Another Magic: the Gathering node. Perhaps of interest to statisticians as well as diehard MtG players.
The mana curve is the idea behind the Sligh deck. While the performance of the Sligh archetype varies due to the constant rollover of tournament legal cards, the mana curve itself is applicable in the tournament environment, particularly constructed and booster draft formats, because of the swift development it allows.
The strategy behind playing a deck constructed around the mana curve is to use all your available mana every turn. The priority should be to summon creatures that will do damage to your opponent, perhaps keeping a creature removal spell in reserve. (This is antithetical to the control or counterspell strategy, and hopes to overwhelm that strategy by creating more threats than a control deck can deal with.) That done, the mana curve should allow your mob of small to medium-sized creatures to inflict sufficient damage over the first six turns to win.
Putting together a deck based on the mana curve suggests that for every 21 cards1, you have approximately:
- 7 lands,
- 6 creatures at casting cost of one (colored) mana,
- 4 creatures at casting cost of two mana (color plus one),
- 2 creatures at casting cost of three mana (color plus two),
- 1 creature at casting cost of four mana (color plus three or two color plus two),
- 1 mass damage or direct damage spell at variable casting cost of one or two plus X mana.
Of course, you cannot have only 21 cards in your deck. Simply scale up the proportions to the minimum number of cards allowed for the format in which you are playing.