Recently I've become interested in playing Magic The Gathering. One of my friends, a long time player of the game, has offered me a large box with many random cards in it. He says I'm free to take whatever I like.
I know what colors I enjoy playing, so I've begun digging through hundreds of cards and keeping aside the cards that seem good to me. I'm a real beginner, and although I know how to play, it's hard for me to know which cards are good and which are bad. Some of the good cards hide their strength in subtle ways to use those cards; it's not always blatantly obvious how strong a card really is (to a beginner like me).
After taking something like 120 cards from the box in the colors I liked, I set out to make a deck from it. But it dawned on my I actually have no clue how to build a deck with completely random cards. I know a deck needs to be at least 60 cards, and you are not allowed to have more than half your deck in Land cards.
I know the very basics of deckbuilding, but usually you start with cards from the same series that are already having some kind of synergy. How can I efficiently build a deck from a box of completely random cards, spanning series from as old as 1994 to recent modern cards of 2015 and 2016?
This question is prone to receive a lot of subjective answers, so I'm looking for an answer that is complete, is written from experience rather than opinion and backs up opinion with facts or references.
What I have done so far, and I feel is inefficient:
Build a stack of 'cards that I like'
This part is the most time consuming, as I don't recognize any of the cards and I need to read what the card does, then understand if it fits my style of play. The only 'quick filter' I had was looking only at cards that matched my desired colors. How do I speed up the process of finding cards that fit my play style from a box of random cards?
Lay out the collected cards
Then I placed the cards in front of me on a table, grouped by mana curve and separated by creature cards and spells. This resulted in two rows per color, each column increasing the converted mana cost. To speed up this process, I first split my stack into new stacks per color. Then, one color at a time, I built up the rows and columns.
Apply deckbuilding basics
Now that I have a good idea of the cards I collected, I can pick the right mix of creatures and spells with a good mana cost distribution. This is the fun part of deckbuilding, and also the part I don't feel I need help with. It's also highly subjective.
I'm looking for answers that can make the first two steps more efficient and less time-consuming. In total I've spent a good 2 hours on the above and I feel I've only scraped the surface of the box 'o cards' potential...