Blog Elemental – The Madness of DoctorJay Part B: 30 Decks in 1 Day

Dear Jay,

Still Sorry.



Well howdy!

Before I start in on today’s decks (and if that sounds strange because you have no idea what I’m talking about, read my first article <link>), I want to say two things about these ratings I’ve been giving for each deck.

First, I think”Tourney” versus”Casual” is probably a false distinction. The connotation is”serious” versus”fun.” But I hope you don’t think those are the definitions in my head. Rather, the”Tourney” rating is how good I think the deck might perform at a typical Type 2 tournament. The”Casual” rating is a composite of a) how likely the deck’s very premise would be poo-pooed by many pro players as being impractical and unreliable, and b) how likely the deck will be to win you friends and make

your opponents smile. I hope _all_ of these decks are both fun to play and would stand a reasonable shot at your local tournament after some playtesting, but I recognize it takes a pretty high self-esteem to show up with some of these decks. Sorry not to have made my working definitions of”Tourney” and”Casual” more clear earlier.

Second, you will not see a”1″ or a”10″ on either rating. I have thrown out ideas that would be 1’s on the Tourney scale and I don’t even know what a 1 on the Casual scale would mean since they are all essentially rogue decks. None of these decks have been playtested enough against a solid gauntlet so as to be considered a 10. Likewise, in my (admittedly sometimes meager) attempt to make these decks at least somewhat worthy in real tournaments, I have not dipped into the lake of tier-two and -three cards just to stick to the Casual spirit. Again, I probably should have supplied this caveat from the beginning.

But enough of these silly numbers! On to the decks!


Tourney Play Rating: 7

Casual Play Rating: 7

4 Skizzik

4 Nightscape Master

1 Crosis, The Purger

4 Dark Ritual

4 Tsabo’s Web

4 Vicious Hunger

4 Stupor

4 Fact Or Fiction

2 Lobotomy

2 Void

1 Bloodstone Cameo

1 Drake-Skull Cameo

1 Haunted Crossroads

4 City Of Brass

4 Sulfurous Springs

4 Underground River

2 Salt Marsh

2 Urborg Volcano

8 Swamp

I have tried to make a playable deck around each of the Masters (uh oh, I bet you know what four upcoming decks are named). Each has its particular challenge and lends itself to a different style of play. Nightscape Master’s abilities are both basically about creature control. Thus the deck that makes the most sense when building around Nightscape Master is a B/u/r control deck. Sadly, Nightscape Apprentice is a worthless pile of poop and didn’t make it into the deck.

The interesting challenge in making this deck is that neither black, blue nor red has inherent ways of diversifying its mana. To help keep the mana balance as stable as possible, I’ve tried using equal numbers of both blue and red support spells with a correspondingly equal number of two-color lands. The result is a deck that has surprisingly little mana-screw despite its weird and high mana curve. Tsabo’s Web helps too, keeping Rishadan Port and Dust Bowl away. But the deck does have an awful lot of

pain from its painlands. It is not uncommon to deal 8-10 points of damage to yourself. This can be uncomfortable, but Vicious Hunger helps in the recovery and the spells are potent enough to warrant the pain.

Skizzik and Fact or Fiction make this deck sing and really keep opponents on their heels. Revealing five cards often does very little to help them figure out what the heck you are doing. Lobotomy? Void? What’s going on!?! An active Nightscape Master can be incredibly scary for an opponent whose strategy relies on creatures and the Master is really only vulnerable to red removal. The single copies of Crosis, Haunted Crossroads and each relevant Cameo look a bit odd, but I find only one to

be just about right. The possible exception is the Crossroads, which is great with both Skizzik and Fact or Fiction. With only nine creatures in the deck, though, it just doesn’t make sense to have more than one creature-retriever.


Tourney Play Rating: 5/7

Casual Play Rating: 7/6

4 Spiketail Hatchling/Counterspell

4 Rishadan Cutpurse/Indentured Djinn

4 Rishadan Footpad/Fact or Fiction

4 Disrupt

4 Seal of Removal

4 Ankh of Mishra

4 Sky Diamond

4 Boomerang

4 Parallax Tide

4 Rishadan Port

20 Island

* I’m including two versions of this deck to make amends for the Coalition Victory deck below.

Ah, silly combos with the promise of dealing lots of damage to one’s opponent. The stuff that hated decks are made of. Whichever version of the deck you decide to playtest (whoah! big presumption there!), the core”trick” in the deck is the potent combination of Parallax Tide and Ankh of Mishra. And it is a mighty spiffy trick. The Parallax Tide both denies an opponent land, thus allowing the deck to continue its treacherous ways,

and when the Tide has finally run out of fade juice the whole world goes BOOM! to the tune of 6-10 damage.

In the first version of the deck, pirates and the Spiketail Hatchling try to punish an opponent for either faded lands, bounced lands or a reluctance to play lands because of the Ankh. It is a self-generating cycle too because the creatures necessitate playing more land and, you guessed it, taking more damage. The problem with this version is that it lacks any real offense besides the Ankh and the creatures are both fragile

and silly looking in many situations. If an Ankh doesn’t come and a Blastoderm has already hit you for ten damage, a Rishadan Cutpurse is depressing to draw and can only stand in the way to be run over. In addition, the deck has very little card-drawing to find its combo or countermagic to protect it. The deck will still win because of the many synergies among the cards, but I am not sure how consistently it will do so.

The second version is what the deck evolved to after (sniff) the pirates became passe. Counterspell is good, blah, blah, blah. Fact or Fiction, the best card-drawing in the game, blah, blah. Indentured Djinn is efficient, mean and blah. This deck wins more often and has ways to find the Ankh-Tide combo, ways to protect it and an alternate win scenario via the Djinn. In my mind, this also makes the deck slightly more boring since Ankh-Tide has been seen before. Yes, rogue-itis is a terrible disease.

Thankfully there is Coalition Victory with which I can lose my mind.


Tourney Play Rating: 2

Casual Play Rating: 9

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Tidal Visionary

4 Utopia Tree

4 Distorting Lens

4 Harrow

4 Dominate

4 Fact or Fiction

3 Teferi’s Moat

3 Coalition Victory

4 Archeaological Dig

4 City of Brass

6 Forest

6 Island

2 Mountain

2 Plains

2 Swamp

There are two basic ways of making a Coalition Victory deck (he says with a straight face). First, the deck can be truly five-color and use a variety of gold creatures so that each creature represents two or more colors for the purposes of the Victory. This is clearly the best plan for Extended, where Sliver Queen and dual lands exist. I imagine Coalition Victory will be a serious threat in Extended if someone can find a way to protect the spell with countermagic or discard. In the upcoming Type 2,

this strategy might work with things like dragon legends or the new common 2/2 fellas. Unfortunately, I don’t think a deck like this would be reliable enough to pull off the Victory, so to speak, and if you have stable enough mana to cast such varied creatures you should be able to win in a lot better ways than Coalition Victory.

The second way of making a Coalition Victory deck is to concentrate on changing the colors of creatures and types of land once they are on the table. If Coalition Victory is a viable card for the new Type 2, I think it may be with this strategy. The above deck uses Harrow and Fact or Fiction to get the five basic lands and bolsters its mana with Birds of Paradise and Utopia Tree. The Birds and Tree also give the deck creatures, which can then be transmogrified using Tidal Visionary and

Distorting Lens. The Visionary also happens to be a creature (and a different color than green). Dominate grabs an opposing creature, who is hopefully neither green nor blue, that can also be color-changed. Teferi’s Moat (and Dominate too) defend you while you bewilder your opponent with color-swapping tricks. As a sidenote, both the Visionary and Lens help in the defense when the Moat is on the table.

God help me, I won with this deck the first time I tried. Immediately afterward I put it away, my hands shaking at the keyboard, and decided never to play it again.

Is the deck fragile? Undoubtedly. Will it work consistently? In a word… No. Can you run around doing cartwheels and scream”I won with Coalition Victory! I won with Coalition Victory!” if it ever works? Abso-freakin’-lutely.

Tomorrow, our journey continues down the Rogue Road…

Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

“doctorjay” on Magic Encyclopedia

Day…. Seven… Running out of…. water…

Oh well, I guess it’s a little late to even hint at Survivor humor. If indeed that joke was Survivor humor. It may just have been survivor humor, which is clearly different.

I am back with three more decks (“What’s he talking about?” you say? Check out my first article <link> almost a week ago. And log into StarCity more often! Sheesh!). Let’s jump right into them shall we?

Deck 19: SATYR.dec

Tourney Play Rating: 7.5

Casual Play Rating: 7

4 Birds of Paradise

4 River Boa

4 Blastoderm

4 Lumbering Satyr

2 Rooting Kavu

4 Accumulated Knowledge

4 Counterspell

4 Harrow

4 Fact or Fiction

3 Crystal Spray

14 Forest

9 Island

How come no one calls their decks”.dec” anymore? Isn’t Apprentice still around? Was it all just a fad? A cheesy trend? A silly idea in the first place?

Personally, I think that Blastoderm is the best creature in the new Type 2. Birds of Paradise is the best multicolor mana source in the new Type 2. After some playtesting I also am convinced that Fact or Fiction might be the best _card_ in the new Type 2. Counterspell, as much as I despise it, is probably the best control card in the game of Magic. Put all of these elements together and add a trick that Will Estacio turned me

onto–Lumbering Satyr and one of my favorite new cards Crystal Spray-and you have Satyr.dec.

This deck is neat. It wins by casting a bevy of big creatures and it has enough card drawing to ensure the big creatures keep coming. It even has the dreaded Counterspell to give an opponent pause whenever the deck has two blue mana sources untapped. Accumulated Knowledge and Rooting Kavu have some good synergy with Fact or Fiction. Crystal Spray can be used with the Satyr to give all of the fatties in the deck a landwalk of choice

for a turn or can be used to take away opposing creatures’ forestwalk so those fatties can block. I find the deck to be extremely solid and my only real concern is Void. Every card in the deck pretty much costs either two or four mana. Against Void, this is a serious problem and should be taken into consideration during sideboarding.


Tourney Play Rating: 6

Casual Play Rating: 6

4 Stormscape Apprentice

3 Stormscape Master

1 Dromar, the Banisher

4 Disrupt

4 Opt

4 Counterspell

4 Fact or Fiction

3 Recoil

3 Teferi’s Moat

2 Disenchant

2 Terror

3 Coastal Tower

3 Salt Marsh

2 Adarkar Wastes

2 Underground River

10 Island

3 Plains

3 Swamp

The second deck in my”Masters” series. This time, obviously, I have tried to make a deck around Stormscape Master. Both of Stormscape Master’s abilities very easily lend themselves to control-type strategies, which is good because blue is the primary color in the deck. Thus I have forced to again use that damn Counterspell card. Yuck.

Anyway, as with most control strategies it can be a little stresfull to play in the early turns. Unlike in my Nightscape deck, the Apprentice here is actually darned spiffy. The Apprentice taps creatures early and both Opt and Fact or Fiction cruise through the library looking for the right card at the right time (As a sidenote: I went back and forth whether to use Opt or Brainstorm. The deck doesn’t have any inherent shuffling so Brainstorm might be better but I like using the new cards).

At some point Teferi’s Moat hits the table. Between the Moat and both Stormscape guys, the deck stabilizes and allows either a big drain-fest or Dromar to win the game. And it works, despite looking like a big pile of good cards randomly thrown into a deck.

The deck is light on countermagic, which is a borderline problem. Another way to make the deck would be to drop all of the Recoil, Disenchant and Terror tricks and use more counters and Islands. This configuration gives the deck more pure control and less overall utility and is one I haven’t tried. It is definitely something to consider in Invasion block, which should be slow enough and have enough solid counters to pull off.


Tourney Play Rating: 5

Casual Play Rating: 8

4 Benalish Trapper

4 Sky Weaver

4 Rishadan Airship

4 Noble Panther

4 Riptide Crab

4 Sunscape Master

3 Devout Witness

1 Treva, the Renewer

4 Harrow

4 Armadillo Cloak

4 Adarkar Wastes

4 Brushland

2 Coastal Tower

2 Elfhame Palace

3 Forest

3 Island

6 Plains

If your goal is to truly bewilder your opponent, then use a deck built around Sunscape Master. The white Master is an interesting card because both of its abilities are very powerful and yet they suggest a beatdown strategy which just doesn’t work when using three colors. The result is a bizarre deck that looks to stall early with defensive creatures and then take charge with fliers and Armadillo Cloak later.

I was sure this deck would be one of the worst of the”Masters” series despite Sunscape Master’s impressive attributes. It may be bad, but it has won games against both aggressive and control strategies very consistently. Benalish Trapper, Riptide Crab, Devout Witness and even Noble Panther to a certain extent, act as the deck’s core defense early while Harrow gives the deck the mana it needs in all three colors. Soon Sky Weaver (which should be called”Red Bull Energy Drink”) and Rishadan Airship make a meager offense possible. An active Sunscape Master can either aid in the control or, coupled with Armadillo Cloak, turn the meager offense into major offense. Treva is just around because the deck can easily cast him.

This deck probably doesn’t take advantage of powerhouse cards like Disenchant, Armageddon, Fact or Fiction and Blastoderm but had reasons to leave our each of them. In its current configuration it probably won’t have enough utility, beatdown or control to have a consistent run through a tournament. But wow is it fun to play. Drop a Coastal Tower then a Forest and see what an opponent says. Then drop Riptide Crap and watch him or her laugh. Then drop Sky Weaver and Armadillo Cloak and watch him or her cry. Wheeeee!

Tomorrow, I promise no more Master decks. Well, maybe just one.

Have fun,

Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

“doctorjay” on Magic Encyclopedia

How do!

Three more decks, ready to go. I’m feeling a little green today, so you get ready for a lot of Forests. Forests mean Blastoderm, so get ready for a lot of him too.

If you’re forgetting what my goals are for this little experiment in innovation, check out my first article <link> for a refresher course.

And so, without further adieu…

Deck 22: THE STORM

Tourney Play Rating: 6

Casual Play Rating: 4

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Quirion Elves

4 Vine Trellis

4 Squee, Goblin Nabob

4 Blastoderm

2 Latulla, Keldon Overseer

4 Meteor Storm

4 Urza’s Rage

4 Hammer of Bogardan

4 Karplusan Forest

4 Shivan Oasis

9 Forest

9 Mountain

It doesn’t get a lot more basic than that. The idea here is to win with Blastoderm, because you are playing Forests, and burn, because you are playing Mountains. If that doesn’t immediately work, toss a Meteor Storm onto the table and use gobs of mana to discard Hammers and Squees to do lots of damage. Rinse, Storm, Repeat. If the situation is looking particularly dire, let Latulla come out and play similar tricks.

In all honesty, I haven’t met with a lot of success playing Meteor Storm which explains the rather low Tourney rating. Other people have beaten me with it, so I still think it is a decent deck concept. But somehow mine never works. I either get mana flooded and try to mount an offense with Quirion Elves (which doesn’t work, if you were wondering) or I finally get an active Storm and my opponent Cauldron Dances or Skizzik’s me to death.

The deck really should be fast. But in my hands the Meteor Storms and Hammers hide. Every once in awhile something spectacular will happen, but not enough to make me happy. I guess the deck is getting me back for not liking the movies”The Perfect Storm” and”Ice Storm.” Heck, I didn’t even like”Deep Impact.”

If it works, this deck should play like a mid-range control deck. The object if you can’t mount a quick beatdown is to burn away threats until you have reached a top-decking war with your opponent. In such a top-decking war, Meteor Storm and/or Hammer becomes awfully unbeatable. Anyway, good luck. Play Storm and prosper.

Deck 23: THICK

Tourney Play Rating: 6

Casual Play Rating: 9

4 Blastoderm

4 Thicket Elemental

1 Kavu Chameleon

1 Woodripper

1 Molimo, Maro Sorcerer

1 Avatar of Might

4 Wild Growth

4 Moss Diamond

4 Tsabo’s Web

4 Fallow Earth

4 Skyshroud Claim

4 Creeping Mold

2 Worldly Tutor

22 Forest

Now we’re talking! One card I seem to be alone in using online is Thicket Elemental. True, seven mana is a lot of pay for a single-use Oath of Druids-esque effect even if you are guaranteed a 4/4 out of the deal. But what makes the Thicket Elemental neat is that, unlike Oath of Druids, 1) the effect is not reliant upon an opponent’s situation and 2) the non-creature cards go back into the library rather than in a graveyard. A pretty straightforward strategy then is to play with a lot of mana, a few veeeeeery large critters, and Thicket Elemental.

Thicket Elemental is actually ridiculously easy to cast in this deck even with the kicker (and I have never cast it _without_ the kicker). I have avoided creature-based mana because a Llanowar Elves just isn’t as fun to Thicket out as, say, an Avatar of Might. Creeping Mold and Fallow Earth provide some disruption to protect the aforementioned large critters. Fallow Earth may seem underpowered for the deck, but especially with all of the new Invasion come-into-play-tapped lands, it can buy just enough

time to do twenty damage.

A note on the big creatures: Avatar of Might is just big, so that’s why it is in there. The deck also runs few creatures so it’s possible to only pay two for it. Woodripper is a great anti-artifact fattie. Kavu Chameleon gets around black removal, Story Circle and Teferi’s Moat. Molimo is just funny given all of the land this deck gets onto the table. And Blastoderm, well, is Blastoderm.

Above all, this is a FUN deck to play and effective enough not to be embarrassing. The only thing that stinks is when Thicket Elemental reaps another Thicket Elemental. I hate that.


Tourney Play Rating: 7

Casual Play Rating: 7

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Kavu Titan

4 Utopia Tree

4 Blastoderm

4 Thornscape Master

4 Rith, the Awakener

4 Disenchant

4 Harrow

4 Urza’s Rage

2 Brushland

2 Elfhame Palace

2 Karplusan Forest

2 Shivan Oasis

2 Mountain

2 Plains

12 Forest

I feel a bit like I have failed in making a deck around Thornscape Master. Oh sure, the deck wins a lot and is flexible enough to react to lots of different situations. And yeah, it’s fun to play too. But the real problem is that I almost never need, nor even really want, Thornscape Master. In winning a number of games I rarely cast him and when I did his abilities didn’t help me win as much as the big meanies, Disenchant and

Urza’s Rage. In fact, I bet if I took out Thornscape Master and used, say, Creeping Mold… or Tangle Wire… or even Tsabo’s Web, the deck would win even more often. If there is one thing that depresses me, it’s finding out the card I built a deck around is unecessary.

At the core of the deck is a mana engine similar to Deck #1: Birds of Paradise, Utopia Tree, Harrow and multicolor lands. Also like Deck 1, one of the main threats is Rith the super saproling dragon. But Disenchant and Urza’s Rage are so valuable as to be the only representatives of their colors in my 5cGreen deck (Deck 11), and Blastoderm and Kavu Titan are superb in a green deck with access to so much mana. In other words, the deck has enough threats to be scary and enough answers to be… uh… something with a lot of answers. Let Thornscape Master hit the road and there is probably a truly powerful deck there. Tangle Wire, especially, seems to me like a terrific choice given the many lands and quick creatures.

Another name for this deck if you ditch the Master could be Two-Land Timmy. What other decks use two copies of six different lands??

Two more days to go. Do you think I can make it? You already know there’s one more Master deck coming, and those of you who have read my articles in the past just _have_ to know what one of the upcoming decks is going to be. As for the rest of ’em, you are in for some real treats. And maybe some tricks. After all, it’s not only the start of the new Type 2 season… it’s also Halloween!!!

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

“doctorjay” on Magic Encyclopedia

Hello all,

It’s the second to last day of my thought experiment (check out my first article <link> to explain) and I’m getting slightly sick of playing online Magic. I had all thirty decks before I started this series, but in a fit of insanity I actually committed to playing each one as a sort of test drive. At the time I started the series, I had played roughly half of them. Now I come home from work and immediately log onto Encyclopedia. I miss my wife. I miss running. I miss television. I miss books. I miss

sitting at the table to eat. Sigh.

Do you suddenly have great appreciation for my endeavor? Are you thinking”Gosh, that Jay guy sure is dedicated to my creativity and innovation. What a swell guy”? Most of all, do you feel like sending me money? Aw c’mon… just a little money?

Alright fine you cheap bastard! Here are three more decks…


Tourney Play Rating: 6.5

Casual Play Rating: 6

4 Flailing Soldier

4 Thunderscape Apprentice

4 Veteran Brawlers

4 Skizzik

4 Thunderscape Master

1 Darigaaz, the Igniter

4 Seal of Fire

4 Shock

4 Harrow

3 Haunted Crossroads

4 Karplusan Forest

4 Sulfurous Springs

2 Shivan Oasis

2 Urborg Volcano

1 Keldon Necropolis

2 Forest

2 Swamp

7 Mountain

By now you are fairly familiar with the mental formula I use when making a deck around a Master. The decks tend to look pretty similar, although each has a very different tempo and play style. The Thunderscape Master, much like his Sunscape counterpart, has a mix of abilities that suggests some beatdown but few really solid beatdown decks can hope to support three colors. The advantage of this deck is that it doesn’t bother messing around with the two support colors much. Harrow is there to get the mana base correct and Haunted Crossroads is so much fun with Flailing Soldier, Keldon Necropolis and Skizzik that it spawned its own deck idea (see below). Darigaaz is the customary dragon legend that seems so easy to cast in a Master deck. Otherwise, the support colors are just there to use with both the Thunderscape Apprentice and Master.

My typical games with this deck have been won using some early burn and then one of two strategies. First, I can just flat-out win with a big Flailing Soldier and/or Skizzik. Sometimes I even get to recurse them with Haunted Crossroads which is great fun. Second, when attacking is not an option for whatever reason, I have won in the mid- to late-game by draining an opponent via the Thunderscape dudes. This deck, annoyingly enough, has no way to deal with things like Kor Haven, Dueling Grounds (which is so annoying coupled with Kor Haven), Story Circle, Teferi’s Moat, War Tax, etc. Luckily the central cards in the deck provide a

second path to victory. I won one game when I got an active Master at six life while my opponent had twenty-seven (don’t ask) with a Moat on the table. A reusable drain is that good.

I still think the Nightscape Master deck is the best of the ones I made as far as winning percentage. The Sunscape Master is my personal favorite to play. This one and the Thornscape Master are probably the most consistent because of Harrow. The Stormscape one, well, it’s fine if you like control but there are far better control strategies in either straight U/w or U/b.


Tourney Play Rating: 6

Casual Play Rating: 7

4 Blurred Mongoose

4 Vine Trellis

4 Vintara Snapper

4 Blastoderm

4 Bind

4 Creeping Mold

3 Hurricane

3 Tangle

2 Animate Land

2 Revive

2 Desert Twister

4 Hickory Woodlot

4 Rishadan Port

16 Forest

Long ago, Jamie Wakefield made a deck called”the Untouchables.” The idea was to have each creature be untargetable (ala Jolrael’s Centaur) and to have no artifacts or enchantments, thereby making all creature, artifact or enchantment removal spells in an opponent’s deck”dead” cards. I always thought this was a neat idea and I almost think there are enough cards in the new Type 2 to pull off something similar.

This deck is just full of tricks. I am not entirely sure how Bind is best used, but it can short-circuit Mageta, one of the dragon legends, Thrashing Wumpus, Dust Bowl and a host of other cards while allowing you to draw a card. Thus while not extraordinarily powerful, it is rarely useless. Creeping Mold is an obvious choice, as are Hurricane and Desert Twister. Animate Land gives the deck a slight boost in offense that it is

currently lacking and Revive can fetch any card in the graveyard save land. Tangle, however, is the true star of green’s new tricks. Personally, I think Tangle is one of the better answers to Blastoderm and can cripple a weenie horde like Rebels and Fish. It is, in my opinion, one of the only playable versions of Fog (and there have been MANY).

The problem is that the deck makes too many allowances with its creature base to fit the theme. The only tier 1 creature is Blastoderm, which admittedly is awfully good. But Blurred Mongoose isn’t much of a threat unless it is against mono-blue control (why, oh why, is this and Kavu Titan rare? That is just silly. And you thought _I_ was greedy. Although I still think you should send me money). Vintara Snapper isn’t actually untargetable some of the time, and spells like Shock and Snuff Out easily get around its conditions. Vine Trellis is around for early defense and is definitely targetable. My thinking here is that if they have to waste a Snuff Out on Vine Trellis, you are still getting in an opponent’s head. But this strategy leaves out creatures like Chimeric Idol and Kavu Titan. More importantly, with untargetable creatures the deck cannot obviously support green’s trickiest of tricks, Giant Growth, Wild Might and Invigorate. If the next two sets provide quality untargetable creatures and good utility-based sorceries, we may see a return of the Untouchables. For now, ditch a lot of the creatures and add red for burn to make a more competitive deck.

2cCRYPT (technically still alphabetical)

Tourney Play Rating: 5

Casual Play Rating: 7.5

4 Kris Mage

4 Shivan Zombie

4 Hidden Horror

4 Skizzik

3 Blazing Specter

3 Crypt Angel

2 Trench Wurm

4 Dark Ritual

4 Haunted Crossroads

4 Stone Rain

4 Sulfurous Springs

4 Urborg Volcano

1 Keldon Necropolis

7 Mountain

8 Swamp

Yes, I like doing recursion things when I play B/R. Yes, I like using Haunted Crossroads for said recusion. And yes, Skizzik is my friend.

Like the previous deck, this deck probably makes too many allowances in order to fit to a strict theme. It has little creature removal aside from Kris Mage and bigger creatures, which is just plain wrong for red and black. Hidden Horror makes the number of creatures necessarily high and Crypt Angel means that many of the creatures should be red. Finally, the creatures–while solid–are expensive enough to make the deck really slow. Dark Ritual helps, but it is probably worth dropping the number of creatures like Blazing Specter, Crypt Angel and Trench Wurm for more mid-range creatures.

That said, I enjoy what this deck can do and its creautures can be tough to deal with if an opponent’s deck isn’t really tight. Kris Mage, Hidden Horror, Skizzik and Keldon Necropolis make Haunted Crossroads a really spiffy card. If what I have seen online is any indication, both discard and counters are common enough to make the Crossroads good even without these built-in synergies. Crypt Angel also is fun with a Skizzik or Blazing Specter in the graveyard. Meanwhile, Stone Rain and Trench Wurm

provide just enough land destruction to be disruptive in this new

multicolor, nonbasic-heavy environment. If the deck could somehow lower its mana curve, possibly with Shock or Snuff Out, the deck might be pretty scary.

Another version of this deck I have tried replaces Stone Rain, Blazing Specter and Crossroads with Veteran Brawlers, Undertaker and Avatar of Woe. It thus becomes an almost pure creature deck, with the obvious strategy to dump enough creatures in the graveyard to play the Avatar. Like this version it wins enough to be fun. Also like this version, it just doesn’t seem good enough to go far in a tournament.

I hope you’re ready, because the last three decks are coming your way tomorrow. Then on Wednesday I release you into the new Type 2 frolicking and rejoicing in creative deck diversity. Or maybe you are just happy because I’ll shut up. That’s just mean. You cheap bastard.

See ya tomorrow and have fun,

Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

“doctorjay” on Magic Encyclopedia

Happy Halloween!

And also welcome to the final day in my ten day experiment <link to 1st article> in deck innovation. In recognition of Halloween, I feel like I have already thrown a trick at you (Deck 26). So I figure today it is time for some treats. All three of my final decks seem like pretty solid choices once the new Type 2 season starts up tomorrow. There are no Kavu or Coalition Victory decks, just good solid control strategies. No, don’t worry… when I say”control” I almost never mean Counterspell.

Deck 28: WILLY

Tourney Play Rating: 7

Casual Play Rating: 7

4 Ravenous Rats

3 Avatar of Will

4 Dark Ritual

4 Accumulated Knowledge

4 Stupor

4 Recoil

4 Fact or Fiction

4 Snuff Out

3 Parallax Nexus

2 Probe

4 Salt Marsh

4 Underground River

7 Island

9 Swamp

I had taken a break from the game and wasn’t playing Magic when Prophecy was released. At the time, I only knew about one card: Avatar of Will. My good friend Will Estacio decided, quite appropriately, that Wizards had made a card that was a sort of Ode to Him and promptly went about collecting as many Avatar of Wills he could get his hands on. Later, he tried several versions of a U/B deck that forced an opponent to discard down to zero cards and then lay the Will beatdown. He still owns the Avatars, though I am not sure he ever settled on a decklist with which he was happy.

This deck is my own Ode to Will. It follows the same strategy as Will’s original thinking and uses many of the cards he found most successful. So far the deck hasn’t lost a game, and I have played it against some very quality online opponents. Ravenous Rats, Stupor, Parallax Nexus and sometimes Probe help empty an opponent’s hand and disrupt his or her strategy. Rats are surprisingly effective and can often serve for 6-8 points of damage before they become annoying enough to kill. Parallax

Nexus, especially, can rapidly shrink an opposing hand in order to play a cheap Avatar and is also particularly effective at protecting the flying beat-stick once it is on the table. Recoil adds to the discard but also has a nice board control element to it. Particularly demoralizing is that when an opponent possesses no cards in hand, Recoil is a three casting-cost instant that can remove any permanent.

In my experience, blue is best used in the deck as a source of

card-drawing and to supply the Avatar rather than to add countermagic. Admittedly, I have an inherent bias against counterspells, but I have tried them here during playtesting. For some reason Counterspell and discard are different enough strategies to not mesh well together. Instead, Fact or Fiction, Accumulated Knowledge and Probe help find the Avatar and keep the discard coming to ensure an opponent has nothing to cast.

I have not played this deck against many beatdown decks. G/R and R/B seem like particularly bad matchups. The deck has Snuff Out but might also need some mass removal like Massacre maindeck. It may be worth adding a Massacre or two along with Vampiric Tutor, though I wouldn’t know what to take out. Right now the deck has what seems to me like a really good balance of discard and card manipulation.

You think maybe Wizards might make an Avatar of Jay? Man, that would be great.

Deck 29: WIRED

Tourney Play Rating: 8

Casual Play Rating: 4

4 Chimeric Idol

2 Glimmering Angel

4 Disenchant

4 Barbed Wire

4 Tangle Wire

4 Fact or Fiction

4 Wrath of God

3 Meekstone

2 Marble Diamond

2 Sky Diamond

2 Exile

4 Adarkar Wastes

4 Coastal Tower

1 Kor Haven

1 Rath’s Edge

15 Plains

Wow is this deck good. Wow is it boring as hell to play. No online opponent has played a second game against me after I played them with this deck. In fact, they have refused to play me _period_ which hurts the testing of my other decks. To someone who likes Magic to be fun for everyone, this is a Bad Sign.

Still, the deck does what it is supposed to do with remarkable

effectiveness. What it is supposed to do, of course, is to slow the game to a near halt. Meekstone, Kor Haven and Tangle Wire start off the disruption and encourage an opponent to drop more threats. When he or she has done so, Wrath of God clears the board. Exile is great against particularly large fatties that may come through via Cauldron Dance. Disenchant takes care of various other threats like Rising Waters and Chimeric Idol while Fact or Fiction–the most dominant card-drawing engine around–helps find all of the pieces.

One note about how great Tangle Wire is here: This deck is kind of like the foil to Tricky Green (Deck 26); Rather than have nothing to Disenchant, this deck gives way too many targets for artifact and enchantment removal. These days most removal is spot removal, which this deck benefits from greatly. With so many cheap permanents on the table, Tangle Wire is not only really effective but gives yet another thing to target.

The deck’s main offense consists of Chimeric Idol, Glimmering Angel, Barbed Wire and Rath’s Edge. I oddly use the Idol as defense far more than offense or a way to pick off counters and removal, since I often want to save mana for Fact or Fiction, Kor Haven, Exile, etc. on an opponent’s turn. That leaves the Angel, who is reasonably good here, as the primary creature threat. Most damage, however, is provided by Barbed Wire. Don’t scoff at Barbed Wire until you have played with or against it. In very

(VERY) long games, it is more than adequate at whittling life away. Moroever, Barbed Wire is superb at demoralizing an opponent if that is your shtick. Rath’s Edge is more of a finisher when the deck already has four thousand land on the table.

You won’t win friends playing this deck, though some people might smile at your use of Barbed Wire. Just don’t plan on going to the bathroom or eating while at a tournament.

Finally…. (dun Dun DUN!)

Deck 30: WOOD 2K

Tourney Play Rating: 8 (I may be biased here)

Casual Play Rating: 8 (I may be biased here too)

4 Llanowar Elves

4 Vine Trellis

4 Blastoderm

4 Kavu Chameleon

4 Hurricane

4 Land Grant

4 Tangle Wire

4 Skyshroud Claim

4 Creeping Mold

4 Desert Twister

2 Dust Bowl

18 Forest

Awhile back I made a green control deck that won me several local

tournaments named Fattie Wood, or Wood for short. It used the engine of Exploration, Yavimaya Elder, Rofellos and Skyshroud Claim to both supply ridiculous amounts of mana and cull the Forests from the deck. The result was a lot of very high-power spells like Plow Under, huge fatties and Desert Twister and, because of the thinned forests, it was a deck with incredible topdecks in the late-game.

Obviously most of the engine of Wood is about to rotate out of Type 2. This is evidenced by the fact that when I first bought Magic Encyclopedia and tried to make an MBC Wood deck, it used lots of creature and artifact mana to pull off the Saproling BurstKeldon Battlewagon combo. Still a fun deck, but it hardly deserves the same name.

I feel a little more confident calling this deck Wood. It still tries to make a lot of mana (via Elves, Trellis and Skyshroud Claim) and it also tries to pull Forests out of the library (via the Grant and Claim). Also like Wood, the focus here is big green monsters and control spells. Blastoderm is a no-brainer here, and Kavu Chameleon is simply _perfect_ in my mind as an uncounterable meanie resistant to black removal and things like Story Circle. Creeping Mold and Desert Twister are the main control, though Tangle Wire might fit this category too. Tangle Wire is pure gold in a deck that has both creature mana and lots of land, which should come as a surprise to no one.

My first few versions of the deck lacked some of the offensive punch of the original Wood. I tried using Rushwood Elemental, who is one my favorite creatures, as well as things like Avatar of Might. I have found Hurricane to be the most effective offensive option. There seem to be a lot more fliers these days, including the almighty dragon legends, and Hurricane can kill them all easily with access to so much mana. Almost as important (and I know this sounds really lame) Hurricane gives the deck an

out against aggressive decks. Green control is probably one of the hardest decks to sideboard against, and drawing game one gives you an advantage to come back and win the match since most beatdown is relatively easy to sideboard against.

And that, my friends, is that.

I hope you have enjoyed the past ten days and feel inspired at the possibilities in the new Type 2. I will be disappointed if only a few decks dominate States because–as I think I have shown–there is a lot of room for creative deck design now. If I have made any kind of light bulb pop over your head then I am thrilled and feel as if I have succeeded. This entire exercise has been about promoting innovation and deck diversity.


For me…

Make some neat decks, test the crap out of them and then don’t be afraid to compete with them. I guarantee Magic will be healthier for your effort and that everyone–yourself included–will have more fun.

Good luck at States,

Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

“doctorjay” on Magic Encyclopedia