New player here with shuffling / building question

General forum

Posted on Jan. 14, 2017, 12:28 p.m. by spawn2031

Hello guys, I just built my first deck last night and when playing it for the first time had such a bad amount of clumping and grouping. According to my buddy, this is what I did...

  • Stacked all of one color so that no 2 duplicate cards were next to each other and then did the same with the other color

  • Mixed the 2 piles together, alternating colors

  • Stacked the lands the same way, alternating colors then riffle shuffled the lands into the other cards

  • Pile shuffled the entire deck once (8 piles) cut once and play

After doing this, it was clumped to the point that I was pulling multiples of the same cards, almost as if it hadn't been randomized at all and mana was definitely not well distributed. Oh and I should probably mention 60 card deck /w 22 lands.

So my question here is 2 fold....

1) After picking out all the cards to go into your deck, what is the best way to assemble that deck before shuffling?


2) After you play a hand, what's the best way to pick up the cards you have in play and shuffle them back into your deck?

Is just riffle shuffling / cutting the hell out of the deck the answer to both questions? Should I stay away from the pile shuffling? I'm just looking for some best practices here to discourage clumping with the initial build and after a hand.

Thanks a ton guys, sorry for what I am sure is a total newb question.

Epochalyptik says... #2

Just scoop everything into a pile and shuffle it for a while. The point of shuffling is to randomize the deck. If you sufficiently randomize it every time and are still having problems with clumping, it's possible that your deck composition is just ineffective.

January 14, 2017 12:58 p.m.

Epochalyptik says... #3

Use the mash shuffling technique, too. It's the fastest and will separate consecutive cards.

January 14, 2017 12:58 p.m.

hyperlocke says... #4

For a new deck, I separate lands and spells and put them together alternatingly (approximately 2 spells, 1 land, depending on the deck). After that, a whole bunch of mash/riffle/pile shuffles.

After a game, I pick up all cards on the battlefield, in my graveyard and in my hand and shuffle them, then I mash shuffle them into the rest of the deck. This distributes the land/nonland cards in the cards I saw this game randomly before putting them back in the deck.

If I just finished a game with clumping of lands/nonlands, I do a pile shuffle (just distribute the deck onto 6 piles and put them together), followed by mash shuffling.

Generally: At least 3 rounds of mash/riffle shuffling and cutting before a new game. If you experience clumping, a pile shuffle can help.

January 14, 2017 1:02 p.m.

GearNoir says... #5

As with most others, I never arrange my deck in a certain way prior to shuffling, not even a mama weave. I've actually had more success with draws not weaving in lands than doing so.

In a casual game I probably spend 30 seconds to a minute shuffling. Most of that is an in-hand random cut and mash, making absolutely sure I and my opponent cannot see the face sides of my cards. I also throw in a one or two 5-pile cut (not sure what the real name of the shuffle is) where I deal my cards out into 5 piles face down then pick them up the piles in a random order.

January 14, 2017 5:11 p.m.

Busse says... #6

Mash and pile-shuffling works relatively good for me. When in doubt, I shuffle it using the pile technique, first 5 piles, then 4 and then a 3 pile-shuffle. After that some mashing, cut and play.

January 14, 2017 9:01 p.m.

Don't quote me on this but I seem to remember reading somewhere that 7 perfect rifle shuffles is needed to create a truly randomized deck. I try and remember to count 7 shuffles but I'm betting that I'm not the only one who experiences an OCD feeling when shuffling. Sometimes you just can't stop till it feels right! My preferred method for a new deck or in limited where you have everything separated in piles is to pile shuffle starting with lowest CMC till you are done with spells, and then add an evenly distributed amount of lands to each pile and then shuffle from there. After that I will test my distribution by laying out 4 stacks of 15 card and do a test run on each. Stacks that have to many lands get mixed with the stacks that don't and riffle shuffle and do it again, and again, and again... till the OCD feeling is satisfied.

January 14, 2017 9:01 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #8

@notanothercthulhu: Perfect riffle shuffles won't randomize a deck. They'll put all the cards in a predetermined order. In fact, for any given deck size, there's always a number of perfect riffle shuffles that will actually re-sort the cards to their original starting positions.

What you heard is that 7 riffle shuffles is enough for an average person to sufficiently randomize a deck. It's largely based on the difficulty of a perfect riffle shuffle and the limitations of a person's memory. The average person can't reliably memorize the initial order of a full deck of cards, will introduce many "mistakes" in each riffle they perform, and will have an extreme amount of difficulty mentally tracking the changes in card positions through multiple shuffles. After 7 shuffles, there's no way they'll be able to know enough about the final order of the cards to gain an advantage. The number 7 here doesn't come from a mathematical formula or anything, but from a statistical study into the topic of shuffling.

January 16, 2017 11:12 p.m.

You learn something new every day! That is interesting and it makes perfect sense. Thanks for explaining that.

January 16, 2017 11:43 p.m.

spawn2031 says... #10

Thanks for all the great info on shuffling guys. I had never tried mash shuffling as my cards weren't sleeved and it seemed to just clump up without them. Just got my deck sleeved and been trying that, seems to work well. I have also heard about that riffle shuffle 7 times thing and I know it's supposed to be the best way to shuffle. Could do it like a champ with unsleeved cards.. now to start particing it with sleeved ones, definitely a different animal... lol

January 17, 2017 5:51 p.m.

mtguser2000 says... #11

Explained in the document :)

January 30, 2017 1:51 a.m.

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