You are gearing up for Champs. Don’t lie to yourself, you want to win. No matter if it is your first year attending or you are a seasoned veteran, Champs is the kind of tournament that gives the little guy hope. Anyone can win this shindig. After all, it is a whole new Standard environment, right? Over the next few weeks I plan to discuss some of the decks that may (or may not) be popular at Champs.
This particular article deals with a deck that is more of less summed up in a single card – Shared Fate. This card is a one-card victory condition.
What, you say? You don’t understand? Well it is simple, really: In essence, Shared Fate reads:”Switch decks with your opponent; you have no maximum hand size and cannot lose to decking.”
How does this win you the game?
“In the end, only those who do not try to gain victory will achieve it.”
-No one in particular, I just made this quote up and it sounded like something Sun Tzu would say.
The key to victory is having exactly zero victory conditions in your deck. That’s right – no creatures, no spells that might accidentally kill someone, nada, nothing. Call yourself a pacifist for the day. The trick is that even though your deck has no way to win, when you switch it with your opponent, that means he has no way to win!
Very tricky, but you undoubtedly are wondering what happens when they play a shared fate from your deck. Do the decks switch back? The answer is no. The way the card is worded, if they have no way to deal with it either in their hand or on the table, they lose. Of course, unless they can win with what they have left on the table and in their hand! It’s very hard to do, but it is not impossible.
So the question remains – and it’s a question that has not been asked in magic since the days of backdraft – how do you build your deck to lose?
Well, the idea is to stay alive long enough for you to get a Shared Fate out, using the resources left in your hand to deal with whatever is left on the table, and then kill them with whatever goodies you find in their deck. It has a whole Grinning Totem feel to it.
Staying alive is easier said than done. This format has a lot of quick creatures running around. If you cater too heavily to defeating them, you will lose to the Mind Sludges running around on the other end of the spectrum. My solution is classic Blue/White control…And by classic, I mean classic. We are talking Icy Manipulators and Wrath of Gods, folks. It doesn’t get any more Alpha than that. Where are my Winter Orbs when I need them?
I seriously considered adding Walls to this deck. Wall of Steel, Wall of Hope, any janky wall that I could find. Wall of Steel would actually help affinity, and Wall of Hope would really slow the beats. For the budget-minded of you guys out there, I would recommend this with Solar Tides… Keep the Walls, lose the fat.
4 Flooded Strand
4 Ancient Den
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Chrome Mox
4 Talisman of Progress
4 Solar Tide
3 Assert Authority
4 Mana Leak
4 Icy Manipulator
4 Wrath of God
4 Thirst for Knowledge
4 Shared Fate
Some of you might be worried that the deck is too controlling, and the multiple Wraths and Icy Manipulators that your opponents are bound to draw will thwart you. Never fear – just play it safe! Remember, they can only win with the cards they have when you cast Shared Fate. If they use up those resources, they simply cannot beat you. Play out one guy at a time if you need to be sure. They just won’t have enough steam to stop every creature in their own deck.
Notice the use of all the artifact-friendly cards. This is for two reasons – first of all, they are all really good. Also, they have the added benefit up being really bad initially for your opponent. For instance, Thirst for Knowledge will let them draw three cards from your deck, but then they will have to discard from their original hand. This may mean they discard nothing, or it may mean that they must discard the last card in their hand you were worried about. When push comes to shove, you could care less if they draw three from your crappy deck when you get the peace of mind of knowing you have won the game.
There should be enough countermagic in here to stop the Sludge. Assert Authority is actually rather good; it is the closest thing to Counterspell that you will find these days, if you play a lot of artifacts. Twenty is a fine number. If you don’t think so, feel free to replace them with Discombobulates. Besides, it would be kind of funny to counter your opponents spell and then set up the next four cards of their library, wouldn’t it?
What this deck translates into is a one-card show. It can win very easily, especially if people are caught unprepared. It can also lose if you get overzealous… But it is a very forgiving deck overall. After all, if anything goes wrong, you can always assume your opponent has some goodies that might help you!
The only real downside to playing this deck is that it is a pain if someone actually makes you play it out. This is very annoying and probably bad for your opponent, considering you will win game one with little time left in the round. The other bad part is the mirror matchup.
What is the tech in the mirror match? How should you play it?
Well, my best advice to you is to share your fate and go grab lunch.
What am I playing in Champs, you ask? Well, it isn’t this. Not because it isn’t good, but rather because I would much prefer to play with Manakins in my decks. Oh yes…But that tech will have to wait for now.
Until next time, make that mana fight!
I would just like to insert a little piece here saying congrats to Paul Sottosanti for making the trek to Wizards for his internship there. I hope your stay there will be a pleasant one! We will miss you in Pittsburgh.