Izzet Aggro? No, Really, is it?

Featured

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to bring you all a deck that was voted for by the good people of Twitter. Earlier this week I ran a poll allowing my followers to choose the colour combination of this weeks scheduled deck tech. The options available were Dimir (Blue/Black), Rakdos (Black/Red) and Izzet (Blue/Red) and after an initial draw between Dimir and Izzet our final victor in the follow up poll was Blue/Red!

This is one of my favourite colour combinations to brew and mess with due to the high volume of aggressive non-creature spells and efficient methods of sculpting your hand to be found amongst the card pool offering almost unreasonable flexibility. From here all I had to do was decide “What kind of Izzet deck do I want?” We’ve all seen the control mode which made a huge splash in Standard not too long ago but I wanted to run with something more suited to FNM than a feature-match table, good ol’ Izzet Spells Aggro!

Onwards, to the ingredients!

Creatures

4x Soul-Scar Mage
4x Daring Saboteur
4x Bloodwater Entity
4x Enigma Drake


To make this work we need a creature package to live in harmony with our suite of instants, either by receiving some benefit or facilitating the optimal hand. Soul-Scar Mage, to start with, has the old favourite keyword “Prowess” providing a temporary +1/+1 buff each and every time we cast a non-creature spell. On top of this he also turns the damage caused by our spells into permanent -1/-1 counters for the opposing creatures, a sort of two-step answer to Hazoret and other dudes with Indestructible.

Daring Saboteur doesn’t really benefit from our other spells but rather facilitates the sculpting of your ideal hand via doing combat damage, we can even use our excess mana to make this abseiling pirate unblockable and guarantee a loot effect. This can be very useful in a game where you either want to ensure you hit land number four or simply need some more interaction in hand to take care of a threat or go into overdrive and wreak some havoc.

Bloodwater Entity is another creature with evasion in the form of Flying, which makes the Prowess keyword all the more intimidating as the only limit to how much damage you put over their ground troops with this guy is your potential mana pool and cards in hand. It even facilitates it’s own Prowess triggers by returning any one Instant or Sorcery card from your Graveyard to the top of your own Library, meaning you can play it again the turn you want to attack and make sure you get at least one Prowess trigger.

Last in the main-deck menagerie is Enigma Drake, coming down and getting a huge bonus for all the spells you cast over the course of the game due to it’s power being equal to the number of Instant and Sorcery spells in your graveyard at any time. As a late game bomb or just a solid creature in the mid-game this card has potential to really spiral out of control and take over a game. If anything is going to eat a removal spell out of the opponents hand, I’d be betting on Enigma Drake.

Non-Creature Spells:

4x Opt
4x Shock
4x Lightning Strike
2x Abrade
3x Repeating Barrage
3x Heiroglyphic Illuminations


In a deck like this it’s useful to note that all of your non-creature spells have a good chance of doing more than they naturally should, due to the presence of Prowess triggers. This can lead to some very interesting decisions on when to play spells and how to get the maximum amount of damage in. With Opt, this isn’t a question you would normally find yourself asking, as it has the sole purpose of drawing you a card after scrying. But here it can turn on a Prowess trigger and find you a burn spell or removal, thus getting another Prowess trigger if you can cast the newly found spell and ultimately making your Soul-Scar Mage, Bloodwater Entity and Enigma Drake far more dangerous than they otherwise would be.

Shock and Lightning Strike are cheap staples in any Standard burn/red-based aggro decks, once again triggering Prowess for next to nothing and also doing damage to face or clearing the path of obstacles in the way of your attackers. Abrade fulfils a strictly removal niche, either causing three damage points to a creature or outright destroying an Artifact. Plenty useful in this, the world of God-Pharaoh’s Gift and as a result we run two in the main board by default.


Repeating Barrage is one of those spells that doesn’t want to stay gone once you’ve cast it and can be returned to your hand for a moderate fee, which in the late game you’d be happy to pay to get back a Prowess enabler that’s capable of going straight to the opponents face for three damage or potentially removing a creature from contention in future combat phases.

Heiroglyphic Illumination offers versatility as a spell to either cast when in need of a couple more cards and a Prowess trigger or you can just cycle away when it just isn’t doing the business for you and mana is a concern.

To close out the main deck spells we have Sweltering Suns, an excellent reset button against other fast aggro strategies and, much like our previous card, can be cycled for another when it isn’t relevant. I’d also like to remind you that with a Soul-Scar Mage on board this would put three -1/-1 counters on EVERY opposition creature permanently and if you can trigger prowess a couple of times before it resolves your mage will even live through the damage!

Land:

4x Spirebluff Canal
6x Island
12x Mountain

Spirebluff Canal

In order to cast spells we need mana and since this deck is mostly red there is a heavy slant towards Mountains compared to a relatively low number of Islands, but we do run a full playset of Spirebluff Canal in order to facilitate both of our colour requirements.

Sideboard:

2x Abrade
2x Sorcerous Spyglass
3x Negate
2x Spellweaver Eternal
2x Neheb, the Eternal
2x Field of Ruin
2x Crook of Condemnation


In th sideboard we fill out the playset of Abrade for those games against God-Pharaoh’s Gift, Sorcerous Spyglass to get some early information on what the opponent is up to in game two and shut down a card (I’m thinking Walking Ballista or Hazoret). Negate allows us to pick our battle when we really need something to resolve and stay on the board for the win where it may be countered or removed and Crook of Condemnation can fairly effectively combat Torrential Gearhulk strategies as we wipe the field of graveyards in general. Field of ruin is another card for the control matchup, usually taking care of one of the many flip lands in Ixalan and helping us fix for our second colour.

In games where we struggle to get damage through I’ve elected to try out Spellweaver Eternal, a creature which still has Prowess but also causes the opponent to lose life for blocking it through the Afflict mechanic. Following in a similar vein we get to use Neheb, The Eternal, a bigger, badder Afflict creature that generates mana post-combat based on how much life your opponent has lost so far that turn, allowing you to then throw out another creature or even a couple more burn spells to close out the game.

That’s about all I’ve got on this list so far and hopefully a few of you guys make it up, apply adjustments and take it for a spin. You can locate the complete deck on MTG Goldfish for pricing, just click the link!

If you do, you can let me know how it was on Twitter @GenericBadMtg or by email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com

Until next time, have fun, draw well and respect each other.

Yours,

GenericBadMagic.

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Y2k: Apocalypse of Steel

Hello My fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to bring you another Standard deck to bring along to your local game store for FNM or dominate the kitchen table. Today we look at a somewhat under-the-radar strategy that pops up every now and then without ever quite making the breakthrough to mainstream tournament play, it’s… a Tezzeret deck!

The goal is to Utilizing spells like Tezzeret, the Schemer, Tezzeret’s Touch and Chief of the Foundry to take over the board with artifacts of great power and toughness in order to beat down your bewildered opponents. There aren’t enough copies of Abrade in the world to stop your legion of obedient artifacts taking over the board like a fearsome horde of SkyNet T-800’s coming back from the future to assassinate the opponent.

Let’s take a look at what goes into making this happen.

Creatures

4x Ornithopter
4x Gifted Aetherborn
4x Chief of the Foundry
4x Hostage Taker


Four copies of the old crowd-pleaser, Ornithopter, gives us a free flying blocker in the early game with potential to completely take over the skies in conjunction with some of our other pieces.

Gifted Aetherborn is just a fantastic card when dealing with the current meta-game. Everything without Indestructible at worst trades off with this guy and you even gain some life from attacking or blocking.

Chief of the Foundry is the lord effect the deck needs to really overwhelm, a prime target for removal and four copies is usually good for drawing an abrade or two out of the opponents hand.

Hostage Taker fits well in the deck at the very least as temporary removal that may even steal one of the opponents better threats.

Instants and Sorceries

4x Opt
4x Fatal Push
2x Vraska’s Contempt


Opt, meaning to “make a choice” allows us to do exactly that, looking at the top card of your library and deciding if you want it or not. Do you choose what is revealed or the unknown below? All I know is I certainly opt to include a full playset of this card.

The best one drop removal spell in Magic, Fatal Push, also takes up a full playset as a way of staying ahead against Ramunap Red and other small-creature strategies in the early game.

Vraska’s Contempt comes in as a way to take out those bigger threats, a clean answer to a resolved Scarab God or Hazoret, which also gains you two life. This can be extremely relevant against the rising tide of aggro decks in the format.

Non Creature Artifacts

4x Aethersphere Harvester

Aethersphere Harvester

Aethersphere Harvester is one of the strongest Vehicles to come out of Aether Revolt, both due to having Flying and also fuelling its own Energy requirements for two turns, allowing you to choose the most strategic combat scenario to gain some life and stay ahead of the game.

The Tezzeret Package

4x Tezzeret’s Touch
4x Tezzeret, the Schemer


Tezzeret’s touch is a three mana investment to turn any of your non-token artifact army into a big ol’ 5/5 that doesn’t stay dead, giving your Ornithopters a real fear factor and likely forcing the opponent to use up an Abrade or Fatal push just to deal with it.

The main man himself is excellent as a four mana Planeswalker starting at 5 loyalty this means that with just a single +1 activation he can survive a hit from Torrential Gearhulk or Hour of Devastation. Big flavour win for Wizards right there! Speaking of his abilities, adding one loyalty counter to him provides you with an artifact that can be cashed in for one mana of any colour. This also helps to fuel both of his other… talents. Having lots of artifacts can really power up his -2 ability as a mode of removal, the more you have the greater the decrease in your targets toughness, this is an ability you should only really use on particularly threatening creatures and when the target is sure to die. If you make it to seven or more loyalty counters we get an emblem turning one of our artifacts into a 5/5 on each of our turns combat steps, taking over the board with huge threats (which you can keep generating by using his +1 ability. (if Tezzeret survives removing the counters in the first place)

Land

2x Evolving Wilds
2x Fetid Pools
4x Drowned Catacombs
4x Island
10x Swamp


Our three featured land all help to ensure we have both of our colours online as early as possible. Evolving wilds also offers the utility of enabling Revolt for our Fatal Pushes pretty much on demand. Fetid pools can always just cycle away for another card in the late game and Drowned Catacombs will come in untapped almost every single time after turn one.

Sideboard

3x Nimble Obstructionist
4x Spell Pierce
4x Costly Plunder
4x Walk the Plank


Nimble Obstructionist can offer us some versatility from the Sideboard, either coming in as a flyer at instant speed or cycling to counter an activated or triggered ability you really don’t want to happen (think Ramunap Ruins, Bristling Hydra or Hazoret).

Spell Pierce comes in and acts as insulation in the early game from control decks, allowing us the time we need to get set up with minimal disruption.

Costly Plunder is the new Altars Reap, except with even less downside in this deck. Any of our Etherium Cells or other artifacts can be cashed in for two cards off the top of your deck.

Walk the Plank is the downgraded replacement for Grasp of Darkness in this format, removing most threats. Surprisingly this spell has really come into its own in a format yet to see a major Merfolk uprising… (hint, hint, check the link)

Conclusion

This deck has some great synergy and is a very strong contender at FNM level, maybe missing something to take it really over the top, but still good if you want to have fun beating people with a legion of animated toasters and microwaves.

So try this deck out for yourself and let me know what you think, full credit has to go to Matthew Tidcombe, a player out of my LGS who’s had this deck built since Kaladesh, tinkering with each new set release.

As always you can find me here, on twitter @GenericBadMtg or by email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com.

Thanks also to @wintargetgame for the recent interview which has been posted up on the Life Successfully website along with interviews of other small content creators like Magic with Zuby, MTG Youngmage and Orcs Head Magic, so please go check them out and support the online content creator community.

That’s about all I have to say today so until next time remember to  draw well and respect each other.

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

Arcane Gene-Splicing: A Mad Scientists Dream

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

In this era of modern science and technology have you ever wanted push the boundaries and cross breed horses and cats with… well, everything? Meet me in a reality where science meets magic and I’ll show you, though the medium of my new deck… Arcane Gene-Splicing!

It’s Mathew here from GenericBadMagic to show you a brew of mine that takes everything from Humans to Artifacts and turns them into weirdly intimidating Cat/Horse… things. We do this by splashing Blue in our otherwise mono-white list for one of the weirder junk rares from Ixalan, Arcane Adaptation. Lets take a look at the creatures we have to play with here.

The Creature Package

4x Crested Sunmare
3x Regal Caracal
4x Metallic Mimic
3x Annointer Priest
3x Cloudblazer

So to start with we have Crested Sunmare and Regal Caracal as our ideal cards to take advantage of  Arcane Adaptation. Offering our chosen tribe either indestructible as a Horse, lifelink and +1/+1 as a Cat or even both with two Adaptations in play. This is then supported by Metallic Mimic as we simply name the creature type chosen with Adaptation to ensure everything enters with a +1/+1 counter on it.

To help our game-plan as best we can you can find both Annointer Priest and Cloudblazer in the creature suite. Annointer Priest gains us life from tokens entering the battlefield (through Sunmare or other sources) and Cloudblazer doing what it does best with lifegain and card draw on entering the battlefield, fulfilling the criteria on Sunmare to create a horse token and giving us something else to use our blue mana on.

Non-Creature Spells

4x Oketra’s Monument
4x Annointed Procession
4x Arcane Adaptation
4x Legion’s Landing
4x Cast Out
2x Settle the Wreckage

Our non-creature suite is where we see how I’ve put together the white cores of U/W Monument and the currently popular Abzan Tokens deck to generate advantage through token generation whilst also introducing tribal synergy to the mix. Monument creates a 1/1 Warrior whenever I cast any of my creatures, which are all cheaper due to being white, this token then subsequently gains us life from Annointer Priest. Annointed Procession will double this impact and in conjunction with Arcane Adaptation everything comes in with Indstructible or Lifelink due to the tribal synergies afforded by Sunmare and Caracal.

Legion’s Landing is the ideal turn one play as it offers long game inevitability in token generation after flipping into Adanto and the vampires it generates can keep you ahead on life. Cast Out is a must, taking care of prominent threats like The Scarab God or Hazoret and cycling for another card when it’s sitting dead in our hand while Settle the Wreckage can clear the board of aggressive decks when we’re on the back foot.

Land

4x Glacial Fortress
2x Field of Ruin
1x Scavenger Grounds
10x Plains
4x Island

Our mana-base is fairly stock with four copies of Glacial Fortress to enable our spells of either colour, two Field of Ruin to combat the opponents non-basic lands like Adanto or Orazca. A single Scavenger Grounds helps remove graveyards to minimise the impact of The Scarab God or Torrential Gearhulk and a ten to four split of Plains to Islands to round it all off.

Sideboard

2x Fumigate
3x Oketra’s Last Mercy
3x Gideon’s Intervention
2x Cataclysmic Gearhulk
4x Forsake the Worldly
1x Sorcerous Spyglass

Our sideboard options can help to insulate against aggro and combo decks. Fumigate clears the board and gains us life. Gideon’s Intervention targets Approach of the Second Sun and kills their game-plan dead while Cataclysmic Gearhulk can beneficially reset the board state, serving as both a vigilant attacker and an intimidating blocker. Four copies of Forsake the Worldly targets opposing Search for Azcanta or God-Pharaoh’s Gift to significantly cripple the engines of U/B control and the various Gifts decks in the current format. If we find ourselves in dire need of a reset we can fire off Oketra’s Last Mercy to return our life-total to 20 and allow us that extra turn or two to turn the corner. The last inclusion in sideboard is a one of Sorcerous Spyglass, a silver bullet to negate the Activated Abilities of cards like Orazca, The Sunken Ruin, Hazoret or even Ramunap Ruins.


In Closing

This deck is most certainly a work in progress but one I feel you can have a lot of fun with, even if just role-playing as a mad scientist with an army of Cat/Horse-abominations (obviously my chief motivating factor). I highly recommend you try this list out and let me know what you think!

As for in game decisions I feel the first tribe chosen from Arcane Adaptation will usually be horses. The ability to give all of your tokens and other creatures indestructible from the off is excellent, allowing you to block favourably and leverage better positions throughout the game. The second Adaptation will likely nominate Cats to assist in gaining life and generating more and more Horses to take over or force a board stall.

Please hit me up on Twitter @GenericBadMtg or email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com with your feedback, if you like the article tell your friends and follow the blog for email updates when I post anything new!

In the next month or two I should also be up and running with a stream playing Magic online on Twitch and maybe even have YouTube in the works. But while we wait I’ll keep on writing up (hopefully) interesting deck lists for you all to try out!

Until next time, have fun, draw well and respect one another,

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

Simic Merfolk: Aggro With Gills

Hello my fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew here from GenericBadMagic bringing you a new list, fresh from the rivers of Ixalan, yes it’s U/G Merfolk! Now anyone who’s ever played Magic anywhere other than the kitchen table probably knows that Merfolk is a strong tribal deck in Modern, usually relying on powerful Merfolk Lords and Spreading Seas to lock down the opponents mana base, but with the new set comes all sorts of Standard Fish-Person potential. This deck really focuses on swarming the board early and going for the throat, but has the potential to go longer and eventually overwhelm the opponent with beefed up, unblockable and very, very angry dudes.

Credit for this list has to go to Mark Shepherd and Daniel Hunter, both players from my local game store who I have known for a very long time and always have a lot of fun playing against. In fact, this list has done all but 4-0 for the last two FNM’s, not too shabby boys.

So without further ado, lets dive in (get it?) and have a look at…

The Creature Package

4x Kumena’s Speaker
4x River Sneak
4x Merfolk Branchwalkers
3x Herald of Secret Streams
3x Vineshaper Mystic
4x Metallic Mimic
2x Kopala, Warden of waves
1x Tempest Caller
2x Verdurous Gearhulks


To start with we have four copies of Kumena’s Speaker, River Sneak and Merfolk Branchwalker for our opening two turns, each applying pressure in a slightly different way. Speaker has a sort of watered-down Wild Nacatl ability and will almost always be attacking for two damage on turn two, River Sneak gets in under the opposition by being unblockable and even gains a temporary boost whenever you cast one of its buddies and Merfolk Branchwalker offers card advantage through explore, either grabbing you a land from the top of your deck or beefing up and giving the option of binning the top card or keeping it for your next draw.


Three copies of Vineshaper Mystic helps you get permanent +1/+1 counters on your unblockable creature and can even put itself out of reach of spells like Sweltering Suns or Essence Extraction and Herald of Secret Streams makes all of your beefed up Merfolk unblockable, helping you through board stalls you may encounter against the likes of Temur Energy or that one Naya Dinosaur deck that shows up every single FNM. (because there’s no party like a Carnage Tyrant party these days right?)

I want to take a moment to talk about Kopala now, this is a card I can see making it’s way into Modern Merfolk, even just as a budget alternative to Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. Sure, he doesn’t outright counter the spell or ability, but he does tax the heck out of it and is also another Merfolk to receive a boost from the likes of Lord of Atlantis or Master of the Pearl Trident. So yeah, Modern playable, just think about it. In this deck anyway he’s still super sweet just through making spot removal that much harder for the opponent to utilise.

 

To close out our mass of twenty-seven creatures we have one copy of Tempest Caller, to tap down the entire opposition board when unblockable dudes just aren’t enough, four copies of Metallic Mimic because he it goes in every tribal deck ever since his arrival in Aether revolt. Here he makes your guys come in bigger and stronger and will even benefit from tribal perks which, to my eye, merits a maybe spot in modern Merfolk too. Our last creature is one that no one wants to see resolve opposite them, Verdurous Gearhulk, distributing four +1/+1 counters however you like among your creatures is an incredibly powerful ability and the fact we also get a 4/4 body with Trample to go with it, all for five mana I might add, is just great in this deck. Expect him to come along and close out games.

Despite being a creature based strategy we still find room for eleven non-creature spells to support our watery onslaught so lets have a run down.

Non-Creature Spells

2x Opt
3x Blossoming Defence
3x Deeproot Waters
3x Nissa, Steward of Element

 

Both of our one drop non-creature spells are instant speed so, much like The Spanish Inquisition, no one will see them coming.

Spanish Inquisition
Proud of me yet Dad?
But, Monty Python references aside, Blossoming Defence is instant speed protection from spot removal, or just a pump spell for those last points of damage while Opt lets you get that little bit deeper into your deck and find some of the stuff you need.

 

Deeproot Waters can generate a tonne of Merfolk tokens over the course of a game to help you run over the opponent or provide chump blockers for the big guns they may deplow and Nissa seems to have found herself a home, almost always getting something with her 0 ability if she has three or more Loyalty counters and closing out a game if you sink all the mana into her and start her on six or more.

Land

4x Unclaimed Territory
3x Hashep Oasis
3x Botanical Sanctum
1x Scavenger Grounds
5x Island
6x Forest

 

Our mana base is pretty simple, with Unclaimed Territory fixing mana for a chosen creature type (Merfolk, in case you hadn’t guessed) and Hashep Oasis giving us utility in the later game by buffing up a creature to get through some more damage. The single copy of Scavenger Grounds is a kind-of silver Bullet against Torrential Gearhulk, exiling  graveyards before it can enter the battlefield and bring back an instant. In all twenty-two land feels fine in this deck as everything is pretty low to the ground and the mana curve is more of an undulation than a big old hill.

Sideboard

3x Supreme Will
2x Negate
3x Crushing Canopy
3x Heroic Intervention
2x Essence Scatter
1x Rivers Rebuke
1x Crook of Condemnation

 

Our sideboard against control will almost always see a number of the above brought in as Negate and Supreme Will can deal with counterspells, while Heroic Intervention insulates us against sweepers and spot removal.

 

Essence Scatter and Rivers Rebuke help us to gain an advantage over our aggro counterparts and go wide strategies like Ramunap Red or Abzan Tokens.

 

Crushing Canopy comes in to attack opposing Flyers or Search for Azcanta, even taking care of Deeproot Waters in the mirror match while Crook of Condemnation can selectively remove cards with the ability to come back from the Graveyard or even just take away one (or all) spells an opposing Gearhulk can make use of.

In Closing

This deck is great fun to play against and just looks fantastic to pilot, it’s maybe missing a slight spark which is sure to come with Rivals of Ixalan and I may have a few suggestions for cards to switch out for (a catch all that gives information like Sorcerous spyglass would be great) but I would very highly recommend putting this deck together and taking it down to your local game store for a good time.

I’d love it if anyone who reads this wants to take the time to give me feedback and I’m always available through Twitter @GenericBadMtg or email at genericbadmtg@gmail.com

Until next time, have fun, draw well and respect each other.

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

 

New Standard: The Return of GenericBadMagic

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here and it’s been a few weeks since I last produced any content but in that time I’ve put together what could be a nice and competitive deck list with a twist for Ixalan Standard. Ever since the release of Hour of Devastation, and it’s namesake boardwipe, I’ve been dying to try out U/R control but never had the resource available to put a list together due to the costs of Torrential Gearhulk and Chandra, Torch of Defiance.

With the release of Ixalan I find myself with enough new and untested toys for the deck to really have me interested and today I’m going to talk you through my concept for what the deck could be.

As a disclaimer I will say this started out as a fairly stock list, in fact I copied the basis straight from the list Paul Cheon ran for Channel Fireball months ago on YouTube, this gave me an idea of how to put together the mana base, which is extremely important in control. I then proceeded to load the deck up with the usual staple spells and supplement them with new releases. Let’s take a look at the list and then I’ll talk about the unusual (or simply new) additions.

Land:

4x Aether Hub
4x Spirebluff Canal
11x Island
6x Mountain

Spells:

4x Opt
4x Spell Pierce
3x Harnessed Lightning
4x Lightning Strike
4x Censor
2x Fraying Sanity
2x Disallow
4x Glimmer of Genius
1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2x Vance’s Blasting Cannons / Spitfire Bastion

Creatures:

3x Torrential Gearhulk
2x Fleet Swallower

Sideboard:

1x Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2x Glorybringer
2x Sweltering Suns
2x Hour of Devastation
2x Abrade
2x Disallow
2x Magma Spray
2x Crook of Condemnation

The Usual Suspects

As I mentioned previously this list started out as an established template for the archetype. To supplement or even improve on the already established suite of instants and sorceries we see Opt, Spell Pierce and Lightning Strike join the staples of Glimmer of Genius, Disallow and Harnessed Lightning. The loss of Incendiary Flow to rotation is mitigated by Lightning Strike and it’s return to the Standard format, offering the same damage output and versatility to go for the dome, losing the exile effect but coming in at a whole mana cheaper for the privilege.


Torrential Gearhulk and Chandra, Torch of Defiance absolutely take their places at the head of this deck with Gearhulk often being the finisher on the eventual beatdown and Chandra providing mana, card advantage/damage, removing creatures or even potentially providing a pretty busted emblem.


The New Experiments

One more reason for the inclusion of Opt and Lightning Strike at such low mana slots is the addition of Vance’s Blasting Cannons to the deck. With an ability straight from the Khans mode to Outpost Seige it already offers solid enough card advantage but it’s true power (and reason for inclusion) lies in transforming the enchantment after casting our third spell of the turn.

Vance's Blasting Cannons
Welcome to the mana base, Spitfire Bastion! Of course we can use this to generate a red mana but where’s the fun in that? Just pay 3 mana (one of which must be red) and tap it to bolt any opposing creature or player. The perfect threat to hold up and significantly harder to remove than Dynavolt Tower, which would have filled the role of providing reach without our new toy.

Spitfire Bastion

The Alternate Ending

Another card that really excited me during spoiler season is Fleet Swallower, a 7 mana 6/6 fish which traumatises (rounded up instead of down) whenever it attacks. But how does that help? Always removing 50% of a library doesn’t get them to 0 cards, so how do we finish off this alternative win condition? Fraying Sanity. That’s how.


Fraying Sanity is an Enchantment Aura Curse which, at the end of every turn, causes the chosen opponent to put cards from the top of their library into their graveyard equal to the number of cards that hit the yard for them already that turn. So if they have 40 cards left when Fleet Swallower attacks they put 20 cards into the graveyard and when you pass turn they do it again. This should cause the opponent to lose on their own draw step since Laboratory Maniac is nowhere to be seen!

Contingency Planning

I’m very aware that the mill-win is an experimental inclusion for the archetype but I’m prepared to take that leap!

Supreme Will
A potential upgrade

Long term, to be more competitive if this doesn’t pay off, I can see the Fraying Sanity/Fleet Swallower combo being removed for a playset of Supreme Will, providing card advantage and more spells to trigger Vance’s Blasting Cannons.

In Closing

That’s about all I have about this list but it is the one I plan on playing long term, tuning and adjusting to the metagame in a bid to start putting up some results, starting with my first constructed PPTQ at the end of October!

If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to hit me up here or on Twitter @GenericBadMtg

You can also find this list for a more visual view at Mtg Goldfish

While your’re at it check out Kitchen Table Mtg for a wide selection of content creators (including myself) to enjoy.

Until next time, keep on Planeswalkin’

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

Posthumous Trampolining: Otherwise Known as U/B Zombie-Bounce

Hello My Fellow Planeswalker,

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to talk you through a ghoulish deck which is sure to send opposing creatures running back to their owners hands, this is Zombie-Bounce!

The flavour here is achieved by filling the deck with twenty-two creatures, mostly of the type Zombie, to strike fear into the hearts of your adversary. Their creatures will scurry back to their hands under the influence of spells like Compelling Deterrence and Unsubstantiate. Lets take a closer look at what makes this deck tick.

Creatures:

4x Cryptbreaker
2x Dread Wanderer
3x Relentless Dead
4x Prized Amalgam
3x Diregraf Colossus
2x Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2x The Scarab God
2x Gisa and Geralf

So, smaller creatures first, everyone knows the kind of engine that a Cryptbreaker can be in any Zombies list and here is no exception, helping you to generate tokens and draw cards rather effectively.

Dread Wanderer is another Zombie which can be tapped to help Cryptbreaker draw cards for you, whilst also being a recurring threat from the graveyard.

Following this same pattern Relentless Dead, whilst being evasive with Menace, allows us to chose either paying a single black mana to return it to our hand, or paying x mana of any colour to return a creature with Converted Mana Cost (CMC) x from the graveyard to the battlefield when Relentless Dead dies, turning itself, and your other creatures, into truly relentless threats.

All of the above help, in some way, to trigger Prized Amalgams return from the graveyard to the battlefield. With Cryptbreaker you can discard it, Dread Wander can bring them back by returning itself and Relentless Dead can revive them by returning another creature. A very tasty synergy in the early game indeed.


Diregraf Colossus is another big player in the Zombie decks which have been so prevalent lately, benefiting greatly from a stacked graveyard and generating tokens whenever you cast a zombie spell, another resource for Cryptbreaker!

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and his Lifelink can be a real thorn in the side of aggro decks, even converting their small creatures that die into 2/2 zombie tokens for yourself.

*Cough* Cryptbreaker *Cough*

He can even utilize these tokens with his activated ability to pump himself up with two +1/+1 tokens, intimidating all in his path!

The Scarab God really takes advantage of all these zombies gaining life and scrying for X (the number of zombies you control) during your Upkeep steps, making this ability even more useful by exiling creatures from your graveyard and making a 4/4 black zombie copy to further fuel your synergies. (have I mentioned Cryptbreaker recently?) Our creepy-crawly overlord also has the added advantage of just not staying dead, returning to it’s owners hand at the end step following it’s demise.

The final creature to tie all of this together is Gisa and Geralf, entering the battlefield to ship four cards from the top of your library off to the graveyard and hopefully dumping a couple of zombies to bring back later in the process. The second ability on these grisly siblings is allowing you to cast one zombie creature card from your graveyard on each of your turns as long as they are in play… a huge swing if you buried your Prized Amalgam’s in there earlier.

Planeswalkers:

2x Liliana, the Last Hope

Liliana, the last hope.jpg

Liliana presents a threat that must be answered, no one wants to see her remove seven loyalty counters and suddenly present an army with the power of exponential growth. No one except you, that is. To help her get there she can give up to one target creature -2/-1 until your next turn, somewhat protecting herself, for the benefit of adding a loyalty counter. With her minus ability also returning a creature from the graveyard to your hand you shouldn’t struggle to maintain a number of blockers to keep her safe and insulate your own life total.

Spells:

3x Cemetary Recruitment
3x Grasp of Darkness
3x Supreme Will
3x Unsubstantiate
3x Compelling Detterence


Let’s take a look at the Instant and Sorcery options that don’t bounce creatures. With Cemetery Recruitment we can return a creature card from the graveyard to our hand and, as an added benefit, draw a card if that creature was a Zombie… it probably will be!

Grasp of Darkness is solid removal, killing most creatures in the format, including Hazoret the Fervent, Standard just won’t be the same without it!

Supreme Will is brilliant for card advantage, either digging through our deck or acting as a counter spell when the opponent is low on mana.


These two spells both offer us ways of bouncing creatures back to the opponents hand and buying ourselves some time. Compelling Deterrence even hits nonland permanents in general and can knock back a Heart of Kiran or Skysovereign, Consul Flagship at will. Due to our large Zombie contingent the opponent will then often have to discard a card, which can be great when they’re nearing top-deck mode.

Land:

2x Choked Estuary
4x Sunken Hollow
2x Evolving Wilds
3x Island
10x Swamp


The mana base is pretty straight forward, Dual-Lands in the corresponding colours and Evolving Wilds because sometimes we just need to go find a blue source and thin out the deck a little bit. The heavy concentration of black mana symbols in the deck justifies only three islands, Evolving Wilds is just insurance for our fixing.

Sideboard:

3x Flaying Tendrils
2x Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2x Torment of Hailfire
3x Jace’s Defeat
3x Liliana’s Defeat


These cards in the sideboard all offer us a kind of boardwipe, Flaying Tendrils sweeps away most of the low toughness creatures you find in aggro strategies like Ramunap Red, Bontu’s Last Reckoning clears the board of all but indestructible things and claims your mana for an extra turn by not letting you untap and Torment of Hailfire (with enough of an investment) can eat your opponents hand, make them clear their own board and even eat into their life-total quite nicely if timed correctly.


To add to this versatility, Jace’s Defeat offers us a real silver bullet against control and in the event of countering a Jace Planeswalker also lets you scry 2 while Liliana’s Defeat can take down Nicol Bolas, Innistrad’s verion of Liliana (The Last Hope) or even a big black creature like Razaketh. If it does take down a Liliana Planeswalker the opponent also loses three life.

That’s the rundown of this deck and although it is due to rotate out shortly this really is a deck which can provide some real fun shenanigans, so could be worth it to put together and jam a little before rotation rolls around!

If you do try it out or otherwise want to give me feedback anyway please catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg

Next time out we’re going to look at the Dinosaur spoilers of Ixalan! (or at least my favourite ones)

Until then, have a good one,

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

Back to Standard: Jund Aggro

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

You know those decks you build in draft events and have a whole heap of fun with? The ones that make you say “I gotta make this in constructed”? Well for Alan Bruce, a fellow player out of Abbey Video Games in Arbroath, this is one such deck.

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to take you through a Jund Aggro deck which was built around two key cards in Draft; Samut, the Tested and Insult // Injury.

Let’s take a look…

Creatures

4x Greenbelt Rampager
4x Bloodrage Brawler
4x Servant of the Conduit
4x Rhonas the Indomitable
4x Bristling Hydra
2x Glorybringer


First up we have Greenbelt Rampager, a one mana 3/4 which requires you to pay two Energy when it enters the battlefield, if you cannot then it returns it to your hand and provides you with one Energy. Usually this card comes down and stays down on turn two as players use Attune With Aether on turn one to sort their mana out and gain a couple of Energy in the process, all in all this is a solid creature for the one mana investment.

Bloodrage Brawler at 4/3 for two mana is another good deal with the downside being that you must discard a card when it enters the battlefield. Having two Aftermath cards in Insult // Injury and Cut // Ribbons totalling six copies means you have a good chance of getting actual value out of this condition.

Servant of the Conduit is a reasonably good mana fixing creature that buys you a turn or two whilst trying to gain access to that third colour of land by tapping for one mana of any colour in exchange for one Energy.


Time to show off our more powerful creatures now with Rhonas, The Indomitable. It’s relatively easy to meet his condition for attacking or blocking due to our early game Bloodrage Brawler, meaning we can get in with Rhonas by turn four, the way the mothership intended! If this does not pan out as planned you can always use Rhonas to buff a creature or use turn four to put out a Bristling Hydra or  Glorybringer (Servant of the Conduit allowing), either way making Rhonas a threat as soon as possible.

Bristling Hydra is just one of the best cards in Standard right now, an absolute beater in Temur Energy builds due to the ability of making itself bigger And Hexproof for a turn at the cost of three Energy. It even pays for the first usage of the ability on entering the battlefield! Overall just a solid card.

Where to start with Glorybringer? The Dragon that just dominates in limited and can come down and shift the tempo substantially in the current Standard constructed format. A 4/4 Flyer with Haste for five mana seems like a good deal but when you can Exert during an attack and deal four damage to any non-Dragon creature you choose he can also work as a fantastic removal spell. Use him to clear the opponents flying blocker and get in for damage himself, or protect a valued asset on the ground, either way Glorybringer is a great card which is only going to get better when Grasp of Darkness rotates out of the format.

Spells:

3x Fatal Push
3x Attune with Aether
3x Cut // Ribbons
3x Insult // Injury


To start with we have three copies each of the following spells to help us further our gameplan and insulate ourselves against early threats. Fatal Push deals with creatures played in the early turns, while Attune with Aether helps us find a basic land to fix our mana and provides Energy for Servant of the Conduit, Greenbelt Rampager and Bristling Hydra.

Insult // Injury is an Aftermath card allowing us to double the damage output of sources you control for the rest of the turn and ruling out damage prevention for the opponent. The Injury side of it can be cast from the Graveyard and deals two damage to target player and the same to target creature.

Cut // Ribbons is a solid win condition in this deck and probably a card that I am very happy to discard for Bloodrage Brawler. In the late game having Ribbons online to cast from your graveyard is a huge thing to hold over the opponents head and forces them to sideboard in graveyard disruption as you can just sink mana into it and attempt to drain the last of their life. At its best, Cut // Ribbons is a great card and at the worst it influences how the opponent approaches the matchup, which is invaluable in itself.

Artifacts:

3x Heart of Kiran

img_3125
Heart of Kiran fits in here nicely, as a big Vigilant Flying threat it can be fairly sure to get in for some damage or at least force an Abrade out of the opponents hand. Another nice little interaction here is tapping Greenbelt Rampager to crew Heart of Kiran and bring Rhonas online at the same time, so this is definitely a justifiable inclusion.

Planeswalkers:

2x Samut, the Tested

Samut, The Tested.jpg
Samut is the second build-around card in this deck, alongside Cut // Ribbons, allowing you to give your creatures Double Strike until the end of turn, splitting two damage as you chose between target creatures or players or tutoring for two creature or Planeswalker cards and placing them onto the battlefield. She is not the strongest Planeswalker out there and probably would not be present in a deck built from the ground up, but this is a modification based on a Draft deck and her performance in Limited justifies the inclusion in a fun constructed build.

Land:

4x Moutnain
4x Forest
1x Swamp
4x Blooming Marsh
4x Aether Hub
4x Game Trail


Aether Hub allows us to fix our mana with the energy from Attune, whilst Blooming Marsh and Game Trail cover the three colours between them. The single Swamp inclusion is simply to give Attune a target if you are low on Black mana sources and need one fast.

Sideboard:

3x Magma Spray
2x Glorybringer
3x Sweltering Suns
2x Hazoret the Fervent
1x Samut, the Tested
2x Crook of Condemnation
2x Abrade


Magma Spray allows us to dispatch of those troublesome Scrapheap Scroungers and Relentless dead against Zombies whilst also taking care of most early game creatures in Ramunap Red decks.

Sweltering Suns is a great sweeper against these decks as well and can even be cycled away for another card if you decide it does not further your game plan.

Abrade helps to support the removal package whilst also offering modality, destroying any artifact from Heart of Kiran to God-Pharaoh’s Gift.


Crook of Condemnation helps you to shut down Graveyard shenanigans in Reanimator decks which look to utilize God-Pharaoh’s Gift but can also be used as precision removal for Scrapheap Scroungers and other naturally recurring creatures.

Hazoret makes this list because she is just an absolute powerhouse, you will rather regularly be left with few cards in hand and as a result Hazoret will be ready to beat face and keep her brother Rhonas ready for battle too!

Everything in this deck aside from Game Trail is rotation proof and can be enjoyed for quite some time, so I would encourage you all to try it out. Let me know what you would change about the list, what little edits do you feel can push this from an above average FNM deck to a Store Championship victor?

Catch me with your feedback on Twitter @GenericBadMtg

Check out Abbey Video Games at http://www.facebook.com/AbbeyVideoGames and stop by if you’re ever in Arbroath, Scotland on a Friday night for some good old Mtg fun!

Until next time, have a good one,

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

GP Birmingham Part 4: Always Take the Draw

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

A wise old man (sorry Shep) once said “Always take the draw”. You could be forgiven for thinking he refers to intentionally drawing, or ID’ing as it’s known to competitive Magic players, but he is, in fact, giving fantastic advice for the startup procedure in any game where you play with a very specific Modern fringe deck: 8-Rack.

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here to talk to you about 8-Rack, the deck chosen by Mark Shepherd, another one of the Arbroath players who attended GP Birmingham last weekend. Mark has been playing Magic for quite some time and often yearns for the old days of completely locking your opponent down and making them suffer for it (I said wise OLD man right?). 8-Rack fully facilitates this approach, stripping your opponent’s hand, removing their on-board threats and then dealing damage to them for having three or less cards in hand due to The Rack!

Always taking the draw and going second means you start the game effectively with one or two more cards than the opponent and it means they are holding less cards for you to take away before The Rack or Shrieking Affliction come online.

Lets start by looking at the cards which spawn the name…

The Win Condition:

4x The Rack
4x Shrieking Affliction

 

So, the deck runs four copies of a card called The Rack, when this card comes into play you choose an opponent, then at the beginning of that player’s Upkeep step The Rack deals X damage to them, X is equal to three minus the number of cards they have in hand. This means that with one card in hand the opponent takes two damage.

The deck also runs four copies of Shrieking Affliction, which causes each opponent to lose three life at the beginning of their upkeep if they have one or less cards in hand, an effect pretty similar to The Rack.

So in essence, it’s like just having eight copies of The Rack! (It took me longer to realize that was why than I’d like to admit)

To support The Rack and Shrieking Affliction we have a number of Spells which cause the opponent’s hand size to diminish in some way, let’s have a look:

Discard and Removal Spells:

2x Thoughtseize
4x Inquisition of Kozilek
3x Raven’s Crime
3x Wrench Mind
2x Collective Brutality
4x Smallpox
1x Surgical Extraction
2x Dismember
3x Fatal Push

 

These are your premium, turn one cards for gleaning information and starting to shrink the opponent’s hand size. Remember to always Thoughtseize first, because it can hit any nonland card AND let you know if an Inquisition will catch anything next turn.

 

Who can argue with the effectiveness of repeatedly forcing your opponent to discard a card? Raven’s Crime offers that value, retracing from your graveyard if you have a spare Land in your hand to discard in addition to one black mana. Better yet, it does not exile itself from your graveyard like a lot of similar re-usable spells do!

Wrench Mind is great if you know they either have a great artifact in hand that you’d like to encourage the opponent to discard and even if you know they don’t! Forcing two cards out of someone’s hand for only two coloured mana which is easily produced in your deck translates to superb value and really furthers your gameplan.


Collective Brutality offers modality, the first choice is always to look at the opponent’s hand and try to choose an Instant or Sorcery, forcing the opponent to discard it, but you can also shrink an opposing creature or drain the opponent for two life in addition to this by simply discarding a card for each additional effect.

Smallpox is ideal for forcing a discard, Land sacrifice, creature sacrifice and the loss of one life, this can be a real pain for the opponent in the early stages of the game when mana fixing is still a priority and can be devastating for Tron players, setting them back a whole extra turn from a Karn or Ugin, a pretty huge tempo shift in that example.

What do we do when we’ve removed a key piece? A Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle perhaps, or a Death’s Shadow? We use Surgical Extraction of course! This nifty silver bullet can force the opposition straight into Plan B, likely taking them more time to become effective and sometimes just shutting them down altogether!

Want to draw the opponent’s attention away from your life total and represent more soul-crushing hand disruption? Look no further than…

Planeswalkers:

4x Liliana of the Veil

Liliana

 

Hey look, it’s everyone’s favourite necromancer, worth, quite literally, more than her own weight in gold! (cardboard doesn’t weigh much) She has fun forcing each player to discard a card, effectively suppressing your opponent when they run out of things to do, whilst letting your win conditions do their thing. She can also force the opponent to sacrifice a creature or, if the game goes long, she can even let you separate an opponent’s permanents into two piles and let you watch them agonize over which one to sacrifice… Delicious, salty tears should follow.

As with most decks we need a solid Mana Base to support these actions, so here it is:

Land:

4x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4x Mutavault
4x Concealed Courtyard
2x Godless Shrine
2x Bloodstained Mire
2x Verdant Catacombs
6x Swamps

 

Mutavault allows us to use our mana in the late game to turn it into a creature and get in for two damage a turn, a reliable, if frustrating for your opponent, way to win a war of attrition. (I mean, who wants to be on a ten turn clock?) Bloodstained Mire and Verdant Catacombs both fetch for our Swamps or Godless Shrines whilst also representing that we may are in Jund colours and hinting at Death’s Shadow, likely influencing how the opponent plays out the first few turns.

Godless Shrine and Concealed Courtyard both provide white mana which facilitates a sideboard strategy that requires us to go into a second colour.

But what ties this together nicely is Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, making everything a swamp, even the fetches, meaning they can tap for black mana and anything in our mainboard can then be cast with any configuration of other Land plus Urborg.

Lets have a look at what we bring in against some of the strategies we may face:

Sideboard:
3x Ensnaring Bridge
2x Disenchant
1x Fragmentize
2x Surgical Extraction
2x Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2x Relic of Progenitus
1x Leyline of the Void
2x Death’s Shadow

 

Disenchant and Fragmentize offer two answers to Leyline of Sanctity, letting us continue to target the opponent with our forced discard spells.

 

Bontu’s last Reckoning is excellent when facing off against Mid-Range or Go-Wide strategies, while Ensnaring Bridge helps prevent the opponent attacking. Bridge also helps as it means the opponent is unlikely to get an attack in while you wait for Land to untap after Bontu’s Last Reckoning.

 

Both Relic of Progenitus and Leyline of the Void help to insulate us against Living End and Death’s Shadow builds, partly because the opponent can’t delve for a Tasigur but also because Living End can’t remove it’s graveyard from play and dump it on the field if it doesn’t have one!

Death's Shadow

 

Last up in sideboard it’s Death’s Shadow himself, due to the deck having no creatures in the mainboard, this guy can usually come in and meet zero removal and force the opponent to board a lot of it back in, even though you might have boarded them out for game three. (Thanks Shep…) Such is the polarizing effect this can have on any game, totally changing how the opponent plays.

Referring back to my first statement, regarding always take the draw, there are exceptions to this rule. Mark found, through his performance in the main event that any decks that run Chalice of the Void can usually lock out your one mana spells on turn two, before you have much of a chance to take them from the opponent’s hand. This means that Affinity or Tron are two such matches that you would likely prefer to be going first, in order to give yourself as much of a chance as possible to take it out before it wrecks your game plan.

Mark managed to put in a solid performance with this fringe deck, running up a record of 5-4 in the main event. To put that into perspective, I only know of one other player at the whole tournament on that deck, because I played them in round six! This really did nearly come out of nowhere and steal a strong finish. I find myself wanting to have a shot myself…

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this deck and that then marks the end of the GP Birmingham article series so I’d like to thank Alan, Matt and Mark for letting me write up their decks to provide content to you all.

I’d also like to thank yourselves for taking the time out of your lives to read this, in favour of other content out there, so thank you.

And one last thanks has to go out to the great people I met at GP Birmingham last weekend, from the staff to the judges and my opponents… You were all fantastic. Thanks especially to Jordan and Luke from Orcs Head Magic and also Holt Hauser from Murphy’s Vault in Edinburgh for always being available to have a chat, discuss game records and generally console each other when it went pear-shaped!

Catch Jordan @OrcsHeadJordan, Luke @OrcsHeadLuke and Holt @CapnPowerHaus on Twitter

Until my next scheduled Friday article, I reckon I deserve a rest! (Four articles in four days is more than I expected!)

Have a good one.

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

 

GP Birmingham Part 3: Life, Burn and Taxes

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers,

Mathew from GenericBadMagic here for you with the third of four decks taken to GP Birmingham by my playgroup. This particular deck is an exciting, new, creature-centric take on Burn which made it to a 3-6 record in the main event. It was designed completely by Matthew Tidcombe, who plays out of Abbey Video Games in Arbroath, Scotland. Let’s take a look at the list!

Creatures:

4x Seeker of the Way
4x Soulfire Grand Master
4x Boros Reckoner
4x Thunderbreak Regent
4x Monastery Swiftspear
4x Vexing Devil

 

Monastary Swiftspear is a staple one-drop in Burn and naturally makes an appearance here with eighteen mainboard spells of the non-creature variety to trigger Prowess. Following a similar theme Seeker of the Way also appears with Prowess and the additional benefit of gaining Lifelink until the end of the turn if you cast a non-creature spell, helping you to stay ahead on life total or make a trade during combat more favourable. To finish off the Khans of Tarkir complement of creatures we have Soulfire Grand Master a two-drop who already has Lifelink and a static ability that gives all of your Instant and Sorcery spells Lifelink too! This means Lightning Bolt puts six points between you and your opponents while Lightning Helix becomes a nine point swing.

Vexing Devils acts as a psuedo-burn spell, offering the opponent the opportunity to take four damage immediately, forcing you to sacrifice it, or having to trade with it later in combat or by using a removal spell, possibly taking more damage in the long-term. Boros Reckoner is excellent against any creature heavy deck or strategy involving targeted spells which deal damage as it can hit back for the same amount, but at target creature or player. Thunderbreak Regent has a similar effect, dealing Lightning Bolt damage to any player who dares to target her with a spell or ability whilst also being a 4/4 Flying threat for four mana… Pretty sweet deal I would say.

Planeswalkers:

2x Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Chandra TOD

Chandra can really help this deck live on into the late game, with her ability to create mana by adding one loyalty counter she can assist with casting your burn spells, she can also add one counter to offer card advantage by exiling the top card of your library but allowing you to cast it, but if you can’t or don’t want to cast it she will act as a repeatable shock to each opponent. Her ability to remove three counters and deal four damage to target creature can serve as solid spot removal for most mid-sized threats and if you manage to get her to seven loyalty you can remove all counters from her and deal five damage to target creature or player whenever you cast any spell for the remainder of the game! If you play red and you need to have some level of control on the game then Chandra, Torch of Defiance is for you.

Instants:

4x Lightning Bolt
4x Boros Charm
4x Lightning Helix
4x Deflecting Palm

 

Now we have four burn staples to tie the deck together. Lightning Bolt does what it’s been doing best since the dawn of Magic, dealing three damage either to a creature or to the dome. What this deck does though is make Bolt even better, allowing you to gain three life via Soulfire Grand Master turns Bolt into a cheaper Lightning Helix and even turns Helix into something much better! Boros Charm can really help push through some extra damage, make your permanents Indestructible or even give a creature Double-Strike until the end of the turn all while triggering prowess on your Swiftspears or Seekers. Last up is Deflecting Palm, useful in not just preventing lethal damage, but reversing it and since Palm is doing the damage, you still gain life from Soulfire Grand Master’s ability.

Land:

4x Sacred Foundry
4x Inspiring Vantage
5x Mountain
5x Plains

 

One thing about this deck which did concern me was the mana base, eighteen land feels like too little and to be honest I feel like the extra three or even four would have allowed this list to go a lot further in the main event. Too many times we would hear that the deck was mana screwed but this was always put down to bad luck. I’m not so convinced and if this were my own list the likely drop-out would be Thunderbreak Regent (due to no dragon synergy) for a playset of Arid Mesa, thinning the deck out slightly better and resulting in stronger opening draws. If a deck was ever made to not care about fetching then this is it, so much life can be gained in a single turn that four damage for four fetches is a complete non-issue.

Sideboard:

2x Sweltering Suns
4x Disenchant
4x Smash to Smithereens
2x Tormund’s Crypt
3x Ghostly Prison

 

In sideboard, to combat go-wide strategies, we have Sweltering Suns, which if timed right, can gain us a tonne of life courtesy of Soulfire Grand Master. Disenchant helps us to survive the Leyline of Sanctity match-ups, while Smash to Smithereens comes in as another answer to Ensnaring Bridge, removing it whilst also dealing three damage to face. Ghostly prison also helps to insulate us against Abzan Little Kids or other mid-range decks and Tormod’s Crypt removes target players Graveyard, shutting down Living End or Delve decks.

This is all I have for this deck but I would recommend that you make the adjustment to the mana base and then try it out, I feel that, from my limited Modern experience, this is fairly well suited as a deck out of left-field that can take many of the established archetypes by surprise! So let me know what you think and what you would change, is there anything in the list that I’ve missed?

Catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg with your feedback!

Next up tomorrow it’s a deliciously evil deck that you either love or hate… no it’s not Marmite spread on the inside of card sleeves, it’s 8-Rack!

Until then, have a good one.

Yours,

GenericBadMagic

GP Birmingham Part 2: Tron without the Sci-Fi

Hello My Fellow Planeswalkers!

Mathew from GenericBadMtg here again to bring you the second of four decks which were taken to GP Birmingham by my travelling partners and I from Arbroath. Today we have some old-school R/G Tron to look at, the list was run by Alan Butchart-Stewart to a 5-4 finish and boy was he close to reaching day two, losing out in the very last round! Lets take a look shall we?

So we all know the idea with Tron is to assemble all of the Urza Lands as early as possible (turn three please!) to ramp into huge threats like Karn or Ugin, allowing us to control the board until we find and drop a game-ending threat like World Breaker or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, but lets look at the individual pieces here to start with.

Creatures
1x Walking Ballista
2x Thought-Knot Seer
2x Wurmcoil Engine
1x World Breaker
3x Ulamog the Ceaseless Hunger

 

To start off our roster of creatures we have a single copy of Walking Ballista, essentially filling every slot in the curve, an early game chump blocker or a late game powerhouse, always offering the threat of turning himself into a machine gun and taking down an creature or chipping away at the opponents life total.

Next up, we run a two of Thought-Knot Seer, coming down and ripping a card out of the opponents hand and giving us a solid 4/4 body to hold off in those games where achieving the perfect “Tronity” (pardon the pun) is proving difficult.

Another solid inclusion in this deck are two Wurmcoil Engine, a big old 6/6 with both Deathtouch and Lifelink that, when killed, spawns two 3/3 Wurm Artifact Creature Tokens, one with Deathtouch and the other with Lifelink! It can be very hard to eradicate that kind of value for the opponent and is not always easy to come back from.

Our other “one of” creature is World Breaker, a 5/7 with Reach for seven mana that can come down and cut the opponent off at the legs, exiling a land, artifact or enchantment card. In addition to this, World Breaker can even return from your Graveyard to your hand for the cost of three mana and discarding a land of your own, talk about hard to kill!

Last up in the Tron petting zoo is the Eldrazi Titan himself, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger! A 10/10 for ten colourless mana that comes down, exiles two permanents (yes, even land), has Indestructible and even causes your opponent to exile the top twenty cards of their library when he attacks… That’s one third of the optimal starting number of cards completely gone. This is huge and as we saw in Standard before the banning of Aetherworks Marvel, a turn four, five or even six Ulamog is unbelievably difficult to come back from.

Now that the creatures are all accounted for, lets look at where we take over the game… Planeswalkers:

Planeswalkers:
4x Karn, Liberated
3x Ugin the Spirit Dragon

Our not-so-gruesome twosome here are the Tron staples of Karn and Ugin, the best Planeswalkers that colourless ramp can access. Let’s see what they have to offer:


Karn gives us the utility to force a discard into exile from the opponents hand whilst also bringing himself closer to his ultimate ability, exiling any target permanent on the board, or, when he does reach fourteen loyalty counters, restarting the entire game and giving you access to all non-aura permanents that Karn managed to exile at the start of this new game. A common trick you may find here is to exile your own Ugin to Karn before restarting the game on the next turn, making for an insane turn one advantage.

This brings us nicely on to what Ugin can do for us. By adding two loyalty counters to Ugin he can serve as a once-per-turn Lightning Bolt, you can use him as a board wipe by removing counters from him and exiling all coloured permanents with CMC lower than the number of counters removed this way. Or you can remove a set ten counters to gain seven life, draw seven cards and then put up to seven permanents from your hand on to the battlefield. This last ability is a massive life gain, a hand refill AND a hand dump, pretty great advantage and very likely to come off if you followed the “exile Ugin, restart the game” plan from before!

Other Spells:
4x Chromatic Star
4x Chromatic Sphere
4x Expedition Map
3x Oblivion Stone
4x Sylvan Scrying
4x Ancient Stirrings
1x Fog

Our other spells can be put into two categories:

Ramp:- Chromatic Sphere, Chromatic Star, Expedition Map, Sylvan Scrying and Ancient Stirrings

 

Chromatic Sphere and Star both sacrifice to add one mana of any colour to your mana pool and draw you a card, whilst Expedition Map and Sylvan Scrying both let you tutor for a particular land, Helping you assemble Tron. Ancient Stirrings can either find you a Land card or a giant Eldrazi to close out the game later on.

And other: Oblivion Stone and Fog


Oblivion Stone is just a really powerful board wipe and puts real pressure on the opponent to try and close out the game whilst Fog is… well it’s Fog! No one expects it in the main board and certainly not in a Modern deck! I’m sure the guys from Mana Screwed would appreciate this addition, I mean, all I could think about when I saw this list was THAT play in Episode three.

Now for the most important factor to performance: Breakfast… wait, no, the Mana Base. (Breakfast is also important, eat your cereal)

Land:
4x Urzas Power Plant
4x Urzas Tower
4x Urzas Mine
4x Grove of the Burnwillows
1x Sea-Gate Wreckage
1x Sanctum of Ugin
1x Ghost Quarter
1x Forest


As we all know, the deck revolves largely around getting the three Urza Land out as quickly as possible because, with just a single copy of each the three of them they combine for seven mana, which can lead to a Karn on Turn three and a highly advanced boardstate which the opponent may not be able to get around.

 

In addition to our single Forest we run four Grove of the Burnwillows, a Green source for Sylvan Scrying, Ancient Stirrings and Fog, but also a Red source for Kozilek’s Return in the post sideboard games. Sea Gate Wreckage can help you by drawing a card, whilst Sanctum of Ugin provides colourless mana and can help you tutor for Ulamog after playing Karn or Ugin. Last up in the Mana Base is Ghost Quarter, which can help take out the annoying Non-Basic Lands, including the opponents Tron Land in the mirror match, offering you a small edge considering the lack of Basic Lands the deck will run.

One fun interaction over the weekend involved Grove of the Burnwillows, Alan’s opponent put down a 1/1 Death’s Shadow to apply some early pressure. Alan decides to play Grove, tap for green mana, giving the opponent one life, killing the Death’s Shadow before casting Ancient Stirrings to find more Land. A similar thing even happened in the late game as Alan floated three Green mana with three separate Groves to give the opponent three life and take their Death’s Shadow out of lethal damage range, going on to win the game.

Let’s look now to our sideboard and how we look to deal with some of the match-ups we may be presented.

Sideboard:
3x Relic of Progenitus
1x Surgical Extraction
1x Crucible of Worlds
1x Life From the Loam
3x Nature’s Claim
1x Oblivion Stone
1x Wurmcoil Engine
1x Thragtusk
1x All is Dust
2x Kozilek’s Return

EN MTGHOP Cards V3.indd

Relic of Progenitus stands up beautifully to the Death’s Shadow match-up, keeping their Graveyard in check and preventing Tasigur from coming down too early, but can also be used later on to just empty the Graveyards and draw you a card.

Surgical Extraction

Surgical Extraction works against the mirror match, where you Ghost Quarter to destroy a Tron Land, then cast Surgical, targeting that land to rip it from the game entirely, this really hampers the opponent and can give you a huge advantage going long as now only one player can possibly get Tron online! Surgical also comes in for a number of other match-ups, like Titan Shift, which was huge at the GP, removing Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle or against the Storm match-up, taking out Past In Flames.


Crucible of Worlds and Life from the Loam are both ways of making our Ghost Quarters recurring or recovering any of our Tron lands that the opponent manages to destroy.


Natures Claim takes care of any pesky Leylines or can slow down artifact-based strategies (I’m looking at you affinity), while Thragtusk helps to somewhat safeguard ourselves from Burn, gaining five life and eating up two burn spells through itself and the 3/3 Beast Token left behind if they cannot afford to take a hit and decide to kill it.


All is Dust and Kozilek’s return are just excellent silver bullets against Go-Wide strategies like Abzan Mid-Range or G/W Little Kids (or the Collected Company variants). But Kozilek’s return is just an absolute beater in this deck as it will regularly exile itself from your Graveyard when you cast Ulamog and wipe the board clean for you.

Alan ran this deck very effectively to a 5-4 finish missing out on day two to a U/W control build in round nine. He was the last of our group to still be live for progression and even with a deck like this one you have to be smart to remain in contention considering the standard of opposition available at the GP, so his performance was really quite admirable.

But that’s all I’ve really got for this list right now, catch me on Twitter @GenericBadMtg and catch Alan @TrustMe_MTG

If you have time check out our Local Game Store at http://www.facebook.com/AbbeyVideoGames and stop by if you’re ever in the area of Arbroath, Scotland.

Tomorrow I will be back with the third out of the four decks we took to the event, so stay tuned for Life-Burn and Taxes.

Until then, have a good one,

Yours,

GenericBadMtg