Yes, I forgot to add that these are my personal preferences, and I also forgot the concept of "card advantage" from my list completely.
Anyways, I believe that there post still gives you some insight into how I personally view the game; I intend to do a similar post about deck archetypes and some examples of each next, seeing as I have experience in playing all the archetypes quite extensively. I'll also be mentioning some of my alltime favorite cards and filthy tricks with them.
EDIT: Ill just add some stuff into this here post, right now, since I feel like it.
Let's begin with the archetypes then, and for starters, I'll pull out the most classic of them all:
The Aggro Deck.
What is the idea of an Aggro deck? Well, as Eth mentioned earlier, and as it's name suggests, it is to overwhelm the opponent with one brutal and merciless assault that only ends when one of you is dead. Optimally, a proper aggro deck finishes the opponent by turn 4 or 5. When an aggro deck fails, it runs out of cards in hand around turn 2 or 3, goes into "topdeck mode" and dies. Red, green and black are traditional aggro colors, with white joining occasionally - blue rarely has been an aggro color, at least not that I know. Of course, the most famous type of aggro deck is "Sligh", and its variations; nowadays these decks go by the name "RDW", "Red Deck Wins", usually composed of cheaply-priced creatures with haste, efficient burn spells, and little regard for ones own well-being.
The recent Lorwyn-Alara era standard saw a vicious RDW variant known as "Blightning", named after Shards of Alara's infamous Blightning, a red-black sorcery that for the bargain price of 1BR caused a nice 3 damage to the target player, and on top of that forced the discard of 2 cards; it might not sound bad on paper, but often a single resolved Blightning means doom for just about any deck. The deck only got more brutal as the Alara block processed, gaining access to cards such as Hellspark Elemental, a creature that was practically a burn spell, and of course terminate, a vicious removal that can take care of most at-the-time relevant threats to Blightning. All this combined into a vicious deck that started to lay the smack on the opponent from turn 1 and only got worse from there, usually leaving the opponent dead or dying by turn 5.
As a sidenote, this particular deck was notable for being one of the few to be able to consistently defeat the dominant deck of those days, the infamous Blue-Black Faeries Control. Of course, like with everything else the players threw at it, in the end Faeries just adapted to the new threat and kept winning.
*A sample decklist of Blightning, late Lorwyn-Alara era, can be found here.
Notably, this one is Post-10th edition rotation, and thus is able to include the awesome Lightning bolt, but foregoes Terminate. Of note is Anathemancer, a card that horribly punishes the 5 color decks of the time that relied on large numbers of nonbasic lands to generate their rainbow of mana.
Another, classic type of aggro is the mono-red "Burn" deck, which is a good starter deck to assemble for a beginning MTG player: considering that the deck's most famous card, Lightning Bolt, was recently reprinted, there hasnt been a better time to gather a playset of this legend.
The traditional burn relies on little to no creatures, preferring to instead forego the combat phase completely in favor of simply blasting the opposing wizard to dust with a relentless bombardment of direct damage spells. Traditionally, the problem of burn decks is "running out of gas" - that is, quickly blasting out their opening hand, usually putting the game into a suspense-filled situation with the opponent in "burn range" of one or two more spells, and the burn player himself in topdeck mode, hoping to draw those crucial final spells to seal the deal.
*A typical burn deck would be this one.
Of note is the very small number of creatures: Only a playset of Mogg Fanatics, in itself more a burn spell than a creature! This deck really means business, and it shows. A game against this deck will likely not last long, regardless of outcome. It either wins fast, or loses fast.
There are of course several other kinds of aggro decks, not incorporating red at all. One particular deck of note is "Mono black Suicide"
, an utterly reckless deck that is designed to sacrifice just about anything to kill the opponent, and reinforces this with some of the nastiest black cards ever printed; of particular note the evil, evil, Hymn to Tourach
- a sorcery for 2 black that forces an opponent to discard 2 cards at random
. It is not unheard of that a game is virtually over by the second turn, the black player's opponent having his starting hand decimated by being forced to discard, say, all of his land cards. Other things to note are the selection of highly powerful Artifacts, the extremely powerful Dark Confidant, a 2/1 for 2 mana that lets you draw extra cards for a cheap cost of life, and of course Hypnotic Specter, the creature that originally caused Dark Ritual to disappear from the core set for a long time. Swamp, Ritual, Hypno often meant GG, unless you packed removal.
That wraps up my post about Aggro decks. Traditionally, aggro decks have been particularly powerful against Control decks, usually by being simply too fast to put under control properly - and this leads us to the second of the three archetypes, Control, which I will examine in the next post.
...Phew. That was one mammoth post. It might be helpful to someone, and I intend to make similar ones about the other 2 main decktypes. Stay tuned, and feel free to comment.
SECOND EDIT: My memory failed me regarding the Alara-era matchups. Fixed this and some other minor info, mainly for historical accuracy.
Not gone. Drifting in the flow of the world, observing.