Blonde Skies – A Deck For November Type 2

Play with Thought Nibbler and you have no brains – does this make you a blonde?

No offense to any blondes around here, but the deck’s name came out of some word association. I got the idea when I was looking at the creatures eating people’s brains, and the sacrificing of resources involved, et cetera, so the old canard came up – blondes have no brains! And so a deck title was born that would offend at least a million people.

Blonde Skies

4 Thought Nibbler

4 Thought Eater

4 Thought Devourer (savage ‘tings, as that Flores guy would say – if you can’t deal with it, you’re dead in a few turns)

4 Standstill (love this card, absolutely great)

4 Words of Wisdom

4 Counterspell

4 Prohibit (Wish I could find a better mono-U counter for this)

3 Syncopate (I only own three, but they’re great against Pyre Zombie and the like)

2 Upheaval (Amazing! You play this when things are going badly, play a Spellbook for free after, laugh at your opponent. Oh, and this card increases the odds of tables being flipped in frustration 100%)

4 Spellbook

1 Extract

2 Rushing River

20 Islands

How The Deck Came To Be:

I liked Skies a lot, but didn’t like the fact it used Static Orb, since I always wanted to have access to my resources. I really liked the fact that it used huge flying creatures that were hard to deal with, and used them as a route to victory. After looking at the Odyssey spoiler, I saw the deck basically resurfaced with a different set of drawbacks. Whereas Skies used creatures that tapped your lands backed up with”free” counterspells, Blonde Skies uses creatures that severely reduce your hand size, with Spellbook negating the effect.

The Basics Of The Deck

Twelve total of Thought Nibbler, Thought Devourer and Thought Eater.

High Power/Toughness to Converted mana cost creatures are good; they are even better when they fly. Remember that in November Type II, there are no more Blastoderms, Saproling Bursts, Idols, Rebels, yadda yadda yadda. The deck fights the creature’s drawbacks fairly well. Ideally you go Turn 1, Island, Thought Nibbler, Spellbook, four cards left in hand for no drawback. If you go second and draw, the same play is of course ideal, with an additional card in hand for five cards total.

Usual turn 2 plays are Standstill with a Nibbler out, forcing an opponent to respond by letting you draw into more threats and countermagic, or a Thought Eater to continue pressure. The important thing is to make sure you can play with the Spellbook. Assuming most decks play with heavy countermagic and little artifact disruption outside of Pernicious Deed and Recoil, you can usually tell what your opponent’s first plays will be from his first few land drops. He drops a Yavimaya Coast or Llanowar Wastes, you can expect an Opposition or Deed somewhere. If they play with Plains, expect White Weenie, which this can usually handle without any difficulty.

There are eleven spells in the deck that allow you to stop threats from entering play, the venerable Counterspell needing no explanation… And neither should Syncopate. Syncopate is simply a brilliant card, allowing removal of Flashback spells such as Call of the Herd or Firebolt, or recursion effects such as Pyre Zombie. Prohibit was a harder choice. I wanted something that could counter a Counterspell or a low mana-cost threat while giving me flexibility for the late game. I didn’t like Disrupt or Memory Lapse because they were too narrow, in my opinion. Exclude also didn’t make the cut because I was assuming a more Control-oriented field, as well as a resurgence of Domain.

If threats do enter play that can’t be flown over by your creatures or countered, you do have solutions. You can Rushing River them back to their hand at the end of turn for countering on the next turn, or you can Upheaval.

2 Upheaval

Ahh, Upheaval. Definitely one of my favourite cards in the new set, it also evades the huge drawback of having many many cards in hand because of Spellbook. Obviously, it may not be able to be pushed through against Control, but it can easily swing the game in your favour against Weenie, Land Destruction, or other decks. If you’re lucky, you can squeeze it out against Control with a Counter or Prohibit backup. It really shines against decks like White Weenie, Land Destruction, or Digger. Things getting messy? Pick ’em all up! Oh, and I’ll play a Spellbook for free afterwards. 🙂

Eight total of Standstill and Words of Wisdom.

Standstill is simply incredible, You play it turn 2 and reap the rewards of three cards entering your hand on your opponent’s next turn. Worse comes to worse, your opponent may well be the one getting the advantage. I can only see this happening, however, if I have to Rushing River at End of Turn or Words of Wisdom to get a solution.

Words of Wisdom is also quick, flexible card advantage. Yes, your opponent DOES to get draw a card, but you get two, at Instant Speed, and you’re also playing with Blue Mana, which generally means you can answer to the threats your opponent has.

4 Spellbook

Need I say more except that it makes all of your creatures into undercosted beating sticks? Oh, and it lets you work around the obvious drawback of Upheaval, while your opponent discards anywhere from four to eight cards after the fact. Plus, the elimination of a maximum hand size means you can just sit there with ten or fifteen cards in hand, any number of which can be either threats, counters, or more drawing effects.

1 Extract

Realistically, it should be in the sideboard for this deck, but I was short one Syncopate when building and it was there – so in it went! Surprisingly, it has been effective against almost every deck I’ve played against. Against Domain, you get their lone Legacy Weapon and watch them weep. Against Control, it’s one less Millstone. Where it breaks down is against decks with multiple threats, but even here it will get you a Rage, Wrath, or other annoying card that you won’t have to deal with later.

Testing results

Against Red-Green Land D: 6-3

It really hinges on him getting the turn 1 Bird or me getting the turn 2 Standstill – in either scenario, whoever gets his early drop wins. But generally, he has no way of dealing with threats that are 4/4. It was usually bad when I lost early lands, but if the game gets to me having five or six lands in play, I play a Thought Devourer and win.

Against BWR Goblin Trenches/Pyre Zombie: 5-1

I really only ever lost one game to Pyre Zombie; other games, I just got out the air force and beat the crap out of him. Standstill won me too many situations, his deck can’t deal with the 4/4 guy, I Syncopate the Zombies, and hope for the best if he plays a Goblin Trench.

Against Digger: No Losses

Digger has always had a special place in my heart since Ben Raymond went 7-0 with it at Nats last summer, but it can’t keep up with Spellbook, Standstill, huge flier. It gets to a point where you have to keep chumping with the Harpy or Doomsday Specter, and that’s all bad. Additionally, the Digger has to play threats so I always trigger the Standstill. In the situations where things have gotten messy, Upheaval solved all the problems. You’re the Digger player; do you chuck all your critters or gaters and keep land, or keep a mix, knowing you have to play an efficient flyer or lose?

Against Opposition with Skyfolk, Jungle Barrier: 2-6

Unfortunately, against this deck I have to counter the Oppositions and Orbs, which means that I slow down my threat production. Going aggressive often means that I can’t counter the Static Orb or the Opposition, and that’s all bad. Upheaval just doesn’t happen here, unfortunately, and I believe this is my worst matchup. I think I need some sideboard options here for sure; I haven’t decided what my sideboard will be yet, but it will probably involve four Diverts, four Hibernations, and other options that involve redirecting Rage or bouncing Green.

The Nitty Gritty:

The deck is great fun to play; nothing like beating down with a 4/4 d00d and watching your opponent scramble for solutions. The fact it can crank out threat after threat after threat and that they all fly is huge. Spellbook seems weak, but it actually boosts the deck’s power curve immensely; I’ve often been with fourteen cards in hand, many of them threats/counters. I think it can be a viable alternative to Skies in November Standard. I know I’ll be playing this… Well, this or Black/White with Skeletal Scrying and Tainted Pact.

Cheers to all, and enjoy the deck!

Crazy [email protected]