What's Your Speed?
Magic has a huge range of speeds that you can play, each have their strengths and weaknesses. What speed will you choose?
Hyper-Aggro / Rush
Hyper-Aggro (or Rush) decks are the fastest decks in the game. They put all of their focus into hitting the opponent as hard as they can, as fast as they can. They use a lot of short term gain cards to try and get the win before the opponent has a chance to settle into the game. Hyper-Aggro is powerful, but it is an extremely risky strategy as they have a number of weaknesses. Firstly, if they are disrupted at all it can completely slow them down which can cause the deck to stall. The amount of short term gain used means they burn out really quickly, and if you haven’t won in the early game it is almost impossible to get back into it. The advantage of Hyper-Aggro though is that they have the potential to run past Mid-Range decks that slower Aggro decks might struggle against.
Aggro decks look to win the game quickly, they put their opponent on the back foot and put them under constant pressure in the early game. Aggro punishes any deck that takes time to set up, and can run straight through them before they get a chance to catch their breath. However, they do struggle against the more Mid-Range decks. Mid-Range can set up and stabilize before Aggro has stolen the win, and then the increased firepower of the Mid-Range decks can become like a wall that Aggro can struggle to get through.
A Push deck is a slower version of the Aggro deck, but designed to get past Mid-Range decks after they’ve set up. A Push deck sacrifices some of its speed for a greater consistency against the deck it most struggles against. Push is more consistent in many ways than an Aggro deck, but because it is slower it has a worse match up against Control decks than a faster deck would. Push can also find itself vulnerable to Hyper-Aggro, if Push finds itself on the back foot and under pressure from an incredibly fast deck, without the ability to stabilize like a Mid-Range deck can, it can become overwhelmed with no real way out.
A Mid-Range deck can often come out of the trap fast, but it specializes in playing big powerful creatures. The strength of the deck is that it often gets its threats out pretty fast, then takes control of the board. Mid-Range is strong against fast decks as it will more often than not set up before the Aggro decks have won, and then they stabilise (stabilising means to get off the back foot, and to stop being in danger). Mid-Range decks can suffer against slower decks such as control because they give control the time they need to get set up and get mana on the field, and control has the ability to completely halt the advance of even the toughest creatures Mid-Range can play.
Ram decks are Mid-Range decks that are designed to deal with control decks. They include tricks to let them get past control; bigger and tougher creatures that are incredibly hard to deal with, and/or different ways of winning the game. Ram decks strengthen their game against control, and have an advantage against Mid-Range decks, but they worsen their game against Aggro.
Tempo is a cross between Aggro and Control. They often play only very few creatures (usually low mana creatures). Unlike other decks that win by running in with many creatures, or playing big powerful creatures, Tempo plays only a few small creatures early on to apply pressure and protects them with their other spells. Tempo runs in fast, and can hit surprising hard, and the control side of the deck allows it to handle the hard hitting decks. Not having the same control power as a control deck, or the speed of an aggro deck, or the big mid ground creatures of the Mid-Range decks, Tempo can sometimes find itself overwhelmed by fast decks, run through by Mid-Range, or out controlled in the late game by Control decks. Tempo is adept at playing against all decks, but also has vulnerabilities to each as well.
Control decks don’t look to win until the late game. Everything they do is to keep them alive until the later stages, and then they take complete control of the battlefield. A control player will often know that they have won the game long before an opponent realises it, and can put their opponents in positions they can’t get out from. Control can also run the biggest and most powerful creatures in the game, played when they have control to finish their opponent off. Because they are slow, it makes them very vulnerable to Aggro decks that have the ability to overrun them before they have the ability to take control of the field. The early game is always the most dangerous time for a control deck.
Enjoy Your Speed
The speeds described are just rough guidelines to what they are, there to help you find out what sort of speed might suit you. Don't overthink it, because all the speeds have their own charms, and you want to try out all different speeds eventually to get the most out of the game. Like with colour and theme, there are no wrong choices here, so don't worry, you'll love whatever you decide!