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    Jan 2006
    The Middle of Nowhere

    Default Magic: The Gathering Thread XIV: Instant Annoying, Just Add Hexproof

    Can't touch this thread. Unless you're me.
    All art by Uncle Festy. Worship him for his god like art skills.
    Also, he takes requests. Sometimes. Usually he bites your head off if he isn't in the 'art' mood.

    It's the 13th official Magic: the Gathering thread on Giantitp forums!
    This is the place for everything regarding the game - rules questions, your own card creations, decks, reports, rants about recent sets/cards/rules changes, the storyline, favorite cards/colors/sets/characters/pros/articles, the absolute glory/terrible creation that is Elder Dragon Highlander Commander, or any other awesome Magical exploits.
    And definitely don't be shy if you're new to the game or think about starting. We would love to bring more players in, and help you get started!

    If you want, you can post decks and have them placed here in a list similar to the one below! Shoot me a PM if you're interested and I don't have my Ivory Mask.
    The Deck Gallery:

    Mirrinus' "Norg'
    4 Cloud Sprite
    4 Spellstutter Sprite
    4 Pestermite
    3 Thieving Sprite
    3 Latchkey Faerie
    4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
    2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi

    4 Mana Leak
    4 Agony Warp
    3 Rend Flesh
    2 Condescend

    4 Terramorphic Expanse
    7 Swamp
    12 Island

    2 Mistblade Shinobi
    3 Echoing Truth
    3 Negate
    3 Remove Soul
    4 Peppersmoke

    The basic strategy is to play evasive creatures with nice CIP abilities, then bounce them with ninja to replay them again, gaining tons of card advantage. Save the instant counters for things you can't handle, like high cost spells that Spellstutter Sprite can't hit, or board-wiping spells. The deck has lots of disruption and can usually play pretty aggressively. Nearly every spell can potentially 2-for-1 the opponent, giving me control of the game thanks to my strong card advantage. It's a very cheap deck to build due to being made entirely of commons, yet I find that it's still a solid deck to play in other casual formats as well. Its biggest weaknesses appear to be board-sweeping spells and pingers, so my sideboard is built to accomidate either of those threats. Peppersmoke handles most pingers and can decimate casual aggro decks. Remove Soul is also good against aggro, while Negate is for control decks that have been popular lately. Echoing Truth is to stop pauper storm decks based on Empty the Warrens, and the Mistblade Shinobi is for keeping midrange creature decks off balance.

    Mirrinus' Pauper Mono White Control
    Deck: Sarutabaruta (or just call it Pauper Mono-W Control)
    Format: MTGO Pauper Classic

    4 Order of Leitbur
    3 Shade of Trokair
    4 Noble Templar

    4 Judge Unworthy
    3 Dawn Charm
    3 Holy Light
    4 Fire at Will
    4 Unmake

    1 Cenn's Enlistment

    4 Oblivion Ring
    2 Faith's Fetters

    20 Plains
    4 Secluded Steppe

    4 Circle of Protection: Red
    1 Circle of Protection: Black
    4 Kami of Ancient Law
    1 Holy Light
    1 Cenn's Enlistment
    4 Relic of Progenitus

    (Note: the circles of protection were common when printed in 7th edition, so they're legal for pauper.)

    Anyway, I realized that most decks for pauper are creature-heavy, due to the lack of mass removal. So I built a deck designed to crush aggro strategies. I run a wealth of removal spells, some of which can earn card advantage. My creatures are few, but are versatile and are great both early and late game, oftentimes utilizing my excess mana to the fullest. The Kami of Ancient Law in the sideboard is mostly to switch in against creature-light decks as an early beater, or to replace Holy Light against white decks. I figure that if a deck is playing white, it's likely to be playing white enchantment-based removal like Oblivion Ring or Temporal Isolation, so the Kami would be great at keeping my other creatures clear of these answers.

    What I'm still considering, though, is the removal suite. I like Fire at Will for its potential for card advantage, particularly against weenie swarms like Slivers. Unmake is also great simply for the lack of the attack/blocker clause. The Dawn Charms are there mostly for versatility, as I can usually think of a good use for it. I'm not sure if I should be maindecking the Holy Lights, though. So far, they've only been useful against pinger decks, Empty the Warrens, and certain elf builds. However, given that Storm may be one of the best pauper builds, Holy Light affords me with my best chance of trumping Empty the Warrens. But most of all, I'm debating Judge Unworthy. On one hand, having 8 removal spells that require attacking/blocking is kind of restrictive; on the other hand, it's my cheapest removal spell, and my only removal option for turn 2. The Scry is oftentimes a toss-up; getting rid of excess land is great, but I've had instances where I needed to draw another land, but can't put a land on top of my deck with Scry if I want to kill a creature. I guess Temporal Isolation is a possible substitute, but it's pretty lousy in the Silvers matchup, which is perhaps the most common deck played in the pauper casual room as of late.

    I'm still debating whether Relic of Progenitus should be in the sideboard; perhaps I could use more aggro options to switch in against creature-light decks, even though those tend to be fewer in number for this format.

    Mirrinus' Countersliver

    Deck: Pauper UW Countersliver
    Format: Extended Pauper

    4 Azorius First-wing
    4 Bant Sureblade
    4 Deft Duelist
    4 Ethercaste Knight
    4 Esper Stormblade

    4 Fieldmist Borderpost

    4 Temporal Isolation

    4 Mana Tithe
    4 Mana Leak
    3 Remove Soul
    3 Hindering Light

    4 Terramorphic Expanse
    7 Island
    7 Plains

    Countersliver is a classic and effective Magic deck archetype that seeks to win by playing a few cheap, efficient threats to take the early game lead, then using permission and light removal elements to prevent the late-game from coming as you press your advantage. The archetype is named after the original version, which played Crystalline Sliver as its flagship creature.

    Countersliver is a good example of an effective aggro-control deck. Your creatures are weaker than your opponent's best aggro creatures, and your removal and card advantage suite isn't nearly as strong as a dedicated control player's. What you do have, though, is tempo. You have superior early-game creatures to all but the best aggro decks, and you'll be shaving pieces off your opponent's life very quickly while trying to maintain your board advantage. Countersliver especially likes to prey on slower decks. Compare a Countersliver deck to a normal permission control deck. Against a mid-range deck, both are able to stall for several turns with their counterspells. However, while the permission deck is just buying time to play a big finisher, Countersliver will have a guy in play by turn 2, and attacking the opponent relentlessly while stalling for time. In other words, it has a tangible clock in play, which will likely win before the late-game hits.

    Countersliver is normally weak against fast aggro decks with superior creatures. However, my personal build contains a few elements that help that matchup. First is the high number of first-striking creatures. Bant Sureblade and Deft Duelist make formidable blockers, easily dispatching lots of popular aggro creatures with high power but low toughness. Deft Duelist is also impossible to burn out of the way, making it a particularly impressive defender. Of course, both are also rather nasty on offense as well. Another nice card in the aggro matchup is Ethercaste Knight. 3 toughness means it can handle many early-game opposing creatures with ease, and it can lend power to my offense without ever having to tap. My favorite starting plays with this deck involve Esper Stormblade on turn 2, followed by Ethercaste Knight on turn 3 with one land up for Mana Tithe. I get to swing for 4 points of flying starting on turn 3, which can lead to a turn 7 win. With Ethercaste Knight blocking on the ground and a slew of countermagic and removal, I'm likely to win a damage race with just those two creatures.

    The key to playing this deck is to not overextend with your creatures, and to keep mana open for counters available as often as possible, even if you aren't actually holding a counter. Exalted lets you finish games quickly without having to play many additional creatures. I prefer my fliers for attacking while keeping the first strikers back for defense to win the damage race against aggro. Of course, if you have a clear creature advantage, by all means attack en masse! Just be sure to have countermagic on hand in case they drop a big creature or removal spell. The good thing about this deck is that practically every single spell costs just 2 mana or less (I don't count the borderposts, as I usually pay their alternate cost), which means by turn 4 you can feasibly drop another threat and still have Mana Leak or Remove Soul ready. The deck desperately wants to hit UW by turn 2 (an opening hand that can't do this should be mulliganed), but with 4 Terramorphic Expanses and 4 Borderposts, that shouldn't be too hard to do, at least in my testing thus far.

    If you want a sideboard, I would recommend trying out Steel of the Godhead. Against decks light on removal but heavy on aggro, this card is a total beating that almost ensures victory in the damage race. Just keep in mind that you can't enchant your Azorius First-wings or Deft Duelists. In such a matchups where I'd want Steel of the Godhead, such as against aggressive red decks, I'd probably swap out the griffins for Vedalken Outlander.

    Shas'aia Toriia's Orzhov Control

    Creatures (13)
    4x Divinity of Pride
    4x Graveborn Muse
    2x Shimian Specter
    3x Oriss, Samite Guardian

    Artifacts (1)
    1x Sword of Light and Shadow

    Instants (4)
    4x Mortify

    Planeswalkers (2)
    2x Liliana Vess

    Sorceries (16)
    4x Demonic Tutor
    4x Vindicate (substituting in a couple Oblivion Rings until I can afford a playset)
    4x Gerrard's Verdict
    2x Wrath of God
    2x Damnation

    Land (24)
    4x Godless Shrine
    4x Fetid Heath
    4x Caves of Koilos
    1x Shizo, Death's Storehouse
    1x Eiganjo Castle
    2x Orzhova, Church of Deals
    3x Flagstones of Trokair
    2x Forbidding Watchtower
    2x Swamp
    1x Plains

    To start off with this deck, you want to either strip their hand away with Gerrard's Veridct or search for something good with Demonic Tutor. Once you have Graveborn muse in play, just start accumalating card advantage. If they try to attack, prevent the damage with Oriss, or block with Forbidding Watchtower. Finish off the game with Liliana Vess or Divinity of Pride. Above all, though, don't be afraid to Wrath often. With 4 wrath effects and 6 tutors, you can always get more.

    Lastly, there is a soft lock in this deck. See if you can find what it is.

    MountainKing's UBR Elemental Shenanigans:

    Supreme Exemplar x2
    Mulldrifter x3
    Mournwhelk x3
    Shriekmaw x3
    Spitebellows x3
    Inner-Flame Acolyte x3
    Stingscourger x3

    Proteus Staff x3
    Cauldron of Souls x3
    Cloudstone Curio x3
    Armillary Sphere x3

    Heat Shimmer x2

    Peel from Reality x2
    Turn to Mist x4

    Basic Swamp x6
    Basic Mountain x7
    Basic Island x7

    Sideboard (aka the Experiment Pile):
    Thrumming Stone
    Coalition Relic
    Cruel Ultimatum x3
    River Kelpie x2
    Heat Shimmer
    Mana Echoes x2
    Dawn of the Dead
    Tar Fiend x2
    Footbottom Feast x3

    The basic premise of the deck is to use the triggered come into play or leaves play effects on creatures, repeatedly, in order to bring about an effective soft lock on the game through denial. This is achieved through taking two keywords abilities (Evoke and Persist)... and breaking them soundly over your knee.

    The core of the deck is the interaction between Cauldron of Souls (the only card in the deck that gives creatures Persist) and Elemental creatures with Evoke alternative casting costs. In response to the Evoke's triggered effect, you tap Cauldron of Souls to give the Evoked creature Persist. It leaves play, then returns to play, causing its triggered come into play ability to go on the stack a second time, for no additional mana cost.

    Example: If I evoke a Mulldrifter for 2U, when it comes into play, I draw two cards. Since I paid the Evoke cost, the triggered effect goes on the stack. I give it Persist via Cauldron of Souls, and when it comes into play a second time, I draw two more cards.

    Example 2: The interaction between Spitebellows and Cauldron of Souls is fundamentally the same, except that the creature's ability triggers when it leaves play, rather than comes into play. However, when Persist brings Spitebellows back into play, it has a zero toughness courtesy of its -1/-1 counter from Persist, sending it cheerfully back to the graveyard a second time, allowing for either 12 damage to be done to one creature, or 6 damage to be done to two separate creatures.

    The typical play of the deck leaves it feeling like its ramping a little slowly. Turns 1-5, you'll probably only have played an Armillary Sphere, Cloudstone Curio, Cauldron of Souls, and land. ***NOTE*** This deck likes its mana, and digging up lands with the Armillary Sphere is crucial.

    Once turn 6 hits, however, you'll be causing some serious hurt, having surprisingly rapid, effective tools at your disposal during your turn. Mournwhelk empties your opponent's hand, Shriekmaw and Spitebellows tear down your opponent's creatures, while Stingscourger stalls out their creatures. Supreme Exemplar is the only huge beater in the deck, though clearing the opposing board, casting a Spitebellows (not Evoking), and then giving it +2/+0 and Haste via Inner-Flame Acolyte (if not +4/+0) can give you a suitable beater as well. Otherwise, your damage comes from lightweight, evasive creatures like Shriekmaw and Mulldrifter.

    This deck isn't especially meant to play against terribly competitive players, but it *can* perform against moderately fast decks. The difference is that it moves slightly slower, and loses out on creatures, because instead of holding on to your Evoke creatures, you'll be playing them in to deal with threats on board. I've got a list of cards that I personally intend to use to tinker with the deck even further, but I'll leave the deck *as is* for the purpose of posting it. I want people to be able to tinker with it, and the deck *does* work well in its current form.

    The deck also has a number of specific weaknesses, none of which should be terribly worried about. It's meant to be a fun deck... for you. It won't be fun for them.

    Maho-Tsukai's The Black Plague, a deck for multiplayer
    3x Cabal Coffers
    1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    20x Swamp

    2x Pestilence Demon
    4x Stuffy Doll
    4x Cemetary Gate
    4x Reassembling Skeleton

    4x Pestilence
    4x Circle of Affliction

    2x Consume Spirit
    4x Diabolic Tutor
    1x Demonic Tutor
    2x Bubbling Muck
    4x Dark Ritual
    1x Culling the Weak

    This is one deck that will make you absolutely hated in multiplayer. It's a mono-black deck that focuses on using the combination of Pestilence + Circle of Affliction (set to Black) to lock down the game by wiping the board every turn and kill your opponent(s) all at the same time.

    This deck acts very similar to the old school W/B decks that pared Pestilence with Circle of Protection: Black and Pro Black creatures like White Knight. However, due to the printing of cards like Reassembling Skeleton, Stuffy Doll and Circle of Affliction white this deck no longer needs white to run properly. Mono Black now has enough cards to emulate the white cards that this kind of deck used to rely on and by using only black you have more mana to pour into your main win condition, pestilence

    As for how the deck should be played, it's really a combination of combo and control, leaning heavily towards combo. As stated before, pestilence is your main wincon, as it can burn all players for damage continually. However, to prevent your own death, circle of affliction(set to black) is used in tandem with pestilence, the one life gained offsetting the burn from pestilence, while burning your opponent more in the process. As a result you goal should be to assemble this combo as soon as possible, using your defensively-minded creatures and removal from pestilence itself and twin consume spirits to stall out while you use your various tutors to assemble all the cards you need.

    The real beauty of this deck, though, is that pestilence also hits all creatures, meaning that each time you burn your opponent your also wiping his board clean of threats, essentially locking down any deck that tries to win with creatures. However, pestilence dies when you have no creatures, so you have to play creatures that can survive the enchantment. Cemetery Gate has protection from black. Reassembling Skeleton can revive himself after pestilence wipes him off the board. Stuffy Doll is indestructible....and as mentioned before all of them are strong defensive walls that can stall for time if you don't have a pestilence in play.

    As for the rest of the cards, most of them are devoted to gaining tons of black mana that can be poured into pestilence. One thing this deck tries to do is maximizing Pestilence by providing lots of ways to gain extra mana to pour into it. Dark Ritual is an old standby that's great for this kind of deck while bubbling muck essentially doubles your mana for a turn. This deck features the infamous all-star of black mana gain, Cabal Coffers which can make ridiculous amounts of mana, and Urborg makes this even more ridiculous. Culling the Weak is like a stronger dark ritual with a drawback....that happens to play well with Reassembling Skeleton.

    Consume Spirit provides a "finisher" as well as a way to pad your life from the times you may have had to use pestilence to wipe the board without a circle of affliction to prevent it's self-burn. It can also double as removal in a pinch, too. Also, if you find that you just need something really big and scary to beat face with, Pestilence demon comes ready to serve you, and can double as pestilence #5-6 too.

    The main thing you should remember in this deck is that while the combo is nice, you should not be a slave to it. If you have a pestilence in play but no circle you should not be afraid to wipe the board and eat some damage yourself. Losing a bit of life to end the thread of a creature hoard coming your way is a worthwhile trade, and one that could save your life in the long run.

    Please include lots of info on how to play the deck so that others can partake in the fun that is whatever deck you have destroyed the Multiverse with or help suggest other cards to increase the awesomeness contained in your 60 (or more) cards.
    Also, it should be noted that this list was maintained by Squark, tgva, and Johnny Blade before Shas and Duos.
    Also, if anyone wants to drop/update any of these decks, let me know.
    Last edited by tgva8889; 2012-07-03 at 08:27 AM.
    Thanks to araveugnitsuga for my Pika-tar!
    5e: Orianna OOC IC
    PTU: Alyssa OOC IC