WW Soul Tokens in the Pauper Gauntlet

This is Deluxeicoff’s list, but my favorite version of it and my submission to the Gauntlet. So here I go with the list and a sideboard plan!

[d title=”WW Soul Tokens by Deluxeicoff (Pauper)”]
Creatures
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Order of Leitbur
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Suture Priest

Enchantments
4 Journey to Nowhere

Instants
4 Guardians’ Pledge
3 Raise the Alarm

Sorceries
4 Battle Screech
1 Cenn’s Enlistment

Land
18 Plains
3 Quicksand

Sideboard
2 Cho-Manno’s Blessing
1 Holy Light
4 Lumithread Field
3 Prismatic Strands
2 Rune of Protection: Red
3 Standard Bearer [/d]

Notes

Gaining life against aggro decks is solid. Burn is a joke. The deck *destroys* Delver. We should win against MBC, but my personal track record is iffy. Suture Priest is an all-star against Flicker decks and combos. Bring in Cho-Manno to protect him when you really need to stop the combo win. This is really not an aggro deck. It’s a mid-range list that takes grinds card advantages by getting multiple creatures per card and then wins with an alpha strike off of Guardian’s Pledge. We *can* win as early as t4-t5 and sometimes that is the goal, but a lot of games will go longer than that.

This deck’s primary win condition *can* be the clock, so play accordingly. Gain shitloads of life and Lumithread into unkillable blockers and then just play fast.

Sideboard Plan

Delver: Our card advantage and flyers eventually overwhelm them. Counter my birds? I’ll just flash them back. Don’t forget to use Quicksand on Ninjas.
+1 Holy Light, +4 Lumithread Field | -4 Journey to Nowhere, -1 Suture Priest

Esper Familiar: We have awesome Familiar tech if we can play it before they win. Basic plan is either win really early or get Suture Priest with Cho-Manno and/or Standard Bearer back-up. Keep up WW so if they capsize Cho-Manno you can recast it (remember it has flash!). They have to Snap and / or Capsize Suture Priests if they want to win.
+2 Cho-Manno’s Blessing, +1 Holy Light, +3 Standard Bearer | -4 Battle Screech, -1 Cenn’s Enlistment, -1 Journey to Nowhere

MBC: Deluxe thinks this is easy and I have a hard time. My SB plan has changed a lot over time and is quite simple now. You will get some hits early but be ready to slow down and grind out if necessary. Protect your Orders and don’t ever let your Lumithread Fields out as a morph creature if you tap out. Sitting on a lot of 1/5s can get you there, eventually.
+4 Lumithread Field | -4 Suture Priest

Delverfiend: Block, block, block, and then block some more. Lumithreads can still block after Apostle’s Blessing when they are a morph creature. Quicksand kills Kiln Fiend.
+4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands, +2 Rune of Protection: Red, +3 Standard Bearer | -3 Order of Leitbur, -4 Suture Priest, -4 Doomed Traveler, -1 Guardian’s Pledge

Boros/Jeskai-Kitty: Lumithread will save you g2-3 from Electrickery and give you giant blockers. Grind it out, gain life, block, and they just can’t win.
+4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands (Electrickery and Burn protection) | -3 Order of Leitbur, -4 Suture Priest

Stompy: Standard Bearer and Strands pretty much kill ’em. Plus you gain life all over the place. Win in the air.
+3 Standard Bearer, +3 Prismatic Strands | -4 Journey to Nowhere, -1 Doomed Traveler, -1 Guardian’s Pledge

Elves: Suture Priest and Standard Bearer = GG. Journey the Wellwishers. Watch out for arrows. Win in the air or on time.
+3 Standard Bearer, +3 Prismatic Strands, +4 Lumithread Field, +1 Holy Light | -3 Raise the Alarm, -4 Doomed Traveler, -3 Order of Leitbur, -1 Guardian’s Pledge

Goblins: Strands and Lumithread shine.
+1 Holy Light, +4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands, +2 Rune of Protection: Red | -4 Suture Priest, -4 Journey to Nowhere, -1 Guardian’s Pledge, -1 Order of Leitbur

RUG Tron: You can occasionally win fast but you can also win on the clock with giant blockers. Don’t be afraid to just wait them out and play defensively.
+4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands, +2 Rune of Protection: Red | -4 Suture Priest, -4 Order of Leitbur, -1 Guardian’s Pledge

Burn: Play so you can gain life off your sisters. No need to be aggressive. Watch out for Electrickery g2-3. One Lumithread as an enchant is fine and the rest can be morphs.
+4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands, +2 Rune of Protection: Red | -3 Order of Leitbur, -4 Journey to Nowhere, -1 Guardian’s Pledge, -1 Battle Screech

White Weenie: If they have sisters, expect to go to time. Manage your triggers as quickly as you can. Journey should hit their lifegain guys when possible.
+4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands | -4 Doomed Traveler, -3 Order of Leitbur

Affinity: Block low, swing high. Watch out for Fling.
+4 Lumithread Field, +3 Prismatic Strands, +2 Rune of Protection: Red | -3 Order of Leitbur, -4 Journey to Nowhere, -1 Guardian’s Pledge, -1 Suture Priest

UB Angler: We pretty much win. Journey + Order wrecks them; bait counters when necessary.
+4 Lumithread Field | -4 Suture Priest

MagicGatheringStrat: The Podcast Ep. 8

Dragons has made some Impacting Tremors on Standard Pauper and this week the combo of Brennon, Sam and Dan talk about the new hotness running infinitely wild on the format!
All that plus Classic Pauper, Cubes, Leagues, Modern, and general nerdy ramblings. It’s the Magicgatheringstrat.com podcast! Thanks for listening.

www.MagicGatheringStrat.com
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The MagicGatheringStrat Show, Ep. 8

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

Section 2: Player run events

MPDC 29.01
13 April 2015
Standard · 13 Players
13 Decks · 100% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 4 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st heroic* by kukikira
2nd Jeskai Trollkens* by rremedio1
T4 GW Ramp/Heroic* by hero1141
T4 U/R Control* by Nagi_Bultra

Cruise Watch: 2015
1st Place: 0 Cruise
2nd Place: 3 Cruise
3rd Place: 0 Cruise
4th Place: 4 Cruise

JESKAI TROLLKENS
Standard · Aggro-Combo
2nd by rremedio1 in MPDC 29.01 (4-1)

[d]
Creature (9)
3 Midnight Guard
3 Ornithopter
3 Sandsteppe Outcast

Instant (15)
2 Anticipate
4 Lightning Strike
4 Raise the Alarm
3 Retraction Helix
2 War Flare

Sorcery (10)
2 Dragon Fodder
2 Flurry of Horns
1 Tormenting Voice
3 Treasure Cruise
2 Triplicate Spirits

Enchantment (4)
4 Impact Tremors

Land (22)
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Island
3 Mountain
4 Plains
2 Swiftwater Cliffs
2 Tranquil Cove
4 Wind-Scarred Crag

Sideboard
1 Anticipate
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dragon Fodder
2 Negate
2 Pillar of Light
1 Retraction Helix
3 Scouring Sands
1 Solemn Offering
1 Triplicate Spirits
[/d]

This type of crazy deck is what I love. If you could just shove in a [c]Vent Sentinel[/c] with some defenders it may become the greatest deck ever.

Now, lets look at an opening hand:

Reluctantly keeping. But I know I may be pitching the trips or the cruise when I cast Tormenting Voice.

The whole idea is to get [c]Impact Tremors[/c] on the field and spew out as many tokens as possible.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

Saved by the top deck! Not back, but I am hoping to cast that Treasure Cruise as quick as I can.

What do you think? The deck is quirky and I am certain Roberto has plans for this deck. I just know that when I picture tokens coming down and causing damage when they hit, this is what will be going on in my brain:

And I will feel like this:

Modern Upheaval: Some Post-Ban Brews

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I’ll be brief: I’m sad about the bans, but not because I played Pod or Delver. I enjoyed playing against both of those decks because I was 50/50 in the first and favorable in the second. I personally don’t think the latter was oppressive, but oh well.

The point is that it happened. It has been an awkward week since because all Daily Event results posted have been totally uninteresting. No new tech matters until the bans take effect. All I can do is speculate what will be good in the time to come.

In order to do so, first I look at the cards that benefit the most from the bans. Here is a list in no particular order.

Cards that win from the bannings

1) [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c]: Already he lead one of the most consistent online pack-winners, and now he has gained simply by not being gutted with the bannings. Gone are the concerns of easy access to [c]Orzhov Pontiff[/c], [c]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/c], and even [c]Murderous Redcap[/c] to ruin Affinity’s day. Gone are the blowouts from [c]Forked Bolt[/c]. Historically at the top of the Modern heap with Twin and Pod, now he shares the throne with one less ruler and a lot more openings. Affinity will stunt the emergence of many decks during this time of uncertainty simply because it is a fast and consistent aggro deck.

2) [c]Splinter Twin[/c]: Even though [c]Dig Through Time[/c] seemed to be tailor-made for Twin combo, the deck lost its primary predator in U/R Delver. Unfortunately after untapping with [c]Delver of Secrets[/c], [c]Young Pyromancer[/c], or [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] in play, the Delver player was free to interact a turn or two sooner than the Twin deck was. Now that their power level has been nuked, Twin will likely restore its place in the big three.

So the question we ask ourselves is, what will take Pod’s place as the third oppressive and common match? One of the following are the answers I find most likely:

3) [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]: Lily’s first two effects were garbage against Delver. The +1 effect read “Turn one card in your opponent’s hand into a [c]Lotus Petal[/c],” and the second read “Your opponent loses a minute amount of value from their [c]Young Pyromancer[/c].” Similarly, against Pod, your opponent used their board and their library moreso than their hand, and so many of their creatures didn’t mind being sacrificed. In fact, it was their purpose. Now, though, she and the decks to which she belongs are ready for a return. Like many others, I expect Junk and Jund to be powerful forces in the near future. What’s more: former [c]Birthing Pod[/c] players own most of the cards and know how to play with [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] and the like.

4) [c]Scapeshift[/c]: Similar to [c]Splinter Twin[/c], its critical turn is a bit later than Delver’s was, and similar to Twin, the ways to interact with it are unreliable. [c]Scapeshift[/c]-centered decks may emerge as the third big contender in Pod’s place.

5) [c]Karn Liberated[/c]: Tron was a solid choice in a meta with a lot of [c]Birthing Pod[/c] and [c]Splinter Twin[/c]. Similarly, it will be a force in a meta that simply replaces Pod with Junk.

So what gains as a result of these gains?

I think you all know me by now well enough to say that rather than picking up the next best thing during changes like this, I’m curious to know what is really good against the next best thing. I think many of you are right there with me. It is obvious that players are scrambling for cards immune to [c]Abrupt Decay[/c]; here are some of the price spikes today:

  • [c]Sower of Temptation[/c]
  • [c]Thrun, the Last Troll[/c]
  • [c]Phyrexian Obliterator[/c]
  • [c]Sword of Feast and Famine[/c]
  • [c]Baneslayer Angel[/c]
  • [c]Thundermaw Hellkite[/c]

This prices come from http://www.mtggoldfish.com/movers/online/modern.

Each of the creatures in the above list cost 4 or more and are very effective finishers (or thieves of finishers) for a variety of decks. The Sword provides protection to decay, even if it does not protect itself, and it creates a beater that cannot be blocked by [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and [c]Siege Rhino[/c].

Brew #1

While brewing for the upcoming Modern, I ask myself a few questions: What isn’t going to get crushed by either ability of [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]? What doesn’t die to [c]Abrupt Decay[/c]? What can disrupt [c]Splinter Twin[/c] and keep Affinity in check? My gut reaction is Orzhov Tokens.

Just like Lily’s +1 ability, Tokens’ suite of discard spells were mocked by [c]Treasure Cruise[/c]. While [c]Zealous Persecution[/c] was a solid answer to [c]Young Pyromancer[/c], in general the deck traded one removal spell for each of the opponent’s threats one at a time, so [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] hurt Tokens’ ability to stop the opponent from winning.

Now, though, Tokens has all the answers. [c]Zealous Persecution[/c] can wreck Affinity’s board, [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c] and [c]Thoughtseize[/c] easily disrupt the turn 4 combo decks, and the deck can keep up with Junk and Jund while flying over the top of them for the win.

What I’m most excited about with Tokens, though, is the inclusion of [c]Monastery Mentor[/c]. Can there be a more apt home for the new [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] than a deck that is composed primarily of non-creature spells that produce creatures and pump tokens?

Here is my draft for post-Ban, post-Fate Reforged Orzhov Tokens.

[d title=”Drinkard Tokens (Modern)”]
Land
4 Godless Shrine
2 Isolated Chapel
4 Marsh Flats
6 Plains
2 Vault of the Archangel
3 Windbrisk Heights
2 Windswept Heath

Creatures
3 Monastery Mentor

Other Spells
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Intangible Virtue
4 Lingering Souls
1 Murderous Cut
4 Path to Exile
1 Phyrexian Arena
4 Raise the Alarm
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
3 Spectral Procession
2 Thoughtseize
3 Zealous Persecution

Sideboard
1 Disenchant
2 Kor Firewalker
3 Mirran Crusader
2 Rest in Peace
2 Stain the Mind
2 Stony Silence
1 Sundering Growth
1 Utter End
1 Zealous Persecution[/d]

This deck has the burden of proof placed upon it that it can answer what the opponent does, since cards like [c]Honor of the Pure[/c] and [c]Raise the Alarm[/c] are a bit underwhelming alone. Still, when its pieces come together, the pace of its disruption, removal, and overpowering swarm are forces impossible to answer.

Brew #2

I keep making the argument that [c]Become Immense[/c] was better than [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] in Burn decks. In Burn, [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] can be huge and draw three Bolts. It also can draw two lands and a [c]Goblin Guide[/c] well after your creatures have become irrelevant. It can draw [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] when your opponent’s hand is empty. Your opponent could have a [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] in play. I have enjoyed playing Burn with the best [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] around ([c]Wild Nacatl[/c]) and the superior [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] in Burn decks.

Now that [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] is banned, other delve cards are getting an honest look, and I am tempted to shoe-horn [c]Become Immense[/c] into a U/R Delver deck. Besides the success I’ve had with [c]Become Immense[/c], I think that the evasion from [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] and the sheer numbers of attackers with [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] and the surprise [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] attack-you-for-8 play makes Delver a natural home for the new and improved [c]Revenge of the Hunted[/c]. Here is my first crack at the concept:

[d title=”Drinkard RUG Delver (Modern)”]
Land
2 Breeding Pool
3 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain
3 Polluted Delta
2 Steam Vents
3 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Monastery Swiftspear
1 Snapcaster Mage
4 Young Pyromancer

Other Spells
3 Become Immense
1 Burst Lightning
2 Forked Bolt
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Izzet Charm
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Mutagenic Growth
4 Serum Visions
3 Spell Pierce
3 Thought Scour
3 Vapor Snag

Sideboard
2 Blood Moon
1 Dismember
1 Dispel
2 Flash Freeze
1 Forked Bolt
2 Hibernation
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Mutagenic Growth
1 Negate
2 Smash to Smithereens
1 Spell Pierce[/d]

This deck is a lot more geared around the strategy of playing stuff on your turn. I wonder if [c]Kiln Fiend[/c] even belongs in here, to help beat the Tron decks you will face. Do I think [c]Become Immense[/c] is as solid here as it is in Naya or as [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] once was? Certainly not, but I do think you will get some free wins from it often enough.

There will be a lot of contention for the third spot at the head of the Modern metagame. Who knows, maybe even Affinity or Twin will get pushed out in all of the commotion. Personally, I think everyone’s testing should include Junk, Tron, Twin, Scapeshift, Bogles, Burn, and Affinity before entering into a Daily Event. It wouldn’t hurt to be sure you have game against [c]Amulet of Vigor[/c], [c]Lord of Atlantis[/c], and [c]Through The Breach[/c], either.

Hope you’re all equipped, that you’ve got some good luck, and that you’re having fun.

-drinkard

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 27

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

This week Brennon and Sam talk about PREs and Spoilers. Dan joins in and discusses round 8 of the Gauntlet. And everyone decides that a Lava Axe is probably better then a Dragon. It’s the Standard Pauper show, I hope you enjoy it!

Section 2: The PREs

http://pdcmagic.com/gatherling/displaySeries.php?series=MPDC

MPDC 27.09
5 January 2015
Standard · 17 Players
15 Decks · ~88% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st Boros Heroic by gwyned
2nd Boros Tokens by tiagoxsr
T4 Fights! by MyGalaxy
T4 Good deck, bad pilot by rremedio1
T8 BW Enchantments by Chipp
T8 Dimir devotion by Forli
T8 Graveyard Shenanigans by mattmath
T8 Izzet Control by tazerdadog

As I mentioned in my article, the top 2 slots were taken up by Boros. It’s all WR up in this tournament.

Cruise Watch: 2015
1st Place: 0 Cruise
2nd Place: 0 Cruise
3rd Place: 0 Cruise
4th Place: 3 Cruise (Just you Roberto)

So, cruise seems to have settled in to its place. The decks that want it, will use it. The decks that don’t, have no reason to splash.

Section 3: The Winning Deck

[d]
Creatures
4 Akroan Skyguard
4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
4 Satyr Hoplite
3 Akroan Crusader
2 Ainok Bond-Kin
2 Jeskai Student

Spells
4 Chosen by Heliod
4 Defiant Strike
4 Dragon Mantle
4 Feat of Resistance
4 Gods Willing
2 Inferno Fist

Land
6 Plains
5 Mountain
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Wind-Scarred Crag

SIDEBOARD
4 Pillar of Light
4 Hopeful Eidolon
3 Scouring Sands
2 Lightning Strike
2 Fall of the Hammer
[/d]

This deck has torn up the PREs and the League (looking at you Mr. Bava!)

Here is the “curve”:

Lets compare that to Bava’s:

Guess what? It was a trick question. Was that even a question? How could it be a trick question if I didn’t ask you anything? Oh well, there you have it. Strong decks are strong.

Keep it.
No more discussion.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

Maybe a little flooding, but I would guess you have so much gas to begin with, a bit land won’t hurt your chances.

Section 4: Future Sight

Now I have a question for Bava and Gwyned.

“What cards, spoiled so far, make this deck better?”

The pickins be mighty slim.

Is this card any good to you? I would say your current 2 drops are way better. Does this make excess land more useful? Yes, but the card economy seems bad.

You don’t run trumpet blast, so this card is just way too much mana.

But what about our runner up.

BOROS TOKENS
Standard · Unclassified
2nd by tiagoxsr in MPDC 27.09 (4-1)

[d]
Creatures
4 Borderland Marauder
4 Mardu Hordechief
4 Sungrace Pegasus
3 Selfless Cathar
2 Jeskai Student

Spells
4 Lightning Strike
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Trumpet Blast
3 Flurry of Horns
3 Triplicate Spirits
2 Tormenting Voice

Land
8 Plains
7 Mountain
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Wind-Scarred Crag

SIDEBOARD
3 Magma Spray
2 Smite the Monstrous
2 Revoke Existence
2 Pillar of Light
2 Last Breath
2 Divine Verdict
1 Triplicate Spirits
1 Flurry of Horns
[/d]

Is this a viable home for [c]War Flare[/c]? It does fit with the theme. Does the extra mana cost make Trumpet Blast a better choice?

Tell me what you think!

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 20

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

Round 4 of the Gauntlet has ended, and the Standard Pauper League is going strong!

 

Brennon’s deck list: Gary’s Cruise

Sam’s deck list: Jeskai Storm

Don’t forget to look for your League matches again this week!

Also, vote back your favorite Gauntlet deck: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/11/the-pauper-gauntlet-voteback.html

http://pdcmagic.com/gatherling/displaySeries.php?series=MPDC
MPDC 27.05
17 November 2014
Standard · 16 Players
15 Decks · ~94% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st LTA ALT by Fimbulvetrr
2nd Looses to flood by MyGalaxy
T4 IZZET CONTROL by Maltercio
T4 BW Heroic by Torreth
T8 Deck not found** by evolver3
T8 Aspect of the Bear (stompy) by FlxEx
T8 Titan’s Dragonskullcleaver by Pie_Master
T8 All Aboard! by rremedio1

Cruise Watch: 2014
1st Place: 3 Cruise
2nd Place: 0 Cruise
3rd Place: 4 Cruise
4th Place: 3 Cruise
Top 8: Unknown (shame shame shame)
Top 8: 0 Cruise
Top 8: 0 Cruise
Top 8: 2 Cruise

Far different this week than last.

Section 2: The Winning Deck

LTA ALT
Standard · Unclassified
1st by Fimbulvetrr in MPDC 27.05 (6-0)

[d]
Creatures
4 Disciple of Phenax
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Disowned Ancestor
3 Mardu Skullhunter
3 Nimbus Naiad
3 Typhoid Rats
2 Benthic Giant

Spells
4 Debilitating Injury
3 Read the Bones
3 Treasure Cruise
2 Feast of Dreams
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Font of Return

Lands
12 Swamp
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Island

Sideboard
4 Negate
4 Mind Rot
2 Eternal Thirst
2 Feast of Dreams
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Font of Return
[/d]

Here is what I really like about this deck:

Mmmm dat curve…
I think mana curve will be vitally important until the meta changes significantly.

Why yes, I would like to keep this hand. Some life gain, some removal, some card draw. Everything a growing boy needs. Though these days I am growing horizontally instead of vertically.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

Now what do you think of the next 6? That rat goes a long way towards fending off the giant hexproof guys. During my league match, I would have killed for some deathtouch. My greatest downfall was the inability to interact with deathtouch and single point removal. Tokens are a killer when you have no sweepers.

The next league match is going to be a bit different. I will not be using Gary’s Delve. Is it good? Yes. Does it do what I want it to do? No. I am going for a sleeker, more streamlined approach to the next match. I wonder who it will be against?

What are your thoughts on League deck choices?

A Bite Out of Modern #3: Fighting Ascendancy

Khans is halfway here on MTGO, and already it’s made its mark in all formats. Well, obviously it’s impacting Standard because it replaces an entire amazing block. In fact, the Theros Block Constructed archetype (that was dismissed after Born of the Gods) UW Heroic seems to be the go-to aggro deck right now. We can trust Tom Ross to provide us with the optimal aggro list for most environments, so fans of Aggro and Bogles apply inside.

But Khans is also seeing action in Modern and Legacy as well. In the latter, [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] and [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] are already finding their way in U/R Delver, and Cruise will most likely stay. In Modern, there are already pleas for an emergency ban. Smdster and others have used [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] combo to earn themselves packs for undefeated (in games, even) finishes in Daily Events, and some of those wins were on turns 2 and 3. I suppose people have been turning their heads and looking the other way to turn 1 [c]Amulet of Vigor[/c], turn 2 [c]Summer Bloom[/c] for months (years?) now because they’re asking Wizards to uphold the principle of no Modern wins before turn 4.

How to Stop Worrying and Love Jeskai Ascendancy

Now, I’ll admit that I missed the interactions. I thought that we’ve already seen [c]Intruder Alarm[/c] and only saw how Ascendancy could replace it with something like [c]Sprout Swarm[/c]. I also thought of [c]Lifespark Spellbomb[/c] and concocted a crazy [c]March of the Machines[/c] or [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c] brew with Borderposts. So I goofed. Still, I really don’t think [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] can remain a big contender. Here is what is good against it, and here is what you can use to take advantage of it if it pops up too much:

1) Spot removal. All removal except for [c]Smelt[/c] is good here. If you can kill a creature or enchantment, you’re well on your way. Yes, [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] runs tutors and cantrips, so you will be expected to have some more disruption, a fast clock, or a good draw engine to accompany your removal. Because of this, UWR Control, The Rock, and U/R Delver, ever-present forces in the Modern metagame, will keep Ascendancy combo in check.

2) [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c]. Insert everything I’ve posted about Modern Burn here.

3) Hate-bears. [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] and [c]Spirit of the Labyrinth[/c] severely handicap or shut down the Ascendancy combo. For a whopping GGWWR2, the opponent can cast [c]Glittering Wish[/c] to target [c]Fiery Justice[/c] against multiple hate-bears, or for GGBW2, the opponent can cast [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] on a single one. Either way, the tempo gained for the hate-bears player before the opponent can even start to combo is significant. Death and Taxes and G/W hate-bears also run [c]Path to Exile[/c] for the mana dork.

4) Mass removal. Be it [c]Anger of the Gods[/c], [c]Living End[/c], [c]Wrath of God[/c], etc. you have an answer even to [c]Sylvan Caryatid[/c] should the game make him relevant.

5) Discard. It’s a combo deck.

So if you ever see three or more [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] combo decks place on mtgo-stats, snap submit this deck for a free match of four.

[d title=”Modern Mono Black Infect”]
Land
4 Inkmoth Nexus
17 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Creatures
4 Phyrexian Crusader
4 Phyrexian Vatmother

Spells
2 Devour Flesh
4 Disfigure
3 Doom Blade
4 Funeral Charm
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Phyrexian Arena
4 Raven’s Crime
2 Runechanter’s Pike
3 Sign in Blood
3 Wrench Mind

Sideboard
2 Bile Blight
2 Blackmail
4 Duress
1 Geth’s Verdict
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Slaughter Pact[/d]

I haven’t run the numbers, but the deck is cheap. It does get some free wins, especially against combo and Burn.

Budgetized Modern Decks

Now on to the stuff you came for. Lately there have been a lot of goodies hidden on results pages because they’re mislabeled as Burn decks. Here is the first one from MTGO user Second_Sunrise on September 22 that you may not have caught:

[d title=”Second Sunrise Token Goblins (Modern)”]
Land
16 Mountain
4 Mutavault

Creatures
4 Foundry Street Denizen
3 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Guide
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Mogg War Marshall
4 Goblin Chieftain

Spells
3 Dragon Fodder
3 Goblin Grenade
3 Krenko’s Command
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Shared Animosity

Sideboard
3 Combust
2 Dismember
4 Goblin Assault
2 Relic of Progenitus
4 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

He brought home some packs with only $80 invested, including the Daily Event entry fee. I assumed some people would run goblins after Rabblemaster was released, but he is absent from this list despite the obvious synergy. Maybe he pushed too high on the curve.

I love [c]Goblin Grenade[/c] in Modern. After the damage done to oneself by their mana-base alone, drawing into 2 grenades over the course of the game gets really close to lethal. Your opponent can never really trust his life total as you assess what he virtually has due to the cards in your hand.

I don’t love [c]Shared Animosity[/c] in this deck. I preferred the decks that maxed out with 12 Goblin Lords (Chieftain, King, and Bushwhacker) and rounded out the deck with 8 burn spells to finish the opponent off. I hate Animosity as a topdeck, especially against B/G or U/W/R when the opponent has been answering our creatures anyway.

It is interesting that Modern Goblins don’t have a good presence when they are powerful in Legacy. Then you consider what elements the Legacy Goblins deck has: a draw engine in [c]Goblin Ringleader[/c], tempo in [c]Goblin Lackey[/c] and [c]Goblin Warchief[/c], a fast clock with [c]Goblin Piledriver[/c], and disruption with [c]Wasteland[/c] and [c]Rishadan Port[/c]. None of these cards are available in Modern, so if one was looking for a disruptive tribal aggro deck, they looked to Merfolk. Still, while those cards weren’t available, I think that people have been too quick to dismiss a midrange or aggro-control Goblins list. We have [c]Aether Vial[/c], [c]Blood Moon[/c] and [c]Magus of the Moon[/c], [c]Thorn of Amethyst[/c], and [c]Warren Instigator[/c] at our disposal. I’m not ready to discredit these options and just go for a deck that only aims to draw, cast, turn creatures sideways, say “go” just yet.

A Snow-Control red deck sneaked into the results pages disguised as a Burn deck as well. You can look to this for some free wins against [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] as well, and it only runs you 100 tix.

[d title=”GG_Glen Snow Control (Modern)”]
Land
2 Scrying Sheets
22 Snow-Covered Mountain

Creatures
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Demigod of Revenge

Other Spells
4 Anger of the Gods
4 Blood Moon
1 Burning Earth
4 Koth of the Hammer
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Relic of Progenitus
1 Pyroclasm
4 Skred
2 Volcanic Fallout

Sideboard
2 Boil
1 Combust
2 Dragon’s Claw
4 Guttural Response
2 Molten Rain
2 Shattering Blow
2 Shatterstorm[/d]

I have to admit I’m impressed and confused at the same time. In the main, I’m not sure what the Demigods are up to hanging out with [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] except that maybe a flying haste attack for 5 is sometimes enough to call it a day. I suppose I can accept them as a budget alternative to [c]Thundermaw Hellkite[/c] and [c]Stormbreath Dragon[/c], but I really like the latter a lot in these lists.

In the sideboard the number of [c]Dragon’s Claw[/c] is surely off if that is a strategy to defeat Burn. Otherwise, the Burn matchup looks horrid, and the odds of drawing 1 of 2 are low. Otherwise I love the deck strategy and think it can be a contender in the post-Khans metagame if Ascendancy and Zoo come out of the woodwork.

Imagine a Standard deck

Now imagine it with [c]Goblin Guide[/c] and [c]Vexing Devil[/c].

This week there is further evidence that sometimes Aggro is just barely good enough to get there. What should a player do when their pet deck is rotating out of Standard? Play it in Modern, of course! At least, that’s what user b3nnybnyhc did on October 6. This deck looks familiar to those that follow multiple formats, especially those that scour the formats for well-priced decks that place.

[d title=”Modern Boss Sligh by b3nnybnyhc”]
Land
18 Mountain

Creatures
4 Ash Zealot
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Goblin Guide
1 Grim Lavamancer
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Vexing Devil

Spells
4 Brute Force
1 Forked Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Titan’s Strength

Sideboard
1 Blood Moon
1 Dismember
1 Forked Bolt
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Gut Shot
1 Leyline of Punishment
3 Relic of Progenitus
2 Shattering Spree
2 Skullcrack
2 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

So will Burn players breathe some fresh air from the prison of [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] and try this out? I question it, and the bulk of the expense in this deck is cards that are also in Mono-Red Burn. Still, it is something to consider if enough players are giving themselves Hexproof or gaining life. Each of the creatures may only amount to a [c]Shock[/c], but they can also amount to more than a [c]Lava Axe[/c] for one or two. Seeing the deck reminds me that [c]Vexing Devil[/c] should have gone into my [c]Experiment One[/c] R/G beats last week, and I’ve been brewing that list backwards and forwards, trying things like [c]Keldon Marauders[/c], [c]Lightning Crafter[/c], etc. I’m sure I’ll settle on something by the time [c]Wooded Foothills[/c] drops to a reasonable price.

What do you all think about [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] combo? Is it just a Glittering Wish, or will it continue to show its Prowess? Is Aggro the most reliable way to win packs on a budget?

-drinkard

Standard Pauper Show, Issue 9

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

No MPDC due to the U.S. holiday. However, Dr. Baker ran the SPDC on schedule!

SPDC 26.03
31 August 2014
Standard · 12 Players
11 Decks · ~92% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 4 playoff
Hosted by DrChrisBakerDC

Eleven decks, not bad! This event seems to be picking up some real steam. I see this as a result of the community’s commitment to the format! Beside, who doesn’t love Standard Pauper? Crazy people, that’s who.

Lets look at the results:

1st Mill* by masterofphysics
2nd RW Heroic* by Luc3k
T4 WB Aura* by beatnik bobby
T4 Creatureless Dimir Mill* by Muzac

Normally I go over the winner. As you all probably know, I am not the biggest fan of mill. Besides, we have all seen it at this point. What we can look at is a deck that didn’t even place!

Say what? Oh yes, it was the one deck that caught my eye. Mostly because it is similar to one discussed in the web show! The thing that bothers me, is that this deck made a respectable showing. Going 2-1 in an event where the Top 4 placed deck went 2-2 is pretty good. The problem is that it gets nothing. Tie breakers broken wrong for this deck and that is just a shame.

WW

Standard · Aggro
Played by bigbee in SPDC 26.03 (2-1)

[d]
Creatures
4 Sungrace Pegasus
2 Heliod’s Pilgrim
4 Auramancer
4 Hopeful Eidolon
4 Syndic of Tithes
3 Keening Apparition
2 Wingsteed Rider

Spells
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Gods Willing
4 Pacifism
2 Celestial Flare

Lands
16 Plains
4 Radiant Fountain

SIDEBOARD
4 Razortip Whip
4 Beckon Apparition
4 Eyes in the Skies
2 Celestial Flare
1 Keening Apparition
[/d]

I heart this deck so much! I even like the Fountains. Normally, I dislike colorless land in a non-artifact deck. Pure White Weenie goodness right here.

Let’s look at a sample opening hand:

image_mask

Pardon the blank card, it was the only way I could get them to line up properly.
Needless to say, this is a stone cold keep. You have all the mana you need and plenty to cast. I can only hope the next six cards don’t flood us out.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

Righteous. Not the card [c]Righteousness[/c] but rather the colloquialism meaning this is beneficial to me. I think we have a very good chance to win this particular game.

Section 2: Proxy card making

Part of covering budget formats is covering the wonderful world of proxy card making. You can Google magic card proxy and come up with hundreds of hits. Some good, some terrible. Some are spectacular, while some are just excuses to put boobs on things. Seriously, why do you want a naked anime chick on your plains card? Are you really that desperate?

Anyway, mtgsalvation has an entire forum for card renders and proxies. The rules are simple, make what ever your heart desires but never try to sell fake cards. Very simple. If the art is not your own, you cannot sell it. If the card is a copy of a real card and you try to sell it, Wizards will sue the poop out of you.

That being said, I want to show off a series of land cards I made and get some feedback and debate going. Because nothing is cheaper than imagination, I thought this deserved a place in the issue:

Dessicated Mire Forest of Stone Mountain of Ash
Brackish Marsh field of dust Teferis Mirage

First of all, the art is from a family of Indian watercolor artists: G D Paulraj and his two brothers G D Arulraj and G D Thyagaraj. You can find out more about their wonderful art here: http://indian-influences.blogspot.com/

I simply love the art.

The theme I was going for was a tribute to Teferi and his attempt to bring mana back to the broken lands of Dominaria. I wanted to make these common but even with the draw backs I doubt they would ever be. Anyway, each land is a broken version of the basic lands. They enter tapped and you can pay life to gain a single colorless mana. I gave them a cost so that it was not free mana. More like, Phyrexian mana.

What I dislike is the number of words used on each card. I am not a fan of Wizard’s need to define, in their entirety, what a token is and does on the card that generates it. I feel it is time to move away from this model. Otherwise, complex tokens will be harder to make. Here is the closest example of a complex token I can think of:

Why can’t the text of Goblin Kaboomist just say: At the beginning of your upkeep, put a colorless artifact token named Land Mine onto the battlefield.

Is the thought that one day bands of post apocalyptic kids will find magic cards buried in the ruins of Old New York? They would then need this full wall of text to enjoy the ancient game they have discovered? Just about everyone playing this game has some sort of access to the internet or other source of information to find out what this card does.

Which brings me to my other point. Wizards, why can’t we search for tokens on your site? This is mind boggling. You print them yet we have no reference to them on the official site. That’s just ridiculous. Anyway, back to the made up cards.

What I want to know from you all is, is this possible? Are these lands feasible in the current “New World Order?” What would you change?

Standard Pauper Show, Issue 7

Section 1: The video you all came to see

Sam and I met up online and went through a few decks for this week’s show

Before you scroll down and start posting your desire for these scrumptious decks, let me put them here for you.

Boros Tokens
[d]
Spells
4 Triplicate Spirits
4 Raise the alarm
3 Hive Stirrings
3 Flurry of Horns
3 Inspired Charge
3 Fortify
3 Pacifism
3 Weapon Surge
2 Dynacharge

Creatures
4 Selfless Cathar
4 Seller of Songbirds
3 Supply-Line Cranes

Land
10 Plains
7 Mountain
2 Evolving Wilds
2 Boros Guildgate

Sideboard

2 Massive Raid
3 Martial Glory
3 Electrickery
1 Pacifism
2 Lightning Strike
2 Sactified Charge
2 Sundering Growth
[/d]

I made a couple of revisions based on rremedio’s feedback and second place finish in MPDC!

Bant Good Shiz
[d]
Creatures
4 Coral Barrier
4 Frost Lynx
4 Shaman of Spring
3 Nessian Asp
2 Siege Wurm
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Leafcrown Dryad

Spells
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Triplicate Spirits
3 Peel from Reality

Land
3 Azorius Guildgate
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
3 Island
4 Plains
3 Selesnya Guildgate
3 Simic Guildgate

Sideboard:
2 Dispel
3 Mizzium Skin
3 Voyage’s End
4 Netcaster Spider
3 Rootborn Defenses
[/d]

Section 2: This week in review


MPDC 26.01
11 August 2014
Standard · 21 Players
16 Decks · ~76% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st White Wine* by GodZo
2nd Selfless Army* by rremedio1
T4 Esper* by FlxEx
T4 UBMill again* by Kriss
T8 CREATURELESS DIMIR MILL* by milegyenanevem
T8 Creatureless Dimir Mill* by Muzac
T8 ETB* by MyGalaxy
T8 MBC – Mono Black Control* by WujekMZK

Section 3: The winning deck!

WHITE WINE

Standard · Aggro
1st by GodZo in MPDC 26.01 (6-0)

[d]
Creatures
4 Hopeful Eidolon
4 Daring Skyjek
2 Keening Apparition
4 Sungrace Pegasus
4 Syndic of Tithes
4 Auramancer
2 Heliod’s Pilgrim
2 Sunspire Griffin

Spells
4 Gods Willing
2 Celestial Flare
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Pacifism

Land
16 Plains
4 Radiant Fountain

Sideboard
3 Beckon Apparition
2 Nyxborn Shieldmate
2 Celestial Flare
3 Concordia Pegasus
2 Keening Apparition
3 Razortip Whip
[/d]

Unless this is the first time you have read my articles, you should know I love mono-colored decks. Given the chance, I would draft mono-color every time I could. The simple elegance of the mana base gets my magic juices flowing. Not in a gross way.

All you have to worry about is what your opponent is doing. You can just trust that the deck will provide the mana you need when you need it. Obviously, it worked for GodZo.

Let’s look at a sample opening hand:

Well, had to mulligan a one lander. However, I am keeping this hand and am glad to do so. I know it puts a lot of pressure on the Skyjek, but I feel we can give him the support needed to push on through.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

Is it possible to Eidolon flood? What a weird next 6. Anyway, you have more protection, more mana, and a load of Eidolons. Not bad. Probably not the strongest start ever. I still feel the deck is resilient enough to win with the cards at hand.

Section 3: Podcasting

We are working on making The Standard Pauper Show into a podcast. The goal is to put it on iTunes and watch the sweet, sweet revenue pour in.

This just in, you get no revenue for publishing a podcast on iTunes. Well, that is about par for the course these days.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Faithless Looting #2: The Good, the Bad, and the Tokens

Last week I offered a prize to anyone who submitted an interesting Slivers deck for Modern Silverblack. Imagine my surprise when I found out no one wants free stuff! Either the stuff up for grabs isn’t appealing, or the contest was too narrow. I’m guessing (and hoping) it is the latter, so this week I am going to broaden the scope a little bit. I’m also going to ask you, the readers:

What kind of weekly contest would most appeal to you?

Let me know in the comments.

Today I’m going to talk about my favorite Modern deck, BW Tokens, so the contest this week will fit the theme.

Faithless Contest #2: Rules

1. Design me a fun, innovative, or powerful Orzhov brew on a budget.

2. Post it in the comments below.

3. Submissions due before Monday, August 18.

Clarifications

  • I will look at the land base to determine how “Orzhov” your deck is.
  • “Budget” means different things in different formats; use your best judgement.
  • I’m talking about Modern today, but you can brew in any format you like.
  • Decks with [c]Edge of the Divinity[/c] are discouraged, but if you must submit them, I will try to treat them fairly.

I will highlight the most interesting decks in next week’s article, and may play some on video for the YouTube channel. One lucky winner will get two items, randomly selected, from my current LootCrate stash. Check out the videos at the bottom of this post to see what’s available.

Based on submissions from last week (hint: there were none); your chances of winning just by submitting a deck seem very high.

Faithless Deck #2: BW Tokens (Modern)

This is my favorite Modern deck and the one I’ve had the most success with. It’s an aggro deck when you need it, a control deck when it has to be, and has the best sideboard colors in the format. What’s not to love?

The decklist was originally inspired by George_W_Fish’s list highlighted on the mothership. I took that list and, cheapskate that I am, put together the most budget version I could afford at the time. I’ve made a few alterations over time: [c]Distress[/c] came out and [c]Castigate[/c] came in, and the sideboard got much better as I learned the format.

Here is the list as I play it today.

[d title=”BW Tokens (Modern)”]
Lands
6 Plains
1 Swamp
4 Temple of Silence
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Orzhov Guildgate
4 Evolving Wilds

Creatures
3 Tidehollow Sculler
2 Soul Warden

Token-Makers
4 Lingering Souls
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Spectral Procession
4 Midnight Haunting

Enchantments
2 Intangible Virtue
4 Honor of the Pure

Removal/Discard
4 Tragic Slip
4 Castigate

Lords of Innistrad
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Sideboard
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Memoricide
2 Patrician’s Scorn
3 Stony Silence
2 Zealous Persecution
1 Soul Warden
3 Rest in Peace
[/d]

Why do I love this deck? First off, it’s mean: exiling your opponent’s hand with Sculler and Castigate is a great feeling, and it stops a lot of the nasty things they might do to you that you don’t want them to do. It also helps counteract some of the fragility of the “tokens”, letting you exile board sweepers like [c]Pyroclasm[/c] and [c]Whipflare[/c].

The second reason I love it is that it is resilient. All you need is one of your enchantments on the table after a wipe: rip a Procession or Lingering Souls and you’re back to having three or four 2/2 flyers on the table.

Third and finally, BW sideboards are amazing. Okay, so White does most of the heavy lifting, but I like to think those [c]Memoricide[/c] will ruin some combo-player’s day somewhere down the line.

As for being on a budget, the deck runs under $100 in paper; and just over $50 online. That’s almost as cheap as a decent Modern deck can get, but you could shave some off by cutting Sorin if it’s still too spendy for you. As far as Planeswalkers go, he’s affordable, but that doesn’t mean he’s cheap.

Of the matches I’ve played on video with this deck, my win rate is 80%. That’s probably more or less accurate looking at total matches; if I had to guess, I would say it’s slightly higher. Just keep in mind I don’t play in competitive events, just in the practice room. Want to see the deck in action? Check it out.

 

And if you’re looking for the LOOT, here are the videos showing off the stuff I have up for grabs. Until next time, stay cheap!

-bava

 

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 2

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

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

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

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

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

Lets look at 2 examples of powerful token spells

Classic Pauper

Battle Screech

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

Now lets compare that to a killer card from Innistrad

Lingering Souls

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

These cards bring me to the next example.

Triplicate Spirits

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

So what does this show us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lets narrow down to fliers:

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

Only 3. Again it shocks me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Section 2: This week in Standard Pauper:

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

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

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

Section 3: The winning deck!

Lets take a closer look at the winning deck.

SELESNYA AURA

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

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

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

Lands
11 Plains
6 Forest
4 Selesnya Guildgate

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

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

Lets look at a sample opening hand:

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

Now lets look at the next six cards:

I feel we were rewarded for our keep.

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

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

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

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

You Too Can Play Modern: 10 Budget Modern Decks

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

Or is it?

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

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

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

CREATURES
4 Goblin Guide
4 Vexing Devil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[d title=”Stompy”]
LANDS
22 Forest

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

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

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

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

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

CREATURES
2 Doomed Traveller
3 Tidehollow Sculler

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPELLS
4 Birthing Pod
[/d]

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

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

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

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

CREATURES
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Kor Spiritdancer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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