Down And Dirty – Tickle Me Teeg

Read Kyle Sanchez every Monday... at StarCityGames.com!
Imagine having Teferi out, evoking Shriekmaw at instant speed, playing Grim Harvest getting Shriekmaw back, Evoking it again, Recovering Grim Harvest, playing Grim Harvest getting Shriekmaw back, Evoking Shriekmaw again, Recovering Grim Harvest, playing Grim Harvest getting Shriekmaw back, Evoking Shriekmaw, then Recovering Grim Harvest again.

Wet dream, my friend… wet dream.

It’s late.

I’m losing a staring contest with my monitor that I could never hope to win. A steady stream of vibrant light shoots into the back of my eye, causing a throbbing pain that moves slowly through my head. A buzzing migraine that peaks whenever I close my eyes. Forcing myself to sleep would be too easy… I’d rather sit and let the pain linger for as long as it would like to stay. Tomorrow it will be gone forever, so I close my eyes and the vibration intensifies.

I open them up to the same unyielding monitor that just won’t give up. It’s mocking me.

My neck hurts. I’m yawning every other minute. My feet are cold, mouth dry, fingers tight, little toe swollen from an encounter with the metal leg of my couch. And I can’t get Gaddock Teeg’s bulbous forehead out of my thoughts. Perhaps if his eyes weren’t so squinty, or if his facial hair wasn’t so provocative I would have an easier time. But I swear he is the most gorgeous Kithkin these warm hazels have ever spied.

A guy actually played Gaddock Teeg against me in one of the Sealed deck prereleases the other day. The turn before I was going to unleash hell with my Deathrender too! Which actually prompted a demented recurring dream about Mr. Teeg.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself standing in a shimmering green field of grass reaching up to your knees. Your hair billows from a brief gust of wind, and the dew from the grass lifts up and sprinkles your face. The sun is creeping up over distant mountains and light is pouring over the grass, when suddenly you become blinded from the glistening dew.

A sharp crack to the back of your head, out cold.

You awake to a sweaty darkness with your breathing impaired by a thick black nylon bag. Your hands and legs are fastened and you’re sitting upright in a stiff wooden chair. You try and shake the bag off your head to no avail when another sharp thud connects. It knocks the chair down and once again… you are unconscious.

The next time you open your eyes the darkness is gone, replaced with an intense cold throughout your body. A bathtub filled to the brim with ice, and you can’t feel your legs or arms. You try to move, but when you flex your stomach another intense pain surges through your body. You look down to see a thick red wound neatly sown up, when you realize what happened. You pull back the shower curtain, and there he is looking straight into your eyes, sitting on the toilet with his cute little pants bunched around his cute little ankles that don’t touch the ground.

Gaddock Teeg.

He shoots you a sinister glare before flushing, then calmly gets up and walks out of the room, jumping to hit the light switch before he leaves.

The darkness is back, but your limbs are still too cold to move properly. You sit back and wait to die in this icy grave…

I don’t think its possible to look at this deck list and not get a chubby.

Truth be told, when I compared my updated RelicTeachings deck to Patrick Chapin’s offering last week, the lists were only off by several cards. We both had some of the unique changes like Shriekmaw, Tarmogoyf, and Beacon of Immortality. Mine had more Careful Considerations and Grim Harvest, but I didn’t feel the addition of Cryptic Command was worth destroying the manabase. I’ll go ahead and admit now that I was inspired by Mister Chapin when he handily mauled me at Nationals with his GoyfTeachings deck. I was trying to fit Goyf into a Teachings deck, but I totally missed the clever additions of Coalition Relic and Beacon of Immortality.

Grim Harvest in particular was an “innovation” of which I’m quite proud. Coupled with Shriekmaw and Venser they form a tag team that is near impossible for conventional creature decks to get through. Its also is a key tool in helping you win the Teferi War, and can even start a Triskelavus recursion engine without the help of Academy Ruins if your opponent killed yours with his. Venser in particular is an awesome card that fills a very necessary role in this deck. Against G/W, if you are locked by Teeg, Venser is the best answer, especially if they attack into him.

Imagine having Teferi out, evoking Shriekmaw at instant speed, playing Grim Harvest getting Shriekmaw back, Evoking it again, Recovering Grim Harvest, playing Grim Harvest getting Shriekmaw back, Evoking Shriekmaw again, Recovering Grim Harvest, playing Grim Harvest getting Shriekmaw back, Evoking Shriekmaw, then Recovering Grim Harvest again.

Wet dream, my friend… wet dream.

I also don’t feel Tarmogoyf is a very good kill condition in the new Relic Teachings decks, since Shriekmaw will completely invalidate him in the mirror matchups. Patrick also chose to run four Shriekmaw in his version. However, I feel that three is much more optimal since Grim Harvest basically acts as Shriekmaw #4.

Jace Beleren might seem out of place, and it was supposed to be Shadowmage Infiltrator, but with my Gaddock Teeg sideboard I would rather trick them into sideboarding out as much removal as possible for the mirror matches. Also, Jace performs the same role as Johnny against the aggro decks except he will be able to draw a card before he is burned out. If they don’t have a way to kill him, he will act like a Phyrexian Arena that you don’t have to pay life for, letting your opponent draw a card every third cycle. He also doesn’t have to worry about Serrated Arrows, which was a serious pain.

The Mystical Teachings package is pretty self explanatory, with the exclusion of Tendrils probably standing out the most. With Gaddock Teeg running around, Tendrils efficiency went down in value, and was instead replaced with Nameless Inversion, which also does a fine job of killing opposing Shadowmage Infiltrators. The decks defense also went up with the addition of Shriekmaw, so the life gain off Tendrils won’t be as necessary since your opponent won’t be dealing you as much as in the past.

The sideboard is genius, if I do say so myself. RelicTeachings was the most dominant deck during the block season, much like Gifts Ungiven during Kamigawa block, and will most likely make the transition into Standard as the most dominant deck. Gaddock Teeg is the perfect answer to shut down their Mystical Teachings engine, Careful Consideration, and now Cryptic Commands. Thoughtseize also invalidates classic RelicTeachings sideboards that concentrate on winning through slow attrition with cards like Detritivore, Gaea’s Blessing, and more Mystical Teachings targets like Extirpate and Haunting Hymn.

Pair them together and add Shimian Specter (to protect Gaddock and to give them another creature that they have to kill if they want to win the game) and you have the perfect solution. The best part is that you don’t have to board it in. Given they didn’t see any Tarmogoyfs or Shadowmage Infiltrators they will naturally sideboard out all of their removal spells like Tendrils, Shriekmaw, and possibly Nameless Inversion, Terror, and Slaughter Pact since they won’t kill any of your creatures. In this situation you can safely board the Gaddock package in.

If they know you are up to something you can just not sideboard Gaddock in and leave them with a bunch of dead cards, and you’ll still have Thoughtseize and Shimian Specter to wrap things up.

Granted, the field won’t be entirely RelicTeachings, but you still have game against the other decks like TarmoRack, G/W Teeg, and U/G.

TarmoRack got considerably better with the addition of Shriekmaw and Thoughtseize. Fortunately only Thoughtseize is good against us. They key in this matchup is using Careful Consideration and Jace to make opposition discard spells less effective. This deck has a ton of ways to deal with Tarmogoyf. The real pain is The Rack since they can randomly get discard a bunch of cards in one turn with Augur of Skulls and Stupor. After the first phase of killing their Goyfs and drawing a ton of cards all you have to do is resolve a Haunting Hymn to put them dead in the water. They you continue to use Teachings and Careful Consideration to seal the deal. After sideboarding, Thoughtseize will help to stop any sinister post board plans they have for you, and they have no way to kill a Shimian Specter, so you can fly it to victory.

G/W Teeg is another difficult matchup, but not because of Teeg. Saffi is the real villain here. If they run Teeg out before they get Saffi you can kill it with Shriekmaw or some of the other cheap answers. If they get Saffi down you will usually have enough time to resolve either Careful Consideration or Mystical Teachings. Then you can either use Venser or a pair of removal spells to get rid of it to turn Damnation back on to kill the rest of their small G/W creatures.

Jace will buy you some time along with being about to draw cards through Gaddock Teeg, so game 1 is up in the air. After sideboarding Deathmark comes in, which is the best answer to Teegs and Goyfs. Chapin had Fortune Thief in his sideboard, which is probably better since he will just win the game once he’s in play, so you might be better off going with that.

U/G was another big deck during the block season and will remain a strong Standard archetype, and this deck just crushes it. They will most likely be using Rune Snag, which is extremely easy for this deck to play around since it can generate so much mana, much like the Tron decks of old. Again, this deck was made to deal with Goyfs, and U/G won’t be able to keep up with all the card advantage. Post board it seems like Thoughtseize would come in here too, which makes me wonder why it isn’t in the main deck to begin with. I suppose it isn’t very good against the R/g burn deck, which is another deck that survives the rotation with few missing pieces.

Also, the deck is 61 cards.


I didn’t want to cut Venser or Jace, and I really wanted to fit an Extirpate in there somehow, so I just added one. There have been several successful 61-card decks in the history of Magic, and nearly all of them have broken the 60-threshold because of some tutor-like effect they have in their deck. This is the same thing, and I doubt it would throw the percentages off by that much (I haven’t done the math, nor do I care to), whereas the one-of Extirpate can provide so much information and stop reusable combos that it seemed like the only alternative.

I could have cut a Shimian Specter in the sideboard, or perhaps a Deathmark, but I would rather take the easy out.

Desperately, you feel around the area for some kind of refuge when you happen upon the faucet. By this time your shivering has intensified and become almost too much to bear. With your last energy you turn the knob on the left as hard as you can. More water begins to fill the tub, cold at first, but soon you begin to feel a tingling all over your body, a sign that feeling is returning. Water begins to spill over the side of the bathtub while the ice melts, and you can finally feel your feet again. The heat starts to sting the wound on your stomach, so you reach up to the right knob and turn it slightly to create relaxing warm mixture.

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This deck resembles the TarmoRack deck from previous Standard. However, when I was building it I decided to cut Smallpox and add in a bunch of fatties. The true power of this deck is its resilience to Wrath of God and Damnation. Gaddock Teeg, Saffi, all the discard spells. All of those cards are there to protect the cheap, high power and toughness creatures.

The sideboard was just a collection of cards that I thought would be nice to have access to for some of the more popular matches, and I haven’t played with this deck nearly as much as the previous I presented. But still, it’s good in theory… right?

Saffi also presents a host of new interactions. If you Evoke a Shriekmaw, you can sacrifice Saffi on the Maw to not only save him, but you get to kill another creature in the process. Saffi plus Augur of Skulls is another neat one, forcing them to discard four cards at the price of two DURING THE SAME UPKEEP! Plus he protects Teeg, and acts as a removal spell for opposing Saffis and offers some Wrath protection for all the heavy hitters.

Saffi really does it all, kinda like Oprah. She has a magazine, a faithful boyfriend for 30 years (Stedman), and is one of the richest women in the World. Saffi doesn’t have the stats that Oprah has, but give her a few years and she’ll definitely have her own talk show. Kinda like Tyra Banks. Sure, you could make the argument that Tyra started as a model, and Saffi is nothing more than a manufactured piece of cardboard, but I think she has potential, and has been known to get fierce on occasion. Much like another independent fierce African woman, Maya Angelou. Her contemporary literature has inspired millions and brought forth an age of prosperity to everyone she touches. A playwright, civil-rights activist, producer, director, best-selling author, historian, actress, poet and educator, Maya is really the kind of woman I can get behind. Much like Rihana, she can sure stand under my umbrella… but I digress, that’s a story for another time.

One of my main issues with this deck is all the Legendary creatures. However, if Doran or Gaddock are alive you’re probably not going to lose the game, and it doesn’t hurt to have backups in hand. This deck is really a tribute to Kamigawa, since that was the last period in recent memory when it wasn’t uncommon to see numerous legends in the same deck sporting high numbers.

The warmth from the water gives you enough energy to move about. You feel around the base of the bathtub to no avail, when you hear the sound of footsteps on a creaky wooden floor outside the door. Motionless with fear, only your pounding heart can be heard over the sound of the running water spilling over the edge of the tub.

Then a bold move: you throw yourself out of the tub and on to the cold wet floor. Stripped down to your birthday suit, you do your best to navigate the dark wet room until you happen upon a soaked pile of clothes in the corner. Still, there are a few dry pieces and you do your best to dress yourself before standing up and walking along the wall of the room until you reach the door.

Terrified, you clutch the doorknob and slowly attempt to turn it. A click indicates it’s unlocked. Mentally, you prepare yourself for whatever could be on the other side, repeating in your head “I will survive, I will survive.” As quietly as possible, you pull the door open.

At first you’re blinded by the bright light, but slowly as your eyes adjust you realize you’re back on the green grassy field. A step down, and the grass crunches beneath your feet. A brave and curious grasshopper jumps up onto your damp shirt to greet you. The deafening cry of a falcon screeches in your ear as it swoops down, slashing into your chest with its razor sharp talons. Swiftly it collects the grasshopper and flies away.

After regaining your composure from the falcon attack, you notice a tiny pair of eyes starring you down from several feet away. It’s him, he’s back.

Gaddock Teeg.

Thanks for reading,


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