The Planeswalker’s Apprentice – Weeding Creatures

The apprentice leaned back over the surface of the hardwood table, his creature orbs glowing neatly in rows. His lands and spell orbs set aside. He looked deeply into the individual orbs, faces of the creatures floated to look back.

Setting four of them apart from the others he muttered, “I can do better.”

Over the last few weeks we have talked about the importance of land. As we all know, land isn’t really the most most exciting part of Magic: The Gathering. Today we talk about creatures.

To me creature spells are the most exciting part of the game. I visualize a battlefield where all sorts of dragons, soldiers, goblins and elves all do battle for control.They really give a deck a facial identity and decks can even be built around a creature type, further reinforcing the fantastic battlefield vision.

Creatures make up the majority of your damage and defense as a beginning player. As a newer player, at least 33% of your deck should consist of creatures. For a sixty card deck that’s at least twenty creatures. That number may fluctuate as you learn he ropes but I would stay true to the twenty creature minimum for starters.

So how do we choose which creatures are best for our deck type?

There are many things to consider when choosing creatures. Most of it requires research and knowing what creatures are available. Let’s take a look at one of our Apprentice’s creatures, Nimbus of the Isles.


Nimbus is a flying creature with a decent power/toughness. My real concern is the casting cost. If we do an online search of all the most recently printed blue flying creatures with a power of 3, this comes up.[3]&text=+[flying]&color=+[U]&format=+[%22Standard%22] What do we notice? For the most part our friend Nimbus is on par with most of the similar creatures but two really stand out here. Prescient Chimera and Prognostic Sphinx. For virtually the same amount of mana, Prescient Chimera is a 3/4 flyer that also gives you the occasional ability to Scry. Prognostic Sphinx gives you two additional toughness, the ability to be hexproof and a very good Scry 3 ability when it attacks. The Chimera is a common and easy to find or trade for, the Sphinx is a rare but not a very expensive one. For now, we will work with the Prescient Chimera. The Apprentice’s deck has two Nimbus of the Isles so let’s replace those to make the deck more efficient. Some may say that needing two blue mana instead of the Nimbus’ one is a detriment but let’s face it, if you have five mana and two of it isn’t blue in a two color deck at that point of the game you are probably having issues anyway.

Let’s take a look at another creature, Fugitive Wizard. The Wizard is a lowly 1/1 for one blue mana. It has no abilities which offers you no actual value past just being a card you don’t want to draw late game.So let’s take a look at all the blue creatures in standard with a one blue casting cost.[%22Standard%22]&cmc=+=[1]&color=+[U]&type=+[%22Creature%22] Embodiment of Spring looks like a great addition to our deck, allowing not only an additional land and deck thinning ability as well as a modest blocker at 0/3. Triton Shorestalker should also be considered for it’s unblockable ability.

Let’s take it one step further and search the one casting cost green creatures.[%22Standard%22]&cmc=+=[1]&type=+[%22Creature%22]&color=+[G] The Sedge Scorpion is always a threat as a 1/1 Deathtouch. As much as I like the idea of being able o kill any creature it comes in contact with, I’m looking at the other creatures in my deck and the higher casting cost of the rest of my deck and thinking I’d really like the mana fetching blocker Embodiment of Spring. This creature will now replace the lowly Fugitive Wizard.

Here is the tweaked deck for Week 3.

These two new creatures help streamline the deck, trims wasteful mana spending and gets the most out of your creatures. This can even be done with matching abilities. For instance, there are cards out there that have the same ability as Shaman of the Spring but are at a different power, toughness and casting cost. It would be up to you to decide which would be the better creature for you.

Something else to think about is the type of deck you are playing. A cheaper creature may not necessarily be best for the deck. You have to also consider the mana curve and synergy. (subjects we will get into soon)

Next week we will take a look at our spells and make some considerations on some blue and green staples for our deck.

Happy New Year!

As many of you readers know, the Planeswalker’s Apprentice articles each week feature two characters and follow their stories as they learn about Magic. Currently each of these characters are a blank slate and both need names. This is where you come in. I would like you, the reader to name each of the characters. I could do it myself but I’d like to involve all of you in this blog’s growth. Take just a few moments either on Twitter, my new Facebook page, or in the comments below and name these two main characters in my future blogs.

Apprentice 1: A frustrated fellow that is being trained by his mentor, an actual Planeswalker.

Apprentice 2: A young street urchin given spells by a mysterious benefactor.

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