Standard Pauper Show: Supplemental

Section 1: Tales from the Road

This week’s issue is short. I am on vacation but wanted to check in with you all on how things are shaping up post-M15.

Worlds is happening over at pdcmagic.com so it is hard to gauge the prevalence of M15 in the current meta. Last weekend I played a lot of prerelease and found a few cards very useful. This brings us to our main topic.

Section 2: Strong Cards are Strong

[c]Triplicate Spirits[/c]

We may as well start off with the heavy hitter. This card in multiples plus any kind of anthem effect is ridiculously strong. In one of my events I had two and I used the [c]Sanctified Charge[/c] to blow out the opposition. I know, a five mana combat trick is a lot to ask for. However, the upside is tremendous.

[c]Frost Lynx[/c]

This card does work. I had hoped it was a baby [c]Frost Titan[/c] and it held its own each time I used it. Once your beat down plan is in place, the lynx is worth its weight in cardboard. Using it defensively is equally as devastating. Disrupting a voltron beatdown plan is very effective in maintaining your own life total while giving you the opening you need to strike.

[c]Borderland Marauder[/c]

At two mana, you will be hard pressed to find a better common red card on Standard. Though it isn’t a bolt or spear, it can cause a lot of havoc early. I cannot foresee a Standard Pauper future where this card isn’t in red decks.

[c]Heliod’s Pilgrim[/c]

This worked great with rare enchants. I feel there has to be a place with effective common enchants as well.

[c]Festergloom[/c]

In a world of weenie attacks, this card is a mini [c]Damnation[/c]. I used it several times post-combat to finish off the opponents defenses. I really enjoy turning blocks into trades.

Section 3: Clean up

I am on vacation this week but wanted to bring you some if my thoughts from the road. I will be back online this weekend. Next week Sam and I plan to do another YouTube show with our brews for the upcoming season.

Now, leave some comments and tell me what you saw at your prerelease events.

Exhume and Crush: A Primer

by David Shaffer (Shaffawaffa5)

Editor’s Note: David wrote this some time ago for MTGOStrat but it was never published. Since David is such an excellent deck-builder, author, and Magic player, once we got permission to do so we jumped at the chance to publish it. Keep in mind that some parts of the article may be out of date.

[d title=”Exhume Control (Pauper)”]

Lands

3 Bojuka Bog

4 Dimir Aqueduct

9 Island

2 Swamp

4 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures

4 Mulldrifter

3 Ulamog’s Crusher

Spells

2 Agony Warp

4 Compulsive Research

2 Counterspell

2 Diabolic Edict

1 Doom Blade

4 Exhume

2 Innocent Blood

1 Nihil Spellbomb

4 Preordain

2 Probe

4 Prohibit

2 Serrated Arrows

1 Tragic Slip

Sideboard

2 Doom Blade

2 Duress

2 Evincar’s Justice

3 Hydroblast

2 Piracy Charm

1 Probe

1 Ulamog’s Crusher

1 Wail of the Nim

1 Walker of the Grove

[/d]

This deck originated as a whacky idea I had to transform the historically all-in Reanimator deck into a more controllish list. That’s right we usually cast [c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c] to win the game. About once every other game, however, we are Exhuming at least one [c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c] into play. But [c]Exhume[/c] does more in this list than in your traditional Reanimator deck. You’re also able to exhume back a [c]Mulldrifter[/c].

Historically, the all-in Reanimator decks try to win before the opponent can establish a board presence. The all-in Reanimator pilot avoids Exhume’s symmetrical nature by winning before their opponent can get a creature in the graveyard. But this plan is inconsistent and easily disruptable. In Exhume Control we approach the problem in a different way. We bypass Exhume’s symmetrical nature in one of three ways.

First we can avoid removing our opponent’s creatures and Exhume as quickly as possible. This is akin to the traditional reanimator route. Second, we use [c]Bojuka Bog[/c] or [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c] to remove our opponent’s graveyard. Third, we Exhume back a [c]Mulldrifter[/c]. A resolved Mulldrifter is a three for one. So if we cast [c]Exhume[/c] and our opponent returns a creature like [c]Myr Enforcer[/c] or [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c] then we’re actually up a card in the exchange. This is the least preferred route of bypassing Exhume’s symmetrical nature, but sometimes the small bit of card advantage or the 2/2 flier is all you need to lock up the game.

The rest of the deck is a pretty standard control shell. But I’ll highlight a few cards.

[c]Probe[/c] has been good in any match-up you’re not getting steamrolled in, but it has been an absolute all-star in any control match-up. The ability to pitch your unwanted Crushers for more valuable cards, and make your opponent discard their last few cards is very powerful.

[c]Tragic Slip[/c], a recommendation by KimS has been a great addition. You’re able to trigger morbid off [c]Mulldrifter[/c] Evokes, and your other removal. Having an early answer to [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] and a cheap answer that allows you to play around [c]Spellstutter Sprite[/c] is very nice. The card’s flexibility has had me thinking that I might add more.

[c]Innocent Blood[/c] has been right on the edge for me. Sometimes you need the cheap removal. Taking out a turn one Delver is really important, and having a removal spell with counter backup on turn three is also pretty nice. Plus it has been beneficial that it is a sorcery so it can get around [c]Dispel[/c] in the Delver-Fiend match-up. At the same time [c]Innocent Blood[/c] has been a little awkward. Sometimes you’ve got a Crusher or Drifter out, but you need some removal to take out potentially lethal attackers. [c]Innocent Blood[/c] is miserable here. If you wanted to cut it, I would respect your decision.

The last card I want to highlight is [c]Prohibit[/c]. I think it is also just good enough. It has some relevant target in every deck. Even against MonoB, who casts infinite three drops, [c]Prohibit[/c] allows you to [c]Exhume[/c] a Crusher and keep up countermagic against their 2-mana removal. Or you can counter an early [c]Sign in Blood[/c]. The other deck that you sort of lack targets against is Tron. Tron is already a great match-up, so I tend to just fire off [c]Prohibit[/c]s on their mana fixing. In all other match-ups, I’ve found [c]Prohibit[/c] is about as good as a [c]Counterspell[/c].

Positives and Negatives of the Deck

Positives

This deck plays out as the control deck of control decks. With recent rises in UR Control, Teachings, Tron, and MonoU control, this deck out controls them all. We’re seldom the beat down because we have more card advantage and a very powerful end game that makes it difficult for our opponents to interact with us.

Most aggressive decks that don’t have the ability to interact with our game play will fall victim to our removal suite. We have a lot of one for one removal spells. But we also have [c]Evincar’s Justice[/c] and [c]Serrated Arrows[/c] to mow down strategies that build outward quickly.

Lastly, we always have the combo kill. A lot of control decks in the current meta have some match-ups that they just can’t win. From my understanding, UR control basically can’t beat green decks, Tron has a hard time with Familiars, etc. These decks aren’t great for us either. We are even more controllish than them. But against all these problem decks Exhume Control can miss a turn 3-4 Crusher and hope that gets there. While this option is not always ideal, at least an option to go combo exists.

Negatives

Exhume Control can be tempoed out by decks that can hinder our game plan. Delver of course is the staple tempo-er and is a challenging opponent. MonoB control can win games off the back of a steady stream of 2/2s for 3, hand/creature disruption and a well-timed Gray Merchant. U/R control or MonoU control can tempo us out as well with a counter magic backed Delver.

The deck also can get unlucky and draw the wrong parts of its deck. Because it is a combo oriented control deck, it has awkward draws slightly more often than your traditional control deck. In addition to times when you can get mana screwed or draw no draw spells, sometimes with Exhume Control you get all your Exhumes but no creatures or no way to remove your opponent’s threat laden graveyard. Sometimes you get all the creatures and no Exhumes. This additional element of variance doesn’t happen all that often, but it is certainly a knock against the deck because it forces you to play even better to mitigate the additional variance.

Match-Ups

Delver

Sideboard: -4 [c]Exhume[/c], -1 [c]Crusher[/c], -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -1 [c]Probe[/c]: + 2 [c]Dispel[/c], +2 [c]Piracy Charm[/c], +1 [c]Wail of Nim[/c], +2 [c]Doomblade[/c]

The match-up everyone cares the most about is also slightly unfavorable. [c]Exhume[/c] is pretty bad here since if they Spellstutter it, and if you counter the Stutter or kill a faerie in response the Exhume, the [c]Exhume[/c]’s resolution will give them their guy back. [c]Ninja of the Deep Hours[/c] is the biggest issue they bring main deck, as he can get them more threats than you can deal with. Post-board you need to counter every Stormbound Geist you see, as he makes your edicts and arrows terrible. If they can reset him via Ninja or [c]Snap[/c], then you’ve probably lost.

Having said all of that, the match-up is not unwinnable. I feel tweaks exist to make this match-up better. I’ve been content with my build because lately I feel like Delver is down in popularity. When it ticks up you’ll see more Delver hate out of me.

Affinity

Sideboard: -2 [c]Agony Warp[/c], -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -2 [c]Serrated Arrows[/c], -1 [c]Prohibit[/c]: +2 [c]Doomblade[/c] +3 [c]Hydroblast[/c] +1 Crusher

The analysis here is kind of tricky. In my opinion the match-up depends on the caliber of the Affinity player. If they are good, you’re going to be closer to 50/50 against them – in fact, it’s probably die roll + variance dependent. But if they are your average run of the mill Affinity player, then I like my chances. The goal is to Crush quickly. They have a hard time dealing with an early Crusher. Use your Prohibits on Atogs and Carapace Forgers if you can.

U/R Control

Sideboard: -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -2 [c]Innocent Blood[/c], -2 [c]Island[/c], -1 [c]Dimir Aquaduct[/c], -1 [c]Prohibit[/c]: +3 [c]Hydroblast[/c], +1 [c]Crusher[/c], +2 [c]Dispel[/c], +1 [c]Probe[/c]

Exhume Control was built to take advantage of decks playing [c]Exclude[/c]. Exhume allows you to circumvent that particular counter spell and fight your battles solely against [c]Counterspell[/c]. If Crusher enters the battlefield their only real answer is to double [c]Flameslash[/c] it. While I’ve only played this match-up a handful of times, I like my odds. It has felt good every time, except when I played against the guy who invented the U/R deck. He just outplayed me.

The U/R pilot needs to be the aggressor so try to keep hands that has access to a way to kill a turn one Delver. If you stay above 16, and out of Firebolt range, your life is a lot better.

Tron

Sideboard: -2 [c]Agony Warp[/c], -2 [c]Prohibit[/c], -2 [c]Serrated Arrows[/c]: +2 [c]Doomblade[/c], +2 [c]Hydroblast[/c], +1 [c]Probe[/c], +1 Crusher

Tron is a very good match-up. I’ve been turn three troned multiple times and I don’t really care. Use [c]Counterspell[/c] on their [c]Mulldrifter[/c]s and removal on [c]Fangren Maurader[/c]s. Once you get out a Crusher, the game usually ends in short order. This is the match-up I am most happy to see.

[c]Bojuka Bog[/c] does pretty good work in this match-up. Allowing you to control [c]Haunted Fengraf[/c] targets and to remove [c]Firebolt[/c]s and [c]Deep Analysis[/c] is a lot of value out of a land.

MonoB

Sideboard: -1 [c]Doomblade[/c], -1 Crusher, -2 [c]Prohibit[/c]: +1 [c]Probe[/c], +1 [c]Walker of the Grove[/c], +2 [c]Evincar’s Justice[/c]

MonoB is a weird match-up, and it is slightly unfavorable. If they can start chaining 2/2s into each other you have a tough time. They usually win via a tempo game. Try to keep them off their guys, and try to Probe their hand away. The match-up isn’t unwinnable by any stretch. In fact it always feels like I barely lose. If they don’t get their normal draw you probably win, because they won’t be able to eek out the last few points. It feels like if they don’t play a turn 3 dude you’re over 50% to win.

Again I think this match-up is tuneable. If you feel like you’re going to see a lot of monoB then maybe you want to switch counterspell packages. Go with [c]Exclude[/c]s and some X counter spell like [c]Powersink[/c] or [c]Condescend[/c]. A lot of the problem is that [c]Prohibit[/c] and [c]Doomblade[/c] are bad main deck inclusions here.

MonoU Control

Sideboard: -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -1 [c]Island[/c], -1 [c]Dimir Aqueduct[/c], -2 [c]Prohibit[/c]: +2 [c]Doomblade[/c], +1 [c]Probe[/c], +2 [c]Dispel[/c]

This is another good match-up. It is possibly just as good as Tron. Here, [c]Bojuka Bog[/c] is a silent all-star. It takes out their draw engine in [c]Think Twice[/c], [c]Accumulated Knowledge[/c], and [c]Oona’s Grace[/c]. You have so many must counters that eventually they run out of them. Then you [c]Probe[/c] them and the game is over.

Their best line is to tempo you out. They are the aggressor. So try to keep a hand that doesn’t get blown out by Delver + counter magic. If they give you time, remember you’re in no rush to Crush. They are playing into our hands.

Burn

Sideboard: -2 [c]Serrated Arrows[/c], -1 [c]Tragic Slip[/c], -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -1 [c]Doomblade[/c], -2 [c]Innocent Blood[/c]: +2 [c]Dispel[/c], +1 [c]Probe[/c], +1 [c]Crusher[/c], +3 [c]Hydroblast[/c]

This is actually a harder match-up than you’d think, but I think it is 50/50. You are trying to crush quickly, because you cut them off of mana. Since most of their spells do about the same amount of damage counter them whenever you can. Spend your turns where you don’t have counter magic drawing into more counter magic or combo pieces. You often don’t want to counter [c]Keldon Mauraders[/c], because it is usually the only card you can get some value out of with your removal.

Stompy

Sideboard: -1 [c]Exhume[/c], -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -1 [c]Probe[/c], -1 [c]Crusher[/c]: +2 [c]Evincar’s Justice[/c], +2 [c]Doomblade[/c]

The resilient threats are annoying, but I’ve won most of my matches against them. I don’t feel I’ve played them enough to say whether the match-up is good or not. My advice is to try to one for one them as much as possible and keep rancor off of their guys. Try to crush as soon as possible. Bringing in the sweepers post board usually puts game 2 and 3 in our favor. Don’t be surprised if you lose game one.

Hexproof Auras

Sideboard: -2 [c]Serrated Arrows[/c], -1 [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c], -2 [c]Agony Warp[/c]: +1 [c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c], +2 [c]Evincar’s Justice[/c], +1 [c]Wail of Nim[/c]

I’ve won both of my competitive matches against Hexproof Auras, but I’ve done a bit of testing since. I think this match-up is pretty poor with the current build. We only really have 4 edicts, and Prohibit is a bit weak to a turn 3-4 Armadillo Cloak or Mask. They can also just build up guys so big that Crusher looks like chump change. If you find yourself going against them frequently, look to add more edicts to the 75. I think this match-up can be made good if it is something you’re concerned about.

Familiars

Sideboard: -2 [c]Innocent Blood[/c], -2 [c]Diabolic Edict[/c], -1 [c]Compulsive Research[/c]: +2 [c]Doomblade[/c], +2 [c]Piracy Charm[/c], +1 [c]Probe[/c], +1 [c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c].

This one is a battle, but it’s a fun fight. Currently, I’ve only played against them a few times and I’m roughly 50/50. Most of my matches have been extremely close, going to epic game 3s where either I, or my opponent, made a costly mistake. Their only real way for them to handle Crusher is to [c]Snap[/c] or [c]Capsize[/c] it. Our goal is to Crush ASAP, but we also need some counter magic up to prevent bouncing. We should win if we can keep them off familiars early and turn 4 or 5 a Crusher with counter backup.

[c]Bojuka Bog[/c] and [c]Nihil Spellbomb[/c] are also good in this match-up since they hinder [c]Mnemonic Wall[/c] and makes [c]Reap the Graves[/c] a dead card. Reap is usually the card they use to beat control decks and our land makes it awful. Ding!

Teachings Control

This fringe deck has made a few appearances lately, mostly at the hands of someoldguy. The deck uses a lot of graveyard shenanigans to reach its goal. Fortunately we come main deck equipped to deal with strategies like these. [c]Bojuka Bog[/c] knocks out unspent [c]Mystical Teachings[/c], [c]Grim Harvest[/c], any lingering [c]Ghostly Flicker[/c]s, and removes any extra creatures that Harvest or [c]Soul Manipulation[/c] could target.

We also are Exhuming instead of casting creatures, so we shut off Manipulation and [c]Exclude[/c] targets. As such, we are really the deck with more counter magic available so when we cast a kicked Probe we’ll usually win the counter battle over its resolution. And once we win that, they’ll usually scoop.

Delver-Fiend

This match-up is in our favor. They are quick, but we have tons of removal. We also have ways to back up our removal with countermagic so they can’t resolve [c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c]. The goal is to kill their guys as quickly as possible. If you do this, then later you can [c]Probe[/c] them out of the game. In game 1 try to kill their Delvers and [c]Kiln Fiends[/c] with your [c]Agony Warp[/c]s and save your Edicts and [c]Doomblade[/c] for [c]Nivix Cyclops[/c]. If you don’t use your removal on the right guy, then you’ll end up unable to kill the guy you need to.

Elves

The last match-up I’ll talk about is Elves, since I’m seeing an uptick in the little green men. Game one can be hard. Try to focus on taking out [c]Timberwatch[/c] and [c]Lys Alana Huntmaster[/c] with removal. Try to counter [c]Distant Melody[/c] or kill their blue producing creatures and you should be able to win once you resolve a [c]Serrated Arrows[/c]. Games 2 and 3 are pretty easy because [c]Evincar’s Justice[/c] is [c]Damnation[/c] against them.

Threat Evaluation, Part Five: Plains, Go

Hi all,

This article is what would have been the last in the series if not for a few oversights. The point of the series has been to allow Modern players to identify their opponents’ decks based on the early plays they see. The articles have been divided out into basic land types, and they have been published in order of power level. Now that we’re down to the established lists that include Plains and no other basic lands, there are only precious few lists. Still, it is surprising that the historic worst color in Magic (note that [c]Mox Pearl[/c] is the cheapest to purchase) holds more lists than you would first guess.

Soul Sisters

The first and most common mono-white list is Soul Sisters, named after [c]Soul’s Attendant[/c] and [c]Soul Warden[/c]. The list has three lines of offense: the sisters themselves combined with [c]Ajani’s Pridemate[/c], [c]Serra Ascendant[/c] plus [/c]Martyr of Sands[/c], or [c]Honor of the Pure[/c] followed by [c]Spectral Procession[/c]. Unfortunately, some of the cards combine unfortunately into hands that put [c]Ajani’s Pridemate[/c] up with [c]Martyr of Sands[/c] and/or [c]Honor of the Pure[/c] without the other combinations, and things awkward.

Some variants have eliminated the variance (see what I did there?) by dropping the [c]Serra Ascendant[/c] and [c]Martyr of Sands[/c] package entirely. I suspect that the success of these lists is nearly a credit to the strength of white sideboarding cards and the prevalence of Burn, which should be a good matchup.

Tell-tale signs: All of the cards above are giveaways, but also if you see [c]Windbrisk Heights[/c] that is not followed by a source of black or green mana, it’s a good sign you’re up against Soul Sisters.

Death and Taxes

This is more of a Legacy thing, really, but since the cards are newly printed, there are those that play it in Modern. If you take a Green/White Hate-Bears list, remove the green and most of the one and two-casting cost creatures, you’ve got a start. Then you replace them with enter-the-battlefield effects like [c]Blade Splicer[/c], and you’ve got Death and Taxes.

Some players experimented a while with [c]Akroma, Angel of Fury[/c] and [c]Epochrasite[/c] for added blink benefits. Others have held on to the Legacy equipment package of Swords and [c]Mirran Crusader[/c] despite the loss of [c]Stoneforge Mystic[/c]. Essentially the strategy is the same: buy  just enough time for the beats to get there.

Tell-tale signs: Turn one [c]Plains[/c] into [c]Aether Vial[/c] that isn’t followed by a green mana source is a hint. The cards played here and not in hate-bears include [c]Judge’s Familiar[/c], [c]Mirran Crusader[/c], [c]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/c], and [c]Serra Avenger[/c], each with its own occasional omissions.

Martyr-Proc

These lists look vaguely familiar, but the deck stands alone without the pair of [c]Soul Warden[/c] effects from its sister deck. Instead, the player buys enough time with [c]Ghostly Prison[/c], [c]Wrath of God[/c], and [c]Martyr of Sands[/c] to trigger [c]Emeria, The Sky Ruin[/c], search [c]Serra Ascendant[/c] up with [c]Ranger of Eos[/c], and recur all the threats with [c]Proclamation of Rebirth[/c].

Tell-tale signs: This is the only list running [c]Weathered Wayfarer[/c] in Modern right now, and [c]Mistveil Plains[/c] is a solid tell as well. When you see any creature plus [c]Ghostly Prison[/c], then you know.

Mono-White Devotion

Speaking of maindeck [c]Ghostly Prison[/c], why stop there? Let’s throw in all of the powerful white enchantments that belong in sideboards: [c]Nevermore[/c], [c]Runed Halo[/c], [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c], [c]Poryphory Nodes[/c], and even [c]Sphere of Safety[/c]. All of these cripple the opponent until [c]Luminarch Ascension[/c] or [c]Sigil of the Empty Throne[/c] topple over them. Or, with all of those white mana symbols, activate a [c]Nykthos, Shrine to Nix[/c] and hardcast [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c], you know, because you can.

A fascinating variant on this is a list that includes [c]Enduring Ideal[/c]. The epic spell puts [c]Form of the Dragon[/c], [c]Dovescape[/c], and [c]Phyrexian Unlife[/c] into the battlefield for a lock.

Tell-tale signs: They’ll let you know, early. If they don’t, you’re winning easily. Nevertheless, a pre-game [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] is a sure bet. [c]Greater Auramancy[/c], [c]Suppression Field[/c], and even [c]Peace of Mind[/c] are likely to hit the table in the early turns, if not the horde of hateful enchantments I listed above.

Humans

For whatever reason, Magic went on a long time without this being a tribe. Here in Modern, it isn’t very powerful, but mono-white, Norin-less lists have tried to take full advantage of [c]Champion of the Parish[/c] with mild success in the occasional daily.

Tell-tale signs: [c]Soldier of the Pantheon[/c], [c]Precinct Captain[/c], you know, Standard-legal beaters. To be fair, the lists also includes [c]Student of Warfare[/c] and [c]Ranger of Eos[/c], but so do more-established lists.

Knights

These are the winners of the “Coolest Lord Without Making a Successful Deck” award: [c]Knight Exemplar[/c] contains the words “other Knight creatures” and, more importantly, “indestructible.” This is obviously going to be attractive to a number of Modern players coming from more casual environments.

Tell-tale signs: The two-drops say it all: [c]Leonin Skyhunter[/c], [c]Knight of Meadowgrain[/c], and [c]Knight of the White Orchid[/c] have little use in a deck except for the tribe.

Tempered Steel

I’ve mentioned Affinity before because typically its basic land is either [c]Island[/c] or [c]Mountain[/c] for [c]Master of Etherium[/c] and [c]Thoughtcast[/c] or more [c]Galvanic Blast[/c], respectively. It is worth mentioning both that some Affinity players run a full complement of [c]Tempered Steel[/c] and some budget players throw a bunch of [c]Memnite[/c] and [c]Ornithopter[/c] cards together with the enchantment.

Whiteout

What a series this has been for me to write. I’m thankful to Dan and Bava for letting me be a part of this site during this time, and I hope I’ve contributed something for everyone. Again, stay tuned for the things I’ve realized that I’ve missed, and these lists will all be edited into the five main articles for easier reference later. If you have noticed any brews missing, please post them in the comments section.

In the meantime, of course, here is where I left off with a SilverBlack Death and Taxes list. I originally thought it had solved the format, since all I knew to be concerned about was Tron and Red Deck Wins, but as more lists have developed, so has the incorrectness of my assumption. Still, it’s a blast to play. Few things are more satisfying than casting a [c]Fiend Hunter[/c], activating [c]Aether Vial[/c] to play [c]Flickerwisp[/c], exiling another creature, then targeting [c]Fiend Hunter[/c] with [c]Cloudshift[/c], and so on, and so forth. Who says SilverBlack doesn’t have a Wrath effect?

[d title=”Modern SilverBlack Death and Taxes”]

Land

4 Ghost Quarter

16 Plains

3 Tectonic Edge

Creatures

4 Aven Mindcensor

2 Dryad Militant

4 Epochrasite

4 Fiend Hunter

4 Flickerwisp

2 Judge’s Familiar

4 Kitchen Finks

2 Stonecloaker

Other Spells

4 Aether Vial

3 Cloudshift

4 Path to Exile

Sideboard

2 Burenton Forge-Tender

2 Dryad Militant

1 Eidolon of Rhetoric

2 Kor Firewalker

2 Marrow Shards

2 Oblivion Ring

1 Samurai of the Pale Curtain

1 Sunlance

2 Tempest of Light

[/d]

-drinkard

Community Participation League, Week 5

Hello Ladies and Gentlenerds,

Week 4 was amazing and it is done and over. Thank you guys for getting your games in and communicating with me about what is going on.

I have good news and bad news.

Bad news first Skjall has dropped from the League due to computer issues, and ‘no silver bullet’ has dropped due to time crunch, as has Thejerkwidasmirk. Thanks guys for letting me know, and please try again next league. I would love to have you back.

I am also doing the thing I hate to do and removing some inactive players. Again these are folks who haven’t played in the last two weeks, but have also went radio silent on me. I send weekly emails on the weekend to everyone who hasn’t reported wins or losses. Most of you guys are just amazing at letting me know what’s going on. I welcome all of these guys back for the next league as well, and If you want to play some more with us this time let me know, I’ll work you back in.

I’m also removing

Basedx
jimmygato
Pmd
rafl
rainmakerluke
Modin

If you love something, set it free, and if it comes back to you keep it in a jar in the closet so it can’t get away again … or something like that, right.

So that takes us to 34 people.

The good news now, please.

M15 is legal! Play those cards, guys! Some pretty cool stuff going on right now! It’s a core set, and I have to say I haven’t been this excited about a core set sense 7th Edition. [c]Frost Lynx[/c] is an early runner for my favorite card in set. I did have 3 in the Prerelease Sealed I did.

Another thing!

Cube Fever is going around. There is no cure. I have a cube. Its Modern. It’s online. Its Silverblack. Its a 720. If you guys ever want to draft it let me know. I’ve never got to draft it. I have all the cards for it, and think it would be tons of fun.

Deck lists!

Carnuz and denofbears have been super cool about sharing some deck lists with me and I wanted to include some of them for you guys to look over. I am also doing one of mine! Everybody likes deck lists, I always say.

This is Dega Control. It’s a deck full of bees. Mean bees.

[d title= “Vaultboyhunter Dega Control”]
Creatures
3 Gatekeeper of Malakir
4 Murderous Redcap
3 Shriekmaw
4 Tidehollow Sculler

Sorcery
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lingering Souls

Instants
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Magma Spray
4 Path to Exile
3 Zealous Persecution

Lands
4 Mountain
4 Plains
4 Rakdos Guildgate
6 Swamp
2 Boros Guildgate
3 Evolving Wilds

Sideboard
4 Pillar of Flame
2 Pyroclasm
2 Slay
3 Timely Reinforcements
4 Wear//Tear
[/d]

Carnuz shared with me this little number. It’s a doozy. I wonder how fast it can Goldfish a win. Turn 3 would be my guess without putting it together. Just mean, Mr Carnuz. Just mean.

[d title=”Carnuz Silverblack Goblins”]
Creatures
2 Stingscourger
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Wardriver
4 Foundry Street Denizen
2 Riot Piker
4 Mogg War Marshal

Enchantment
3 Quest for the Goblin Lord

Instant
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Goblin Grenade

Sorcery
4 Dragon Fodder
3 Krenko’s Command

Land
18 Mountain

Sideboard
3 Molten Rain
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Dragon’s Claw
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Electrickery
2 Skullcrack
2 Magma Spray
[/d]

Now Denofbears has a ton of amazing decks to share with us, and I am going to give us a little taste each week for the next few weeks. I am here to share information, not blow minds. I want you guys to get your matches in, and if you stare into the bright burning intensity of Bears’ mind … well, you might not be capable of playing Magic anymore.

My favorite out of the decks he shared is this!

[d title=”Denofbears Mono Blue Tron”]

Creatures
4 Mulldrifter
2 Darksteel Sentinel
3 Artisan of Kozilek
2 Peace Strider

Instant
3 Repeal
4 Condensed
1 Spell Burst
4 Mana Leak
3 Thirst for Knowledge

Sorcery
4 Slight of Hand
1 Fabricate
Artifacts
4 Talisman of Progress
1 Crystal Shard

Land
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Urza’s Factory
4 Urza’s Tower
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
10 Islands

Sideboard
2 Ghostly Flicker
3 Hibernation
2 Aetherize
2 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Bottle Gnomes
3 Marrow Shards
[/d]

Counters, card draw, big mana, value Mulldrifters. Such love in my heart for this deck.

Again this week I’m doing the pairings more randomly! Mix it up!

Wins!

Aranarth
Avery61
Bamboorush
Bocco123
Carnuz
Casanova
Deluxicoff
Denofbears
Fanofhistory
Greedyfoe
Magicgatheringstrat2
Rahrahrah
Sirpoptart
Tangents

Losses

Bava
Clozeone
Cyrulean
Darkpaladan3
Drinkard
Leoxoeckler
Litofeit
Mlord
Rremedio1
Shiftingshadows
Slvr6
Thelonesun
Vaultboyhunter
Byes!!!
Jamespwright
Landonpeanut
Magicalhobo
Somewhatdyslexic
Yugular

Week 5 Matchups!

Avery61 vs Aranarth
Bamboorush vs Negator
Bava vs Mlord
Bocco123 vs Magicgatheringstrat2
Carnuz vs Fanofhistory
Casanova vs Shiftingshadows
Clozeone vs Cyrulean
Deluxeicoff vs Magicalhobo
Denofbears vs Leosoeckler
Drinkard vs Vaultboyhunter
Greedyfoe Vs Rahrahrah
Sirpoptart vs Tangents
Litofeit vs Slvr6
Rremedio1 vs thelonesun
Landonpeanut vs Jamespwright
Somewhatdyslexic vs Tikigodbob
Yugular BYE
DarkPaladan3 BYE

And that’s it, folks! Week 5. Remember communicate early and often folks. Everyone still with us is active and ready to play. Make it easy let people know what’s going on, and get your matches in!

Remember there are lots of good videos up on the YouTube channel. I uploaded my week 2 through week 4 on Friday. Go and watch the punt fest.

Till next week may your [c]Frost Lynx[/c] always tap down your opponents [c]Pelakka Wurm.[/c] All those 7’s spoiled by one blue Kitty!

Sam Aka Vaultboyhunter

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 6

Section 1: Pauper Cubing, yeah this is off topic

I created a Pauper Cube (based off an established cube) and I am going to put it together in paper form.

Now, here are some cards from M15 that I want to add. What I need to know from you, the good people of the standard pauper community, are these cards good enough to fit into this cube and if so are they replacements or additions.

[c]Heliod’s Pilgrim[/c]

A common enchant tutor! Should this replace [c]Totem-Guide Hartebeest[/c] or should this be added in addition?

[c]Triplicate Spirits[/c]

One thing I am not running is [c]Cenn’s Enlistment[/c] but I do have [c]Battle Screech[/c] in the cube. Should this be added? Or do you think that running in tandem with screech is too over powered?

[c]Coral Barrier[/c]

I feel I may be too heavy on blue creatures. Can you see what this could replace or would it just be a good additional card?

[c]Frost Lynx[/c]

I like this card! Been referred to as the blue [c]Kor Hookmaster[/c]. I feel this is the baby [c]Frost Titan[/c] or at least what I assume the titan would have as a pet.

[c]Void Snare[/c]

A one mana [c]boomerang[/c] is very attractive. Sorcery speed is not so attractive. However, I think adding an additional blue utility spell over a creature may be in order.

[c]Festergloom[/c]

Almost like [c]Evincar’s Justice[/c] but one sided and not quite as deadly. Seems like a very flavorful black card. Would you put it in?

[c]Borderland Marauder[/c]

Is this not the perfect 2 drop aggro card in red? If not, it is close. I like it better than [c]Gore-House Chainwalker[/c] only because it can “block.”

[c]Generator Servant[/c]

Red mana ramp is not easy to come by. Especially ramp with an upside! I think this needs to go in but where?

[c]Invasive Species[/c]

The green [c]Kor Skyfisher[/c]! I think this will mostly be used for knocking off negative enchants, but that could be reason enough to add them in.

Give me your thoughts. Also, did I miss any other gems from M15 that should be included?

Section 2: This week in review


MPDC 25.08
21 July 2014
Standard · 14 Players
10 Decks · ~71% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 4 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st RedBlue CounterBurn* by beatnik bobby
2nd I promised not to play this* by rremedio1
T4 CREATURELESS DIMIR MILL* by milegyenanevem
T4 Deck not found** by moromete

Well, only 10 decks participated. Not an uncommon showing just before a new set is to be released. I still feel the format is strong.

Section 3: The winning decks!

I lied again, only one deck as there was no SPDC this week. Rest assured that I will report on that event as well.

REDBLUE COUNTERBURN

Standard · Control
1st by beatnik bobby in MPDC 25.08 (4-1)

[d]
Creatures
4 Nivix Cyclops
Spells
3 Rise of Eagles
3 Flurry of Horns
3 Nullify
4 Essence Scatter
4 Lightning Strike
4 Shock
4 Voyage’s End
3 Magma Spray
2 Dispel
2 Electrickery
1 Chandra’s Outrage
1 Negate
1 Tin Street Market
Lands
9 Island
8 Mountain
4 Izzet Guildgate
SIDEBOARD
4 Annul
3 Frostburn Weird
2 Razortip Whip
2 Prescient Chimera
2 Disperse
1 Cancel
1 Dispel[/d]

I had to make some assumptions as the deck listing software still does not have Journey into Nix cards entered yet. I went with 3 each of Rise, Flurry and Nullify.

Let’s look at a sample opening hand:

I think you have to keep this hand. It has all the colors of mana you need. You will be fending off the opponent for a long time while you build up your mana base.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

You guys make some pretty good decks. We seem to have week after week of being rewarded for keeping hands that appear shaky. Impressive. I do wonder about the [c]Tin Street Market[/c]. Seems like a lot of mana for rummage effect. Is it worth it?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Modern Staples: Part Two

In the second part of this article I’ll go over creatures and lands, and see which ones are more representative of the Modern metagame.

Creatures

32[c]Restoration Angel[/c]
Flash is one of the most interesting abilities in any creature. Surprising the opponent is key in Magic, and this is one of the nicest exponents. This card also has wonderful interactions, allowing all sorts of interesting plays and one important combo with [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c], that allows for infinite creatures and inifite combat damage.

[c]Aven Mindcensor[/c]
This one is a difficult card to understand in a vacuum. It is a nice creature by itself, being a 2 power flyer, but it shines thanks to its extra ability, which makes it difficult for the opponent to take advantage of its tutor abilities and fetchlands. It is easy to see this creature coming, as it is a staple of the Hatebears deck. It is also fragile, so basically any removal will take care of it.

[c]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/c]
This creature is solid by itself, but is is a lot better thanks to its ability to shut down many decks, at least partially. Modern is a complex environment, and creatures are expected to have extra value: Linvala makes your opponent’s creatures go back to a rather more vanilla state, and that is good. Very good.

14[c]Leonin Arbiter[/c]
The definition of a hatebear: 2/2 for 2CMC with an added effect that makes life difficult for the opponent. Leonin Arbiter makes your copies of [c]Path to Exile[/c] extra effective, and renders fetchlands a lot less effective. Almost exclusively played in GW hatebears.

[c]Kataki, War’s Wage[/c]
A very good way to get in the way of Affinity’s efficiency. A wisely placed Kataki will mean the opponent having to sacrifice some artifacts and slow down. This is a removal magnet, of course, but they must have removal at the appropiate time. And leave mana open to play it after the upkeep. Just hope you don’t see Kataki if you’re playing Affinity.

[c]Snapcaster Mage[/c]
Played in Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and just about every format where it can be played. [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] is one of the defining creatures in Magic. A pleasure to play and one of the most beautiful designs ever. Keep it always in mind when playing against blue: odds are they can play again any spell in the graveyard. Remember that killing the Mage does not work to avoid the effect from taking place, but removing the card it targets does. This means you can remove from the game the card [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] tries to give Flashback to in response to the opponent declaring which card he wants to play again.

51a[c]Delver of Secrets[/c]
Another great card that has regrettably become less popular lately in Modern, even though it is still a staple in many decks. In the right deck, it is essentially a suspended 3/2 flyer. Remember that Delver transforms as soon as the right card is revealed: you cannot kill the creature in response to the opponent showing an instant. This is only relevant in the strange occasions where you can only deal one damage, but still.

[c]Deceiver Exarch[/c]
One of the two possible combo pieces to combine with [c]Splinter Twin[/c], and arguably the best one, thanks to its 4 toughness. If you see it played at the end of your turn you can be pretty sure you’re going to see the combo at the first main phase next turn. Therefore, prepare in advance to disrupt the combo either removal or countermagic.

[c]Pestermite[/c]
One of the two possible combo pieces to combine with [c]Splinter Twin[/c], a bit weaker than [c]Deceiver Exarch[/c] because of his paltry 1 toughness. Notice evasion tends to be a bit less relevant when we have infinite creatures. If you see it played at the end of your turn you can be pretty sure you’re going to see the combo at the first main phase next turn. Therefore, prepare in advance to disrupt the combo either removal or countermagic.

70[c]Vendilion Clique[/c]
Flash, as I have stated before, is one of the most important abilities in a creature. This one has flying too. And a 3/1 body. And hand disruption. Card draw too, depending on who the target is. This card is extremely good and one of the best sideboard cards available for heavy blue decks. Word of advice: do not show your hand until your opponent specifies you are the target of the ability.

[c]Spellstutter Sprite[/c]
Played in only a few decks (faeries and a UR delver variant), but enormously good. Flash and countermagic on a 1/1 flyer. Good stuff. There is a very good trick you should know if you play against [c]Spellstutter Sprite[/c]: once the sprite enters the battlefield, count how many faeries there are. If the number of faeries is exactly the number needed to counter the spell, proceed to promptly remove the faerie from the battlefield via whatever removal you have: the counterspell will then have no effect.

[c]Master of Etherium[/c]
Played in Affinity decks to great effect, this is one heck of a lord: not only he pumps, but also grows bigger and bigger. One of many problematic cards in Affinity.

86[c]Silvergill Adept[/c]
Card advantage and one more body to get pumped by lords. Remember the opponent does not have to show any Merfolk or pay any additional cost if they play it using [c]AEther vial[/c].

[c]Lord of Atlantis[/c]
The original Merfolk lord. A very good target for removal. Please, please, remember this one gives islandwalk and makes all their merfolk unblockable if you play blue.

[c]Master of the Pearl Trident[/c]
Merfolk lord and one big problem for you. Lords have to be your primary removal target. Remember, islandwalk. Their creatures are unblockable if you control one island.

74[c]Merrow Reejerey[/c]
Yet another Merfolk lord. A bit more expensive than the other two, but its ability makes it just as efficient. It actually generates mana when played through [c]AEther Vial[/c].

[c]Cursecatcher[/c]
A cheap Merfolk, and early disruption. A small nuisance that is going to get big in no time thanks to the 12 merfolk lords. Luckily, it tends to be not a great topdeck.

[c]Dark Confidant[/c]
To think so many people thought this card would not be any good when it was released. It is a bit risky at times, and there have been players losing the game in their upkeep, but Bob is a wonderful card and a great tool for many Modern decks, most notably Jund and Junk. Remember: if you are playing against [c]Dark Confidant[/c] and the opponent is low on life, it might be a good idea to let it live a bit longer. They get extra cards, but it might be worth it.

76[c]Vault Skirge[/c]
Played in Affinity, but good enough to fit in other decks, as it does in Pauper. This guy plus any kind of pump means huge life swings. Remember one important thing: all damage is dealt at the same time in the combat phase, and the life from the lifelink ability is gained at the same time the damage is dealt.

[c]Goblin Guide[/c]
The best creature in Burn decks, and often the only one. This guy means most times 4 damage, and often way more. It means a sort of negative card advantage, but it goes with the red philosophy in that you should be able to kill the opponent fast enough for card advantage to mean very little.

[c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c]
A very very recent addition that looks like it’s here to stay. Punishing the efficiency is weird but it works, it really does: it will cost the opponent life to play almost any removal, and that’s if they don’t have to look for the removal, in which case we are looking at a lot of damage. A really nice design.

100[c]Grim Lavamancer[/c]
An almost endless source of damage in the right deck, and a wonderful card all around. Remember removing the cards from the graveyard is part of the cost, and therefore we cannot remove cards in response to avoid the effect.

[c]Young Pyromancer[/c]
A relatively recent card that has found two good friends in [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] and [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] in the incredibly fun UR delver deck. You have to remember to place the tokens in the battlefield yourself, and remember to do it in time. The card is absolutely useless if we don’t remember to do what makes it great.

[c]Hellspark Elemental[/c]
Often used in Burn, it is an efficient source of damage but tends to be a bad topdeck from the midgame on. Then again, burn tends to have little to do from the midgame on.

[c]Simian Spirit Guide[/c]
A tool to be used in some combo decks. Discarding the card to generate the mana is NOT a spell, and as such it cannot be countered.

[c]Spark Elemental[/c]
Another efficient creature to obtain some more points of damage. This is played often to go under a Leyline of Sanctity.

[c]Vexing Devil[/c]
Cards that give the opponent a choice tend to be really bad, but this one could be good enough, given both options are OK for what Burn is trying to do.

166[c]Tarmogoyf [/c]
The wallet destroyer. [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] is very expensive because it is incredibly efficient: it tends to be at least a 4/5 creature by turn 3, for the low price of 1G. Remember: look for the card types in the graveyard and remove, if possible, the relevant ones to make Tarmo a bit smaller.

[c]Scavenging Ooze[/c]
A very solid card that isn’t way more expensive thanks to a sufficient print run. [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] is a nightmare for the opponent. It will grow big and give life to boot to the controller. Remember always to check if the opponent has green mana available, as they can remove any card from any cemetery and can gain life and pump the creature all at the same time. This is a prime example of something that should be killed before it is too late.

[c]Wall of Roots[/c]
A simple mana dork, but one that can be activated in your turn and then in your opponent’s. Funny how [c]Wall of Roots[/c] can pay for his own sacrifice to [c]Birthing Pod[/c]. A bit sad.

92[c]Thrun, the Last Troll[/c]
Try to avoid Thrun from ever hitting the battlefield. Oh wait, you can’t, because it can’t be countered. Nor targeted. And it regenerates. [c]Thrun, the Last Troll[/c] is a veritable nightmare that comes down entirely too soon. You can make the opponent sacrifice it, and there are wrath effects that exile rather than destroy, but it is a real pain in the ass. At least it has zero evasion and can be chumpblocked.

[c]Courser of Kruphix [/c]
[c]Oracle of Mul Daya[/c] v2.0. I have seen this guy fend off aggro decks with ease, and provide sweet card advantage while at it. Courser is a fantastic card that will become a modern staple and synonymous with Jund and Junk, I’m sure of it. The big problem with [c]Courser of Kruphix[/c] on the other side of the table is it tends to be surrounded by other excellent targets for removal.

[c]Eternal Witness[/c]
Partial namesake of Shouta Yasooka’s deck from two years ago, this card still sees play thanks to a very interesting effect and a reasonable body. Remember: if possible, remove the card targeted by [c]Eternal Witness[/c] from the graveyard and you’ll have avoided a small crisis.

95[c]Birds of Paradise[/c]
The epitome of the mana dork. [c]Birds of Paradise[/c] accelerates, fixes and chumpblocks like no other. Doesn’t tend to last much in the battlefield, but remember: if you don’t see your opponent playing a land turn 2, [c]Birds of Paradise[/c] becomes a really interesting target for removal.

[c]Noble Hierarch[/c]
A really expensive (in actual cash) mana dork. It is a real house, pumping your creatures at the same time it provides the mana to play them. It is also fragile, very fragile. Remember it gets +1/+1 when attacking alone.

[c]Obstinate Baloth[/c]
A sideboard card against hand disruption that makes opponents regret having played [c]Liliana of The Veil[/c].

159[c]Spellskite[/c]
A really useful card in lots of situations. This can eat lightning bolts and live to tell the tale, while your precious combo piece might not. A reminder: it has to be a legal target to be able to redirect.

[c]Signal Pest[/c]
A cheap threat that pumps all your attackers, and you want to be attacking when playing Affinity, which is the only deck that plays this.

[c]Ornithopter[/c]
A real classic that has recently been reprinted. As always, it is only good if pumped, and therefore requires a certain building around. It is also valuable as a way to generate mana with [c]Springleaf Drum[/c].

[c]Steel Overseer[/c]
Untap with this and essentially win. This is a very dangerous card in Affinity, where it makes everything bigger and leaves the counters behind even if it dies.

198[c]Arcbound Ravager[/c]
A big player in Affinity. Not only can it make itself bigger, it can then transfer the counters to another creature by sacrificing itself. This makes maths more difficult when we are being attacked by it.

[c]Memnite[/c]
Free artifact creatures are the reason Affinity is so efficient. Not the biggest threat, though.

[c]Etched Champion[/c]
Protection against anything you can throw at it around 90% of the time. Kill it as soon as you have the opportunity, even though it is pretty difficult. A good reson to side in that [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c].

[c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c]
Ouch-inducing. This stops aggro all by itself, and then continues stopping it after it has died. A nightmare to get rid of, and the single best reason to exile, not destroy.

190[c]Kitchen Finks[/c]
A fantastic card that has been relegated to a single deck lately, where it is an important combo piece: Melira Pod. A good way to delay aggro strategies in any case. [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] is one of the reasons some decks play Magma Spray as removal.

[c]Voice of Resurgence[/c]
A pretty new card, even though it has a certain oldschool feeling to it. [c]Voice of Resurgence[/c] punishes removal and playing in the opponent’s turn, which is something that happens a lot in modern. It is a great card in Melira Pod, of course, as it leaves behind a potentially big token.

[c]Fulminator Mage[/c]
Seen in Living End, [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] is difficult to deal with, as once it has been played it has already paid for himself by denying you of one of your lands. It is mostly played as bait for countermagic… But on the other hand it has to be answered to, as it can leave you without the necessary mana for removal. A difficult card to fight against.

213[c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c]
So much value. You can block it, but you’re going to have to deal with four more damage coming at you flying. And it appears in decks with access to both [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] and [c]Path to Exile[/c], which means Geist tends to find its path free of dangers. And then it attacks you for another 6 damage.

[c]Qasali Pridemage[/c]
Toolbox time! A really beautiful card. Not only it is a 3/3 when attacking for only two mana, it also pumps other creatures… And can remove a bothersome artifact or enchantment. It has it all. In common rarity.

Lands

[c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c]
Played in Infect and Affinity, it is an extremely good target for pump, as it will be doubly effective.

[c]Blinkmoth Nexus[/c]
Played in Affinity. It adds to the artifact count once it is transformed, as does Inkmoth Nexus.

143[c]Treetop Village[/c]
A classic seen in many high-level tournaments. Trample is extremely relevant when trying to get the last points of damage in.

[c]Darksteel Citadel[/c]
Played in Affinity due to it adding to the artifact count and also being indestructible.

[c]Celestial Colonnade[/c]
The finisher of choice for many UWx decks. It doesn’t look like much, until you start being hit after your opponent stabilizes. They are going to have to tap out almost completely to attack, which will make Celestial Colonnade removable that turn: do it.

[c]Urza’s Mine[/c]
[c]Urza’s Power Plant[/c]
[c]Urza’s Tower[/c]
The three parts of the Urzatron. They are a strategy in themselves, making it worth the effort to dedicate a good part of the deck to look for them: once you get the engine running, it will be [c]Karn Liberated[/c], [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c] and other monsters one after another.

223[c]Glimmervoid[/c]
In Affinity, where this is played, you are pretty much done for if you don’t control any artifacts at the end of a turn. This is why [c]Glimmervoid[/c] has no real drawback, and is a wonderful way to fix your mana.

[c]Grove of the Burnwillows[/c]
Strange as it may seem, there are times when we are beneffited from letting the opponent gain life, or we just don’t care much. In any case, it’s mana fixing and that is generally good.

[c]Gavony Township[/c]
Permanently pumping all your creatures every turn sounds as good as it is.

228[c]Mutavault[/c]
Played in many decks, but specially effective in tribal decks where it can benefit from the Lords in the battlefield, such as Merfolk. One of the most efficient manlands, entering the battlefield untapped and turning into a creature for only one mana.

[c]Ghost Quarter[/c]
It has many uses, but the most common one is making the opponent lose an important manland, utility land, or at least a dual land. This is sometimes used in conjunction with [c]Leonin Arbiter[/c] to make the opponent lose their land with no drawback. Remember that, as good an idea as it may seem, [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] cannot target itself in order to look for a basic land.

[c]Horizon Canopy[/c]
A wonderful dual land used in many decks. The ability to sacrifice it to draw a card is sometimes used with [c]Crucible of Worlds[/c] to provide a recurrent way to draw, along with wailing and gnashing of teeth at the other side of the table.

[c]Gemstone Mine[/c]
A temporal, but really flexible way to fix your mana. Returning it to your hand somehow is one of the most interesting plays you can do.

[c]Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle[/c]
Used with [c]Scapeshift[/c] to kill the opponent in one turn, as long as there are enough lands in the battlefield.

urborgtombofyawgmoth[c]Urborg, Town of Yawgmoth[/c]
Making your utility lands more useful since day one.

[c]Tolaria West[/c]
Looking for a cost 0 card is really useful when there are cost 0 cards as good as [c]Pact of Negation[/c].

[c]Raging Ravine[/c]
Played in Jund, this card is one of the many ways to kill you the deck has. This one happens to survive wraths and [c]Damnation[/c].

[c]Desolate Lighthouse[/c]
Looting (drawing and then discarding) is a very good thing when entering the mid-late game, specially if we are looking for a combo piece.

Threat Evaluation, Part Four: Forest, Go

After excluding arguably three of the most powerful colors in Magic, we aren’t left with more than a handful of decks. Still, some of these are near to my heart. I have won more packs in ticketed MTGO events with basic [c]Forest[/c] than any other land, period. First, there was Stompy in Pauper. Later, there was a beautiful, if very brief, period where the 2013 and 2014 core sets were legal together, and [c]Rancor[/c] and [c]Kalonian Tusker[/c] were available to a Standard Stompy player. Finally, there was my beloved Mono-Green Infect in Modern.

Forests really make the opponent prove your deck is bad because you are really good at applying early pressure. Not only that, but also the pressure is difficult to remove, whether it is because of Hexproof, instant-speed buffs, or /5 in the bottom right corner of the card. Let’s take a look at some of the mono-green lists available in Modern:

Greener Pastures

These lists are simple: drop Fangorn, and beat.

Mono-Green Infect

As I have already written about this and spreading it across formats, I’ll be brief: this can win on turns two and three when needed, or it can sit back on Exalted triggers and pump spells for protection and reach for the win on turns six through ten.

Tell-tale signs: Turn one [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] that isn’t followed by [c]Mox Opal[/c], [c]Springleaf Drum[/c] or [c]Signal Pest[/c] is a good sign. [c]Cathedral of War[/c] and [c]Sylvan Scrying[/c] are definite heads-up. Also, if your opponent drops Forest, Forest, and still does nothing, they’re most likely playing an [c]Ichorclaw Myr[/c] with backup.

Stompy

With creatures like [c]Leatherback Baloth[/c] and [c]Thrun, the Last Troll[/c], planeswalkers, and removal such as [c]Pit Fight[/c] and [c]Beast Within[/c], this isn’t your [c]Winter Orb[/c] Stompy list of the 90’s. Its only similarity to the Pauper lists is the name, also, as the curve and resiliency is much higher. In fact, it’s closer compared to Jund or Rock. Sergi has done a good write-up on this deck archetype on this page.

Tell-tale signs: Forest, [c]Experiment One[/c] is a common play, but this list shares that with other beat variants. If you keep seeing more Forests and cards like [c]Strangleroot Geist[/c] and [c]Kalonian Tusker[/c], you know this is your match.

Elves

It is difficult to search for decks based on price on mtgo-stats and mtggoldfish, so whenever I come across one that is low, I always bookmark it in my mind. The lowest that I have ever seen in Modern was a list that only cost $9.58 at the time that it placed 3-1 in a Daily. And its components were Elves. With only 38 creatures and 4 [c]Lead the Stampede[/c], I’m sure the pressure was on for his opponents. There are more lords in here than in Merfolk, and the [c]Aether Vial[/c] are replaced by mana-producing creatures, maximizing the synergy.

Obviously there are combo lists available as well, whether the combo be [c]Cloudstone Curio[/c] and [c]Elvish Visionary[/c] with [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c] and [c]Heritage Druid[/c], [c]Intruder Alarm[/c] with [c]Joraga Treespeaker[/c] and [c]Ant Queen[/c], or [c]Hive Mind[/c] and [c]Summoner’s Pact[/c], the options are quite open.

Tell-tale signs: [c]Wren’s Run Vanquisher[/c] and [c]Bramblewood Paragon[/c] are only seen here. Obviously [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c] and [c]Heritage Druid[/c] are strong hints.

Wielding The Green Dragon*

Here are lists that are predominantly green but do not have a basic land other than [c]Plains[/c] (as white is the last color to be covered) in their mana-bases.

*- Can we talk about how one WIELDS a dragon for a second? Imagine Samuel L. Jackson in the famous Pulp Fiction “What?!” scene with a green dragon in place of the gun. I can only imagine how wildly the artist’s mind ran with upon receipt of the card’s name.

Hexproof Auras/Bogles

Equally difficult to respect and not respect at the same time, the Bogles player typically forgoes all interaction with the opponent in favor of a [c]Slippery Bogle[/c] or [c]Gladecover Scout[/c] souped up with four to ten enchantments. Some lists at least have the decency to play [c]Suppression Field[/c] and [c]Path to Exile[/c] for interaction, and some realize there is often little point.

Tell-tale signs: The deck simply can’t function without a mulligan into a creature, so you should see [c]Slippery Bogle[/c], [c]Gladecover Scout[/c], and/or [c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] within the first two turns.

Green Devotion

This list uses some of the old standbys seen in mono-green beats, but here they are taken advantage of for their mana costs. Once enough cards like [c]Wistful Selkie[/c] and [c]Burning-Tree Emissary[/c] are in place, the player generates enough mana to win with [c]Genesis Wave[/c], [c]Tooth and Nail[/c] for [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] and [c]Xenagos, God of Revels[/c], or [c]Eternal Witness[/c] and [c]Primal Command[/c] recursion, whichever. Take your pick, no big deal.

Tell-tale signs: This is the only list to play land Auras other than [c]Spreading Seas[/c].

Hate-Bears

How frequently this term is thrown around, yet no one can fully appreciate it until they’re on the wrong end of a 7/7 [c]Scavening Ooze[/c], [c]Leonin Arbiter[/c], and [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] with no lands in play.

Tell-tale signs: [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] turn one is rather typical in Modern. [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c] following it on turn two is slightly less so. The real giveaway is when they are combined with tempo elements such as [c]Aven Mindcensor[/c] or [c]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/c].

A variant on Hate-bears excludes all of the durdly enter-the-battlefield effects and “tax” cards (of Legacy and Modern Death and Taxes lists) for more cards like [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c] and [c]Voice of Resurgence[/c]. Call it Care-Bears? Still, a [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] with the stats of [c]Juggernaut[/c] and a 4/3 1-drop in [c]Dryad Militant[/c] are quite severe.

Last March of the Ents

Hey, wait, that’s not a Magic card.

This concludes the look at lists heavy enough into Green to contain basic Forests but not containing Islands, Swamps, or Mountains. Next week we’ll look at the last few Modern lists: those that are heavy, heavy white and without any splashes. I’ll conclude the series in two weeks with the ones I’ve missed along the way.

In the meantime, enjoy the SilverBlack list I’ve run for all my league games into the Juggernaut stat of 5/3. How did he manage to make two references in here?

[d title=”Modern SilverBlack Stompy”]

Land

20 Forest

Creatures

2 Dryad Militant

4 Elvish Mystic

4 Experiment One

4 Kalonian Tusker

4 Leatherback Baloth

4 Strangleroot Geist

Other Spells

2 Beast Within

2 Giant Growth

3 Loxodon Warhammer

1 Pit Fight

4 Prey Upon

2 Triumph of Ferocity

4 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard

2 Acidic Slime

1 Back To Nature

1 Deglamer

1 Pit Fight

2 Ranger’s Guile

1 Reknit

2 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Trophy Hunter

1 Unravel the Aether

3 Windstorm[/d]

This deck is obviously a port of the Modern “Stompy” list. I really think the similarity is closer to Rock; you won’t find a closer card to [c]Dark Confidant[/c] than [c]Triumph of Ferocity[/c]. I haven’t lost a game where it has triggered twice and drawn me a card. Maybe I haven’t where it’s triggered once and drawn me a card, but I’m trying to be conservative here.

You also haven’t lived until you equip a beater with [c]Loxodon Warhammer[/c], fight with it, then attack with it.

My match loss is to flyers. [c]Lingering Souls[/c] is quite a card in this format. Unfortunately, it is always accompanied by [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c], and often it travels with anthem effects. It’s quite a bear to defeat. You have access to [c]Scattershot Archer[/c] and the cards I already have in the sideboard. Maybe [c]Scryb Ranger[/c] belongs in the maindeck, and the archer in the side.

I hope this series is benefiting your Modern play. It is such a great thing, over time, to track your results and watch the meta shift once you’re knowledgeable of all the archetypes.

-drinkard

Legacy en los Martes, No. 4: Green Grass and High Tides – Part I

Welcome back!

I hope you are ready for a marathon of an article series.

Before we begin, I implore you to listen to this song (but skip it if you are of the opinion that country rock is the most odious thing on the planet):

Ahh, the Outlaws! I believe there is nothing like a good ten-minute song to prepare you for what is coming next! Today I want to go in-depth with what is probably my favorite deck of all time in ANY format:

[c]HIGH TIDE[/c]!

This is the deck that got [c]Frantic Search[/c] banned. Yes, that seemingly crappy common is banned in Legacy. It may seem to be [c]Careful Study[/c] that untaps a couple of lands, but in this deck it cycles through worthless hand material mid-combo while making ridiculous amounts of mana. The combo turn also can last up to ten minutes. During this time, the opponent has to just F6 and sit there while you go about slowly killing them. The deck is not for the faint of heart; should you choose to take up the [c]High Tide[/c] mantle, expect many maths in the future. But that ten minutes while the opponent cries at their computer screen while you math them to death… priceless. Have I piqued your interest?

This article (and others in the series) will be divided into four parts:

Part I: Overview and Archetypes
Part II: Spiral Tide, aka “Normal” High Tide
Part III: Solidarity
Part IV: My baby: Spring Tide

While those names may not make sense now, they will in just a minute.

Here in Part I, I will be discussing the four major archetypes for the [c]High Tide[/c] deck, including basic principles, explanations, and some videos. Let’s begin, shall we?

Common Elements

As stated earlier there are four major types of [c]High Tide[/c] deck, each with it’s own different pieces that make them work. The [c]High Tide[/c] deck usually kills the opponent by generating a ridiculous amount of mana and storm count before milling them completely or by forcing them to draw their entire deck in one go. High Tide was considered the premier, best, and most consistent storm deck in Legacy starting in around 2006 until it began to fade in popularity with the advent of Ad-Nauseam Tendrils in 2010. There are a few key components that most [c]High Tide[/c] decks employ to ensure consistency and power throughout:

A. [c]High Tide[/c]: This is the namesake card of the deck. [c]High Tide[/c] cannot function without [c]High Tide[/c]… This is the card that starts the engine rollin’.

B. Cantrips: Nothing like a ton of ways to sculpt a beautiful hand to make the storm deck more consistent! Really, though, [c]Brainstorm[/c], [c]Ponder[/c], [c]Preordain[/c], and even [c]Impulse[/c] all have their place in [c]High Tide[/c]. High Tide is resilient because it attempts to “go off” as late as possible, and these cantrips increase the chances of flat out goldfishing an opponent even with certain death on the next turn.

C. Untap Effects: This is where the party starts. [c]Turnabout[/c] and friends allow the pilot to generate upwards of 100 mana on the combo turn when combined with multiple [c]High Tide[/c]s. Each of the different archetypes has a tendency to abuse different powerful untappers, which gives each deck a different flair.

D. Draw effects: High Tide decks draw a lot of cards during the combo turn. This allows them to continue to storm and generate mana effectively. The most commonly used draw card is [c]Meditate[/c], which is highly efficient as an instant-speed draw spell. While [c]Meditate[/c] is the most commonly used draw spell, [c]Ideas Unbound[/c] is also very efficient and is used in my personal favorite variant.

E. Wishboard: [c]Cunning Wish[/c] is an integral part of every High Tide deck. It’s an on-color instant that can find a massive toolbox of combo protection, re-stabilization, and usually the kill as well. This indispensable card is almost always used as a 3-of.

F. Protection: It’s a mono-blue combo deck. Why would there NOT be a countermagic suite?? Most High Tide variants use, at a bare minimum, [c]Force of Will[/c] to stop those pesky disruption spells. More recently, [c]Flusterstorm[/c] has become popular, as it stops all manner of problem cards for a mere {u} while being very synergistic and resilient to countermagic. [c]Defense Grid[/c] is also occasionally sideboarded to deal with the all-countermagic decks.

G. Kill cards: These cards are usually contained in the wishboard in order to preserve main deck space. The original kill of the deck was [c]Brain Freeze[/c], which allowed the opponent’s entire library to be milled without an “infinite” storm count. Unfortunately, with the dawn of cards like [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] and [c]Progenitus[/c], milling isn’t always a reliable kill. [c]Blue Sun’s Zenith[/c] is now the preferred kill as it forces the opponent to draw their entire deck in one shot, usually with 80+ mana. The Zenith is preferable to [c]Stroke of Genius[/c] in that it is reusable, and can be used by the pilot to draw around 15-20 cards mid-combo to continue to fully go off and then found later with more draw or [c]Merchant Scroll[/c] to kill the opponent.

That covers the general stuff that almost every [c]High Tide[/c] variant uses. But enough of that, let’s talk archetypes.

The Big Four

Spiral Tide, aka “Normal” High Tide

TSpiral Candelabra

Solidarity

Reset Impulse

Permanent Waves

MoM Ideas Unb

Spring Tide

Cloud of Faeries Snap

Those pictures represent some of the more unique aspects of the Big Four, most namely for mana production. Each is powerful in its own way, as you will see in the breakdown here!

Break it Down Now!

Spiral Tide

When people think “[c]High Tide[/c]” this is usually the archetype about which they think. This is the archetype with the most tournament success, in part due to the insane untapping/recycling effect of [c]Time Spiral[/c], which makes the deck tick. Spiral Tide attempts to sculpt a “good enough” hand to the point where the deck can cast a [c]High Tide[/c], make some mana, perhaps draw a few cards, then recycle every thing with a [c]Time Spiral[/c] and draw a new 7 to continue to go off.

These decks can accelerate mana production even further through the use of [c]Candelabra of Tawnos[/c], which is broken to no extent. Keep in mind that these are a 1-shot deal during the combo turn. Other than these two distinct elements, Spiral Tide decks often use a few [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c] to sculpt more draws in conjunction with fetchlands. Spiral Tide, like most [c]High Tide[/c] variants, uses fetches despite being mono-{u} to improve [c]Brainstorm[/c], the Top, and thin the deck. Here is a sample Spiral Tide list:

[d title=”Spiral Tide by Feline Longmore, Top 8 SCG Providence June 2014″]
Artifacts
4 Candelabra of Tawnos
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
Instants
4 High Tide
3 Flusterstorm
4 Brainstorm
1 Turnabout
4 Force of Will
3 Cunning Wish
Sorceries
4 Merchant Scroll
4 Time Spiral
4 Ponder
3 Preordain
Lands
12 Island
3 Flooded Strand
3 Polluted Delta
Sideboard
4 Counterbalance
1 Snap
1 Pact of Negation
1 Flusterstorm
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
2 Wipe Away
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Rebuild
1 Intuition
1 Brain Freeze
1 Turnabout
[/d]

Feline likes her SDTops, and even has [c]Counterbalance[/c] in the board to complement them!

Check out this video of Feline playing against CVM with this deck in June:

Unfortunately, she lost this game but still made Top 8 in this Legacy Open.

Solidarity

This variation has one key aspect that leads to many surprised opponents: the entire deck operates and attempts to win at instant speed on the opponent’s turn. As crazy as that may sound, the deck revolves around one of the most powerful land untap effects in the game: [c]Reset[/c]. Oh thanks, Legends, just try to give the card a minor setback and let us abuse it. The instant speed is often a huge boon, as a 2 mana [c]Turnabout[/c] is way over powered, especially when cast in conjunction with a [c]High Tide[/c] in response to some form of disruption. The best part is that the opponent just has to sit there, during their turn, with their [c]Thoughtseize[/c] on the stack, while they lose.

Due to the instant speed nature of the deck, “good” cantrips like [c]Ponder[/c] must be forsaken. In lieu of these, [c]Impulse[/c] is used. Good ol’ [c]Brainstorm[/c] still fits perfectly. Rather than using [c]Merchant Scroll[/c] to find the combo pieces, this deck must use [c]Mystical Tutor[/c] to find mana and protection. This is usually combined with [c]Meditate[/c]/some other draw spell or cantrip to move the target into the hand. Overall, the deck has a tendency to just take people by surprise, which can lead to free wins. Check out a sample list:

[d title=”Solidarity by David Gearhart, circa 2009″]

Lands
12 Island
3 Flooded Strand
3 Polluted Delta

Instants
2 Brain Freeze
4 Brainstorm
2 Cryptic Command
3 Cunning Wish
2 Flash of Insight
4 Force of Will
4 High Tide
4 Impulse
3 Meditate
3 Opt
1 Peek
3 Remand
4 Reset
3 Turnabout
Sideboard
3 Disrupt
2 Echoing Truth
2 Twincast
2 Wipe Away
1 Hydroblast
1 Meditate
1 Brain Freeze
1 Rebuild
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Turnabout
[/d]

Gearhart developed the deck around 2006 – 2007, and it was tier 1 for quite a while. This deck is less common than Spiral Tide, but still quite powerful in the proper metagame.

This is a playlist of MTGO user Chemfy playing a few matches with his Solidarity deck. Check it out not to see wins, but to get a basic idea of how the deck plays.

Permanent Waves

This section is going to be decidedly bare. The developer of Permanent Waves (which is named after the awesome Rush album), Anwar Ahmad, has written several articles on StarCityGames.com about his deck. I will provide some background, but I highly suggest that you follow the links below to some of his articles about the deck, especially since there is not a fifth part to this series about the archetype.

This deck employs [c]Mind over Matter[/c] as a 2-of as its unique mana engine. The powerful enchantment is cast in the middle of the combo turn to enormous effect; superfluous lands that accumulate in the hand mid combo can be pitched to untap islands that are in play already. As a fun fact, it can also tap down an opposing [c]Trinisphere[/c] if you survive long enough to hard cast it. It is nigh impossible to win with an unopposed [c]Trinisphere[/c] on the opponent’s side of the field. MUD can be a rough matchup for High Tide in general with all of those [c]Lodestone Golem[/c]s and Chalices of the Void. Here are a couple of Ahmad’s articles, including iterations of his deck as they evolved:

http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/legacy/22961_A_Unique_Approach_To_Legacy_High_Tide.html

http://www.starcitygames.com/article/17760_Practical-Legacy—Tuning–Playing–and-Listening-to-Permanent-Waves.html

My Favorite: Spring Tide

Spring Tide is also a lesser-known High Tide variant. If you have heard of the deck, it was probably in some kind of budget Legacy forum of some kind. That’s because this is generally considered the cheapest High Tide variant. This is generally true; Spring Tide is not a massive investment despite the high number of niche cards. The deck is cheaper because it uses cards like [c]Cloud of Faeries[/c] and [c]Snap[/c] to generate mana rather than the expensive [c]Time Spiral[/c]. Cheaper is not always worse, though; this is my favorite High Tide variant because it is more flexible and is better at simply goldfishing the opponent than Spiral Tide.

[c]Time Spiral[/c] is a gamble that leaves the pilot with mana and a totally random new hand. If there’s nothing but crap in that hand, then GG. The Spring Tide pilot, on the other hand, can chain together [c]Ideas Unbound[/c], [c]Meditate[/c], and [c]Blue Sun’s Zenith[/c] to have a massive hand of options that often exceeds 20 or more cards after the initial Zenith. Spring Tide is also more flexible because the two mana untappers require less mana to use. It is possible, albeit unlikely, for this deck to win on turn 2. I have done it once, and it is incredibly risky. Like all other High Tide decks, it is best to wait as long as possible to try to go off. More mana can be dumped into Zenith to draw more cards without trying to “save” four mana for a [c]Turnabout[/c] or six for a [c]Time Spiral[/c]. Just leave two and pray for one of the aforementioned cmc-2 untappers to be somewhere in the 20 cards that were just drawn. It will happen about 98% percent of the time. [c]Snap[/c] is at its best targeting a [c]Cloud of Faeries[/c] for more mana and storm, but it can just as easily bounce [c]Ethersworn Canonist[/c] or Thalia.

This ~$45 list is easy to get on modo:

[d tite=”Spring Tide by Peyton”]
Creatures
4 Cloud of Faeries
Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Cunning Wish
4 High Tide
4 Ideas Unbound
3 Meditate
4 Merchant Scroll
4 Ponder
3 Snap
4 Spell Pierce
3 Turnabout
4 Preordain
Lands
16 Island
Sideboard
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
2 Brain Freeze
1 Capsize
1 Chain of Vapor
4 Disrupt
1 Meditate
1 Pact of Negation
1 Rebuild
1 Snap
1 Turnabout
1 Wipe Away
[/d]

The wishboard is pretty standard. Wait for part four of the series to have everything fully explained to you in detail!

This deck is also easily portable into something much more competitive. Adding 6 blue fetchlands in lieu of 6 [c]Island[/c]s and replacing [c]Spell Pierce[/c] with [c]Force of Will[/c] would turn this into a PRE-worthy deck. If you are a Legacy fan and already own the aforementioned money cards, this deck is a pittance if you want to try out High Tide without expensive Candelabras.

That’s all for this week! I hope that I have whetted you appetite for devilish and evil combos in the best format ever. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a breakdown of almost all of these decks in detail.

Cheers!

/Peyton

Community Participation League, Week 4

Hello Ladies and Gentlenerds!

Week Three is in the Book Bag! Thank you guys for getting things done. The format is wide open in ways I have never seen it before. To be honest you guys are bringing decks that I am having a hard time comprehending, and an even harder time beating. A format, to me, is only as good as the decks and players that play it so you guys are amazing!

M15 is coming online, and Wizards is going to pay us to draft it, and I know this set has been talked about in pretty much every which way. I thought I would do a quick and fast run down on the few cards I could see coming into their own in the Modern Silverblack format.

White

[c]Ephemeral Shields[/c] Free spells are always good. Always, always good. Indestructible is good. White likes combat tricks in White Weenie, and Heroic. This could be a card that sees some play.

[c]Heliod’s Pilgrim[/c] Hexproof loves this card. The Pilgrim lets the deck run less copies of situational enchantments which will only make the deck stronger over all. Plus the 1/2 body isn’t bad to block with or Rancor up if you need to.

[c]Paragon of New Dawns[/c] This one of the Paragon cycle is posed to have the largest impact of the five of them. Just the ability to pump a bunch of tokens is great. There are the other lords in the format, but the Paragon is the only one that pumps only your creatures, and not just spirits.

[c]Warden of the Beyond[/c] Its an interesting effect in a format that you can set it up with a turn 3 Path to Exile or something like that effect. 4/4 for 3 seems good, and the set up is pretty easy in a White Weenie deck.

Blue

[c]Diffusion Sliver[/c] I know most of the time Silver decks skip Blue, as the Blue Slivers are tricky, and often quite bad, but this guy turn all Slivers in play into Slivery Frost Titans. I know I love that.

[c]Ensoul Artifact[/c] Everyone knows the play. Darksteel something into this on turn two equals a messy situation for your opponent. Expect this to be tried by only the bravest amongst us.

[c]Quickling[/c] Being such a large fan of Boros Kitty and the bouncy grindy effects with in. I like the ability to instant speed protect your creature, and I love the 2/2 flying for 2. This doesn’t seem like a drawback at all.

Black

[c]Nightfire Giant[/c] Yeah, 5 mana to shock is a lot. 5/4 in a Rakdos deck seems right for 5 mana. I think this looks like a strong card.

[c]Ulcerate[/c] Maybe not the strongest effect like this in the format, but its going to do the job for you more often than not. Again I see a card that will be tested with.

[c]Xathrid Slyblade[/c] Black Hexproof and a pretty good midgame ability. I like it even if its just a hard to kill black creature most of the time.

Red

[c]Altac Bloodseeker[/c] In a strong aggro deck this could be strong. The ability to become a 4/1 first strike is really good. Its on curve, and can gain haste so that’s good.

[c]Belligerent Sliver[/c] This seems like a Sliver that could be slotted into existing Sliver builds. Don’t think that ability isn’t impressive, its like the red version of flying.

[c]Borderland Marauder[/c] Another impressive on color Red Creature. Just get in there and do your job.

[c]Brood Keeper[/c] With all the cool and pretty good auras in Theros Block, and the older strong auras in Modern already I can see this becoming a build around card in the format. A freeish 2/2 Flying, and building up the Brood Keeper itself seems really strong.

[c]Generator Servant[/c] I love this little dude. I don’t know what I can say about him that hasn’t already been said. Dreams of Ramping out a hasty Artisan of Koezlik is my goal.

Green

[c]Feral Incarnation[/c] This costs 9 mana. I can really only see it going into a big mana deck like Tron or a Swarm deck. 3 3/3s for 9 mana off of one spell seems good.

[c]Reclamation Sage[/c] Yes. Maybe my favorite card in the set for utility. I love the 3cc dude that has a great effect on the board when it comes in. Just a solid card.

And that’s it. M14 really only had one card that came into the format in any real way [c]Young Pyromancer[/c]. The fact that I can see this many cards possible that may get tested and played with is a real Kudos to Wizards for righting the course on how dull M14 was.

League Week 3

First off a bit of bad news, trompinha is suffering from some harsh PC issues, and has dropped from the League. I hope you can come back for the next one, good sir!

This also leaves us with 43 people, and I hate odd numbers. If you guys know someone that would like to step in and make us even again let them know about us. Have them send me an email and I will set them up.

Second is http://paupertothepeople.proboards.com/board/28/magicgatheringstrat-league-1. Dan and Matti have been keeping track of the league on the old Paupertothepeople board, and if you guys want to check it out that would be super.

Third is a question that was brought to me about why I am tracking Game wins, not just Match wins. The reason is two-fold. I pretty much track all my magic by my game wins. That makes the most sense to me. I like to see how many times I win game one, lose game two, win game three, or any combination of them. It helps me know if I need to make changes to my sideboard and main deck. The second is if anything comes down to tie breaks for the top 8 or anything the game win record will help. But to clarify winning the Match, getting the 5 Points is king. 5 for winning 2 for losing, 1 for a draw. So I am tracking Match wins for ranking, and Game Wins for tiebreaks and my own nerdyness.

Last up is a few of our league buddies have went radio silent on me. I got a few responses back from my reminder email I sent on Sunday, but not as many as I would like. I’ll make a call next week about removing some more inactive players if needs be. Just let me know if things have come up guys and if you can’t play, I will Pair your opponents with other people as I can.

This week I am going to change up the way I am doing the Pairings. If I keep pairing along Wins and Losses I am never going to get to play most of you, having not won a match yet! So I am going back to random! No rematches is the key, but I want to mix it up, Ill probably do that every third week to make sure everyone gets the best shot at playing the largest amount of people.

Week Three Standings

Wins!

Avery61
Aranarth
Bamboorush
Carnuz
Casanova
Denofbears
Drinkard
GreedyFoe
Jamespwright
Leozoeckler
Mlord
Rahrahrah
Sirpoptart
Slvr6
Tangents
Skjall

Losses

Bava
Bocco123
Clozeone
Cyrulean
Darkpaladan3
Deluxeicoff
Fanofhistory
Litofeit
Magicalhobo
Magicgatheringstrat2
Negator
RRemedio1
Shiftingshadows
Thejerkwidasmirk
Thelonesun
Vaultboyhunter

Draws

Basedx
Jimmygato
Landonpeanut
Modin
No silver Bullet
Pmd
Rafl
Rainmakerluke
Somewhatdyslexic
Tikigodbob
Yugular

Week 4 Matchups

Avery61 vs Vaultboyhunter
Aranarth vs Thelonesun
Bamboorush vs Thejerkwidasmirk
Carnuz vs Shiftingshadows
Casanova vs Rreemedio1
Denofbears vs Negator
Drinkard vs Magicgatheringstrat2
Greedyfoe vs Litofeit
Jamespwright vs Magicalhobo
Leozoeckler vs fanofhistory
Mlord vs Deluxicoff
Rahrahrah vs Darkpaladan3
Sirpoptart vs Cyrulean
Slvr6 vs Bocco123
Tangents vs Bava
Skjall vs Clozeone
Landonpeanut vs yugular
Modin vs Tikigodbob
Somewhatdyslexic vs Basedx
Jimmygato vs No Silver Bullet
PMD vs Rainmakerluke
Rafl Bye.

There you guys go!

Week Four matches for you guys to do! Play like you mean it! Email early and often and get things done. If you know you can’t play this week please let me know so I can start a list for new Pairings! Thank you so much you guys for doing great.

I didn’t get any videos of my own uploaded this week, my Wifi was junky all week, and I just got it so I could upload. I’m also still looking for deck submissions if you guys want to spoil your super secret techs! Good videos up on the Youtube channel from Dan and Brennon this week, feel free to check them out.

That’s it for this week guys, and may your [c]Invasive Species[/c] never fight with your [c]Kor Skyfisher[/c] over who’s better. The Skyfisher is better that’s who.

Sam AKA Vaultboyhunter

SilverBlack Spotlight: Shamans

Modern SilverBlack is a fascinating format, and I have been very glad that The League has forced me to look into it. For Pauper players, there is a whole new world of interactions and power-levels. For Modern players, similarly there are so many unexplored options. I would never believe that Wizards would make the “Pauper mistake” again, meaning support a format that costs so little to get into and floods their servers. Still, I hope that player-run events grow to keep the format alive. Even in three weeks, deck-builders have come up with some amazing things.

When brewing for SilverBlack, it’s important to remember a couple of things:

1) It is not a glorified Pauper. Don’t simply take a Pauper list and throw some uncommons in, expecting the power level to match that of other SilverBlack brews. Uncommons are simply more powerful than commons, so decks built around them, or mostly containing them, are going to be better.

2) It is not a dumping ground for failed Modern brews. Taking a budget Modern deck that did not succeed in a daily will most likely fail in SilverBlack in the same manner. My attempt at this included many [c]Grinding Station[/c] brews, including an Esper one with [c]Disciple of Deceit[/c] and [c]Squadron Hawk[/c]. As much as I love the idea, it simply is too slow and inconsistent, regardless of format.

Sometimes, though, we can look at mildly successful Modern lists that do not hinge upon rare or mythic cards and strike gold. Some players have done so with Shamans.

Consider this Shamans list that has cashed in on Modern dailies (even after losing [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c]) from user Taxideos:

[d title=”Taxideos Shamans”]

Land

4 Cavern of Souls

4 Copperline Gorge

2 Forest

2 Horizon Canopy

1 Misty Rainforest

1 Mountain

2 Stomping Ground

1 Temple Garden

4 Verdant Catacombs

Creatures

3 Birds of Paradise

2 Essence Warden

3 Flamekin Harbinger

4 Bosk Banneret

4 Burning-Tree Emissary

4 Elvish Visionary

4 Fauna Shaman

2 Burning-Tree Shaman

1 Eternal Witness

4 Rage Forger

Other Spells

3 Commune With Nature

4 Lightning Bolt

1 Sword of Fire and Ice

[/d]

The principal card here is [c]Rage Forger[/c], and he is the reason to build a Shamans deck. The reach he provides makes him better than the average anthem effect. There is a little bit of rare-dependence with the [c]Fauna Shaman[/c] engine, but SilverBlack has access to plenty of card advantage engines on-color. In fact, let’s set aside the rare cards in the deck, excluding the lands:

-[c]Birds of Paradise[/c]: Here is an easy-to-replace mana dork.

-[c]Burning-Tree Shaman[/c]: Not only is this illegal in SilverBlack, but also it is most likely unnecessary. It probably hates out cards and interactions that are available to those playing rares and mythics (e.g. [c]Birthing Pod[/c] and [c]Splinter Twin[/c]).

-[c]Sword of Fire and Ice[/c]: Well, this is missed. We can brush it off since our flying evasive creatures (Birds of Paradise) are also missing, and hopefully we can tell ourselves that we wouldn’t see it often enough anyway, being a one-of.

As far as the lands go, well, that is a problem for everyone in Modern SilverBlack (except has anyone tried [c]Ancient Ziggurat[/c]??). Besides, we shouldn’t worry about the loss of [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] as currently the format seems to be counter-low, and the lands providing access to non-Gruul colors are purely for the sideboard.

So we need to replace ten cards in the end, preferably with at least four card advantage engines, and at least two of them replacing Burning Tree Shaman as meta-hate. Here is my first draft:

[d title=”SilverBlack Shamans”]

Land

10 Forest

8 Mountain

2 Kazandu Refuge

Creatures

4 Bosk Banneret

4 Burning-Tree Emissary

3 Elvish Mystic

4 Elvish Visionary

4 Essence Warden

3 Eternal Witness

4 Flamekin Harbinger

4 Rage Forger

4 Wolf-Skull Shaman

Other Spells

2 Lead the Stampede

4 Lightning Bolt[/d]

I took the liberty of removing the [c]Commune with Nature[/c] as well, for a few reasons: we now have two lands that come into play tapped, more one-drops adding pressure to the slot, and [c]Lead the Stampede[/c] serving that purpose and filling the void from [c]Fauna Shaman[/c]. The extra [c]Essence Warden[/c] serve as meta hate, as there seem to be enough concerns about RDW, and [c]Wolf-Skull Shaman[/c] is a card advantage engine as well.

There are a couple of interesting synergies that aren’t immediately apparent upon reading the list but come up in play nearly every game.

First, the interaction between [c]Wolf-Skull Shaman[/c] and repeated [c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] tutors can be quite backbreaking to an opponent who wants to win on the ground.

Second, [c]Eternal Witness[/c] really punishes any attempts the opponent makes to remove a creature like [c]Essence Warden[/c] or [c]Rage Forger[/c].

Other than these, the deck is simple to play: lay creatures down, and turn them sideways, stacking some good triggers.

The deck is weak to situations such as flying tokens applying pressure alongside hate and removal and Tron. The sideboard can address these issues with [c]Windstorm[/c] or [c]Firespout[/c] in addition to an effect such as [c]Wrap in Vigor[/c].

Good luck in SilverBlack, everyone. Happy brewing!

-drinkard

Life and Magic

Balance

I’d like to start out by apologizing for missing last week’s article. As many of you all know, life and Magic are two separate things. Occasionally one gets in the way of the other and visa-versa. That’s what has happened to me for the last few weeks. I work in robotics and it’s typically not a straining job physically. However, I somehow managed to hurt my back, and after a trip to the chiropractor I found out I have Scoliosis.

While this will most definitely affect my Magic traveling, it will be something I will be able to overcome and continue grinding as much as I can.

I will most definitely be attending the Grand Prix Orlando tournament in October. For those who haven’t seen any information on this, you should definitely check it out! It’s looking to be one of the best non-qualifier tournaments I have ever been to.

Balancing life and Magic can be extremely challenging, occasionally. The fact remains that unless Magic is your primary source of income, you have a regular full-time job and, for many, a family as well. Traveling takes its toll, and is costly as well. It’s something I struggle with every day.

Now moving on from that into a subject that’s much more interesting, Standard!

Garruk

Guess who’s back!

I’ve been jamming a ton of Black/Green devotion decks in Standard trying to find the optimal build. This is about as close to the best deck as I think Standard can have. Having [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], [c]Vraska the Unseen[/c], and [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c] alongside [c]Thoughtseize[/c] and [c]Hero’s Downfall[/c] is insanely difficult for most any deck to fight through. Factor in this sweet new Planeswalker to the mix of already game-changing cards this deck has at its disposal is just going to be something that people will have to be fighting through for quite some time.

For those of us who hate the Black Devotion decks: I’m sorry to say the problem isn’t going away soon. On top of having a bomb Planeswalker to add to the deck, the deck gets a better mana-base with [c]Llanowar Wastes[/c].

[d=title Black Green Devotion]

Lands
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Temple of Malady
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Mutavault
8 Swamp

Creatures
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Pack Rat
4 Desecration Demon
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Lifebane Zombie

Planeswalkers
1 Vraska the Unseen
2 Garruk, Apex Predator

Spells
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Thoughtseize
3 Hero’s Downfall
4 Underworld Connections
2 Sign in Blood
[/d]

I won’t add a sideboard for now because I think that every sideboard should be up to the players to build. Copying deck-lists from articles is fine when you’re trying to play a certain deck. Unless you understand the full game plan in every match-up, and how exactly to board, you should build your sideboard yourself. Come up with your own boarding plan, and execute it.

There are Standard Opens every weekend, and it rapidly allows Standard to evolve week in and week out. I’m not sure what the top decks this weekend will be, but I do think that Garruk will be a powerhouse in whatever he’s played in. The card alone just has so many powerful abilities, and even more so, it’s in the perfect colors to be played right now.

Lets look at some of the choices for the deck, starting with the manabase:
4 [c]Llanowar Wastes[/c]
4 [c]Mutavault[/c]
1 [c]Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth[/c]

I know having potentially 8 colorless lands can hurt, but the Wastes can make either color, and while the damage can hurt when you draw multiple copies, the [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c] makes up for the life loss.

[c]Mutavault[/c] is obviously one of the more powerful cards in Standard, and combines greatly with [c]Pack Rat[/c] against midrange decks and [c]Thoughtseize[/c] against control decks.

The Urborg is there as an insurance policy for when you draw too many of your colorless lands. Making it perfect for the deck as a singleton.

Creature-wise you play the same as the average Black deck, but you have a couple of [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] that can gain life and play perfectly with your discard and removal. On top of being a great threat, they also gain life to make up for the insane amounts of damage you’ll take from connections and lands.

You play the same average spell count with a couple of [c]Sign in Blood[/c]s. This acts as a great draw spell and the 2 cards for 1 can matter a lot when keeping a 2 land hand. I personally think this is one of the better black cards the deck gained from M15 and I’m happy that it’s in the deck once more.

So there you have it. What I think is the best deck for the time being in Standard and something that would be a great choice for this weekend.

I hope you have a great time slinging spells this weekend!

Cody
cburton8223 on MTGO

Pauper Gauntlet Competitor #13: Stompy

The first ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented on mtgolibrary.blogspot.com. They will play the first two rounds in the order they are given by their numbers, so Stompy will be the 13th deck played.

Some other competitors

#1 Illusory Tricks: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/06/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-1-illusory.html

#2 Love Train: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/06/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-2-love-train.html

Deck #3: Exhume Control http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-3-exhume.html

Deck #4: Izzet Control. http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-4-izzet.html

Stompy was one of the top 10 decks last year and is thus automatically qualified for the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet.

I was thinking hard about which list to use but eventually decided to go with Chris Weaver’s list as published this year before he quit Magic Online. I still miss him as an online buddy and video maker and feels that this is a way to honor his contribution to MagicGatheringStrat – oh, that, and the fact that it is a very strong list.

I will need help with the sideboard plan. See the end of the article.

Here is Chris’s Deck Tech Video for the list. It explains the basic strategy of the deck.

This is the deck list:

[d title=”Stompy by cweaver”]
Land
17 Forest

Creatures

4 Quirion Ranger
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Young Wolf
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
4 Garruk’s Companion
2 Shinen of Life’s Roar
3 Wild Mongrel

Spells
4 Rancor
4 Vines of Vastwood
4 Groundswell
3 Gather Courage
3 Hunger of the Howlpack

Sideboard
3 Nourish
1 Bonesplitter
3 Gleeful Sabotage
1 Viridian Longbow
4 Scattershot Archer
3 Spore Frog

[/d]

The Sideboard Plan

This is a work in progress. I have two old sideboard plans for other lists to work from, but I am going to need your help as well.

Let me know if any common deck is missing from this list.

Affinity: +1 Bonesplitter, +3 Gleeful, -1 Skarrgan, -3 Groundswell (Mamurphy, one old Stompy legend, felt that it was correct to take out one Skarrgan here)

Affinity is always close, if they come out strong AND have the shaman, it’s pretty hard to win, but it’s also hard for them to recover many times as they have to sac SO many so early. Just need to not overextend, which isn’t a problem with stompy, as the instants make the attack, not the volume as seen in goblins. Shinen and ranger make them have to trigger the shaman/disciples asap. Usually a skargaan or ledgewalker takes the game for me. You swing for 8, they do, repeat, and fog. Even if they ‘play around’ fog, you still get the fog benefit of buying you time for your unblockables to go to the dome.

Generally, playing against a competent Affinity player is a nightmare, even though the Perilous Affinity lists are a little bit easier to win against.

Banishing Knack Combo:

BorosKitty: +3 Gleeful

Burn: +3 Nourish

Delver: +4 Scattershot, +1 Bonesplitter, +1 Viridian Longbow, -3 Hunger, -3 Groundswell

DELVERFIEND: +3 Spore Frog, -3 Hunger

Domain/zoo:

Elves: +1 Longbow, -1 Groundswell. This is extremely hard.

Familiars:

Freed from the real combo/Love Train:

Goblins: +3 Spore Frog, -3 Vines of Vastwood

Grey Ghost/Extort:

GW Tokens:

Hexproof: I am sorry, you are just dead. This is the #1 matchup Hexproof wants to face.
Deluxeicoff in early 2013: It is simply unwinnable vs. hexchant – I’ve lost 3 games in 100…all of those have been to really bad draws, and my opponents having a great hand.

Icy Hot Hottie:

Illusory Tricks:

Infect: +3 Spore Frog, -1 Gather Courage, -1 Hunger, -1 Groundswell

Izzet Control: Nothing is sideboarded in this matchup.

Keep Watch:

MBC : Nothing is sideboarded in this matchup.

MUC: Not sure what to do here.

Pestilence:

Random aggro lek: No sideboard.

Random control (UW Blink etc):

RG Aggro: No sideboard.

Slivers: No sideboard.

Songs of the Damned:

Stompy/Green One: My traditional jeffdmk list just never sideboarded in the mirror, but I am not sure how to handle this list.

Tron: Here I need a lot of help.

Tortured Existence :

Turbo Fog:

UB control/Teachings:

UB Ninja Teachings:

Unearth/Woo Zombies:

White Weenie: +4 Scattershot if many fliers, -4 Groundswell. +3 Gleeful if many artifacts, -3 Groundswell/Hunger

Zombies:

Final note

You can not write an article about Stompy without mentioning the best piece ever written on the deck. Read this before you try to play the deck: http://puremtgo.com/articles/pauper-stompy?page=1

I wish you wrote more articles, Deluxeicoff! :)