Essential Magic Articles


Missing the Flow

by Old Man Magic

Deck construction theory for the Magic the Gathering has evolved over the years. The mana curve has become second nature to most players. Magic online even has nice graphical representations of the mana curve for your decks. Tempo became a revolutionary theory and changed the way players build their decks. This evolution is to be expected. As the years progress, the game will develop beyond its origination to a new form, just as the medical profession has moved past performing frontal lobotomies on psychiatric patients to more sophisticated means of providing effective patient care.

In saying as much, I believe there is an aspect of deck construction that gets little attention. The topic at hand has always existed. Gravity existed long before Newton. Newton didn’t discover gravity. Sir Isaac Newton, however, was the first person to clearly define and explain the mysterious phenomenon. The key here is the progression of science began not just with the hypothesis of gravity, but by creating definitions and parameters. Once a subject matter has been clearly defined, one can finally argue the finer points.

I bring forth these previous statements before discussing what I want to talk about today. I truly believe there is another aspect of deck construction theory. There are no delusions of grandeur here, however, I truly believe theory about deck construction can be expanded and will continue to broaden upon our current understanding. This theory has always existed in some form or another. The pros have talked about it, but it has never been clearly defined or discussed in depth. Ah, I can hear the critics now, foaming and frothing at the mouth while they type feverishly at their retorts to this article. Alas, I think it time to give them their due.

Today, I will be talking about the theory of “flow.” Flow is defined as the efficient use of mana or card selection towards a progressive win-condition. With anything, there are decks with bad flow and good flow. Since bad and good hardly seem satisfactory in these circumstances, I decided use the terminology of “top-down” and “bottom-up”. Why use these words specifically? They are easy to understand to not only newer players, but also for usage in this debate. Basically, “top-down” (td) relates to the flow of permanents or spells in an inefficient order. “Bottom-up” (bu) relates to the flow of permanents or spells in an inefficient order.

Last edited 10/22/2007 4:41:34 PM Page 1 of 4  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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