The Deck of Many Things - Illustration by Volkan Baga

The Deck of Many Things | Illustration by Volkan Baga

Being a paper Magic player can involve a lot of moving pieces. You have your collection, likely stored in a mixture of binders and boxes, your decks that are put together in deck protectors of some kind, and possibly some sealed or framed collector’s items. For example, My Ponies: The Galloping cards are currently on a shelf in their original packaging. Keeping track of what cards are where can be a huge hassle, especially when it comes time to put a new deck together.

Apart from physical collections, a lot of us also have MTGO or MTGA collections that can often get jumbled. I can’t tell you how many times I frantically searched through all my paper cards until I remembered that the card I was looking for was one I only owned online. If you’re like me and need a better way to organize your cards, Decked Builder is probably right for you.

Decked Builder is kind of an all-in-one app for Magic players that helps with building decks and managing collections. Today I’m going to give you a little background on the app to help you get started. Let’s get into it!

What Is Decked Builder?

Stoic Builder - Illustration by Howard Lyon

Stoic Builder | Illustration by Howard Lyon

Decked Builder is a mobile app designed for building, analyzing, and playtesting decks. Once you’ve put your deck together, you can buy it directly from the app. It also has tools for organizing and cataloging your collection.

How to Get the App

Decked Builder is available on the App Store, Google Play, and Windows. The Windows version of the software is free, but I’d recommend the mobile version if you’re looking to make extensive use of the Card Cam, which costs $3.99 on the App Store and Google Play. You’ll need to download Decked Builder HD, which costs $5.99 on the App Store.

Step 1: App Permissions

Step 1: Allowing Decked Builder to access photos and media

When you first open Decked Builder it asks for permission to access some of your phone's files. Click “Allow” to get full access to all features.

Step 2 (Android Only): Find Old Decks

Step 2 (Android Only): Find Old Decks

Android users will get a pop-up explaining that the default file storage location has changed. If you previously used Decked Builder and are upgrading to a new version of Android can click “Find Old Decks” to help find your .dec files. If you’re new to the app click “OK” or “Don’t Show Again.”

Step 3: Update Card Database

Click the gear cog in the bottom left

1. When you open the deckbuilder section of the app for the first time you’ll get pop-up letting you know you need to update your card database. Click the gear icon on the bottom right of the app to open the Settings page.

Click the “Update Card Database” option.

2. Click the “Update Card Database” option.

Update Database button under newsletter offer

3. Here you can sign up for Decked Builder’s newsletter and find some info on what’s recently been added. Click the grey “Update Database” button and you’re all set to start building decks!

Step 4: Camera Permission

You need to give Decked Builder access to your device’s camera to use the card cam feature. Click “While using the app” to avoid having the app run the camera in the background while you’re not using it.

The Card Cam

Decked Builder’s card cam allows you to take pictures of your cards and add them to your digital collection. You need to select which sets you’re scanning cards from, and then individually take pictures of each card using the cam. While it needs a little more set up than other card cams, I find it to be more reliable than the TCGPlayer camera. I tested it with one of the hardest types of cards to scan, a pringled foil card, and it worked perfectly.

I advise laying your cards on a flat surface with a solid color for a background for best results. It’s also best to double-check your scans because the card cam doesn’t say if it didn’t recognize your card and just gives you its closest approximation.

How to Import Your Collection

There are several ways to import your collection to Decked Builder.

One way to go about importing your collection is by scanning your cards individually with the card cam feature, as mentioned. This can be a pretty quick process if your collection is organized by set since you can quickly select which set you’re scanning, stack your cards up, and then scan them in one by one.

If you already have your collection stored somewhere digitally and want to have it on Decked Builder then you can upload .dec files. The app is connected to Dropbox so you can sync your collection across all devices.

How to Test Your Deck

Once you’ve built a deck on the app, go to the dropdown menu on the top right corner and select “Test Deck.” You’ll then get a sample hand from your new deck. You can move cards from your hand onto the battlefield or into the graveyard and draw more cards from your deck.

This is a very helpful feature since you no longer have to sleeve up an entire deck, test a few hands, and then unsleeve cards to make changes. You can run through a variety of test hands and then quickly insert new cards or take some out and see the new results.

This feature is also perfect for players learning to draft. Scan in the cards you’re planning to use for your deck during deck construction. You can then test out a few hands and see how it goes.

If you want to switch gears just scan different cards and try again. This way you don’t waste time putting cards in and out of sleeves, and don’t feel pressured to stick with a potentially bad build for the sake of time.

Additional Tips

Adding Lands

Instead of manually adding lands, Decked Builder has a tool that suggests the appropriate number of lands for your deck. Open the dropdown menu and select “Add Lands.” There’s a slider that allows you to adjust what percentage of your deck you want to have land cards take up. The app then automatically suggests a number of each land type based on how much each color is represented in the deck.

This is one of several features that makes drafting way more accessible for players who are trying it for the first time. Instead of wasting a ton of deck construction time deciding how much of each land you should put in, the app can help make that decision for you.

Organizing Your Collection

My card collection is spread between a couple storage boxes and a few binders. To help me with deckbuilding I decided to make “decks” on Decked Builder named things like “Red Binder” and “Dragon’s Maze Box.” I scanned the cards into the appropriate deck based on where I stored them.

Now I can quickly see which card is where when I go to build a deck in real life instead of having to rifle through my whole collection.

All Cards Vs. Unique Cards

Decked Builder allows you to search all versions of a card when creating a deck, or just for unique cards. Searching for unique cards is a streamlined process that helps you construct decks more quickly.

For example, let’s say you want to look at every card with infect. You can just search “infect” and you’ll see one entry for each unique card with it.

You can also search all cards. This allows you to see various versions and treatments of a specific card. This can be very helpful for comparing prices between different versions of cards when it comes to putting together a deck to buy.

Wrap Up

Patient Rebuilding - Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Patient Rebuilding | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Decked Builder is a great multi-tool for any Magic player. I’ve really enjoyed how it helps with organizing my collection, and I’d definitely recommend it to players who are looking to get into drafting.

Do you think Decked Builder is right for you? What features would you like to see in future updates? Let me know in the comments below or on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next one!

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