section soon for your comments.

    Last edited by fzian: 12/2/2009 11:03:58 AM
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