Theory and Design of MTG (Week 2): Deck Construction and Card Advantage


Syllabus Description: The two basic activities in Magic are playing the game and building decks to play with. Having learned how to play and gained some insight into the theory of playing, we will discuss the basic concepts behind deck construction and the types of decks.

An important Magic-specific theory discovered is “card advantage,” a method of gauging how effective cards and particular plays are compared to an opponent’s. Another idea is “tempo,” (present also in chess) or how quickly a deck is able to act. These concepts have been broadly applied in several other playing card games and are methods of determining short-term and long-term rewards, and resource management and allocation.

We also talk about how our first lecture went and a thousand side-conversations that make this way too long.

Slides are at:

and far more information at

Tom can be reached at tmedina1 at

Kevin can be reached at kkleung at