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By Jason Alt
75% deckbuilding is a deckbuilding philosophy created by Coolstuff Inc. writer Jason Alt in 2014. It has been a weekly column on the Coolstuff Inc. website ever since.
The Main Philosophy
The purpose of 75% deckbuilding is to create decks that are appropriate for unknown metas or groups of players you do not know, such as strangers at a local game store, or an event such as a MagicFest or CommandFest. A 75% deck aims to keep up with players whose decks are on the tuned and optimized end of the spectrum, without overpowering and making the game miserable for players on the more casual end of the spectrum.
The term “75%” refers to a hypothetical sweet spot between a fully-tuned deck (here imagined to be "100% tuned") and a more casual, fun deck (an imagined "50%").
"75%" is not meant to quantitative. Referring to a deck as "80%" (or even the above example of "100% tuned") and other such numbers would be a misapplication of the term, as 75% theory does not presuppose any 'levels' of deckbuilding or power.
In late 2014, Jason Alt published an article titled “8 Simple Rules for Playing in My Commander Group". The author has referred to this article as "the article to read if you only read one article about the philosophy." The article outlines 8 guidelines to help people build with the end goal of a 75% deck in mind:
- Scalable spells help tailor your cards to the power levels of your opponents' decks.
- Always start weak and improve the deck, never weaken a better deck.
- You can skew toward power, provided you skew away from consistency.
- It is better to punish everyone equally for doing something rather than prevent someone from doing it.
- Building around a theme will keep the power level from skewing too high.
- Imposing limitations encourages creativity and promotes balance.
- Do what you need to do to protect the execution of your strategy.
- Try to vary the game experience, and build with multiple paths to victory in mind.