Essential Magic Articles

Aggro Building for Beginners

by Trikon

1.    What is an aggro deck?

An aggro deck is a deck that plans on taking down its opponent’s life to 0 as fast as possible through the use of creatures and support behind those creatures.

2.    How do I make a good aggro deck?

The best way to go about it is finding creatures that are stronger than usual for the mana cost you pay to play them.  This is why Tarmogoyf is so good. He can get really huge for the cost of {1}{G} only. Do the same for spells but make sure your spells support your deck, there are plenty of powerful spells but not all of them will fit into your plans. Another thing you want to look out for is the cost of the cards you play. Aggro decks usually never want to play anything that cost more than 4 mana. When they do play things that cost 4 mana there are only around 4-6 in the whole deck. Remember you’re an aggro deck, you want to finish your opponent quickly.


Let’s take these 3 creatures for example.
Savannah Lions
Suntail Hawk
Defiant Elf

For an aggro deck attack power is the most important thing on a creature. You are trying to bring your opponents life to zero fast so having a higher attack is more important. Evasion is really good, but usually when it comes to sacrificing attack for evasion, it’s just not worth it. This is why Savannah Lions is better than Suntail Hawk  in an aggro deck most of the time.

So what about Suntail Hawk vs Defiant Elf

Well, that really depends. Defiant Elf’s trample ability is completely irrelevant with his attack power of 1 because everything has at least 1 toughness. So unless you have cards in your deck that are going to pump him up, his ability doesn’t matter so you’re stuck with a creature that is basically a plain 1/1. Let’s look at his creature type though, he is an Elf. Elves are one of the most powerful tribes in magic. So would that make him worth it? Well If you are building an Elf deck that has synergy with him utilizing cards like Imperious Perfect and Immaculate Magistrate, than he definitely deserves some credit for his creature type.


Aggro pretty much only runs four types of spells, burn, pump, evasion, and protective. Burn is probably one of the most powerful assets aggro has. This is why a lot of them play red. With burn you can not only shoot you opponents face, but you can clear the way of blockers too. Burn is superior to pumping in a few different ways. With burn you don’t have to worry about your opponent having a blocker and blocking stopping them from taking the extra damage. You can clear the way using a pump spell if they block, but you just lost some damage you would have gotten through if it was a burn spell you used to clear the way because your creature would have still been available to attack. The third reason why burn is superior to pump is because you can’t get two for oned. With those unfamiliar with the phrase 2 for 1, it’s when someone gives up 1 card to deal with 2 of another player’s cards. When you pump your creature your opponent has a window to kill your creature. If he does this not only do you lose your creature but you just lost a spell too.

There are two things that pump has over burn though. One is with pump you can usually get more for less.  Let us take the basics for example Shock and Giant Growth. You get 1 more damage for the same cost. That brings me to the second thing pump has over burn. It usually will give your creature some defense along with the attack. This can be useful in certain situations like if your opponent were to try to burn your creature dead, you could just pump and keep it alive and get extra damage through. The only problem coming from this is that you are using your pump as an answer spell which could slow you down in the end costing you.

Now we will take a look at the last two types of spells, evasion and protective. For the most part you want to stay away from protective. Yes they can keep your creatures alive, but like I said at the end of the last paragraph you are just slowing yourself down. In an aggro deck you don’t want to be playing answer spells that answer other answer spells. You want to be playing spells that are gonna be outputting your damage to the max. There are some protective spells that also double as evasion spells though like Bathe in Light. You can use it to protect your creatures and use it as evasion to get around blockers. A spell like this won’t be doing much for you though unless they have creatures, if they don’t, it’s an answer to an answer. It’s not a bad card to be running but you wouldn’t want to be running 4 of it in your deck.

Last edited 3/30/2009 4:52:32 PM Page 1 of 3  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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