Dark Design

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Rise Against The Eldrazi

Here's a decent biudget deck from regular contributor Max Fan...

At my local shop, we play Standard on Tuesdays. There are now four players who play the Eldrazi ramp deck, and another who might. That's a ton of copies of All is Dust floating around the room. I've been working with a friend on a deck to take advantage of this. So far, this is looking promising. Not an excellent matchup, but not rolling over dead, either.

The Eldrazi ramp deck doesn't really do much except set up its mana for the first couple of turns, so you need to come out aggressively, but not overextend to getting Dusted. The Spikeshot Elder is a good quick creature with an ability that gets very good if you have a way to increase his power. Lightning Bolt can pick off Sol Ring Elf, Joraga Treespeaker for those who don't know. The mana ramp here can get you to the point of doing things their deck doesn't have good answers for like playing your own big colorless creatures.

The big colorless creatures are a nod to All is Dust. In another meta, might consider Avenger of Zendikar, Gaea's Revenge, or even Hellkite Charger + Bear Umbra.

Very little instant removal is being played, so Shiv's Embrace on a Spikeshot Elder tends to be highly effective. Comet Storm can be used to keep creature decks in check. Five or six to everything plus your opponent early because of mana ramp can be awesome. Also a great finisher, which is the big thing needed against the Eldrazi ramp decks.

Oracle of Mul Daya is just one of the best mana accelerants that doesn't cost a small fortune to aquire.  Getting one Turn 3 is often the precursor to game over.

There are Tunnel Ignus in the sideboard, but I haven't noticed it making much difference in games this deck wasn't already going to win. Speaking of, some sideboard options might include Ratchet Bomb, Pyroclasm and Obstinate Baloth if aggro is big; and Gaea's Revenge, and Avenger of Zendikar against control.

A possible innovation is playing Traitorous Instict with Teetering Peaks to fetch off a stolen Primeval Titan. Beating them for 12 just for playing a dude seems good. Reverberate also lists as a card that could make the cut, copying your opponents' Cultivate, Growth Spasm, or even Summoning Trap is good, or simply double your own spells. Two Lightning Bolts is always better than one.

Creatures (22)

Other Spells (14)

Lands (24)
5 x Forest
7 x Mountain
4 x Copperline Gorge
4 x Raging Ravine
4 x Rootbound Crag

On an unrelated note: Have you been paying attention to the creature types of spoiled Mirrodin Besieged cards? Might want to get some Knight Exemplars now, just a heads up. It might end up going nowhere, or Knights might become a real deck in Standard. (I Couldn't Agrree More...G.V...)

Max Fan.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Ok the world is changing, It's that time of year when the meta shifts and the $100 card become $50 cards and the $1.5 cards become $50 cards....

If I could tell the future I'd be a rich man, but whilst I ain't no prophet, I reckon a can spot a trend...

There are two loop holes coming and now is the time to abuse them... Firstly black and more importantly blue/black control got all it's Christmases at once... With Go for the Throat, Black Sun's Zenith and Massacre Wurrm turning an already strong deck into a powerhouse, there's a chance here to get your self some power cards without spending a fortune... And don't forget to stock up on Inkmoth Nexus, Phyrexian Revokers and  Green Suns Zeniths too...

But I suspect the sneaky trick card you might want to get your hands on right now is Glissa The Traitor. Glissa is one of the most over powered card I have ever seen... In a world where the most effective removal wont touch artifacts and you can tutor and put into play green creatures at will, she is frankly mental...

A 3/3 for 3 is fair enough as it is, but give it death touch and I'm interested, but give it first strike and I love it... I'd have considered it powerful here, but there are not one, but two bonuses to come... Firstly the insane artifact recursion is just staggering and we're not done yet... Firstly its green and it's black so you get the best of ramp and removal but the best bit it's green and this means you can use the Green Sun Zenith to put it straight into play without having to worry about the black colour bar and if that wasn't enough it also means you can .get it out of the graveyard with ease...

I spent the latter part of Saturday getting my hands on a play set and I immediately set to work building around her... (Which is my second Glissa deck, the first I made before i'd even seen the card...)

Laides and Gentlemen i give you


We've had control for ages but this ones new this one is Green Black control and it's going to be nasty, really really really nasty....

You will need...

3 Everflowing chalice
3 Throne of Geth
4 Necropede
4 Green Sun's Zenith
3 Mortar Pod
2 Black Sun's zenith
4 Core prowler
3 Contagion clasp
2 Grim discovery
1. Preators council
1 Glissa the Traitor
1 Putrefax
1 Fangren Mrauder.
1 Phyrexian Hydra
4 Horizon Spellbomb
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Tectonic Edge
4 Inkmoth Nexus
5 Swamps
6 Forests

Ok this one is slick, mean, black and green...

So what does it do? Well the key to the deck is glissa, 'but there's only one' I hear you say... and indeed there is, but that's fine because there are 4  ways to find her so effectively that's actually 5 Glissas in the deck...

Ok then we 've got her, so what does she do?   

Well  she gets back the boomsticks... Boomsticks? Yep this deck is designed to do two things.

1. Chew gum and...
2. Kick Ass... and you'll note that this deck is all out of gum...

Turn one.... Drop a spell bomb, relax and take in the view....and pass the buck (you can recur these later so if you donlt need mana help feel free to sac them to the throne...(chose your moment though... an untapped throne can be a safety net)
Turn two... drop a chalice or a necropede...
Turn three...  drop a chalice, if you haven't already, play the throne and swing with the pede... if you get through great if you don't sac it to the throne and put the chalice up and a counter on the biggest threat.
Turn four... In a perfect world you've got a chalice on 2, a throne of geth in play, a zenith in hand (and/or a Glissa )and you're facing an opponent with a critter with a counter on it...(or a poison counter...) So what to do? Well... if you can, get Glissa in play and then use all the the resources you have at your disposal to get rid of the critter  with the counter - maybe drop a clasp and Finnish it off? or sac the throne? to proliferate it if you can use lay a clasp then great as soon as the enemy dies get the necropede back...

The idea is to not let anything survive more than a couple of turns and in the process keep recurring the tools of the trade.

So nothing's sticking, great now how do I win?

The end game is simple... you have loads of options... Either use a green sun's zennith to get putrefax and swing when they are most vunerable.... or you can just keep recuiing necropedes and or core prowlers to the mortar pod to get the first poison damage... and then ramp it up with the thrones and the clasps... 

some neat tricks..

1. Your opponent has 3 x 2/2  knights on the field.... you have a chalice on one, a  Glissa, a core prowler, a throne of geth and a mortar pod on the field and 4 untapped lands....

So you play black sun's zenith... for one point.... giving every thing a -1 counter....then equip a core prowler with the mortar pod and sac it to give you opponent a poison counter.

As he dies, you proliferate the poison counter up (chalice goes to 2) and 1 of the knights to death instantly recurring the core prowler with glissa's ability...

This time you can sac the Throne of Geth to itself giving your opponent another poison counter (both your opponent and your Chalice go to 3 )and killimg another knight and instantly getting the throne back.... now you can use the chalice to replay the throne and instantly re sac it to its self.. getting your opponent and your chalice to 4.

All you need for a win next turn is a Green Sun's Zenith...to get a putefax... replaying the coreprowler all you need to do is reequip it to the mortarpod and let it die again then, when you swing with the putrefax even if you opponent blocks you can recur the core prowler... Or you can pretty much do the same thing you did the last turn....

So let's recap...

That's a decent board position and in one turn you've wiped out a an army of knights ramped to an extra 4 mana and your opponent is half way to a game loss...

More tricks... Glissa - throne - play clasp - give a goblin guide a -1 sac clasp to the throne, give it another -1 when it dies get the clasp back - rinse and repeat...

In Trouble? Go get the Gimp... If aggro has taken its toll and you find yourself in need of life...Go get the Fangren Marauder... With the amount of sacrificing and recuring of artifacts this deck s capable of, you're going to live forever...

Of course you can also just swing in with the Inkmoths... and start the game from here...  Use the Grim Dicoverires to get your inkmoths and glissa's back.... Eventually  you'll get the preators council and the biggest hand you've ever seen...

For the sideboard you'll want the pistus strike... There's a sphinx coming and in addition to that you'll need a way to get those pesky inkmoths out of the sky... Also why not go for the old inquistion and duress cause game two memoricide is going to hurt...

Remember this strategy is to keep everything of the field...Use the tutors to get the threats and swing swing swing... use Glissa to hit walkers and the rest of the gang to get that infect damage up... V's aggro remember you can recur creatures so don't be afraid to let them them die and an early green Zenith should get you a 7/7 hydra that will soon stop the swinging...

The throne of Geth will keep your artifacts safe as well as helping you get the poison damage up. As you can easily recur artifacts as soon as an opponent tries to destroy or exile one, simply sac it to the throne..

 Iif your finding it hard to table Gliass here;s a revised list...We lose the hydra and putrefax but it does make the list more concise..

3 x cultivate
3 x contagion clasp
3 x throne of geth
4 x necropede
3 x core prowler
3 x Black sun's Zenith
2 x glissa, the traitor
3 x green sun's zenith
1 x fangren marauder
3 x grim discovery
3 x mortarpod
3 x everflowing chalice
3 x silverskin armor
4 x inkmoth nexus
4 x verdant catacombs
4 x tectonic edge
6 x swamp
5 x forest

My Parents went to Mirrodin and all they got me was this lousy Colossus

 So here's a thing.... Literally within seconds of the announcement of Blightsteel Colossus there were versions of this deck under discussion... and the ones I saw were getting pricier and riskier all the time... We looked a little at Polymorph earlier in my Crirtcal Mass deck and we know how risky setting up an 'all or nothing win' can be... Firstly you need to find all the bits to make it happen AND then you need to make sure you get them on the table AND then you need to be able to 'polymorph' without interuption AND finally you need to be able to swing unhindered with your silver bullet AND somehow survive long enougnh to let all this happen... Fragile? Oh I think that's fair to say...

So how can you make it less fragile?

Well for one thing you could give the deck more than one way to win...

So how can we make it cheaper?

Well with more than 4 'polymorphs' and more than 4 targets you don't need to add 'Jace the dollar Burner' to dig and search...

So how does it work?

Well we'll show you it first...

Ladies and Gentleman this is my new deck... I call it...

'My Parents went to Mirrodin and all they got me was this lousy Colossus' ...
because you do need at least one of those expensive cards...

You will need...

3 x shape anew
3 x mass polymorph
3 x precursor golem
4 x negate
4 x Not Of this World 

4 x master's call
1 x brightsteel collosus
4 x See Beyond

4 x mana leak
3 x preordain
1 x Emrakul, the aeons torn http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=193452

4 x seachrome coast
4 x inkmoth nexus
4 x celestial colonnade
4 x misty rainforest
6 x island
3 x tectonic edge

Ok the principle is very simple... It has a ton of disruption and trades few targets for many in the polymorph / shape anew stakes...

The very worst that will happen if you shape anew an inkmoth is you'll hit a Precursor golem.. and get 3 of them... of  course you could just play a precursor golem and then shape anew that... turning 3 golems (because shape anew targets each copy ) into 6 golems and a Blightsteel Colossus.

The same thing will happen with the polymorph (except you might hit an Emrakul too) so you really have 6 shape anews in the deck...

What makes this deck a bit unique is that if all else failed you can just play the threats and with double the targets and double the polymorphs you don't need a $100 mndsculptors which you would then have to defend...

So you have 8 main deck counters and some scry and some disruption.. and the best bit is the Vader tech from Control This! Not of this World. is the perfect way to keep your fatties on the table...

Monday, 31 January 2011

News from the next world

Well it was prerelease weekend and as I suspected Phyrexia dominated our event at least... I'll do a full report on the blog later in the week, but I thought I'd share my initial thoughts....

The first thing that struck me was that infect is going to be massive.... I was on the recieving end of a lot of fat infectors and I can tell you it's a world appart when they are all swinging for 5/6/7 damage a turn.... No need for the pump spells anymore, one hit from an infected fattie and two turns on a contagion engine and there isn't much you can do... I'm going to get crafting a new aggro infect deck shortly, because I think the future for Mirrodin and the current Meta is on decidedly shakey ground....

Full report coming soon...