Deep Analysis – A Two-Headed Christmas Story For Extended

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Yup, you read the title right – it’s a Two-Headed article on Extended. However, this is not a foray into Two-Headed Giant Constructed… it’s an article on Extended delivered in a unique fashion by the legendary Two-Headed Giant of Foriys. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s here for humor alone. There’s a rundown of the Domain Zoo archetype too!

As Richard is off on Christmas break, today’s Deep Analysis will be narrated by a Two-Headed Giant of Foriys. One head is named Jekyll, the other Hyde. Take it away, fellas!

Jekyll: “Merry Christmas! Have a present, dear reader.”

Jekyll: “You may notice some strange card choices compared to Raph Levy’s Domain Zoo list from the last Extended season. Let me start by saying—”

Hyde: “Isamaru sucks. Boros Swiftblade sucks. Grow a pair and just board Threads of Disloyalty already. Case closed. Wanna fight?”

Jekyll: “Heh. He’s just kidding. We’re just kidding. Boy, what if Richard just wrote every article like that? That would be rough. I guess it would save a lot of time, though… anyway, it’s still Thursday, and this is still Deep Analysis, so I suppose we’d better get into some details. First off—”

Hyde: “Isamaru blows. He’s a crappy 2/2 with no abilities. He’ll trade for some random Trinket Mage, Eternal Witness, hamster, Venser, dead hamster, Dark Confidant, dead hamster that I killed, Meddling Mage, I kill hamsters compulsively, or Frogmite. That’s eighteen different random bears that trade with in combat, and that’s just off the top of my head. At least Mogg Fanatic will get some of them out of the way pre-combat so that real attackers like Tarmogoyf, Watchwolf, and Jotun Grunt can get their damage in.”

Jekyll: “Let’s not forget Isamaru’s merits, though! After all, there’s a heck of a lot more to Extended than just creature combat. The faithful Hound attacks for two as early as turn 2, which is just skippy against decks that don’t present blockers, like Enduring Ideal, Tron…”

Hyde: “…”

Jekyll: “… and…”

Hyde: “…”

Jekyll: “…”

Hyde: “…”

Jekyll: “Anyway, moving on to Boros Swiftblade. As we all know, Swiftblade was one of the most powerful cards in Levy’s deck. In conjunction with Gaea’s Might, that little trooper could get in for twelve damage, all by his little lonesome!”

Hyde: “Then, the 99.99% of the time when you didn’t draw Gaea’s Might, he’d be an Isamaru that you paid double for.”

Jekyll: “Hey, that’s not fair. Let’s not forget that pairing him with Brute Force is good for six damage as well!”

Hyde: “Shut up. The only reason you’re playing Giant Growth in Extended is that it might combo with your cute little Ravnica uncommon. It’s adorable. I want to tie a little bow in its hair. That argument is a bunch of self-justifying crap. Fight me.”

Jekyll: “Look, we all know double strike is insane with Umezawa’s Jitte—”

Hyde: “A donkey with a pulse is insane with Umezawa’s Jitte. If you have it active in a creature mirror you’re winning anyway. Double strike can drink poison.”

Jeykll: “Whatever, jerk. Anyway, Gaea’s Might is still worth it because—”

Hyde: “It kills a Tarmogoyf in combat or is five to the dome for one mana. They can count to five. Move on.”

Jekyll: “Heh. Right. So anyway, there’s Vindicate, a card often seen in Dark Boros-style decks along the lines of the one Chapin suggested last year. In a world of Tarmogoyfs, Counterbalances, Collective Restraints, and of course lands, it really helps to have these in the maindeck.”

Hyde: “Whatever. You want to talk about a beating, let’s talk about Gaddock Teeg. Now there’s a bear. Little punk kicks Tron, Ideal, and Dredge right in the jingles, and tears up Explosives, Gifts Ungiven, and Cryptic Command along the way. Eats whole archetypes by himself. The Ideal matchup? 99.99% favorable. And this is a beatdown deck.”

Jekyll: “I’ll agree that when Gaddock Teeg is good, he really is fantastic. There are only two in the deck because he’s so poor against other beatdown decks. It’s basically a case of maindecking two sideboard cards, and Teeg is the least situational choice for the job.”

Hyde: “You know what’s not situational? Fire/Ice. Ice a cantrip Time Walk when it taps Lotus Bloom or an early land against anything with a Fundamental Turn of four or later. If Ice and I were alone in a room, I’d—”

Jekyll: “Technically, Time Walk is already a cantrip because you get an extra draw step.”

Hyde: “Die. Fire. Fire… wins Tarmogoyf wars, breaks kneecaps with two-for-ones, and goes to the dome. It’s murderous.”

Jekyll: “Speaking of Fire/Ice, I’d like to take a second to talk about the mana in this deck. Previous version of Domain Zoo have used Blue and Black almost universally to pump Gaea’s Might and Tribal Flames, and—”

Hyde: “And that’s a bunch of crap. You get Blue and Black mana every game, Jack. Put ‘em to work already. Vindicate is nuts. Ice is nuts. Threads of Disloyalty is extra nuts. Don’t you “double Blue” me. Steam Vents, Overgrown Tomb, Hallowed Fountain, that’s how. All five colors and two of them are Blue.”

Jekyll: “True. The manabase has been revamped; nearly any combination of three fetches will yield Threads mana. The manabase actually works better than the old one even when Threads is out of the picture; without Boros Swiftblade and Lightning Helix to worry about, there are all sorts of great combinations to get with this fetchland configuration. Grabbing Sacred Foundry and Overgrown Tomb, or Sacred Foundry and Breeding Pool, leaves a third fetch open to grab Steam Vents or Blood Crypt, resulting in the excellent five-colors-with-two-red setup. Did I mention you can get Threads mana with nearly any three fetches?”

Hyde: “Yes. At least sixteen times. The Stifles in the board are courtesy of 2008 Resident Genius Zac Hill. Yeah, I can see the future. I’m psychotic. Let’s fight.”

Jekyll: “Easy there. The Stifles are for the Rock matchups. They serve as either a one-mana Stone Rain on a Fetchland, or as a counter to a Deed activation after the opponent has spent five mana on it, or – in times of desperation – as a counter to a Hierarch’s lifegain or Eternal Witness.”

Hyde: “By the way, the days of quads Ancient Grudge in the board are behind us. Krosan Grip is where the action’s at now. Grudge does squat against Counterbalance and Threads of Disloyalty, which are two of the only cards that can touch this masterpiece. The Tron matchup post-board is all about Chalice of the Void for two, and Grudge folds like a napkin to that. Grip shreds all three of those cards, and does plenty against Ideal as well. Only two copies of Grudge left over for Affinity? Who cares? No one Affinitys.”

Jekyll: “Let’s go to the board plans. Against other Red aggro decks, take out Gaddock Teeg and Gaea’s Might for Threads and Jitte.”

Hyde: “Duh. Everyone brings in Armadillo Cloaks and Jittes. Just kill all their guys. Vindicate ‘em, Flames ‘em, Fire ‘em, hell – Threads ‘em, then attach a Jitte to the stolen guy and use its counters to kill even more of them. Let the enemy die with Cloaks in hand.”

Jekyll: “Right. So the plan against ChaseRare.dec is to bring in 3 Krosan Grip and 3 Umezawa’s Jitte for Fire/Ice and Gaddock Teeg. Don’t want too many Grips, as they lead to inaction in multiples, but Threads and Counterbalance are too important to leave unchecked. Two Gaddocks come in against Tron, along with four Grips and the Grudges. Take out the Fire/Ices and the Mogg Fanatics to make room. As for Enduring Ideal…”

Hyde: “Can’t lose. Who cares? Fight me, you pansy.”

Jekyll: “Come on now. No matchup is really 99.99%, and you know it.”

Hyde: “Can’t lose. Can’t. Ever. Lose. Board in one Gaddock Teeg and three Krosan Grips. Take out the Mogg Fanatics and Jotun Grunts. Next matchup. Next matchup.”

Jekyll: “Rock and Dredge are pretty simple. Just take out the Gaddocks for the Stifles against Rock, and the Vindicates for two Jittes and the extra Teegs against Dredge. The big key against Dredge is to slow them down by burning out their enablers and keeping a Mogg Fanatic on the table. Once you stall long enough to find a Teeg or a Jotun Grunt, use that deal-breaker to seal the game up. Modern Dredge really leans a lot on Dread Return, and they just can’t compete with you when you shut that down with Gaddock Teeg. Obviously Jotun Grunt does a ton of damage as well, once they’re slowed down. What else, what else… oh, Scepter-Chant. That one’s also easy. Krosan Grips, Grudges, and one Teeg come in. Vindicates and two Mogg Fanatics come out.”

Hyde: “That’s it, right? That’s the whole article.”

Jekyll: “Hmm. I guess there’s not much else to say, is there?”

Hyde: “Like I said the first time: Isamaru sucks. Boros Swiftblade sucks. Grow a pair and board Threads of Disloyalty. Case closed.”

Jekyll: “Well, okay. You want to do the sign off?”

Hyde: “Sure:

Happy fishing,


Jekyll: “Aren’t those trademarked?”

Hyde: “I’ll cut you.”

Richard Feldman Mr. Hyde
Team :S Team Hamsterdeath
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