Building Your First Five, Volume 4: Girding The Deck

we have been building three decks along through this series in order to give you an idea of how the steps work: By now, we should have a healthy decklist, with only twenty to forty spaces left for non-mana cards. How do we fill in the gaps and prepare for the next stage of creating a mana base?

Aside: I apologize for the slight tardiness of this article. Life came and kicked me a few days into the future. It’s funny, because I had just told The Ferrett that I was not going to slow down my one article a week pace anytime in the foreseeable future. I think some power from on high heard the hubris-laden overtones of my statement, and then I had to fire a staff member and pickup his slack, and then the water main in one of my buildings broke, etc. I even missed states. Anyways, I am here and ready to continue where we left off. Which was, right about here….

When a format requires 250 cards, and 18 of each color, it can be a little intimidating building your first deck. Where do you start? How do you go about it? What should be included? This series of articles takes you through the steps of building a Five Color deck. The first several articles dealt with selecting and considering a theme, building a basic skeleton, then fleshing out the deck. Now, we are at the penultimate stage, with only one more remaining: It’s time to clothe the deck, round out the non-mana cards. In the next article, we will choose a mana base.

By now, we should have a healthy decklist, with only twenty to forty spaces left for non-mana cards. Typically, a good rule of thumb to use with a Five Color deck is 150 card to 100 mana, although many decks end up using a different ratio. You’ll find out that the 150:100 ratio is a little off, especially if you are playing classic mana fixers.

The main issue with this stage is that it cannot be broken down into nice little pieces like the previous ones. In the last stage, for example, I broke down fleshing out a deck into 5 stages. Here, we want to top off the deck, then metagame it. There are, however, some general steps I identify that can be part of this stage. So, that is how I am going to divide up this work. Into the smaller steps required.

As a reminder, we have been building three decks along through this series in order to give you an idea of how the steps work. It’s not enough to simply discuss the theory and move on. Examples are worth a lot more. The three decks that we have been working on are

1) A cheap, inexpensive control deck

2) A sliver deck with nothing expensive except for mana

3) A Living Death deck where expense of the cards is not considered.

Each of these decks have been fleshed out, and now simply need to be topped off with a few cards and mana.

Step 1 – Adding the Essentials

The basic goal of this stage is to throw in those cards that are absolutely vital to a Five Color Deck’s success. For example, the most powerful sorcery in many decks is Balance. Balance is old, but it is also a fairly cheap card, with the cheapest version costing only $3.00 here at StarCity. As such, there is really no excuse for most Five Color decks not to run one. Even aggressive decks can take advantage of its faux-Mind Twist, faux-Armageddon abilities. And while we are on the subject of Mind Twist, here is a rare (the cheapest at StarCity is 2.75) that can also turn the tide versus any deck. It can fit into control, combo, and aggro all without missing a beat. The overwhelming power and inexpense of these two cards suggest that practically every decktype should use them.

These two cards are excellent examples of how some old but cheap cards can make quite an impact in Five Color. The ultimate power card may be Contract from Below. A cheap draw-seven card for only one black mana, it’s balanced by simply an additional ante. It’s awesome power cannot be exaggerated – plus it is unrestricted, which leaves very little reason not to run these cards. (Cheapest at StarCity are 2.00!) Other powerful cards include Regrowth, Demonic Tutor, Sol Ring, Braingeyser, and Wheel of Fortune. Even cards taken out of play during Urza’s Block, like Memory Jar, Stroke of Genius, Windfall, Time Spiral, and Tolarian Academy. These are nice, inexpensive, and powerful.

And these are the sorts of cards you want to look at playing. I’d start with tutors. Practically every non-creature tutor is restricted, so I’d go towards playing them. A decent list would include: Demonic Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Diabolic Tutor, Gamble, Diabolic Intent, Academy Rector, Sterling Grove, Mangara’s Tome, Merchant Scroll, Planar Portal, Demonic Consultation, Divining Witch, Tinker, Eladamri’s Call, Worldly Tutor, and Transmute Artifact. Not every one of these fits into every deck, and there are certainly other tutor options, but this is the list I would begin with. It’s definitely worth playing as many tutors as reasonably fit into a deck – if your deck has only four enchantments, you might leave out the Rector and Grove, for example. But, each of these can be quite powerful. Since decks are big, they are inherently unreliable, so you need pinpoint accuracy whenever possible.

There are a couple of other powerful cards that I would almost always recommend – namely, Yawgmoth’s Will and the appropriate Wishes. The Will is a great card that can single handedly turn games around. It works well in any sort of deck and especially in combo decks. Each of the five wishes are restricted, but Living Wish, Cunning Wish, and Burning Wish are good enough to see play in most decks as a versatile tutor. Make sure that you have a few cards around to tutor for, because in Five Color, the Wishes can only retrieve cards that you own and that you can get without leaving your seat. Golden Wish may make appearances in some decks, although Death Wish is a truly appropriate name. The Wishes are a bit on the expensive side, but the Will is cheap and easy to find.

These cards are some of the five color essentials, and most decks will want them in order to be a little more well rounded. Check and see what essentials fit the deck you are building, and slide them in.

Step 2 – Adding Redundancy and Filling Out Spaces

There are a few tricks that you may not have originally noticed. Most Five Color decks include a variety of tutors for pinpoint accuracy. As such, you will need a variety of removal for different card types. For example, if you have to kill a Masticore, and you topdeck a Sterling Grove, what do you go get? What if you topdeck a Tinker? What if your opponent’s Humility is keeping him alive, since you’d have enough creatures in play to Alpha Strike him out of existence if only they weren’t all 1/1s. Do you have a Mystical Tutor target? How about an Academy Rector target? What artifact do you Tinker for in order to stop a creature?

You want to make sure that you have a few cards in your deck for emergency purposes. Seal of Cleansing is an excellent choice to play one of; it’s rarely a bad card, and it can be Rectored/Enlightened/Groved to take out its respective targets. Another excellent enchantment to have available is a Confiscate. It can take out anything, assuming that merely taking control of something is enough. Other Seals could be useful, but besides possibly playing Seal of Doom, I wouldn’t really recommend any.

In artifacts, different decks need different solutions. For example, Null Rod is an excellent choice for some decks, but bad in others. Having a Nevinyrral’s Disk in a lot of decks will allow a Tinker to pull out a way of resetting the game position. Other options might include a slow Powder Keg, Helm of Possession, Mishra’s Helix, Crumbling Sanctuary, or Phyrexian Colossus – Each of which performs a specific function very well for an artifact.

Sometimes an examination of a deck turns up a need for more redundancy. If a deck needs artifact and enchantment destruction, then simply four copies of a Disenchant-flavored card are hardly sufficient. Likewise creature destruction, card drawing, winning conditions, and so forth. A studied observation might be necessary in order to determine if more cards are necessary.

Basically, this step is all about checking cards, adding extra cards if you need them, and then ensuring that your tutors can actually get what you want. Pretty simple, actually.

Step 3 – Checking Your Colors

emembering that your deck has to have 18 cards in each color, now you want to list your cards, and figure out if you can meet that requirement. Remember that Gold and Split cards can count as any color in their cost, but not as more than one color. After you have counted the colors, if you have less than 18 in a color, now is the time to bump up your cards. If you have less than 18 in green or white, you can always add mana fixers in the last stage, which we will discuss next week.

Now, how do you find those extra cards? Well, the first way is to use your needed redundancy from the previous step to add cards of the appropriate color. If you need, say, red cards, and your deck could use some enchantment removal, then why not toss in Thunderscape Battlemage or Hull Breach? If you need black cards and creature removal, then your options are legion. And so forth.

Another way to analyze your deck is to find a card which is absolutely essential. Now, if you want to cast it, but you do not have the appropriate mana, is there another card out there that could suffice in another color? In our Living Death deck, for example, I am going to recommend a single copy of Death or Glory. In case the double black mana has not appeared, Death or Glory can substitute. Reanimation is so pivotal, that it may be our only route to victory at times. Therefore, if you topdeck a tutor, you have a card available to go for in order to bring back your dead. It may be substandard, but it gives your deck another alternate way of winning. Plus, it helps to round out white.

When in doubt, you can always add card drawing, land filtering, and creature removal to a deck. There is almost no such thing as too much removal. When looking at cards to include in those last few slots to fill out a color, look at Split Cards or cards with a colorless cycling ability. If you do not get the mana for that off color, you can still play a Split Card. Fire / Ice and Spite / Malice are both really good, but Assault / Battery, Wax / Wane, and Order / Chaos can each provide a nice benefit as well. Cycling cards with useful abilities, like Expunge, Miscalculation, and Unearth can be nice filler.

It should go without saying, but make sure that cards in your off-color only use one mana of that color – unless the card is really good.

Step 4 – Accounting for the Metagame

The problem with a Five Color metagame is that it varies from region to region. However, if you are playing in an area that has Five Color Qualifiers and a chunk of players, then there are some things you should expect. Expect combo decks in some form or another. It pleases some people to have their deck with 250+ cards go off in a comboriffic orgasm of flurrying cards. And of the combos that are out there, most can be stopped by enchantment removal or graveyard removal. Or both.

Tormod’s Crypt or Phyrexian Furnace are virtually required in some form or another. The Crypt will take out the combo elements of a deck that harnessed the graveyard. On the other hand, the Furnace can always be used to cycle. Strictly speaking, the Furnace is usually better versus Reanimator decks, while the Crypt is better against Traumatize/Oath/Morality Shift combo decks. It’s your choice which to play, or play them both if you want. However, either be prepared for massive graveyard manipulation, or be prepared to eventually lose.

And, if you are playing graveyard manipulation, then be prepared for these measures to be used against you. If you do not target cards in your own graveyard, then Ground Seal will stop the Furnace (plus the Krosan Reclamations and Gaea’s Blessings that will come your way). However, it will not stop the Crypt and it won’t work in decks where you need to target cards in your graveyard, like Reanimation. To stop a Crypt here, I’d turn to Null Rod. It won’t prevent Planar Void or the mentioned Reclamations and Blessings, but it will prevent Crypts and Furnaces from working. It can also be disenchanted, so you might want to consider Interdict or Bind as back up. These cards cantrip to draw a card, and are much more useful than you may otherwise imagine.

Fast aggressive decks also abound in Five Color. If you start with a hand of mana and a tutor, you will want some target to stave off a fast horde. This is why cards like Wall of Blossoms, Bottle Gnomes, and Jungle Barrier are so important. Anything from Spike Weaver to Wrath of God to Starstorm can help. Most non-aggro decks should have lots of cards that help it survive to the middle-game. Otherwise, some fast deck that plops down a bunch of creatures before casting Contract will roll over you.

Also, fast decks will use cards like Winter Orb and Armageddon to back them up. Keep this in mind as you play against them. But, more importantly for our purposes, we’ll need to remember that later when we put in some mana and enhancers. We’ll also want some artifact mana like Fellwar Stone and Mox Diamond. Again, this is food for thought for later.

Now we have examined four steps to finish out the non-mana portions of our deck. Having this basic framework, it’s time to turn our attention to the three decks we have been building the entire time. Remember, these decks are illustrative in nature, and are not designed to be finely honed machines.

We will attempt to annoy the Ferretted One by listing the decks as they currently are (and requiring him to put in a link for every card), then discuss the four steps for the decks, and finally add cards to create a non-mana finalized decklist for each one.

Sliver 250 – Body

4 Orim’s Thunder

1 Talon Sliver

1 Armor Sliver

4 Impulse

4 Fact or Fiction

1 Horned Sliver

4 Erhnam Djinn

4 Heart Sliver

1 Barbed Sliver

4 Flametongue Kavu

4 Arc Lightning

1 Recurring Nightmare

2 Sengir Vampire

4 Trench Wurm

4 Expunge

4 Contract from Below

4 Ticking Gnomes

4 Bottle Gnomes

1 Citanul Flute

4 Eladamri’s Call

2 Artifact Mutation

2 Aura Mutation

4 Spite/Malice

4 Muscle Sliver

4 Harsh Mercy

4 Shared Triumph

4 Winged Sliver

4 Mnemonic Sliver

4 Mindwhip Sliver

4 Clot Sliver

4 Patriarch’s Bidding

4 Spined Sliver

4 Hibernation Sliver

4 Crystalline Sliver

4 Victual Sliver

4 Acidic Sliver

2 Sliver Queen

4 Metallic Sliver

4 Riptide Replicator

130 cards of slivering happiness. We begin with:

Step 1 – Adding the Essentials: Here we have a deck that can play either aggressively or more towards control. Some of the classic restricted cards fit into that theme very well. Balance, Mind Twist, Yawgmoth’s Will, and Regrowth all fit into our deck nicely. We also want some tutors, but this is a deck with a large quantity of redundancy. It wants to create problems more than solver them. As such, less tutors are necessary. Remembering that this deck is supposed to be decently cheap, except for the mana base, I skip out on Vampiric Tutor and the Wishes. However, Demonic Tutor, Mystical Tutor, and Diabolic Tutor provide some tutoring help. Remember that this deck already includes four copies of Eladamri’s Call for tutoring assistance.

For card drawing, I want to include Windfall and Wheel of Fortune. Wheel fits so nicely in this deck – plus, the cheapest version goes for four dollars here at StarCity. It will be one of the more expensive cards we’ll play with. I also want a Diminishing Returns as well. Again, the ability to draw seven is really important in a deck like this. Jar and Time Spiral are also possibilities, but I am going to cut us off at those extra ten cards.

Step 2 – Adding Redundancy and Filling Out Spaces: A deck like this does not have a need for additional redundancy. We already built in redundancy with its creature base long ago. It does not have a lot of removal, and if we need some cards of a particular color later, we can toss in some more to spice things up. Also, a deck running a small amount of tutors does not have as much of a need for highly specialized targets. Most of the time, you’ll just want to get a Contract anyways. The deck might be able to use a few creatures with 187 abilities, to work with the Calls and Citanul Flute. Play testing should help out here.

Step 3 – Checking Your Colors: Due to the large presence of gold cards, this deck has 18 cards in every color. In the list above, blue has 16 cards, but we already added Windfall, Returns, and Mystical Tutor to the lot. Red has 13 cards, but we have added Wheel and we can count the four Acidic Slivers to go up to 18. Green has only 9 cards, but we added Regrowth and we can count both the Victual and Spined Slivers. And, White has 14 cards, but we added Balance and can count the Crystalline Slivers. Ergo, 18 cards in each color. Therefore, we can skip this step.

Step 4 – Accounting for the Metagame: This is a deck which uses a small amount of recursion, but those cards probably won’t be hosed too much by graveyard hate. On the other hand, we may enjoy some hate of our own. I really like Gaea’s Blessing or Phyrexian Furnace. The Blessings are more often used on your opponent, since cards added to a 250+ card deck rarely see the light of play again. The Furnace is much more reliable, however, so we’ll toss in a full set of them and move on.

I would like to examine another card, however. As I think about it, I start going back over our cards and the casting costs are around the two or three level for most of our deck… Maybe that Armageddon would work for us! (Or Winter Orb, Impending Disaster, and so forth.) The four Furnaces brings us up to 144 cards, so we have a tad of space. Since they rotated out of Extended, Winter Orbs have dropped in price, so let’s find a player’s set and throw them in. That puts us at 148 cards. Perfect.

Cards added:

1 Balance

1 Mind Twist

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Tutor

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Windfall

1 Diminishing Returns

1 Regrowth

1 Wheel of Fortune

4 Phyrexian Furnace

4 Winter Orb

Living Death 250 – Body

4 Living Death

1 Recurring Nightmare

4 Buried Alive

4 Entomb

4 Nether Shadow

4 Ashen Ghoul

2 Krovikan Horror

4 Oversold Cemetery

2 Squee, Goblin Nabob

2 Bazaar of Baghdad

4 Careful Study

4 Fact or Fiction

1 Tolarian Serpent

1 Restock

1 Regrowth

4 Krosan Tusker

4 Sylvan Library

1 Abundance

2 Gigapede

1 Silvos

4 Spike Feeder

4 Wall of Blossom

3 Spike Weaver

1 Uktabi Orangutan

2 Phyrexian Plaguelord

3 Bone Shredder

2 Undead Gladiator

1 Carrionette

4 Ghitu Slinger

4 Flametongue Kavu

1 Avalanche Riders

2 Thunderscape Battlemage

1 Goblin Bombardment

2 Ancient Hydra

1 Anarchist

1 Recoup

1 Radiant’s Dragoons

1 Monk Realist

1 Academy Rector

2 Mindless Automaton

1 Citanul Flute

2 Masticore

4 Eladamri’s Call

4 Spite/Malice

For the Living Death deck, we have 110 cards, but a much longer list of cards; such is the fate of a Living Death deck. This deck definitely needs some clothes, and a few colors need work as well.

Step 1 – Adding the Essentials: Remember that this is a deck being built without regard for price. Within reason of course – no power nine and stuff here! But that means that we can pepper our deck with really good cards… Like Living Wish, which is a really important card. It can get any creature, which allows it to act like a Eladamri’s Call. However, there are a lot of creatures that you’ll want to have handy to go get. Aura Thief, for example, can really devastate a small number of decks, but is probably not worth a maindeck spot. Now you can get it with a Wish. Other tasty Wish targets might include False Prophet, Faceless Butcher, or Latulla. Sometimes, freaky stuff happens in 250; you may have out three Wall of Blossoms and are about to Living Death. Why not go get a Wall of Mulch, sacrifice them all for four cards, then gain three more when the Blossoms bloom again? And so forth. Burning Wish is almost as good, netting you some recursion targets in Twilight’s Call and Zombify. It can also get creature kill, enchantment or artifact destruction, or could be used to get an emergency land kill card. Plus, you can always get a card that would be bad under most circumstances, but which is fine then. Anything from Mind Warp to Biorhythm to Mogg Infestation could see play.

Besides the pair of Wishes, you want as many tutors as possible. Demonic, Vampiric, Diabolic Tutor, Mystical, Enlightened, Gamble, Sterling Grove, and Planar Portal all make the cut with ease. Other tutors, like Diabolic Intent and Rhystic Tutor, could arguably see play as well. We already had a full set of Eladamri’s Calls, Citanul Flute, and Academy Rector.

In other card drawing news, we like effects that put cards in the graveyard. A full set of Contracts plus Wheel and Windfall definitely make the cut. In other restricted ideas, Yawgmoth’s Will is absolutely essential in this deck. Other possibilities include playing with Cunning Wish or Memory Jar. Don’t play with the Timetwister clones, however; they just don’t make the cut.

Balance and Mind Twist also get tossed in. With those two cards, we have now added 19 cards to our deck.

Step 2 – Adding Redundancy and Filling Out Spaces: We have several places where redundancy is required. For example, Genesis would be an excellent way of getting a creature that also recurs others. We need one, at least. Balthor, the Defiled is another way of recurring creatures. With a lot of black and red creature in the deck, a copy of the Zombie Dwarf would probably be a nice addition.

We also want some more removal added to the deck. Firestorm is a great choice, so we’ll play a couple of those. We also will probably want some more enchantment/artifact removal. A single copy of Seal of Cleansing will help to round out our enchantments, while four Orim’s Thunders will provide removal of enchantments, artifacts, and creatures.

We may have to come back and visit redundancy in the next step, if we are deficient in any area of cards.

Step 3 – Checking Your Colors: Looking over our list, I find some problems with our color base. Namely, white and blue appear to need further examination. So far, we have nine blue cards, plus two Spite / Malice. That leaves us with seven cards needed. We added Windfall and Mystical Tutor, so we really need five cards. Let’s go ahead and throw in that Cunning Wish I mentioned earlier as a possibility. That brings us to four cards. We have several options here. Man-o-War might fit. So might some search, like Impulse. I really like filling up the graveyard though. Plus, we may need a little bit to help us survive. So, for now, I am going to toss in a full set of Reviving Vapors. I may toss in Impulses later if there is room, and I can shift the Vapors over to white.

White is our other problem color, and how! We only start with three white cards plus a full set of Calls. That leaves us with eleven cards needed. We have since added a Balance, Seal of Cleansing, and the four Thunders. We still need five cards.

As a mentioned above, we have a Death or Glory possibility to play. So let’s toss that in. For the remaining three cards, we are not going to worry: I have every intention of playing Land Tax and Tithe when we get to the mana stage in the next article, which should help to round out our white.

Step 4 – Accounting for the Metagame: With such a small amount of artifacts, we will really want those Null Rods. These Rods will help us eliminate Crypts and Furnaces from hurting our chances at taking out our graveyard – plus they will turn off a lot of problem artifacts. All it does to hurt us is neutralize the Planar Portal, Masticores, Mindless Automatons, and Citanul Flute. Having only six cards the Rods hurt is not a big deal. We’ll play two Null Rods to give us a backup.

We also could really use some graveyard hate of our own, in order to hurt our opponent prior to a Living Death. A couple of Furnaces should work. We’ll also want an emergency Gaea’s Blessing, in order to hit a vital card while we have a Null Rod out.

We have now added 39 cards to bring us up to 149. That’s a little higher than I would like to be at, but if we go over 250 cards total, it’s no real big deal.

Cards Added:

1 “Living Wish

1 Genesis

1 Gaea’s Blessing

1 Burning Wish

1 Gamble

1 Wheel of Fortune

2 Firestorm

1 “Cunning Wish

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Windfall

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

4 Contract from Below

1 Mind Twist

1 Balthor, the Defiled

1 Enlightened Tutor

1 Balance

1 Seal of Cleansing

4 Orim’s Thunder

1 Death or Glory

1 Planar Portal

2 Null Rod

2 Phyrexian Furnace

1 Sterling Grove

4 Reviving Vapors

Control 250 – Body

4 Winds of Rath

4 Catastrophe

4 No Mercy

4 Savage Twister

4 Counterspell

4 Forbid

4 Fact or Fiction

4 Ophidian

1 Stroke of Genius

4 Contract from Below

1 Memory Jar

4 Teferi’s Honor Guard

1 Academy Rector

4 Rainbow Efreet

4 Man-o-War

4 Impulse

4 Portent

2 Misdirection

4 Control Magic

4 Capsize

1 Confiscate

2 Nekrataal

4 Expunge

4 Thornscape Battlemage

4 Sylvan Library

1 Abundance

2 Aether Mutation

2 Suffocating Blast

4 Jungle Barrier

3 Dromar’s Charm

4 Fire/Ice

4 Spite/Malice

We have 108 cards in our control deck. This should be our biggest task then. Remember, this deck is being built cheaply. I expect the lone pair of Misdirections to be the only decently expensive rares in the deck.

Step 1 – Adding the Essentials: Tutors, tutors, and more tutors. Mystical, Vampiric, Demonic, Diabolic, Enlightened, Planar Portal, Sterling Grove, Gamble, Merchant Scroll, and Mangara’s Tome all fit into the deck. Golden Wish is quite the cheap little card, plus it can get any time of removal. It can also get game ending enchantments from Humility to Aurification to Mobilization. And that’s in white alone. It’s versatility makes up for its casting cost. In sheer power, it is the most powerful tutor, and you want to survive long enough to use it anyway.

Twister effects are very useful, so Time Spiral and Diminishing Returns fit into the deck well. Other drawing effects, namely Braingeyser, could easily see use. Regrowth, Restock, and Nostalgic Dreams look to be quite useful in the deck. They can help you get answers quickly, and none cost that much.

Balance, Mind Twist, and Yawgmoth’s Will are each broken enough to include. With those three additions, we have added 19 cards to the mix.

Step 2 – Adding Redundancy and Filling Out Spaces: There are several directions that this deck can run. We have a lot of Wrath-esque effects, so I’ll skip over those. Dismantling Blows are probably not sufficient, so let’s toss in that Seal of Cleansing. Even with the Confiscate, I still want some more enchantment/artifact removal, so let’s revisit that later, but it looks like we won’t have much room left. We do have countermagic though, so hopefully we can stop the really devastating stuff.

Targeted creature removal is lighter. I really like Arc Lightning, so let’s throw in a full set of them. A full set of Swords to Plowshares gets tossed in right behind. I also like Exile – it helps keep you alive. A pair of those helps out.

With our added removal, we now turn out heads elsewhere. Do we need more countermagic? I count 20 cards that basically counter a card. We might want to add more. We’ll see if we have room after we check for colors.

We have added 11 cards in this step, bringing us to 138 total.

Step 3 – Checking Your Colors: Our real issue with colors is basic. We have black, blue, and white down cold. In green, we have nine cards while red features no cards. We have already added three green cards and five red cards to the deck, bringing us to twelve and five, respectively. In green, we can count the Jungle Barriers and Aether Mutations, so we have 18 there. In red, we can count the Suffocating Blasts, Savage Twisters, and Fire/Ice. That brings us to fifteen, however. We could use some more creature control. I revisit my Desolation Giant idea from the last article, and toss in a copy to tutor for. With the last two spots, I would love some removal or burn. I could even play a pair of Flametongue Kavu, if they would fit. Other options include X Spells, or maybe Prophetic Bolt. Ultimately, I decide that more creatures can’t hurt, so I put in the Flametongue. I actually put in four, because I have the room. That puts us at 143 cards total.

Step 4 – Accounting for the Metagame: With countermagic, we are more prepared for a random metagame than most. We also have a pair of pseudo-Twister effects that can be used in a pinch to shuffle up a graveyard. Tossing In one each of Tormod’s Crypt and Furnace should round us out.

We also have a tiny bit of space to squeeze in those last few counters. I toss in a pair of Dismiss, although Discombobulate could also go in. That brings the deck to a total of 147 cards. Excellent.

Cards Added:

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Merchant Scroll

1 Time Spiral

1 Diminishing Returns

1 Braingeyser

2 Dismiss

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Tutor

1 Mind Twist

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Enlightened Tutor

1 Golden Wish

1 Balance

1 Seal of Cleansing

4 Swords to Plowshares

2 Exile

1 Regrowth

1 Restock

1 Nostalgic Dreams

1 Gamble

4 Arc Lightning

1 Desolation Giant

4 Flametongue Kavu

1 Sterling Grove

1 Planar Portal

1 Mangara’s Tome

1 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Phyrexian Furnace

And now we have three decklists. Each is fully clothed, looking for mana and ready to go. Working on the mana base is, of course, the next and last stage in having a fully functional deck. For now, we have decklists that are prepped.

Until Later,

Abe Sargent