I've been playing Magic casually for almost half a year now, mostly in the multiplayer Commander format. Regularly, I hear people talk about the power levels of decks. Especially when I'm playing with someone new, they ask me "what power level are we playing?" My response usually is something like "I don't know".
After asking around and looking online, I've learned the following details—please correct me if I'm wrong.
I've heard a couple parameters so far that influence the power level of a deck:
- the amount of win conditions (e.g. bomb cards, infinite combos)
- the ease of manipulating chances to play those win conditions (e.g. tutor cards)
- flexibility in removing threats from opponents (e.g. single target removal, and the ease of having them in hand when needed)
- having certain staple land and mana cards
So far this has been helpful, but whenever I ask how exactly they come to the conclusion of their deck's power level, I usually receive a shrug and/or blank stare (or find articles that beat around the bush). I've asked multiple people at different gamestores, but found no clear reasoning so far, so I get the sense it's more of a gut feeling than a clear calculation.
Is there a tier system of some sort? If possible, I would like to see clear and concrete pointers for how to calculate the power level of any deck. If this is ultimately a gut feeling based on certain parameters, a guide for rating my decks with this gut feeling is much appreciated.
For clarity, an example might work. Let's say I have Samut, Voice of Dissent as my commander. The primary win condition is smashing face for commander damage, making her stronger with equipments and auras, with the help of some big trampling creatures. There's quite some ramping options, but there's hardly any card draw in the deck. There's one potential infinite combo in there with Godo, Bandit Warlord and Helm of the Host, and about four removal cards for dealing with threats from creatures, enchantments or artifacts. The deck contains a couple of land fetchers (such as Renegade Map, Traveler's Amulet, but no tutor cards.
In case it matters for answering this question, I'm mostly interested in:
- casual play (winning is not my main goal)