“Porting” a Strategy From One Game to Another

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Even when you start playing a new game, your mind sticks to old, familiar channels of play. Take my Magic decks and my HeroClix strategies; when I first started playing Clix, I found myself choosing pieces that were self-regenerative, able to heal themselves from damage, just like I built my Life-Gain-centered Magic decks to do. I also went with lots of little close-combat pieces–they were much like my aggressive decks full of small but powerful creatures.

As I discovered, it’s possible to “port in” a favorite strategy from another game. Even Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: the Gathering can play nicely together–read on to find out how!

The Old Deck: A Yu-Gi-Oh! Shadow Ghoul Deck

Before I ever set foot into Magic, I played the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, well before Synchro Summons and mecha-Fairies. Maha Vailo, Mirror Force, and old-school “pretty” Fairies were among my cards of choice. But even after I quit playing Yu-Gi-Oh! in real life, I continued to mess around building decks on an old Yu-Gi-Oh! game for Game Boy Advance, using the old favorite cards I cut my TCG teeth on to try out new strategies.

One deck I came up with was based around two monsters: Shadow Ghoul and Chaos Necromancer.

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Both images from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia.

Both monsters get Attack Points for each monster that is in my graveyard. Thus, I built a deck full of just easy-to-play monsters–Flip Effect monsters that could control the board, plus some strong, no-Tribute high-Defense monsters to block hits from my opponent’s monsters. If either of these types of monsters were destroyed, in battle or otherwise, they would just pump up Shadow Ghoul or Chaos Necromancer to serious strength.

Below is the original decklist:

Defense Monsters

  • 3x Mystical Elf (800/2000)
  • 3x Giant Soldier of Stone (1300/2000)
  • 1x Battle Footballer (1000/2100)
  • 1x Soul Tiger (0/2100)

Big-Momma Attackers

  • 3x Chaos Necromancer (effect: Attack score of this card is 300 times the number of monster cards in your graveyard)
  • 3x Shadow Ghoul (effect: +100 attack points for each monster in graveyard)

Flip-Effect Monsters

  • 3x Man-Eater Bug (flip: destroy one monster on the field)
  • 3x Old Vindictive Magician (flip: destroy one monster on opponent’s side of field)
  • 3x Hane-Hane (flip: return one monster on the field to its owner’s hand)
  • 3x Penguin Soldier (flip: return up to two monsters on the field to owners’ hands)
  • 3x Needle Worm (flip: opponent takes top five cards from deck and puts them into graveyard)
  • 3x The Unhappy Maiden (flip: end Battle Phase immediately)
  • 3x Nimble Momonga (effect: when sent to graveyard as result of battle, gain 1000 life points, and then search out and set however many Nimble Momongas you have left in your deck)
  • 3x Poison Mummy (flip: opponent loses 500 life points)
  • 3x Yomi Ship (effect: when sent to graveyard as result of battle, destroy the monster that destroyed Yomi Ship)
  • 3x Witch Doctor of Chaos (flip: remove one monster from any graveyard)

The Strategy Behind This Deck

Since you don’t have to play one solid “color” or type of creature to have a solid Yu-Gi-Oh! deck, I could gather all the most efficient Flip-Effect monsters together in one deck. In Magic: the Gathering lingo, this deck contains creature kill, bounce, and removal; it also has life-gain, life loss, mill, damage prevention, AND big stompy creatures. In short, the deck had EVERYTHING, and it was very, VERY fun to play, especially against computerized opponents. I rarely (if ever) lost a game with it.

The Problem

There was just one problem with this incredibly fun deck–I couldn’t figure out how to port it to Magic. Since I don’t play Yu-Gi-Oh! in real life anymore, I wanted to play this same type of strategy in a game I’m still active in Plus, I was actually curious to see if something like this would even work in Magic at all.

Yu-Gi-Oh! To Magic–A Surprising Twist

I talked it over with my resident Magic guru (aka, my boyfriend), and he was surprised at the number of Blue and Black effects I had incorporated into this deck. “In fact,” he said as he studied the list of card effects I was looking for, “Black can do a lot of this, but a Blue/Black deck would probably get all the effects you want without having to splash in other colors.”

This surprised me–I am definitely not a Blue/Black player, since I’ve always seen Blue and Black as the meanest color in Magic. But as I looked at the effects I had written down from my own self-created Yu-Gi-Oh! deck, it seemed I was hiding a tactical player underneath all my trappings of Life-Gain and high defense.

Preparing to Port Your Strategy

For Magic especially, you can find some online help for porting strategies. Online services like Gatherer work well for searching out card effects and other types of text. But it also helps to have someone else who is more familiar with the new game’s mechanics, so that together you can figure out how to translate your old favorite abilities into the new game’s language.

In my case, since Magic works around a base of five colors and you have to have mana (resources) to play each spell, strategies work out a little differently from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Here, I couldn’t just pick “the best of the best” in terms of creatures and throw together a deck–I had to make sure I’d be able to PLAY all the creatures I picked. Thus, why my boyfriend said that Blue/Black could do most of the card effects I wanted; he wanted me to have a deck that could consistently get enough mana to play what it needed.

On to part 2 of this series–The Card Hunt!

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