Community Participation League, Week One!

Hello Ladies and Gentle-nerds!

The hour has approached nigh, and it’s time to get the ball rolling. Are you ready to rumble!? I am!

We ended up with 48 participants in the league, and that’s amazing. We also now have an even number of participants, so that means no one has to suffer through a BYE week. I hated the idea of anyone having a down week, and now, fortunately, we won’t have to worry about it.

Here is the list of final participants in the League. You will also receive this list, with email addresses, privately. But feel free to start adding people to your buddy list.

denofbears
fanofhistory
thelonesun
slvr6
modin
aranarth
Negator
Bocco123
bava
bullet244
carnuz
Nafatal
magicgatheringstrat2
vaultboyhunter
prehemencie
cyrulean
Casanova
Lordlogan
Pmd
deluxeicoff
dysond
leozoeckler
landonpeanut
tangents
bamboorush
rainmakerluke
greedyfoe
sirpoptart15
tikigodbob
magicalhobo
jamespwright
rafl
ewdais
rremedio1
Somewhatdyslexic
yugular
basedx
avery61
mlord
jimmygato
trompinha
litofeit
rahrahrah
thejerkwidasmirk
shiftingshadows
no silver bullet
drinkard
darkpaladan3

Just a quick set of reminders!

Please report the Match Results in the comments at the bottom of the article each week. Both players need to report. Please report in a style as follows:

“Hey, I’m Denofbears and I went 2-1 against Dysond.”
“Hey, Dysond here, and I went 1-2 when I battled Denofbears.”

Something like that. Please include both players names, and the full win-loss record, as I will be tracking that as well as the points each round just in case I need them for Tie breakers for the top 8.

If it’s Purple don’t play it! Just a friendly reminder. Keep it simple: Purple is no good!

Don’t cheat, and I am sure you all don’t plan on cheating on purpose and I know that accidents happen. If your opponent is playing cards that are not Modern legal, or outside Silverblack rarity, please screenshot and send to me.

First instance of this happening will result in me just talking to you, and a match loss for that week.

Second will result in me removing you from the league. Don’t do it. Play fair.

I suggest reading the pairings and setting up the date and time for your match as soon as you can each week. 9pm CST is when the pairings will go up each week. Don’t wait. Bava will be sending a group email with everyone’s email addresses. Don’t hesitate to send emails to each other set things up.

Prizes!

I am adding a few prizes for people in the League, and more prizes may be announced later.

First off I am awarding two cards to pool for the two players who play the most matches in the league. I know people may miss a week here or there. Life happens, that’s just the way things go. I am going to give my Vintage Masters prerelease Magistrate of Worth. I don’t play multiplayer at all, and maybe you guys can have more fun with them then I will!

The second new prize set will be two avatars for MTGO: one is the Black Lotus avatar and the other is Dack Fayden. One of the unfortunate parts of the League is someone will win, but a few poor souls will end up on the bottom. I never want anyone to feel bad after playing in any event. I want the last two ranked people in the league to still feel powerful and expensive, so you two will get to win my Black Lotus avatar and my Dack Fayden avatar!

Last thing before I post the pairings. If anyone has any questions about anything at all please email me at [email protected] Don’t hesitate for a second to email me. Card legality, deck suggestions, help using V4, whatever you need. whenever you need it, just let me know.

Pairings for week one are going to be done at random using Random.org. After that I am going to use a pairing system based around points and win loss records as is the rule of thumb for all things Magic.

Week One Pairings!!!

1.Denofbears vs 38.Avery61
2. Fanofhistory vs 23.landonpeanut
3.thelonesun vs 8.Bocco123
4. Slvr6 vs 12.Nafatal
5. Modin vs 6.aranarth
7.Negator vs 31. Jamespwright
9.Bava vs 16.Cyrulean
10. Bullet244 vs 21. Dysond
11. Carnuz vs 43.Rahrahrah
13. Magicgatheringstrat2 vs 29. Tikigodbob
14. Vaultboyhunter Vs 30.magicalhobo
15. Prehemencie vs 33. Ewdais
17. Casanova vs 47.Drinkard
18. Lordlogan vs 36.Yugular
19. Pmd Vs 26.Rainmakerluke
20. Deluxeicoff vs 42. Litofeit
22.leosoeckler vs 37.Basedx
24. Tangents vs 34 Rremedio1
25. Bamboorush vs 41. Trompinha
27. Greedyfoe vs 35. Somewhatdyslexic
28. Sirpoptart vs 32. Rafl
39.Mlord vs 46.No Silver Bullet
40. Jimmygato vs 48. Darkpaladan3
44. Thejerkwidasmirk vs 45. Shiftingshadows

Round One!! Fight.

Have fun, everyone, and see you next week!

Sam, aka Vaultboyhunter

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

You may have heard the saying that I am referencing in the title. It’s an old wive’s tale that goes like this: At the wedding she needs Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue. It bestows upon her good luck in the marriage. Well, hopefully talking about it will bestow a little good luck on me, as a Magic player I could certainly use it.

Today we’re going to talk about each item: old, new, borrowed, and blue, starting with …

Something Old

Liliana-VessFor those who don’t follow the spoilers nearly as much as I do, [c]Liliana Vess[/c] has been spoiled to be in Core Set 2015. It’s been a few years since Standard has seen this version of her, the last time was during the “Caw-Blade” era of Standard. I want to evaluate this Planeswalker in the new Standard format, as I feel like it will be certainly powerful. First let us take a look at what she can do:

For 5 mana, you get a Planeswalker that comes down with a starting loyalty of 5. That’s not too shabby since it allows only 2 more turns before you can ultimate, and you can use the ‘-2’ twice without her dying. The other thing I think is important in evaluating Planeswalker cards is what other cards at that mana cost are doing.

In Standard right now for 5 mana you have some pretty sweet choices, including: [c]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/c], [c]Blood Baron of Vizkopa[/c], [c]Stormbreath Dragon[/c], [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c], [c]Vraska, the Unseen[/c]. All of those are cards that are currently being played in Standard that cost 5 mana, and of those cards only 2 will survive the winds of rotation.

However, one of the cards that survives is [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c]. He happens to reward you for playing black permanents, and doesn’t mind being played off curve. The black decks will be keeping their removal spells, [c]Thoughtseize[/c], and they will be gaining a sweet new Planeswalker. I’m definitely liking where this is going. If you love mono-black decks, you will too.

waste-notNow as for her +1 ability. It combos with the certainly powerful [c]Waste Not[/c]. You get to +1 your Planeswalker and get value out of it as well. On top of that [c]Waste Not[/c] is an enchantment so it adds devotion to black for your Gray Merchant. Along with [c]Thoughtseize[/c], Liliana helps give black mages a very strong discard package to consider.

Her ‘-2’ ability is a tutor of sorts, except you don’t get that card until the following turn. However, with the plethora of powerful black cards in Standard you should always have something to tutor for. Need to kill an opposing Planeswalker or creature? [c]Hero’s Downfall[/c] is the card you want. Need to gain some life? Gray Merchant seems like a sweet draw the following turn. It also allows you to play more 1-ofs in the deck, so that you can find them when you need them. It’s certainly a powerful ability and should prove to be very useful.

Her “ultimate” is something unique. It rewards you for killing creatures throughout the game, and man is it powerful. Against any mid-range deck you’re just going to win the game, and with any number of [c]Gray Merchant of Aspohdel[/c] in the graveyard, you’ll either jump way ahead or just win outright when they re-enter the battlefield.

Ultimately I think this Liliana will be very good in the current Standard and will find its place in a plethora of black-based decks.

Something New

[one_fourth]Red Avatar[/one_fourth]

[one_fourth]Blue Avatar[/one_fourth]

[one_fourth]Black Avatar[/one_fourth]

[one_fourth_last]Green Avatar[/one_fourth_last]

This cycle has a new set of cards called the Avatars. They’re Titan-like creatures that have abilities while in play or in the graveyard, allowing them to help you even in death. While I’m not sure how great all of them will be since Standard right now is more about devotion and less about synergy, I certainly hope they’ll end up being very good.

The Black Avatar is probably the worst, as returning 3 creatures to your hand isn’t very powerful. Especially considering all the good non-creature cards that black decks play these days.

The Blue Avatar is down there too, drawing cards for the number of color types among permanents you control hinders the whole “I play devotion to a color” process.

The Green and Red Avatar are actually pretty sweet; making 3/3 Beasts and dealing 3 damage respectively are actions that are almost always useful.

I wonder if there will be a deck brewed up that involves dumping them into the Graveyard for a one-turn thing. Hmmm …

Something Borrowed

Magic costs A LOT of money. I mean, playing competitively in Standard costs like thousands of dollars a year. If you can’t keep up with rotating formats every few years, and new cards being released, it makes it extremely hard to stay competitive. However, if you can find a great group of guys who have cards you don’t, and vice versa, you can easily swap cards for certain decks.

I know, it sounds completely crazy to think of loaning out thousands of dollars in cards. It happens more often than you might think, though, and is something I feel is necessary to stay competitive. Owning Magic cards is great, and I’m certainly not saying don’t buy cards every time a new set comes out. Do! Buy the cards you want! Then when a new deck comes up that you want to play and you’re missing 4 of a copy of the newest hot Mythic, hopefully you’ll be able to find someone NOT using them.

I also look at it like this. Instead of just going out and buying a new Standard deck, I borrow just about every card I play, including basic lands. At one time I had a great collection, however that’s no more. If I like the deck I’m playing, I’ll start picking up the cards for that deck. That way eventually I can own it. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, would you?

Something Blue

I’d like to talk about blue for a bit. I know, there’s no middle ground on this color. You either loveit or you hate it. Since I fall into the love category though, it’s certainly okay for me to write about it. Where to begin is the toughest issue.

I started playing Magic a few weeks before Scars of Mirrodin came out. I gave my local game store owner $100 to build me a deck, and he built me a budget “Howling Burn” deck with a few sweet cards in it. I was instantly hooked on the game, but I knew that Red wasn’t where I wanted to be. When Scars of Mirrodin came out I played [c]Tempered Steel[/c] and the deck was sweet. I had a lot of fun playing it, but couldn’t help but think I wanted more from Magic. I would look back on the decks of Standard like Super Friends and find that they were blue-based control decks. That’s what I wanted to be playing.

Enter the Caw-Blade Era. Like blue as a color, there is no in-between. You either loved it or you hated it. I was once again on the loving side, but not at first. I had an awesome R/B [c]Mimic Vat[/c] deck that I used to crush Caw-Blade constantly, but eventually I succumbed to the power of the deck and shelled out money for my first ever playset of [c]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/c]. I didn’t like the traditional Blue-White build, nor the Esper, nor American color decks. Instead I chose Bant. At the time it seemed awkward, however [c]Garruk Wildspeaker[/c] combined quite nicely in the deck as a way to fight through [c]Mana Leak[/c], or as a way to make creatures who could carry swords. The deck led me to my first PTQ top 8 and I was hooked. Then Standard rotated into the Innistrad block, and along came blue tempo decks. [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] was the new go-to card in Standard and I picked up the deck quite quickly. It felt super powerful because you’d have that Delver turn 1, and flip a [c]Mana Leak[/c] turn 2 and they’d just be so far behind.

Now that you know how I got hooked, lets fast forward to today and we’ll leave the rest of that story for some other time. Today’s blue decks suck. That’s all there is to it. You can argue Esper control and Blue-White control put up results, but the bottom line is they suck. Standard hasn’t had a good control deck since before Theros when Esper control with 4 [c]Nephalia Drownyard[/c]s was a thing. While [c]Sphinx’s Revelation[/c] is a fine card, and so is most of the rest of the deck, it’s missing a huge piece of what it needs.

To start, control has been begging for [c]Mana Leak[/c] or a similar card for a long time now. There’s no reason Standard shouldn’t have a good 2cc counterspell. 3cc counterspells are durdly and slow, almost impossible to help at all on the draw and just don’t do enough. When I spend more than 2 mana on my counterspell I want to draw a card, or bounce something, or do SOMETHING besides just “counter a spell” and no, scrying doesn’t count.

Blue also needs a good mana efficient draw spell. Considering most lists play so many [c]Jace, Architect of Thought[/c]s simply because he’s the best option they have to draw cards is pathetic. There should be something in Standard that’s cheap and rewards you for the mana you spend. [c]Preordain[/c], [c]Ponder[/c], and [c]Serum Vision[/c] all only cost 1 mana and all say ‘draw a card’. Standard really needs something like that.

Next we need a wrath effect. Sure, currently we have [c]Supreme Verdict[/c], but I certainly hope they give us something when it rotates out because I do not want to be paying 7 mana for a wrath. That’s way too over-costed for any card really to be played in Standard.

Jace-Planeswalker-M15-216x302[1]Without the proper tools, post-rotation Blue control decks will most likely be dead in Standard. Ultimately we’ll have to see what cards get printed, but I wouldn’t put it past Wizards to kill off an archetype. However, they are printing a new Jace in Core 15. For those who haven’t seen the artwork, it looks sweet. Hopefully the card will be exactly what only one Jace before it was. Good.

It felt really nice to rant about the control decks in Standard, especially post-rotation. Let me know your thoughts and feelings on one of the only non-devotion strategies in Standard and how you think it’ll fare in a post-rotation world.

As always, happy spell-slinging!

Cody Burton
cburton8223 on MTGO

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 2

I know what you are thinking, “Hey, where my video at!?” Rest assured I will have one for you this weekend. This next video will feature the commons we missed during our last spoiler show.

Section 1: How will tokens play out in Standard Pauper?

Common is a strange place for token generation. Wizards has to balance out the power of instant/sorcery spells with creatures.

Traditionally, elves and goblins have been at the forefront of token generation with saprolings rounding out the token pack.

What I am interested in right now is what place can and should tokens take up in the standard pauper arsenal.

Lets look at 2 examples of powerful token spells

Classic Pauper

Battle Screech

This card is awesome. Four mana (2WW) for 4 flying 1/1 birds. All it requires is another white creature to flashback.

Now lets compare that to a killer card from Innistrad

Lingering Souls

Such greatness in a single card. Another 4 fliers for 3BW. The reason this is more powerful is that it only requires mana to get the flashback cost paid for and the initial cost is one W less.

These cards bring me to the next example.

Triplicate Spirits

This image is a mock up from mythicspoiler.com. It may not be exact but its pretty close.

So what does this show us?

First, we are getting 3 1/1 fliers for 6 mana. Not as good as either of the above. However, it has convoke. This means there is a chance to get this out for free.

What I am asking you, gentlenerds, is whether this card is worth a slot in the white weenie deck?

The next block is going to be either tribal or color tribal. There is overwhelming evidence to that so I am going with it.

I have also compiled a list of all the token generating cards at common.

Now, this list does not contain any card that requires something to happen in order for the tokens to generate. For example, I did not include [c]Beckon Apparition[/c]. Why? Because you need something in the graveyard for the spirit to appear. I realize it is a minor detail but I needed to set a standard. Lets look at the entire list:

Name # Tokens Token combined Evasion? CMC Type Notes
[c]Lab Rats[/c] 1 1/1 Rat 1/1 no 1 Sorcery B for 1 Rat, with buyback for 4
[c]Spiritual Visit[/c] 1 1/1 Spirit 1/1 no 1 Instant W for 1 Spirit (no flying)
[c]Sprout[/c] 1 1/1 Saproling 1/1 no 1 Instant G for 1 Saproling
[c]Vitality Charm[/c] 1 1/1 Insect 1/1 no 1 Instant G for 1 Insect
[c]Dragon Fodder[/c] 2 1/1 Goblin 2/2 no 2 Sorcery 1R for 2 Goblins
[c]Gather the Townsfolk[/c] 2(5) 1/1 Human 2/2 or 5/5 no 2 Sorcery 1W for 2 Humans or 5 if at low life
[c]Krenko’s Command[/c] 2 1/1 Goblin 2/2 no 2 Sorcery 1R for 2 Goblins
[c]Raise the Alarm[/c] 2 1/1 Soldier 2/2 no 2 Instant 1W for 2 Soldier
[c]Sprout Swarm[/c] 1 1/1 Saproling 1/1 no 2 Instant 1G for 1 Sproling (buyback and convoke)
[c]Chatter of the Squirrel[/c] 2 1/1 Squirrel 2/2 no 3 Sorcery G for 1 Squirrel, then flashback for 1G
[c]Gilt-Leaf Ambush[/c] 2 1/1 Elf 2/2 no 3 Instant 2G for 2 Elf possibly with Deathtouch
[c]Hive Stirrings[/c] 2 1/1 Sliver 2/2 no 3 Sorcery 2W for 2 slivers
[c]Master’s Call[/c] 2 1/1 Myr 2/2 no 3 Instant 2W for 2 Myr
[c]Sound the Call[/c] 1 1/1 Wolf 2/2 no 3 Sorcery 2G for 1 wolf, gets bigger the more you cast the spell
[c]Battle Screech[/c] 4 1/1 Bird 4/4 Yes 4 Sorcery 2WW for 2, then flashback tap three white
[c]Captain’s Call[/c] 3 1/1 Soldier 3/3 no 4 Sorcery 3W for 3 soldiers at Sorcery speed
[c]Cenn’s Enlistment[/c] 2 1/1 Soldier 2/2 no 4 Sorcery 3W for 2 soldiers at Sorcery speed, Retrace
[c]Empty the Warrens[/c] 2 1/1 Goblin 2/2 no 4 Sorcery 3R for 2 Goblins, Storm
[c]Eyes in the Skies[/c] 2 1/1 Bird 2/2 Yes 4 Instant 3W for 2 Birds, populate
[c]Feast or Famine[/c] 1 2/2 Zombie 2/2 no 4 Instant 3B for 1 Zombie
[c]Join the Ranks[/c] 2 1/1 Ally Soldier 2/2 no 4 Instant 3W for 2 Ally Soldiers
[c]Flurry of Horns[/c] 2 2/3 Minotaur 4/6 no 5 Sorcery 4R for 2 Minotaurs with haste
[c]Knight Watch[/c] 2 2/2 Knight 4/4 no 5 Sorcery 4W for 2 Knights
[c]Scatter the Seeds[/c] 3 1/1 Saproling 3/3 no 5 Instant 3GG for 3 Saprolings, with Convoke
[c]Acorn Harvest[/c] 4 1/1 Squirrel 4/4 no 6 Sorcery 3G for 2, then flashback for 1G 3 life
[c]Coursers’ Accord[/c] 2 3/3 Centaur 6/6 no 6 Sorcery 4GW for 2 Centaurs
[c]Rise of Eagles[/c] 2 2/2 Bird 4/4 Yes 6 Sorcery 4UU for for 2 Birds and scry 1
[c]Horncaller’s Chant[/c] 2 4/4 Rhino 8/8 no 8 Sorcery 7G for 2 Rhinos
[c]Reap the Seagraf[/c] 2 2/2 Zombie 4/4 no 8 Sorcery 2B for 1 Zombie then 4U for flashback
[c]Elephant Ambush[/c] 2 3/3 Elephant 6/6 no 12 Instant 2GG for 1 Elephant, the 6GG for another

I sorted by CMC as that is a decent way of begining our research. Seeing the whole list will help frame the conversation.

The thing that surprised me the most is the lack of blue tokens in spell form.

The only ones on this list are [c]Rise of Eagles[/c] and the flashback cost of [c]Reap the Seagraf[/c]. Does anyone else find that odd?

Lets narrow down to fliers:

Name # Tokens Token combined Evasion? CMC Type Notes
[c]Battle Screech[/c] 4 1/1 Bird 4/4 Yes 4 Sorcery 2WW for 2, then flashback tap three white
[c]Eyes in the Skies[/c] 2 1/1 Bird 2/2 Yes 4 Instant 3W for 2 Birds, populate
[c]Rise of Eagles[/c] 2 2/2 Bird 4/4 Yes 6 Sorcery 4UU for for 2 Birds and scry 1

Only 3. Again it shocks me.

I think we need to compare how much power and toughness we are getting in the air and compare that to mana cost.

[c]Battle Screech[/c] gives us 4/4 for four mana. This is a 1:1 ratio. However, there is a big but on this ratio. It requires there to be a 3rd white creature at some point. Otherwise its a 1:2 (p/t over mana)

[c]Eyes in the Skies[/c] gives us 2/2 for four mana. This is a 1:2 ratio, same as above before flash back.

[c]Rise of Eagles[/c], a card I was down on when it previewed, gives us 4/4 for 6. a 2:3 ratio with a scry 1 tacked on.

That gives us an average of .72 p/t for each mana we spend. What should we expect out of [c]Triplicate Spirits[/c]?

Math shows us: .72 * 6 = 4.333 That does not add up to the 3/3 we are getting. So lets cut out the classic card (even though it was just downgraded) and see what we get.

1/2 + 2/3 = 7/12 or 3.5, now that is closer but still not perfect. One other factor to consider is the extra body. 50% more blockers is probably worth the premium in mana.

Now I leave it to you. What do you think? Does it make the cut?

Section 2: This week in Standard Pauper:

Now, lets look at the latest numbers from PDCMagic.com

MPDC 25.04
23 June 2014
Standard · 29 Players
22 Decks · ~76% Reported
4 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st Selesnya Aura* by GodZo
2nd Sligh* by rpitcher
T4 Esper* by FlxEx
T4 GW Heroic* by mattmath
T8 Deck not found** by DrDemento
T8 BW Control* by Garlan
T8 UBMill* by Kriss
T8 Deck not found** by m4vis

Section 3: The winning deck!

Lets take a closer look at the winning deck.

SELESNYA AURA

Standard · Aggro
1st by GodZo in MPDC 25.04 (7-0)

[d]
Creatures
4 Auramancer
4 Hopeful Eidolon
4 Keening Apparition
4 Leafcrown Dryad
2 Centaur Healer
2 Gladecover Scout
1 Deadly Recluse
3 Akroan Skyguard

Spells
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Gods Willing
3 Celestial Flare
3 Pacifism
1 Ranger’s Guile

Lands
11 Plains
6 Forest
4 Selesnya Guildgate

SIDEBOARD
3 Concordia Pegasus
3 Razortip Whip
3 Beckon Apparition
2 Seller of Songbirds
2 Deadly Recluse
1 Celestial Flare
1 Pacifism
[/d]

Godzo, I heart you! I heart you big time! Selesnya is my jam and this is all up in my jam. This deck does exactly what the GW folks do best.

Lets look at a sample opening hand:

I had to mulligan a no land hand. It was bound to happen one day. But I feel confident we can keep on 6.

Now lets look at the next six cards:

I feel we were rewarded for our keep.

You do not have much protection for your Skyguard though. You need to play it safe but I think we can still pull through with the five mana we have coming our way.

Also, we have started our own league, run by VaultBoyHunter himself!

Please check it out: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/06/announcing-the-first-magicgatheringstrat-com-community-participation-league/

Please leave comments below. Good, Bad, Indifferent (I think Facebook needs a Meh button), I want to hear them all!

Boros Kitty: A Primer in Two Parts

Boros Kitty: A Primer in Two Parts

Part One: Analyzing Deck Lists

This week we are going to talk about the best of the best. The winner of the first Pauper Gauntlet. The one, the only, Boros Kitty.

This is the first part of two, as there is a massive amount of information to cover in any primer, and time must be invested to get it right. We are going to look over different builds, finding commonality and differences that they have.

The big reason that Boros Kitty is so powerful and keeps winning is the deckss innate ability to be many different decks at once. Boros Kitty can be the aggro deck against control. Boros Kitty can be the control deck against aggro. Boros Kitty has a ton of built-in card advantage with the card drawing, the bounce, and the bonus life gain. With the token generation, direct damage spells, and removal, the deck really is the total package. I have won with the deck both by taking the lead and keeping it, and by coming from behind and grinding out a victory over long games. Boros Kitty never ceases to amaze me.

We will be looking over various different deck lists, checking out the common core of cards that each list shares, and examining as well the differences in each list.

Boros Kitty Deck Lists

First the original deck list that the infamous Turbokitty3000 built.

[d title=”Turbokitty3000 Boros Kitty”]

Creatures
4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
2 Sanctum Gargoyle
Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Lightning Bolt

Sorcery
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
2 Faithless Looting
1 Remember the Fallen

Artifacts
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Elsewhere Flask

Enchantments
4 Journey to Nowhere
1 Oblivion Ring

Lands
4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
4 Kabira Crossroads
6 Mountains
3 Plains

Sideboard
4 Stone Rain
3 Lone Missionary
1 Kor Sanctifiers
4 Pyroblast
3 Gorilla Shaman
[/d]

This deck has all the usual suspects in it. [c]Glint Hawk[/c] and [c]Kor Skyfisher[/c] generate card advantage and life advantage by bouncing cards like [c]Ichor Wellspring[/c], [c]Prophetic Prism[/c], and [c] Kabira Crossroads[/c]. [c] Kuldotha Rebirth[/c] can target an [c]Ancient Den[/c] or even better [c]Ichor Wellspring[/c], so for one mana you get three 1/1 goblins into play, and if you sac the Wellspring you get to draw into your second card from the Wellspring.

The [c]Sanctum Gargoyle[/c] and [c]Remember the Fallen[/c] generate a small amount of graveyard recursion, leading to more late game grindy card advantage.
The removal suite is small but elegant, a good amount of burn and enchantment based removal. [C]Lightning Bolt[/c] and [c]Galvanic Blast[/c] are the best burn spells of all time. Use them to dome your opponent or remove a little blocker out of the way. [c]Journey to Nowhere[/c] is super strong in any creature heavy format, and Pauper by its nature is super creature heavy. Even a creature-light deck like Delver is running 12-16 creatures on average. The only deck Journey can feel dead against is Hexproof, and Hexproof is a very small part of the meta at any given time.

The odd cards out in this build are [c]Oblivion Ring[/c], [c]Elsewhere Flask[/c], and the 2 [c]Faithless Looting[/c]. The Lootings do bring in some extra card draw, but in a deck with so much inherent card drawing I am not sure just how necessary the looting effect is. Ring is a great card, and fills a necessary slot in the deck, it just feels odd as a one-of. I am not at all a fan of the Flask. It’s truly only good as a 5th wellspring-type effect. [c]Chromatic Star[/c] is a similar effect with the upside of extra mana filtering.

That’s the build that Dan ran to take down the whole show during the Gauntlet season 1. It’s the original build and while the main deck is great, and still super-strong, the sideboard is showing some age at this point.

[c]Stone Rain[/c] is sideboard hate that was probably included to have an answer to Post, and while Tron is still a part of the meta, it is also a deck that is set up to generate a massive amount of lands into play (unlike Post which generated a massive amount of mana from a few lands into play.) One-for-one land destruction ends up not being the best against Tron.

[C]Lone Missionary[/c] gives the deck more grindy power against aggro and burn.

[c]Kor Sanctifiers[/c] is another choice going back to the Meta at that time. 4 mana to destroy an artifact or enchantment seems very slow now with Affinity able to have the game well in hand before the Sanctifier could even get online.

[C]Pyroblast[/c] and [c]Gorilla Shaman[/c] are by far the strongest cards in the Sideboard, the ability to blow up Artifact lands at 0 cost, and to interfere with the blue mage’s plans is just excellent. I wish the Mox Monkey had gotten a reprint in Vintage Masters as a playset is currently out of my budget to purchase.

[d title=”DromarX Boros Kitty”]

Creatures
4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
2 Kor Sanctifiers

Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Lightning Bolt

Sorcery
3 Kuldotha Rebirth
3 Faithless Looting

Artifacts
3 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Origin Spellbomb

Enchantments
4 Journey to Nowhere
1 Oblivion Ring

Lands
4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
4 Kabira Crossroads
6 Mountains
2 Plains

Sideboard
2 Celestial Flare
2 Circle of Protection: Red
2 Electrickery
2 Obsidian Acolyte
4 Pyroblast
3 Gorilla Shaman
[/d]

This is the build that DromarX has been running, and Dan ran in the Pauper Playthrough recently. It’s a much tighter build for the current meta then Turbokitty’s build. The main deck has removed most of the odds and ends. Gone is the slightly out of place Graveyard package. The Flask as well. The big change to this build is the inclusion of [c]Origin Spell Bomb[/c]. For 3 Mana and a Rebirth you get your Goblins and a card in hand, even without the Rebirth the 1/1 Token you get with a card draw attached is pretty good against control decks as it often can get in a few points of damage that can lead to winning the game.
The sideboard is even tighter now. [c]Celestial Flare[/c] and [c]Electrickery[c/] are in as anti-Hexproof and Infect cards. [c]Circle of Protection: Red[/c] shuts down burn and goblin decks, as well as Kiln Fiend and Cyclops.

[c]Obsidian Acolyte[/c] is in as an answer to Mono Black Control, but it just doesn’t feel like it does anything against the life swing that is [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c] or sacrifice effects like [c]Geth’s Verdict[/c].

The Shaman and Pyroblasts fill the last few slots in the sideboard, and are still the best cards against the decks they are in against, Affinity and Mono Blue builds.

[d title=”JustSin’s Boros Kitty”]

Creatures
4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
2 Kor Sanctifiers
2 Sanctum Gargoyle

Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
3 Lightning Bolt

Sorcery
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
2 Faithless Looting
2 Remember the Fallen

Artifacts
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Elsewhere Flask

Enchantments
2 Journey to Nowhere

Lands
2 Ancient Den
2 Great Furnace
3 Kabira Crossroads
7 Mountains
5 Plains
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Secluded Steppe

Sideboard
2 Electrickery
2 Standard Bearer
4 Pyroblast
3 Gorilla Shaman
4 Stone Rain
[/d]

This deck is JustSin’s build of Boros Kitty, and it seems to be a bit all over the place. It includes both the graveyard package, and the Sanctifiers main deck. He’s made some odd choices in the land base as well, Including a one off fetch land with the Wilds, and a few cycle lands for a little extra draw. In this deck I don’t quite grasp running the 4 Blast 3 Bolt package, as the deck is light on Artifacts, and 3 for 1 is better then 2 for 1. The Flask is back as a one off, the Oblivion Ring is gone.

The sideboard feels a bit dated again, including Stone Rain against Post, and [c]Standard Bearer[/c] against Infect. Post is dead, and Infect is almost no part of the meta at all, having lost the turn two kill chances with the banning of [c]Invigorate[/c].

This is by no means the strongest build of the Kitty but JustSin seems to have tested and adjusted the counts of the cards in the deck to make room for even extra card advantage spells.

[d title=”Tgalbs Boros Kitty”]

Creatures
4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Squadron Hawk

Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Lightning Bolt

Sorcery
2 Kuldotha Rebirth
2 Faithless Looting
1 Firebolt
4 Flame Slash

Artifacts
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
2 Bonesplitter

Enchantments
1 Oblivion Ring

Lands
4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
4 Kabira Crossroads
3 Boros Garrison
2Boros Guildgate
3 Mountain

Sideboard
1 Circle of Protection: Black
3 Circle of Protection: Green
3 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Electrickery
4 Pyroblast
3 Gorilla Shaman
[/d]

This deck is included not on the strength of the build, as it seems to have the weakest land build of all the decks listed, not running any plains at all, but relying on [c]Boros Guildgate[/c] and [c]Boros Garrison[/c] as the only white sources. Seems super dodgey to me.

But the list includes some of the most value-based creatures in the format. [c]Squadron Hawk[/c] is an amazing card. The fact that for two mana you get to have 4 creatures in hand and those creatures have flying; it’s like having a built in air force to go with your army of goblins. TGalbs also runs [c]Bonesplitter[/c] to make any of the Hawks and the Goblin tokens a must-block instead of just a let-through.

The deck also ditches the Journey, running [c]Flame Slash[/c] in its place. All things being equal I place both cards about the same, but in a deck running less white mana I understand the shift to more red cards.

This sideboard seems more crammed together in this build as well. I enjoy a nice circle of protection as much as the next guy, but taking 7 slots for them in the board seems weak. And, again, COP: Black still doesn’t stop the loss of life from Gray Merchant.

So the cards that all the decks run are:

[d title=”All Decks”]
1 Glint Hawk
1 Kor Skyfisher
1 Galvanic Blast
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Kuldotha Rebirth
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Ancient Den
1 Great Furnace
1 Kabira Grossroads
[/d]

[d title=”Some Decks”]
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
1 Remember the Fallen
1 Elswhere Flask
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Kor Sanctifiers
1 Origin Spellbomb
1 Squadron Hawk
1 Firebolt
1 Flame Slash
1 Bonesplitter
1 Boros Garrison
1 Boros Guildgate
[/d]

What we really learn from that list is that the core of the deck is super strong. The Skyfishers, the Glint Hawks, the Bolts, the Blasts, the Wellsprings, the Prism; all strong cards that generate card advantage in some way (or just have great value).

We also learn that the support cards such as Journey to Nowhere, Flame Slash, Firebolt, Bonesplitter, Squadron Hawk, Sanctum Gargoyle, Kor Sanctifiers, Origin Spellbomb, and Remember the Fallen just fill in the gaps that the core cards cannot handle. These cards are strong as well, but are really the icing on top of an already great cake.

Both sets of cards weave together in such a way to make a deck with so much game, so much inherent reach, and so much grindy advantage, that is has great match-ups against an incredible variety of decks.

End Step

So ends part one of my Boros Kitty Primer. I have found cards I enjoy in the all the builds. I have found cards that I think work great in each build. There are also cards that I think are unnecessary and weak. I found cards that that I can add, can remove, and can build on to make a new Boros Kitty build, not only for the current meta, but also for the future of Pauper.

In part two we will be looking over the build that Dan will be running for the Season 2 of the Pauper Gauntlet and we will be doing an in depth analysis of the main deck and the sideboard, as well as writing out a 16-deck sideboard plan.

Until next time may you always have Metalcraft, and may your Goblins be swinging in for lethal.

Sam aka Vaultboyhunter

You Too Can Play Modern: 10 Budget Modern Decks

The current economic crisis is being really hard on all our non-essentials, and Magic: the Gathering is an expensive game. Very expensive, in fact, when you decide to play a competitive format like Modern. Even if Wizard’s intention was creating a format that could be played by those who could not afford Legacy, the truth is tier 1 decks cost around 800 euros ($1,100) on average, and that’s a lot of money. Wizards is, I am sure, working on it and we’ll see reprints of the biggest offenders sooner or later. For the time being, though, it is difficult to start playing this wonderful format.

Or is it?

There are cheap decks that can be built for around 100€ ($135), and then there are versions of more expensive decks that can be built also for this approximate quantity. Which option is better depends on your priorities: I decided, when I built my first Modern deck, to start building a UR [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] deck, and to wait until I could afford [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c]. But I have friends who decided to start with Burn or Soul Sisters, and they had way better results at the beginning, which allowed them to get some store credit, which allowed them to build more expensive decks afterwards.

Anyhow, let’s have a look at some lists!

[d title=”Burn”]
LANDS
10 Mountain
4 Mana Confluence
4 City of Brass
2 Gemstone Mine

CREATURES
4 Goblin Guide
4 Vexing Devil

SPELLS
4 Bump in the Night
4 Boros Charm
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Magma Jet
4 Rift Bolt
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack
[/d]

Stay with me for a while, and don’t dismiss Burn at first sight. It is a consistent deck, it doesn’t depend on any particular card, it works, it is fun to play, and it is cheap, especially if we don’t use the classic fetch/shock lands, which we don’t need to use. If the deck works, we can perfectly afford to lose some life using [c]City of Brass[/c] and [c]Mana Confluence[/c], as the opponent will be too busy losing to take advantage of the situation.

On the other hand, it is one of those decks where mulligans hurt bad, and every game is a bit of a lottery. You can trust your top-decks, and the deck does not tend to let you down, but there is little you can do if it does. Also, there is some very specific sideboard against burn, and we lose chances every turn. Despite all that, the deck wins, and punishes durdly and slow decks like no other.

[d title=”Living End”]
LANDS
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
5 Mountain
5 Swamp

CREATURES
4 Deadshot Minotaur
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Jungle Weaver
1 Shriekmaw
4 Street Wraith
4 Pale Recluse
2 Beast Within
2 Avalanche Riders
4 Monstruous Carabid

SPELLS
4 Demonic Dread
3 Living End
4 Violent Outburst
[/d]

Living End is a pretty straightforward combo deck which had a recent spike in popularity thanks to the banning of [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c]. There is still a healthy amount of graveyard hate in Modern, but now graveyard-related strategies have a lot better pre-board situation, at least.

The combo goes as follows: we cycle big creatures, then we play a cascade spell (cascade spells allow you to reveal cards from the top of your deck until you find a spell that costs less than the one with cascade, then you play that spell), and that cascade spell can only hit [c]Living End[/c], which will be put in play without suspend, and bring back all the creatures we originally cycled, at the same time it puts all the creatures in the opponent’s side in their graveyard.

It is a fragile combo though. It is too easy for any deck with access to counterspells to counter Living End, and sometimes the deck just fails to work because we draw all our copies of [c]Living End[/c] before we can cascade into one (believe me, it happens!). But it is a really fun deck to play, and it has had some very solid results. Also, the deck can be built for extremely cheap if we substitute [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] for any other cheaper card.

[d title=”Soul Sisters”]
LANDS
21 Plains

CREATURES
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
3 Kitchen Finks
2 Martyr of Sands
2 Ranger of Eos
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Squadron Hawk

SPELLS
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession
[/d]

This deck comes from a Standard list that appeared for a brief period of time during which [c]Soul Warden[/c] and [c]Soul’s Attendant[/c] were both legal in the format. That didn’t last, but then Modern became a good soil for this idea to grow, bloom, and give fruit in the form of games won and burn decks humiliated.

It is a good deck, in my opinion, even though it is rather non-interactive (which is something that can apply to many of the decks here, to be honest). The life gain gives it an edge against aggro decks, and it tends to have good top-decks as everything synergizes with everything.

There is a rather interesting variant using [c]Norin the Wary[/c], which ensures constant Enter The Battlefield triggers. Also, having red allows for some other tools, like [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] and [c]Boros Charm[/c].

[d title=”Mono U Tron”]
LANDS
1 Academy Ruins
8 Island
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Tectonic Edge
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

CREATURES
1 Platinum Angel
3 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Sundering Titan
3 Treasure Mage
1 Wurmcoil Engine

SPELLS
4 Condescend
1 Cyclonic Rift
4 Expedition Map
2 Mindslaver
1 Oblivion Stone
4 Remand
3 Repeal
1 Spell Burst
3 Talisman of Dominance
4 Thirst for Knowledge
[/d]

I have not tried this one personally yet, but I have played against it and I can confirm it is very, very effective. It’s a mix of control and ramp, and a very good one at that: the opponent will find themselves facing huge creatures and difficult board states in no time.

There is a combo inside this deck too: [c]Mindslaver[/c] + [c]Academy Ruins[/c] means our opponent will never control his own turns again, which means we have won. It has the usual weaknesses of ramp decks: early game is not fantastic, and the engine has to be set up. Blue allows for some control and tempo which make it easier for the deck to get into the mid- and late-game though, as well as some card draw/selection, so we can trust the deck to deliver the cards we need.

[d title=”Stompy”]
LANDS
22 Forest

CREATURES
4 Experiment One
4 Dryad Militant
4 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kalonian Tusker
2 Skylasher
4 Strangleroot Geist
2 Leatherback Baloth
2 Thrun, the Last Troll

SPELLS
4 Rancor
4 Giant Growth
4 Vines of Vastwood
2 Beast Within
[/d]

This is right up my alley. Aggro, creatures, tricks. This deck has not yet proven itself to be a big contender in the Modern metagame, but I consider this to be a solid list. Graveyard hate is built-in thanks to [c]Dryad Militant[/c] and [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c], the creatures are abundant and big, and green is also a great color for sideboarding, having access to artifact and enchantment hate.

Stompy, however, is a new deck and as such it could very well fizzle and just not work well enough. I am stoked, but it could pay to be cautious.

[d title=”WB Tokens”]
LANDS
10 Plains
4 Swamp
4 Isolated chapel
4 Godless shrine

CREATURES
2 Doomed Traveller
3 Tidehollow Sculler

SPELLS
3 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Zealous Persecution
4 Lingering Souls
2 Midnight Haunting
4 Path to Exile
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Spectral Procession
[/d]

First things first: this list was made before the Modern Event Deck was released. If you like this deck and can find the Modern Event Deck for a good price, by all means start there. It is a good value.

WB tokens is as full of tools as the night full of terrors. Black and white is a very good color combination and makes dealing with anything a breeze. Also, this deck plays so many creatures the opponent has to be prepared against this or just lose: spot removal just won’t work.

Keep in mind though, there is a good amount of sideboard available for the kind of board states WB tokens creates, and it is extremely devastating.

[d title=”GU Infect”]
LANDS
4 Breeding Pool
3 Gemstone Mine
4 Forest
3 Hinterland Harbor
4 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Pendelhaven

CREATURES
4 Blighted Agent
4 Glistener Elf
4 Ichorclaw Myr
2 Plague Myr

SPELLS
4 Apostle’s Blessing
4 Groundswell
4 Might of Old Krosa
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Rancor
2 Distortion Strike
4 Vines of Vastwood
[/d]

Infect takes a shortcut on the aggro approach, makes pump spells twice as effective, and makes the whole metagame understand how important it is to have early removal against this. It has never been a tier 1 deck, but still it has won tournaments and is a constant threat against any unprepared opponent. This is the sort of deck that keep players on their toes, and that’s a good thing.

It is a bit weak against removal, and edict effects tend to kill it dead (the deck usually runs fewer than 15 creatures), but it still is a very good option that will deliver swift kills.

[d title=”Melira Pod”]
LANDS
3 Evolving Wilds
6 Forest
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Plains
7 Swamp
2 Temple Garden

CREATURES
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Eternal Witness
1 Farhaven Elf
2 Fauna Shaman
1 Gravedigger
1 Harmonic Sliver
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
3 Murderous Redcap
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Safehold Elite
1 Shriekmaw
3 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
3 Viscera Seer

SPELLS
4 Birthing Pod
[/d]

This is more of an experiment than an actual deck. You see, Melira Pod is arguably the best modern deck in existence, and there are people who fall in love with it the second they look at the Modern format, only to be let down by the price tag attached to it. It made sense to try and make a budget version, and the core of the deck is not especially expensive.

The good thing about Pod is its toolbox approach. This also makes getting the pieces for the deck easier, as they are a lot of times one-ofs. The bad part is it requires three colours, which, in Modern, means fetchlands. And you’re going to need play-sets of those. Also, [c]Chord of calling[/c] is really expensive, as is [c]Noble Hierarch[/c].

So, take this as a starting point. And pray [c]Birthing Pod[/c] doesn’t get banned.

[d title=”Hexproof Auras”]
LANDS
7 Forest
6 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Sunpetal Grove
2 Temple Garden

CREATURES
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Kor Spiritdancer

SPELLS
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
4 Keen Sense
3 Path to Exile
4 Rancor
4 Spirit Mantle
4 Unflinching Courage
[/d]

This is essentially the full deck minus [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c] and with a cheaper land base. It is a beautiful deck and the definition of both Voltron and Timmy. This is, of course, my opinion: some people use this deck to explain why the Modern format is essentially flawed.

Hexproof Auras puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. It builds a huge, untargettable beast, attaching auras to a hexproof creature. Spot removal is useless, dealing X damage tends to be insufficient, and blocking is futile – hence the success of the deck. Edicts and counter-magic can still hurt us, of course, but your opponent has to have it in his hand.

I needn’t convince you, though. There is a type of player for this type of deck. If you’re that type, you already know it.

[d title=”PyroDelver”]
LANDS
10 Island
2 Mountain
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls

CREATURES
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Young Pyromancer

SPELLS
2 Electrolyze
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Mana Leak
2 Pillar of Flame
4 Remand
4 Serum Visions
2 Spell Pierce
2 Vapor Snag
[/d]

UR Delver, or PyroDelver as I sometimes call it ([c]Young Pyromancer[/c] is just as central as [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] in this deck), is a great, great deck that has to be practiced and studied but which rewards the pilot with options against every deck in the meta. It does not deliver as many free kills as some other decks in this list (even though a couple of flipped delvers in the first couple of turns can mean a quick death for the opponent if they don’t have adequate removal), but it is consistent thanks to its card draw and selection, and is a very difficult deck to deal with while we are ahead in the game. It has some good recoveries too, thanks to [c]Young Pyromancer[/c].

The bad part is I had to cut some pretty important cards to make it a budget deck, and I’m not sure about this new list. [c]Spellstutter Sprite is great[/c], but its slot is normally occupied by [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c], which is really important to the deck; [c]Blood Moon[/c] is a central card here which improves the chances against some important decks; and fetchlands are pretty much a must too, as they improve the deck’s consistency.

Well, there you go. 10 Modern lists you can try out that won’t break the bank. Do you have a favorite? Do you play a different budget deck in Modern with any success? Let me know if the comments!

Legacy en los Martes, No. 1: ¡Bienvenidos!

¡BIENVENIDOS A Legacy EN LOS MARTES! * Número Uno * Escrito por Peyton

For those of you who do not hablar bueno espagniol, that is Welcome to Legacy on Tuesdays! The name is a tribute to the original title of the series, Legacy en los Lunes, which has a much nicer ring to it, but this series was moved to Tuesday rather than Monday.

No matter! This will be a weekly article series published every Tuesday. Each article will include something Legacy-related, be it speculation, a deck tech, a new brew, or discussion. Please, leave comments or questions below. I value all of your feedback. You are also always free to email me here: [email protected]. Please add me on Modo as well if you would like: MagicGatheringStrat2. I can also be found now and then on Cockatrice, testing or playing: MagicGatheringStrat.

Alright, I think that’s all of the pre-article junk. Let’s get down to it. This week I’m bringing you something new. Something epic. Something I have NEVER seen before on the interwebs. It is a ridiculously powerful interaction that lets you dump dudes into play while ripping apart the opponent’s hand. For {1}{B}. TWO MANA. Rather than just tell you the interaction, I’m going to lay this out as a scenario. A rather ideal one that will happen more often than not. Here it comes.

You are playing Modo at 3 am on a Saturday. It’s that kind of night… You decide that Pauper is getting a little boring, and that it’s time to switch it up. Let’s join some Legacy 2-man queues! OK, let’s load “Legacy Chain of Junk.dek” and get this party started! (That’s what I’ve named the deck.) Okay, MasterN00b69 joined the game. You won the die roll, and keep a hand of [c]Bayou[/c], [c]Windswept Heath[/c], [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], Magical Mystery Card X, Magical Mystery Card Y, and Magical Mystery Card Z. Not bad! MasterN00b69 mulligans to 6, then keeps. Let’s drop that Heath T1. MasterN00b69 plays USea, [c]Ponder[/c].

Alright, could be anything, probably ANT or Reanimator. Let’s fetch a [c]Savannah[/c] EoT. Turn 2, and the draw is a [c]Verdant Catacombs[/c]. You decide to play a [c]Bayou[/c], and tap that for black + the [c]Savannah[/c] to play Magical Mystery Card X. Your opponent virtually frowns before discarding a [c]Duress[/c] and [c]Past in Flames[/c]. OK, definitely ANT. However, your opponent is butthurt that you made him pitch 2 cards, so he decides to reciprocate! He throws Magical Mystery Card X back at you, which is perfect for you. You discard 2 cards, and in the process cheat Magical Mystery Card Y and Magical Mystery Card Z play – 10 power total! On top of that, you get to throw Magical Mystery Card X back at the opponent again! Facing down a two turn clock, along with only 1 card left in hand compels the opponent to scoop.

Well, that was easy enough wasn’t it? So how is this possible? What ARE those mystery cards?

Magical Mystery Cards Revealed!

All of this is made possible by one totally obscure uncommon. ‘Twas printed in Onslaught, and has a very commonly used cousin. If [c]Chain of Vapor[/c] can be used by ANT and High Tide to bounce obnoxious permanents, then we can abuse the HELL out of [c]Chain of Smog[/c] to dump their hand and blast dudes into play. How, might you ask? Well, the unsuspecting opponent gets hit with the chain turn 2. They have the option to copy it for free, and who wouldn’t want to reciprocate a discard spell back at the opponent? Well, some might not want us to point the second copy at their face again, but most people probably haven’t seen the card before.

When they do this, we surprise them by dropping Magical Mystery Card Y and Magical Mystery Card Z into play, and copy the chain again. The cards we discarded in the scenario were a couple of all-stars in various formats – [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c] and [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c] were dropped into play. The ol’ [c]Dodecapod[/c] ability is actually relevant here, since the opponent controls the copy of [c]Chain of Smog[/c]! This is some serious tech! Now that we know the combo, let’s break down some card choices and piece together this list.

Chain of Smog Loxodon Smiter Obstinate Baloth

The Breakdown – Core Card Choices

The name of the deck is Chain of Junk. Well, the chain part is obvious; let’s abuse [c]Chain of Smog[/c]! The junk part is also pretty obvious; it indicates the {b}{w}{g} color scheme of the deck. The need for {b} is apparent in that we need to cast the chain. The other two colors are important because we need to cast spells that are relevant even if we don’t have a chain. Basically, the list could be mono-{b}, but then it would rely heavily on cards that are just bad without a chain, namely [c]Dodecapod[/c] and [c]Sand Golem[/c]. I’d much rather be casting my [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c]s than Dpods if I get stuck without a chain, so {g}{w} are must-have colors. Not to mention that after the surprise is gone, you can never abuse the interaction again. The opponent will be overly wary of Chains later in G1, and then in Games 2 and 3. Ergo, often times the chains are boarded out. This means that the combo cannot be the primary focus of the deck all the time; post-board the deck functions in a similar manner to a junk rock deck.

Combo Pieces

I’ve already discussed this part in depth. Feel free to skip this part if you get the gist of the combo; the numbers of the combo pieces will also be listed in the decklist below. If you’d like a simple re-hash, here it is:

[c]Chain of Smog[/c] is the real all-star for the deck. It has a very powerful interaction with cards that have an [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c]-like effect, in that the goal is to bait the opponent into copying it and allowing you to drop the dudes into play. The card is indubitably a 4-of; the combo cannot function without it. Usually, the deck can put at least 1 guy into play and dump at least 4 cards from the opponent’s hand. If you drop 2 dudes with the chain, the opponent will usually not copy the chain for the second time, since there is a fear that there is another creature waiting to drop into play. The best creatures for this strategy are [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c], [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c], and [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c]. We do not want to play 4 of each, the floods just happen way to often with too many creatures and not a chain. Eleven seems to be the right number, with 4 [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c], 4 [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c], and 3 [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c]. I prefer to run only 3 Lieges because they are a little bit harder to cast, and the lord effect is not always really relevant.

The numbers are totally variable based on what a pilot may have, but ALWAYS run 4 Smiters. The 3 Drop is almost always better than the 4 drops for the same P/T, while uncounterability is crucial in a [c]Force of Will[/c]-dominated format. [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] is a thing against Smiter, but there is always the chance the deck gets stuck on 3 lands. There is also no point in playing against 1 card, even a popular one, since it just isn’t in every deck.

Support

This section is here to indicate that support itself does not exist in the deck. It is primarily {G}{W}, with a {B} splash for the combo and some discard. These colors do not exactly have a ton of ways to reliably and cheaply dig and/or tutor for the combo outside of black’s direct tutors. These are irrelevant in a deck that splashes the tutor color. Time to move on!

The Rest of the Core

This deck needs something to do if the combo is not present, and also post-board when the [c]Chain of Smog[/c]s are boarded out in the later games. As stated earlier, we want to function as a rock-style {G}{W} deck splash {B}. The black splash gives the deck access to [c]Thoughtseize[/c], which is one of the best discard spells ever printed. An great 2-of, it clears the path for us to drop our relevant green and white threats without removal or countermagic, and can also slow down or stop combo. Other than the [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s, I have not been a fan of other black options for the main deck. I considered [c]Dark Confidant[/c], but Bob is just a little to painful for our 3-and 4-drop laden deck, even with cards like the Baloth. No, we want a better creature to flesh out this spot. Three copies of [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] should be perfect. I do not like running too many creatures that aren’t aggressive, but he turns our used [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s and [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] into [c]Shock[/c]s, gains life, makes mana, and is pretty good against graveyard-based strategies like manaless dredge.

We also want a few nice {2}-cmc spells to keep up the plays sans chain. The best in this type of deck are going to be [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] and [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c]. Thalia is a great hate-bear, and Pridemage answers typical artifact and enchantment threats while providing a nice Exalted boost. I like to run 2 Thalia and 1 Pridemage, but the numbers will vary based on the meta. The deck does not like an unanswered [c]Batterskull[/c], and Pridemage is important for taking care of that. Those are the primary utility 2-drops, but some muscle is needed for the deck.

Three copies of [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] should be perfect for the job! Ol’ Goyfie has had a ton of tournament success just for being a vanilla 5/6 for {1}{g}. I’m pretty sure he has a spot here. Our 3-drop creature spot already has 4 copies of the [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c], but there is another extremely powerful and relevant card for which there is space. [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] gets some love here as a 3-of, since it allows the deck to pack a toolbox of lands and is a massive beater. This, along with 22 lands, leaves the deck with 9 slots.

I’ve already mentioned [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], which is definitely a 4-of. It is easily the #1 removal spell in the format, and is so powerful that there is no reason not to use 4. The deck also needed a little something to help eek out those long games against control. [c]Elspeth, Knight-Errant[/c] is perfect for this slot because she makes dudes, pumps ’em up, and if you ever get to ultimate her with some creatures in play, it becomes muy pero muy difícil for the opponent to win. That is not true, however for the unfair, super cheaty, “IDGAF about your board state, imma just win” decks. Then again, you will probably not be alive to ultimate Elspeth against those decks anyways.

The last 3 slots I would like to dedicate to [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c]. It is just so powerful right now; it gets our Pridemage to stave off artifacts and enchantments, [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] to start using the land toolbox, [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c] to gain some life… The Zenith gains another sweet target post board. That’s our 60 sans lands, which deserve their own section!

Las Tierras

If we’re using a [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] toolbox, it is important to cover every land used. We want access to all of colours, so we cannot pollute the curve with too many non-mana lands, but it’s important to have a few. I have always like a [c]Bojuka Bog[/c] maindeck. It produces black mana, and is quite good against decks like dredge, and sometimes in the ANT matchup it can be fetched in response to a [c]Past in Flames[/c] to cause a fizzle. [c]Dryad Arbor[/c] is also effective as a 1-of, since we can GSZ for it turn 1 and accelerate to a turn 2 Smiter or Knight. I also like to have a copy of [c]Karakas[/c] to fight against the Sneak and Show decks as well as other obnoxious legends like [c]Mangara of Corondor[/c] before they become active. The [c]Dark Depths[/c] – [c]Thespian’s Stage[/c] combo is also awesome to have since it can win the game out of nowhere and is resilient to control decks. They’re welcome to StP Marit Lage and give us 20 life and many extra turns.

Other than these few, we have our standard colored lands. I have opted for no [c]Wasteland[/c]; as good as it is, we require all 3 colors of mana on time without dorks like [c]Noble Hierarch[/c]. It’s entirely fine to run it in a metagame where tempoing lands is super important, and it is nice with [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c]. Oh fie, it’s up to you!

Anyways, the rest of the land base is completed with 4 [c]Windswept Heath[/c], 3 [c]Savannah[/c], 2 [c]Bayou[/c], 2 [c]Marsh Flats[/c], 2 [c]Scrubland[/c], 1 [c]Verdant Catacombs[/c], and 1 each of [c]Forest[/c], [c]Plains[/c], and [c]Swamp[/c]. Yes, I love my basics. They’re awesome to fetch against those [c]Wasteland[/c] decks! I’ve actually seen [c]Path to Exile[/c] a few times playing Legacy, which makes no sense given that StP is superior, but basics are another insurance policy against that eventuality. That’s a total of 22 lands for our casting pleasure! ¡Cuán bueno! That means “how good!,” but we use cuán instead of qué because we are far more erudite here!

The Sideboard

This is the only missing link here, and it’s an important one. After board, we need to have some stuff to use in place of our chains and possibly other less optimal stuff like the Lieges. I would like to start with 2 [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c]. Combo is not an amazing matchup, and Teeg gives us a Zenith-able hate card. He’s also awesome against decks packing [c]Force of Will[/c].

I also want 3 copies of [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] as an answer to all kinds of obnoxious permanents, namely Swords, Goyfs, Delvers, Bobs, and a plethora of other egregious meanies. A couple of [c]Surgical Extraction[/c]s are great against Dredge, and combo decks that help us nail their pieces from the grave. The most important part of the ‘board are the 3 [c]Stoneforge Mystic[/c]s and their equipment friends. This gives us a ton of flexibility and a great method of change against decks that are expecting the combo again. We have only the best pieces of equipment to supplement the Mystic (Is it just me or does that sound like an awesome rap line? It kinda rhymes…). One each of [c]Batterskull[/c], [c]Umezawa’s Jitte[/c], [c]Sword of Light and Shadow[/c], and [c]Swords of Fire and Ice[/c] will provide an ample equipment package to challenge most decks. The last sideboard slot goes to another copy of [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c]. I have a small problem with cards like [c]Moat[/c] and [c]Humility[/c], which Decay does not deal with. Enchantress isn’t the best matchup for the deck, and an extra Pridemage is an awesome Zenith target that will deal with all the nasties.

That’s all for the breakdown! Let’s get a nice look at the list as a whole:

[d title=”Chain of Junk”]
Creatures
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Obstinate Baloth
3 Tarmogoyf
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Qasali Pridemage

Instants & Sorceries
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Chain of Smog
3 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Thoughtseize

Planeswalkers
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Lands
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Karakas
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Dark Depths
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Forest
2 Bayou
2 Scrubland
3 Savannah
4 Windswept Heath
2 Marsh Flats
1 Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Gaddock Teeg
2 Surgical Extraction
3 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Qasali Pridemage

[/d]

That’s it folks. The culmination of two and a half thousand words. One decklist. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Totally worth it. I hope y’all enjoyed reading about this interaction and the deckbuilding process as much as I have enjoyed trying to break the cards. Please, leave comments and like if you enjoyed it! I hope to see you next week, where I will explore a magically budgetly awesome tribal deck!

Thanks for Reading!

/Peyton

Magicgatheringstrat Community League Update

Hello Ladies and Gentlenerds!

We are one week away from the start of the Magicgatheringstrat.com Community Participation League, and so far the response has been simply amazing! I am impressed and amazed at everyone being involved, and happy about the questions about the format. Everyone wants a little part of the SilverBlack glory, and that makes me a happy person.

Who wants a list of the Current entrants? How about everyone! (as of 6/21/14)

1. Denofbears
2. Fanofhistory
3. Thelonesun
4. Slvr6
5. Modin
6. Aranarth
7. Negator
8. Bocco123
9. Bava
10. Bullet244
11. Carnuz
12. Natatal
13. Magicgatherinstrat2
14. Vaultboyhunter
15. Prehemencie
16. Cyrulean
17. Casanova
18. Lordlogan
19. Pmd
20. Deluxeicoff
21. Dysond
22. Leozoeckler
23. Landonpeanut
24. Tangents
25. Bamboorush
26. Rainmakerluke
27. Greeyfoe
28. Sirpoptart15
29. Tikigodbob
30. Magicalhobo
31. jamespwright
32. Rafl

First off you guys picked amazing MTGO names. My personal favorite so far is Landonpeanut. Second I have a list of names and emails for each of you. I am not sharing that info on this post, but I will share it with competitors in the course of the league so that you can get in touch with your opponents.

And if you want to get in touch with me, go ahead and shoot me an email at [email protected]

I’m happy to see some SilverBlack buddies, the writers from the site, and a bunch of new faces on the list! I suggest adding all the usernames you don’t have already from the list to your buddies!

Rules reminders!

I’ve had a few great questions in my email box about cards, and legality.

One of the big ones is about Timeshifted cards. You know those crazy purple rarity cards that Wizards included into Timespiral. The only one of those you can play is [c]Dragon Whelp[/c]. Wizards considers the Purple Rarity as being a “Special” rarity, a lot like the Power 9 has got for Vintage Masters. [c]Dragon Whelp[/c] has been the only one of those to get a printing in M10, so is the only legal one for SilverBlack. I want to play [c]Gemstone Mine[/c] as much as the next guy. Wizards just needs to include it into M15 for us.

Keeping it Simple if it’s Purple Don’t Play it!

The second question I am getting quite often is when are the League matches scheduled. That’s the cool part about a league. The schedule is entirely up to you and your opponent. As long as you play your match each week, at whatever time you work out, you are golden. I’m not scheduling matches, you are. That gives you the freedom to do the thing when it works out best for you.

Last question goes back to ban list, and what’s on it.

The following cards are banned (bolded cards are not on the normal modern banned list):

– [c]Ancient Den[/c]
– [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c]
– [c]Cloudpost[/c]
– [c]Dread Return[/c]
– [c]Expedition Map[/c]
– [c]Great Furnace[/c]
– [c]Intangible Virtue[/c]
– [c]Mental Misstep[/c]
– [c]Preordain[/c]
– [c]Ponder[/c]
– [c]Punishing Fire[/c]
– [c]Rite of Flame[/c]
– [c]Seat of the Synod[/c]
– [c]Seething Song[/c]
– [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c]
– [c]Skullclamp[/c]
– [c]Sword of the Meek[/c]
– [c]Tree of Tales[/c]
– [c]Vault of Whispers[/c]

Map and Virtue are a special ban to help keep Tron and Tokens from taking over the Meta Game.

Short article this week for the League as I don’t have much more to cover until we roll next week. I’m going to include the videos of me and Dan testing, or as I like to call it a complete slaughter of epic proportions. Which just adds to the saying, “Don’t play a collectable card game against a Swedish person.” If that wasn’t a saying before, I’m making it one now. Carve it onto my tombstone.

Dan’s side vs my RDW

Dan’s Tron Vs Tron

My RDW Vs Dan’s Tron

My Tron Vs Dan’s Tron

My Wormy Dredge Vs Payton’s Grey Rock

Remember, sign-up for the League ends on 6/29/14! Tell your friends! I would love to keep growing the League, more people means more matches means more epic battles.

You guys are all super heroes, I would target you all with Cake and give you +1/+1 counters, but I don’t have any removal after so that’s not a good line of play!

Sam aka Vaultboyhunter

Introductions and Invitationals!

ld231_madcap

Hey everyone! I feel as though introductions are in order. I’m Cody Burton, I live in small town Ohio with my future wife and my daughter. I live and love Magic: the Gathering, and am always trying to do things to better the community. I feel that as Magic players we often get a bad name, and I constantly strive to change that. I play in many Opens, Grand Prixs, and PTQs and hopefully one day I will make a name for myself the way several of my friends have.

I play a ton of Magic Online and I’ve been enjoying a week of Vintage draft (while not so much loving 25 dollar drafts). However, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, I guess. I’m sure everyone knew of the Invitational this weekend, and I’ll talk more about that later in the article, right now I want to hit on a few sweet things from Standard, and the future of the format.

Core Set 2015 is coming soon and Standard will be rotating a few months following. Return to Ravnica block will be no more, and gone will be the [c]Supreme Verdict[/c]s, [c]Sphinx’s Revelation[/c]s, [c]Jace, Architect of Thought[/c]s, [c]Aetherling[/c]s, and many, many more cards. Standard will once again go back to being a small set format, where we have access to a core set, a block, and the first set of a new block. Rotation also means other things as well. Cards dropping and increasing in price, new cards coming in, speculation on them, and sweet new brews. It also brings about one of my former favorite tournaments.

States

States used to be a tournament scene where deck-builders could showcase their standard brews right after a new set launched, and pit them against many other decks. As no deck is refined during States, it makes for a lot of fun and interesting situations. I remember playing against a [c]Prototype Portal[/c] deck at States one year! If that wasn’t unique, what is? However, nowadays States isn’t the same. With both Star City Games and TCGPlayer having their own fall AND spring states championships, it took away a lot of what the event meant to many players, while offering four times as many tournaments.

I have checked up on the Core 2015 spoilers and only a few interested me:

I think all of the avatars will be sweet. The titans were great, and I think the trend will continue.

I feel as though there will be a new Garruk, since the card spoiled as a box topper [c]In Garruk’s Wake[/c] is black. It might be sweet to get another black/green planeswalker in Standard that can be relevant.

[c]Goblin Rabblemaker[/c] seems sweet in many formats, hopefully goblins can become a force in Standard again!

[c]Ulcerate[/c] is probably one of the best kill spells in a while. I’d say it’s a worse [c]Dismember[/c] but a better [c]Vendetta[/c].

[c]Inferno Fist[/c] looks like it’ll be a 4-of in a future Tom Ross deck.

[c]Military Intelligence[/c] looks like it might be fine in a future [c]Master of Waves[/c] deck. It does offer quite a bit of staying power, especially combined with cards like Thassa, and Ephara.

[c]Waste Not[/c] was designed by players, and is super powerful, although I’m not quite sure how great it will be in Standard, it’ll definitely be something worth playing in a deck like Pox.

[c]Sign in Blood[/c] is coming back, and so is [c]Terra Stomper[/c]! Black decks will have a draw spell, and Green decks will have TWO great threats against control with [c]Mistcutter Hydra[/c].

Things I think that they’ll need in standard though post rotation: Some sort of “wrath” effect. Cards like [c]Terra Stomper[/c], and [c]Mistcutter Hydra[/c] are too good against control decks and the control decks need help to win against those. [c]Mana Leak[/c] should definitely be printed. It’s been a long time since Standard has had a good 2 mana counterspell. It’s time for its return!

As for the block that will be coming in, Khans of Tarkir will hopefully be awesome. I’ve been a bit let down with Standard as of late. The format is very dull and not skill intensive. You play bad draft cards because of their mana cost colors, not their ability to be great. There isn’t any good draw spells for a decent mana cost either, no good counterspells, and midrange decks have too many good cards. Hopefully over the next two sets that’ll change, and all will be right in Standard!

Tom Ross Invi

On to the Invitational

This last weekend was the Star City Games Invitational. I believe it’s the highest EV tournament you can play in, although I might be wrong. It was also the largest Invitational. I believe there were approximately 450 players at the event, and while you could go x-6 before and cash, that wasn’t the option this time. For those who don’t know what the Invitational is, it’s a tournament you have to have enough SCG points to qualify to play in. It consists of 8 rounds of Standard, 8 rounds of Legacy and a cut to top 8. The rounds are split with 4 of Standard followed by 4 of Legacy each day, and top 8 is best 3 games of 5 all being Standard. First place prize is a whopping $10,000 and your likeness on a future SCG token! If that doesn’t shout awesome I don’t know what does.

Last week Tom Ross wrote about Boss Sligh, a super fast Mono-Red deck that takes advantages of stumbles and applies a ton of early pressure. His winning deck list was:

[d title=”Boss Sligh”]
Lands:
17 Mountain

Creatures:
4 Akroan Crusader
4 Ash Zealot
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Rakdos Cackler
2 Rubblebelt Maaka

Spells:
4 Dragon Mantle
4 Madcap Skills
2 Lightning Strike
2 Shock
4 Titan’s Strength
1 Blinding Flare

Sideboard:
2 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Lightning Strike
2 Magma Spray
1 Searing Blood
4 Skullcrack
1 Harness by Force
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Peak Eruption
1 Seismic Stomp
1 Mutavault
[/d]

He defeated Ben Friedman in the finals playing a fairly stock Black/White Midrange deck:

[d title=”Black White Midrange”]
Lands:
3 Plains
10 Swamp
4 Godless Shrine
4 Mutavault
4 Temple of Silence
1 Orzhov Guildgate

Creatures:
4 Desecration Demon
4 Lifebane Zombie
4 Pack Rat
2 Obzedat, Ghost Council

Planeswalkers:
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

Spells:
2 Banishing Light
3 Underworld Connections
3 Devour Flesh
2 Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Read the bones
4 Thoughtseize

Sideboard:
2 Sin Collector
1 Banishing Light
1 Underworld Connections
1 Deicide
1 Bile Blight
2 Doom Blade
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Obzedat, Ghost Council
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Duress
[/d]

The fact the he managed to write about both his Standard AND Legacy deck and play the exact list (almost) to a victory implies his intimate knowledge with the deck. He played just 17 lands with an average mana cost being around 1.2 or so. It certainly seems like an under-powered deck and one that should lose to wraths, but that’s just not the case. Cards like Dragon’s Mantle and Madcap Skills allow you to race the faster decks, while only having 1-2 creatures in play against control. This way you don’t overextend and can still push through insane amounts of damage at such a speed.

The other decks that rounded out the top 8 were very traditional, minus the black/red devotion deck that hasn’t been seen in a while. You have your Jund Monsters that has been performing well lately, your Blue/White Control, and your B/W Midrange decks. Standard is pretty stale right now, as you can pretty much predict the top 8 of a tournament before it happens. It’s had strong contenders since PT Theros, and those decks will continue to be strong for quite some time.

As for the Legacy portion of the event, Ross played a Blue/Green Infect deck he’s been perfecting for quite some time. The deck is really strong, and has some super fast draws, including a turn 2 kill off of Glistener Elf, Invigorate, and Berserk. I would have to say he’s the infect master, as he’s been playing the deck in all formats he can legally play it in. I won’t break the deck down too much, but I do think the deck is super awesome and I would definitely play it if I owned [c]Noble Hierarch[/c]s.

Frank Lepore

A few other sweet things happened in the world of Standard this last weekend as well, Frank Lepore of TCGPlayer.com won the Orlando TCGPlayer 5k, while his girlfriend Melissa had to look on after losing in top 4. Imagine that split in the finals! He played a super cool Bant Superfriends deck with 2 main deck [c]Rapid Hybridization[/c]’s. What this card does is pretty sweet. It’s a removal spell that deals with [c]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/c], [c]Blood Baron of Vizkopa[/c], [c]Stormbreath Dragon[/c], [c]Polukranos, World Eater[/c], [c]Master of Waves[/c], and MANY more. Usually you’re not too worried about a 3/3, but those creatures are all hosers against you, so having a plan for them is great. It also kills a [c]Pack Rat[/c] on the draw which is notable.

This weekend, we have the Open series going to Las Vegas! For deck selection, I would try to steer away from Boss Sleigh. The cat’s out of the bag now, and other decks will be ready for it. Jund Monsters is still probably the best deck in Standard, and has a ton of different options and directions it could go to make it a meta-gamed deck. If you’re forcing Boss Sleigh, I’d probably keep the exact list he had. It’s a very straight forward list and he’s tuned it for a while. I don’t think anyone can improve much on it, but I’m open to suggestions. I’m a huge fan of good old control. How do you beat a devotion deck? Take away its devotion. I actually really like the lists that have moved away from [c]Detention Sphere[/c] and more towards [c]Planar Cleansing[/c]. It certainly does everything you want for 6 mana.

However, whatever deck you sleeve up, either for FNM, or the Pro Tour, always make it a deck you love.

Until next week, happy spell-slinging!

Cody Burton
Cburton8223 on MTGO

The Pauper Gauntlet: Season One Recap

Forty-seven decks entered the first Pauper Gauntlet: an endurance match between Pauper decks where I tried to play each deck for as many matches as possible without losing. The two favorites at the time the Gauntlet started were Delver and Mono Blue Stormpost (Temporal Fissure).

ROUND 1

There was a very rough first day. Read more about it here.

Soon afterwards I did Tier One day on Twitch. There were complications. These were the decks judged to be Tier One.

When the dust had settled, I was exhausted and the phenomenon of “sniping” was a word. Delver and Mono Blue Stormpost, among others, lay dead. The favorites had been eliminated in round 1. This won’t be able to happen in Season 2.

Thirty-five decks remained.

ROUND 2

After having so many eliminations in round 1, I decided to play round 2 in the Just For Fun room. That did not really work out; opposition was quite uneven, causing some more good decks to lose while some questionable decks just cruised by. The JFF room will be handled quite differently this year.

After this round there was a vote-back; you guys got to decide which deck would be allowed to come back. Icy Hot Hottie, jphsnake’s smoking hot, ice cold, Elemental deck, made it back into the competition.

Nineteen decks remained.

ROUND 3

Five decks died in round 3; Allies, Hexproof, RG Tempo, White Weenie, and Simic Storm.

After this round, Temporal Fissure was banned and Simic Stormpost died because of the ban.

Also, the remaining ten decks were auto-included in Season Two and will be played again.

ROUND 4

This was a very victorious round, losing only DelverFiend.

ROUND 5

In this round, Goblins and UB Trinket Control were eliminated.

ROUND 6

The ratings of the decks to this point. I had two practice rounds before playing this round and I also rated the seven remaining decks in the order I thought it likely that they would win the Pauper Gauntlet:

  1. Stompy
  2. MUC
  3. Love Train
  4. BorosKitty
  5. Illusory Tricks
  6. Icy Hot Hottie
  7. Five Color Green

Turns out, I was wrong.

MUC and Stompy died first. The People cried when Icy Hot Hottie stumbled and got crushed.

Love Train, Illusory Tricks, BorosKitty, and Five Color Green moved on to the seventh round.

BorosKitty could make an argument for being a tier two deck but overall these were all rogue decks.

BorosKitty: Purr!! Brewed by TurboKitty3000. Competition owner: Tom the Scud. Deck list.

Five-color Green: Brewed by Shyft4. Competition owner: Smashing. Deck list.

Illusory Tricks: Bava’s tempo deck. Competition owner: Greystone. Deck list

Love Train: There is love in the air. With love, anything can be accomplished. This is a Freed from the Real combo deck with extra love added. Brewer: jphsnake. Competition owner: Feyocan731 Deck list

In a million years, I don’t think anybody could have predicted this field of four as the top 4.

FINAL RESULT OF THE 1ST SEASON OF THE PAUPER GAUNTLET

1st place: BorosKitty
2nd place: Illusory Tricks
3rd place: Five Color Green, Love Train
5th place: MUC, Stompy, Icy Hot Hottie
8th place: Goblins, UB Trinket Control
10th place: DelverFiend
11th place: Simic Stormpost
12th place: Allies, Hexproof, RG Tempo, White Weenie and Simic Storm

PAUPER GAUNTLET SEASON TWO

Learn more about Season Two in this video. It starts on August 31st 2014.

The Standard Pauper Show, Episode 1?

Well, seems I have some new digs to test out! I hope you found me alright. Were the directions good enough? I know how Google maps can be sometimes.

First off, lets get to the heart of the matter. The meat of the article. The nugget you all want.

Section 1: This week’s episode of The Standard Pauper Show:


I do love me some spoilers!

Section 2: This week in Standard Pauper:

Now, lets look at the latest numbers from PDCMagic.com

MPDC 25.03
16 June 2014
Standard · 33 Players
23 Decks · ~70% Reported
5 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st Azorius Aggro by Torreth* by DreamersTango
2nd Ice Cream* by GodZo
T4 Bw Control* by DrChrisBakerDC
T4 Azorius Aggro* by Torreth
T8 Dimir Mill* by Cabel
T8 Mono Gray Control* by FlxEx
T8 Dr.Orz* by MyGalaxy
T8 PieTime BW* by PieTime

That is a list of foes I would not choose to meet!

Section 3: The winning deck!

Lets take a closer look at the winning deck.

AZORIUS AGGRO BY TORRETH

Standard · Aggro-Control
1st by DreamersTango in MPDC 25.03 (6-2)

[d]
Land
6 Island
10 Plains
4 Azorius Guildgate

Creatures
4 Keening Apparition
4 Azorius Arrester
4 Akroan Skyguard
4 Daring Skyjek
4 Loyal Pegasus
4 Cloudfin Raptor
2 Triton Shorestalker
4 Wingsteed Rider

Spells
2 Mizzium Skin
2 Ajani’s Presence
2 Hidden Strings
4 Gods Willing

Sideboard
2 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
2 Negate
2 Mortal Obstinacy
2 Voyage’s End
4 Celestial Flare
1 Hopeful Eidolon
2 Dispel
[/d]

I love the idea and you had me at [c]Lagonna-Band Trailblazer[/c]! Such a strong card. I will forgive that it is in the sideboard, but I think it could be strong in the main. I have to feel bad for Torreth. His deck won the day, but he wasn’t playing it. Such a bitter sweet sensation, I am sure.

Lets look at a sample opening hand:

Ok, I will keep this, but we must draw at least one more land to get those riders into the air.

Now lets look at the next six cards:

I feel good about the keep. We get the mana we need and plenty of gas to go with it.

Here is how I would play it out:
Turn 1: Play Island, {T}, cast [c]Cloudfin Raptor[/c]
Turn 2: Play Plains, {T}, cast [c]Loyal Pegasus[/c], Swing for 1 with the Raptor
Turn 3: {T},{T}, cast [c]Azorius Arrester[/c], Swing for 4 in the air, play the Guildgate

On a side note, Gwyned is hosting a semi-standard pauper league!

In his own words:

“It is with great excitement that I announce a special league-style event for the summer: Multicolor Mayhem League!

A couple weeks ago, we had a special Monday Pauper Deck Challenge in which all the Commons from Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn, Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, and Dragon’s Maze were legal. The format was so fun, and with so many interesting possibilities, that I decided to extend the fun!”

This is where our format is going. With Wizards showing only cursory support for Pauper, it is up to the player-base to provide the incentives. The Multicolor Mayhem league will go on for weeks. I wish I could report on the decks, but I am afraid all that is available to the public are the standings.

Multicolor Mayhem
Rank Player Match Points OMW % PGW % OGW % Matches Played Byes
1 DrChrisBakerDC 6 0.5 0.999 0.45 2 0
2 DrDemento 6 0.417 0.999 0.25 2 0
3 VGFactor88 6 0.417 0.8 0.367 2 0
4 gwyned 6 0.333 0.8 0.167 2 0
5 oneeyedjack1 3 0.999 0.333 0.8 1 1
6 RRR726 3 0.75 0.5 0.75 2 0
7 rremedio1 3 0.75 0.4 0.8 2 0
8 benne433 3 0.75 0.4 0.7 2 0
9 beatnik bobby 3 0.667 0.5 0.5 2 0
10 Adner 3 0.5 0.6 0.4 2 0
11 mattmath 3 0.417 0.6 0.3 2 0
12 Gq1rf7 3 0.417 0.5 0.25 2 0
13 Carnuz 3 0.417 0.4 0.4 2 0
14 rpitcher 0 0.999 0.333 0.8 1 0
15 joekewwl 0 0.75 0 0.75 2 0
16 Linker41 0 0.75 0 0.65 2 0
17 kelevra6 0 0.5 0.2 0.5 2 0

I will keep you abreast of the league as I can.

Also, we have started our own league, run by VaultBoyHunter himself!

Please check it out: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/06/announcing-the-first-magicgatheringstrat-com-community-participation-league/

Please leave comments below.  Good, Bad, Indifferent (I think Facebook needs a Meh button), I want to hear them all!

My Life of Magic: An Introduction

Hello ladies and gentlenerds!

This is Sam, aka Vaultboyhunter, and this week I am going to do kind of an introduction article. Why? Well I am just getting in the swing of things at writing articles, but I also want to introduce myself a little. I’ve made a handful of videos for the YouTube channel and one of them I made was kind of a video diary of my favorite decks of all time. I like looking back at a players favorite decks as they have worked through learning the game, and the years after. So join me in a look back through time and space to some of my favorite decks of all time.

Here is the video of me rambling for an hour about my decks!

I thought I would give the deck lists, the time frame I would have played them, and why I liked the deck so much!

[d title=”WURG Zoo”]
Creatures
4 Erhnam Djinn
4 Serendib Efreet
4 Kird Ape
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Savannah Lions
Instants
4 Counterspell
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Lightning Bolt
Artifact
1 Sol Ring
4 Lotus Petal
Sorcery
1 Wheel of Fortune
Lands
4 Savannah
4 Tropical Island
4 Plateau
4 Volcanic Island
4 Tundra
[/d]

I played this WURG Zoo deck during 1997. The deck it was designed to beat was a Necro Deck being piloted expertly by the owner of my then local game shop. To get around the power that was Necro in its prime I played fast effective creatures and all the low casting cost spells I could. I crammed the deck full of the best instant spells I could find, including [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], [c]Counterspell[/c], [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], and [c]Force of Will[/c]. I love Zoo to this day, and this is by far my favorite build of it. A fun play was to drop land, [c]Sol Ring[/c], [c]Lotus Petal[/c], and then [c]Wheel of Fortune[/c] all in my first turn. Refill my hand, and assist my opponent in taking a mulligan.

[d title=”Red Green Strip Vise”]
Creatures
4 Orcish Lumberjack
4 Birds of Paradise
Instants
4 Sudden Impact
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Incinerate
Artifact
4 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
4 Black Vise
Sorcery
4 Stone Rain
4 Thermokarst
4 Pillage
1 Wheel of Fortune
Lands
4 Taiga
4 Karplusan Forest
4 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
4 Forest
[/d]

This deck was all about evil things. Kill all the lands. Drop a [c]Black Vise[/c]. Win. Lots of cheap ramp spells to fuel the evil things. Wizards actually killed this deck when they restricted [c]Strip Mine[/c]. Which was just mean. But necessary. This would have been during 1997, after Tempest was released.

[d title=”Flagpole Sitter”]
Creatures
4 Wall of Blossoms
4 Tradewind Rider
4 Man-o’-War
4 Birds of Paradise
Instant
4 Counterspell
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Whispers of the Muse
4 Force of Will
3 Dismiss
2 Capsize
Sorcery
3 Armageddon
Artifact
4 Lotus Petal
Lands
4 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
4 Tundra
4 Tropical Island
4 Savannah
[/d]

So this deck was also during 1997. Wow, I played a lot of different decks this year. This deck is all about the hard lock between [c]Tradewind Rider[/c] and [c]Armageddon[/c]. This was about the time I started to understand the joy and beauty of card advantage, and Tempest Block was full of great card advantage cards like [c]Wall of Blossoms[/c], or as I called it, Wall of Awesome. This deck was a thing of beauty, and it was named after a song by the one-hit wonders Harvey Danger.

[d title=”Nether Go”]
Creatures
3 Nether Spirit
Instants
4 Counterspell
4 Absorb
4 Undermine
4 Fact or Fiction
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Recoil
3 Dromar’s Charm
2 Cremate
Sorcery
4 Vindicate
3 Wrath of God
Land
4 Underground River
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Adarkar Wastes
3 Plains
4 Island
3 Swamp
[/d]

First off you may notice a big gap in the time frame of the last two decks. I had quit playing during the broken mess of Urza’s Block. It was a total mess. Maro himself described Urza’s block as being early-game shuffling, mid-game drawing, and end-game turn one. No thank you, sir. My break was a short one though. I got back into Magic near the end of Masques Block, and right before Invasion. Invasion block is to this day my favorite Magic block. It really hit on all notes for me. ‘Nether Go’ is probably my all time favorite control deck. Mostly rares, lots of counters, kill, bounce, and board wipes, and [c]Nether Spirit[/c] is so hard to get rid of. To this day Wizards hasn’t printed such an easy-to-get-back creature, and I bet they never will. This deck includes my two favorite card drawing engines: [c]Accumulated Knowledge[/c] and [c]Fact or Fiction[/c]. I met my then-girlfriend / now-wife while playing this deck in October of 2001, and sold all my cards to buy her a bulldog.

Never buy a bulldog.

[d title=”Dromar Control”]
Creatures
2 Dromar, the Banisher
4 Shadowmage Infiltrator
4 Meddling Mage
3 Vodalian Zombie
3 Galina’s Knight
Instant
4 Counterspell
4 Absorb
4 Undermine
4 Fact Or Fiction
Sorcery
4 Vindicate
Lands
4 Underground River
6 Island
3 Plains
4 Caves of Koilos
4 Adarkar Wastes
3 Swamp
[/d]

A portion of the cards I sold to get the mistake that was Fergie the Bulldog included this deck. Masques Block rotated out, and Odds Block rotated in. This deck kept my love alive for my three favorite colors, Blue, White, and Black. [c]Shadowmage Infiltrator[/c] is a great card to this day, and the protection creatures were great at just getting there. The Invasion support spells are an amazing set of spells, powering both ‘Nether Go’, and ‘Dromar Control.’

[d title=”Pre Ban Affinity”]
Creature
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Ornithopter
4 Atog
4 Frogmite
4 Myr Enforcer
4 Disciple of the Vault
Instants
4 Shrapnel Blast
Sorcery
4 Thoughtcast
Artifact
4 Cranial Plating
4 Chromatic Sphere
Lands
4 Great Furnace
4 Vault of Whispers
4 Ancient Den
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Seat of the Synod
[/d]

The Ban Hammer fell on this over-powered, crazy deck, and it fell hard. This is the only deck I have ever played that lost so many cards at once. 28 cards. Dead from one day to the next. But before the Ban Hammer this deck was so stupid fast it could just kill and kill and kill. It would have destroyed the game much faster then Urza’s block ever could. Thankfully, [c]Cranial Plating[/c] is banned in Pauper. As it is, Affinity is still a super strong deck. This deck proves I can be the King of Spikes when I have an unlimited budget for Magic cards.

[d title=”Solar Flare”]
Creatures
3 Angel of Despair
4 Thought Courier
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
3 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
3 Nekrataal
Sorcery
4 Compulsive Research
4 Zombify
Artifact
3 Dimir Signet
3 Orzhov Signet
3 Azorius Signet
Enchantment
2 Debtors’ Knell
Lands
5 Island
4 Watery Grave
3 Plains
4 Swamp
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Godless Shrine
[/d]

I clearly remember playing this build of Solar Flare during 2006 as a tribal deck. I had just started playing MTGO (as opposed to just paper Magic), and I loved the freedom that being able to play and draft at any hour of the day or night gave me. I am pretty sure I am 4 humans short in the list, and I have looked through Gatherer to find the 4, but I am just not sure what they could be. I love Reanimator decks, and look, Esper is back! Not that it ever really left me.

[d title=”Eminent Domain”]
Creatures
3 Yosei, the Morning Star
3 Kokusho, the Evening Star
Instant
4 Remand
Sorcery
4 Wildfire
Artifacts
4 Icy Manipulator
2 Izzet Signet
2 Rakdos Signet
4 Spectral Searchlight
Enchantments
4 Annex
4 Dream Leash
2 Copy Enchantment
Lands
3 Watery Grave
3 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Blood Crypt
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Steam Vents
3 Izzet Boilerworks
3 Godless Shrine
[/d]

Adrian Sullivan designed this deck during the Ravnica / Kamigawa Standard season. It was the most rough of all rogue decks. Steal lands with [c]Annex[/c] and [c]Dream Leash[/c] and ramp with the [c]Izzet Signet[/c] and [c]Rakdos Signet[/c] and [c]Spectral Searchlight[/c] then drop a Legendary Dragon into play and blow up the world with [c]Wildfire[/c]. [c]Spectral Searchlight[/c] was also a sneaky win condition, as you could give your opponent a mana of a color they can’t use, and just watch them choke on the burn. Oh mana burn, how I miss you.

For all you foreign peoples out there here is a link about what the term Eminent Domain means in the USA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain

[d title=”Pauper Delver”]
Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Spire Golem
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Spellstutter Sprite
Instant
4 Counterspell
4 Gush
4 Daze
Sorcery
4 Preordain
4 Ponder
4 Gitaxian Probe
Lands
16 Island
[/d]

When Time Spiral hit, I quit Magic. I hated the set. I also just wanted to focus on other things in life. I was gone for a long time this time and I missed 6 blocks. I became a big video gamer and comic book nerd. I watched a lot of Let’s Plays on YouTube, and one day on a whim I YouTube searched for Magic, and found a lot of nerds putting up videos. I found Mikey K and Pauper and fell back in love. With Innistrad came Delver, and a deep love was born. I love that Insect Aberration so much. This is the deck that brought me back to Magic, and to one of my favorite formats of all time, Pauper! Thanks for the videos, Mikey, without you I may have never came back to Magic!

[d title=”Silverblack RUG Tron”]
Creatures
4 Artisan of Kozilek
4 Mulldrifter
4 Brutalizer Exarch
3 Acidic Slime
2 Eternal Witness
Sorcery
3 Reap and Sow
3 Sylvan Scrying
4 Firespout
Artifacts
4 Chromatic Star
4 Prophetic Prism
2 Gruul Signet
1 Crystal Shard
Lands
4 Forest
4 Urza’s Power Plant
1 Shimmering Grotto
1 Urza’s Factory
4 Urza’s Tower
2 Vivid Crag
2 Vivid Creek
4 Urza’s Mine
[/d]

One of the coolest things that happened during my long break was Wizards started to support Player Run Events. I tried a ton of the different PRE events out there and Silverblack became just one of my all time favorite all time formats ever. If you ever come back, Niabock, know that I will be the first guy to get people back to Silverblack on Wednesday nights. I love Tron. So much, and this is a Tron deck with so much value. It drips value like a coffee maker drips Folgers. Am I going to play this in the League? Is it going to be super shiny foiled out? Maybe!

[d title=”Boros Kitty”]
Creatures
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Glint Hawk
3 Sanctum Gargoyle
3 Kor Sanctifiers
4 Perilous Myr
Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Lightning Bolt
Sorcery
3 Kuldotha Rebirth
Artifacts
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Ichor Wellspring
Enchantments
3 Journey to Nowhere
Lands
5 Mountain
3 Plains
4 Kabira Crossroads
4 Great Furnace
4 Ancient Den
[/d]

Oh, Boros Kitty. I love you so much I am going to defend you forever. Your ability to be the aggro deck against control. The slow grind control against aggro. You have game against so many decks. I am your champion for the Pauper Gauntlet: Season Two, and I promise you that we can make it to the end together. Dan can get us there, and we can claim the championship two years in a row, Boros Kitty. I know we can.

This is a build I have been playing around with. It’s not the build I am submitting to the Gauntlet. But that leads us to the end of this article and a segue to my next article. Next week is going to be all about the Boros Kitty. We are really going to get inside the deck, and the sideboard, and talk about what 75 we are going to see Dan running this year.

Thank you all for joining me for this fun trip down memory lane, I would love to hear about all of your favorite decks in the comments or on MTGO.

Until next week may your land ratio be right, and may you never have the flood or the screw

Sam Olliso
Vaultboyhunter on MTGO

Illusory Tricks: Better than Second Place

Last year’s Pauper Gauntlet was a lot of fun, and Illusory Tricks, the only deck I’ve ever brewed that is worth mentioning, came in second. This year, though … this year.

Runner-up isn’t good enough.

I maintain that Illusory Tricks is the best 19-land deck in Pauper Magic. In fact, it might be the best Pauper deck out there.

Yeah, sure. BorosKitty won the Pauper Gauntlet last year. And yeah, I’ve never beaten BorosKitty with Illusory Tricks. None of that matters, though. This year, Tricks are going to be played, and we’re going to take home the gold. How, you ask? By being meaner and more resilient than ever. Here is the current deck list.

[d title=”Illusory Tricks, v.4″]
Land
18 Island
1 Quicksand

Creatures
4 Krovikan Mist
4 Dream Stalker
4 Cloudfin Raptor
2 Phantasmal Bear
3 Fathom Seer
3 Spire Golem
2 Stormbound Geist
1 Mulldrifter

Spells
4 Counterspell
4 Vapor Snag
4 Preordain
2 Piracy Charm
2 Deprive

Artifacts
2 Bonesplitter

Sideboard
2 Stormbound Geist
4 Hydroblast
2 Coral Net
2 Curse of Chains
3 Mulldrifter
2 Serrated Arrows [/d]

The current list is a collaborative effort between Chris Weaver (cweaver) and Ahniwa Ferrari (bava). It no longer folds to control like it once did, and it still plays great matches against most decks in the meta. The hardest match-ups are Hexproof and other evasive decks like Green One. Affinity can also be tough. None of those are unwinnable, but they can be challenging.

But then, what’s life without a challenge?

Dan played Illusory Tricks recently in a Pauper Playthrough against MBC. The match highlights just how well Tricks deals with control these days.

 

And here is a recent match I played against Affinity.

 

And here is Chris playing in a 2-man against Hexproof.

 

So as you can see, even in its toughest match-ups, Tricks has game. Will it be enough to win this year’s Gauntlet? I say YES, but we’ll all have to watch and find out.