21 Jan 2011

Playing Aggressively

Hello and welcome to my first post for Gambit Games.

I predominantly play Magic the Gathering so most of my posts will be magically aligned. However, I do play a variety of other game types, most of which can be experienced by coming along to our club.

Magic is a relatively new game system to Gambit Games so it is within this context that I’d like to offer advice to new players by examining the three main types of deck in Magic. These are Aggressive or ‘Aggro’ Decks, Control Decks and Combo Decks.

Today I’m going to discuss Aggro.

An Aggro Deck seeks to defeat your opponent by reducing their life total to 0 as quickly as possible. Typically, Aggressive Decks storm out of the gate and can therefore catch an unprepared, or unlucky, opponent off guard. This style of deck tends to be creature heavy with a few supporting spells. The major set back with Aggro decks, however, tends to be a sacrifice in the long-term game by playing all of their cards too quickly. This only really affects them when they come up against either life gaining decks or really heavy Control Decks; Walls, Counter spells, that kind of thing.

Traditionally, White and Red are the colours most associated with this style of play. Red has access to small cheap creatures with Haste, such as Goblin Guide and Ball Lightning. Haste is Reds key ability in this style of play. It allows creatures with it to attack straight away, whilst the other colours creatures would have summoning sickness and would be too ill to attack out of the gate (see Raging Goblin for Haste's description). Red backs up it's cheap creatures with a lot of direct damage cards like Lightning Bolt. These cheap spells boost it's offensive and defense capabilities by offering the potential of killing of threaten creatures or helping you take down your opponent. The benefit of red in this style of play is that a lot of the fore mentioned spells are relatively cheap to cast so if you've drawn the right combination you could be onto a winner.

White also has access to small cheap creatures but tends to be more defensive using enchantments to buff up it's forces and lock down the opponent. This type of deck is commonly known as ‘White Weenie’ in the pro-circuit. Notable cards include Squadron Hawk, White Knight, Preeminent Captain and Honor of the Pure. The variation between this and it's Red counterpart is it's small offense comes in the form of flyers and it's defense comes from Walls, such as Wall of Omens.

Standard Tournements have seen a combination of red and white going into dual colour decks which use small red and white creatures supported by equipment to accelerate damage dealing. Kor creatures from the Zendikar block had a massive hand in this with their additional 'If Equiped' abilities.

More recently however, Black and Green have be conscripted into the 'Aggro Assault'.

Black has been resurrected with the introduction of Vampires in the Zendikar block. Cards such as Vampire Nighthawk, Bloodghast and Vampire Nocturnus can quickly overwhelm an opponent, whilst putting the vampire player ahead in life.

Green, on the other hand, has seen the rebirth of elves. Elves have always been the staple diet for green. Cards such as Joraga Treespeaker and Llanowar Elves can quickly give you an advantage in a mana race. With this advantage, an elf player can quickly power out larger creatures, like the Engulfing Slagwurm from Olly's Combo Post, or ‘lords’ such as Elvish Archdruid or Ezuri, Renegade Leader. This version of the aggression tends to hit a little later than Red, as it diverts it's possible attackers to help in the mana production.

Scars of Mirrodin also gave Black and Green the new and very deadly ‘Infect’ mechanic. In terms of aggro, infect is super fast. Rather than knocking an opponents life total to 0 or less, Infect seeks to gain victory by poisoning your opponent with 10 or more poison counters, meaning you only have to do half the damage! A turn three attack with a Plague Stinger pumped up with a Giant Growth equals 4 Poison Counters to the face, courtesy of flying!

I hope this article has proved useful for those of you intending to build an aggro deck. For further assistance, try using the deck editor in our helpful links section.

Feel free to post any feedback, either on the blog or via our facebook group.

Next time I’ll be discussing control decks and how to wear down your opponent.

John of Team Gambit

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