As you may know, for Christmas of 2012 my son Jonah received his first Magic cards, pulling me back into the game and causing me to write this article.
Today I’m sitting on my living room sofa as Christmas 2013 approaches. I’ve drafted online almost every single week this past year, and Jonah’s physical Magic collection has grown exponentially. He spends almost all of his allowance on new cards, and his entire gaming life is spent either playing Minecraft or Magic. We’ve had sixth-grade booster drafts around my dining room table. We attended the M14 and Theros Prerelease tournaments together. We’ve had long extensive debates about why (or in his mind if) Thoughtseize is good. If one were cheesy and punny, one would say it’s been a Magical year for me and my son.
Recently, Jonah made the proclamation that he wanted to make a Standard deck (he now knows what that means) and attend a Friday Night Magic tournament (he knows what that is too). He said he wanted me to make a deck and come too along with his best friend Dash.
Hmmm. What’s that you say? Me? Make a Standard deck for Friday Night Magic?
Well . . . okay . . .
If I must.
Pontificating Planar Cleansing
I really like Theros. I like it mostly because I’m a Greek mythos-o-phile and a set like this is long overdue. I also like it because Theros involves lots of creatures and speaks to my very Timmy nature. I mean, gods and monsters! What’s not to like?!?
Another benefit in my opinion is that Theros inserts back into Standard what I discussed in my last article—the tension between multicolored and monocolored decks. What I noticed as I started to read Standard articles post-Theros is that monocolored devotion-focused decks were amazingly popular, particularly in blue and black. Mono-green and mono-red decks have also shown well in Standard. These decks didn’t wipe out the many good multicolored options in Standard, but I appreciated that Theros made single colors viable again.
What I didn’t see in articles however were any White Devotion decks. And when I see an obvious gap like that, it gets my deckbuilding mind a-whirring.
So I sat down to see if I could build a fun Mono-White Devotion deck. In doing so, I figured there are two basic White Devotion strategies. One is White Weenie with Heliod, God of the Sun in it. I like White Weenie and there are some awfully good little white critters running around, but honestly that doesn’t sound like a deck worthy of my return to FNM.
The second strategy I figured is to use board sweepers that conveniently don’t remove Heliod and set myself up for winning via token generation. I liked this idea, but the problem is that mono-white is conspicuously devoid of board sweepers right now. Really the only option is Planar Cleansing.
Now, you may notice that Planar Cleansing is not currently dominating the Standard scene. It’s heavily a white card because of the WWW in its cost, and white tends to like its creatures too much to sweep them away. There aren’t a ton of cards that do cool things when they die or leave the battlefield, nor are there a lot of current white effects that allow cards to flicker in and out of existence, shielding them from a Cleansing. Which all means that for a whopping six mana you get with Planar Cleansing a true reset button, one that allows your opponent to recover just as quickly as you (and arguably faster since they’ll untap first). Six mana should do more for you than that.
On the plus side, it kills everything dead. It’s not "just" Wrath of God. Enchantments, artifacts, and even planeswalkers bid adieu when Planar Cleansing comes a-knocking just as much as creatures. That’s an awfully good effect in Standard today. And again, with Heliod you aren’t starting from zero even if you haven’t reached its threshold to turn into a 5/6 beastie. Yes, other devotion decks exist, so other indestructibles may survive as well. But it seems to me that Heliod is uniquely suited to recovering from board-clearing effects since every other God except Erebos relies on having creatures. And although white doesn’t have many tricks up its sleeve, it can occasionally make its creatures indestructible and thus immune to a mighty Cleansing.
I’m not sure the good here outweighs the bad, but I was intrigued enough by the idea to at least give it a whirl. Planar Cleansing, here I come!
A year after restarting Magic Online, I had a fairly enormous online collection. With some minimal trading, I was able to piece together this thing below. Yes, it looks rough and inconsistent, but I was trying out some key interactions I had in my head.
- 4 Judge's Familiar
- 4 Precinct Captain
- 4 Frontline Medic
- 4 Boros Reckoner
- 1 Archangel of Thune
- 4 Banisher Priest
- 3 Heliod, God of the Sun
A few notes on the "blocks" of cards above.
- In order to reliably cast things like Boros Reckoner and Precinct Captain, you need a lot of Plains. In order to reliably cast things like Elspeth and Planar Cleansing, you probably need Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. The question is how many do you need of each? My sense is that I may be one white source too low, but 25 lands with no way of discarding or trading them for other good things in the deck makes me nervous and probably means too much land flooding.
- Another question is whether to use any of the W/x scry lands. I haven’t done so here, but if I find a card I need maindeck or sideboard that’s off color, it’s obviously easy to do. For me, I didn’t want to take any chances by having my land come into play tapped when I have no use for the off-color mana.
- A third question is whether to Mutavault or not to Mutavault. I’m not including it here because I need white mana too badly, but it obviously interacts well with Planar Cleansing.
- Do I wish I had more turn 1 and turn 2 creatures? Yes. Remember that I’m more interested in making this a midrange deck, though, so I’m resisting the full transformation to White Weenie. Of the one-drops, it’s a choice between Soldier of the Pantheon and Judge’s Familiar. I already know the Soldier is good, so I wanted to try out the Familiar. Of the two-drops, there is nothing better right now than Precinct Captain, particularly with Frontline Medic, Spear of Heliod, and Archangel of Thune in the deck.
- I have a real glut of three-cost creatures, and I don’t know any way around it. I want Banisher Priest and Boros Reckoner because both are juicy and good and fuel my devotion count. Frontline Medic looks like the most expendable on the surface because it doesn’t help devotion much, but there are two things that make it pivotal in the deck. First, it can slow down Sphinx’s Revelation. Second, it makes my creatures immune to Planar Cleansing.
- You may be wondering about the anti-synergy of Banisher Priest and Planar Cleansing. Yes, that slightly worries me too.
- One copy of Archangel of Thune is dumb because it’s not legendary and I have no card drawing. I only had one online though and wanted to test it out before investing in more. With Blind Obedience in the deck, it has at least the potential to be nuts.
- The only creature I wanted to use but couldn’t find space for is Hundred-Handed One. With so many decks winning via creatures and this deck’s ability to generate white mana, I think he could be pretty tough to handle. Something to file away for later.
- Aside: Ever since I started playing with Theros, it’s bothered me that Silent Artisan doesn’t cost 1WWW for a vanilla 3/5. If it did, I think Silent Artisan would both get drafted more often and I would actually consider it in this deck. The fact that Boros Reckoner and Angel of Serenity are the only WWW permanents in Standard seems like a miss when you’ve got devotion as the new mechanic.
- Planar Cleansing and Heliod are obviously the feature cards. My hope is that with Frontline Medic and Heliod in the deck Planar Cleansing can be white’s own version of an overloaded Mizzium Mortars. Without Planar Cleansing, my fear is that white can’t keep up with opposing decks’ threat counts. The option if I ever consider dropping Cleansing is to transform this into White Weenie.
- Blind Obedience is essentially taking up the spot of a creature like Imposing Sovereign, Phalanx Leader, or Hopeful Eidolon. It has a harder time killing an opponent than those three, but it’s a minor mana sink for Nykthos and is also more difficult to remove. The one bummer with Blind Obedience is that it dies to Planar Cleansing, arguing slightly for a creature instead that can at least hope to survive via Frontline Medic.
- I feel like the number of copies of Heliod and Heliod’s Spear are about right—both are legendary so multiple copies aren’t fun, and one is more key to making the deck work than the other. I’m less sure about the single planeswalker copies, but every time I think about dropping one in favor of more copies of the other I change my mind back again. Because of Planar Cleansing, Gideon holds particular appeal.
- I’m not in tune with the current Standard metagame other than casual browsing of articles online, and I haven’t played a Friday Night Magic locally in years. To say I’m guessing on my sideboard would be like saying I slightly overwork. Sadly, I’m sure that I’ll have better sideboard ideas after playing in a tournament or three.
- That said, my general idea is that Dryad’s Militant is against opposing control decks, Brave the Elements and Yoked Ox against creature swarms, and Fiendslayer Paladin to combat black and red. That’s the theory anyway.
Devoted To Playtesting
As I always do with a new deck, I wandered into the "Just For Fun" room of Magic Online to play. I always start by playing individual games, and then when I have a feel for the deck I try my hand at matches. I also do everything I can to not change the deck because what I’m striving for is piled-up data on the deck’s performance and changing the deck midstream makes for less reliable data. For a long time now, I aim for fifty total matches of testing. I don’t know why fifty, but it’s around then that my new deck and I start to understand each other.
Here are some general notes from those first fifty matches:
- This is not a deck that wins quickly. Yes, I put on early pressure with a few small white critters, but any deck worth its salt can handle those as they appear. It’s the ability to grind out wins and, yes, rebuild after Planar Cleansing that allows this deck to come out on top. I’m also impressed with how many cards need to be dealt with right away—Precinct Captain; Boros Reckoner; Frontline Medic; Archangel of Thune; the planeswalkers; and of course Heliod, God of the Sun–or else the game can get out of hand. The deck can get into topdeck wars, and it topdecks pretty well.
- The deck can have hideously bad opening hands. Imagine a hand with two Nykthos, two Boros Reckoners, Precinct Captain, Planar Cleansing, and Elspeth. Ugh. You might not cast a single spell before dying. Because "I lose" hands like this are more common here than with others decks I’ve made, it has forced me to more carefully and aggressively consider my mulligans. I also keep thinking about needing another white mana source.
- Planar Cleansing is better than I thought, and the Frontline Medic combo comes up more than I expected. Every time I’ve pulled this trick (swing with Medic, cast Cleansing)—every friggin’ time—I’ve won the game. In fact, the deck does what a lot of my early homebrewed decks do—it beats up on "casual" fun decks and loses to more polished tournament decks. That may sound discouraging, but it’s what I expect from a new deck concept with minimal playtesting. Which is to say that I’m happy enough with the core concept to keep hammering away at this decklist for at least a Friday Night Magic or two.
- My fear about Banisher Priest and Planar Cleansing was unfounded. Honestly, my opponent often kills my Priest before Cleansing hits, so at least I’ve bought myself valuable time. And every so often my opponent steals my stuff via Nightveil Specter or Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, at which point killing my Priest with a Cleansing is friggin’ awesome.
- Blind Obedience is sneaky good. I often can’t extort on turn 3 because of how many three-cost cards I have, but after that I reliably extort somewhere in the neighborhood of three to ten times a game. That a big life swing. The fact that emergency blockers and haste creatures come into play tapped is also a big boon.
- I miss card drawing and/or I wish I had something to do with extra legendary and land cards in my hand.
In addition, it was around this time that I started looking online to see what others had tried for Mono-White Devotion. Anthony Lowry wrote a really good piece about the strengths and weaknesses of each type of devotion a few weeks back. I hadn’t considered an Ethereal Armor version, but I’m not as fond of that angle because it’s basically just a modified White Weenie deck, which isn’t what I’m going for. Because I’m not fully ensconced in Constructed Magic these days, my assumption is that others are smarter than me and it’s therefore a dumb idea.
Oh well. Onward.
Armed with my playtesting and web-surfing insights, I made these changes to the deck:
Too often I found myself with a Nykthos on the table and one stuck in hand, whereas the same didn’t seem to be true for Heliod, God of the Sun. Also, too often I couldn’t cast Boros Reckoner on turn 3. Because of both problems, this feels like the right mana tweak.
I know, I know. Duh. I actually enjoyed Judge’s Familiar, but it’s not scary enough on offense. The Soldier can actually hurt an opponent, survives all sorts of unexpected things like Orzhov Charm, and its life gain works giddily well with Archangel of Thune. Speaking of which . . .
The Archangel was an immediate threat to win the game every time it hit the table. Another copy makes loads of sense. Meanwhile, of my random planeswalkers, Ajani had the least effect on the table. He did his share of damage and at worst acted as a one-turn Fog as my opponent got rid of him but was nowhere near the same game-altering affect as Thune’s badass.
-3 Yoked Ox
If I can put +1/+1 counters on Yoked Ox, I like him a lot more as early defense and late offense. This deck doesn’t reliably beef up its creatures, though, which makes the Ox pretty much just a passive wall. The risk of adding Hundred-Handed One is that I die before he ever hits the table, but I’ve played enough creature-heavy decks that it makes me think he may be stout as a defender. Mostly I’m just happy that the guy can kill Nightveil Specter.
You know what stinks to face with this deck? Thassa, God of the Sea. You know what else? Stormbreath Dragon. You know what else? Polukranos, World Eater. You know that else? Nightveil Specter. Yep, pretty much every color has some monstrous beast of monstrosity that I either can’t or don’t want to block. Enter Celestial Flare, white’s answer to Gods, Dragons, and other forms of mischief.
Those aren’t a ton of changes, which speaks to how happy I am with the deck’s early performance. Taking it into a real tournament may pop my optimistic bubble, but for now I feel good about this decklist:
- 4 Precinct Captain
- 4 Frontline Medic
- 4 Boros Reckoner
- 2 Archangel of Thune
- 4 Banisher Priest
- 3 Heliod, God of the Sun
- 4 Soldier of the Pantheon
One last comment before I bring this sucker into battle: I’m sad that in an effort to make my deck as powerful as possible I’ve ended up with virtually an all rare and mythic decklist. I know that tournament decks tend to be expensive to make, but it seems to me that more utility cards like Banisher Priest should exist in the uncommons pile and more all-around solid cards should exist in the commons pile. (Silent Artisan for 1WWW! Okay, I’ll stop.) The fact that even a monocolored deck is such an economic drain means that my son Jonah is a long way off from being competitive in his Friday Night Magic tilts. That stinks. For now, I don’t think I’ll share this particular insight with him.
Here Comes The Sun
The way I’ve set up this article you are probably expecting to hear about my maiden voyage with Mono-White Devotion at a Friday Night Magic tournament. The problem is that Jonah’s collection is a physical one and mine is a virtual one. He doesn’t have nearly the cards to pull off my decklist and won’t until sometime after Santa Claus brings him a Theros booster box and several gift certificates (and this assumes he chooses to build my deck versus one of his own). One option I considered was waiting until early January to report on my FNM tilt, but by then everyone will be distracted by Born of the Gods spoilers.
So instead I decided to report on eight-person Standard online tournaments. These online tourneys are funny animals—in most cases, the decks are better than your average FNM because you’re drawing from a global player population instead of a local one. Less rogue decks exist, and mostly they’re copy-cat decklists from recent PTQs or Grand Prix. They’re also single elimination, so it’s harder to know exactly how good or bad your deck is if you make an early exit. That said, these tournaments happen every ten minutes or so, which means the level of player and what you’re likely to see varies widely. Once you’ve attended a local FNM or two, you can pretty much bend your sideboard toward what you’re likely to face, and you also know the level of play you’re likely to face. Here? There is really no way to tell or prepare.
Which is all to say that you should take the results of my two online tournaments below with a huge grain of salt. In fact, take them with a whole salt lick. Also, remember that I’ve never claimed in any way that my decklists will win you any local tournaments. My ideas tend to be off the beaten path, and I play with exuberance, both of which I hope inspire you. I love seeing people make their own homebrewed concoctions and then compete with them. I care a heck of a lot less if you make this deck and win with it than if you now feel bold enough to try your own ideas.
Because my goal is to inspire you and tickle your creativity, I get ridiculously nervous before my first tournaments with a new deck. What if I get absolutely crushed? Over and over and over again? Especially after so much time between competitive Constructed play, maybe I just stink? That wouldn’t be very inspiring.
It was actually Jonah that gave me a pep talk and basically told me not to worry about how my deck performed. He reminded me that he didn’t ask me to play FNM to win but only to have fun. Right. Fun. I can do that. Having someone who loves you and reminds you what’s important is a good thing in life.
Into the Standard queues online I went.
Here is what happened.
Tournament 1, Match 1: Mono-Blue Devotion
Game 1: Heh. Nothing like starting out with the most popular deck these days, right? I knock him down to twelve life thanks to a Soldier of the Pantheon and Boros Reckoner before he stabilizes with Thassa, God of the Sea; Nightveil Specter; and Master of Waves. I clear the board of everything except Thassa, and we start over. I beat him to five life with Precinct Captain and another Reckoner before he stabilizes with another Specter, Judge’s Familiar, and Bident of Thassa. I Planar Cleansing again (wheeee!), and we’re in a topdecking race. The problem with that race though is that he has scry 1 every upkeep and I don’t have a God of my own. Damn. Eventually I die.
Game 2: I have a Precinct Captain, Soldier token, and Frontline Medic facing off against his two Nightveil Specters and Frog Lizard token (he used Rapid Hybridization on his own Judge’s Familiar at one point as a surprise blocking move, and I saved my Captain with a Brave the Elements). Heliod, God of the Sun joins the party, and when he taps out for Jace, Architect of Thought and a Judge’s Familiar, I attack and follow it up with Planar Cleansing. Two turns later he’s dead.
See? Medic plus Cleansing equals win!
Game 3: Ugh. I mulligan to five thanks to two "I lose" hands and end up with an incredibly slow hand. I’m able to play Boros Reckoner on turn 3 to race his Nightveil Specter, but I never see a fourth land with Heliod; Hundred-Handed One; Planar Cleansing; and Gideon, Champion of Justice in hand. Thassa, Mutavault, and the Specter eventually kill me.
Well, that sucks. I hate losing to the most common deck in my first foray with a new creation. I could have won that first game with a card or two different, and the third game didn’t even feel like a game. Losing feels like that, full of "what ifs."
Let’s try again.
Tournament 2, Match 1: R/W Devotion
Game 1: Another devotion deck! This one mostly red with a splash of white for Chained to the Rock, Wear // Tear, Temple of Triumph, etc. Anyway, he wins game 1 thanks to a whole lot of mana via his Nykthos to fuel two Stormbreath Dragons, Hammer of Purphoros, and a Fanatic of Mogis. I actually held him off for a while thanks to Blind Obedience, Boros Reckoner, Banishing Priest, and Archangel of Thune, but eventually he made his Dragons monstrous and flew—all protected from white and whatnot—straight into my nose.
Here comes the sideboard! In go basically every card except Dryad Militant for Soldier of the Pantheon, Elspeth, Gideon, Spear of Heliod, and single copies of Planar Cleansing, Frontline Medic, Precinct Captain, and Banisher Priest.
It occurs to me that I have no idea what I’m doing when sideboarding.
Game 2: Blind Obedience is the champ of this game. It drops on Turn 2, and thanks to Precinct Captain, Fiendslayer Paladin, Heliod, and Archangel of Thune, I keep him on the defensive while piling up the damage through both combat and extort. Any emergency blocker dudes or haste dudes came in tapped, and as I gain life my own dudes keep getting bigger thanks to my Archangel dude. (Okay . . . I’m done saying "dude." Sorry about that). Twice he tries to wipe my side of the board with an overloaded Mizzium Mortars, and twice I have Brave the Elements (with extort!) to protect my creatures.
Game 3: The third game is a fun one. I make a guy; he kills a guy. I have Nykthos but no creatures. He has Stormbreath Dragon but not a lot of land. I also have Celestial Flare in hand, which he somehow deduces and thus doesn’t attack. When his side of the board starts to look scary, I have enough mana for Planar Cleansing, which releases two creatures that had been Chained to the Rocks. After that Heliod shows up, and a horde of Cleric tokens later I win.
Tournament 2, Match 2: Mono-Black Devotion
Game 1: He plays Underworld Connections and Erebos, God of the Dead. I put pressure on him thanks to Soldier of the Pantheon and Frontline Medic, so although he draws more cards than me he’s also running low on life. Eventually he has three Underworld Connections, while I have the Medic, Soldier, and Boros Reckoner. I swing in and play Planar Cleansing to wipe his side of the board, and that’s that. Yay for Medic-Cleansing combo!
In comes three Fiendslayer Paladins and Celestial Flares. Out goes Soldier of the Pantheon and Spear of Heliod. The Spear isn’t bad in this matchup and helps protect against Pharika’s Cure, and I should have put in Brave the Elements. But again, I have no idea what I’m doing when sideboarding.
Game 2: Pack Rat vs. Frontline Medic . . . FIGHT! He has Underworld Connections working along with eventually five Pack Rats, while I have two Frontline Medics, a Boros Reckoner, Nykthos, and Heliod. A Gray Merchant of Asphodel keeps him alive for an extra three turns right when I’m about to kill him, but eventually my indestructible token-generating goodness overwhelms him.
Which means . . .
The finals! Woo!
Tournament 2, Match 3: Mono-Green Devotion
Game 1: Okay . . . weird. Four matches, four different devotion decks. Maybe I wasn’t so clever after all? It is totally creepy that in four matches I play all four other colors’ devotion strategies. I swear I didn’t make that up.
Anyway, he completely pounds me in game 1 thanks to a 6/6 Reverent Hunter; Polukranos, World Eater, and Kalonian Hydra. I muster some minor defense via Banisher Priest and Boros Reckoner, but it’s way too little and too late.
Hello three Celestial Flare, two Hundred-Handed One, and three Brave the Elements. Goodbye Soldier of the Pantheon (who really is good, just not against all of these monocolored decks) and Precinct Captain (my thinking being that the Captain is rarely going to hit my opponent). I have no idea what he sided in because I just kept seeing the same cards of his over and over.
Game 2: Yay for sideboards! He throws a Kalonian Hydra at me, and I have Celestial Flare. A Polukranos tries to fight my guys, but I have Brave the Elements. Hundred-Handed One stalls his offensive after he turns monstrous, which gives me the breathing room to start generating Cleric tokens via Heliod. We’re both in topdeck mode (although my army is growing and his isn’t), and I find Brave the Elements to break the stalemate and cruise over for the win.
Game 3: The last game of the finals was appropriately enough decided by Planar Cleansing. He starts fast with Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid, and Reverent Hunter. Celestial Flare kills the Hunter, while I get Frontline Medic, Boros Reckoner, and Hundred-Handed One. He finds Nykthos and drops Polukranos, so I attack into his side with Frontline Medic and then play Planar Cleansing. With a few choice words for me and my janky cards, he concedes at twelve life. I personally thought it was too early for him to concede since it would take me two turns to kill him, but he was clearly frustrated and was out of cards in hand whilst I had a full side of critters.
Woo! I jump off the couch and run around my living room with my hands over my head, screaming like a banshee and causing my wife, daughter, and Jonah to come sprinting in to find out what’s wrong. When I’m finally able to babble that I won a Magic tournament with my white deck, my wife and daughter wander away concerned for my sanity, and Jonah allows me to replay the finals for him. We share a high-five and a smile. Woo!
Basking In The Sun’s Rays
Now, one eight-person tournament win against all devotion decks doesn’t make a world-beater. Again I say I am under absolutely no illusions that this deck will win you a PTQ. But for a FNM diversion from everything else out there? You betcha. I’m confident enough after those last three matches (and frankly how much I held my own against Mono-Blue) that this is absolutely the deck I’m bringing to Friday Night Magic in the Bay Area with Jonah. Now . . . gulp, I guess I have to find the actual physical cards for this thing. Whoa nelly that’s a lot of expensive cards.
Anyway, he’ll be sporting his own version of Orzhov Control, and I’ll be packing Heliod. If any good stories come of it, I’ll check back in and let you know.
As I look toward that FNM in January and reflect on my decklist, I’m still a little amazed that a Frontline Medic and Planar Cleansing combo can win real matches against real decks. Then again, it’s experiences like my silly online tourney win and the euphoric feeling of beating quality decks with my own creation that keep me playing Magic almost two decades after I started. I love the ever-shifting landscape of Standard and the many hidden gems like this deck that are sitting there waiting to be found.
Normally I end articles like this looking at potential cards that could fit into the deck but that I chose not to use. In this case, however, there aren’t a ton of candidates. I think it might be fun to try one or more of the seven-cost goodies—either Angel of Serenity, Luminate Primordial, and/or Celestial Archon—but again I think they will get stuck in your hand a frustrating number of times. In my mind, Celestial Archon is the best option because at least it can get played for five mana on its own. I haven’t tried any of these cards, but they’re worth a look.
A more intriguing question is whether to splash a second color like my first-round opponent in the second tournament, either for maindeck or sideboard cards. Splash blue for Supreme Verdict and Cyclonic Rift? Splash black for Blood Baron of Vizkopa and Orzhov Charm? Red for Aurelia’s Fury or Tajic, Blade of the Legion (juicy!) and Boros Charm? Green for Voice of Resurgence, Selesnya Charm, and Fleecemane Lion? There are a lot of possibilities, and I have no idea if any of these would enhance or confuse the decklist. Because the W/R idea has two different "indestructible" options that could combo with Planar Cleansing, I’m probably most intrigued by it, but there are a lot of possibilities no matter which color(s) the deck splashes.
Another question is whether I’ve overlooked any obvious sideboard cards in white. As I’ve said repeatedly, I find myself often lost when sideboarding, including what cards to have in the sideboard, what cards to take out in different matchups, and which cards to add.
Please chime in on the comments and let me know your thoughts, both on the second-color idea and on the sideboard. One of the great privileges of writing articles like this is that it allows me to tap into your collective wisdom. I’ll get your comments I’m sure before actually playing in my FNM, so any and all constructive feedback is welcome.
Finally and on a completely different note, it’s worth noting that the end of 2013 marks a new step in my career. I’ve accepted a Senior Vice President role at Starbucks starting in January and will be commuting to Seattle from the San Francisco Bay Area each week for the foreseeable future. The breadth of my role and starting over in a new company will probably mean very little time for Magic, but I’ll also be a stone’s throw from Wizards of the Coast during the week. My hope is that I’m able to plug back into WotC as a possible release, but that may be a naive hope. In any case, I’m not sure whether 2014 will bring with it the possibility of more articles or less. Fingers crossed that the answer is more.
In the meantime, here’s hoping I’ve tickled your deckbuilding brain at least momentarily.