I'm more of the dueler type, but sometimes I play multiplayer with my friends. At this point my decks are just not viable.

I want to build a multiplayer deck for this purpose. When I check online multiplayer decklists I see a lot of 1 or 2 singles of the same cards in a heavely not consistent deck rather then lots of 4 of making a solid and constant deck. Is there a reason for that?

Also, I would like to build a life-gain/control deck. is it possible for a fun deck to play in multiplayer? If yes, I would be glad to have some ideas from experienced multiplayer players.

Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    Extort. In multiplayer 1 manna can net you as much life as there are opponents. It is brutal in multiplayer. I built a great 90 card extort/anti-creature deck and when I play it in my group of 5, it always ends up feeling like a game of Arch enemy.
    – Pow-Ian
    Oct 31, 2013 at 14:22
  • @Pow-Ian Ditto, Gray Merchant.
    – Alex P
    Oct 31, 2013 at 17:49
  • If you want to start your own research: gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/…
    – Hackworth
    Oct 31, 2013 at 18:43
  • gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/… Is great in a multiplayer deck. I have 4 of those in mine, and it will give loads and loads of lifegain. My multiplayer deck is mono black, with loads of all players sacrefice creatures and then Exsanguinate.
    – Lyrion
    Nov 4, 2013 at 8:13

2 Answers 2


There are a couple main reasons you might see a lot of multiplayer decks with 1 or 2 of each card.

First and foremost, multiplayer is a pretty casual format, so people are playing with the cards they own, and trying not to spend all their money. They probably only have 1 or 2 of a lot of cards, so they're just building the deck they can build.

Along with that, casual games tend to be about fun, not just winning, and a lot of people do like the excitement and variety of having a lot of different cards. There's something to be said for getting to cast a bunch of different spells, even if they're not quite as good as the 4-ofs you might put in the deck if you wanted to perfect it. People obviously really like this; Commander is getting pretty popular, and the entire format is built around the idea of having only one of each card.

As for your specific deck idea, sure, it's possible!

First of all, remember, lifegain is in general a weaker mechanic than it seems at first, because unless you actually deal with the things that keep making your life go down, it only buys you a little time. So you really need to make it count - find the most efficient life gain you can. This means both getting the most life you can out of it, and hopefully getting an extra benefit. Happily, extort and Gray Merchant (mentioned in the comments) do both. They gain life for each opponent, so lots of lifegain. But they also drain your opponent, and give you an extra creature. (Or in the case of Blind Obedience, slow down aggro decks.)

Depending on your constraints (and your collection) there are probably a lot more cards in that vein - try searching for "each opponent" gain life or even just "gain life equal to", and you'll find some more potential candidates.

Beyond that, it does depend on the kinds of decks your friends play. If you're surviving to the late game but still losing, maybe you just need better win conditions. If you're getting killed early before you can get your cool stuff online, maybe you need some faster removal, or in general faster answers to the kinds of things they're trying to do. The control side of your deck needs to be strong and efficient too, not just the lifegain. But it's hard to give terribly specific advice here; we don't know what kind of decks you're playing against, or what kind of cards you have at your disposal. I think about the best general advice is to look at what's killing you and figure out ways to address it efficiently.

  • There's another reason why multiplayer decks have more 1 and 2 of cards - they need to be more toolboxy to play across multiple different strategies at the same time, and multiplayer games are usually best of one, not best of three, so that toolbox needs to be in the maindeck, no taking out your anti-aggro cards for game 2 when playing against control like you get in best of 3 one on one.
    – Andrew
    Jun 10, 2021 at 16:58

Life gain as a deck idea works better in multiplayer than it works one on one in a lot of ways, because there are many cards that drain each opponent of life, cards like Exsanguinate or Gray Merchant of Asphodel take life from each opponent in sometimes very large amounts and give it all to you, cards like Soul Warden and Deathgreeter get more to trigger from, as more players play more creatures, and the more creatures there are, the more that will die during a game. The extort mechanic on cards like Pontiff of Blight also lets you bleed your opponents slowly, paying a little extra for your spells to steal life.

Just gaining life though tends to have little use as Cascabel said, it's a delaying tactic more often than not, you have to make use of that life gained. Some cards can be cast with life as part of the cost, like Snuff Out or very recently Aetherflux Reservoir which has been used as a win condition competitively, and cards like Phyrexian Arena and Dark Confidant let you spend that life for card advantage. The act of gaining life itself can be made use of in some cases, by using cards like Cradle of Vitality or Archangel of Thune to strengthen creatures, or Well of Lost Dreams for draw. Having a high life total can also power cards like Serra Ascendant or even act as a win condition directly with Felidar Sovereign

The best use of lifegain though is generally to make your opponents lose more life. Cliffhaven Vampire, Defiant Bloodlord, Epicure of Blood, Sanguine Bond and Vizkopa Guildmage can all cause your opponents to lose more life, one life per gain in some cases or as much as was gained in others. Any of these effects combined with Exquisite Blood win you the game, with life loss on your opponents triggering life gain for you creating the cycle until they are all dead. Tainted Sigil can be a much more limited version of this, since it sacrifices to trigger.

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