Saturday, 29 December 2018

Ramp & Burn


very strong, but not in all situations. For example, Mother of Runes is awesome on defense, but her offensive capabilities require another creature. This made deck building both interesting and rewarding. Combining card combinations to accomplish a particular strategy took a real understanding into the game. Today’s deck, while rather simple, does these things to try and win the game. Let’s check it out, as we dive into Ramp & Burn.

As the deck name implies, R&B’s got a rather simple strategy – ramp your mana and burn your opponent to death. Tinder Wall symbolizes this strategy to a tee, as it both ramps and burns. This strategy-synergy is a great introduction into why it is so amazing in the deck and how the two seemingly opposite strategies can work so well together.

Probably the other best example where both strategies are evident within a single card would be Orcish Lumberjack. Despite setting you back a land drop, Lumberjack can ramp you into an amazing tempo advantage. The other important thing to note is that Lumberjack allows you to create two mana-types with a single land, so it adds some serious versatility to your plays.

The last ‘ramp’ card I want to talk about is very versatile in its own right, although its strategy is not the same as the latter two. Werebear is amazing because it ramps your mana when you want but then can also attack with some muscle. Despite being in a ‘burn’ style deck, being able to attack with a low-CMC 4/4 is nothing to ignore. Just ask the opponent.

We’ve talked about the mana-tempo advantage, but just what are we ramping towards? Your popular Lightning-type spells are an obvious answer, so let’s dig a bit and see what else this deck wants to play. Fire Imp is important because not only is it a somewhat aggro creature, but it helps replace the direct damage cards with creature removal. There was actually some debate about whether to include the Imp or not, but its CMC works so well with both Lumberjack and Timber that it was decided to have a place in the deck.

Another card that combines very nicely with R&B’s ramping is Kaervek’s Torch – a lesser known X-damage spell that has seemingly been lost to today’s player. So why is Torch so good? Being un-counterable certainly helps; particularly when one has ramped the mana necessary to destroy the opponent. Seriously, this is an awesome card.

One Rancor in the deck allows Birds and company to damage the opponent and its graveyard shenanigans help protect it; thus the one card and the short paragraph. Short and sweet.

When building the deck, I had begun by looking at some obviously damage-y creatures such as Kird Ape and Granger Guildmage. I think you should always try to keep to the theme of a deck however, and they were simply aggro cards that did not contribute to the win style that had been chosen in the deck. They are certainly cards to keep in mind however. Happy Brewing!



Ramp & Burn

Land

4 Mountain
4 Forest
1 Karplusan Forest
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Wasteland

Total: 21

Creatures

4 Tinder Wall
4 Orcish Lumberjack
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Werebear
1 Llanowar Elves
4 Fire Imp
4 Erhnam Djinn

Total: 25

Spells

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Kaervek’s Torch
2 Price of Glory

Total: 14

Sideboard

Total: 15

4 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroblast
2 Pyroclasm
2 Naturalize
1 Stone Rain
2 Ensnaring Bridge

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Show Some Humility Please


Hey everyone, today we are going to be looking at a deck where ‘complicated’ becomes your ally. With the linchpin being known as a judge’s nightmare, today’s cards look to use that to your advantage and have your opponent cry as their giant army gets reduced to ants. Yes indeed, today’s deck might just have you shouting – Show Some Humility, Please.

Now it may seem obvious, but we should probably take a look at SSHP’s namesake card – Humility. What’s that thing do? Go read/re-read/ponder the card and its presence once it hits the board. I don’t even really understand its nuances – but what I DO know is that manlands don’t shrink. Oh, and your Meddlers do their thing provided they are played post-enchantment. Are there other aspects you should know? Yeah probably, but I wouldn’t know which to mention.

The man lands should seem pretty obvious, but I do want to point your attention to Kjeldoran Outpost. This was once a power house card in MtG, and despite its Wasteland-target ass, the card can be really awesome. This is particularly true when creatures tend to be 1/1, and you have a land that gives you a 1/1 army to destroy your opponent.

It seems as though the 1x card choices in a deck are the interesting ones, so I thought I’d explain the Vapor. Essentially, the card acts as both Hum-protection and possible threat/nuisance removal should you want it. It’s also worth noting that should you play it on your own card, you can sac a land (recommend non-manlands) and bounce other cards as well. Pretty sweet, eh? SSHP has some neat plays when you learn how it works.

The decision to go with Teferi’s Moat rather than the original [Moat] were because its only works against the opponent. With SSHP using so many manlands/creatures that can’t levitate their asses over Moat, it seemed prudent to try and rely on just your Conclaves to win the game on their own. It got relegated to the side board in this version, but putting it in the main deck certainly has its validity. Happy Brewing!



Show Some Humility Please

Land

4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Tundra
4 Plateau
4 Faerie Conclave
4 Ghitu Encampment
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
4 Wasteland

Total: 25

Creatures:

4 Meddling Mage

Total: 4

Spells

4 Humility
4 Fire // Ice
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Chain of Vapor
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
1 Replenish
1 Wrath of God
4 Force of Will


Total: 31

Sideboard

1 Teferi’s Moat
4 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Pyroblast
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroclasm
1 Aegis of Honor
1 Misdirection
2 Disenchant

Monday, 15 October 2018

Peek-A-Boo


Hey guys, I apologize about the post regularity these days - been a bit busy with work, but that doesn’t mean I’ve quit writing. On the bright side, I do have a deck done and I wanted to keep it on theme with this month’s spooky traditions. I actually wrote down the idea/strategy some time past, but didn’t really concentrate on it. Well, that was the case anyway.. Peek-A-Boo!

Let’s start with the general Peek-A-Boo strategy, shall we? As you might notice with the creature list, we don’t mind our ghouls and ghosts going to the graveyard. I’d like to point out that it’d be more accurate to say they are just stopping by really, as a good number plan on reanimation and hitting the opponent whenever they get an opportunity.

Another point to mention about our undead army is that none of these creatures are very large, so good creature removal against the opponent is required to cut a path to their hit points. Grave Pact is amazing here, as the opponent has some hard choices to make. With their x/1 butts, blocking likely means the opponent loses 2-1 on creatures – and that’s not including the undead shenanigans that our creatures can do.

Alright, so I hear what you’re saying – we get it, the creatures are undead, but how do we take advantage? Strongarm Tactics, Bottomless Pit and Winds of Change would like a talk with you. Each of these cards can be used to help you generate card advantage via your creatures. Earsplitting Rats and Mindslicer are also great, as they are also just creatures on their own. Phyrexian Tower is amazing in this deck as well.

Considerations. Megrim and The Rack were both considered cards, however they do nothing on their own which is why they were cut; the reason being that creatures can at least do things on their own. Originally Peek had 4 Bottomless Pit, but it was decided that the non-choice discard aspect wasn’t worth other copies so decided on an Arena. The end result remains the same: card advantage. Arena combines with creature recursion to add to this. Oh, and Marsh Crocodile could be awesome. Choose your own version. Happy [cauldron] Brewing!


Peek-A-Boo


Land

8 Swamp
4 Badlands
4 Fetchlands
4 Wasteland
1 Phyrexian Tower

Total: 21

Creatures

2 Ichorid
4 Ashen Ghoul
4 Nether Shadow
4 Mindslicer
4 Krovikan Horror
1 Earsplitting Rats

Total: 19

Spells

4 Dark Ritual
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Bottomless Pit
1 Bad Moon
2 Grave Pact
1 Strongarm Tactics
1 Winds of Change
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Innocent Blood
4 Hymn to Tourach

Total: 20

Sideboard:

4 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Shatter
2 Pyroblast
1 Terminate
4 Duress
2 Pyroclasm

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Mono G Zoo


Welcome to perhaps the least orderly deck on the website. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do when deck building involves deciding what to cut. There are so many valid card choices in Ancient; why should you have to choose?? Today I decided to say screw it, and tried to incorporate some hard decision cards as 2x and singletons. Sound wild? Welcome to the Mono G Zoo!

In a deck with some hard choices, the 4x Scryb Sprites and Treetop Scouts were a pretty easy decision.  Neither one can be blocked by land-bound creatures, which directly correlates to what you want to do. At 1 CMC each, you obviously want to land these T1 so they can start crashing into your opponent. Those little hits can really start to do some damage.

Now obviously 1 damage dudes aren’t going to win the game on their own – you want to make them stronger! When you take a gander at the pump spells, then one might start to understand the main plan (not that it was hard to do..). The only one here that I think might warrant some explanation is Invigorate. Is the +1/+1 really worth not paying the CMC? When you pair it with Berserk then the answer is pretty obvious – darn right!

Another creature I thought might warrant an explanation were the Sylvans. Olle might not really seem like an aggro kinda guy, but he can save a game-winning creature swing when it counts. He can also attract removal attention on his own, since your opponent’s probably don’t want to play around him when the game could be on the line. This was a personal choice, and I could certainly see an argument against them.

There were so many creatures that I had considered, that just didn’t make the cut. Nimble Mongoose might warrant some serious consideration, but I chose not to include them because you can’t pump their damage once they have shroud. I’d also considered creatures such as Wild Dogs and Ghazban Ogre, but decided not to incorporate them as 1x creatures. A play set might be worth consideration, so you may want to think about them. Happy Brewing!


Mono G Zoo

Land

1 Pendelhaven
12 Forest
4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Wasteland

Total: 21

Creatures

4 Scryb Sprites
4 Treetop Scout
1 Jungle Lion
1 Mtenda Lion
4 Werebear
1 Mossdog
4 Rogue Elephant
2 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Skyshroud Elite
1 Stampede Driver
1 Basking Rootwalla
1 Patron of the Wild

Total: 25

Spells

4 Berserk
4 Giant Growth
2 Invigorate
4 Rancor

Total: 14

Sideboard

1 Overrun
4 Desert Twister
2 Whirling Dervish
2 Wild Mongrels
4 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Naturalie

Friday, 3 August 2018

UnderwateR critters


Wow, talk about an oversight! You may be as surprised as I was to learn that despite the numerous decks that I’ve written about on this website, I have never written about a tribal Mer-deck. I mean, how is that even possible, right? They are amongst the most popular tribes in the game! So despite having recently written about another tribal deck, I thought that I would take the plunge and write about our underwater pals. Today, let’s look at UnderwateR critters.

Now to start, this isn’t the ‘norm’ that you might be used to. The reason being is simple - there’s only 1 Lord card that exists underwater in Ancient. So what alterations to a proven winner can we do to retain its strength? We change the game plan and use synergy and the tools we have to achieve its own strength. Quite simply; the main goal here is to use the creatures we have to gain an advantage – rather than beat the opponent down with pumped creatures, you win with a utility army.

No vials, no problem. Hrmm, another strength that is normally seen in this tribe is the counter magic + vial combo, which we don’t have available in Ancient MtG. So what do we do? Rather than using sub-par options such as Mercadian Lift, we play to our strengths. Traditionally, Blue has been quite good at generating card advantage to its mages. This deck looks to capitalize on that, particularly via Tidal Courier and Seahunter. Both cards allow you to draw or play other creatures, while providing their own board presence to help you win the game. These are also why we can play the High Tides, a personal choice which you may not want to employ, which allows some serious mana ramp to get out the creatures you’re drawing.

The deck also provides card advantage in less obvious ways, via cards such as Razorfin Hunter and Fire // Ice. By allowing 2-1+ exchanges, these two cards can help you beat the opponent down with a superior army. Death by a thousand Mer-cuts, so to speak.

The win. We just looked at how we want to win, but now let’s take a peek at with what. Now our Atlantis Lord is an obvious route, as he boosts his subjects to deal damage. Without other Lords however, we need to get a bit creative. Ceta Disciple is the answer to the question. As a simple 1-drop, Disciple can provide a serious boost to an attacker’s damage, allowing you to beat down your opponent and/or even just make your opponent second-guess their blockers. Pretty sweet, eh?

Upon inspection, you probably notice that the Ancient Mer aren’t nearly the Lordly powerhouse they are in Legacy or Vintage, however they ARE in the best colour in Magic. That has to mean something, right? Combined with a splash in the Red sea, the deck can pack a serious punch. And while I decided to go with Red in this particular build, it was not my original choice. You might want to consider other options prior to creating your own take on the deck. Happy Brewing!


UnderwateR critters

Land

1 Mountain
8 Island
4 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland
4 Fetch lands

Total: 21

Creatures

4 Lord of Atlantis
2 River Merfolk
4 Ceta Disciple
4 Tidal Courier
4 Merfolk Looter
4 Razorfin Hunter
2 Whirlpool Warrior
1 Coral Fighters
4 Saprazzan Heir
1 Sandbar Merfolk
1 Overtaker
1 Seahunter

Total: 32

Spells

4 Force of Will
1 Fire // Ice
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Counterspell
4 High Tide

Total: 17

Sideboard

4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Daze
4 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroclasm
1 Chain Lightning

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Big Red


Hey guys, this past weekend was the hottest Canada Day on record, so it only seems right to bring the heat to today’s deck. That’s right, we’re looking at sweet a mono red deck, which, concentrates on smashing your enemy into the ground with big creatures. Doesn’t sound like a typical red strategy, right? Well actually, Red has a pretty extensive history in interesting creature combat, not just its burn arsenal. Intrigued? Let’s talk about Big Red.

It might not shock people to learn about today’s deck, as it does have its own iterations in today’s meta games. What might interest you however, is to see that the deck has been viable since the game’s early days. Obviously, Red’s mainstays such as the Lightning duo are present, but you may notice some obscure pieces, which play an important role in Big Red.

Let’s begin with the less obscure – Blood Moon and Sneak Attack. Both cards see quite some play these days, and both can be game enders when they hit the board as speedy as T1 or T2. Blood Moon can just stop your opponent in their tracks and Sneak Attack can just smash them into oblivion. It’s interesting that while the two cards can win you the game, they do so in their own unique ways. It’s also worth noting that both cards can be valuable in the late game as well, so neither is really a dead draw.

Alrighty, so now let’s look at the creatures. While Ancient magic certainly had a more conservative view on creatures, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own game changing monsters to play with. Nicol Bolas has always been a beast, as has Akroma, and I decided on including both playsets rather than trying to employ variety in the creature-base. Not only are these two great cards, but without tutors etc you would rather draw these two rather than some situationally superior creature.

With those obvious card choices done, let’s now look at the interesting inclusions. Disharmony is a relatively obscure card, which can provide 2-1 exchanges when your opponent attacks with an army or simply negate a single creature’s attack damage. It can become really interesting however, when paired with Fling, a card that can also be paired nicely with Sneak Attack or as a way to gain some value when an opponent tries their hand at removal on a creature. Relentless Assault might be obscure but its inclusion should be obvious in Big Red as it can simply win you the game.

While I rarely talk about the sideboard, I do want to mention it in this article. There is some serious room to improve it here, and as with any sideboard, the meta game should dictate your choices. Remember to consider how an opponent might try to ruin your plans, and include cards to ruin their answers. Happy Brewing!


Big Red

Land

10 Mountain
4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
4 Wasteland

Total: 22

Creatures

4 Nicol Bolas
4 Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Total: 8

Spells

4 Lotus Petal
4 Blood Moon
4 Sneak Attack
2 Relentless Assault
4 Disharmony
4 Fling
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning

Total: 30

Sideboard

4 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Shatter
2 Red Elemental Blast
4 Nevynirral’s Disk
2 Pyroblast
2 Pyroclasm

Monday, 4 June 2018

Tiny White Soldiers


Creature-based decks are amongst the most popular in Magic, but how they win has some incredible variance. Tempo, ramp and cheating creatures into play are just some strategic examples that exist in the game. Today’s deck looks to combine two such strategies: card advantage and ‘ramp’. You might notice the ‘’s; they’re not a mistake and they shall be explained. But let’s just start with what we’re playing - Tiny. White. Soldiers. So let’s thrust right in with our TWS and see how they stab our opponents, shall we?

TWS has approximately 45% Soldier-type cards in its library, which is done in order to help maximize Enlistment Officer’s card advantage. The deck also has 4 Land Tax which, played alongside Mox Diamond, helps to thin out the lands while also playing its own role as mana ramp. By helping to ensure you play less land than your opponent, Mox Diamond has dual uses and should be played as a complete set. Together, these cards allow both tempo and card advantage. Pretty neat, eh? Synergy!

Kjeldoran Outpost is another way that the deck allows you to create card advantage and help ensure Land Tax can keep grabbing you lands. While the normal threat to Outpost is Wasteland, your opponent might just think twice with Land Tax, so either way it is helping you gain an advantage. Now the previously mentioned cards, along with the lone Ancient Tomb, are how WTS tries to gain an edge in ‘ramp’; and while it is certainly an important aspect in today’s deck, let us now concentrate solely on the more prominent strategy in TWS  - card advantage.

Enlistment is the obvious draw engine in Soldiers, but there are numerous cards that help play their own role in winning the game. Icatian Javileneers can be a 2-1, Catapult Squad can wipe out a tiny horde, Gempalm Avenger can net you a card while +1/+1’ing your army during the attack.. see? You have options at your command. The last one I want to point out today is Soltari Champion. You may have noticed that many creatures in TWS help provide a Crusade-type addition, while being Soldiers rather than an enchantment. Soltari Champion is an exceptional example here because it is very rare that he won’t hit your opponent and provide +1/+1 to your creatures.

 So there we have it: Tiny White Soldiers. As a tribal deck with several options available to you, there is certainly some versatility in deck construction. Heck, you may even want to try other strategies that don’t concentrate on ramp or card advantage – although I recommend you at least use the latter to your advantage. But hey, the choice is yours on how you want to play the game. Happy Brewing!


Tiny White Soldiers

14 Plains
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
1 Karakas
4 Wasteland
1 Ancient Tomb

Total: 21

Creatures

4 Icatian Javelineer
4 Enlistment Officer
4 Daru Warchief
4 Longbow Archer
2 Lieutenant Kirtar
1 Catapult Squad
2 Soltari Champion
2 Gempalm Avenger
2 Whipcorder
2 Frontline Strategist

Total: 27

Spells

4 Land Tax
4 Mox Diamond
4 Swords to Plowshares

Total: 12

Sideboard

1 Catapult Squad
4 Tormod’s Crypt
4 Abeyance
2 Wing Shards
2 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Tithe
1 Smite