Deck spotlight: Marunga’s Kozilek 2

kozilek banner

In every meta there has to be an apex predator, and currently in my meta, I’m sad to say it’s not one of my own creations. It is clearly my friend’s Kozilek, the Great Distortion deck, and boy is it scary!

Because he’s been kicking the ass of most decks in the meta, I wanted to feature it on here. A link to the list: Marungas’ Kozilek deck (link to TappedOut.net).


What does the deck do? How does it win?kozilekthegreatdistortion
The deck works very well with a, mana only, starting hand. Ex. Ancient Tomb, Sol Ring, Thran Dynamo, Eldrazi Temple and some Wastes. Once you cast your commander you will refill your entire hand and have a threat on the board, ten or more mana and the ability to counter almost half of the spells your opponent will use to remove Kozilek.
The deck usually wins through commander damage but if that fails, there are a lot of heavy hitters in the deck that can take his place. The key is simply to cast Kozilek at least once.
The worst possible scenario is when you emptied your entire hand, and waiting to untap, and tap for ten, only to see an overloaded Vandalblast. Being thrown back on four or mayby five mana with one card in hand and no cheap card advantage is devastating for a deck like this.
If you ever played with Kozilek, Butcher of Truth as your commander, this deck will work quite the same. Play mana-stones -> play Kozilek, refill and repeat. Once the deck starts running like this it’s simply overwhelming for a single opponent and you will most likley win unless the entire table turns against you.

What made you build this deck?
I bought Kozilek, the Great Distortion just to have it in my card-pool but since I have played a Karn-deck before I had almost all the cards needed to build a colourless Kozilek-deck. And just by looking at it I realized he does two things colourless decks usually struggle with, card advantage and contolling the stack.

Did you consider any other commander in the available (lack of) colours?
Maybe Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger but even if “exile two permanents” and Indestructible are strong abilities, he will be the only thing you got left once he hits the board. You might have exiled two threats or some realy annoying permanent but you probably won’t have any cards left in hand and he will die to a Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile leaving you with nothing left.
Kozilek can be played more aggressive and he won’t leave you empty-handed ( <-nice ) after his departure.

solring.fullWhat are the best cards in the deck?
Sol Ring, “Sol”-lands, Thran Dynamo, Thought Vessel and Urza’s Incubator. Realy, any cards that help you kast Kozilek as soon as possible.
For the longer games, cards like, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and All is Dust are realy strong, both defensive and aggressive since they are one-sided wrath-effects that ignores indestructible.
Staff of Nin, Conduit of Ruin and Endbringer will help you get back on your feet after after a Vandalblast or Austere Command resolves.
For the deck’s own threats, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Oblivion Sower, Wurmcoil Engine and Artisan of Kozilek really puts you in a good position but none are as devastating for an opponent as Kozilek himself.

Any changes you’re looking to make?predator,flagship.hq
Loxodon Warhammer and Darksteel Plate will probably be leaving this deck quite soon. Very few of my creature needs those equippment to be threatening and can simply be replaced by threats themself or more mana-stones.
Predator, Flagship looks good since you can produce a loot of mana but I have not played it once. When I get that amount of mana Kozilek is always a better option.
Gruesome Slaughter looked good on paper but doesn’t perform as promised.
A lot of you might wonder where the “old” eldrazis are (Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre)? Bribery and Act of Treason still has a strong precence in our meta and the Annihilator-ability simply is to much for the deck to handle since it realy needs all the mana-producing permanents to stay on the battlefield. Homeward Path is the only thing in the deck that can get them back and my wraths (Ugin and All is Dust) won’t take care of them.

What’s the percentage of games where you’ve drawn Eldrazi Temple before turn 4?
I’m not that good at math but since I play at least five, depending on my mood, it’s at least 50 percent chance I got one in the first 10 cards (starting hand included).


 

And that’s it for this time folks! Props to my friend Marunga who was kind enough to share his list and answer my questions, despite the salty one in the end (it’s true that he seems to draw that damn broken land way too often). Also props to Wizards for the Eldrazi design; I do feel like I’m fighting an unfathomable alien entity when I’m up against this list.

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Deck Spotlight: Sylvan Plug

Obstinate Baloth bannerImagine you’re at a local weekly Legacy event. You’ve just sleeved up your latest version of UR Delver. You sit down across from your round one opponent, and after superficial pleasantries, you both shuffle up for game one. He wins the roll. Your opening hand consists of: Volcanic Island, Scalding Tarn, Treasure Cruise, Daze, Ponder, Brainstorm, Delver of Secrets, Monastery Swiftspear. A very reasonable keep. Your opponent keeps his hand as well, and before you’ve been able to wish him good luck he has opened the game with Ancient Tomb into this hateful thing:

chaliceofthevoid.hq

So, what do you do? You will probably play a couple of turns before scooping. There’s pretty much no way you win, no matter your opponent’s follow-up.

This scenario might not be that common, but it does happen. In a format where decks have really low mana curves, Chalice of the Void is king. If you can play it for X=1 before your opponent is even allowed a land, even better. This deck takes full advantage of a card like Chalice of the Void, in a way that’s different from the MUD or Dragon Stompy approach:

1 Dryad Arbor
1 Swamp
3 Ancient Tomb
3 Bayou
3 Misty Rainforest
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
5 Forest
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Titania, Protector of Argoth
2 Courser of Kruphix
4 Obstinate Baloth
1 Golgari Signet
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Trinisphere
4 Choke
4 Sylvan Library
4 Abrupt Decay
2 Rolling Spoil
4 Green Sun’s Zenith

Isn’t it just the finest pile of garbage you have ever seen? Along with aforementioned Chalice of the Void, the deck plays the standard Trinisphere to further hate on low mana-curves, but it also employs Choke as extra hate against the mostly-blue field of Legacy. Granted, Blood Moon in the red stompy shells is probably superior, simply because it hates on all non-basics, not just the blue ones.

The greatest upside to playing this deck compared to other stompy shells is likely the card-filtering and card-drawing provided by Sylvan Library, which also has a powerful interaction with Courser of Kruphix. Green Sun’s Zenith helps find the latter and provides a consistency previously unheard of in similar decks. Above all, Rolling Spoil is both hilarious and quite powerful in a meta overrun by Elemental tokens.

Give this a spin if you’re tired of playing blue!

Regarding the name: it’s probably one of the raunchier deck names in Legacy lately, and is a reference to this sculpture. Yeah, I won’t speculate further on that.

What do you think of the deck? Leave a comment!

 

Deck Spotlight: Gold Digger

dig through time banner

I know there’s been a lot of posts on this deck lately, but since it’s the one I’m working on right now, it’s then one you get. It’s not like I get paid, so it’s not like you can demand shit.

Gold Digger, a stupid name for a sweet deck, is a Blue-White control deck with a red splash for mostly sideboarded cards. You can read my reports on the deck here and here. I thought I’d take some time to go by the card choices in the deck, however, since some of them might not be obvious at first.

The manabase:island334.hq
1 Academy Ruins
1 Karakas
1 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island
3 Island
1 Plains
1 Mountain

I know it’s silly to link the basic lands, but it looked funny to have three lines of un-linked cards, and I wanted to show off my sweet 7th edition lands too. I prefer playing with white-bordered basic lands since all my duals are white-bordered too, and that makes the lands much easier to fetch. The mana-base is very straight-forward, with a good number of basics and two utility lands that are surprisingly easy to find with all the cantrips.

The card-filtering and card-draw:digthroughtime.full
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Dig Through Time
1 Treasure Cruise

The graveyard-dependant draw spells are the heart of the deck, but even without them, the deck has ten cantrips to create consistency. Dig Through Time feels busted in the shell, since it speeds up the game by like five turns when you resolve it. Treasure Cruise has taken the back seat as “Delve spell number five” in the list, contrary to Delver of Secret shells, which might not even play Dig Through Time (the fools!). Preordain is the worst cantrip by a mile, but it does come with some nice synergies with Brainstorm, in case the latter is cast and there aren’t any available shuffle effects, while Preordain is still pretty damn good on its own.

The counter-suite and removals:forceofwill.hq
4 Force of Will
3 Counterspell
2 Misdirection
2 Pyroblast

4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Engineered Explosives

The work horse of the deck, the control cards, are what sells the deck to me, along with Dig Through Time. How often does one get to play three whole copies of Counterspell? It’s very slow, especially on the draw, but it’s live all game, contrary to Spell Pierce or similar soft counters. Misdirection is an old classic that’s pretty nice in the deck, especially since it makes some of the removal 2-for-2, meaning Misdirection is almost never a bad trade.

Engineered Explosives is slow but very useful in many match-ups, and it’s almost never a dead draw. It is one of the deck’s best answers to Liliana of the Veil, aside Counterspell, and Engineered Explosives can also create card-advantage. Since it is slow, however, playing more than two seems rough.

The win-conditions:
2 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Batterskull
1 Baneslayer Angel
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

I guess the only self-explanatory part of this section is Baneslayer Angel. She’s been doing really well so far and has won me many games against various decks, not just the ones I added her for (UR Delver specifically). She’s huge, often the biggest creature on the board, she dodges every piece of relevant removal aside Swords to Plowshares, and she’s almost impossible to race. Maybe a second Batterskull would be better, but against some decks, the flying bit is much more relevant than Vigilance, and many decks will board into artifact/enchantment hate almost certainly, meaning Batterskull leads a dangerous life in games two and three.

Cards considered for inclusion:
Talrand, Sky Summoner, Young Pyromancer, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Moat.

The first three are other win-cons than the ones found in the deck already, but I’m not convinced either are better than the ones I’m running. Elspeth is cheaper than Baneslayer Angel, but less impactful on defense, especially against UR Delver and friends. Moat is probably a worth inclusion, but considering there are about a hundred other things I’d rather spend the two hundred euros on, it’s not likely to happen unless I have some secret Santa somewhere who’s psychic.

Things to work out:
The deck runs quite smoothly thanks to all the cantrips and card-selection, and that also makes it a lot of fun to play, and also gives it a powerful late-game. However, the deck is quite slow to win, and I need to pick up the pace, or add more win-cons, if I’m to win several 2-1 matches over the course of a tournament. That, and I need to learn how to scoop sooner to save time. This is made even more difficult because of the deck’s inherent strength of card selection, since it allows me to find silver bullets to get out of most of the situations.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with adding more win-cons, aside the fact that it will dilute the deck’s other two main components. Running some man-lands like Mishra’s Factory might be feasible, but that would take re-working other parts of the deck as well, in order to add things like Crucible of Worlds, Wasteland, etc., which puts a dent in the deck’s now well-functioning mana base, and it eats lots of mana during a game.

With this simple issue figured out, I think the deck could be a proper contender in the Legacy format today. It has game against almost anything, and it’s a blast to play.

Deck Spotlight: Brion Stoutarm EDH (part 4 – lands and complete list!)

This will be the last post on my Brion Stoutarm deck for a while at least, and in this I’ll go over the lands and then continue on with the entire list. Again, it is very much a work in progress, just today I added Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker (finally got my hands on one, thanks for the trade, Ludvig!) and Weathered Wayfarer over Griffin Dreamfinder and Journey to Nowhere. While the latter two are very cool cards, the former two are obviously more powerful in most cases, especially since I play about half as many enchantments in the deck now compared to when it was new.

The lands are also budget-y as all hell, I’d like to add a Battlefield Forge, a Sacred Foundry and a Plateau, but I don’t want to drop the cash on it just yet. They’d fit nicely with Kor Cartographer and Arid Mesa, but I like to trade for pieces of the deck as I go along, and not just log onto TrollAndToad or something and buy the entire list of cards. Otherwise it looks like this:

slayersstronghold.hq

Teaching giants how to toss goats for four generations

1 Ancient Tomb
1 Arid Mesa
1 Boros Garrison
1 City of Traitors
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Kor Haven
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Slayers’ Stronghold
1 Terramorphic Expanse
11 Plains
13 Mountain

I like to keep the basic count high to be less effected by my own Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon, and otherwise it’s very straightforward. The oddest land is probably Slayers’ Stronghold, but I like it for giving Brion and my other creatures Haste, and the art-work is really cool. Auto-inclusion, that is.

The rest of the deck, in its entirety, with the new additions:

1 Brion Stoutarm

kiki-jiki,mirrorbreaker.hq

This guy does dirty things with the general and many of the deck’s ETB-creatures.

1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Leonin Arbiter
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Wall of Omens
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Kor Cartographer
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Anger
1 Desolation Giant
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Ogre Battledriver
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Stormbreath Dragon
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Zealous Conscripts
1 Molten Primordial
1 Stalking Vengeance
1 Petradon
1 Artisan of Kozilek
1 Burnished Hart
1 Pilgrim’s Eye
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Moltensteel Dragon

1 Condemn
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Path to Exile
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Unexpectedly Absent
1 Wing Shards
1 Fling
1 Price of Progress
1 Chaos Warp
1 Grab the Reins
1 Flash Conscription

1 Day of Judgment
1 Wrath of God
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Vandalblast
1 Traitorous Blood
1 Traitorous Instinct
1 Insurrection
1 Blasphemous Act

1 Oblivion Ring
1 Blood Moon
1 Fervor
1 Stranglehold

1 Koth of the Hammer

1 Explorer’s Scope
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
1 Skullclamp
1 Wayfarer’s Bauble
1 Boros Signet
1 Carnage Altar
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Boros Cluestone
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Hammer of Purphoros
1 Oblivion Stone

I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down the path of the worst colour combination in EDH. Hit the like button, leave a comment, and tell me what to do differently when I give Damia, Sage of Stone the same treatment over the coming weeks.

Deck Spotlight: Brion Stoutarm EDH (part 3 – mana, creatures and utility)

My previous two parts of this deck tech has covered the integral parts of the deck (part 1), and the control elements (part 2). In this part, I’ll cover the mana acceleration and mana fixing in the deck, and finally the rest of the creatures not featured in the previous posts.

Mana accelerants/mana fixers:boroscluestone.hq
1 Kor Cartographer
1 Burnished Hart
1 Pilgrim’s Eye
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Koth of the Hammer
1 Explorer’s Scope
1 Sol Ring
1 Wayfarer’s Bauble
1 Boros Signet
1 Darksteel Ingot

All of these are fairly standard. The deck is quite hungry for coloured mana, so that’s why I have few accelerants that only produce colorless mana, the only one being Sol Ring. Although Koth might not be considered only mana acceleration (since he could technically win the game on his own), but he is very poweful mana acceleration for a turn or so, so he goes here as well.

The other creatures:
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Wall of Omens
1 Griffin Dreamfinder
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Stormbreath Dragon
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Stalking Vengeance
1 Petradon
1 Artisan of Kozilek
1 Moltensteel Dragon

Most of these creatures are in the deck by a virtue of having a decent Enters the Battlefield trigger. These include Stoneforge Mystic (who finds Lightning Greaves primarily), Wall of Omens, Griffin Dreamfinder, Petradon and Artisan of Kozilek. All of these could be cast, triggered and then flung with Brion and I wouldn’t care too much, though doing exactly that with Wall of Omens might be bad. Purphoros is there because getting the two damage on each opponent whenever a creature enters the battlefield for you is broken, and the rest are there for minor utility and getting through damage. Moltensteel Dragon is especially powerful later in the game.

The utility (the rest):carnagealtar.hq
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Fling
1 Price of Progress
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Skullclamp
1 Carnage Altar
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

The two cards I want to discuss in this list are Skullclamp and Carnage Altar. They are the deck’s only cards that say “draw a card”, other than Solemn Simulacrum, who cantrips himself. Skullclamp has obvious utility with the general, since any creature could be equipped and flung for value, especially after dealing some combat damage. Carnage Altar is the odd one out, and is a way to make the stealing cards into removals. It’s also very rare to see in EDH.

We’re nearing the conclusion of this series. In the fourth and final post, I’ll share my lands (though it’s – like the rest of the deck – very much a work in progress), and then the list in its entirety.

Deck Spotlight: Brion Stoutarm EDH (part 2 – control)

Thus far, I’ve covered the conceptual phase of the deck, and the parts of it that really makes it tick – the cards that steal creatures and the cards that makes all my dudes hasty. However, since red-white has little natural ramp outside artifacts and other permanents, the deck needs to be able to control the game long enough to gather enough mana to do some of these fun stuff. This is my control package in Brion Stoutarm:

The creature bit:magusofthemoon.hq
1 Leonin Arbiter
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Desolation Giant
1 Leonin Relic-Warder
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Flametongue Kavu

The first three of these are fragile but powerful control elements if they’re allowed to stay on the board, especially the third one. Magus of the Moon has a way of shutting down entire decks, even in EDH, or at least slow them down considerably. Especially if paired with one of the other two, it can buy Brion a lot of time. All three have to be cast with some sense of diplomacy, however, since they tend to gather frowns from around the table. The other half of these six are creatures with useful Enters the Battlefield-triggers, and the first two of these really benefit from having an active Brion in play – cast the creature, respond to the ETB-trigger by flinging them on an opponent, and the permanent they remove stay exiled forever, all while you’re dealing some damage and gaining some life. Flametongue Kavu is just a feel-good card of old, I played a lot of him in Extended back when that was alive, and although 4 damage is not that much in EDH, he can take out some smaller generals and utility creatures, and is techincally card advantage himself. The one in the middle, Desolation Giant, is the odd one out, who, when kicked, leaves nothing behind but himself. What a jerk.

The enchantments:
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Blood Moon
1 Stranglehold
1 Oblivion Stone

The interesting cards here are really only Blood Moon and Stranglehold. Blood Moon has the same effect on the board as Magus of the Moon, but is quite a bit harder to remove than the creature variant. Stranglehold is also very effective against a lot of decks, especially seeing as how it’s only punishing your opponents. The rest of the cards are more or less mandatory, while I do hate Oblivion Stone for blowing up my own Lightning Greaves and mana rocks, it can be tutored by Enlightened Tutor, and it does do its job well.

The spell-based control:blasphemousact.hq
1 Condemn
1 Path to Exile
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Unexpectedly Absent
1 Chaos Warp
1 Day of Judgment
1 Wrath of God
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Vandalblast
1 Blasphemous Act

Quite a lot of cards in this section, ranging from pin-point removal for both creatures (Condemn, Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares) to just about anything (Unexpectedly Absent, Chaos Warp), to board wipes that keep Brion and me alive in order to reach the mid game where he gets to do his thing. I’d consider most of these mandatory for a red-white deck, especially Chaos Warp, Hallowed Burial and Vandalblast. There’s no end to the awesome things you can do with especially the latter, just overloading it to kill everyone else’s Sol Rings will effectively turn back the clock for your opponent a turn or so, which sometimes gives Brion enough time to ramp into the big stuff.

That’s it for the control parts of the deck. In the third and last installment on my Brion Stoutarm deck, I will present the creatures and the utility stuff, and then post the list in its entirety.

Deck Spotlight: Brion Stoutarm EDH (part 1 – conception and core)

I know that there’s been quite a few posts about EDH lately, and the reason for the material being slanted towards the casual side is threefold: first of all, there’s no big Legacy event I need to prepare for until November of this year here in Sweden, and even then, I know what deck I’m going to play already. Secondly, EDH is my outlet for deck building and deck teching and creativity. Thirdly, and most importantly, I’ve been listening a lot to the rather excellent podcast The Five Commanders while commuting and walking the dog and so on, and the podcast keeps my mind locked in on EDH. I recommend everyone to have a listen to the podcast, it’s available through iTunes and other places as well.

Through much of my EDH career, I’ve been playing blue. The reason for this is that I’ve always played blue. My first Magic deck was mono-blue with a bunch of flying creatures and counterspells, which was all fine and dandy until my younger brother built a mono-green deck full of spiders and other creatures with Reach. All of my Legacy decks are blue, because the colour is simply the best (better than all the rest) in the format, and that’s just how it goes. My first EDH deck was the preconstructed The Mimeoplasm deck, which I modified with my own cards. Most of my decks have been blue with black and then either white or green. For this project, I decided to pick a general neither blue nor black nor green – I chose Brion Stoutarm.brionstoutarm.hq

Honestly, Brion Stoutarm has a lot of things going for him. Although he personifies the “worst” colours in the format, he has a respectable 4/4 Lifelink body at only 2RW, and he has a very useful Fling ability. As far as Boros-coloured generals, the list isn’t really short, a whopping total of 10 legendary creatures are available to those who seek the worst colours in the format, but Brion is by far the most awesome. I chose him for a variety of reasons:

– I wanted a general not already played in either of my play groups.

– I wanted a non-blue general.

– I wanted a general to build a deck around.

– I wanted something “fun”.

fervor.hq

Waaaaaaagh!

Brion personifies all of these qualities above, and as a deckbuilding project, he was a perfect fit. I knew from the get-go that I wanted some number of “stealing” spells, in order to steal things from my opponent to throw at them. I also knew I wanted a large number of expendable creatures with good Enters the Battlefield effects that I could play and the immediately throw with little loss. I wanted the deck to be aggro and win honestly in the combat step, and for that I needed stuff with Haste. In our playgroup, the basic rule is that if a creature doesn’t have a good ETB-effect or Haste, it won’t do anything at all, since a lot of the group loads up on board sweepers, understandably.

This led me into adding a bunch of cards that grant my creatures Haste. Aside the obvious Lightning Greaves, I found an ugly 7th edition rare when digging through my boxes. Fervor is an enchantment for 2R that gives all my stuff Haste and that’s it. It’s almost strictly worse than Hammer of Purphoros or Anger, but I play them all!

My list is far from complete, and I’ll only present two parts in this post, the haste-granting and the stealing:

Haste-granting things:

1 Anger
1 Ogre Battledriver
1 Fervor
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Hammer of Purphoros

Aside these five, I already play a number of creatures who have Haste naturally, which lessens the pressure on the Lightning Greaves.

The stealing things:

1 Zealous Conscripts
1 Molten Primordial
1 Grab the Reins
1 Flash Conscription
1 Traitorous Blood
1 Traitorous Instinct
1 Insurrection

While Insurrection is in the deck simply because it can sometimes just win the game from nowhere, the rest of the stealing bits are also doing things on their own or bringing additional effects to the table. Traitorous Instinct grants +2/+0 for only a single mana more than Act of Treason (which we must consider some sort of baseline at just stealing a creature for 2R), which is cheaper than Unwilling Recruit. Traitorous Blood grants the creature stolen Trample, which can help getting some damage through. Zealous Conscripts is a 3/3 on its own, and finally, Grab the Reins and Flash Conscription are both Instants, which makes them combat tricks on their own. Grab the Reins also comes with an alternate built-in Fling, or both if Entwined, and Flash Conscription comes with Lifelink (though at a steep price).

On my “to add” list is Conquering Manticore, a bigger Zealous Conscripts, but smaller Molten Primordial.

In the next part, I’ll explore the control elements of the deck, which makes it able to get to enough mana to cast the general, steal something, and then toss it right back all in the same turn.

Deck spotlight: Team America

I spent a few lines talking about one of the decks I’ve played for the past year or so, but I wanted to give it some more room to exaplain some of my card choices and my views on how to properly play it. For reference, here’s my list:

 

4 Polluted Deltadeathriteshaman.hq
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
4 Underground Sea
2 Bayou
1 Tropical Island

4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Tarmogoyf
2 True-Name Nemesis

4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Daze
3 Force of Will
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Hymn to Tourach
2 Disfigure
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Sylvan Library

 

Starting with the lands, they’re the bog-standard of Team America (or BUG-standard, rather) 20, 9 fetchlands, 4 Wastelands and 7 duals in the proper distribution. I play 20 lands, though I’ve tried 19 lands historically as well, because the deck wants to be able to generate UU, BB and GB while still having Islands in play for Daze, and 19 lands sometimes kept me from playing a follow-up True-Name Nemesis after a Hymn to Tourach.

In the creature base, I’ve chosen to play True-Name Nemesis over Tombstalker; although the cards basically fill the same role they are good against very different decks. I missed Nimble Mongoose when switching from RUG Delver to Team America, and having a Hexproof creature is great against Miracles, an otherwise pretty rough match-up. It also makes me feel like a bad-guy when I cast it, which I enjoy.

When it comes to the other spells, I’ve chosen to play “only” three Force of Wills because I play in a mostly fair metagame and Force of Will is often one of the weakest cards in the deck, and a bad topdeck at that. Hymn to Tourach has also seen its numbers cut to three, because it is also a very bad topdeck late game, and even if I want to see multiples in some match-ups, I’m often satisfied with just casting one of them before casting a threat in the first three or four turns. With the free’d up slots, I’ve added a couple of Disfigures, again because of the fairer metagame, and Disfigure is such a neat little spell since it kills everything relevant I want to kill – like Stoneforge Mystic, Deathrite Shaman, Delver of Secrets, Dark Confidant and so son. Lastly, Liliana of the Veil is a great card in some match-ups, such as Miracles, but is often a Cruel Edict for 1BB against other decks. Sylvan Library is awesome in grindy match-ups as well, not only Miracles, but any matches where I have to draw into more threats. It’s redudant in multiples, more-so than Liliana, which is why I only play the one.

Out of the maindeck cards, the ones most often boarded out are Force of Will, Disfigure and Sylvan Library. Needless to say, this does not mean they’re the worst in the deck by any stretch of the definition, but they are perhaps the most situational cards in there.

The sideboard is ever-changing, as should everyone’s sideboards be, but there are a few mainstays in it that I really like. First up is again more spotremoval, Disfigure and Dismember primarily. I play one of each right now in my metagame, and if you neglect to have any in the maindeck, I’d recommend at least 2-3 in the sideboard in just about any metagame. Spell Pierce is one of those cards that’s inherently stronger in RUG Delver, since RUG tends to play more re-actively and have mana untapped in the opponent’s turn, along with Stifle to keep Spell Pierce relevant for more turns of the game. That said, Spell Pierce is a great card againskrosangrip.hqt many combo decks, and a decent one against some slower control or midrange builds as well.

I’d play at least one or two answers to a resolved Batterskull, and split them between Maelstrom Pulse and Krosan Grip. Maelstrom Pulse is more flexible, but Krosan Grip is great against many other targets, like Counterbalance, Rest in Peace etc. Maelstrom Pulse’s difficult mana cost and Sorcery speed means it’s sometimes difficult and clumsy to resolve against decks with lots of countermagic. Some graveyard hate is also needed, Grafdigger’s Cage being the premiere spell because it also shuts down Elves to some extent. Golgari Charm is the last mandatory card, being great hate against Elves and Death and Taxes, while still answering True-Name Nemesis well enough. The last slots are up to preference, but I’ve played Thoughtseize, Submerge, Pithing Needle, Vendilion Clique et al to some success.