FNM Promo for March 2013

farseek fnm

Type 2 represent!

So this coming month’s FNM promo is one that many many decks will be happy to include in FOIL form: Farseek ! It’s been running rampant in decks such as Jund and Bant Control. When it was released in M13 it began the speculation of Shocklands being in the Return to Ravnica block.

So go forth and conquer an FNM event near you! Or just participate, they are also available as random door prizes.

FNM_logo

The best night of the week! If you’re into Magic: the Gathering

Painted Stone

Painted Stone

by Steve DDT Giannopoulos

Lands 

4 x Ancient Tomb
4 x City of Traitors
3 x Great Furnace

5 x Mountains
2 x Scalding Tarn

Creatures 

4 x Simian Spirit Guide
3 x Imperial Recruiter
1 x Phyrexian Metamorph
1 x Kargan Dragon Lord
1 x Phyrexian Revoker
4 x Painter’s Servant
1 x Jaya Balard, Task Mage
1 x Spellskite
2 x Magus of the Moon
1 x Goblin Welder

Artifacts 

3 x Chrome Mox
2 x Sensei’s Divining Top
4 x Grindstone

Enchantments 

4 x Blood Moon
Instants 

4 x Lightning Bolt
3 x Red Elemental Blast
3 x Pyroblast

Sideboard

3 x Thorn of Amethyst
1 x Pyroblast
1 x Red Elemental Blast
2 x Tormod’s Crypt
2 x Relic of Progenitus
2 x Koth of the Hammer
3 x Ensnaring Bridge
1 x Manic Vandal

You may or may not already be familiar with this deck, so why post it?

Well, the main reason right now is that its most expensive card has suddenly become more affordable and will continue do drop in price. The culprit?

imperial recruiter judge

Yeah, they actually did it…

It was recently confirmed as being an upcoming Judge Rewards Promo. Meaning it might have some random 100$+ price tage upon release but that will go down as the market becomes flooded with them (the more judges will flip them). The original is currently sitting at 300$+ but might take a slight dip in the near future. Still, the Judge Promo will be the one to obtain for those of you looking to play with it instead of just collecting it.

The Recruiters are often associated with the Aluren deck and have been the main reason that we don’t see much of the deck in local Legacy tournaments. Historically the deck that has had the most success with the Recruiter is Painted Stone.

The deck derives its name from the 2 key combo cards:

1) Painter’s Servant: a seemingly harmless 1/3 artifact dude that never really made an impact when he was Standard Legal. Can be pretty insane if you follow it up with Iona, Shield of Emeria. Perhaps in a crazy reanimator Modern deck or something. It’s banned in Commander however, so it won’t be possible there.

Painter's Servant

2) Grindstone: a long-neglected old card.I personally used it in my old Bomberman deck, but it was mostly just to clown around. Basically never saw much play until the printing of Painter’s Servant. I find it quite cool that every time a new set is released in the past few years it seems to combo and breathe new life into older long-forgotten cards.

Grindstone

Natural Order > Progenitus

Natural Order Progenitus
Show and Tell, Sneak Attack > Emrakul

Show and TellSneak AttackEmrakul, the Aeons Torn
Dark Depths > Vampire Hexmage

Dark Depths Vampire Hexmage

and so on …

The Combo:

Basically it’s all about getting the 2 namesake artifacts in play and activating Grindstone to mill your opponent’s whole deck, since the 2 cards will always share a color. You might not want to pull the trigger right away if your opponent has open mana though. One Swords to Plowshares or destroy effect and the combo loses out. Obviously, it’s the Painter’s Servant you need to protect because once the Grindstone is activated, destroying it won’t do your opponent much good.

 

Swords to Plowshares

Still Legacy’s top removal spell.

To do this we name the color blue AS Painter’s Servant enters the battlefield. This is important since “as it enters the battlefield” effects cannot be responded to. We need to have either of the 6 copies of ‘Blast’ cards in our grip. Red Elemental Blast or Pyroblast will do the trick. Since we named blue with Painter’s Servant, we can pretty much now counter ANY spell for the small cost of 1 red mana.

 

Red Elemental Blast Pyroblast

Hmmm, maindeck counterspell hate…

What if they counter your Painter’s Servant?

Well, if you fear a counterspell, your best bet is to not cast it until you will have open red mana and Pyroblast/Red Elemental
Blast. Alternatively, you can pretend to not know how to play the deck and simply cast it with no open mana. This will confuse your opponents who will try to Force of Will it only to walk into a exiled Simic Spirit Guide from hand and a Blast.

 

Simian Spirit Guide 
 

This ‘hidden’ mana is sooo good in this deck. I cannot stress this enough. From accelerating us early on, to being the card you remove for Chrome Mox, to throwing off your opponent’s math. Sometimes you will have the combo in play with only 2 open mana up (usually an Ancient Tomb) and your opponent will tap out at end of turn to cast something. You then spring into action
by removing Simian Spirit Guide from your hand and activating the Grindstone for the win!

grindstone

 

 

It gains even more value against decks that play Daze. They will think they have countered you by bouncing an island back in their hand and then you will show them a little dose of red trickery.Daze, however is mostly played in Merfolk decks which are not as popular as they once were (much like this deck actually). Still, you never know…

 

 

daze

Woah!

Another card that offers the combo more resilience is our 1 copy of Goblin Welder. This little guy does so much when one of our pieces has been countered or destroyed. He allows us to scrap Great Furance or any one of our other actual artifacts and trade them in for our combo piece. Heck, he can retrieve both combo pieces from the graveyard with enough fodder. One word of warning though : read the updated Goblin Welder text as the 2 targets actually have to be fully exchanged in order for the effect to work. I believe at one point it was possible to target your Sensei’s Divining Top and another artifact to swap then activate the Top’s effect to draw and the Welder effect would still work.

.

goblin welder

He’s either wrecking or fixing things

With the current ruling, the reverse actions would be true:

Tap Sensei’s Divining Top to draw and in response switch it with a graveyard artifact via Welder. You would basically get the card draw and the switch. Not a bad trade off when you’re in a bit of a bind.

What’s with the rest of the cards?

If you have played Legacy for a while, you may have noticed that this deck is bolstered by some elements of the Dragon Stompy or Mono Red ‘Control’ decks. While these decks don’t control in the reactive sense via Counterspells and permanent destruction , they do pro-actively impede your opponent’s progress and often accelerate yours.

6 Moons

The deck contains 4 Blood Moon and 2 Magus of the Moon as ways of ‘mooning’ your opponent. No, not litterally mooning them. That would cause you to violate the DCI policy. You would effectively shut down their Legacy manabase. The typical configuration of one such mana base usually consists of 4-8 fetchlands about 2-5 basic lands ,a bunch of dual lands and utility lands (usually Wasteland).

 

badlandsbayouplateausavannah

taigatropical islandtundrascrubland

u seavolcanic island

                            Ahhhh, good old expensive dual lands!

If you managed to land a Turn 1 or 2 Moon you have pretty much color screwed the traditional Legacy decks. This is especially true of those with a high fethcland count as they will not be able to activate their fetches. Alternatively, their fetches will actually produce mana. The Blood Moon/Magus of the Moon aslo benefit you in the sense that they negate the 2-mana lands’ drawbacks. No more taking 2 damage from Ancient Tombs and no more sacrificing your City of Traitors when you play a land.It also protects your lands from Wastelands and shuts down so many utility lands that it would be too long to explain them all.

Just to name a few:  (Gaea’s Cradle, Serra’s Sanctum, Maze of Ith, etc)

The count is not 3/3 or even 4/2 in favor of the Magus of the Moons because the format does contain Swords to Plowshares and we opt to play more of the permanent that has a greater chance to stay in play. It can oftentimes happen that we draw too many and would prefer that at least if they were creatures we coudl attack with them, but that’s the opportunity cost.

 

Ancient Tomb/City of Traitors ?

ancient tomb  city of traitors

That’s some good acceleration!

The 2-mana lands of legacy with maybe perhaps the Mercadian Masques charge lands and Crystal Vein and the Fallen Empires Lands.These are your big boys! They get you that early Painter’s Servant and perhaps follow up with a turn 2 Grindstone plus activation for the win. It happens quite a bit and not many decks can really answer it that early.

Again, maybe turn 1 you can also drop a Chrome Mox for red mana and keep a Pyroblast in hand. ( God hand much?)

These have been the pillars of the Stompy-style decks that were popular circa. 2008-2010. Demon, Fairie, Dragon, Angel and Neo-Green Stompy. (I renamed the green one because the old Green stompy used to play things like R0gue Elephants and as little as 9 lands, so it’s really not the same).

 

rogue elephant

Probably not ‘rogue’ for its stealth

These decks had some key lock down elements that were common, namely:

Chalice of the VOID

chalice of the void

We be hatin’

Usually set to 1 and sometimes at 2, this thing could completely lock down a few decks or at least render them really less efficient. While it totally didn’t kill Storm decks, it was a good start. Does good against Elf deck in multiples First at 1 then at 2, a huuuuge portion of their deck now does nothing.

Trinisphere

trinisphere

Slowing things down since 2004

This can either be really good or utterly useless at times. Against the more traditional Legacy decks, it’s great. Beware the random metagame though! This will often be the first card you side out against a lot of the random players at your local game store.

Guess what though?
We don’t play these cards, but we can still use them to our advantage.

How?

Pretend we are Dragon Stompy

rakdos pit dragon

Rawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwr!

Think about it: you play an early 2 mana land, Chrome Mox and drop a Magus of the Moon/Blood Moon. What does your opponent think you’re playing? If they are well-versed in Legacy, they might consider Dragon Stompy to be a possibility. This is also due to the fact that Imperial Recruiters are harder to get a hold of.

Play as little of the non-Stompy cards as long as you can. Keep that Lightning Bolt or Sensei’s Divining Top in your grip unless you reaaally need to play it. I would advise the total opposite against the Mono-black Pox decks as they have a nasty habit of making you discard cards. Some creatures Like Phyrexian Metamorph or Phyrexian Revoker are very decent to play early on and not totally give away the deck. Jaya Balard is a judgment call, she’s not very common in the Stompy builds. Simian Spirit Guides as creatures can
also be OK here if you don’t need the acceleration and are playing against a less aggressive deck.

I have done this at a couple of card shops with decent results. Obviously it is more effective on Round 1 or if there is a high number of participants in the tournament so that people that have already finished their games don’t come over to scout yours.

Back to the lands.

They present us with great opening plays but punish us for playing them wrong. If you don’t need to play a 2-3 drop early on, don’t play Ancient Tombs as your first land. You may get punished by an opposing Wasteland early on, without having reaped the benefit of the Tomb. Instead, play that totally safe Mountain or Chrome Mox and pass the turn. If your hand is not epic, I find it OK to sometimes go Ancient Tomb> Sensei’s > top if you’re on the draw and you suspect your opponent is not likely to be playing Wasteland. This sets up a probable land drop for turn 2 ahead of time and allows us to play a 3-drop like Magus or Recruiters to start tutoring up.

City of Traitors is quite possibly the worst land you can play on turn 1 unless you are planning on 100% resolving a Moon. Also keep in mind that if you keep and uncracked fetch in play (pretty good if you have Sensei’s Divining Top ) and then fetch with the City in play, you won’t have to sac. it. It only looks for instances of you actually playing a land.

Lightning Bolt

lightning bolt

The on again/off again burn

Yes, that nice little Red boon! (Boons are the Alpha set’s 3-for-1’s).  Why would a combo deck play this? Well, as you can imagine, there are a few creatures out there that hamper our deck quite a bit.

Let’s examine them:

Qasali Pride Mage

He’s just mean! he’ll take down either combo piece and beat us down when he doesn’t need to. We can punish greedy players who play him on turn 2 without keeping the 1 mana to activate him, thinking we have no way of dealing with him.

Dark Confidant

While not directly killing our combo, the insane card advantage he can provide your opponent can very much deal with our combo if we don’t pull it off ASAP.

Goblin Lackey

Nasty things can happen if this connects on our opponent’s turn 2. We don’t want this to happen.

Kataki, War’s Wage

Out of the sideboard and into utterly owning our deck. We need him gone, fast.

Tidehollow Sculler

The machine gun Zombie deck is a blast to play and is gaining popularity. This guy can flat out take away a combo piece. We need that piece back!

.

.

.

and more!

Lightning Bolt also does what it used to do when Jund decks were fighting blue/white decks : It kills Jace the Mindsculptor. Don’t the blasts already do that?
Yes, but it never hurts to be extra sure in this case.

They also have the random utility of possibly killing our Ad Nauseam opponents if they go to 3 life or less after resolving Ad Nauseam. Maybe 6 or less if we have 2 bolts and Mountain + Simian Spirit Guide.
There is the almost never moment when you are actually stuck attacking with your dudes and would normally come up short damage-wise. This little red card seals the deal! This usually happens when you are attacking decks with Magus of the Moon and Simian Spirit Guides and they start to recover later in the game.

Imperial Recruiters

imperial recruiter

I wonder how much 350$ is in Yen …

 
These guys are pretty much there to fetch our Painter’s Servant and combo off. Also tutors up any other creature. I have found myself getting Kargan Dragon Lord a lot of times when the combo option is not in sight or has been put out of reach via hate cards.

Jaya Balard

jaya ballard

She has th best flavor text on older cards

incinerate ice agepyroclasm ice agemeteor shower

                                                                   Just a small sample

When you already have a Painter’s Servant in play, you can probably get another one if you fear its removal. Another option is to get this lovely lady and start destroying things. Annoying things. Sometimes these things can be basic lands to further make Blood Moon destructive.

Magus of the Moon

magus of the moon

Gotta love the lighting effects 

Some deck play almost no basics and sometimes literally none. Fetch this guy early on and you pretty much lock up the game.

Spellskite

spellskite

To think I was sad to get a foil one in my New Phyrexia box

Grab this guy when you need to protect either combo piece. Warning! Will not work versus Krosan Grip!

Goblin Welder

goblin welder

When the chips are down and you’ve lost it all, he’s your best bet.

Phyrexian Revoker

phyrexian revoker

Your tutorable Pithing Needle

Sometimes you might need to shut down Sensei’s Divining Top (versus Counterbalance/Top decks). He’s good for that. You don’t want to auto scoop to an assembled CounterTop. Other times he can name cards like Jace the Mindsculptor and Aether Vial.

Phyrexian Metamorph

phyrexian metamorph

The Legend Killer!

If you anticipate a Show and Tell style deck go get him and show him for when he shows you his Emrakul or other big dude. Preferably not Emrakul, because we probably don’t get to mill him out Game 1.

Alternatively, he can sub as a second copy of Grindstone or Painter’s Servant (whichever you feel needs to be backed). If you’re lucky you can maybe copy an opponent’s Top if he doesn’t respond to you casting this. The obvious advantage to this is that he can later go back on top of your deck and copy something else on top of giving you a card in hand.

Chrome Mox

chrome mox

Acceleration and sometimes fodder

As with the Stompy decks, this thing allows us to accelerate quite well. It becomes exceedingly bad in multiples (which is why we run three instead of four) but can still redeem itself by becoming Goblin Welder fodder. Unfortunately even when we make all cards blue, we still can’t imprint artifacts with it.
Sensei’s Divining Top

sensei's divining top

Just too good in every format it’s legal in

I don’t have to convince you that this is one awesome card. It’s a freaking 20$ dollar Uncommon that was found in a starter deck a few years back and is played in just about every Commander deck.

The really interesting thing about it in this deck is that it begins the ‘Dig’. The Dig consists of us topping and activating Grindstone on :

Ourselves?
Yes, that’s right! You can stop drawing irrelevant cards or not always see the same top 3 cards. Ideally you won’t want the first two cards to share a color. You can control this with the Top.

I know what you’re thinking…and No!

You won’t be screwing yourself over with Painter’s Servant, because if you already have the servant in play you’re winning, right? You know, because you’re milling your opponent with Grindstone.

Basically, you can go ahead and mill yourself with skill. Ideally, if you have something like Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon and land you have 2 options:

1) Re-arrange Blood Moon and land on top, overturn them and stop milling. Then setup your top for another ‘Dig’

It’s the safe way, but it’s slower.

2) Put the Magus and Blood Moon as the 2 first cards to mill then mill land an X? It’s not going to get past that because lands have no color. The bad thing that can happen is that Painter’s Servant is the X card. But this is less risky than it seems because the deck has 3 other ‘Painters‘ in the form of Imperial Recruiter! So, it ‘thins’ our deck of two more cards than option #1 with a small downside. You get to see 3 totally new cards with Sensei’s Divining Top and continue to ‘Dig’ for the Painter’s Servant.

You also probably never want to draw with the Top at any point in this process as you will probably end up milling it, something to keep in mind.

the dig

                                                                        Commence digging !

Let’s go ahead and jump to our sideboard, shall we?

Sideboard

3 x Thorn of Amethyst

thorn of amethyst

Slows down the Storm

We want to hate out the other combo decks and a Thorn on turn 1 is a great start. A Trinisphere is too debilitating to us if we plan to combo early, but a thorn is a little less painful for us and more to them.

3 x Ensnaring Bridge

ensnaring bridge

Not even the mighty Emrakul will be attacking

So your opponent has an Emrakul and you will need to remove his graveyard once you combo mill him with the Eldrazi ability on the stack? What if he can get to just cast or cheat Emrakul in play? That’s riiiight! You probably won’t have 15 cards in hand for Emrakul to attack and you can dump your hand pretty well against small creatures as well.

Stare down opposing hordes knowing you’re almost perfectly safe behind the Bridge. Careful though, this is one card you probably want to cast in multiples. Don’t keep one in your hand just in case. Unless of course he’s not attacking with much and he has a ‘Shatterstorm‘ style effect or ‘Pernicious Deed/Maelstrom Pulse‘.

Also: Some people also play Ulamog.

If it’s Krosan Grip you’re afraid of however, I urge you to play that second Bridge.

2 x Relic of Progenitus/ 2 xTormod’s Crypt

relic of progenitus  tormod's crypt

So much hate!

I would even maybe recommend diversifying further with a Nihil Spellbomb over one of the 2 or just cutting something for the Spellbomb, since people can Pithing Needle these and will probably least expect the Nihil Spellbomb.

nihil spellbomb

Not going to be drawing anything though…

These are obviously there for when your opponent has the big Eldrazis or to a lesser improbable extent: Gaea’s Blessing! The full mill resolves with all the ‘reshuffle your graveyard back into your deck’ on the stack and then ‘POOF!‘ you take care of that whole nasty reshuffling business.
You will probably want to side these in against decks like Lands, Reanimator, Dredge,etc. Just sayin’!

Manic Vandal

manic vandal

Vandal Smash!

Post-sideboard, this guy can be huge if your opponent is trying to sneak stuff like Pithing Needle or Null Rod in play to shut down the combo. You probably want him in against decks that play Umezawa’s Jitte since it can potentially also kill you Servants over and over. He’s also pretty good in the ‘almost never seen mirror match’.
2 x Koth of the Hammer

koth of the hammer

What? How did he make it in here?
This is basically for when everything does not go as planned, probably versus decks that can control our whole combo or pack infinite hate against it. Decks that usually pack few creatures to attack Koth with.

He needs the Moons to stay in play and can be protected by Ensnaring Bridge. Hit ultimate and you’re golden, or maybe just kill him with 4/4 Mountains before that.

Potentially can be cast on turn 2-3 (1 is a little too demanding but possible). Make sure you have an actual mountain or Moon effect up, otherwise he’s not doing much of anything.

Gatecrash Preview: Duskmantle Guildmage

duskmantle guildmageI guess this is the reason Jace, Memory Adept is selling out

So here we are with a nice little guildmage. As soon as it was spoiled, people saw the combo with Jace, Memory Adept and Mindcrank. He is also a nice little card in limited but obviously less combo-licious. ‘Grizzly Bears’ almost always make the cut in most limited decks when possible.

The first ability can be used with removal that can kill multiple targets or discard more than one card like Rakdos’ Return. That’s probably not going to be the goal with this card however. It’s pretty cool to see people so excited for a guildmage preview card as I don’t believe that ever happened in the Return to Ravnica previews.

Will the combo make Rest in Peace a must have sideboard card? or maybe Witchbane Orb? Perhaps…

 

Gatecrash Preview: Consuming Aberration

consuming abberation

 

A ‘goyf’ type creature that provides aggressive mill.

Here we have a variant on the whole Lhurgoyf theme (Tarmogoyf, Mortivore,etc.) Five mana is a little steep though, but it is somewhat more self-sufficient than the rest of its family. This thing is definitely a bomby draft/sealed card. It doesn’t target a specific player ad it gets pretty nuts in multiplayer as well.

Even better if you choose to go Dimir in your local pre-release as you get it in your guild pack. You are even encouraged to not play random cards like a newbie as well. Every card you keep in hand before this hits the table will just give you more value, so play conservatively!

G/W Mayor

by Zac Clark

Around 5pm I’m walking down my stairs to check the mail one last time. I’ve got some cards coming in the mail that I need for decks tonight. Curses! Foiled again.

I meet my Jersey pal Paul coming up the stairs. We spent most of yesterday deck-teching RDW’s and GW Aggro. It was an intense day of testing and at times frustrating. Paul and I differ in opinions on cards often. I have to remember that he’s not dealt with the meta over the last 2 months. I’m excited to see him back in the game.

RDWs matches his play style so we built a deck with some fun secret tech. The GW Aggro deck I’m playing is much the same as the one my buddy Matt Jones has been talking up. I’m super ready to play a beat down deck. After weeks of trying to build a rogue deck to match well versus the meta it’s time to play with Rancors and Silverblade Paladins.

Rancor Silverblade Paladin

Thinking is for IDIOTS! Haha!

GW Aggro Mayor

 

4 Cavern of Souls
6 Plains
2 Gavony Township
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Forest
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden

22 lands

4 Knight of Glory
3 Sublime Archangel
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Mayor of Avabruck
3 Doomed Traveler
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Silverblade Paladin
3 Dryad Militant

28 creatures

1 Selesnya Charm
3 Faith’s Shield
2 Oblivion Ring
4 Rancor

10 other spells

Sideboard
1 Faith’s Shield
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Fiend Hunter
2 Elite Inquisitor
3 Selesnya Charm
2 Purify the Grave
2 Erase
1 Dryad Militant

15 sideboard cards

One last thing before we leave… I switch to my vintage MATT JONES T-Shirt to channel the Obliterator himself. I’ve been listening to Manowar and Rancid’s black album (2000) all day. I AM THE BEATDOWN.

Still a blue mage at heart though, I tell Paul to not tell anyone about my deck choice on the train and that before the tourney I’m testing American Control. I’ve removed the Niv-Mizzet and added Chandras. As I expected, that’s enough to get some heads turning. “What is that card in your hand?” Kadar Brock (local at my LGS) exclaims.

“Justice League of AMERICA!” I laugh as Paul crushes me with his RDW. I play the store’s other Zach in a couple of games of Modern. The only deck I have is Fish. Modern at the Twenty Sided Store is funny because so few of us have decks that I’m a factor in the metagame. I haven’t even been able to play a Modern tourney yet. Still, I enjoy the format and really look forward to playing some soon. Zach rocks Living End. Both decks are kind of hilarious… I cast a bunch of Merfolk lords that all pump each other. Zach cascades to Living End and all these cycled creatures switch from the graveyard to play. We trade games back and forth, basically whoever goes first wins.

“STANDARD PLAYERS! PAIRING FOR ROUND ONE NOW IN THE BACK!”

Here goes nothin.  It’s a full house and space is as tight as the play here.

???

My round one opponent got severely mana-screwed and asked me privately to not mention him in my report.

Suffice it to say I won this match without any opposition. I respect the wishes of this player and although I’m sort of bummed I can’t talk about the match, I’m totally ok with being asked to keep a match off the record. Slightly bummed though, because I was looking forward to talking this cat up. In GP Philly we spent some time between rounds testing our decks and those games he pointed out a play flaw that I used to win in the next round.

That said, even though I like winning, mana-screwed opponents (especially one who I like to play against/consider a classic foil) is one of the worst and most awkward ways to win. I never know what to say. “I’m sorry” seems like I’m being a jerk. It’s shitty for everyone involved. Now if this was some big time tourney or even something with a Top 8 at 20ss I’d be a little happier. I’m slightly somber though as my first run with this deck was null. I have no idea how it really does versus his deck.

Result:

1-0 match 2-0 games

HT Bant Control

I had some time between rounds to scout and to grab a coffee. Right next to my round one, I watch a furious match up between a GW Midrange and a Bant Control deck.

I felt pretty good about my macthup versus control but that Mid Range deck scared the BeJESUS outta me. I wondered who won the match as pairings for round two told me the answer: HT was piloting the Bant list.

The games where tight as I took game one on the back of two Faith’s Shield to stop his tempo plays (Azorious Charm) on my Silverblade Paladin.

The second game got dicey as I got him low then he cast a Thragtusk. Thankfully the next turn I drew a Selesnya Charm to give my double striker Trample and +2/+2, thus sealing HT’s fate. After the game HT was all smiles though. He was telling me how tough FNM was last week. He mentionned that he’d just spent the $400 to complete this Bant deck only to 0-4 with it last week. My heart sank… I know that feeling (F^&% you, American Control!). My advice was to play it a lot and learn the match-ups. Often times piloting the same deck over and over will teach you how to win against the other decks. I’d rather be a good player with a deck that’s a little under on win percentage than a terrible one with the top deck.

Bant is a solid deck and I think it has the interaction that stand to see it as an archetype long into the block. Sphinx’s Revelation goes a long way into this.

Results:

2-0 match 4-0 games

Richard Tan – JUND

Richard and I know each other from being at the shop all the time, but this is a first for us. I’m living high on the Aggro Wagon. Also my low curve and only running two colors means last week’s getting severely mana-screwed 5 games in a row isn’t happening. Things are looking good for me. I’m ready for some hardcore GW aggro on JUND midrange action!

Richard mulls to six. I groan. I like my hand, but I really am sick of my opponents getting manas-crewed. He keeps. I rushed out Champion… he killed it with Pillar then I played a Knight of Glory and followed with a Silverblade… once again Faith’s Shield saved the day as I got in with my dudes and avoided removal.

Faith's Shield

Game two RT mulled to 4. I want to cry, now. He keeps a hand with no land… and ironically almost stabilized vs. me via Huntmaster and Pillar. If that would have happened, I think I’d have lost my mind.

We play a third game for the hell of it and he takes it.

Results:

3-0 match 6-0 games

I look over at Paul he’s 0-2 playing Tim A. They’re on game three. I decide to walk over and see how it looks. Paul’s had a rough day. 1-2 vs. Tony Loman then Jordan Morgan got him in the second. Now I look at Tim’s hand and life. 6 cards 6 life. Supreme Verdict, Land, Sphinx’s Revelation, Sphinx’s Revelation, Tamiyo, Azorious Charm.

Paul’s in for a rude, rude awakening. Tim wipes the board clean, Paul responds by frowning. Paul TOP DECKS… nothing of interest… Tim plays land and Tamiyo. Over the next few turns he Revelations into Revelations (DIRTY!) and Ultimates Tamiyo. I think Paul, had a slight aneurysm when Tim cast Revelations and put it back in his hand. We all shake our heads. Paul eventually scoops. Everyone has a good laugh, including Paul. Tim compliments him on his Archwing Dragon tech, which won him the second game… his deck had few answers for it.

Nick Heppding – CraterRamp (Hoof there it is!)

Looking at the pairings I was relieved to see I’d be playing Nick. It’s been a bit since we faced each other in Standard. (See epic rage quits.) Seriously though, if I had to be on the other side of the table from anyone, I’d like to face a friend in the finals. Especially one that needs the store points as much as I do.

“So I’m gonna need those Deathrite Shamans back now,” I jest

“Ha, split packs, play for points?”

“Seems like a plan.”

I have no idea how his deck works… I could have watched the games he played to see but I was busy chatting and stuff. Game one he goes to 1 life. Rushes out a Craterhoof Behemoth with the help of mana dorks and swings with Lingering Souls tokens and Behemoth for lethal… I am Jack’s total lack of big butt blockers.

Game two looks the same.

I have him the next turn and Whoops! the ground rumbles and I’m dead! Ok now, I know how the deck works. Looked like there was a reanimator package too but he didn’t need it. Theses were fast games. I think I spent more time shuffling and waiting for my opponent to decide to keep/mull tonight than actually play.

THAT’S MY STYLE OF MAGIC!

I play the game fast and put my opponent on the “Are you finished yet? I’d like to attack all out again!” plan. Pretty effective. The deck likely has trouble against midrange but Sublime Archangel and Faith’s Shield have things to say about that.

Final Results

3-1 match 6-2 games

There won’t be a TNM report from me next week. I’ll be going to Lisbon to play in GP Lisbon.

Why?

Well Magic in the USA has just become too much of a scene, bro. I need to see what’s up with these huge Euro GPs. Seriously though, a friend and I are running all around Southern Europe and playing/eating/drinking/being otherwise solid representatives of a nation that could use a little international polish.

If you tune into my other Twitter Feed @Rockertycoon, all the non-magic stuff with be there. I’ll switch over to @HotcBlog on Fri/Sat/Sun for Event coverage and fun pictures. I may have enough down time to post some thoughts and what have you. I’ll be back in time for Early Friday Draft at 20ss. Expect some great stories and maybe I’ll even take down the whole damn Grand Prix like a boss.

Until Then,

If you can’t beat them, build a rogue deck that does!

Izzet Ingenuity

by Jackson Haime

I don’t know about everyone, but I have personally been noticing a disturbing trend along within Magic. No, I’m not talking about the fact that Craterhoof Behemoth has gotten his time in the spotlight. Nor am I talking about the fact that with the combination of Thragtusk and Da Hoof, I have to splash green or just pour my tournament entry fees down the drain.

I’m talking about how damn expensive it is getting to beat the cards in each block as they come along.

Let’s take a count shall we?

The Bant Control deck that was run by Jacob Thiessen at the Starcitygames Standard open ran 9 creatures.

3 Angel of Serenity

2 Snapcaster Mage

4 Thragtusk

Each of those creatures is within the 23.00- 23.99 dollar range. At lowest that is going to run you 207$ of cold hard cash to just fill up the creature slots. That’s a hefty price to pay for less than 1/6th of a full deck. I digress, let’s look further into the list.

1 Garruk, Primal Hunter

4 Jace, Architect of Thought

Alright, so 5 planeswalkers in a single deck. Garruk isn’t much of a price hog, (At only 9.50) meanwhile you are dropping 35-40 on a single Jace. Four of our little Architect is going to run you a cool 152$. 161 if you count Garruk.

Take note kids: we are paying 368$ for this deck so far. It’s not about to get cheaper any time soon. Onto one of the cheapest parts of Magic: the land! That’s how it works right? You can pick up 200 forests for 10$.

1 Cavern of Souls: 19.50$

Oh.

4 Hinterland Harbor: 40.00$

Wait… my wallet is already empty!

4 Hallowed Fountains: 62$

4 Temple Gardens: 60$

Total price for the land (Not counting the ones that cost 5$ or less): 181.50$

We are currently at 549$

Luckily, Jacob didn’t have a huge taste for expensive spells and is only going to cost us 105$ for all of the instants and sorceries. Just in case everyone has the money to buy a brand new booster box on hand.

654$ For the deck. That’s not even counting the sideboard, which will set you back: 188$ Meaning a total of 842$ for the entire deck, sideboard and all. That is only counting the more expensive cards. Seeing as you can buy 10,000 magic cards for less than that. [Link]http://www.ebay.com/itm/HUGE-MAGIC-GATHERING-LOT-OVER-10-000-CARDS-YARD-SALE-FIND-LOOK-/170937928758?pt=Trading_Card_Games_US&hash=item27ccb1cc36 [/link] (I wasn’t joking) I am starting to feel like decks are becoming a little expensive to play for the “average joe”.

Sure, I could copy a net deck and clean house at Friday Night Magic. Then again, I don’t think my girlfriend wants me to blow anymore pay cheques on Magic cards.

What can we, the common Planeswalkers do against this sort of cash having? Surely not everyone can buy their way into victory? Well, I welcome you all to the Izzet guild.

It’s time for some Izzet Ingenuity.

Lands:

10 Mountains

10 Islands

Creatures:

4 Goblin Electromancer

1 Nivmagus Elemental

1 Nivix Guildmage

1 Niv-Mizzet Dracogenius

2 Mercurial Chemister

1 Charmbreaker Devils

1 Talrand, Sky Summoner

1 Guttersnipe

Spells:

2 Dual Casting

3 Brimstone Volley

2 Teleportal

2 Reforge the Soul

2 Izzet Charm

4 Index

3 Thunderous Wrath

2 Mizzium Mortars

2 Cyclonic Rift

2 Talrand’s Invocation

1 Devastation Tide

2 Spelltwine

1 Epic Experiment

Okay, so this isn’t exactly the most conventional decklist that one expects to see in Standard play. In fact, I can confidently say that I have never played against anything close to this deck, but hell, it works. It just isn’t the easiest boy to steer.

Part 1: Take notes.

I’m not kidding when I say this, take notes. Or get really good at keeping numbers in your head, because this deck counts on being able to predict when a miracle is coming and not spoil it.

Take for example, Thunderous Wrath.

Thunderous Wrath

It dishes out 5 damage for 6 mana. Sure it can counter the Thragtusk life-gain, but for more mana than it took them to PLAY the Thragtusk. The opponent just got mana advantage and a 5/3 creature. Even if you are going first, hard casting this spell means that you are going to be a sitting duck while Thragtusk can take a swing at you. (Either this or you are going to be facing down a 3/3 and an opponent with more life.)

The other way to play this? Use your Index and keep notes. If you play an Index you should know exactly when you can smash the opponent with a “miracle” that you saw coming from 5 cards away. If you’re paying 1 mana for the sake of slashing the opponent’s life total down by 5, you just showed Lightning Bolt that thunder can beat it.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a lot of card draw in this deck  as well as a lot of discarding. Between the Mercurial Chemister’s 2 draw, Niv-Mizzet’s free cards, Reforge the Soul, and the cute little Nivix Guildmage. You are bound to spoil a miracle aren’t you?

Not if you don’t keep track of those cards you won’t.

Let’s say a Thunderous Wrath is within the 5 cards you index and you place it 3rd. This turn you have to make sure that you aren’t going to spoil that miracle. You can use effects to draw up to 2 cards, but no more unless you want to spoil the surprise. The way that you win with this deck is by knowing that the miracles are coming. In fact, you win by not making them miracles at all, they are all just part of the grand plan that is the Izzet mind.

** A special note about the Devastation Tide.

In this deck there are actually 3 in my personal sideboard (I didn’t include this as it is simply made of cards that I happen to own.) They aren’t the best cards out there, but do include cards such as Cyclonic Rift’s that can shatter the opponent’s field and not your own. That being said, unless it is terribly late game and you have the biggest creatures your deck can muster out there, this deck doesn’t exactly use many permanents. Kicking everything that an aggressive deck is throwing at you back to their hand is often worth the cost in this deck, and dropping it against an army of tokens is simply hilarious.

Part 2: Why am I paying?

One of my favourite parts about this deck is that I never seem to be paying as much as my opponent in any given Arcane Melee. Of course, a great amount of this comes from the Goblin Electromancers that are in this deck.

Goblin Electromancer

Only having to pay 5 for an overloaded Devastation Tide can make it a game changer way earlier than it should be. That isn’t the only way that this deck avoids paying the costs that your opponents will have to. We already spoke about the fact that you are going to know when miracles are coming, and that you should be able to whip out your biggest spells without having to pay the biggest costs, but there are three ways of saving left:

1. The Epic Experiment:

Epic Experiment

Sure, this card is a gamble, I know.

I have both won and basically lost a match by whipping this thing out in order to bring down heavy hitters. That being said, with the combination of Goblin Electromancers and knowing what is coming (hopefully) most of the time, you should be able to destroy an opponent with a turn 6 Epic Experiment that allows you to play anything in your deck.

Turning up three Thunderous Wraths and rocking the opponent for 15?

Thunderous Wrath Thunderous Wrath Thunderous Wrath

Yes please!

Being able to combo that Brimstone Volley with the one in your hand?

Sure.

Emptying your hand and dropping a reforge the soul for free?

Gladly.

There is only one of this card in the deck because in a deck based around drawing you should be able to find it.Also, comboing Epic Experiment into itself is a really stupid idea. (X = 0)

2. I’ll take that back please

There are two things in this deck that allow you to snatch your powerful cards back from the graveyard and hit the opponent again.:

The most prominent of these is the Spelltwine, which allows you to raid you and your opponent’s graveyards. Whether that involves stealing a mana-ramp decks’ Farseek , or adding more burn spells to the might of your own to finish off a longer game.

The more chaotic of the two grave-saves is the Charmbreaker Devils.

At the beginning of each one of your upkeeps you can make your opponent grab one of the cards that hit them earlier in the round and hand it right back to you.

Almost more fun than it is useful, but a Thunderous Wrath at that point in the game is a way to end it.

3. Dual cast EVERYTHING:

This one is of course more obvious than the rest, but only having to pay a single Red mana to whip out a burn spell a second time is a game changer (especially for Miracles).

Dual Casting

Alright, I am going to be honest, this deck could use some improving for those who are willing to drop a decent amount of money.It is more of a budget deck. The point of a budget deck is notto make it so that you replace the Snapcaster Mage, but making sure that you build a deck that doesn’t NEED him. The Izzet guild might be improved with him on their side, but they are doing fine on their own.

All for less than one tenth of the price!