I consider the process of building a Magic: the Gathering deck as something akin to creating a Dungeons & Dragons character. I put a lot of thought and consideration into the decks that I build, and I try to find create a cohesive theme of some sort.

Over a year ago, I started sorting my cards into their respective blocks so that I might build decks accordingly. The big idea was to create something like a “gallery.” In the last couple years, I’ve grown to really appreciate the sealed deck format.

As a direct result I build 40-card decks, almost exclusively. I might be concerned if that meant I couldn’t play with friends but I don’t play constructed and I don’t have a bunch of friends who play Magic. I’m not even much of a collector either.

Now to bring this all into focus — I built a Magic deck to reflect the antagonist of my upcoming RPG Maker project. It’s a 40-card deck, limited by theme and card pool. I made selections based on the sealed format and used a combination of math and intuition to figure out about how many of what usable cards I might draw.

Red-Green Antagonist
Unlimited Edition only

Basic Lands (17)
x9 Forests
x8 Mountains

Creatures (18)
x2 2RR – Dragon Whelp (U)
x2 2R – Gray Ogre (C)
x2 3R – Hill Giant (C)
x2 1R – Ironclaw Orcs (C)
x1 1RR – Wall of Stone (U)

x1 G – Birds of Paradise (R)
x1 3GG – Cockatrice (R)
x2 1G – Grizzly Bears (C)
x2 4G – Ironroot Treefolk (C)
x1 3GG – Thicket Basilisk (U)
x1 2G – Wall of Brambles (U)
x1 G – Wall of Wood (C)

Enchantments (3)
x1 R – Firebreathing (C)

x1 G – Instill Energy (U)
x1 1G – Regeneration (C)

Instants (2)
x2 G – Giant Growth (C)

Beside the limitations I described above, this deck has a “primitive magic” theme. I avoided using much in the way of “flashy” magic and tried to apply a more modern deck-building aesthetic to an older card type and play style.

There are minor Deathtouch, Firebreathing, and Regeneration themes; there are no artifacts, to reflect the “primitive magic” theme; and there is no removal to speak of — artifact, creature, or enchantment. There are a couple Defenders and Fliers.

I realized after a bit, that I had nearly built a deck out of cards from my collection — not just from reprints and such, but from my collection of Unlimited cards. Then again, I have trouble telling them apart from Revised, so it’s possible I’m confusing the two.

This isn’t a flashy deck by any means, and far from optimal. The Ironclaw Orcs are strictly weaker than the Grizzly Bears — they’re included for thematic purposes, and for fitting into the card pool I imagined. They reflect a “less optimized” planeswalker, and help balance the colors a bit. Just a tad.