Tag: decklist

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Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - August 7, 2015

Abzan Elf Company in Standard for Origins Game Day

Standard Abzan Elf Company

It’s been a long time since I was even remotely interested in sleeving up a deck for Standard, but with the spoiling of Shaman of the Pack that all started to change. Seeing that card made me instantly pull on my brewers hat because honestly, Collected Company right? It seemed like this pair was too powerful to dismiss at first glance but the real test seemed like it would be finding enough of the pointy eared guys to build around them to make the deck run right. This is how the idea for Abzan Elf Company started for me.

Shaman of the PackCollected Company

Searching up all the Elves in Standard brought up a suite of eighteen soldiers to recruit, but how many of them would truly be worthy? I knew that one main factor is the added value of Collected Company so another key was converted mana cost of those at three or less. Also, another strength of the Elf tribe is one mana accelerants or mana dorks which would be a key to powering out our gas as quickly as possible.

So let’s take a moment to look at the two main cards we are using to gel this idea together with Shaman of the Pack and Collected Company. The true power behind the Shaman lies in its ability to end games quickly and without even requiring much charge to entering the Red Zone. As for Collected Company it is a card advantage machine for green decks which is something they are often lacking, but it requires a build around commitment to execute properly. What these two ideas revolve around is a high density of creatures to pull it off and because of that synchronicity they can be meshed into each other.

We can safely say then that we are looking at that density to fall somewhere between twenty-eight and thirty-two to be consistently reliable on both fronts. Let’s take a look then at all the creature possibilities that are afforded to us in those eighteen dismissing whatever is sub par to the plan and see if we can shake out a cohesive decklist from that.

ONE DROPS
Elvish Mystic – this is our quintessential turn one play which enables us to accelerate to early action.
Gnarlroot Trapper – the other one drop mana dork, but that he can’t pay for Collected Company is a real downside.
Sunblade Elf – with an Abzan splash this little dude can be a beast in fudging up combat math with his ability.
Thornbow Archer – while I don’t expect many mirror matches there is a non-zero amount of Nissa floating about.

Elvish MysticGnarlroot TrapperSunblade ElfThornbow Archer

TWO DROPS
Dwynen’s Elite – three power and two bodies for the Shaman for just two mana is pure value in this deck.
Elvish Visionary – replaces itself very efficiently and is just total gas for the deck, so amazing to Company him in then draw another to keep the pedal to the metal.
Leaf Gilder‎ – the other mana dork available to us but droping it turn two is way less valuable then having it active turn two.

dwynen's eliteElvish VisionaryLeaf Gilder

THREE DROPS
Nissa, Vastwood Seer – while she isn’t a bad card the low land count in the deck works against her transforming reliably but if you can then ticking her up will just keeps the gas flowing.
Reclamation Sage – Another handy three drop it seems with the amount of thopter decks and incidental enchantments or other artifacts floating about he is not just another Elf body but also key utility.
Shaman of the Pack – this is the whole reason to pull this deck together. With it’s ability to just kill out of nowhere, if you are able to apply any pressure to the opponent this is without a doubt going to be an incredible finishing move. And the feel goods when you are able to drop two from a Collected Company is just indescribable.

Nissa, Vastwood SeerNissa, Sage AnimistReclamation SageShaman of the Pack

FOUR DROPS
Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen – giving that boost to the team is crucial when you need to adjust the combat math in your favour and gaining some life in the process ensures you can survive to your critical turn.
Sylvan Messenger – with such a high concentration of Elves in the deck the chance to whiff is so slight and when you get to refuel your hand with another three or four creatures that is nothing to shake a stick at.

Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf DaenSylvan Messenger

FIVE DROPS
Gilt-Leaf Winnower – that he is tutorable with Chord of Calling is his prime selling point but the condition that his target can’t have equal power and toughness does leave quite a few good targets off his list. But he is big and menace helps to push through extra damage.

Gilt-Leaf Winnower

So there we have our options to put together our cohesive mixture. If we start at the top with the one drops it is obvious that our first eight slots are taken with both Elvish Mystic and Gnarlroot Trapper to boost our games with a turn one accelerant. But just eight turn one plays doesn’t seem enough, since often turn two we have three mana at our disposal, which left the choice between Sunblade Elf and Thornbow Archer. Looking at the Archer I wasn’t fully convinced that it was any good and thinking about the white splash for Sunblade seemed very doable with little downside due to Windswept Heath, while providing additional sideboard options as well.

Next the two drops were fairly straightforward for me as both Elvish Visionary and Dwynen’s Elite are just pure value for the cost and definitely auto-includes. Now while I did find some deck lists running Leaf Gilder I wasn’t convinced this deck wanted a turn two dork and I was happy with eight creatures for this spot on the curve.

That brings us to lucky number three. Obviously we are running with the full compliment of Shamans, but it’s the other options where numbers are the key. I really like Nissa very much and she helps not only to ensure we have mana coming to us but also keeps the gas going when she flips, IF she flips. It’s not going to be easy to get to seven lands with this deck so for that I don’t want too many in there, as well as reducing the whiffs on Collected Company. Our other option is Reclamation Sage which I like very much with some of the decks already floating around. With a 1/3 split between Nissa and Sage that gives us another eight elves added in total.

Now we start to get beyond where Collected Company is useful and we already have twenty-eight Elves in the deck so anything now beyond has to be just value for the deck. Both four drops Dwynen and Messenger are really good but we don’t want too load up, so I opted for a 2/2 split. As far as continuing to climb up the mana ladder as much as I liked the idea of a tutorable removal spell the amount of creatures that Gilt-Leaf Winnower could not destroy made me want to shy away from it.

With the creature suite pretty well locked up that left only the decision on what were the complimenting spells to the deck would shake out to. The card advantage engine consists of Collected Company and Chord of Calling which I settled on a 4/2 split. I wish there was a way to squeeze in another Chord of Calling, but I really wanted a one-of Obelisk of Urd with so many Elves in the deck. Convoke really helps keep the actual costs down so we don’t have to worry about stumbling on the more expensive spells.

Collected CompanyChord of CallingObelisk of Urd

As for the manabase I feel like I’ve come to a good balance considering the splash for some white cards and abilities. For the green and black side of the deck I’ve got five Forest, two Swamp, and one Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, along with four Llanowar Wastes and two Temple of Malady. Then for the white side I added one Plains to be fetched up by four Windswept Heath, and some tri-coloured choices with Mana Confluence and Sandsteppe Citadel. I really wanted to minimize the amount of lands which come into play tapped to ensure a first turn play which is why I didn’t go for a third Temple or additional Citadels.

Putting everything together the decklist looks like this:

Abzan Elf Company

by EJ Seltzer

One flex spot I’m considering is moving a Dwynen to the sideboard to add an additional Chord of Calling and possibly one of the Reclamation Sage as well perhaps to get a Hero’s Downfall into the maindeck, but I’m still debating those choices. There might also be some value to a second Obelisk of Urd instead of the Downfall to ensure tons of pressure from my creature rush.

For now the sideboard is still in flux but the main cards I have been considering include Bow of Nylea, Obelisk of Urd, Nylea’s Disciple, Dragonlord Dromoka, Hornet Queen, Duress, Eyeblight Massacre, Dromoka’s Command and Hero’s Downfall. Other options could be Nylea, God of the Hunt, Mistcutter Hydra, Whip of Erebos, Palace Siege or Abzan Charm. Of course it’s always dependent on what you’re expecting to face in your meta.

If I had to decide right now on my sideboard it would look like this:

Some of the decks I would expect to see would be:
Mono-Red Aggro – the key to this match is gaining life back to keep from dying to topdecked burn so Dwynen and Nylea’s Disciple are going to play a huge roll.
U/R Thopters – with artifact hate already in the deck it isn’t too hard to hold them off by destroying key pieces, but an Ensoul Artifact on a Darksteel Citadel is very scary to be staring down.
G/R Devotion – this matchup is the most troublesome when they are able to drop their big bombs and we aren’t able to deal with them before we get run over, but since we don’t necessarily need to attack to kill them and we have incidental deathtouch to eat through their blockers or vanquish their attackers it isn’t so bad.
Abzan Control / Megamorph – the real scary card here is Languish which can put the kibosh on our whole plan in one fell swoop so making certain to not overextend and build towards a focal turn to try and sneak in the kill under their nose.
U/W / Bant Heroic – on a similar line to the thopter deck we already have maindeck hate for their auras so this looks like something of a favourable matchup for the deck.
Jeskai Tokens – with the possibility to just gum up the board with so many creatures until they can go nuts with Jeskai Ascendancy out to pump their army and cheat out Stoke the Flames at the same time Reclamation Sage never looked so good, especially with Chord of Calling as an instant.

So there you have Abzan Elf Company, the deck I plan to give a good shake out this weekend with the Game Day tournaments going on. I  plan to continue to push this deck going forward so expect to hear more about it in the near future. If you plan on going to you own Game Day then I wish you luck. Let me know anything you see in my list that could be tweaked, I appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com

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Gregoire Thibault - July 30, 2015

Duel Decks: Zendikar vs Eldrazi

Zendikar vs Eldrazi Logozendikar vs eldrazi Packaging

Duel Decks: Zendikar vs Eldrazi

Wizards of the Coast announced its latest in the Duel Decks series Zendikar vs Eldrazi just before the launch of Battle for Zendikar. This seems like a good deck to pick up for new players who want to get some Eldrazi’s with the annihilator ability. These are some of the favorite creatures for casual players along with the usual tribes Elf, Goblins, Merfolks and Vampires. Seeing as this is Zendikar as well, we might see some Elves since the first spoiler is the green Avenger of Zendikar. I do feel that Vampire is another very popular tribe that should be in this Zendikar vs Eldrazi.

Release Notes

 

  • Deck Design and Deck Development: Chris Millar and Sam Stoddard
  • Twitter Hashtag: #MTGZVE
  • Languages Available: English, Japanese
  • Release Date: August 28, 2015
  • MSRP: $19.99

Zendikar vs Eldrazi symbol

Card Gallery

 

Avenger of ZendikarConsume the MeekDominator Drone Forerunner of SlaughterOblivion SowerRetreat to KazanduSheer DropVeteran Warleader

 

Decklists

Zendikar

 

Eldrazi

 

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Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - November 25, 2014

Jeskai Stoneblade by Brian Braun-Dunn (1st at Grand Prix New Jersey Le...

Champion’s Deck 

Treasure Cruise - Jeskai Stoneblade

Jeskai Stoneblade by Brian Braun-Dunn

1st at Grand Prix New Jersey Legacy on Nov. 16th 2014

It was a daily double last weekend with Treasure Cruise decks winning both this and the Modern GP in Madrid. Despite that though there was not an abundance of Treasure Cruise swarming the top 8 with a total of 10 copies between 4 decks, and they were each a distinct archetype. It wasn’t even the bogeyman UR Delver which won which was the other deck running the full 4 copies and there was an amazing diversity between all 8 decks.

The core of this deck comes from the supreme artificer Stoneforge Mystic and the two singleton targets she has with Batterskull and Umezawa’s Jitte. The main line of attack, if your coast is clear, would be to search for the Batterskull and then beat your opponent to death with it and because the Mystic will cheat it in the actual cost is irrelevant. Now there is a caveat to the end of the last statement where you may be concerned with Mystic eating a removal spell which is where you can easily search instead for Jitte which can be easily cast if necessary. A natural contender to carry said Jitte is found in the pair of True-Name Nemesis that can easily connect to start the counters accumulating on the Jitte. There is also a full set of Young Pyromancer who’s natural synergy with the 30 instants and sorceries will have little trouble finding a suitable suitor to suit up these pieces of equipment. Speaking of the spells this deck is rife with card draw sporting full sets of Brainstorm, Ponder, Gitaxian Probe and especially newcomer Treasure Cruise all there to help you burn through your deck to find all the gas. Then there is a modest counter suite with a full set of Force of Will, a pair of Spell Pierce and even a couple of maindecked Pyroblast as a concession to the abundance of Treasure Cruise expected in the meta. Then we round it off with removal finding trios of both Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares as the most efficient while providing a little extra reach.
Now while this deck is certainly no new concept the appearance of Treasure Cruise has done a lot to ripple the otherwise fairly stagnant waters of Legacy. Don’t expect a huge upheaval of the format but it’s always interesting when thing change for better or for worse. If you like tempo style decks this is definitely a well rounded deck which has a ton of game and is fun to play. But don’t be surprised if the meta continues to warp hate in your direction as it continues to suppress Treasure Cruise weilding selections.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com
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Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - September 29, 2014

Jeskai Tempo by Kevin Jones (1st at SCG Edison Standard Open on Sep 27...

Champion’s Deck

Mantis Rider - Jeskai Tempo

Jeskai Tempo by Kevin Jones

1st at SCG Edison Standard Open on Sep 27th 2014

As we bid a fond farewell to RTR/THS Standard and all its mono-colored shenanigans we see how quickly everything becomes new again with both decks sitting at the final table in the wedge colors. There was also in the final a Mardu Midrange deck which in and of itself is a beautiful work of art which simply did not draw well against an amazing draw of the Jeskai tempo deck. But for us today we are interested in this Red, White and Blue beast of a list which was able to battle through 13 rounds and stake its flag first at the summit of this opening weekend.

 

This deck is built around taking advantage of burn to take incremental advantage and close out games quickly and efficiently. To work towards that goal we find a trio of creatures that while not monsters are able to go long and chip away quickly at the opponents life total to make it easy to top deck a burn spell for the win. The first creature drops down turn two with a trio of Seeker of the Way which combo well with the burn through its Prowess to not only get pumped up but also gain lifelink to ensure survival against other Aggro decks. Next we find one of the defining cards of Aggro for the current meta with Goblin Rabblemaster which on an unchecked board will be able to quickly overwhelm the opponent with a horde of goblins beating face. Then we get to a new tool for these colors with Mantis Rider which as a tri-colored creature sports a very strong package as a three drop with Haste to beat face immediately upon arrival, Flying to leap over the walls of Courser of Kruphix, and even Vigilance which allows you to bring the assault with impunity. Supporting the troops there is a duo of Red planeswalkers starting with the all new powerhouse Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker which is basically taking the role of Stormbreath Dragon as another aggressive flyer for the deck but also doubles as decent removal taking out a slew of four toughness creatures. There is also a misers Chandra, Pyromaster which is able to grind precious life points while either blasting potential chumps or immobilizing big blockers, and could also add to the decks drawing power. Speaking of draw there are two cards with which to gain additional resources with Dig Through Time able to go deep to find you two spells which will hopefully finish your opponent  and Steam Augury that does rely upon the choice of your opponent but can easily be a bomb spell depending on what else you flip up with it. Magma Jet is also a pseudo-draw with its Scry 2 not only are you flinging fire but also setting up potential or even pushing useless cards to the bottom in advance of a Dig Through Time. Then we get to the package of straight-up burn spells with sets of Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames to either flambe some pesky creature or just fling straight to the dome of your opponent to close out a quick victory. You also have the option to barbeque opponents with your Jeskai Charm, but also bounce giant creatures away or pump your team while gaining some incidental life points. Finally we wrap up with catchall answer Banishing Light which is the decks main answer to planeswalkers, enchantments, or artifacts but will also deal with problematic creatures as well.
Man oh man am I ever in love with Jeskai Tempo. It just looks so aggro just like my cup of tea, but still able to overcome traditional issues like draw and removal for bombs. Now I will admit that watching the deck win there was a definite element of variance which handed Jeskai an easier road to walk towards victory, but he took it all the way from beginning to end so there must be value in it. I would be very happy to sleeve up a deck like this and run with it, but with so many new styles and the Pro Tour coming up I’m going to happily observe for now. If you do decide to pick this up though I imagine you’ll have a blast burning up the competition.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com
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Three Kings Loot - September 18, 2014

Khans of Tarkir Intro packs decklist

Khans of Tarkir Intro packs

Khans of Tarkir intro packs will be available at your local store starting on the prerelease and then as long as supplies last. Each clan’s pack include a alternate art rare and are ready for Open Dueling.

 

Abzan Houses intro pack

Abzan Houses intro pack

 

ABZAN SIEGE

 

Jeskai Way intro pack

Jeskai Way intro pack

JESKAI MONKS

 

 

Mardu Horde intro pack

Mardu Horde intro pack

 

MARDU RAIDERS

 

 

Sultai Brood intro pack

Sultai Brood intro pack

SULTAI SCHEMERS

 

 

Temur Frontier intro pack

Temur Frontier intro pack

 

TEMUR AVALANCHE

 

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Bruce Gray - September 13, 2014

Random beats at Casual MTG decks night

Kor Skyfisher - Casual MTG decks

Random beats at Casual MTG decks night

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Well, we’re back to school and back to the grind. For some this is the worst time of the year because it signals the start of the boring and mundane for yet another year.  For others it is a time of excitement as things start all over again with fresh beginnings and fresh options.  For those of us who play Magic, the specter of rotation and the imminent arrival of Khans means there is lots of buzz in the air.  The end of September can’t come fast enough!

 

This isn’t an spoiler article because we are hard at work here at Three Kings Loot prepping our review, but we’ve got good stuff on the burner.  However, with Khans being on the horizon and Constructed being in a bit of holding pattern until the rotation, I thought this would be a perfect chance to highlight some casual decks I’ve been rocking, some relatively inexpensive and fun decks to liven up your Casual games.  These are all 60 card decks that are perfectly viable in a duel situation, but are better suited to playing a multiplayer setting.  Let’s see what I’ve been brewing.

 

The first deck is my take on what can only be called a Modern Mono-Green Devotion deck.  A number of months ago I posted a decklist for a budget Mono-Green Devotion deck here on Three Kings Loot.  It has done reasonably well for me since then, but decks are like living organisms that change and evolve and this deck is no different.  With cards like Chord of Calling, Genesis Hydra, Hydra Broodmaster there are yet more powerful options to sink a ton of mana, there is no reason not to change a few cards to do a few more powerful things.  However, the addition of a card from an older set is REALLY what I wanted to add to the deck…and that was Craterhoof Behemoth.  This just smacks of being the best thing you can do to dump a ton of mana either by hard casting it, Chord of Calling for it, or Genesis Hydra for about a billion and grabbing it too.  Here’s the list.

 

Mono-Green Devotion (Budget modern and/or casual MTG decks)

 

I was rocking this is in a 4 person free-for all game and was in the driver seat.  My opponents had allowed me to resolve a number of creatures, a Voyaging Satyr and a Nykthos.  I had all the tools needed to start going off and just needed some huge mana sinks.  Sure enough, up comes a Polukranos and we’re off to the races.  I cast “Big Polly” and get set to Monstrosity him…but sadly have to target the stupid Biovisionary in the stupid combo deck my pal was playing, a Fleetfeather Cockatrice because I had no flying defence, and some other random creature.  Stupid Cockatrice and the Deathough ability.  Oh well.  I get my turn back and top deck… Hydra Broodmaster! OK! So, cast it, and then set up the Monstrosity…and make 10 10/10 Hydra Tokens! OH YEAH! Let the beat down plan begin.  I start smashing stuff around and just making a wreck of the board.  Then, out of nowhere, my buddy slams a second a Biovisionary, casts Polymorphist Jest, and turns his mana dorks into Biovisionaries…and we all lose.  Damn it! Lesson learned…kill the stupid combo deck…no matter how durdly the combo is.

 

Next, I shuffled up my Mono-Red Goblins deck.  I have no real expectation that Mono-Red Goblins will fare well in a multi-player game.  They are far too fragile and just not suited to trying to fight a number of opponents.  However, things are going my way.  I land a Foundry Street Denizen, Legion Loyalist, and then…KRENKO! Oh yeah.  A couple of Krenko activations later and I have a ton of goblins, had just smacked one opponent for 20 points of damage and was in good shape to start taking the game over.  Everything changed with one card…Scouring Sands…and wipes out all the Goblin Token…and I get thumped.  Ok…I know Goblins are fragile, but it is a terrible feeling to have your board wiped out by Scouring Sands because NOBODY plays Scouring Sands.  However, I lost to Scouring Sands and I wanted to cry (well, not really).

 

Mono- Red Goblins (Casual MTG decks)

 

 

The last deck today is one that is clearly a Casual build because it is such a silly concept and packs such a ridiculous mana base there is no way to describe it.  Here’s the list and I’ll talk about it afterwards.

 

UWR Skyfisher (Casual MTG Decks and/or budget Modern)

 

 

This deck plays on the interaction between Kor Skyfisher and Spark Trooper.  Most opponents won’t bother to block what amounts to a Ball Lightning because they know that it will be sacrificed at the end of the turn.  Sure, they eat 6 but they are banking on the creature no longer being a threat. However, during your second main phase if you can cast the Kor Skyfisher you can return the Spark Trooper and re-use it.  Once I established that interaction it became a matter of digging up a host of creatures who a) return stuff to my hand to be re-used or b) have good enter the battlefield triggers.  Now, this is a very mana hungry deck so playing it in a duel is suspect, but in a slower multiplayer game it is just perfect.

 

Well, I shuffled it up and suggested a couple of minor adjustments to our game.  I suggested that we all play at the same time and play with a Howling Mine effect.  The Howling Mine is hardly earth shattering, but the “everyone plays at the same time” is…interesting.  It makes resolving spells really tricky, but boy was it fun! So, we had 1 player eliminated leaving 3 of us still playing. It was a tricky situation but I decided to throw caution to the wind and swing to take out the opponent to my right.  The whole team went and was delivering somewhere up to 35 points of damage…but in the process the opponent to my left hit me.  All the while, the opponent to my right wound up and lashed out with Nefarox with some ridiculous amount of Exalted triggers caving in the guy to my left.  So, all in one turn all three of us just straight up die ending the game in a weird finale. It was a fun variant and something we will do again, but most definitely not the way to play every single time.

 

All three of these decks would fall into a pretty budget friendly category and highlight how you can make some fun decks with just a pile of funny cards and do some damage at your next Casual Night.  The Mono-Green deck is probably the most pricey of the decks on this list, but the cards on it can totally be substituted for and can revert back to the Budget deck list I had previously.  However, the new twists on it could make for a fun deck because of the powerful things you can do with the crazy amount of mana that can be generated. The UWR Skyfisher deck is pretty unreliable because of the wonky mana base and the fact that half the plays in the deck set you back, but when it works…dear LORD…does it work.  And Goblins…well…they’re Goblins and will always be funny. When they work, they work awesome.  When they fall flat on their face, they fall flat on their face hard.

 

There we have it, three fun builds, three fun games, and some random feel bad stories about how to lose a game despite being in a dominant position.  I’m not sure what lesson to draw from the last two apart from perhaps playing the politics game a little more, but regardless of the lessons learned it was fun. It was refreshing to sit down and just sling some card board and relax with some friends with nothing on the line.  I’ll have to make a point of playing this way more often just to keep things fresh.

 

Thanks for reading again this week…and until next time keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.

 

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter

 

 

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Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - August 28, 2014

Boros Burn Modern by Teruya Kakumae (1st at Grand Prix Kobe on Aug 24t...

Champion’s Deck

Vexing Devil - Boros Burn Modern

Boros Burn Modern by Teruya Kakumae

1st at Grand Prix Kobe on Aug 24th 2014

Now here’s a deck that calls straight to my heart. As I’m an Aggro player in the blood Red has always been a color I most associated with. I’ve followed burn through Standard from year to year, Extended back in the day, Legacy while Mental Misstep was legal, and of course now in Modern. The two main draws of this deck is that there are few lifegain issues in the meta as Soul Sisters is not the most popular deck choice while you’re deck has a wealth of removal to deal with many of the life gaining creatures in Pod decks, and with a largely fetch/shock manabase common to the format most decks do between two and six damage themselves in the first two turns.

 

The creature package is very tight and comprised of some very cheap drops. Eleven one drops showcase just how low the curve of the deck is with perennial Goblin Guide with its hasty beats and uncommon ability to provide information to this color combination, Vexing Devil leaving your opponent with the decision to take a smack to the dome if he isn’t able to deal with it otherwise, and a trio of Grim Lavamancer who will often find a graveyard well stocked in fetchlands and burn spells. There is also a two drop in relative newcomer Eidolon of the Great Revel which once you’re ahead on life can come down to lock out any opposition. The rest of the spells in the deck consist of a plethora of burn spells designed to ruin your opponent in just a few turns. The deck boasts basically fifteen bolts providing three damage for one mana with full sets of Lava Spike, Lightning Bolt, and Rift Bolt supplemented by a trio of Shard Volley. Then it is filled out with two cost burn starting with a full set of Skullcrack which is the decks insurance against lifegain from Sphinx’s Revelation, delaying the infinite life combos in the various Birthing Pod builds, or even a cripling life boost from a Martyr of Sands. Next a trio of Boros Charm are easily four damage to the dome but can in a pinch save your army from untimely death with indestructibility or even grant one of your soldiers Double Strike to one shot for a kill. The last inclusion is the decks only straight removal with Searing Blood which is great against all the low toughness creatures that litter the format and tacks on a bolts worth of damage if that creature does find its way to the graveyard.
I am intrigued by his build and feel the move away from Black which these decks had been regularly splashing into White for the Charm and better sideboard options is a great move. The only thing I am questioning is the twenty lands where this low curve would seem to thrive on eightteen, although with three Shard Volley you do need few more land but I’m reluctant to go to three in the first place. It’s great to see a good ol’fashioned Aggro deck rise up to the top where the format does appear rife with Combo and Control. Still, I am hoping that a viable Dark Boros deck splashing both White and Black for all-star Dark Confidant to enable the deck with a draw engine will emerge one day. Until then this deck will have to satisfy my cravings to burn my opponents into toasty piles of ash, definitely something near and dear to the flames in my heart.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com
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Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - August 27, 2014

UB Devotion Standard by Steve Rubin (1st Place at StarCityGames Washin...

Champion’s Deck

 

Notion Thief - UB Devotion Standard

UB Devotion Standard by Steve Rubin

1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 8/23/2014
It almost feels like a broken record at this point but once again a Black-based Devotion deck has won again. Thankfully we are closing in on rotation for Standard which is going to finally shake this bogeyman that has been haunting the format for almost a year. By now it should be clear to anyone who has given even a modicum of interest into Standard how this deck works, but let’s give it the rundown.
One of the most fearsome opening plays is turn one Thoughtseize into turn two Pack Rat which quickly swarms to take over the game. Now while this is the ideal opening strategy it is not the only line of play. You alternately build up the curve from Nightveil Specter into Desecration Demon into Gray Merchant of Asphodel to create a powerful attack in the air with a potentially huge life swing from the Merchant devotion. There is also a duo of Lifebane Zombie in this build as extra damage to sneak through non-Black decks and incidentally grabs a creature but more importantly information. The trio of Underworld Connections serves not only as the card ‘draw’ advantage for the deck, you could say making useful Rats out of useless cards is also advantage, but also increases the devotion count for the Merchant as well. As is standard in these Black decks the removal suite is robust with this one comprised of a trio of Hero’s Downfall, a set of Devour Flesh and a pair of Bile Blight capable of answering a wide variety of threats. To round up the spells we have a singleton Duress to compliment the Thoughtseize arsenal and ensure access to perfect information. To increase the amount of attacking creatures we have a full compliment of Mutavault primarily for their favorable interaction with Pack Rat as it is also a Rat but also dodges sorcery speed removal from Control decks. The sole addition from M15 is a one-of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth which negates the colorless downside of Mutavault allowing it to produce Black mana. As for the Blue in the title it is merely a splash added to enable sideboard choices to come in and shore up some weaknesses.
As this Standard season is rapidly coming to a close it is apparent that this is not a deck to invest yourself into post-rotation. The majority of its moving parts will be cycling out and it is unlikely that we will find comparable replacement to maintain its viability. If you need a deck to battle at your WMCQ then obviously jump on this proven winner, but if not then wait for previews to start rolling out and get ready to brew anew.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com

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