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Author Topic: Tips for cutting cards from decks  (Read 3783 times)

Morganator 2.0

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Tips for cutting cards from decks
« on: January 09, 2019, 11:02:24 pm »
There have been a lot of requests lately for help with cutting those last few cards from the deck. Sometimes it's 3 cards, sometimes it's 50 cards. I'm going to give my tips for cutting cards from decks, and I'm sure other members will include their own tips, or reinforce what has already been said. This is not an all-out guide for building the perfect deck, I'm just giving the starting point. For the sake of simplicity, I'm assuming the majority of people are on a budget.

Guideline: Number of each card
Some decks will go outside this range, but if you're making a totally new deck that you're unfamiliar with, start here. As you play the deck and get more comfortable with it, you can adjust these numbers.
  • 34 to 40 lands. Green decks can use less (provided they have the mana ramp), other mono-colored decks will use more.
  • 7 to 12 forms of mana ramp. Green decks will use mana dorks (Elvish Mystic, Avacyn's Pilgrim, Elves of Deep Shadow), multicolored decks will use Talismans, Signets, and Fellwar Stone. In case it wasn't obvious, you want Sol Ring as well.
  • 3-5 forms of creature removal.
  • 3-5 forms of artifact removal.
  • 6 or so forms of card draw.
  • 5 cards for dealing with your meta. See below.
  • 26-30 cards that go with the theme of your deck. See below.

Lands and ramp
When possible, try to avoid using lands that unconditionally enter the battlefield tapped. Examples: Frontier Bivouac, Rakdos Carnarium, Swiftwater Cliffs. Lands and ramp are pretty easy to cut, so I won't spend any more time on it (if someone wants me to, ask away).

Creature and artifact removal
You want a max of 5 each. As you get more comfortable with the deck, you may choose to add more. For now, let's just work on what to cut. Prioritize removal with these qualities.

If you have removal that doesn't fall into enough of these categories, cut it away. You can always swap it back later.

Dealing with the meta
Look at the decks you'll be going up against. If they use lots of indestructible and hexproof creatures, use boardwipes like Merciless Eviction, or sacrifice effects like Plaguecrafter, and Slaughter the Strong. If you frequently go up against boardwipes, use protection like Counterspell, Selfless Spirit, or Heroic Intervention. Exploit the weaknesses of your opponents' decks, while mitigating yours.


Synergy cards
This is the hardest section, because it varies from deck to deck. I would say, stick with one major theme, and maybe one subtheme. For example, if you want Edgar Markov as your commander, make vampire tribal the major theme, and maybe tokens as a minor theme. Don't try to do tribal vampires, tokens, lifegain, sacrifice, recursion, and curses as themes. Just pick two for now.

Soren841

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 11:04:25 pm »
I'd also recommend not going over the deck limit in the first place (a couple cards is fine but like 150 card in EDH and trying to cut to 100 is not good)
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Morganator 2.0

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 11:23:20 pm »
I'd also recommend not going over the deck limit in the first place (a couple cards is fine but like 150 card in EDH and trying to cut to 100 is not good)

This thread is entirely for people that went over the limit. Over the past week or so there has been several requests to the community for what cards should be cut. Check them out here if you'd like to help:
https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php/topic,42546.0.html Need help cutting cards from my Sigarda, Host of Herons voltron deck (4 cards)
https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php/topic,42530.0.html Lavinia No Fun (31 cards)
https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php/topic,42386.0.html Vampires are alive! Need some help to cut cards and refine my deck (50 cards. See? I wasn't kidding)
https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php/topic,42399.0.html issues trying to widdle down the deck (20 cards)
https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php/topic,42359.0.html EDH Gishath Enrage Naya Dinos, need to cut 9 cards!
https://deckstats.net/forum/index.php/topic,42213.0.html Help Wanted! Shalai Angel EDH deck, need to remove 31 cards

Soren841

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 11:38:21 pm »
Well yeah but the best way to do it is to just never go over..
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ApothecaryGeist

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 01:44:27 am »
I tackle Commander deckbuilding in a very similar way to Morganator 2.0.  My numbers are a little different.  But it isn't important what exact numbers you use (as long as they are sufficient).  What is important is that you have a skeleton of effects you want/need in your deck and stick to them.

I begin by making a skeleton for each deck, with lands, ramp, removal, card draw, etc.   I also break down the main deck components into the various effects I am looking for.  Here is an example.
https://deckstats.net/decks/97591/905186-etali-casts-all-the-spells/en

This is my Etali deck that I built a while ago.  It is a good example of various categories.  I have a library manipulation category; i have an extra attack phase category; I have a land destruction category (worried about Homeward Path in my meta).  I didn't make these categories after the fact.  They were there from the beginning to help me build the deck.

By tackling your deckbuilding in this fashion, you should end up with right about 100 cards.  Sometimes you may have a few slots where you have trouble deciding among a few choices.  That's where this forum can come in handy ... trying to decide among those last few slots.  Putting up a deck list with 150+ cards and generically asking for cuts is much like saying "build my deck for me".

Most of us on this forum are very happy to help with whatever stage you are in.  You will get far better advise when your deck list starts as close to 100 cards as you can possibly get it on your own.

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Judaspriester

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 10:37:04 am »
Morganator and ApothecaryGeist already mentioned important points. I want to add some.

Categories
For me, it helped ALOT to categorisize the cards. Ramp, Card draw, Removal, etc. if you have got important subthemes, add them. I've got a deck a while ago, that wasnt consistent. sometimes it worked like a charm and sometimes it was barely playable. After I've sorted the cards, i've noticed that there was only 1 card for draw and only 3 for ramp. with those categories its way easier to notice weakspots like this.

Comments
Another important point, especially if you want to ask for help: add comments. Not every synergy/combo is obvious, not everyone always see the reason in every added card.
A little example for this: Harmless Offering. Usually you think "wtf is this card doing here", but included in a Xantcha, Sleeper Agent EDH Deck this makes sense, because you want to avoid the case, that you get Xantcha back after a player died and the others hurt you while drawing cards.

Here an example, with comments and some extra categories fitting to the deck.
https://deckstats.net/decks/112190/1062288-xantcha-sleeper-agent-let-them/

Focus
Think about what do you want to do with your deck. What is the Goal/Gameplan? Which mechanics/themes you want to use? What is the main strategy? With a clear picture in mind, its easier to cut some cards, that may seem nice but doesn't support your idea.
An example for this: I've got a Memnarch deck. In a old version I included Metalwork Colossus.
An interesting pick for an artifact deck? Some might disagree but I think yes, at least for the kitchen table.
But does it support the Idea of Memnarch: Stealing every thread (and then everything else on the table)? Hmm.. not really, BUT hes fat and usually very cheap to play and he got his own recursion. With this one I can kill my opponents if nobody plays stuff worthy of stealing.
As you notice, if you want to keep a card in, you will usually find a way to justify the pick. But be honest to yourself. If you have to justify a pick, its usually something that doesn't fit. Cut/replace it.

/edit: i got another point.

Mana Base
If you try to cut your deck down, an obvious target is the mana base. Thougts like "Hmm.. what about just cutting 2 basics to get the necessary slots?" might come up. Don't do this, unless its really necessary, or your mana base has really grown to high. I've got this problem myself sereval times, and the common result was a inconsistent deck.
Sure, it may be hard to cut some "important" or "good" cards, but even the best card is useless, if you dont get enough mana to play it. Nothing harms more than turns you have to skip, because you can play nothing. If that happends sometimes, it may be bad luck, a bad shuffled deck, greed at the opening hand, or maybe the stars are just in a bad constellation. But if this happen more often, its a clear indicator that you have cut it down to harsh.
Your Mana base is like the foundation of a house. You dont need a foundation that could hold a skyscraper if you just want to build a cabin. But if the foundation isn't strong enough, you will sooner or later run into trouble.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 04:21:23 pm by Judaspriester »
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WWolfe

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 02:14:45 pm »
One other key is that cards that overlap in what they do (Austere Command for instance could count as both creature removal & artifact removal) can fill two slots, freeing up a slot for another ramp card, or another card draw, etc.
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Soren841

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2019, 02:42:15 pm »
Or more removal. Why have 5 cards for artifact destruction and 5 cards for creature removal when you can have 6 of each but only take up 1 card slot? (Abrade). Sure it's not a lot, but it adds up and eventually you have twice the removal while remaining flexible.
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WWolfe

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 02:59:31 pm »
Very true, and cards that have multiple options are good for just that.

Cards that have flexibility like this are very good in commander.
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Judaspriester

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2019, 04:25:13 pm »
Could we maybe get this topic pinned? I think it's very useful, especially to new/unexperienced EDH players.
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WWolfe

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2019, 04:29:10 pm »
Could we maybe get this topic pinned? I think it's very useful, especially to new/unexperienced EDH players.

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Morganator 2.0

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2019, 05:17:39 pm »
Are we casting Raise Dead on this thread? Because I've learnt of something that might help new players.

It's called 8 by 8 theorem. The premise is you have your commander, 35 lands and then 8 categories with 8 cards in each category (which gives a perfect 100 cards). So you would have 8 mana ramp cards, 8 removal cards, 8 draw spells, and then the other categories would be themes of the deck like haste enablers, token generators, anthem effects, etc.

To me this seems like an alright way of making a first draft, so long as you follow the other suggestions in this thread on what cards to include/exclude. I also think that some color combinations (Boros) would have trouble filling some of these categories. While the deck will eventually move away from 8 cards in 8 categories, it's good start point.

MustaKotka

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Re: Tips for cutting cards from decks
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2019, 06:48:09 pm »
I often divide cards into functional categories. Once I see how many cards I have in each category I decide how many cards I want there to be in that category. Then I rank the cards in the categories to match the general curve of my deck. A couple of one-drops, a few mid drops and maybe one or two bigger cards. If the category feels lopsided (i.e. too many small spells or too many big spells) I just cut down to fit the curve.

Example, mana:
Wayfarer's Bauble is really good because it fetches a land into play. Then I'll want a few signets/talismans, maybe Commander's Sphere, Coalition Relic. Gilded Lotus is usually the end of my ramp curve but some decks can definitely use Dreamstone Hedron for it's ability to sac into cards. The point is: I'm not filling up the ramp category with just small one or two costed ramp spells because they're not that impactful later on. A Dreamstone Hedron isn't useful in the opening hand either.

Example, draw:
While Blue Sun's Zenith is really good late game it isn't that useful early on. So I might not want to include both Stroke of Genius and BSZ. Instead I trade some of the really powerful draw spells for something in the mid range, like Rhystic Study or Mystic Confluence. I make sure to add some small draw/loot effects like Preordain, Careful Study.

One weird thing I've noticed is that card advantage is mana ramp. The more you draw the more you hit lands, the more ramp spells you have. If you need to cut down on something don't skimp on card draw. I don't think I've ever managed to build a deck with too much card draw. You could even consider converting two ramp spells into one card draw (more specifically an engine like Mind's Eye). The overall effect is that you'll be slower but more consistent.