DinoTsar415 Deckling

Your primary (and only) source for all things regarding the wonderful, and highly underappreciated MTG single-player format: Mana Maze Solitaire!

DinoTsar415 says... #1

Thanks for your interest Rothian.

I went into my process for brewing one of these a little bit in the comments of the Mighty Morphin' list, but I'll paraphrase here.

Once you've got a win-condition picked, I think it's easiest to go on Gatherer or Scryfall or what have you and do a broad search for cards that are in-theme with the win-con. In the case of your deck, maybe you want to have a lot of funky multicolor cards that are in-line with the 5 Abominations. (If so you'd also need to make sure you include a decent amount of color-fixing.)

I've also found that throwing everything you like even a little into an over-sized list and then shaving it down over a couple revisions can help with tracking your options for picks.

If you don't want to theme around your win-con entirely, then I think a good place to start is to look through lists of "bridesmaid" decks or cards. Stuff that just doesn't have quite enough support to be a force in any relevant format or cards that were interesting/good in draft but floundered in constructed. Low-power/pauper/peasant cube lists often have a good number of these types of cards. Throwing in pet cards that you've always loved but never found a home for can also work.

When looking for common effects like bounce spells or artifact/enchantment removal, I like to always pick the oddest version I can find that isn't just flat out unplayable. If you can find common effects with strange riders attached to them it'll go a long way to generating those fun corner-case interactions.

Some more specific tips for construction/testing are:

  • Watch the mana cost of spells and activated abilities closely. Mana stalls are probably the most frequent thing you'll face during play, and changing your curve and/or number of mana producers is the easiest way to change the difficulty of your deck.

  • Solitaire decks are far easier to keep useful data on than decks whose performance is greatly affected by the presence of opponents. Maybe try keeping a spreadsheet of games if you really want to tune your build. Whether a game was a win or a loss, how many cards/targets you managed to remove, how much mana you spent, and the cause of failure are all relevant things to track. (P.S. If this kind of analysis is taking the fun of playing away, feel free to stop. No point in examining your deck if it means you don't ever feel like playing it)

  • Don't be afraid of really swingy effects. Just like in normal MTG, the careful strategy highlighted by the odd instant of blind luck are what make this game worth playing.

For your deck specifically:

  • I think it's important to recognize that 3 of your 5 targets are actually beneficial and remove themselves for little to no mana. Namely Razorfin Hunter, Llanowar Dead, and Goblin Legionnaire. I would guess this allows you to put in a few more challenging blockage cards than you might imagine.

  • You might want to try and include cards which can make Putrid Warrior's ability relevant. Since it isn't limited to combat damage, things like Pit Fight, Kiku's Shadow, or Fire Whip all let the warrior gain you life while producing some other advantage.

Hope you get something of use out of this overly-long comment and good luck brewing.

July 9, 2018 7:04 p.m.

Rothian says... #2

Hello, I've been interested in the mana maze solitaire format for a while now but haven't gotten around to making one. As I started I realized this is pretty hard to balance, handicap yourself by using some bad cards or crippling ones.

Would you mind giving me a few pointers or ideas? My theme is to kill the 5 apocalypse abominations (Putrid Warrior, Razorfin Hunter, Llanowar Dead, Goblin Legionnaire, Gaea's Skyfolk), also using a good number of sets as possible seems on theme for planar overlay.

July 7, 2018 1:44 p.m.

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Said on DinoTsar415...

#1

Thanks for your interest Rothian.

I went into my process for brewing one of these a little bit in the comments of the Mighty Morphin' list, but I'll paraphrase here.

Once you've got a win-condition picked, I think it's easiest to go on Gatherer or Scryfall or what have you and do a broad search for cards that are in-theme with the win-con. In the case of your deck, maybe you want to have a lot of funky multicolor cards that are in-line with the 5 Abominations. (If so you'd also need to make sure you include a decent amount of color-fixing.)

I've also found that throwing everything you like even a little into an over-sized list and then shaving it down over a couple revisions can help with tracking your options for picks.

If you don't want to theme around your win-con entirely, then I think a good place to start is to look through lists of "bridesmaid" decks or cards. Stuff that just doesn't have quite enough support to be a force in any relevant format or cards that were interesting/good in draft but floundered in constructed. Low-power/pauper/peasant cube lists often have a good number of these types of cards. Throwing in pet cards that you've always loved but never found a home for can also work.

When looking for common effects like bounce spells or artifact/enchantment removal, I like to always pick the oddest version I can find that isn't just flat out unplayable. If you can find common effects with strange riders attached to them it'll go a long way to generating those fun corner-case interactions.

Some more specific tips for construction/testing are:

  • Watch the mana cost of spells and activated abilities closely. Mana stalls are probably the most frequent thing you'll face during play, and changing your curve and/or number of mana producers is the easiest way to change the difficulty of your deck.

  • Solitaire decks are far easier to keep useful data on than decks whose performance is greatly affected by the presence of opponents. Maybe try keeping a spreadsheet of games if you really want to tune your build. Whether a game was a win or a loss, how many cards/targets you managed to remove, how much mana you spent, and the cause of failure are all relevant things to track. (P.S. If this kind of analysis is taking the fun of playing away, feel free to stop. No point in examining your deck if it means you don't ever feel like playing it)

  • Don't be afraid of really swingy effects. Just like in normal MTG, the careful strategy highlighted by the odd instant of blind luck are what make this game worth playing.

For your deck specifically:

  • I think it's important to recognize that 3 of your 5 targets are actually beneficial and remove themselves for little to no mana. Namely Razorfin Hunter, Llanowar Dead, and Goblin Legionnaire. I would guess this allows you to put in a few more challenging blockage cards than you might imagine.

  • You might want to try and include cards which can make Putrid Warrior's ability relevant. Since it isn't limited to combat damage, things like Pit Fight, Kiku's Shadow, or Fire Whip all let the warrior gain you life while producing some other advantage.

Hope you get something of use out of this overly-long comment and good luck brewing.

July 9, 2018 7:04 p.m.

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