Down And Dirty – Fireworks At Lake Michigan: Three Extended Decks

Read Kyle Sanchez every Thursday... at StarCityGames.com!Constructed Magic is the soup du jour, and it seems that all kids currently love Extended. The PTQs for Pro Tour: Showbiz are well attended, with many a mage searching for that elusive spark to catapult them towards a Blue Envelope. Today’s Down and Dirty sees Kyle bring three decks to the table. Two of them incorporate Morningtide cards, and one was made in collaboration with Luis Scott-Vargas. In fact, it’s a deck template that has a rather proud legacy…

Deadline was twenty-two hours ago, and these are the first words I’m scribbling into a blank text document. My house is cold, my car reeks of gasoline, and my outside dog, a female Australian Terrier named Spoof, won’t stop sniffing my other dog, a miniature Poodle named Poppy, whenever she goes to relieve herself. More frustrations followed as I stumped my pinky toe on the steel leg of my black velvet futon.

The overly selfish part of me wants to leave Craig high and dry. I want to cruise over to my homey’s apartment and play some Wii sports. I want to do something productive with my day. I want to go for mine. I got to shine. Now throw your hands up in the sky. I’m gonna, I’m gonna on SCG mama, I’m ma, I’m ma gonna throw it doooowwwn…

Welcome to the good life.

So I took it to MTGSalvation.com and found the most exciting cards that are rotating into Extended on the 9th.

Murmuring Bosk
Land — Forest
({T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.)
As Murmuring Bosk comes into play, you may reveal a Treefolk card from your hand. If you don’t, Murmuring Bosk comes into play tapped.
{T}: Add {W} or {B} to your mana pool. Murmuring Bosk deals 1 damage to you.

Wow. It’s a Forest!

This card will be at least a one-of in every deck with Green fetchlands until they rotate out next season. It can also be searched for with Seedguide Ash, Wood Elves, Yavimaya Dryad, Mwonvuli Acid Moss, Hunting Wilds, and Treefolk Harbinger.

{T}: Add 1 to your mana pool.
1: Mutavault becomes a 2/2 creature with all creature types until end of turn. It’s still a land.

Everyone knows about this thing already. From the pros that I’ve talked to, almost all of them have said the same thing.

“I think its a four-of in every deck for the good* Constructed formats.”

I honestly have no clue how this card will be priced. If it really is a four-of in every deck, and as there’s such a short time period between the start of Morningtide legal PTQs and the set’s release, it could reach the Tarmogoyf threshold.

Leaf-Crowned Elder
Creature – Treefolk Shaman
Kinship – At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it shares a creature type with Leaf-Crowned Elder, you may reveal it. If you do, you may play that card without paying its mana cost.

This guy is really exciting for me. Not only is it another card that is broken with Sensei’s Divining Top, but it’s also a four mana 5/5 when Doran is in play. He may look a little wimpy on the surface, but assuming you have nice Treefolk tactics online he will be an awesome way to gain card advantage.

After searching for the most powerful Shamans, the best I could come up with is Eternal Witness. I had high hopes of creating an insane creature chain involving Eternal Witness and Congregation at Dawn in tune with Leaf-Crowned Elder, but alas, there weren’t any bombastic Shamans or Treefolk to exploit.

One of the ways I like to experiment with new cards is to build test decks with a bunch of them. Then I play to get the feel for how the cards work compared to the other spells of the format. As far as I know, no one else has ever done this, so I’d like to name this process “testing.” Henceforth, whenever anyone plays with cards to get a feel for them prior to a big event, it shall be known as “testing.”

Awkward (Tree)Folk

4 Treefolk Harbinger
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Dark Confidant
4 Doran, The Siege Tower
3 Eternal Witness
4 Leaf-Crowned Elder
1 Timber Protector

3 Duress
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Rootgrapple
1 Crib Swap
1 Nameless Inversion

4 Murmuring Bosk
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
3 Mutavault
2 Forest
1 Plains
1 Temple Garden
1 Overgrown Tomb

In all honesty, this deck is pretty slow for the Extended format. It packs a lot of game against all of the Rock-like decks such as Doran and Flow, since it can completely overwhelm them with card advantage and Duress doesn’t do much against this deck. A well-aimed Therapy will get you, but you’re almost always safe from them hitting the best cards in the deck on their first try.

Most opponents will try to deal with Tarmogoyf, but the true power of the deck lies in the Sensei’s Divining Top synergies. You have twelve shuffle effects to maintain a fresh Top, and with Dark Confidant or Leaf-Crowned Elder active they will be drowned in a sea of card advantage. I had Vindicate in the deck initially as a catch-all, along with it being a top notch card to get back with Eternal Witness, but after playing a few games with the deck I realized that you’d much rather have a trimmed down removal package that can be recurred via Witness whenever you need additional copies.

I’m also a little worried about centering a deck around Treefolk “Wall of Wood” Harbinger, but there are just so many ways to abuse him. He can be a three-powered beater when you need him to be, he’s a means to flashback Therapy, he enables the bonus on Rootgrapple, he clears the Top with his shuffle effect, he searches out a card draw engine along with removal, and he blocks Kird Ape and the like from now ’til next Thursday. A pretty lengthy list of tasks for a humble little one-drop.

I can’t emphasize how much this deck destroys all those stupid Fetchland decks running around with Tarmogoyf, Doran, and/or Kird Ape. All your creatures are bigger, and Leaf-Crowned Elder puts you over the top, providing yet another big body they can’t deal with, along with a serious card advantage engine. Putting Eternal Witness into play for free is one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time, and while it’s not that powerful in contrast to the other more flashy decks running around, it’s devastating in the right match-up

The real problem with this deck is its lack of a coherent game plan against the non-aggro/control decks, because all of the legitimate control decks and combo decks have better engines and better routes to victory than a bunch of clunky trees. Duress and Cabal Therapy can only buy you a turn or two if you hit them just right, and even then the clock this deck has isn’t fast enough to get the job done while the opponent is scrambling around to find his missing pieces.

Murmuring Bosk was, as anticipated, a perfect land to grab with Fetchlands. I wouldn’t suspect many other decks could get away with running more than one copy though.

I wasn’t too impressed with Mutavault since there are so many more things you want to do with your mana than tap two and get in there for two damage. It might not be as good as everyone thinks… the fact that you can make Mishra’s Factory a 3/3 blocker is huge, since without it Mutavault can’t play defense very well. And his offense ain’t that impressive either. Doesn’t deserve a place in this deck.

Sacrifice any number of lands. Search your library for that many land cards, put them into play tapped, then shuffle your library.

I love it when they make Green cards that feel like Blue cards. Ohran Viper and Harmonize are some others that pop to mind… however, this one seems much less Blue than the other two. Maybe it’s because I always associate good cards with being Blue, and bad ones with being Green, therefore making all the good Green cards appear Blue. Tarmogoyf is as Blue as they come, and with all the Blue-Green cards running around I’m finding myself enticed by Forests.

Anyway, an obvious use for this would be as a fetch mechanism for a bunch of Tron pieces. In fact, I’ve already seen several lists around the Internet of Scapeshift Tron decks. I have a few problems with this.

1) Tron takes up a lot of deck building space because it restricts your colored mana sources and restricts you from playing good colorless lands to tutor for with Scapeshift, since you have to compensate for the lack of colored mana provided by Tron.

2) Cloudpost/Vesuva seems a bit better.

3) Yeah, I only have one real problem, but I’m in a list mood.


4 Cloudpost
3 Vesuva
1 Petrified Field
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Academy Ruins
4 Windswept Heath
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Breeding Pool
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Forest
1 Island

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Wall of Roots
4 Eternal Witness
1 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Sky Hussar
1 Darksteel Colossus

4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Moment’s Peace
4 Gifts Ungiven
3 Tooth And Nail
3 Scapeshift
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Mindslaver

While being fairly vulnerable to discard, this deck’s proactive plan is still extremely quick and overwhelmingly powerful, being able to Mindslaver lock someone as soon as turn 5, and Tooth and Nail can win the turn prior.

After playing around with the deck for an hour, it’s pretty obvious that Scapeshift sucks. It just slows down the entire process by adding one more spell you want to cast before you “go off.” And since this deck’s spells are so expensive, it just adds a turn. The U/G version of this deck that I presented a couple of weeks ago is much faster, much more resilient, and generally much better.

That’s not to say anything bad about Scapeshift, but this deck is pretty awful, which makes me question the validity of the card when it can’t even be abused in a deck that seems like it would get a giant boost from it. The truth is, often it will just be an awful Reap and Sow; a card that Tooth decks haven’t played in years.

It’s running dangerously close to update time, and Craig is already pestering me on AIM, but I have one more idea I wanna get out there before I turn in this article (an article that people will probably complain about in the forums).

Goose n’ Goyf

4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Mystic Enforcer

4 Spell Snare
4 Counterspell
4 Ponder
4 Opt
4 Mental Note
4 Duress
4 Stifle
3 Smother

4 Polluted Delta
4 Windswept Heath
1 Watery Grave
1 Hallowed Fountain
2 Breeding Pool
1 Godless Shrine
1 Swamp
1 Forest
3 Island

2 Ghastly Demise
3 Thoughtseize
3 Krosan Grip
3 Pithing Needle
4 Threads of Disloyalty

This is a deck I was working on with Luis-Scott Vargas earlier this week. Basically, it’s a Threshold update to take advantage of the current strength of Mystic Enforcer and Nimble Mongoose. It’s one of my favorite decks right now going into a PTQ in my area next week, so I thought I’d share it before then.

This almost resembles Next Level Blue, except it’s much more streamlined with cheaper spells to gain Threshold ASAP. All the one mana Blue spells are extremely useful too. Stifle can randomly win you games, like against Affinity when they attempt to modular over to a horny Ornithopter, or against Tron decks when they spend massive amounts of mana to take control of your next turn. It also has the more practical use of being a one-mana Time Walk when your opponent drops an unsuspecting Fetchland on turn 1.

One version we tested had Dark Confidant along with Sensei’s Divining Top, but after testing it became clear that you really don’t want any non-Goyf, non-threshold creatures in the deck, and Werebear would be much better than the vulnerable Confidant. The biggest hurdle for this deck is Pernicious Deed and Counterbalance, and the sideboard reflects that with both Krosan Grip and Pithing Needle to dismantle the troublesome permanents.

After looking over the spoiler I can’t really suggest any cards to add to this deck. Mutavault seems like it would make a tight addition, which could be true. I could definitely see adding Mutavault along with Standstill to compliment Goose n’ Goyf.

With my ego I could stand in a speedo and be looked at like a freakin’ hero,



Us Placers – Kanye West ft. Thom Yorke
Good Morning – Kanye West
15 Step – Radiohead
I Wonder – Kanye West
Jigsaw Falling Into Place – Radiohead
Can’t Tell Me Nothing – Kanye West
Faust Arp – Radiohead
Good Life – Kanye West
Last Flowers – Radiohead
Big Brother – Kanye West
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi – Radiohead
Barry Bonds – Kanye West
Down Is The New Up – Radiohead
Everything I Am – Kanye West
Bodysnatchers – Radiohead
Flashing Lights – Kanye West
All I Need – Radiohead
Homecoming – Kanye West
Videotape – Radiohead

* Good Construted formats = Standard and Extended. Legacy and Vintage suck. [To the forums! — Craig, amused.]