Learning from "The Deck" deconstruction

Written by Ron Saikowski, February 6, 2018

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and having some time to kill on a overcast afternoon, decided to watch the entire series. The videos are done by Daniel Chang (Vintage Magic) and he spends some time talking to Brain Weissman. Weismann is known as the innovator of what could be argued as one of the most important decks in the history of Magic simply known as "The Deck."

The videos are recent so the discussion revolves around the current build for his deck. It's obviously changed over time and there are tons of articles out there talking about it's progression over time. While the exact cards have changed, it seems like the concepts he adheres to have remained the same over the years.

As he mentions in the first video, most players back in the beginning evolved in their own little microcosms. My experience was no different. I only knew the players in my local group. There was no greater meta. No playing people from around thew world with different styles. Back then, I knew nothing of "the deck." It's only now after getting back into the game have I learned about this part of Magic's history.

Right now, it's only a four part series, but it looks like it might expand to more videos in the future. The videos run about 30 minutes each. The first video is an intro with some cool background stories. The second and third videos go into the specific cards and lands respectively in his deck. The final video goes over his sideboard choices.

It was really interesting to hear the choices behind the cards he includes in his deck. Actually I found it more interesting to see what cards were NOT in in there. In my "real life" job, what's missing from something can often be just as important if not more so than what's present. Understanding why something was left out can be more educational than understanding why something was left in.

It's the reasons and thinking behind those decisions that really interests me. These videos go over that kind of thing card for card which is kinda cool for someone like me who enjoys looking at the game in that light. You can tell by listening to him that he's got far more he'd like to talk about with each card, but the videos do their best to stay on track.

There's so much grey area when it comes to choosing which cards should and should not be included in any given deck. Sure, some are fairly easy and are what could be considered, "no brainers," but those cards will not fill out a deck. Eventually you need to make some difficult choices around cards you're not so sure about.

While I don't play the deck, I think it's construction and the philosophy behind the card choices can help newer players understand some of the bigger picture. I walked away learning a few new things about some of the same cards I have in my deck. And that's the beauty of this game, the people who play and everyone who posts their knowledge online... it helps all of us become better players.

The Old School community is a great one. Thanks to Brian for sharing his deck construction thoughts and to Daniel for getting it on video and posting it for folks like me to watch. I won't be a pro player overnight, but things like this help me improve my game little by little.

If you have the time, swing by YouTube and give them a watch. The link above goes to the playlist page with links to the individual videos.

Related Reading:
Deckbuilding 101: Threats or Protection?
The joy of discovering hidden gems in your deck

Image credit: Screen capture from one of the videos.