When creating a Magic deck, there are several things to keep in mind. You have to remember to keep with your theme, make sure you have enough land, enough creatures, etc. But one of the most important things to remember is your mana curve. For most new Magic players, the mana curve is the most forgotten part of deck-building... even though it's possibly the most important.
- Bigger is NOT Always Better
Every new set has in it some cards that are incredibly powerful but not necessarily useful. The Prophecy cardset is a great example of this. Cards like Avatar of Might Buy, Plague Wind Buy, and Vitalizing Wind Buy grabbed the attention of many players... but only until they saw the casting costs.
While these cards definitely have some awesome effects, having more than one or two of them in your deck spells an almost certain loss. While you're sitting there waiting for enough mana to play your killer spells, your opponent is beating you down with a Grizzly Bears Buy. That's where the idea of a mana curve comes in. It is sometimes better to play with less-powerful spells just so you will be able to play something early in the game.
- The Mana Curve
The point of a mana curve is to be able to play a spell every turn, rather than waiting for several turns before you really begin the game. For most deck types, it is desirable to have a few one casting cost spells, a few more two casting cost spells, several spells that cost three to five mana, and then only a few that cost more than that. If you were to write this as a graph, it would look something like this:
The numbers on the bottom show the mana costs of spells in the deck, and the numbers on the left show how many spells of each cost are in the deck. For example, in this picture there are four spells that cost 1 and eight spells that cost 5.
- What's a Good Mana Curve Look Like?
There is no hard and fast rule for what a mana curve should look like. While the one shown above may be good for many decks, there are some decks that will have a totally different mana curve and will still work just fine. In some decks, it may actually be good to have four Vitalizing Wind Buys. But, regardless of what type of deck it is, the mana curve is a very important part of deck-building that should not be forgotten.