I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for some time, and today I want to share my tricks.
After examining the Major Archetypes of Magic: The Gathering, in this article we are going to examine the Minor Archetypes, or those decks that draw their strength through the union of different archetypes and become in turn an example of how space to innovate is always present in MTG.
- Aggro - Control (a.k.a. Tempo)
They are decks that contain both aggressive and controlling elements.
They usually aim at the use of small creatures (often with evasive abilities) that are protected through the use of Counterspells until victory is achieved. Among the most famous examples, we can find decks like UG Madness or Delver of Secrets or Mono U Tempo decks.
These decks tend to want to impose their play in the early stages making it impossible for the opponent to build an effective defence or remove their offensive creatures.
- Aggro - Combo
Decks that rely on the use of small creatures to impose their aggressive play that can end the game with a quick combo that usually passes through the combat phase. They aim to win as quickly as possible by exploiting the weak points in the opponent's defence.
The best examples are mono-red Decks with Embercleave or decks with the Become Immense combo or even Infect decks.
The combo in these decks is only a possible additional win-con and in some cases, it is not even necessary to win if you can impose aggressive play.
In any case, the explosiveness provided by the combo can turn a game upside down.
- Combo - Aggro
They are decks that aim at the realization of a combo in the central phases of the game to have such a presence on the battlefield to win in a short time.
Unlike Aggro Combo decks, the creatures played are fewer in number and must be linked to the main theme of the deck or be synergistic with the Combo used.
Examples of this deck are Collected Company and Mutate.
Collected Company decks or Mutate decks require a high concentration of specific creatures to function or must be aligned with the general theme of the deck and their game engines.
- Combo - Control
This type encompasses decks that tend to use control elements for the early stages of the game until they can set up a combo that allows them to win the game.
Among the decks of this type, we can include Splinter Twin, Gifts and Scapeshift.
Also in this type of deck (as we have just seen with the Combos-Aggro), the presence of specific cards is extremely important to function correctly.
Unlike Combos-Aggro which focus primarily on creatures, these decks focus on non-creature cards such as lands, spells, etc. Creatures usually only enter if necessary for the primary combo.
- Control - Aggro
Many agree with indicating this type as "Midrange" but then why have we treated it as a Major Archetype?
The Midrange has been treated as a Major Archetype mainly due to its presence in certain formats such as the Standard, but if we approach it in a different and broader context as the whole story of Magic: The Gathering can be then it is more correct to make it fit into a Control - Aggro context.
Slightly more control decks that win with the proliferation of token creatures through enchantments (like Assemble the Legion) or Planeswalker can also fall into this category.
- Control - Combo
They are decks that prefer a very slow playing style and aim at the destruction of the opponent's resources or its slowing down with Combo-type elements.
An example of this type can be the Prison Decks
That is, they are decks that tend to hinder the opponent's play through Soft Locks which can generate a substantial advantage as the game continues until victory if unchallenged.
These decks focus more on not losing than focusing on winning and, for this reason, they are frowned upon as they are not seen as fun decks to play against.
- Other Archetypes
In addition to the archetypes we have described, there may be other types that may only be specific in one Magic: The Gathering format and may be non-existent in others.
Examples of these types can be the Commander's Voltron decks (since it requires a commander this type does not exist in formats without the commander damage rule) or those that are called Metagame Decks or Gimmick Decks that are created with the sole purpose of attacking. certain decks or archetypes if they are too present in a certain context but lose very badly if they misinterpret the metagame.
Or some Archetypes serve only for the Limited format to give context to how the colour pairs should be best used in a specific set (such as an "Aggro Flying" archetype of Blue White or the "Aggro Sacrifice” of Red-Black).
As you can easily guess, the world of Magic: The Gathering is extremely varied thanks to the large number of cards that have been printed since 1993 (and this number will continue to increase over time with the release of new expansions).
Depending on the Pool of cards available, the distinctions between the different minor archetypes can be considerably reduced or acquire more marked distinctive traits, as well as they can be more dominant in certain formats while in others they have difficulty in emerging due to the great competition.
This aspect has greatly helped the longevity of Magic: The Gathering as each player can find a format or archetype closest to their personal needs or tastes as well as provide new challenges as they try to interact with new formats and new decks.
© 2021 Christian Allasia