Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Learning Modern, Starting Cheap and Fast

I've recently decided that I wanted to get into the Modern format. I started with EDH, and loved the play style, being big, splashy, slow, and, of course, casual. I wanted to try a format where I could go and test myself against others at a slightly less casual environment, and went to Standard FNMs to get my fill. I used a variation of my budget white "weenie" deck, and I've been having a great time, but I know that the majority of my deck list will rotate out and I'll need to start all over. I don't like that idea, so I turned my eye to the eternal (non-rotating) formats. Between Modern, Legacy, and Vintage, I figured that the lowest entry cost would probably be Modern, and the cheapest deck would be a mono colored deck, so I could avoid the wallet pains of fetch lands and shock lands. I knew the format was generally fast, with a low mana curve. Just for the sake of the story, here's the mess that I tried first, which failed miserably, but afterwards, I turned to the fastest, most reliable deck I could think of, burn, and try to make it my own.

The List

The Permanents:

Pyromancer Ascension - I decided that I'd make this a pyromancer ascension deck, mostly because it seemed like a fun idea. I had no idea how reliable I could expect it to be, and I was sort of hoping for the best. I figured if I throw in enough 4-of cheap burn spells, I could get there. Well, it gets there. It creates a fantastic amount of card advantage once it is online. You could be drawing two cards per turn like the dark confidant decks, but this is effectively the same thing but better, since you get the effect of casting two cards with the mana cost of one. It also creates counterspell resistance, because it is hard for people to counter both spells. It is crazy with Manamorphose, because it acts as a drawing ritual. Drawing 2 and adding RRRR to your mana pool is absolutely insane, especially when those cards you are drawing are also doubled. With this said, as easy as it is to win with an active ascension, it is still completely plausible to win without finding one. This is a burn deck after all.

Kiln Fiend - The other nonland permanent! This actually performs a very similar role as the above. Your spells situationally generate 3 additional damage, assuming you are capable of sailing in with him. I just played a game that ended on turn 3 with this guy (hit 3 Manamorphose!). Realize that if he even gets to swing in for 4, one time, he has paid for himself as a half price flame javelin. Everything after that is strictly free and valuable damage.

The Bolts:

Lightning Bolt, Lava Spike, Rift Bolt - One mana for 3 damage. This is as cheap and efficient and reliable as it gets. It is worth it to cast these spells to the face on turn one, because our job is to rush for the win, and we can often do it without having to interact too much with the opponent. Obviously, you want to cast the less versatile ones first, just in case you need to bolt something else, or bolt at instant speed later. Keep in mind lava spike can only hit players, so you often want to dump that at them first. Rift bolt is sorcery speed for 3 mana, or delayed a turn for 1 mana, but it does hit both creautures and players.

The Pyro Help:

Manamorphose - This is a total powerhouse in this deck. It can get counters on Pyromancer Ascension for
essentially free due to the fact that it completely replaces itself, which is fantastic, and allows you to filter through your deck. A smaller deck is a more streamlined deck, and this card makes your deck effectively 56 cards if you ignore all its other benefits. One benefit I mentioned before is how powerfully it functions with an active Ascension, acting as a drawing ritual, which can close out the game if it resolves and hits one or two good spells. Another benefit is that it is a free Kiln Fiend boost, which is not something that can be ignored.

Magma Jet - Most burn decks consider this card inefficient because you're paying 2 mana for 2 damage, which is not only worse than lightning bolt, but worse than even shock. The reason I run it is because it helps me filter past cards that I don't need, and help me get into spells that will get me counters on Ascension. The benefit of filtering past lands and extra Ascensions into more burn spells is also nothing to scoff at. You want to win fast, and drawing a dead card is usually losing a turn in this deck.

Utility Burn:

Skullcrack - This one is fairly obvious. 3 damage for 2 mana isn't too bad, and the utility is the fact that it cuts off burn for a turn. If someone casts a lightning helix and you respond to this, you're effectively lowering their life total by 6, and cutting off their ability to do any other lifegain for the rest of their turn.

Searing Blaze - This allows you to burn a creature and the player at the same time, which is simply valuable and efficient. Hitting mana dorks slows down their big drops, and hitting beaters buys you time, and you're also giving your Kiln Fiend room to roam.

Slagstorm - There are two unique benefits to this card. One is that it hits hexproof creatures and players, and the other is that it hits multiple creatures. This is incredibly valuable when you have to race against things like Geist of Saint Traft, or soul sisters, because it slows them down, and sometimes shuts them out.

The Sideboard:

Note that you don't always need to side in hate for other decks. Only do so when they are faster than you or can shut you down. Siding sacrifices speed, and you need to make sure you're siding in things that buy you more time than they slow you down.

Magus of the Moon - Side this guy in against decks with greedy mana bases so that they can't operate properly.

Tormod's Crypt - Obligatory graveyard hate for any deck that utilizes their graveyard, whether it is life from the loam or reanimator.

Smash to Smithereens - This card is fantastic because you can side it in against any decks where you
expect to see artifacts, and slow them down while still burning efficiently.

Pyroclasm - This is an efficient card, but I'm not sure how often I'll need to use it. It is valuable against decks that outpace you with small creatures, and I'd side it in against tokens and soul sisters, among other weenie type decks. I'm weary about it, because I'm already running a wipe, but I think that sometimes 4 Slagstorms just isn't enough.

Chandra's Phoenix - Alright, so I just kinda stuck this one in here, and I have no idea if it is a good idea or not. It lets you deal a bit of consistent damage over the course of multiple turns, which this deck doesn't have a lot of, but I'm not entirely sure if that matters.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What Dragon's Maze has for EDH Players

Dragon's Maze is an interesting set for EDH. There are a handful of nifty cards that are sort of worth mentioning, and a handful of "holy crap, I need this" cards. I don't see much need for more of an intro than this. I'd like to dive right in.

Possibility Storm

Sadly, there weren't a whole lot of flashy mono-colored cards, but that is expected for a small set dedicated to fleshing out 10 dual colored guilds. This one, however, is quite interesting. This is another red chaos card. It will royally screw over many of your opponents, particularly the controlly ones, and it will randomly give some people a huge boost in power. It can be abused along with cards like Curse of Exhaustion or Rule of Law as a lockdown, or simply act like a super powered constant Mass Polymorph. It will also make your opponent's answers less reliable, because they have less control over what they can cast. I would run this in a deck that has intentions of screwing with opponent's plays, and doesn't mind being screwed with itself, like maybe a mono-red or a RU chaos deck.

Boros Battleshaper

This isn't the flashiest of cards, but it could generate a lot of value if it sits out for a while. Make your opponents swing with their valuable 1/1's, and prevent them from swinging or blocking with their larger creatures. Fairly straightforward combat tricks, but quite good if your deck is centered around combat, like RW usually is.

Council of the Absolute

This card is similar to some other cards that already exist, but with a few different modes of utility. Having the ability to make your cards cheaper and prevent your opponents from casting certain spells are both quite useful.

Gaze of Granite

Sort of a functional reprint of Pernicious Deed, but you have to pay it all up front. If you're looking for that sort of board wipe, or you already play Pernicious Deed, you could run this for redundancy.

Legion's Initiative

Dodge a boardwipe? Sign me up! Reactivate all my ETBs? THAT SOUNDS GREAT! Get back just in time for combat, and give all your things haste? I'm throwing money at the screen, why is nothing happening?! And a nice benefit for your red and/or white creatures, because it just wasn't good enough already. This will be a very strong and versatile card in creature heavy decks. My only complaint is that it gets exiled and I can't reuse it. Otherwise I'd love to run this with something like Eternal Witness to stay in eternal value town.

Master of Cruelties

In a format of high starting life totals and the potential for obscene lifegain, this card solves those issues. Giving him unblockable isn't a difficult task, and even if you can't, his first strike/death touch will act as chump removal until they run out of creatures. Expect every single Kaalia deck to pick this up, because she kills you when she puts this in play. The triggers happens in the blocking phase, so it doesn't matter that Kaalia made him skip the attacking phase, and since he has first strike, he brings them to 1 before she comes in to kill them.

Maw of the Obzedat

Running tokens? Run this bad boy. Swing with 10 1/1 tokens. If they block 5, you sacrifice those 5 and your others end up as 6/6's. He is a nice sac outlet, and he can make your board large quick. He is sort of a combat tricky alpha striker. I expect to see him show up in decks that pump out a lot of creatures.

Lavinia of the Tenth

Detaining all of someone's low cost permanents could save you from a token player, it could stop a combo player's pieces (Ashnod's Altar? Krenko?), and it could allow your creatures to be semi-unblockable. I expect it to be run in controlly decks that can both cast her at instant speed through things like Leyline of Anticipation, and be able to reuse her with things like Deadeye Navigator.

Melek, Izzet Paragon

This is a card for weirdly specific decks. Don't just run this because you happen to run an average amount of instants and sorceries. This card belongs in decks that are almost entirely instants and sorceries. This is an Izzet player's dream. Spammy decks and Storm decks like Tibor and Lumia, or non-permanent variants of Riku would quite like this card. I could even see it heading up a creatureless or near creatureless deck on its own, copying card draw, burn, and red rituals all at the same time.

Notion Thief

This card answers all other card draw on its own. I expect great things for this card in just about every format. Screw people out of their hands with Wheel of Fortune effects. Run this in a dimir mill deck with Teferi's Puzzle Box. Cast this in response to a Trade Secrets, and draw all the cards for yourself. This will be a staple to UB using control decks everywhere. Be careful though, they could choose to make you draw out if someone else was the target of trade secrets.

Plasm Capture

Counterspell that ramps you for any color. Self explanatory. Don't cast anything turn 4, then counter someone's Sad Robot. On your next turn, you have 9 mana to spend, and it has already been color fixed for you. This is one of the better and more useful counterspells that we've seen lately, and I think it will be a key card in some explosive plays.

Progenitor Mimic

Clone was already an extremely powerful and versatile toolbox EDH card. Followed Footsteps already saw play for its own sheer value if it goes unanswered. This is both in one card. This guy is the true train to value town. Extremely versatile, and gets increasingly more threatening every turn.

Render Silent

Simply a good Counterspell to shut down players once they get to a high amount of mana, where you know they can afford multiple plays. You essentially remove them of their turn. This is like a more playable Silence because it has more use, and a more playable Counterspell for the same reason. Nothing exciting, just good.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

Gruul Smash, and it make you smash yourself. You die quickly, take 6 damage just for casting puny Sol Ring. Damage builds up quickly, and Gruul aggressively bring you down! This will very likely see play in creature heavy decks that like to bring everyone down quickly. I could see an abusively aggro Animar deck making good use of this guy.

Sire of Insanity

Not the biggest fan of mass discard, but I know there are decks out there that hugely benefit from running a topdecking race, especially ones that treat their graveyards, or even everyone's graveyards as their hands. The fact is, this effect changes the way the game is played as long as it is on the field. I could see it being utilized by Tariel or Rakdos decks.

Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts

The perfect attacker/blocker, 4/4 vigilance, pro creatures. This will be useful already from that. That might not be enough to constitute a 7 mana cost though, but the extra incentive for players to avoid attacking you certainly makes up for it. If your deck likes Darien, it probably will also enjoy Teysa, and/or if your deck likes powerful equipment, it might like to gear up Teysa.

Trostani's Summoner

In a format where Deadeye Navigator is king, Trostani's Summoner is literally an entire army. I'd image this will find many homes in GW token decks like Trostani and Rhys (oh lord, Rhys, Double those tokens!!), and in Bant ETB abusing decks to make a large army efficiently.

Unflinching Courage

Fuctional Reprint of Armadillo Cloak. That card was good, so this one is too. Obviously it will be used the same was as Armadillo Cloak and add redundancy for the decks that liked it. Uril, I'm talking to you.

Varolz, the Scar-Striped

I'm personally not the largest fan of Scavenge because I like limitless recursion (Snapcaster takes a back seat to Archaeomancer in my book), and exiling my creatures disallows limitless recursion, but I know a lot of people will enjoy the value they can generate with this guy. I could see an interesting semi-voltron style deck arise around him that contains a lot of utility creatures to control the board, sac to keep this guy alive, and scavenge them to make him bigger.

Voice of Resurgence

A 2 drop that generates a field whenever opponents interfere with your turn. If you run a deck with a lot of threats that people will counter or try to answer in various ways, this guy lets you get a little something out of that. This card is a soft answer to control players this way. It could also be abused in a reanimation fashion to generate a lot of large creatures. I see it making a home in GW token decks, and Junk reanimating decks like Karador or Ghave.

Vorel of the Hull Clade

Hey Simic, I heard you like counters, so I put counters on your counters. This will run in any deck that likes counters. Animar and Mimeoplasm among others. Simic themed decks that make use of things like Master Biomancer will love this. It plays well with a whole bunch of mechanics. Anyone wanna have a Darksteel Reactor win?

Zhur-taa Ancient

Mana doublers have always been used in EDH. Red and green both already have had global mana doublers, and now they get one on a 7/5 body. Useful in some decks, but nothing incredibly new or interesting. It is certainly much easier to copy than other mana doublers, so it does have that going for it, if you want mana to no longer be a factor in the game. I could see someone dropping a Rite of Replication on this guy and comboing out with the loads of mana he could then produce.


This is a good alpha strike card for voltron decks. Give your general Double Strike and pseudo unblockability to swing in for a whole bunch of damage. You can also use it as a one player boardwipe if you wanted to use both parts on one large creature and force them to throw all their little guys at it. It will be a nice toolbox combat trick.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mono White Standard on a Budget

Looking to join the Standard scene but don't want to dump a lot of cash for your first deck? Has RDW's price increased too much, become too popular, or you just don't like the style? Well, look no further!

Mono White Humans

Now hold on a second, doesn't that look like some regular old white weenie build that tries to win early and has no late game, just like any other aggro deck?

Not at all. The reason I like this deck is that it has inevitability. If your board is allowed to sit, it gets increasingly more powerful and can't be stopped. This is due to two key cards that you won't find in many aggro decks. Conjurer's Closet allows you to get a free ETB ability of any creature in play during each of your end steps, which is a decent bonus. You have a lot of good targets with Geist Honored Monk to make more tokens, Cathedral Sanctifier to gain more life, and Azorius Arrester to detain their biggest attacker each turn. Seems like decent card advantage, but it is only the beginning. The other key card is Cathars' Crusade, which makes it so every creature entering the battlefield makes all your other creatures stronger. When you have both of these cards on the field, that means you get a +1/+1 counter on all but one creature every end step, without any additional effort. If you target Geist-Honored Monk, your other creatures will get 3 +1/+1 counters, and your Monk will still get bigger!

How to play it

Vs. Aggro:
Unlike other "white weenie" decks, this one isn't made to be early beatdown. It should be relatively defensive early on. This is why you see a lack of strong creatures in favor of 1 power creatures with interesting abilities. You need to dump as many creatures on the field as you can, and use the abilities defensively. That means when you drop Azorius Arrester, you often want to target the threatening attackers, not the defending creatures. Also, you can afford to lose a few guys to chump blocking if you know you can drop an Angel of Glory's Rise a bit later. The way these matchups work is that if you can hold out for the early game, they have nothing on you late game. Your creatures get stronger every turn while theirs lose relevance, and you don't have to rush your win. Once you get your Closet/Crusade combo up, you can usually afford to hold cards in your hand to reset quickly after a boardwipe or some kind of heavy board answer, and there is a high land count, so you should be hitting a lot more late land drops than the opponent is.

Vs Control:
You're the aggressor in this matchup. This is the reason you have Champion of the Parish, and
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in the sideboard. You have two ways to go about this matchup. One is to go all in, and try to drop all your creatures as fast as possible Rakdos style and go for an early kill. This only works if they are light on board wipes, because they might be able to just shut you down. The other way is to lay down threats slowly, trying to bait out as many cards as possible, and just forcing them to deal with low numbers of creatures that you can easily replenish. If you're doing this, try to get as many cards off Mentor of the Meek as you can. If you aren't worried about budget, consider adding a few Cavern of Souls to this deck. When you're fighting control, you might desperately need to land that uncounterable Angel of Glory's Rise to finish a game.

Vs Combo:
Good luck. These are the matches that you're not as strong against. You'll have to play it like you'd play against control. You have the same two options of play style as control based on whether or not you think they have boardwipes. Slow them down with Thalia, Fiend Hunter their key creatures, bring in Oblivion ring if you think you need to deal with enchantments or artifacts (or just more creature removal), and use Rest in Peace to shut down graveyard based shenanigans. If you can land the Rest in Peace and they can't find answers to it, that is usually a won game. You can certainly pull off wins against these deck types, but you'll have to work for it.

Explanation of Card Choices and their use:

Angel of Glory's Rise: pretty self explanatory. You have this to replenish your field after you've lost a lot of creatures due to chump blocking, being aggressive, or just plain control/boardwipes. One trick you can do is to hide it under a fiend hunter so that if you get boardwiped again, your Angel comes out and brings everything back into play, and you just fiend hunter it again. 

Azorius Arrester: This is one of the best early game cards in here, and it is a great Closet target later. You can shut down blockers, attackers, and even creatures with activated abilities, which is usually less relevant but still useful. The name of the game is to survive, which this card helps with well, and the 2 power on it is nothing to scoff at if you're being more aggressive.

Cathedral Sanctifier: I feel like I have to justify this one. Not a lot of people understand how good this card is. There are so many games that come right down to the last few points of life, and this guy holds out decently. He is more than a bit of life and a chumper. He still gets bigger with Crusade, or he is a good target for Closet. Repetitive life gain can be extremely useful. When people come rampaging out with thragtusks, behemoths and hellkites, you need as much life as possible, because sometimes you can't just chump it. 

Champion of the Parish: I obviously don't need to justify this. It is one of the more expensive cards in the deck. It gets bigger, faster, letting you block more safely with it, and be more threatening with it. Very strong and straightforward. It is a 1 mana card that demands to be answered.

Elite inquisitor: First strike and vigilance on one creature is very good, especially for a deck like this that makes your creatures grow, and the protection is hardly irrelevant, with the zombie decks that are still out there. To be able to defend and apply pressure is great, especially when this answers all the bear cards so well, like Geist of St. Traft and Snapcaster. 

Fiend Hunter: This card provides two very strong and useful functions. One is to create a presence after boardwipes by hitting your own guys, particularly the strong ones like Angel and Monk, but sometimes just saving the Mentor is enough to let you build back up. The other, more obvious option is taking out opposing threats. Another thing to note is that if you have your own guy under fiend hunter, and you have your Closet/Crusade in play, then you can Closet your Fiend hunter and get two Crusade triggers. 

Geist-Honored Monk: This is one of the cards that begins swinging you back from surviving to building dominance. It gives you flyers, which is very important, both for blocking and aggression, and it is a ridiculously strong target for Closet, which you can drop on the turn after you drop this guy.

Mentor of the Meek: This is alright in early game. It might net you a card or two of advantage. If you have two one-drops on turn 4 and draw 2 cards, that can be very significant. The great thing about him is that he'll trigger on your Closet targets (twice on the Monk). He is a big part of the plan to outgrow the opponent in this deck.

Rogue's Passage: Sail in the damage without resistance late game when you're sitting on a 10/10 Champion of the parish facing a fat enemy board. Not much to say here other than that. 

One last thing to note:
I'll be doing a remake this deck once gatecrash releases. I'm planning on creating an Orzhov version which might include blood artist and some extort creatures. That version might end up being a little less budget though. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Goblins to bust!

The General

Not too expensive. Comes in after the hyper low generals like Angus, Azusa, Animar, and guys like that, but much sooner than the big bombs like wanderer. He won't be difficult to cast, and if he dies, the second cast won't be too obscene, particularly being in green, so I like this spot.

Red, Black, Green
Jund, the colors containing goblins, devour, and ramp. black answers creatures, green answers artifacts/enchants, and red just begs to be answered or it runs out of control. Black and green both contain the best of graveyard recursion. Looks like a good base for a deck.

Not too big, I don't think I'll be swinging with him much, but I will certainly swing with his tokens.

Dem Tokens
Any time you sacrifice a non token creature, get a 3/1... Even if I sacrifice something smaller than a 3/1, or even if I'm gonna get that creature back next turn. Sounds good to me. This makes me want to include a lot of consistent recursion, creatures than I can play numerously and easily, and a bunch of useful sacrifice outlets, so I can get the most bang for my buck.

The deck:

Goblin Subtheme
We have red and black, and we have bonuses for sacrificing creatures... This is certainly a home for goblins. The beautiful goblin package includes goblin tutors, so you can find the package in the first place, goblin recruiter, so you can line them up, goblin ringleader, so you can put them all in your hand at once, and then the beautiful goblin core that looks like a mini krenko deck. Honestly, you don't need a whole bunch of goblins to run a Sek'kuar deck, but I find it to be a wonderful way to fill the board with a strong presence, and gives you an option for an aggressive early game, and some crazy explosive potential plays later in the game.

We got green, lets include ramp. Just like last time, I want to include etb or sacrifice creature ramp, like Solemn Simulacrum or Sakura-Tribe elder. Nothing better than dropping Solemn on the field for a land, sacrificing him to get half his mana cost back with Ashnod's Altar, drawing a card from him, getting a 3/1 from Sek'kuar, then putting the Solemn back into your hand next turn with an Oversold Cemetery.That is effectively 2 mana for a land, a 3/1, and a draw. hard to beat that efficiency.

What to sacrifice for
I've mentioned that I want to have useful ways to dump things into the graveyard. Some of the best ones include Ashnod's Altar, Greater good, Mycoloth and Preyseizer dragon. This means that in addition to the masses of little creatures we're able to get, we can also pull out some pretty big ones for when the walls get hard to swarm. For example, if someone puts up ghostly prison and propaganda, I'm not going to swing with my 3/1's any more. I'd rather drop a Mycoloth and eat all my 3/1's. I'd be a lot more willing to pay for him to swing. oh, and I'm also putting in Bloodshot Cyclops so I have a recursive Fling.

Ok, so we're putting a bunch of creature cards into the graveyard to get 3/1 tokens, amongst other varying reasons to kill our creatures. The next thing we can do to get the most value out of our creatures is to find ways to bring them back and use them again. We'll include the etb creature ones like Eternal Witness and Deadwood Treefolk, as well as the ones that recur one creature every turn, like Oversold Cemetery and Wort, Boggart Auntie.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wandering with the Best of Them

Alright, lets see what this guy has to offer.

The General

Costs Eight mana
That is fairly expensive, and he probably won't come out until a bit later in the game. We'll have to be able to set up the early game without him on the field.

Three Colors
He has a good spread of colors for an EDH deck. We have green, which contain some nice hefty creatures, mana ramp, and answers to problematic artifacts and enchantments; red, which may also have some interesting creatures, as well as some nice alternate ways to deal damage, a la Warstorm Surge; and we have blue, the color of draw, bounce, and counters, all of which should be included in some form or another.

Combat Ability
On his own, we have a 7/5 with haste. Not bad... But wait, he gives everything haste... We get to swing for 7 general damage as soon as he hits the field, and we get to swing with everything else that comes into play, which will frequently include two fatties. It is also worth noting that he is a three turn clock for general damage, and your opponent can't afford to underestimate that.

Wanna see me Cascade? Wanna see me do it again?
This is what we came here for, folks. As nice as it is to have a decent beater with haste and good colors, what I'm really looking for is the ability to cast two spells for free. For each card we look at, we need to determine how beneficial it will be to play it on your turn for free with potentially no knowledge of it being there. This means filling this deck with instants and trying to play a reactionary game is going to make your general a waste of space. This guy doesn't need to bother with reactionary, he needs to incite reactions. This needs to be chock-full of permanents, probably mostly creatures, and they should be big. Lets get started.

The Deck
Here's my list

Cascade Abuse
So, I have this guy who gives me free stuff when I cast him... It makes me want to find ways to cast him more often. Some of the best toys for this, to be able to do it the most often, are Cloudstone Curio and Crystal Shard, which let you put him back in your hand. Keep in mind since cascade is an on cast ability, rather than etb (enters the battlefield), you can't just use Deadeye Navigator and pay two mana for two cascade triggers whenever you want. What you can do, however, is make it easier to cast him. No reason not to include Animar, because who doesn't like playing three cards of CMC potentially totaling up to 24 mana by paying only RBG? I know I love that thought. If you're a fan of infinite stuff, you can use any of a number of Palinchron combos for infinite mana and spend it on casting your general repeatedly (returned to your hand infinitely with Cloudstone) until your library is on your field.

Mana Ramp
With a high cost general that you want to get out as soon as possible, gotta have the mana ramp. Some of my favorites are Solemn Simulacrum, Primeval Titan, Oracle of Mul Daya, and cards that fit similar styles as these. The reason I like using etb creatures instead of stuff like Explosive Vegetation is that I find creatures a lot easier to recur than sorceries, as well as the fact that you get a nice body on your ramp spell. Sorceries are still good forms of ramp, and they could still be used for the sake of using cheaper and more readily available resources, and they still get picked up by Cascade, so don't feel like you can't use them if you can't drop the cash on Prime Times.

EDIT: Primeval Titan has been banned since the writing of this article.

The Fatties
Time to see what kinds of bombs we can retrieve with Maelstrom. Some of my favorites include Mycoloth, Avenger of Zendikar, Ancient Hellkite, and Balefire dragon. Surprising people with a hasty Balefire can really put a damper on someone's field. Also, to make note of Mycoloth in a deck with a high mana curve and not a lot of token generation, remember that I'm including a lot of bounce. He can be recurred and eat his own tokens. There is more to it than just fat creatures, though. Maelstrom will hit all spells with any cost from 0 to 7. I like the thought of having a Warstorm surge in there to deal targeting damage when creatures come into play, since Maelstrom likes to put nice big creatures into play sometimes.

Internal Coherency and Combo
I basically have two things in mind for this deck. The first is high cost, powerful creatures that can put some nice dents in things when they hit. The second is etb, and recursion of etb. The powerful creatures really come down to doing a search for them and picking the ones that look nice on their own. When it comes to the etb subtheme, we need to take into account a lot more detail regarding what works well together. I'm going to include things like Deadeye Navigator, which I mentioned earlier, because it works with a lot of other things even though it doesn't work with Maelstrom. Eternal Witness and Deadwood Treefolk are just about auto-includes, as well as Brutalizer Exarch and Fierce Empath, all which work wonderfully with bouncing.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Welcome to Goblins or Bust! This blog will be dedicated to all things Magic the Gathering, with a focus on the formats of EDH and Standard. I bought my first deck about 9 years ago (yes, it was goblins), and I've been playing on and off since then. I started playing EDH around the release time of the first commander set (Zedruu!), and I've been hooked ever since. I'm a casual player who loves big games, and my EDH decks may not be built for competition, but if it turns out that people are looking for competitive deck primers and 1v1 EDH decks, I'll certainly start the research. I only started playing standard recently, with my first FNM being in last October, but I've been spending a lot of time testing and researching different brews, as well as following the tournaments, so I think I'm competent enough to discuss some interesting builds.