Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012: Deck Customization Guide

       MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 Deck Guide
Guide Version: 1.07
By: Jake Zahn

				Table of Contents

  Apex Predators
    /AP1\ List
    /AP2\ Overview
    /AP3\ Analysis
  Wielding Steel
    /WS1\ List
    /WS2\ Overview
    /WS3\ Analysis
  Realm of Illusion
    /RI1\ List
    /RI2\ Overview
    /RI3\ Analysis
  Strength of Stone
    /SS1\ List
    /SS2\ Overview
    /SS3\ Analysis
  Guardians of the Wood
    /GW1\ List
    /GW2\ Overview
    /GW3\ Analysis
  Ancient Depths
    /AD1\ List
    /AD2\ Overview
    /AD3\ Analysis
  Dragon's Roar
    /DR1\ List
    /DR2\ Overview
    /DR3\ Analysis
  Blood Hunger
    /BH1\ List
    /BH2\ Overview
    /BH3\ Analysis
    /M1\ List
    /M2\ Overview
    /M3\ Analysis
  Unquenchable Fire
    /UF1\ List
    /UF2\ Overview
    /UF3\ Analysis


This guide's basic purpose is list the various available decks' starting cards,
the cards that can be unlocked for each, a general overview of the deck, and
suggestions as to which default cards should be swapped out for unlocked cards.

The card analysis will be made from a generalist standpoint. If a card is very
good in some situations and terrible in all others, it likely will not be
recommended. Though a note will be added regarding any situations that may
change that view.

Said analysis will also only cover the unlockable cards and any cards I may
suggest they should replace.


Everyone has different opinions. Card evaluation is, in most cases, completely
subjective. As such, you may find yourself completely at odds with the
suggestions and analysis contained herein.

That's perfectly fine. I'll try to explain the reasoning behind certain views,
but in the end this is not meant to be a set of instructions; just a viewpoint
to consider.


There are only a few general things to keep in mind when altering the decks'
default card list:

1. Never use more than 60 cards.
2. Try to keep a good 'mana curve'.
3. Nearly every single deck, to one degree or another, relies on creature
   beatdown to win.

The first is because the more cards you have in a deck, the less chance you
have of drawing the card you need at any given time. This is one of the first
lessons learned if you have ever happened to play competitively.

The second relates to the mana cost of each of the cards in your deck. You
generally want to have a few low-cost cards (0-2 mana), a good amount of
medium cost cards (3-5 mana), and a few high-cost (6+ mana) cards. This helps
to make sure you'll not get stuck with a hand full of uncastable cards or
hopelessly outclassed late-game by an opponent with bigger spells.

The third should be kept in mind because once you know how your opponents are
going to try to win, you can plan for that eventuality. Sadly, every deck in
the game with the exception of Unquenchable Fire seeks to win by playing
creatures and attacking for lethal damage.

Some of them want to make a bunch of small creatures, some a handful of medium
creatures, and some a couple of huge creatures... but the end result is always
the same. Even the aforementioned UF tends to rely on its creatures to boost
the direct damage spells into lethal range.

This is important to keep in mind as it makes removal spells and otherwise
ordinary evasive creatures worth far more than they would otherwise appear.


Apex Predators - Mono Green

/AP1\ Deck Listing


Beast Hunt x2
Borderland Ranger x3
Centaur Courser x2
Craw Wurm x2
Cudgel Troll x2
Engulfing Slagwurm x1
Garruk's Companion x2
Garruk's Packleader x2
Giant Spider x2
Grazing Gladehart x3
Runeclaw Bear x2
Stomper Cub x2
Terra Stomper x1
Thrun, the Last Troll x1
Wall of Vines x2

Giant Growth x3
Overrun x2
Nature's Lore x2


Dungrove Elder x1
Leatherback Baloth x1
Hunted Wumpus x1
Multiani, Maro-Sorcerer x1
Wolfbriar Elemental x1

Elephant Guide x1
Gaea's Revenge x1
Hunters' Feast x3
Lead the Stampede x2
Rites of Flourishing x2
Serrated Arrows x2

/AP2\ Deck Overview

This deck is the most 'pure' beatdown in that it doesn't use any tricks. It
plays low-cost high-damage creatures and spells to boost them. It has little in
the way of evasion and practically nothing for removal.

What it does have is the capacity to win pretty much any ground-based challenge
(relatively) quickly and decisively with sheer mass and the Trample ability.

Nearly all of the default cards work toward its goal and so it works quite well
as a starter deck.

Weakest Cards: Craw Wurm, Giant Spider, & Wall of Vines.

/AP3\ Card Analysis

Dungrove Elder
  This is a fantastic card for a mono-green deck. Not only is it cheap and
  powerful, but it also evades most forms of removal.

  Suggestion: Replace a Craw Wurm or a Wall of Vines.

Gaea's Revenge
  A very useful creature to have when facing blue decks, and its semi-evasion
  makes it useful against most other decks. Though it is a bit costly for its
  power compared to the other creatures.

  Suggestion: Replace a Craw Wurm. They are also costly for their power but
              have no tricks to make up for it.

Leatherback Baloth
  Cheap and powerful creature. No frills whatsoever.

  Suggestion: Replace either a Wall of Vines, a Centaur Courser, or a Gladehart.

Wolfbriar Elemental
  A one-creature army practically tailor-made to be used with Overrun.

  Suggestion: Replace either a Centaur Courser or a Gladehart.

Elephant Guide
  A ridiculously useful enchantment. Not only does it boost an existing
  creature, but it also acts as removal avoidance.

  Suggestion: Replace a Centaur Courser. Same power and cost, potentially more
              versatile package.

Hunters' Feast
  Pure one-shot lifegain is rarely desirable. In most situations all it does
  is delay the inevitable. With combo decks this can be important, not so with
  beatdown decks.

  Suggestion: Avoid using.

Lead the Stampede
  This is pretty much a strictly better version of Beast Hunt. It digs deeper
  for less mana. The only times you would want BH instead is if you had access
  to graveyard manipulation... which you do not.

  Suggestion: Replace the two Beast Hunts.

Serrated Arrows
  This is the ONLY removal this deck has access to and as a result looks fairly
  tempting to use. To use it however means lowering your creature count, which
  can be problematic.

  Suggestion: Replace the two Giant Spiders. They aren't fantastic as attackers
              and the Arrows are better at dealing with troublesome utility

Rites of Flourishing
Multani, Maro-Sorcerer
Hunted Wumpus
  All of these are more or less meant to be used in 4-man games. Rites and
  Wumpus in Archenemy and Multani in either. They'll more often than not be
  more of a hindrance in 1v1 games.

  Suggestion: Rites can replace two of the Borderlands, Wumpus can replace one
              of the Trolls or the Baloth, and Multani can replace the Gaea's

Wielding Steel - Mono White

/AP1\ Deck Listing


Captain of the Watch x1
Elite Vanguard x4
Gideon's Avenger x1
Gideon's Lawkeeper x2
Glory Seeker x4
Kitesail Apprentice x2
Kor Duelist x2
Kor Hookmaster x3
Kor Outfitter x3
Serra Angel x2
Stoneforge Mystic x1

Arrest x3
Brave the Elements x1
Infiltration Lens x1
Kitesail x2
Pennon Blade x1
Strider Harness x1
Trusty Machete x2


Archangel of Strife x1
Baneslayer Angel x1
Puresteel Paladin x1
Sunspear Shikari x2

Angel's Feather x3
Argentum Armor x1
Congregate x2
Conqueror's Pledge x1
Harmless Assault x1
Revoke Existance x2
Sword of War and Peace x1

/AP2\ Deck Overview

This deck is slightly different from the others in that its creatures rely on
non-creature spells in order to be true threats. Very few of its creatures are
threats in and of themselves and its equipment is obviously harmless without a
creature to attach it to.

Thankfully, it has a decent suite of removal at hand to help it survive against
decks fielding stronger creatures long enough to pull everything together. On
the flipside it has next to no defense against removal.

Weakest Cards: Elite Vanguard, Glory Seeker, Infiltration Lens, &
               Strider Harness.

/AP3\ Card Analysis

Archangel of Strife
  Another card geared toward multiplayer. In a 1v1 its ability can be either an
  'I Win' an 'I Lose' or a 'No Change'. Seven mana for something so unreliable
  is generally not worth it. In multiplayer, particularly Archenemy, it can be
  exceedingly powerful however.

  Suggestion: For Archenemy or possibly 4-way games replace a Vanguard/Seeker.

Baneslayer Angel
  A cheap 5/5 flier with Lifelink and First Strike? You cannot go wrong with
  that. Choosing what to replace is a bit harder though.

  Suggestion: The obvious choice would be to replace a Serra. Same cost with
              more power and more abilities. Vigilance is nothing to dismiss
              however and so replacing a Vanguard/Seeker may end up better
              in the long run.

Puresteel Paladin
  Strictly better than the Seekers. Effectively same cost and same power, and
  a synergistic ability on top of it all.

  Suggestion: Replace a Seeker.

Sunspear Shikari
  A perfect fit for the deck. Cheap and unimpressive by default, but quite good
  when enhanced.

  Suggestion: Replace the Seekers. Same cost, same power, better abilities.

Angel's Feather
  It's not a creature, doesn't interact with your creatures in any way, and
  does nothing but gain life. You're far better off without it except against
  the Unquenchable Fire deck or in the rare case of a multiplayer game where
  everyone is playing white.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines unless you know you're going to be
              playing against UF.

Argentum Armor
  Solid equipment is always good but the mana cost can become an issue. That
  said, this deck has so few high-cost cards that squeezing it in won't hurt

  Suggestion: If you want to keep the same creature ratio it would probably be
              best to replace either the Lens or the Harness. If that's not an
              issue, then ditching a Vanguard would be the way to go.

  Pure one-shot lifegain is almost never worth it. In a four-person
  multiplayer game this barely becomes playable due to the potentially massive
  ammout of life that can be gained. Even then it's a highly questionable choice
  since you'll have to seriously sacrifice your damage-dealing capability.

  Suggestion: Avoid unless playing 4-person games against Unquenchable Fire
              decks. In such a case you may want to replace the Hookmasters.

Conqueror's Pledge
  This can be a game changer when combined with Captain of the Watch or the
  Pennon Blade... but there's only one of each of those in the deck. Making
  such a combo exceedingly rare.

  Suggestion: Consider replacing the Lens or Harness. In addition to the above
              they can also be used as blocking fodder or to force a few final
              points of damage through. In most cases though you may be better
              off without it.

Harmless Assault
  This is an interesting card that can mean the difference between life and
  death and/or utterly massacre an opposing army. Unfortunately such outcomes
  are highly situational and its cost isn't exactly low.

  Suggestion: Too situational for the cost and anti-symmetrical with the rest
              of the deck. If you want to play around with it though (say for
              multiplayer shenanigans) consider replacing a Hookmaster.

Revoke Existence
  This is situational removal. Very good against the Machinations deck and in
  mirror matches, mostly useless in the others.

  Suggestion: If you know you'll be playing in mirrors or against Machinations
              you can replace some Seekers/Vanguards with them. Otherwise
              they're best off avoided.

Sword of War and Peace
  This is less useful than it first appears but can be deadly against slower
  decks. Since slower huge-creature decks are one of the main things you have
  to look out for, this should definitely be a considered addition.

  Suggestion: As before, either the Lens or Harness are decent swaps. It might
              also be a good idea to swap it for the Pennon Blade, which is
              more expensive and comparatively more situational. Replacing a
              Hookmaster could also be a workable choice.

Realm of Illusion - Mono Blue

/RI1\ Deck Listing


Aether Figment x1
Air Elemental x2
Blind Phantasm x3
Krovikan Mist x4
Mahamoti Djinn x1
Phantasmal Bear x4
Phantom Beast x3
Phantom Warrior x2
Wall of Air x1

Cancel x2
Disorient x1
Divination x2
Evacuation x1
Fleeting Distraction x1
Jace's Ingenuity x2
Mind Control x1
Mind Spring x1
Repulse x3
Time Warp x1


Aether Adept x2
Lord of the Unreal x2
Phantasmal Dragon x1
Sower of Temptation x1

Concentrate x1
Counterspell x2
Drake Umbra x1
Kraken's Eye x3
Prosperity x1
Quicksilver Geyser x1
Summoner's Bane x1

/RI2\ Deck Overview

A control deck that likes using many low-cost high-power creatures. That's a bit
of an unusual combination. Which is not to say that it doesn't do its job very

Between the early creatures, mid-game counterspells, and late-game card draw it
can outlast most of the other decks. Its main weakness is a lack of permanent
removal... although Repulse and the like are no slouches.

Weakest Cards: Mahamoti Djinn, Wall of Air, Disorient, & Fleeting Distraction.

/RI3\ Card Analysis

Aether Adept
  A Repulse on legs. Sadly, as this isn't an illusion or an Instant and some
  of your creatures cannot be targeted by it (unless you want them to die),
  this just doesn't fit well.

  Suggestion: Keep it on the sidelines unless the Wall is still in your deck.
              If it is, consider replacing that.

Lord of the Unreal
  Buffs nearly all of your creatures and eliminates one of their key
  weaknesses. This is a fantastic addition to the deck.

  Suggestion: Replace some combination of the Wall, the Djinn, or the Aether

Phantasmal Dragon
  A cheap and powerful flier that also happens to be an illusion. Strictly
  better than Phantom Beast.

  Suggestion: Replace either a Phantom Beast, the Djinn, or an Air Elemental.
              Depending upon how often you expect to run into direct targeting

Sower of Temptation
  A Mind Control on legs... which actually makes it less versatile considering
  this game's lack of widespread enchantment destruction.

  Suggestion: Consider replacing a Phantom beast. It's the same cost and just
              as vulnerable to removal. Replacing a Phantom Warrior could also
              work, though unblockability is fairly powerful.

  This would be a strictly better version of Jace's Ingenuity if it weren't a
  Sorcery. The Instant nature of Ingenuity has better synergy with the
  counter/bounce spells and is often well worth the slightly increased
  casting cost.

  Suggestion: Consider replacing a Divination or possibly even Mind Spring.

  A strictly better version of Cancel.

  Suggestion: If you do not wish to change the deck's core focus, simply
              replace the two Cancels or alternatively a Cancel and the
              Disorient. Other choices include the Djinn or the Wall,
              potentially even the Ingenuities.

Drake Umbra
  A powerful (and costly) enchantment that's not quite as useful as it could
  be since some of the deck's creatures tend to die if targeted.

  Suggestion: Replace either the Disorient (if it's still in the deck) or a
              Blind Phantasm. Another possibility is a Phantom Beast if you
              still have 3 of them.

Kraken's Eye
  Another two-mana lifegaining artifact. Just as with Wielding Steel, the
  only time this becomes useful if if you're commonly facing Unquenchable

  Suggestion: Avoid using. It goes against the deck's gameplan and there are
              few cards with limited use to replace.

  A multiplayer specific card. Generally only useful for Archenemy games, and
  even there it can backfire spectacularly.

  Suggestion: Avoid using unless playing Archenemy. Even then it's probably
              best off ignored. If you must use it consider replacing one of
              the other card-drawing spells, particularly either Ingenuity
              or Mind Spring.

Quicksilver Geyser
  A more versatile, if costly, version of Repulse. While it's both more
  expensive and does not replace itself once cast, it can target nearly any
  permanent type instead of only creatures.

  Suggestion: This mainly depends on what deck you happen to be facing.
              Against Wielding Steel this can be useful to bounce their
              equipment and finished off their weakened creatures. Most other
              decks have little reliance upon non-creature spells though,
              making this less useful. Consider replacing either a Repulse or
              the Evacuation.

Summoner's Bane
  A limited counterspell that synergizes with your Illusion theme. Since
  creatures are the primary form of victory in this game there's no reason not
  to include it as it both destroys a creature and creates a creature.

  Suggestion: Replace Fleeting Distraction. Drawing a card is nice, -1/0 far
              less so.

Strength of Stone - Mono Red

/SS1\ Deck Listing


Bloodfire Collossus x1
Earth Elemental x4
Earth Servant x1
Flameborn Hellion x2
Goblin Mountaineer x3
Grim Lavamancer x1
Koth's Courier x2
Molten Ravager x2
Oxidda Scrapmelter x2
Rockslide Elemental x2
Spikeshot Elder x1
Vulshok Berserker x2
Vulshok Heartstoker x2

Act of Treason x2
Claws of Valakut x2
Fault Line x1
Spire Barrage x2
Spitting Earth x3


Conquering Manticore x1
Flowstone Overseer x1
Hero of Oxide Ridge x1
Lavaborn Muse x1
Magma Phoenix x1

Tephraderm x2

Assault Strobe x1
Cerebral Eruption x1
Darksteel Axe x2
Golden Urn x3
Volcanic Strength x2

/SS2\ Deck Overview

This deck is a classic mix of red cards. Cards focused on attack over defense,
a nice amount of damage-based removal, and even some temporary creature theft.

It also, oddly enough, has a number of high-cost defense-orientated creatures
along with some goblins apparently thrown in just for the hell of it.

Weakest Cards: Goblin Mountaineer, Earth Elemental, & Earth Servant.

/SS3\ Card Analysis

Conquering Manticore
  A strong flier with a built-in Act of Treason. A fantastic addition no
  matter how you slice it.

  Suggestion: Replace either an Earth Elemental or the Earth Servant.

Flowstone Overseer
  A sizable creature with a built-in removal ability that doesn't require
  tapping. Another fantastic addition.

  Suggestion: Replace either an Earth Elemental or the Earth Servant.

Lavaborn Muse
  This card is tricky. It works best with discard, but this deck has no
  discard. Without that, an opponent can just start holding their extra lands
  to avoid its ability. Four mana for a 3/3 is also not all that great.

  Suggestion: Even with its issues, consider replacing a Koth's Courier or
              Oxidda Scrapmelter depending upon how often you run into Forests
              or Artifacts.

Magma Phoenix
  This is something of a double-edged sword. Most of your creatures have three
  or less toughness, so its death ability can end up hurting you more than
  helping. The deck has a distinct lack of fliers however and its 'Return from
  the Dead' ability is golden.

  Suggestion: Replace the Bloodfire. This does the same thing it does on a
              smaller scale, but has flying, a workable casting cost, and it
              happens to be renewable.

Hero of Oxid Ridge
  While his power/toughness is nothing to get excited over, Battle Cry and the
  ability to exclude chump blockers from the battlefield are both quite useful.
  It's also strictly better than the Vulshok Berserker.

  Suggestion: Replace a Goblin Mountaineer or Vulshok Berserker.

  Strictly better than the Earth Elemental.

  Suggestion: Replace the Earth Elementals.

Assault Strobe
  The problem with this is that it's a Sorcery. Which makes it only truly useful
  if your opponent is completely defenseless... at which point you should be
  winning anyway.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines unless you still have some Mountaineers
              lurking around.

Cerebral Eruption
  A crapshoot of a card. Can be anything from devastating to ineffectual. More
  often than not it will likely play out like an overcosted Pyroclasm, still...
  there's a decent chance that it will come off as an undercosted Flame Wave.

  Suggestion: If you want to play around with it consider replacing a
              Heartstoker. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, it may
              be better to replace Fault Line instead.

Darksteel Axe
  Not a fantastic piece of equipment, but certainly not bad. It being immune to
  your Scrapmelters is definitely a plus and it can do amazing things with the
  Spikeshot Elder.

  Suggestion: Replace the Mountaineers.

Golden Urn
  Another pure lifegain artifact, this one actually worse than the others since
  it's a one-shot deal.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines. You have to draw this in your first
              couple of turns for it to be even remotely useful and even then
              it completely lacks any synergy with the rest of the deck.

Volcanic Strength
  Great against anyone with Mountains, not worth it against anyone without

  Suggestion: If you commonly find yourself facing Red decks, consider
              replacing the Heartstoker and/or the Courier.

Guardians of the Wood - Green/Black

/GW1\ Deck Listing


Elven Riders x1
Elvish Lyrist x1
Elvish Visionary x2
Heedless One x4
Imperious Perfect x1
Nissa's Chosen x4
Norwood Ranger x4
Sylvan Ranger x2
Viridian Emissary x4
Viridian Shaman x1
Wildheart Invoker x2

Elvish Promenade x2
Essence Drain x3
Eyeblight's Ending x2
Might of the Masses x1


Elvish Eulogist x3
Ezuri, Renegade Leader x1
Ezuri's Archers x2
Jagged-Scar Archers x1
Joraga Warcaller x1
Lys Alana Huntmaster x1
Nath of the Gilt-Leaf x1
Titania's Chosen x2

Epic Proportions x1
Maelstrom Pulse x2
Plummet x1

/GW2\ Deck Overview

Don't let the Black splash fool you, this is an Elf deck through and through.
It wants to play elves, elves, and more elves and then overwhelm an opponent
with broken synergies.

The Black is pretty much just there to add some spot removal. Though that's
certainly not unwelcome.

Weakest Cards: Elvish Lyrist, Norwood Ranger, Viridian Shaman, &
               Essence Drain.

/GW3\ Card Analysis

Elvish Eulogist
  The rare lifegain card that can actually be worthwhile to use. It's simple
  existence as an elf makes it useful by default, and the ability is just a

  Suggestion: Replace two Norwoods. If you find yourself never using the
              Lyrist, you may want to swap it out for the third.

Ezuri, Renegade Leader
  A nasty, nasty card. Not only can this regenerate any creature in the deck,
  but it also has a built-in reusable Overrun.

  Suggestion: Replace the Viridian Shaman.

Ezuri's Archers
  Strictly better than the Norwoods.

  Suggestion: Replace the Norwoods.

Jagged-Scar Archers
  A slightly cheaper Heedless One that trades Trample for some targeted flier

  Suggestion: Replace either a Nissa's or an Emissary.

Joraga Warcaller
  An Imperious Perfect that gets quite a bit better if you draw it late game.

  Suggestion: Replace either a Nissa's or an Emissary.

Lys Alana Huntmaster
  A token-factory with decent power/toughness. Similar to Elvish Promenade,
  this makes the tokens as you're casting them rather than all at once down
  the line.

  Suggestion: Consider replacing a Visionary or a Promenade.

Nath of the Gilt-Leaf
  A situational token factory that features random discard. Random discard is
  very, very powerful and it would be worth it to use for that alone. The
  tokens push it up into 'must use' territory.

  Suggestion: Replace an Essence Drain.

Titania's Chosen
  A nice card for an effectively mono-green deck. An unimpressive late-game
  draw though.

  Suggestion: Replace some combination of Nissa's and Emissaries. Try to keep
              their numbers equal.

Epic Proportions
  A costly spell that's nevertheless utterly fantastic. A sizable Instant
  creature buff that persists afterward is nothing to ignore.

  Suggestion: Replace the Elven Riders. The Riders' main purpose is to evade
              enemy blockers while this allows you to 'evade' them by going
              straight through them.

Maelstrom Pulse
  A very nice piece of removal. You can take out single powerful targets or
  waves of tokens as the situation demands.

  Suggestion: Replace the Essence Drains.

  While an extremely effective piece of removal against fliers, it's a bit
  too situational a card to use on a daily basis.

  Suggestion: If you know you'll be facing Dragon's Roar or Blood Hunger
              consider replacing the Lyrist or a Eulogist.

Ancient Depths - Blue/Green

/AD1\ Deck Listing


Coiling Oracle x4
Elvish Piper x1
Giant Octopus x2
Isleback Spawn x1
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth x1
Kraken Hatchling x2
Lorthos, the Tidemaker x1
Ondu Giant x2
Simic Sky Swallower x2
Tidal Kraken x1

Aether Mutation x3
Compulsive Research x1
Cultivate x3
Explore x4
Explosive Vegetation x2
Polymorph x1
Tidings x2
Treasure Hunt x1
Yavimaya's Embrace x1


Assault Zeppelid x2
Eldric, Spymaster of Trest x1
Inkwell Leviathan x1
Primeval Titan x1
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre x1

Levitation x1
Living Destiny x3
Mind Control x1
New Frontiers x2
Rite of Replication x1
Skyshroud Claim x2

/AD2\ Deck Overview

Unlike most of the decks this one does not want to play a creature turn after
turn. Rather, it wants to get all of its land on the table by turn four or
five and then cast a huge spell or two to win the game.

It has a lot of land search, a decent amount of card draw, and a moderate focus
on defensive maneuvers that help to keep it alive until it can play its win

The main weakness of the deck is that many of those conditions are vulnerable
to much lower-cost removal spells. There's nothing quite as bad as spending
five turns excavating land to power out a Kraken only to have it immediately
neutralized or co-opted by a two/three mana card.

Weakest Cards: Giant Octopus & Explore.

/AD3\ Card Analysis

Assault Zeppelid
  In this particular deck (due to the abundance of mana fixing), the Zeppelid
  is a better version of Giant Octopus.

  Suggestion: Replace the Giant Octopi.

Eldric, Spymaster of Trest
  This is basically a multiplayer-specific card. It will likely help out any
  allies you have far more than it will help you. It combos well with Aether
  Mutation however.

  Suggestion: Consider replacing a Cultivate or even an Octopus/Zeppelid,
              particularly if playing Archenemy or Two-Headed Giant games.
              Replacing the Polymorph would also be a workable idea.

Inkwell Leviathan
  A costly though powerful creature with useful abilities. Shroud allows it to
  avoid almost all removal while Trample helps it avoid chump-blocking tokens.
  Two of the deck's main problems.

  Suggestion: Replace either the Isleback Spawn or the Tidal Kraken. Neither
              of them is bad and each do half of what this is good at, which
              makes this a tougher decision than most. However, the Spawn is a
              bit on the weak side for a win condition while the Kraken is
              painfully vulnerable to removal.

Primeval Titan
  A very interesting inclusion that fits the deck's focus perfectly. Not only
  is it a sizable creature but its ability allows you to further thin your deck
  of excess lands.

  Suggestion: Replace the Tidal Kraken. This is the same size for less mana,
              has Trample which is comparable (though undeniably worse) to
              being unblockable, and an ability that continually increases your
              chances of drawing playable cards.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
  At first glance this may appear useful due to its built-in removal. Sadly,
  that's not quite enough as it's both exceedingly expensive and has no evasion
  to speak of. Being Indestructible goes quite a bit further toward justifying
  its use.

  Suggestion: Consider replacing Kozilek. While this costs more, isn't as
              strong, and doesn't draw you any cards, being Indestructible is
              a huge boon for a card that's supposed to win you the game.

  You want to be playing cards that will either win you the game on their own,
  help you find/play something that will win you the game, or keep you alive
  long enough to win the game. This doesn't fit any of those parameters.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines.

Living Destiny
  This is the rare deck that may actually seriously consider using pure
  lifegain cards. That said, these will rarely be more useful than one of the
  other cards already in the deck.

  Suggestion: As with most pure lifegain; leave on the sidelines. While this
              deck has more use for delaying tactics than most, it doesn't
              have much in the way of useless or replaceable cards in or
              around the four mana slot. It Polymorph behaves too erratically
              for you, you may consider replacing that.

Mind Control
  I'm somewhat shocked that this is in here since it's already been used in
  Realm of Illusion. I'm not also not sure how well of a thematic fit it is.
  That aside it's a decent card to consider using against the couple of decks
  that like using big threats.

  Suggestion: Replace an Aether Mutation if commonly facing decks that focus
              on a few big creatures instead of an army of small ones.

New Frontiers
  A multiplayer-specific card best used in Archenemy games, although it can
  backfire even there.

  Suggestion: Replace Explore and/or Cultivate.

Rite of Replication
  This has some extremely useful combo potential. Target an Oracle to draw
  tons of cards or target an Ondu to further thin or the land from your deck
  while creating an impressive wall. It can even be used as removal to kill
  opposing legendary creatures.

  Suggestion: Replace either an Explore or a Cultivate.

Skyshroud Claim
  This is a more limited version of Explosive Vegetation that also ends up
  being half the price for the same efficiency.

  Suggestion: Replace the Explosives. Particularly if you've also replaced
              the Tidal Kraken.

Dragon's Roar - Red/Black

/DR1\ Deck Listing


Festering Goblin x2
Furnace Whelp x3
Furyborn Hellkite x1
Giant Scorpion x2
Goblin Piker x2
Grave Digger x2
Manic Vandal x1
Raging Goblin x3
Volcanic Dragon x4
Voracious Dragon x2

Assassinate x2
Burst Lightning x2
Crucible of Fire x1
Disfigure x3
Dragon Fodder x3
Ruby Medallion x2


Dragonmaster Outcast x1
Dragonspeaker Shaman x2
Flameblast Dragon x1
Goblin Wardriver x1
Hellkite Charger x1
Rorix Bladewing x1
Slavering Nulls x2

Dragon's Claw x3
Goblin Offensive x1
Pyroclasm x1
Rally the Forces x2

/DR2\ Deck Overview

Similar to Ancient Depths, this deck wants to win by casting big creatures.
Unlike AD this wants to soften the target up first with horde tactics. It
also has far more subpar cards maindecked.

Another difference is that while AD uses mana acceleration, DR instead uses
mana reduction. This is not quite as good a tactic (you'll still be drawing
lands when you don't want them and the cards that reduce the costs can be
destroyed), but the only one that Red or Black has available to it.

Finally, the deck also has a nice subset of removal available to help it out.

Weakest Cards: Furyborn Hellkite, Giant Scorpion, Goblin Piker, Manic Vandal,
               & Raging Goblin.

/DR3\ Card Analysis

Dragonmaster Outcast
  This is a fairly fragile mid to late-game token factory. The tokens it
  creates are quite impressive though.

  Suggestion: Replace a Raging Goblin. It will be a rare thing to do more
              than three to four damage with one and this card's tokens
              can do far more.

Dragonspeaker Shaman
  A fantastic piece of mana reduction for dragons. Since this is a dragon deck
  it ends up being an auto-include.

  Suggestion: Replace the Giant Scorpions. Purely defensive creatures don't
              synergize with the deck's purposes. You also want to reduce your
              reliance on having to draw a swamp.

Flameblast Dragon
  An average-sized dragon with a built-in direct damage ability. You cannot go
  wrong with that, especially when it perfectly fits two of the deck's themes.

  Suggestion: Replace the Furyborn or a Gravedigger. The Furyborn is
              impressively large, but also costly and lacking any interesting
              abilities to help it power its damage through. The Gravediggers
              simply don't really fit. The majority of the time you're going to
              be digging up weak goblins or maybe a Furnace Whelp, and that's
              really not worth a four mana card.

Goblin Wardriver
  A simple goblin that helps out the deck's early 'softening up' phase.

  Suggestion: Replace either the Manic Vandal or a Gravedigger. The Gravedigger
              should be removed for reasons listed earlier while the Vandal has
              the unfortunate tendency to destroy your Medallions against most

Hellkite Charger
  A strictly better version of the Volcanic Dragon. Not only is it bigger for
  the same price, it also has a secondary ability that can cause severe havoc.

  Suggestion: Replace a Volcanic Dragon.

Rorix Bladewing
  A card that's almost strictly better than the Volcanic Dragon. If you've
  kept in the Gravediggers and Scorpions, the RRR casting cost can get in the
  way at times. If you've removed them, the casting cost becomes a non-issue.

  Suggestion: Replace a Volcanic Dragon.

Slavering Nulls
  A strictly better version of the Goblin Piker and one of the very few
  sources of discard in the game.

  Suggestion: Replace the Goblin Pikers.

Dragon's Claw
  The third of the two mana color-specific lifegaining artifacts. This is
  just as unimpressive to use as the others, especially in this type of deck.

  Suggestion: Leave them on the sidelines.

Goblin Offensive
  This is fairly expensive and will generally only create three to four tokens.
  Since the horde of small creatures is meant for the early game, it's not as
  useful as it could be.

  Suggestion: If you want to play around with it, consider replacing a
              Scorpion or the Vandal. Maybe even the Pyroclasm if you've
              included it earlier.

  An efficient piece of removal that has the unfortunate side effect of killing
  half of your deck. Of course, the Goblins are generally meant for early game
  attacks and as chump blockers to defend until your dragons appear. So
  sacrificing them to wipe the enemy's board before or just after you play a
  dragon can work out well.

  Suggestion: Replace a Disfigure.

Rally the Forces
  A slightly costly card that makes your horde far deadlier than it otherwise
  would be.

  Suggestion: Replace the Scorpions or a Scorpion and the Vandal.

Blood Hunger - Mono Black

/BH1\ Deck Listing


Barony Vampire x2
Bloodrage Vampire x3
Captivating Vampire x1
Child of Night x2
Duskhunter Bat x3
Gatekeeper of Malakir x2
Quag Vampires x2
Ruthless Cullblade x2
Sangromancer x1
Sengir Vampire x1
Tormented Soul x3
Vampire Aristocrat x2
Vampire Nighthawk x2
Vampire Nocturnus x1
Vampire Outcasts x2

Spread the Sickness x3
Urge to Feed x2
Vicious Hunger x2


Bloodghast x1
Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief x1
Mirri the Cursed x1
Skeletal Vampire x1
Stalking Bloodsucker x1

Blade of the Bloodchief x1
Corrupt x2
Demon's Horn x3
Feast of Blood x2
Repay in Kind x1
Vampire's Bite x2

/BH2\ Deck Overview

Like most of the other decks, this one wants to play a bunch of low cost
creatures and overrun the opponent with them before they can react. This has
two things going for it that the others do not.

The first is that its creatures are quite powerful or ability-laden for their
cost. The second is the largest and most diverse selection of creature-based

Weakest Cards: Barony Vampire, Child of Night, Sengir Vampire, &
               Vicious Hunger.

/BH3\ Card Analysis

  A gift that just keeps on giving. Combos particularly well with Vampire

  Suggestion: Replace a Child of Night.

Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief
  A sizable flier with a built-in removal ability that doubles as an offense

  Suggestion: Replace the Sengir Vampire, or a Barony Vampire if the Sengir
              has already been replaced.

Mirri the Cursed
  An upgraded Barony Vampire. Haste is useful, flying is very useful and
  first strike allows for some impressive combat ability when combined with
  its built-in counter-based growth.

  Suggestion: Replace the Sengir or a Barony Vampire.

Skeletal Vampire
  While a little on the small side, its ability to both regenerate and create
  a wall of fliers is incredibly powerful.

  Suggestion: Replace the Sengir or a Barony Vampire.

Stalking Bloodsucker
  While bigger than the Skeletal Vampire, its ability isn't anywhere near as
  impressive. By the time you get it out you won't have much available to feed
  to it.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines or consider using it in place of the
              Skeletal. Against the slower ground-based decks this may be able
              to force a win through where that card cannot.

Blade of the Bloodchief
  A shockingly good piece of equipment. It's extremely low-cost and it
  synergizes well with all the removal present in the deck. It gets downright
  insane when used in multiplayer games.

  Suggestion: Replace a Tormented Soul. Same cost, it's not a vampire, and
              flying ends up being just as good as unblockability against
              many decks.

  A classic Black card that combines hurting the opponent while helping
  yourself. Can be used either as spot removal or as a finisher.

  Suggestion: Replace the Vicious Hungers. Yes this is triple the price, but
  it is also triple (or more) the effectiveness, can directly target the
  opponent, and this deck has an overabundance of two-cost cards.

Demon's Horn
  The fourth of the color-specific lifegaining artifacts. This is, if it can
  be believed, even worse to use in this deck than the others. Black, and
  particularly a vampire themed deck, has tons of cards that gain life in
  addition to doing something more useful. So there is no place for a card
  that does nothing else.

  Suggestion: Leave them on the sidelines. Between your Nighthawks, Outcasts,
              Sangromancer, Feasts of Blood, and Corrupts you'll be rolling
              in lifegain.

Feast of Blood
  While slightly situational, it's very cheap for what it does and you should
  never have a shortage of vampires.

  Suggestion: Replace the Child of Nights or a Child and a Duskhunter.

Repay in Kind
  A multiplayer-specific card, and not a particularly useful one considering
  all the lifegain this deck features. Although all that lifegain could be
  considered a counterbalance, allowing you to quickly recover from casting
  it... you should really never cast something that you have to recover from.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines.

Vampire's Bite
  Another multipurpose lifegain card, though this is focused on damage output
  with the lifegain being secondary.

  Suggestion: Can be quite useful, but there's little in the way of expendable
              cards to replace. It may be best off left out of the deck, but
              you can consider swapping one in for a Bloodrage or maybe even
              replacing the Quags.

Machinations - Blue/Black/White

/M1\ Deck Listing


Terramorphic Expanse x3

Alpha Myr x2
Darksteel Colossus x1
Etched Champion x1
Etherium Sculptor x4
Magister Sphinx x1
Razorfield Rhino x2
Razorfield Thresher x1
Snapsail Glider x4
Steel Overseer x2
Stone Golem x2
Tidehollow Strix x2

Dead Reckoning x1
Go for the Throat x2
Hunger of the Nim x1
Pilgrim's Eye x2
Seer's Sundial x1
Shape Anew x1
Sleep x1
Stoic Rebuttal x3
Undermine x1
Venser's Journal x1


Gust-Skimmer x2
Master of Etherium x1
Psychosis Crawler x1
Sanctum Gargoyle x1
Signal Pest x2
Wurmcoil Engine x1

Darksteel Plate x1
Dispense Justice x2
Golem's Heart x3
Mirrorworks x1
Soulquake x1

/M2\ Deck Overview

This is primarily a mono-blue affinity deck that plays lip-service to the idea
of being multicolored. It wants to play a ton of artifacts and overwhelm you
with their broken synergies. It's similar to Guardians of the Wood in that
respect, albeit a bit more hardy.

Curiously, it has a card-draw subtheme but no cards that actually... draw extra

Weakest Cards: Alpha Myr, Shape Anew, Stone Golem, Hunger of the Nim,
               Venser's Journal, & Razorfield Thresher.

/M3\ Card Analysis

  Strictly better than the Alpha Myr.

  Suggestion: Replace the Alpha Myr.

Master of Etherium
  An artifact lord that increases in power the more artifacts you have. No
  reason not to include it.

  Suggestion: Replace a Stone Golem or the Shape Anew. Stone Golem is
              unimpressive for its cost and Shape Anew is far too

Psychosis Crawler
  A mildly interesting pinger that combos slightly with Seer's Sundial. The
  lack of extensive card draw really hurts its usefulness though. It becomes
  slightly more useful in three/four-man Free-for-Alls.

  Suggestion: Replace Venser's Journal. While you can theoretically have a
              massively powerful creature by combining this with the Journal
              and Soulquake, that's a three-card combo to create a single
              creature lacking any form of evasion. Which is horribly
              inefficient. If that has already been replaced by the
              Mirrorworks, consider replacing a Razorfield Rhino instead.

Sanctum Gargoyle
  A perfect fit for the deck. Not only is it itself an artifact as well as
  a flier, but it allows you to bring back useful cards that may have been

  Suggestion: Replace a Stone Golem or the Shape Anew.

Signal Pest
  This really needs a horde behind it to be truly good, and this deck is
  noticeably lacking a horde.

  Suggestion: Leave them on the sidelines. It cannot win the game on its own
              and there's not as much support for them as there could be.

Wurmcoil Engine
  A very powerful card. Efficient cost-to-power ratio, some useful abilities,
  and built-in resistance to removal.

  Suggestion: Replace the Razorfield Thresher.

Darksteel Plate
  Less than impressive. This is a purely preventive card, and a not a very
  good one at that. Sure your Master of Etherium would love to equip this,
  but that's an exceedingly rare combo to appear.

  Suggestion: Leave it on the sidelines.

Dispense Justice
  A slightly situational piece of removal that is nonetheless quite powerful.
  What makes this tricky to use is its White mana requirement

  Suggestion: Replace the Hunger of the Nim and Dead Reckoning. Hunger can be
              quite powerful, but being a Sorcery is a large detraction. Dead
              Reckoning is also removal albeit even more situational and
              possessing a more severe mana cost.

Golem's Heart
  Yet another 'color'-specific lifegaining artifact. This one is potentially
  worse than the others considering how few artifacts the other decks run.

  Suggestion: Leave them on the sidelines.

  A very useful card to have in an artifact deck, especially an artifact deck
  with mana reducers.

  Suggestion: Replace either Venser's Journal, a Razorfield Rhino, or a
              Snapsail Glider.

  More of a multiplayer card really and its mana cost leaves something to be

  Suggestion: Consider playing in Archenemy games, but otherwise its likely
              best off on the sidelines.

Unquenchable Fire - Mono Red

/UF1\ Deck Listing


Cinder wall x2
Fiery Hellhound x4
Fire Elemental x2
Fire Servant x1
Flamekin Brawler x2
Flametongue Kavu x1
Goblin Arsonist x2
Kiln Fiend x3
Prodigal Pyromancer x1

Blaze x1
Chandra's Outrage x3
Ember Shot x2
Flame Slash x2
Lava Axe x3
Pyroclasm x1
Sizzle x2
Volcanic Hammer x4


Chandra's Phoenix x1
Flameblast Dragon x1
Inferno Titan x1

Banefire x1
Dragon's Claw x3
Flame Wave x1
Goblin War Paint x2
Incinerate x2
Punishing Fire x2
Relentless Assault x1
Wheel of Fortune x1

/UF2\ Deck Overview

This is more or less your standard mono-Red burn deck. While it has a decent
amount of creatures, it really wants to win by chucking a couple of direct
damage spells at its opponent's face.

The deck's main weakness is opposing lifegain cards. Since it relies upon its
spells to do damage and has basically no card drawing ability it can run out
of steam fast against an opponent with renewable lifegain (such as the
otherwise horrible color-specific two-drop artifacts).

Weakest Cards: Cinder Wall, Sizzle, Fire Elemental, & Ember Shot.

/UF3\ Card Analysis

Chandra's Phoenix
  In a deck that can easily run out of gas, a semi-renewable source of damage
  is a godsend.

  Suggestion: Replace a Cinder Wall.

Flameblast Dragon
  Also present in Dragon's Roar, its built-in direct damage ability arguably
  makes it a better fit for this deck.

  Suggestion: Replace a Fire Elemental or an Ember Shot. If you want to skew
              your mana curve further toward late game, replacing a Brawler
              can also work.

Inferno Titan
  Another card that's both creature and removal in one.

  Suggestion: Replace a Fire Elemental or an Ember Shot. If you want to skew
              your mana curve further toward late game, replacing a Brawler
              can also work.

  A strictly better version of Blaze.

  Suggestion: Replace a Cinder Wall or a Lava Axe. While strictly better than
              Blaze, Blaze is powerful enough that you don't want to go
              replacing it.

Dragon's Claw
  As with Dragon's Roar, this card just does not synergize with the rest of
  the deck. It's only useful in the mirror match.

  Suggestion: Leave on the sidelines unless you commonly end up in mirror

Flame Wave
  A costly though utterly devastating spell. When cast, this will decimate
  most opponents.

  Suggestion: Replace an Ember Shot or possibly even a Sizzle.

Goblin War Paint
  Not overly useful in this deck as creatures are less of a focus.

  Suggestion: Leave them on the sidelines. Though it may be a workable idea
              to replace the Flame Slashes or even the Goblin Arsonists
              depending on whether or not you commonly face the slower decks.

  A strictly better Volcanic Hammer.

  Suggestion: If playing one on one or Archenemy replace the Sizzles, if
              playing multiplayer Free-for-All or Two-Headed Giant consider
              replacing the Ember Shots or Volcanic Hammers instead.

Punishing Fire
  A slightly overcosted damage spell that makes up for it by being
  semi-renewable. This card is pretty much your only defense against lifegain
  and should be included if for no other reason than a lot of people are
  enamored with lifegain.

  Suggestion: You have several choices here depending upon what has already
              been replaced. Any of the following are workable choices (listed
              in order of preference): Cinder Wall, Ember Shot, Flamekin
              Brawler, Sizzle, or Volcanic Hammer.

Relentless Assault
  Less useful than it could be, this is better in Archenemy or Two-Headed
  Giant games where it can boost your partner(s).

  Suggestion: In those games consider replacing a Lava Axe or the Pyroclasm,
              in Free-for-All it's better off on the sidelines.

Wheel of Fortune
  Using this card is a gamble, but a gamble that's usually in your favor.
  Completely refilling your hand is amazingly powerful in a burn-centric deck
  as it's highly likely most of the cards you draw will be able to do damage
  immediately. It has a far greater chance to work against you in three or
  four-man Free-for-all though.

  Suggestion: Replace a Fiery Hellhound. Same cost and you likely won't want
              to be drawing Hellhounds (which are fairly average) when you
              refill your hand.

				  END WORD

So, that's that for the decks the game shipped with.

I'll state again here that the suggestions above are just that; suggestions.
There is very little in the way of 'right' and 'wrong' when it comes to MtG
deckbuilding and I encourage you to experiment with different cards to find what
works best for you.