Deck Resilience

I’m a player who’s interested in one turn wins. However, recently, I’ve moved my focus to more resilient decks. Decks that win in a single turn usually aren’t very resilient. Take for example, a [card]Mycosynth Golem[/card] deck I used to play.

My slight change allowed the deck the win in one turn – but the deck is easily stopped by something as trivial as a single [card]Essence Scatter[/card]. Unfortunately, awesome one turn wins are easily stopped – so they generally fail at being resilient. Does that mean that I should stop playing them? Absolutely not. There’s nothing quite like going from doing absolutely nothing – to doing absolutely everything.

One of the easiest ways to build a resilient deck strategy is redundancy. Four copies of every card! Multiple functional copies of the same card! Multiple combos! If each of your cards will be a problem, can you imagine drawing into multiples? Having four copies help. Having multiple functional copies = more copies of the same card. Can you imagine how consistent you’ll be at having 3 mana by turn 2 if you played 4 copies each of [card]Birds of Paradise[/card], [card]Arbor Elf[/card] and [card]Llanowar Elves[/card]? Multiple combos makes things even better – they can deal with one combo – only to run into the next one they usually can’t deal with. In addition, your deck becomes unpredictable. You can win one of many ways – but you only need to pull off one. Redundancy has its problems – there are a lot of cards you don’t want to draw too many of.

Another way to be resilient is to be able to deal with the problems other decks give you. This is what a lot of decks do. If you can deal with anything your opponent can throw at you, they’ve then got nothing. If you know that you’re weak against a 20/20 Marit Lage token from [card]Dark Depths[/card], then you should have an answer – be it [card]Path to Exile[/card] or [card]Into the Roil[/card].

You could also just play great cards. Every deck has a finite number of answers. You can always have more problems than solutions for your opponent. If you play a 2/3 on turn one, followed by a 3/4 on turn two, and then you follow with a 4/5 on turn three, and then an [card]Umezawa's Jitte[/card] on turn four, you’re well on your way to winning. To me, the best strategy is simply playing great cards – it’s also the easiest. Continuously playing cards your opponents have to deal with is great.

There can also be another way to have resilience – resistance to removal. If you play a lot of good cards requiring your opponents to have very specific hate cards, you can count on your threats staying on the table a lot longer. An example would be anything with shroud. [card]Calcite Snapper[/card] is good for precisely this reason. Protection is also a bane for a lot of decks: [card]Kor Firewalker[/card] and [card]Great Sable Stag[/card] are both stubborn enough to stay around for a long time. It’s also why something like [card]Progenitus[/card] is so darn difficult to get rid of. There are also other ways to be resilient against removal – a good example would be the ability to recur from the graveyard – [card]Bloodghast[/card] and [card]Stinkweed Imp[/card] are both ridiculously good at this. There are other ways to be dodge solutions – but that would be a story for another day. ([card]Arcbound Ravager[/card] is an example of that.)

Having a good late game plan is also never a bad idea. Many decks have a good early game – but at the cost of their late game plan. Having cards that are equally devastating regardless of when you play it is great – especially if you expect to run into a lot of slower control decks that are full of enough answers. It is for this reason having a deck filled with 12 mana producing creatures is a bad idea – but it’s rarely a bad thing to draw a [card]Baneslayer Angel[/card] or even a simple card like [card]Lightning Bolt[/card].

Why this new obsession over resilience? I don’t really know. That’s just how it is now. I decided that for now, I’d rather play a deck that can win against just about anything, rather than a deck that can win against most things.