Starke EDH

by Xavier Biron

Commander 

Stark of Rath

Starke of Rath

Lands (33)

21 x Snow-covered Mountain
Thawing Glaciers
Scrying Sheets
Mouth of Ronom
Strip Mine
Wasteland
Tectonic Edge
Vesuva
Homeward Path
Maze of Ith
High Market
Miren, the Moaning Well
City of Shadows

Creatures (23)

Goblin Welder
Anger
Urabrask the Hidden
Jiwari, the Earth Aflame
Karn, Silver Golem
Stuffy Doll
Conquering Manticore
Bloodshot Cyclops
Ryusei, the Falling Star
Homura, Human Ascendant
Wurmcoil Engine
Charmbreaker Devils
Hoarding Dragon
Solemn Simulacrum
Obsidian Fireheart
Zealous Conscripts
Inferno Titan
Duplicant
Greater Gargadon
Steel Hellkite
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Rimesclae Dragon
Mindclaw Shaman

Artifacts (21)

Claws of Gix
Sol Ring
Lightning Greaves
Gaunntlet of Power
Gauntlet of Might
Umbral Mantle
Crucible of Worlds
Dreamstone Hedron
Spine of Ish sah
Expedition Map
Mimic Vat
Mana Crypt
Thousand-Year Elixir
Oblivion Stone
Skullclamp
Batterskull
Sensei’s Divining Top
Extraplanar Lens
Swiftfoot Boots
Tormod’s Crypt
Liquidmetal Coating
Caged Sun
Culling Dais

Spells (22)

Starstorm
Vandalblast
All is Dust
Blasphemous Act
Shattering Pulse
Wheel of Fortune
Glacial Crevasses
Grab the Reins
Reroute
Act of Aggression
Chaos Warp
Unwilling Recruit
Insurrection
Karn Liberated
Stranglehold
Mass Mutiny
Recoup
Word of Seizing

Reforge the Soul
Reiterate
Devastation

The deck is basically about stealing and sacrificing your opponent’s permanents or destroying them with Starke after you are done with them. The deck could have maybe used a Helm of Possession or a Trading Post as well, but it seems pretty tight already. Give it a try or examine the list to see if you can find some sweet interactions to include in your own EDH deck.

Contrary to most EDH decks, the manabase is also rather affordable. No duals, just a bunch of snow-covered mountains!

Return to Ravnica Draft: Selesnya

by Steve DDT Giannopoulos

Today’s article is one I am not accustomed to writing. You guessed it: it’s a Limited one!

After playtesting a bit of Modern with Xavier Biron a few days before he had to leave for Pro Tour: Seattle, we decided we should run a few drafts with some of the local players at a nearby local store. One of the guys who works there, Chris, was nice enough to gather up some peeps and we were set.

I’m usually greedy to a fault when I draft. I hate the 2-color decks but I was trying to help out a friend, so I drafted properly for a change.

Pack 1, pick 1: I went with a Pack Rat. I am sure you have read up on or played enough Limited to know that this card is rather insane.

Pack 1, pick 2:  Nabbed a Gatecreeper Vine , setting myself up for a Golgari build. However, Rats is pretty splash-able. So I thought it would be an auto-include if I could get enough fixers.

Pack 1, pick 3: It was a tough pack, but I decided on a Golgari Keyrune. Again, staying somewhat flexible in my manabase and colors. At worse, it would be an accelerator and at best … it would be a nice little Deathtouch creature that could nullify one of their big ground guys.

Pack 1, other picks: mostly 2 Guildgates because of the mana stability. In case I go 3 colors, maybe more. I feel more Greedy T than DDT.

Pack 2, pick 1: Supreme  Verdict. Now this was not for ‘value’. I was realistically able to play this card as I had a way to fetch my lands in Gatecreeper Vine and I had a Azorious Guildgate as well. I wasn’t going to really draft anything else that was blue just because i can splash this.

I think this is a common mistake a lot of players, including myself make. My deck was mostly Selsnyan with an odd Golgari card or two. Trying to now switch colors or add one in at this point is probably a major no-no. A bigger mistkae would be to grab cards that require 2 blue mana and further mana-screw my deck in the process.

As Zac Clark stated before: ” a so-so two-color deck > than a mana-struggling 3-color one”.

Pack 2, pick 2: I go with a Transguild Promenade. Yep! I am probably for sure playing Supreme Verdict now.

Pack 2, pick 3: Selesnya Charm?

Selesnya Charm

is this normal? Not really, but it’s somewhat clear that the 2 people to my left were not playing Selesnya. Unless of course, there was something insane, like an Armada Wurm in the pack or mayyyybe Trostani?

This card does many things as all the other charms do. However, it’s the one that has the best removal potential. It can also save one of your guys or create a surprise attacker at the end of your turn. It’s the non-rare I want to see most when playing Selesnya.

Pack 2, the rest: Some mediocre stuff: Giant Growth, Keening Apparition, Sluiceway Scorpion and Courser’s Accord (aka. how to also multiply Pack Rat tokens without discarding.

Pack 3, Pick 1: Angel of Serenity for the value/ bomb I need to stay in the late game.

Angel of Serenity

A small anecdote, if I may:

Prior to the draft, Xavier grabbed my packs and tossed me his. I was kind of having a bad premonition that this ‘trade’ would bite me in the you-know-what I had these disturbing images of him laughing in my face and saying: “Best trade ever!” So I went with my gut feeling and grabbed the packs back from him. I then proceeded to triple pack slap him.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, the name says it all. You stack the 3 packs, grab them by the edges, wave them a bit and slap the other player in the face. The sound of each pack clapping into the other one as you connect with the slap is quite priceless.

Yeah, it’s childish. However, if a part of me wasn’t a child, I probably would not be playing this fabulous game.

Pack 3, pick 2: Remember when I said I wanted Selesnya Charm more than anything? Well, this is #2 on the list of selesnya non-rares. Centaur Glade on Legs with another random upside.

Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

All the Guildmages are decent picks, but I have a soft spot for one that can flood the field. If it meets an untimely demise later on, it will have a least left a Centaur or other token behind…well, usually.

Pack 3, pick 3: Not much in my colors, so I grab a Dark Revenant. It might kill a few small fliers on defense or break a ground stalemate later in the game. It’s probably not something I will definitely play maindeck. I’m 50/50 on where it will end up.

Pack 3, pick 4: Treasure Find. Again, it was not a great selesnya pack. Seems I’m seeing an decent amount of black…maybe …nah…

Pack 3, pick 5: Rites of Reaping? Yeah, sure, why not? Removal is pretty good even in this form. I don’t have any Trostani’s Judgments yet ( I know right?), so I pick this up in its stead.

Pack 3, pick 6: Bazaar Krovod. What is a Krovod? This thing, I guess.

Not a card I think highly of, but it’s sizeable enough to block well. I thought of a few scenarios that it can come in handy, like if I had to give pseudo-vigilace to my deathtouch dudes. In the end, it just seemed like the best playable card in the pack.

Pack 3, the rest of the 14: I get a couple of Sewer Shamblers that I think I mostly cut so that i don’t lose to those. They are deceivingly good. Something I discovered will boarding them in versus black-based deck or decks that could out aggro me. He usually dies then Scavenges on the cheap. This makes him rather decent.

Deck:

1 x Supreme Verdict
1 x Dark Revenant
1 x Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
1 x Gatecreeper Vine
1 x Golgari Keyrune
1 x Angel of Serenity
2 x Armory Guard
1 x Eyes in the Skies
1 x Courser’s Accord
1 x Centaur Healer
1 x Giant Growth
1 x Rites of Reaping
1 x Treasure Find
1 x Keening Apparition
1 x Seller of Songbirds
1 x Sluiceway Scorpion
1 x Sunspire Griffin
1 x Trostani’s Judgment
1 x Selesnya Charm
1 x Seek the Horizon
1 x Thrill-kill Assassin
1 x Pack Rat

1 x Azorius Guildgate
1 x Selesnya Guildgate
1 x Golgari Guildgate

1 x Island
3 x Swamp
5 x Forest
5 x Plains

2 x Sewer Shambler
1 x Giant Growth 

vs. Nicolas

Both games were similar. We traded a bit here and there, I Scavenged on fliers and eventually got there. Nothing too scientific. In the end, it’s knowing how to make the right trades when you have to.

1-0

vs. Xavier 

We have played many many times over the years. He usually has the edge in limited versus yours truly.

He has the typical Azorius deck and knows that I am splashing for Supreme Verdict.

Game 1

It’s a close one and it becomes a race until the end. He gets the tempo edge with a Dramatic Rescue and then lands Seller of Songbirds to   get a small flier and peck away at my remaining 5 health. In the final few turns I had cast a Dark Revenant, but he was Detained twice over.

Game 2

He start off with a swarm of weenies which I have trouble containing. I had Verdict the whole time but was down on the blue mana. A few turns later, facing a possible loss, I draw Gatecreeper Vine to tutor up an Island. I then cast Supreme Verdict and come back to eventually win that game (after I Treasure Find it and cast it again later).

Game 3

A tight one that wet long. On turn 4, I cast a Seek the Horizon. This card is mainly in my deck for Angel of Serenity which I eventually drew . Obviously, this immediately turned the tide in my favor. With not real way to remove the Angel, Xavier was not left with many answers in his deck. (He had used his one Arrest on a Centaur Healer in the previous turns).

He drew dead for a while and then muttered something about how ‘Unfair’ this particular Angel was.

2-0

vs. Yann

He offered me the split, but the guy working at the store mentioned something about it being preferable if people did not split at the more casual FNM-style events. I have no problem with that at all. 1st place was 6 packs to second place’s 4.

And…we’re off…

Game 1

He comes out of the gates with his team of unleashed dudes. I immediately make a memo to myself to side in my Sewer Shamblers for Game 2. At one point he has a Desecration Demon in play and I cannot let him actually attack or I lose. I brain farted a turn and chose to sacrifice my Dark Revenant, forgetting that I HAD to put it back on top. This would have been an OK play provided I could attack him on my turn to push through some damage. Alas, this was not the case. I put the Revenant back on top of my deck, only to re-draw it. Yay!

Game 2

His deck was all about speed and I had stabilized pretty early with Armory Guards and Centaur Healer. I later was beating down with the Guards and a Bazaar Krovod giving Vigilance to a Golgari Keyrune. None of these are particularly appealing to block. Other than the Demon, the biggest creature in his deck is a Perilous Shadow. The rest of the ‘fatties’ being 4/4s and thus ineffective vs 2/5s.

Game 3

We trade a few creatures here and there until I cast a Pack Rat on turn 5. The amazing thing about the Rats is that it works well with things like Trostani’s Judgment and Eyes in the Skies. Things get out of hand quickly.

Pack Rat

The final nail in the coffin was a Angel of Serenity taking away his 3 potential blockers.

Note: i did play the Sewer Shamblers in Game 3, but he never played actual Swamps. He played 2 Guildgates and one Promenade as his black mana sources.

3-0

I have to say that I never regretted the Black splash in this deck. While I didn’t grab enough actual removal, the Sluiceway Scorpion and the Golgari Keyrune did a great job at deterring some aggro. The Supreme Verdict seemed fine in this deck as it forced some people to try and play around it as soon as they saw I had the available mana.

The deck played more of a ‘grindy’ game than a regular Selesnya deck, making it truly more of a Junk deck. I had enough good removal plus the Angel to warrant the inclusion of Treasure Find. It wasn’t anywhere near the best Return to Ravnica deck I made, but its mix of good utility cards and bombs cam through in the end.

Return to Ravnica Draft Mini-Report

by Zac Clark

Friday 10/12/12

Chase Culpon emailed me back to inform me that there was an early Draft today and that he’d be there to test Standard and get a draft in around 2:00pm. Others on the Email list for the store chimed in. I was hankering for a little standard myself, just having finished most of my American Control Deck, but I really wanted to practice limited. Philly is a couple weeks away and I’m terrible at Draft right now. On the bright side I’ve been opening the money rares the whole time, so I guess life could be worse.

I arrived at the store near to 2 pm on the dot. Chase greeted me with his Standard deck and some Dunkin Donuts. This guy is all class! After losing terribly to his Human deck in Standard (I still need to tweak this thing), a bunch more people show up and we get this show on the road.

Two 6 man pods.

I’ll never get why everyone complains about the number of people in a pod exactly. I mean I understand that 8 is what you want and how cards table and that sort of thing. I also believe that 99% of the people complaining about this sort of stuff are looking for reasons to loose. 2 man draft, 8 man draft, 18 man draft I do not care. Let’s crack packs and build decks! Li Xu sits at my right, and says something I definitely took away from the draft: “Pick two colors and make a deck. A bad two color deck is better than a mediocre 3 color deck.” Sounds good to me! I’m so sick of getting mana and color screwed so I’ll listen to anyone that gives me advice on how to not have that happen.

Pack one pick 1: Chaos Imps… I decided that this is a pretty nice rare for draft… and not much else. I then decided to draft red for the rest of the pack. With hope for solid black or blue cards  as well.

After 3 packs of RTR draft I ended up with this fancy little number

20ss 10/12 RtR Draft 3-0

8 Mountain

1 Overgrown Tomb
8 Swamp

17 lands

1 Viashino Racketeer
1 Dead Reveler
1 Guttersnipe
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Hellhole Flailer
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Dark Revenant
1 Slum Reaper
1 Splatter Thug
1 Gore-House Chainwalker
2 Grim Roustabout
1 Daggerdrome Imp
1 Tavern Swindler
2 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Chaos Imps

17 creatures

2 Cremate
1 Launch Party
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Traitorous Instinct
1 Pursuit of Flight

6 other spells

Sideboard
1 Firemind’s Foresight
1 Pyroconvergence
1 Spawn of Rix Maadi
1 Racecourse Fury
1 Sundering Growth
1 Goblin Rally
1 Armory Guard
1 Vandalblast
1 Destroy the Evidence
1 Deviant Glee
1 Mind Rot
1 Survey the Wreckage
1 Ogre Jailbreaker
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Terrus Wurm
1 Rites of Reaping
1 Guild Feud
1 Chemister’s Trick

18 sideboard cards

I was extremely happy with the number of Unleashed “undercosted” creatures and a few neat bombs as well as the Deathrite Shaman for that extra reach and value. You’ll notice I picked up an Overgrown Tomb (thanks Li). I used it in the deck for the Shaman in case I could get a little value from it, but I knew mostly he’d be dealing in pain over pleasure. That said, I’m very light on removal and was not totally comfortable with that.

Game 1 Chase Culpon (UWg)

I won the die roll to PLAY.

Chase was living high from the beatings he gave me earlier from Standard testing.

The first game my turns went like this:

Turn 1, Swamp, Deathrite Shaman, go

Turn 2, Mountain, Rakdos Shred-Freak, Swing for 3

Chase 17

Turn 3, Swamp, Guttersnipe, swing for 3

Chase 14

Turn 4, Cremate, Draw Traitorous Instinct, GS deals 2 from trigger, Attack for 5

Chase 7, He plays a Kordoza Monitor

Turn 5 TI the KM and attack for (whoops GS trigger)… attack for 10

Chase -5

Game 2

It was much of the same. Chase’s deck could have stabilized with his Dramatic Rescues and high toughness Flash blockers, he just didn’t get the love and I really punished him for losing the die roll. Game 2 ended on turn five as well. I felt much better about the deck. Hell, I felt pretty good about the deck as a Standard deck… Turn five in draft, pretty good!

Guttersnipe

1-0

Round 2 Li Xu

I really like playing Li. I think I’ve been matched up against him more than any other 20ss regular. I had the pleasure of knowing for a fact that his deck contained no Delvers so I was feeling pretty good about that. Li lost round 1 and I got paired down. I was hoping to get paired down, just not against Li (for the obvious reason that he’s good at Magic). What can you do, at least we’re gonna have some laughs, right?

Game 1:

Turn two Rakdos Shred-Freak followed by turn three RSF he had some Rakdos creatures coming strong too. We raced, but in the end I again won the die roll. My clock was more Cuckoo than Grandfather and I took it. Though once I feared he had an Electrickery which would have been terrible for me.

Game 2:

We went 5 turns again. My horde of B/R guys just kept at the gates, and of course there was a game changing swing with one of his guys (Hellhole Flayer) with my Traitorous Instinct. I really, really like that card in aggressive decks. I ended the game a turn after with Rakdos Charm.

2-0

Traitorous Instinct

Li and I played a few games of Modern while we waited. I’m clueless in this format. Thanks to RtR I was able to afford a mana base for my Merfolk deck. More on that at a later date though.

Round 3 Kyle Schwartz

I won the die roll again!

Tragically, Kyle got land screwed both games against me. I will say this though, I like Daggerdrome Imp. It’s important to have interactions with him, say like Scavenge or Pursuit of Flight. As I’ve learned in M13, drafting flying lifelinkers is good. Kyle was cool about getting mana screwed, and I offered to play him another game, he told me to not worry about it, he wasn’t too attached to his deck.

So I went 3-0 and literally won every game.

Daggerdrome Imp

Three games on turn 5!

Rakdos is pretty sweet. But I also won every die roll. I was happy with my deck and really did a good job of making sure my curve filled out during draft. I’m sure this deck would have suffered in the late game, but did have a few nice big creatures and cards like Hellhole Flailer and Deathrite Shaman to get in the rest of the damage.

Hellhole Flailer

Other Underrated stars… Won game 2 Vs Li with Rakdos Charm‘s last ability, Guttersnipe is OK as a Gray Ogre… but with cantrips and removal spells he really gets nasty (even if he looks like a chicken thief). Tavern Swindler is not too shabby as a bear, its ability is sort of lackluster but it attacks for 2 on turn 3 sooooo…..

Matt Jones showed up after round 2.I had procured his classic T-shirt in size medium. He and Li tried to persuade me to play at States. I almost took off work for it, but realized I had a show with ZAC CLARK and the GRISWOLDS the next day.

Come On Down EP cover art

More over, I was pretty excited about what everyone was going to play for Standard FNM. It’s Friday night and I have to bartend. I wanted to play, but life gets in the way from time to time. I’ll have plenty of chances to play later. Still looking forward to Tuesday nights Standard at 20ss. Since rotation, Standard is like “Let’s Make a Deal” right now  and I’m the guy looking to trade a small box for a tiger or a boat.