Next Level Deckbuilding Sneak Peek: The Sixteen Archetypes Of Magic

In this preview of Next Level Deckbuilding, Patrick Chapin identifies the sixteen archetypes of Magic and breaks down Red Aggro. Check it out!


There are four basic types of strategies in Magic: The Gathering.

  • Aggro
  • Midrange
  • Control
  • Combo

These strategies are further divided into sixteen major archetypes with properties that are a function of where they fall of the archetype wheel. Sometimes decks will contain elements of more than one of these major archetypes, but in general decks are primarily aligned to one of these archetypes. Understanding each of the major archetypes helps us not only build new decks of these types but also beat them. Each of these major archetypes has underlying themes that are consistent whether built today or many years ago.

Next Level Deckbuilding takes an in-depth look at each of these archetypes, covering everything we need to know to gain mastery of the strategy, including:

  • What are the properties of the archetype?
  • What is the history of this strategy?
  • What are the most notable examples of the strategy?
  • How do we build this kind of deck?
  • How do we beat it?
  • How does this strategy interact with the other strategies?
  • What are traps to avoid when building this kind of deck?
  • How likely is this strategy to be viable today?
  • Plus quite a few interesting stories from over the years and more!

Today we have a segment from one of the major archetype sections of Next Level Deckbuilding, Red Aggro:

In addition to a lot more discussion on Red Aggro decks, Next Level Deckbuilding covers all sixteen major archetypes in Magic: The Gathering. Each archetype is explored in its own extensive chapter, giving you a complete training course in each style of play.

  • Red Aggro
  • Linear Aggro
  • Swarm
  • Fish/Suicide Black
  • The Rock/PT Junk
  • Pure Midrange
  • Non-Blue Control
  • Aggro-Control
  • Tap-Out Control
  • Draw-Go
  • Lock
  • Combo-Control
  • Big Spell Combo
  • Traditional Combo
  • Lava Spike

Next Level Deckbuilding lays out all sixteen major archetypes in an easy to use and understand fashion that’s perfect whether you’re new to tournament Magic and looking to understand the decks people play or you’re already very strong in several of the schools of Magic and looking to become a master in them all. Even when we specialize in a particular type of strategy, Next Level Deckbuilding is invaluable for giving us the tools to better understand every possible opponent as well as expand our own game.

Next Level Deckbuilding is designed to be reread, with layers upon layers of material, so that when we return to it after a few months there is new meaning and new insights. Whether you’re primarily an FNM or Commander player or if you’ve already won your first PTQ, Next Level Deckbuilding is the most powerful tool available for leveling up in Magic deckbuilding. Build better decks and you will win more and have more fun.

Join me here tomorrow for another sneak preview from Next Level Deckbuilding, the ultimate guide to mastering deckbuilding in Magic: The Gathering!

Patrick Chapin
“The Innovator”

Patrick Chapin is a rare Magic player. There are a few players that have a strong grasp of Magic theory. These are the players that are able to build the decks we all play. There are the very elite, the very top players in Magic. They are the ones you will find making money playing tournaments. Then there are very few that can explain how to play the game, to explain it so that it is easy to understand. These are the ones that write books. Chapin is able to do all three.” -Magic Writer/Theorist Eric D. Taylor

“Patrick is one of the most successful creative deckbuilders and players in the history of Magic. Many people can say how to find the best decks on the net and make routine strong plays. Many other players can say how to make different plays or unique decks. He is one of the few to explain how to make the strong but innovative deck or play. His imaginative plays not only make one better at the game but are also highly enjoyable.” -Wizards R&D Member Erik Lauer

“I just want to personally thank you for your book Next Level Magic and the wisdom and strategy I have learned from it. I had a dismal 1506 DCI Rating after 66 matches, but after reading your book for the last week, I just reached my first Top 8 last night in my local Friday Night Magic. The only thing that has changed is my mindset learned from Next Level Magic. Thank you once again, and I look forward to reading more of your book and SCG articles in the future.” -James Martin

“I am right now making my way through your book and find it really inspiring. I’m almost halfway through and have only played a couple of tournaments since I began, but I feel myself already able to see where the principles you’re stressing are coming into play. I’ve been playing slower, focusing on the games and decisions I’m making. In short, at long last after ten-plus years of Magic, it is my goal to play perfectly. And it feels so right. I thank you for your brilliance in bringing this to light, simple as it is . . .

. . . Thank you! I read Next Level Magic last year. It changed my perspective on the game and gave me what I feel is the extra edge that separates doing consistently well from consistently better.” –Jon Kornacki (before and after winning SCG Standard Open: Las Vegas)

Next Level Deckbuilding