There are a lot of different aspects to consider when building an EDH deck. Most of those should be ignored when building a deck, because you dont need to have the best deck or cards to win. There are two different things that usually determine the outcome of a game:
1. Politics: This is a multiplayer format, and thus the actions and balance of the table have a significant impact on how games play out. If everyone recognizes a player in the game as an immediate threat, they tend to gang up on the threatening player. Players sometimes also want to look out for the guy who is giving them a mutual advantage (Blood Moon
might look favorable to the guy with a lot of basic lands out). There are other times where people will attack someone other than you, simply because you have a Royal Assassin
or No Mercy
in play. No matter how you look at it, Politics have a huge impact on the game, and there are several ways to utilize it to give you the upper hand (even if it seems like you don't to everybody else at the table).
2. Timing: Timing is key, and can often mean the difference between winning and losing. Anybody can play Exsanguinate
, but not everybody kills 2 opponents while putting the 3rd in lethal range with it. Hallowed Burial
can take care of more than one general, so dont immediately blow it just to get rid of Uril, the Miststalker
. Chances are that he could be swinging at someone else anyway, which is also a good reason to save removal. If someone has a nasty threat on the board, unless its an immediate threat to you, let someone else take care of it. You start with 40 life, so you can take some damage before you need to really worry about your life total anyway (as a guideline, it usually becomes a concern to me around 15 life or less).
That is all you need to know to win in EDH. Of course there is more to EDH than that, but those are the things that have the greatest impact on the outcome of a game. You dont need the best cards, or the best deck. I have seen people win games with pauper decks, so dont feel like you need to sink a lot of money into cards to build a good deck. Lets look at some other things that are generally good in a singleton 100 card multiplayer format:
Tutors: Tutors are by far the best type of card to run. You only have 1 of each card in your deck, and if you want to go grab a specific one (or one of a type) then finding ways to tutor for those cards can really improve how your deck functions. Dont feel like you need to drop good money on a Demonic Tutor
either, because 9 times out of 10 Diabolic Tutor
will do the job.
Manafixing: If you are running a 3 color deck, its very important to be able to access all 3 of those colors. A few commons such as Darksteel Ingot
can help make sure you get what you need. I am personally a big fan of the Panoramas
and use them in almost all of my EDH decks.
Answers: There are so many cards from so many sets, that you can never really be too sure what you will run into. Because of this, its good to try and prepare for just about everything. Every card you see should be worth playing, which means it should also be worth answering. If you can pack enchantment hate, do it. If you have artifact hate, put it in. You dont need to overload a deck with answers, but its good to throw at least 1 or 2 in. You never want to be facing down an Eldrazi Monument
without having some way to deal with it. Some people think its okay to just let others deal with these threats, but I personally think that is a bad way to approach a problem. I know not every color has answers to everything, but Steel Hellkite
may just become your deck's new favorite card.
Alternative Resources: Since we are starting at 40 life, and playing multiplayer, games tend to run longer than your normal dueling environment. You still only draw 1 card per turn, and without some way to draw more, you are often going to run out of steam mid game. There are alternatives to just drawing extra cards. Some cards let you play things from your grave (or from your opponents graves). Cards like Thada Adel, Acquisitor
can let you steal things from your opponent's decks. Your hand and library are your primary resources, but be sure to include ways to utilize graveyards and your opponents decks to your own advantage. Some generals have recursion built into them, but Rise from the Grave
and the like can help too.
Sweepers: Sweepers are generally good to include in a build. There will be times when everybody at the table has something scary out and wiping the board with Austere Command
may be your only way out. Oblivion Stone
can also help in decks that normally have trouble dealing with enchantments. I dont recommend loading up on sweepers, as that can really draw a game out, but I feel like 3 is a good number to have.
FUN: Be sure to have fun, and build decks that are fun. We encourage social interaction, and when people are having fun they are more interested in continuing to play. No one is going to want to keep playing against a deck that is just trying to combo out game after game. Keep things fresh and exciting by finding and playing cards people have never seen before. I always get more pleasure when someone gets excited about something new than I do from actually winning. I don't remember much about the last few games I played, but I sure remember my buddy saying "Oh my god, that is so cool. I never saw that guy before" when I played Ixidron
a few weeks back.