While Crucible of Worlds has a home in the Type One community, it has received exactly zero attention in Standard. But with the release of Kamigawa, a whole cycle of guys that let you turn lands into resources has been released, and Crucible allows you to take complete advantage of it. When Crucible is combined with another of the new cards – Azusa, Lost but Seeking, you get a Standard version of Turboland. I’m going to avoid my normal suspenseful build-up thing and go straight to the decklist.
(this is both a pun on an old Nintendo game, as well as what your opponents will be saying)
4 Eternal Witness
4 Soratami Cloudskater
3 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
2 Viridian Shaman
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
4 Wayfarer’s Bauble
4 Crucible of Worlds
4 Mana Leak
3 Rude Awakening
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Tel-Jilad Justice
2 Viridian Shaman
4 Last Word
1 Rude Awakening
The deck is based on the interaction of three key cards: Azusa, Soratami Cloudskater, and Crucible of Worlds. In the mid-to-late-game, they form an impressive combined card-drawing and mana engine. Imagine it with me: you’ve got six mana on the table, a Cloudskater, and Azusa, and a Crucible. Azusa makes your first three card draws cost half the mana (tap three mana, pick up a land and draw a card, discard the land you picked up, play it from the graveyard untapped).
Why is this deck good? I was hoping you’d ask that. First off, you should almost never miss a land drop. Whether you’re playing them from the yard or your hand, you will always have one to play. Second, the deck has a load of countermagic to protect your interests. Whether you use it to stave off early beats and survive until you get your engine going or protect your Cloudskaters, counters are effective either way. Furthermore, with eight maindeck counters, you’ll always have the ability to draw into one. The third reason is that the deck has a rather large built-in safety net. If you can’t protect one of the pieces of your engine, Eternal Witness brings it back for another day. This card is critical in ensuring you can reliably play your engine through the omnipresent artifact hate and creature removal in the format.
Another compelling reason to play this deck is its inherent strengths against a lot of the old gauntlet, not to mention what I predict to be the new gauntlet. While the first game against Affinity may seem a little rough, sideboard hate to the rescue! Full doses of Viridian Shaman and Tel-Jilad Justice will cure that ill shortly. Against Tooth and Nail, you’re playing eight maindeck counters and can side Acquire to boot. Furthermore if you’re worried about Boseiji, Who Shelters All, you can opt for the Creeping Mold / Reap and Sow route in the side as well. Against Ponza – a definite contender in the new Standard – you don’t have to worry nearly so much about LD because you maindeck Crucibles; as long as you protect it you’re golden.
So here is the reasoning behind the card choices. They are all pretty simple as the deck has three components.
1. The Engine
I’ve already described this above but here’s some extra detail. The three pieces fall into this order of importance:
He is the only way to draw cards in the deck and the most important part of it as such; if you’ve only got one in hand you might want to wait for some open mana to drop him (so you can use his ability ASAP) or counter backup. When you use his ability, don’t worry much about discarding non-land cards in the early game if you don’t have much mana to work with; you need to expand your mana base for this strategy to work, and you’ve always got Eternal Witness to bring other stuff back later. Also, as a flyer he allows you to plink over for extra damage in the early game, which can mean the difference when you can entwine for only sixteen points on your ninth and possibly final turn.
Crucible of Worlds
It doesn’t do much by itself unless you’re playing against LD. However, when you’ve got a Cloudskater on the board it’s devastatingly awesome, allowing you to draw an extra card a turn.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
This allows you to use Cloudskater’s abilities without a drawback. Also, If you’ve got a Crucible and two lands in the graveyard, or two extra lands in hand on the third turn, he effectively costs one as you can immediately play the two lands from your hand when he hits play.
For the deck to work at its peak you have to survive into the mid-to-late game.
The best counter in the current format. Don’t be shy about using these against anything and everything – you want to set up brokenness as well as hit all of your land drops, and I hear Scry is good for that. You can also use Scry to set up a crucial draw from Cloudskater if you need a situational card.
I chose this as a four-of over Hinder because of its speed. While Hinder is a hard counter and as such better against a lot of the field (and the”put that card on the bottom of the library” ability is also good against other decks running Eternal Witness), the problem is that the three-mana slot is a little clogged – you’ve got twelve other cards that share your turn three considerations. With Mana Leak, you can play all your three-drops with counter backup a turn earlier, and ditto that with Cloudskater.
Accelerates and fixes your mana so that you can play your double-colored spells. It also thins your deck out yadda yadda.
An additional safeguard to your permanents getting waxed. As of now, there aren’t quite the variety of targets for this guy that I’d like; I want to put in some Thirsts and some bounce, but I haven’t found the space yet.
Hmmm. Why did I put these in here again? I could have swore that there was something… oh, right. Affinity.
3. Win Conditions
It may be perfectly feasible against some decks to simply play small threats while countering everything in sight and plink you opponent to death. But most of the time you’ll need these.
This is kind of self explanatory. There isn’t much else to it besides paying the entwine and smashing a ton of face.
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Do you like infinite 1/1 flyers? I do. Both of these win conditions are affected by the new card Ghostly Prison, but you should be able to out-land your opponent in the late game by such a big margin that you can pay any and all associated costs.
Notes on the mana: with only right Blue spells in the deck – plus the four Baubles if you can’t draw a second source – eight Islands should be plenty. The Nexi are in there for some extra damage early in the game, which as outlined above, can be critical for lining up the game-winning Rude Awakening.
As for the sideboard, it’s pretty standard. Affinity hate takes six slots to bring the possible level of hate in the deck to twelve; add Eternal Witnesses and some counters and it should be plenty. Extra counters come in against T&N, as well as Mindslavers if you think you need them, which do double-duty against other control decks. Since the control matchup sometimes turns into who can draw Rude Awakening first, there is the final copy in the board.
Finally, here are the notable cards that have been left in the cold. Bear in mind that the above list is not teched at all, and you’ll have to consult with your teams to figure out what the new decks to beat will be.
Thirst for Knowledge
This is a good card drawer, but the Cloudskater has much more potential. I may try to include them in the future, but the three-mana slot is kind of full so only testing will tell.
This may warrant the Mana Leak spot as the latter loses its effectiveness later in the game. This all depends on how fast the deck sets up its kills; if it turns out to take longer then in come Hinder.
He seems like a natural fit for the deck, but so far I have been unable to find slots for him. I know I want at least eight main deck counters, and almost never will want to tap out on turn 3-4.
This card is more or less the same as the Cloudskater, but as an enchantment it is much harder to kill. So far I like the Cloudskater’s ability to swing for a few points in the early game, but if his small toughness means I have a hard time keeping him on the table, I will try this instead.
That’s enough to get your gears turning. There are a lot of different ways you can go with this deck – including an infinite mana pick up all your opponents non-land permanents version – but this is a solid base to start with. Let me know if you come up with any improvements, and have fun swinging with all your lands…
John Matthew Upton
I like back, feed me!
jmumoo AT yahoo DOT com