Battle Royale Round 14 – All Your Bases

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This week’s Battle Royale sees the deckbuilding pride of England, Stuart Wright, step up to the crease to bat Kyle for six. Can he bowl Mr Sanchez a googly and send him back to the pavillion? This Englishman certainly hopes so. Tally Ho!

I wasn’t really sure how to do this…

There’s only so much I can write about building a deck when it all I did was think about it, so I suppose some random waffling and attempts at humor are in order.

This is where the writer (normally) blathers on about themselves and what they did this week. Unfortunately, I still don’t feel like a writer… I mean, all I talk about is Magic decks. Still, I feel the need to have some sort of intro.


Remember kids, you have to keep up with the Magic slang, even when it seems to be mostly normal English words used in inane ways.

Moving swiftly on… now for something I have a vague clue about: deckbuilding. In the case of Battle Royale, we have a few restrictions, which makes it seem a bit like Block Constructed. Luckily, I like Block Constructed. After looking over past decks, quite a few seemed to run Karoo lands and generally have dodgy manabases, so something that disrupted that aspect of the game might be quite nice. I also have an almost unnatural fondness for Wildfire, so after checking it was reasonably cheap I figured to build a deck around it.

I sat down and had a long think about what I wanted from my deck. After an hour or so, I came up with pretty much the list below with a few minor changes. Stone Rain and Magnivore felt a little too easy, so I fell back on an even older style of U/R control with Annex and Dream Leash. In theory, most of the budget decks will be mid range, as the lands for fast aggro and the finishers for control are quite expensive. Wildfire is at its best against those sorts of decks.

After saying this, I’m clearly going to get rolled by a Mono-Green deck with nothing that costs above two mana.

Add a silly name, and we have a deck!

A quick note on prices, then a little more detail. These prices seemed a bit high, but as I was under the 25 ticket limit anyway so I didn’t bother hunting that much. You can probably get Remand and Dream Leash for quite a bit less. In general, I don’t use bots to buy cards anyway. I just ask people I know if they have any of the cards I need, getting both of us a better price. Of course, Magic Online has a clan system, and I do often borrow cards from people in my clan (small talk big play), and I lend out my cards too (a little less frequently). Hopefully, the decklists I provide make up for this imbalance, and any network in general is a lot better than going to a bot and buying cards if possible.

If you aren’t lucky enough to know people on-line, a little shopping around can get some pretty reasonable prices. Anyone who drafts a lot will have lots of new-set uncommons they don’t really want. You can liberate these for far lower prices than those given from a bot.

4 Annex — 1
3 Wildfire — 6.6
3 Dream Leash — 2
4 Pyroclasm — 4
1 Mindless Automaton — 0.5
3 Sol’kanar the Swamp King — 3
4 Remand — 4
3 Icy Manipulator — 0.6
3 Stalking Yeti — 1.5
10 Snow Lands — 1.5

Total: 24.7

To start with, this deck was just going to be straight U/R with four Mindless Automaton, but then someone suggested Sol’kanar, the Swamp King. It was pretty hard not to run him. With a few tweaks to the mana, I could have my own three-color five mana 5/5 with two probably useless abilities. But still, he is a beast with a very long name, and apparently this is meant to be fun, so in he went. In this case, when I say “fun” I mean “fun for me” rather than “fun for the person with no lands in play.”

I get the feeling if I played this deck in the Casual Room, I would have a bunch of very annoyed people very quickly. I have to admit that I do quite enjoy having nine lands to their zero, with Annex and Icy Manipulator waiting for any more lands. What sort of person this makes me, I’m not quite sure… but it is fun.

Given this slight problem — either annoying casual players with Annex, or annoying the people who are (in theory) practising for proper events — I haven’t played a great many games with this deck. In fact, I’ve played a grand total of zero. I have, however, played the Eminent Domain deck quite a bit, so as it is based quite heavily on that deck to start with hopefully it should play roughly the same. If not… well, it is best of five so I have a few games to figure out what I should be doing. I guess I could test versus Kyle’s deck after I see it, but that feels a bit like cheating.

The sideboard was basically a case of looking at all the really good cards and realizing they all cost three tickets or more, so no Serrated Arrows today. I figured that I had good game against control already, so I wanted by sideboard to give me a chance against decks that don’t really care about me tapping four to steal a land. Martyr of Ashes seemed like a very cheap answer to beatdown, as long as I had a few more Red cards, so I filled up the other slots with Red removal. After sideboard I have an awful lot of cheap removal to stall, until I can sweep the board with Wildfire. The Mana Leaks being free seemed like the best general card, so I could take out my Pyroclasms. I feel pretty good against those sorts of decks anyway, so four Mana Leak seemed like plenty, giving the space I need for my vaguely transformational sideboard. Knowing your opponents whole deck list before you even start game 1 is pretty interesting, as you can both sideboard according to what you think they will do, leading to an element of double bluff. However, in this case it is pretty clear what I do, and hopefully the Martyr of Ashes will still be good even if he knows they are coming.

This Week’s Music

You have got to be joking. I feel like an old man already.

Every time someone I like releases a new album, I think “it’s good, but not as good as this one before.”

I need to think of something, so I can answer when people ask me if there is a CD they can get me for Christmas. Feel free to suggest something. I’ll probably hate it, but it’s the thought that counts.

Merry Generic Winter Holiday to you all (or Merry Christmas, if you’re like that).

Stuart Wright

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The Battle takes place on Sunday, December 17th at 10 p.m. EST, in the Anything Goes Casual Room on Magic Online. Be there!]