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10 Tips to Beat "Treasure Constructed" Format in Magic: The Gathering

Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

How to Play Treasure Constructed Format in MTG Arena

You can play treasure constructed (TC) format in person, but you'll most likely see it as a special event in Magic's official online Arena game. Treasure constructed functions similarly to standard—up to four copies of a card, 60 cards total, etc., but players will automatically receive a treasure token at the start of their turns. At any time, you can tap and sacrifice them for one mana of any color per forfeited token.

Essentially, this hastens games and makes it much easier to cast high-cost spells, making it a fun and fast-paced playstyle. But don't make the mistake of bringing your regular deck as is—here are 10 tips to help conquer treasure constructed format in Magic: The Gathering!

Treasure Token mtg

Treasure Token mtg

1. Include Fewer Lands in Your Deck

60-card decks generally run around 24 mana-producing lands, but since this format offers a wealth of treasures with the same function, you should include less in your deck. You'll still want some for your first few rounds, but the idea is to draw fewer in the late game, where you'll be wanting to score spells, not redundant mana.

Try experimenting with 14-18 lands to see what works for you. You'll also want some that can tap for numerous colors because...

Crime/Punishment mtg

Crime/Punishment mtg

2. Use Multiple Colors

Generally, it's hazardous to incorporate all five colors in a standard deck since you run the risk of drawing the wrong land types for your spells. But since treasure tokens can tap for any color, this rarely presents an issue, especially if your colored cards have at least a few colorless slots to accept any mana type.

Thus, TC provides a prime chance to blend the best members of three, four, or even five different factions.

Costly Plunder mtg

Costly Plunder mtg

3. Include Extra-Draws

Thanks to your tokens, ramping should be pretty easy—ensure you have something to spend your resources on by incorporating spells or abilities that draw additional cards. Blue and black offer several, and some creatures can draw as they enter the fray.

In the event I recently played, the artifact "Arcane Encyclopedia" proved a prime resource, as it can spend three mana and tap for an extra draw, an excellent way to consistently stock your hand throughout the match. Black's instant-speed "Costly Plunder" can also sac a token for an easy two cards.

Karn, Scion of Urza mtg

Karn, Scion of Urza mtg

4. Take Advantage of Artifact-Dependent Cards

Remember that each treasure token counts as an artifact, strengthening any relic-dependent effects you employ. You're not casting the tokens, so "whenever you cast an artifact" abilities don't apply, but spells that merely require you control the artifacts do.

For instance, I encountered a savvy opponent running the planeswalker "Karn, Scion of Urza." Not only is Karn a good card in general, but his -2 loyalty ability creates a token that gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control—perfectly exploiting your treasures without having to expend them.

Banefire mtg

Banefire mtg

5. Use High-Cost Spells

Even if you include fewer lands, you'll still be obtaining more mana than usual with your constant stream of tokens. Thus, be sure to saturate your deck with additional high-end spells to make use of your boosted reservoir.

Again, that's not to say you shouldn't include any early-game plays, just fewer. Spells with optional kicker prices or with a variable X cost also work well, as they can adjust to suit your current mana production.

Zegana, Utopian Speaker mtg

Zegana, Utopian Speaker mtg

6. Include Activated Abilities

In a similar vein, be sure to utilize cards with activated traits. Often, these are creatures that are cheap to cast, but require a hefty effect-activation sum—yet your treasure tokens can meet the price. Whether you're utilizing extra draws on cards like "Mystic Archaeologist" or adapt effects to gain +1/+1 counters, these help ensure you always have an outlet for your resources, and many can be triggered multiple times in the same turn.

River's Rebuke mtg

River's Rebuke mtg

7. Use Mass Removals

Removals often take the form of low-cost single-target spells, or high-cost field-wipes. In treasure constructed, opt for the latter; you'll have more mana to spend and your opponent's area will quickly fill with vermin to exterminate.

Bonus points if your spells leave your own area unscathed or remove opposing treasures. For instance, the blue sorcery "River's Rebuke" bounces all enemy non-land permanents back to a player's hand. This includes treasures, which (like other tokens) can't exist in the hand, and are simply removed from play.

Your opponent can potentially tap their treasures for mana in response, but if they don't have an instant effect available, they'll not only have to recast their permanents, but lose any treasures they possessed.

An event's prize list in MTG Arena

An event's prize list in MTG Arena

8. Restart if You Lose Your First Match

Like most Arena events, you'll gain rewards in TC based on how many wins you accumulate before losing a certain number of games. So if your opponent beats you in your initial match, you might as well resign and restart, giving yourself more leeway for a future loss once you've already notched some wins.

But only do this if the event is free to enter; some require coins and gems as an entrance fee. Still, whenever an unrestricted event arises, your only limit is time—give yourself the best opportunity for top-tier rewards by starting with a clean slate if your first match goes astray.

Wildcards can duplicate any card you already possess

Wildcards can duplicate any card you already possess

9. Login Periodically for Coins and Cards

If the Arena currently features a pay-to-play TC event (or any other type), you don't have to necessarily shell out real money to enter; you can collect coins simply by completing daily and weekly missions. If you do well enough in the actual event, you'll likely earn your entrance fee back, although I'll warn you that competition is fierce until you've expanded your card collection.

To help cover any costs, simply login periodically throughout the week and score your daily/weekly bonuses. These are by far the best way to collect cards and coins without spending real money, and they'll help you take advantage of any events before they disappear.

An opening hand mtg

An opening hand mtg

10. Don't Mulligan

Okay, maybe you'll occasionally see an abysmal hand where you have no choice but to mulligan (redrawing your cards with one fewer), but this is rare in TC. In standard play, if you only have high-end spells in hand, you'll likely mulligan in the hopes of nabbing lower-cost spells. But with the same hand in TC, you'll quickly afford those expensive aces with your treasure tokens, making the mulligan less attractive.

Ideally, you'll still have 1-3 lands in your initial hand, so it might be worth a mulligan if you lack any, but in general, it's wise to keep your set—card advantage especially matters in TC. It's also nice when you go first, giving a slight lead in treasure tokens, though you won't have control over this randomly-determined mechanic.

Treasure Constructed Review

Although it comes and goes, I always sign up for treasure constructed when possible. Not only are the games fast and furious, I find my win ratio higher than normal, as many players are still adjusting to the added mana rates.

With today's tips in hand, you're well-armed to conquer the next treasure event. But for now, as we await more of Arena's special playstyles, share your experiences with TC format and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill