One thing a lot of people ask me is when and how to jump from one format to the next and start to build a deck for it. I can’t claim that there is any one right way for time, I can take you through my process, which I think it more helpful than some kind of vacuum world.

So the way to start this is to see where I am. I play RUG Delver, it’s a pretty stock list and I have a ton of options for my sideboard. Sometimes I try to play UR Delver but mostly I like access to Ancient Grudge, Nimble Mongoose, Tarmogoyf and Destructive Revelry. Preferences aside, It doesn’t really matter what deck you wanna play, you just need to know if your deck is gonna have Wasteland, Force of Will, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Karakas, Show and Tell, or some other expensive cards you aren’t currently playing in Modern and Standard.

About 4 months after I started playing Magic again in 2012 I decided I wanted to play Modern. At that point I was Just getting serious about Standard. I had RB Zombies built and was doing quite good in the Delver riddled Innistrad/Scars M12 Standard. I had just started looking into decks in Modern. This can be a totally daunting task. Standard, Modern and Legacy are all just so vastly different. When you look at a new format it’s easy to be like, “Why is that card in this deck?” or Even “WHAT DOES THAT CARD DO?” There’s a learning curve to new formats, so I understand it can be hard to evaluate what is the deck you want to end up playing. My choice was pretty easy. M13 had releases a new Merfolk lord into the eternal formats. Master of the Pearl Trident was brand new and it was just asking to be combined with the rest of his Islandwalking buds. I played Merfolk back in Extended during the Summer of Trix. Plenty of pros were vocal about it being a contender in Modern and Legacy. It seemed like I had my choice made for my first format jump. This turned out great as I was able to port into my legacy deck with a relative amount of ease as well.

I wasn’t ready to just sell all my Standard cards so I could play Modern. So I took my standard deck and it’s sideboard cards and I put them aside. I went to my store (Twenty Sided Store) and I talked with the owner about Modern and justreally wanted to make sure that Modern was something I wanted to do. I was concerned then, because there wasn’t really any venue for Modern to be played. PTQs and Grand Prixs happened but there was nothing weekly. Modern was not looking like a great investment. I spoke with the owner and he assured me that Modern was on the rise and thanks to players like me that just came back the game had a resurgence.

SO I sold my stuff to the store. Not the best or highest EV way to get into Modern but I’d only been playing for 4 months. I had enough to get a pretty solid portion of the deck. Over the next few months I traded and grinded Standard trading off my stuff as I remained competitive locally in Limited as well. By January was was ready for Modern!

Legacy took a bit longer, but I was able to port my Modern deck right into Legacy. Eventually, I traded a deck for some Wastelands. I friend of mine had a set and wanted to play Standard. That’s how I got over that hump. I bought 3 of my 4 Force of Wills. One was given to me by the lovely Dylan Hiester as a Christmas gift.

So… Merfolk was fun but it wasn’t really giving me the “Legacy” feel. I wanted to cast Brainstorm and make decisions that didn’t just involve turn my dudes sideways. I started playing Delver. UR with Steam Vents, just to get a feel for the deck. Soon Dylan Hiester once again came to my rescue and let me borrow some Volcanic Islands. As I learned UR I thoguth about whether I wanted to go with Stoneforge Mystics and Tundras or Tropical Islands and Tarmogoyfs. I settled on green largely because I was about to find Tropical Islands on the cheap and I had a few friends that let me borrow their Goyfs. I was playing a fully functional Tier 1 deck, but I only owned maybe half of the value. I thought of this as a sort of Lay away. I used my winnings with the deck to purchase parts of it.

Fast forward to now. I have (and own) everything in the deck. The Merfolk deck went to my friend, who was thinking about diving into legacy. I guess the best way to move into an older format is to have a plan and to be patient. Just like Building decks in standard, building decks in Modern and legacy take some time. Remember that since they are eternal formats you don’t have to go superfast, they will likely still be relevant in 2 months.


Zac Clark


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