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Brewer's Minute: Competitive Advantage in Deck Building

Hey, everyone. It's time for another Brewer's Minute. This week, we are talking about the idea of competitive advantage in deck building. Competitive advantage is a term that comes from the business world, and it's basically, "What does your company do better than everyone else, and why does it do it?" For example, let's take Google. Google's competitive advantage is that it's got the best search engine, and it has the best search engine because it's constantly innovating and pushing technology forward. Learning to think in a similar manner about building decks is super helpful and a great way to improve your deck-building process.

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So, what do I mean by competitive advantage in deck building? Basically, I mean figuring out what your deck does better than anything else and then, as you are building your deck and making your card choices, making sure they support your competitive advantage. For example, Mardu Vehicles is the most resilient aggro deck in Standard because of its vehicles. You'll notice when looking at a typical Mardu Vehicles deck that many of the card choices are designed to support this plan, such as creatures with three power to crew Heart of Kiran. Four-Color Copy Cat is similar—it's the best (and only) Turn 4 combo deck in Standard because it has Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai. The deck struggled when it was Jeskai because it didn't fully take advantage of those two cards, but it came into its own as one of the best decks in Standard after playing more cards (like Rogue Refiner and planeswalkers) that support the deck's competitive advantage.

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One of my favorite examples of competitive advantage in deck building is Modern Merfolk. It's the best tribal / aggro deck in the format because it has the most (and best) two-mana lords. Every card in the deck is designed to support this competitive advantage; they are a Merfolk to benefit from the lord, a way to protect the lords, or even Spreading Seas (normally not a great card) to make sure Islandwalk from the lords is relevant.

The point is, when it comes to building decks, try to figure out what your deck does better than anything else. Ask yourself, "What is this deck's competitive advantage?" and let the competitive advantage dictate your card choices. This helps avoid scattered and unfocused decks and makes sure each deck you build is as powerful and playable as it can possibly be.


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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