Ah, to be the champ…
When I agreed to start doing this, I didn’t expect to be in this long. To be honest, I am not that gifted a deckbuilder, and I don’t have a never-ending string of ideas popping out of my head. I love doing it though, and with the rotation happening right now, I am fired up for another round.
First of all, I heard my opponent this round would be my good buddy Richy Hoaen. You all know him, and he is one of my favorite people on the Pro Tour (That is a long list btw). Though I am sure the idea of this contest never was to have pro players battle it out, it’s definitely fun to see what we’ll do when we are forced to play each other casually.
First thing we did was figure out the format. With Time Spiral just coming out, we felt like we really wanted to include it, especially since the prices of Champions of Kamigawa are completely silly right now, and that wouldn’t make sense. The Time Spiral prices are just as bad though, so in the end we decided to make it Ravnica Block, Coldsnap and Ninth Edition, to make the transfer a little easier. Time Spiral will come up in the next round of the battle…don’t worry.
An extra rule I also insisted on including was not allowing Snow-Covered Lands to count as free commons. These things aren’t like other commons that are super cheap and easy to get… nope, they are super expensive, and basically go against the idea of Battle Royale. I guess they could be used in the future, for their online price, but right now? No sir! I hope you kids like these ideas, as they make the whole thing more true to the idea of Battle Royale, build a deck on the cheap.
Of course, then I needed an idea… and though I had some nice ideas set up with the inclusion of Time Spiral, I didn’t have all that much without it.
Then inspiration came through my inbox.
For my column on the Premium side, someone asked me a question… but the questioner was mixed up over my name.
He called me Jamie.
Now, that name only means one thing to me: Wakefield.
For those of you that do not know this, I am the biggest Jamie Wakefield fan in the world. I used to play Secret Force at PTQs. I’ve read every single last one of his articles religiously, and I just love playing with those fatties. He even had his own school of Magic, and is well known to most writers around. Mike Flores even wrote an article about it, which is featured here.
For those of you too lazy to click the link, here’s the most important part:
Tenets of the Wakefield School:
Fatties are the only true road to victory
Middle-of-the-road beatdown strategy
62 cards, 26 land
Mike even gave us a sample decklist! I love lists like that, and I decided that I was going to port that list right there, into my next Battle Royale list. Here’s the original:
Brothers Very Grimm
4 Steel Golem
4 Sengir Vampire
4 Dark Ritual
4 Hymn to Tourach
2 Diabolic Edict
3 Drain Life
3 Nevinyrral’s Disk
4 Mishra’s Factory
Look at that beast… I love it!
It uses the 26/62 system, so I would do the same. Of course, when you aren’t using snow, this means that the only non-Swamp lands you can really use are Quicksands. I bought four of these for a single ticket pretty easily. This meant I was rolling 22 Swamps. Man, hope I don’t get hosed.
Some of the cards above are still available these days, and I would obviously play such segments card-for-card. Nekrataal, Sengir Vampire, Consume Spirit (Drain Life II), and Cruel Edict were easily adopted.
Now came the hard part: replacing those broken cards I can no longer play, and/or the card that are no longer in the current format.
This card filled the role of early creature, speed-bump, and it also did something when it was dead. Card advantage in a 1/1 for one mana. I wanted card advantage anyway, so I added Ravenous Rats in their place. Sure, they aren’t exactly the same, but they are an early drop as well as card advantage. The deck also touches on discard, so I did the same.
Once again, if I had the opportunity of playing snow-lands, this card could easily be ported into Phyrexian Ironfoot, filling early defensive roles, and even working a little bit better with the deck. Jamie loved his Steel Golems because he had all the removal. They had to deal with it or die, and then he could just go on casting his other men. Aside from Ironfoot though, there is no real other option…so I looked at some earlier Brothers Grimm lists, and those gave me my answer: Bottle Gnomes. (If you are as interested in old lists and reports, visit ClassicDojo.org ).
Dubbed the Black Hammer, this guy was awesome because he came back and back and back, basically being a Black version of Hammer of Bogardan. I knew I wanted another fattie in that spot, and one that could give me card advantage. I didn’t have to look long to find my answer: Phyrexian Gargantua.
Yeah, okay, I am not gonna find a replacement for this unless I switch colors and move to Red, so I just added some way to get to my fat faster, Coldsteel Heart. I would have settled for Charcoal Diamond there as well, but since that ain’t around these days… It was the Heart. Man, I feel worse and worse about that snow-covered rule. This deck would have been awesome with Snow-Covered Lands, and Ironfeet, and Mouth of Ronoms. That would also mean the deck would cost an actual fifty tickets plus. If you want to try and build it yourself and have the snow available though, go for it!
This was a do-all in this deck, getting rid of cards Jamie just couldn’t beat and needed to be killed (namely Light of Day and Circle of Protection: Black). I don’t have that luxury, but added Icy Manipulators instead, giving me some disruption as well as an ability to handle some pro-Black guys if need be. I had just been searching for a reason to play Icy, as it is just a very fun card, and now I found it.
That meant I had my deck! It looks like a blast to play, and though it is loaded with uncommons, most of them are from Ninth Edition and can be picked up 8 for 1 or cheaper. The only rares are Persecute at 2 each, and Sengir, at 2 for 1 ticket! Cheap!
I added Garza’s Assassin, since it seems like the ultimate Wakefield card, having versatility and killing men as well as being a threat in itself. The sideboard is some varies ways to handle tricky situations: Cremates for Graveyard based decks, like dredge and similar; Phyrexian Snowcrushers to at least give me an out against Story Circle; and some more removal if Richard decides to go for a creature deck (I pity the fool if he does). The problem with being mono-Black is that you don’t really have an answer for some troublesome things that might happen. This means this deck would have some major holes in actual tournaments, but for a one-match deal, it is fun and good enough. Blackmails will have to do if I walk into control or some sort of combo type deck.
This is the deck of my dreams. Black is one of my favorite colors (guess the other one), and I always love playing with fatties and creature kill. Now all I can do is hope it is not too fun, and I have a shot versus Richy. I would love to be able to at least do one round with Time Spiral at the very least.
Ah, as for the pricing of the deck:
That puts us at a total of eighteen tickets or less. I wish I could buy some of those Snow-Covered Lands with the rest, but rules are rules. Rough beat… maybe next time.
The Battle will take place in the Anything Goes casual room of Magic Online, Monday November 6, 7pm EST.
As usual, send your feedback to [email protected], and let me know what you think in the forums. I’ll be reading.
PS: Consume Spirit You.
PPS: God, I hope he doesn’t play Circles of any kind… basically, I hope he isn’t playing White…
[Editor’s Note: The battle will take place on Monday 6th November at 7pm EST, in the Anything Goes casual room on Magic Online. Be there! — Craig.]