Use a Brainstorm Box to Build Multiple Commander Decks

tips on how to use a Brainstorm Box to help you build decks

Use a Brainstorm Box to Build Multiple Commander Decks

Building a deck all at once can be instantly satisfying, but you might not always have a few hours strung together to do it. Perhaps you have several ideas for building Commander decks, and you just can’t finish them all. Whatever the reason, I have the deck building solution for you — the Brainstorm Box! It all started when I needed a way to build multiple decks at once, but also be able to come back to them whenever I had time to spare.

The Brainstorm Box allows you to build several decks at once without having to finish any in a single session. Having your deck physically waiting for you to finish it is highly motivating. Essentially the idea is to just get started, chip away at it over time, and the deck will come. It’s a veritable field of Dream Halls waiting to happen. Here’s how the Brainstorm Box works:

Start With Your Commander

The plan for organizing Commander decks is simple. You start with a card or two that will represent your idea. Think of what you want your deck to be. If you’re inspired by your Commander, sleeve it up and toss it in the box. You can use a bundle case, long box, or any deck case that is large enough to house several Magic decks at once.

Use any kind of deck box to use as a Brainstorm Box and build deck ideas

Once you have a box dedicated toward Commander deck brainstorming, then go ahead and start breaking it up into sections. I suggest using either dividers, sleeved cards, or paper slips with notes scrawled on them. When I open my brainstorm box, I’m greeted with scrawled names that denote which sections are dedicated to my budding dreams of Commander glory.

Once you have labels and dividers set, now you can start tossing together the cards for each deck idea. You can have as many or as few cards as you want to start the deck building process. I have deck ideas with as few as 5 measly cards and others that need only five cards to finish them. The way the box helps you move toward completion is highly satisfying. Seeing your decks get built feels good.

Fill Up the Deck With Lands

A little tip for seeing added progress is to fill in the Basic Lands your deck needs so that it starts looking like a stack of cards early on. Since a Commander deck has 100 cards, there is a minimum number of Lands you would definitely need. If you’re playing mono-colour decks, then instantly you know you’ve got 34-37 Basic Lands auto-included for your Brainstorm Box. Even dual colour decks use a majority of Basic Lands (especially if you’re on a budget), so you can quickly add in 15-20 Lands right away.

Seeing a wider stack makes you more inclined to keep it going and finish it up as soon as possible. Whenever I get cards in from a mail order, or a pick up from my LGS, then I come home and drop them into their appointed slots. I don’t even need minutes to do this sort of organising.

Organise Your Ideas and Card Selection

One benefit of the brainstorm box is keeping track of your ideas in a tangible and obvious location. It helps keep ideas from getting lost in the shuffle. I try to write my deck ideas down in my brainstorming notebook, but I don’t always remember to look them back up in time to build them. I sometimes stumble across them while I’m searching for a blank page, and then I’m down the Brownie-Tribal meets Kithkin alliance rabbit hole again.

Basically, you need a place to physically keep your deck ideas while you are building them. The box helps make sure your decks have a shot of actually being finished. Forgotten deck lists do exist, and they are often buried beneath piles of paperwork. As nice as it is to unearth your Draganimation (Dragon Reanimation) deck list from 2003, it’s just a bummer to realise you never actually built it in the first place. The Brainstorm Box fixes this issue.

The Brainstorm Box functions like a brainstorm session; you put your cards (read ideas) in a deck as you go. Your decks don’t have to be finished and you don’t have to abandon your paper plans. Use them together, but also allow yourself to begin building prior to finishing your planning. The deck begins to come together in an organic and natural fashion.

Use Small Pockets of Free Time to Build

The other main function that the brainstorm box fixes for building Commander decks is the time crunch. Responsibilities intrude on our Magic time more often than not. Unfortunately, some of us may end up abandoning deck building altogether, as we never have more than an hour or two free.

Whenever we have more free time, then we’d prefer to actually be playing Magic, rather than building the deck to play the game. I get it. Not everyone has the time to build a deck from start to finish, and so we plan and plan and then forget. We pine for more time, and we may or may not get it.

If you’re able to drop a few minutes here and there, it’ll help to build your deck ever closer to its first form. I’ve built over 8 decks so far this year using the Brainstorm Box. I currently have about 12 more in various stages of completion and I’m inching closer to completing my new decks each day. When you have small amounts of time that you can utilise well, then you are able to maximize your results. We all want to maximise our free time.

End Step

Using the brainstorming box is fun. I highly suggest you try it out and start brewing those decks today. All it takes is a few scraps of paper and a spare box. This is a great way to maximise your time and efforts when you are deck building with limited free time. I know that several weeks or even a month can pass by, and I’m unable to carve out a multi-hour session for deck brewing.

However, the brainstorming box allows me to chip in a few minutes whenever I have them. I am able to build multiple decks simultaneously. I can even clean up an entire brewing session early if I have to run off somewhere. I simply scoop up the deck, toss it in the box with its brutish label attached, and I can pick it up later right where I left off.

As you finish builds it’s nice to have a checklist taped to the underside of the box to help you keep track of all your deck building accomplishments. I hope you find this useful and I know that the brainstorming box keeps me motivated and excited about deck building even when I’m crunched for time.  

Mikeal bought his first Magic cards at a garage sale in 1995 – he's still playing with the Vesuvan Doppleganger he opened that day. Magic has given him a collection, memories, and many great friendships. You can find more of his articles at

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