Beatdown Bargain

One of the major problems that Sabre (or Bargain) has compared to the older version is that it can sometimes be stopped by an initially lucky counterspell draw, or by an extremely quick beatdown draw. While a lot of players initially found that they were winning against mono-green, as time passed and people began making…

One of the major problems that Sabre Bargain (or Renounce Bargain) has compared to the older Exhume version is that it can sometimes be stopped by an initially lucky counterspell draw, or by an extremely quick beatdown draw.

While a lot of players initially found that they were winning against mono-green, as time passed and people began making beatdown decks that were more optimized against Bargain (and Replenish, for that matter), a very common problem would happen. The better versions of mono-green would get the Bargain deck down to between 5 to 8 life, with around 7 being common.

The problem: If a Bargain deck isn’t VERY developed or VERY lucky, it often can’t go off with 7 or less life.

Similarly, mono-blue was initially considered an unchallenging matchup. A blue deck would rarely be playing the appropriate number of counterspells or mana control to be able to stop a Rector from being cast and sacked, or a Bargain from squeezing through. Nowadays, however, most of the blue decks run at least 3 Dust Bowls and a complement of Rishadan Port. Not only is the blue deck able to Port out the mana-hungry Bargain player, but they can usually stall the game until a few choice card-draw take things over.

So what is the wily Bargain player to do?

Play Beatdown Bargain.

Beatdown BargainAdrian Sullivan (borrowing heavily from Sabre and also UBC OMS/Lim Bargain)

4 Academy Rector
4 Cathodian
4 Skirge Familiar
4 Grim Monolith
4 Dark Ritual
2 Voltaic Key
2 Tooth of Ramos
3 Soul Feast
3 Yawgmoth’s Bargain
2 Renounce
1 Claw of Gix
4 Vampiric Tutor
2 City of Brass
4 Phyrexian Tower
5 Swamp
3 Plains
3 Remote Farm
4 Peat Bog

4 Phyrexian Negator
1 Cursed Totem
3 Radiant’s Dragoons
1 Perish
1 Massacre
3 Duress
1 Disenchant
1 Seal of Cleansing

The deck is very, very similar to a traditional Sabre Bargain. The only major difference is that the deck is designed to take a slight advantage off of Cathodian.

The basic problem that a typical green deck has with Bargain is that they are both going to try to play Solitaire. A solitairing green deck versus a more traditional Bargain deck generally only has to worry about one blocker: Academy Rector. The rest of the green deck can send its creature enhancement to its unblocked creatures… "to the head," as it were.

With Cathodian, a green deck usually has to invest a Giant Growth, a Seal of Strength, or an Invigorate – the average fast green creature isn’t quite big enough to kill Cathodian on its own. This typical loss of about 3 damage from the pump-card, and 2 from the actual creature lead to a life-swing of usually 2 life (given that the Cathodian dies and burns its owner). If the Cathodian-player has something to pump that mana into (like a Grim Monolith), the life swing is much better (5 life). And occasionally, the deck will simply make green unable to get through. Even the most common life swing, 2 life, makes the best green decks change the solitaire race from a 5-8 life Forced Game (a game where Bargain is FORCED to go off, even if it isn’t an advisable time), to a 7-10 life Forced Game. In general, this is enough.

With Cathodian versus a blue deck, a turn 1 Cathodian can also often spell game. While three a turn isn’t a HUGE amount, it does make the blue deck have to respond to the threat of damage sooner than it might like to. Often this means that the blue player is forced to tap out or nearly tap out sooner than it would like.

While going off, the Cathodian can also be advantageous in supplying a delayed mana-burst (this burst is even available before going off). Since sacking the Cathodian gives 3 mana, very explosive draws are possible (Turn 1 Swamp, Cathodian; Turn 2, Phyrexian Tower, Cast Bargain). If a Bargain player needs to wait a turn to finish a kill, the Cathodian can often supply the needed delay to the Bargain player, giving them back time (blockers), and mana once the process begins anew.

After sideboarding, the Cathodian allows the Negator switch to be even more powerful. With fully 8 creatures to bring out fast, the Bargain player can become the beatdown deck. In the green matchup, Cathodian and Radiant’s Dragoons are very difficult for green to beat. Simply put, 12 hard to kill critters (Cathodian, Dragoon, Rector) buy the Bargain player a LOT of time.

Hopefully, this version of Bargain will find itself a home in your arsenal. Any Bargain player playing in Regionals should try it out to see if it suits them. If your area is heavier with Green or Blue, perhaps Beatdown Bargain is the Bargain deck for you.

===== offNet: Adrian Sullivan @#$ Web Consultant – Game Theorist $#@
EFNet: Corrupter @#$ Writer – Eccentric – Hedonist $#@
USENET: The Corrupter @#$ Geek – Coffee Addict – HSTHSTS $#@
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