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Brewer's Minute: Three Under-the-Radar Deck-Building Resources


Hey, everyone. It's time for another Brewer's Minute. This week, we are going to be doing something a little bit different for our Brewer's Minute. Instead of talking about a specific card, synergy, or deck, we are going to be discussing three under-the-radar resources that can be helpful in deck building. When it comes to building your own decks, I believe that the best possible thing you can do is learn about other decks as much as possible, and not just decks from the present, but decks from the past as well. Even though a deck from 2009 might not be playable anymore, by studying old decks, not only can you get a sense of broad archetypes that do carry across time (control, combo, aggro, etc.), but it can even help in discovering interesting synergies and cards that can still have an impact today!

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Transcript

As I mentioned in the intro, I'm a big believer in the idea that being a student of the history of the game in general and of decks (and deck building) in specific is one of the best ways to get better at brewing your own decks. Not only does it give ideas for cards and archetypes that can still be playable today, but it's also one of the best ways to learn combos, synergies, and archetypes. So, today, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss three of my favorite under-the-radar sites and break down what they are good for and how I use them.

MTGGoldfish

Of course, this will probably come across as biased since I'm currently writing this article on MTGGoldfish, but in all honesty, the metagame and deck-search pages on the site form the foundation for a lot of my research and brewing, and this was true even before I worked for the site. As far as I can tell, it's simply the best source for examining the current meta and also for looking for decks within the past two or three years. That said, some other sites cover things that simply don't show up on MTGGoldfish. These are sites I use to supplement MTGGoldfish when I'm looking for exciting new decks or trying to research historical lists. 

Hareruya

Hareruya is one of my favorite resources for one big reason: it's the best place to find decks on the Japanese tournament scene. If you aren't familiar with Hareruya, they seem to be the Star City Games of Japan—a massive Magic dealer that also runs a lot of tournaments. Thankfully, they have an English version of their site, which makes it easy to find some really sweet deck lists. 

When it comes to Standard and Modern, there's actually a meaningful difference between the US and Japanese metagames; as a result, I try to browse the Hareruya deck lists at least once or twice a week just to make sure there isn't anything exciting and new coming out of Japan. It's especially important because the Japanese have a history of finding decks and cards before the rest of the world (the most recent example I can think of is Haunted Dead, which was in a bunch of Hareruya lists before eventually making it to the GP and Pro Tour stages in decks like Dredge and Emerge). As such, keeping up to date on the Japanese scene is one of the best ways to find cutting-edge tech before anyone else at your local game store. 

MTGTop8

On one hand, MTGTop8 does some of the same stuff as MTGGoldfish, except I don't like the layout and functionality of the site as much, but there's one thing that MTGTop8 does better than pretty much any site: provide an easy way to find really old deck lists. If you want to see Pro Tour or GP decks from the early 2000s or are looking for 2011 Modern lists before the format really came to the forefront, MTGTop8 has you covered. While I don't recommend using the site for current lists because it can be clunky and slow to update, if you want to see the history of a card or deck in a specific format, it's an amazing tool thanks to the ability to search by format, card, and date. 

When it comes to building the best version of a current deck, sometimes it isn't the hot new tech that you're looking for but rather old tech that's fallen out of style. If you're thinking of playing Tron (or any other popular archetype, for example), you can get a lot of ideas by looking back over old lists. Sometimes, deck lists evolve in response to the meta, but then the changes to the decks remain even after the meta has shifted again. Because of this, looking back at the past can occasionally provide a guide for the future. 

Magic League

Magic League is odd. It's an unsanctioned, unofficial tournament series that takes place online with the help of third-party software. As a result, the results can be erratic. Since anyone can enter and some of the tournaments are small, there will occasionally be really odd (and arguably bad) lists that make it to the Top 8 of their events. On the other hand, since everything is free, you'll also find some really neat innovations, since players aren't concerned about the cost of cards or tournaments. 

While I usually browse through the Standard, Modern, and Legacy results just to see if there is anything new or interesting, the thing I really love about Magic League is that it has pages for old formats, including past Block Standard formats and Extended. When I'm searching for inspiration for a new Modern deck, one of the places I like to start is old Extended lists. While the format is different enough that you can't simply copy the decks and play them in Modern, sometimes there are really interesting archetypes that can be ported over. Come to think of it, my original inspiration for the Free Win Red deck was an old All-In Red deck for Extended with Seething Song, Chrome Mox, and a bunch of weird (and currently unplayable) cards. While I knew a lot of things would need to change, the plan of slamming Turn 1 Blood Moon seemed like it could be just as good in Modern as it was in old Extended, and this realization started me down the path of building the deck. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Hopefully, these resources will help you on your quest to build better decks! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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