Flow of Ideas – 40 Extended Brews

Monday, January 17th – Finding Extended stale? Well Gavin is here to show you that it’s not. Extended is a brewer’s paradise, and he has forty never-before-seen decklists to get you started.

The Extended season has barely started, and people are already locked into stale perceptions about the metagame.

I want to change all that.

In my mind, Extended is a brewing paradise. I’ve been brewing nonstop, and what better way to give you a glance into my mind than showing you
everything I’ve worked on? This early in the season, it will hopefully give rogue deckbuilders platforms to leap off of and some new ideas for
you to explore. This may just be a trip to the fish market, but hopefully it’ll teach you some new ways to fillet and prepare fish.

By no means are all of the decks below “good.” It’s just a mix of forty different decks I’ve tried. Some of them really only
serve to stretch your brain and make you think about the format differently. Some of them are on the cusp of being good; some are mostly trash, but
there may be a good secret nestled within, and some are in the middle. One of them is a deck I’m highly considering playing in Atlanta this
weekend. (Of course, you’re going to have to figure out which one that is yourself.)

The decks below have no sideboards because when I build decks, I want to get a feel for whether the core idea is any good. Some of these decks have
been tested a lot, while others were discarded after only a few games. What I’m really trying to bring out into the open and share here are fresh
ideas — I’ll leave the sideboards up to you.

Below you’ll find bad brews, better brews, and, yes, even boat brews. Enjoy.


Unexplored Tribes

Some tribes — Faeries and Merfolk — get all of the attention. Some tribes, despite how hard I’ve tried, either showed no worth (sorry,
Giants) or were just worse versions of other decks (sorry, Kithkin!). Some of them, however, showed promise.

This deck eschews the typical Heritage Druid Elves play style for a quicker, midrange version with a ton of lords in it, allowing it to play akin to
something like Merfolk. It might be a little light on removal, and it might not need as many mana Elves. You can play a deck like this with fewer lords
and more cards like Putrid Leech and Kitchen Finks, but I opted for synergy.

Instead of comboing out with Regal Forces, this build of Elves goes for the throat. It uses Bramblewood Paragon, Joraga Warcaller, and three Elf lords
to create a sizable army within just a few turns. This deck pushes its hand all in on turn 3. If you can beat it, you win. If you can’t, it wins.

Why is this deck better than Merfolk? The main plusses are that you aren’t as reliant on your lords and get more one-drops. You can also sit on
your countermagic better because of cheaper creatures and Preeminent Captain.

Your mana is a little rougher for UUU, but you could probably not play WindbriskHeights and instead play Celestial Colonnade. You could also play
Mutavault over Heights, but I don’t think the ‘Vault is overly impressive here tribally. Keep in mind it’s important you have enough
Plains to turn on your Sejiri Merfolk.

In the few games I played, Cloudgoat Ranger was a little too costly. However, he’s a good topdeck late game and great off of a Captain. It’s
possible Captain of the Watch might be better.

It’s worth noting Coralhelm Commander, Sejiri Merfolk, Wake Thrasher, and Merrow Reejerey are all Soldiers, so you may be able to create a
Merfolk-Soldier hybrid as well.

I wrote a lot about this deck a few weeks ago. People keep clamoring for an update, so this seemed like a good place to put it. Not too much has
changed because the core is so locked in, but I did add in some Fulminator Mages over Shriekmaws with the decline in decks like White Weenie, and I
changed the mana base a little.

This deck abuses the mana, Ally synergies, and Lorwyn tribal cards. Your Allies build up counters fast, allowing Oona’s Blackguard and Rage
Forger to trigger quickly. On the surface, Rage Forger might just seem like a worse Ally, except he can put counters on your eight changelings and is
powerful with Shapesharer. Shapesharer may look odd, but he triggers all of your Allies, gets counters from Blackguard and Forger, and then lets you
double up on Forger/Blackguard triggers.

This deck needs some refining, but it’s definitely capable of some strong starts. Imagine turn 1 Freeblade, turn 2 Survivalist/Brigand, turn 3
Blackguard, for example. Is it better than just casting more Allies? Depends on the matchup, but I feel like you usually lose from that position if
they have a sweeper, and stripping their resources with Blackguard hurts them more if they can wipe your board.

Similar to Elementals, people wanted to know where I ended up here. Leaf-Crowned Elder was underperforming, so I gave its slot to Bloodbraid Elf (who
still triggers Wolf-Skull Shaman!). The LD plan was one of the best things about the deck, so I moved some of the Ruinblasters maindeck to really press
that advantage. Finally, Flamekin Harbinger solves the three-drop problem by letting me access Harbinger or Forger each game, so I put some of those in
over the Channelers, and they’ve been performing admirably.

Graveyard Abuse Decks

There’s a huge hole in Extended right now: nobody is attacking the graveyard. This makes it the prime time to pounce with a graveyard strategy. I
have tried a number of different kinds.


This deck abuses the graveyard via Hedron Crab but can also set up a lot of graveyard effects with Fauna Shaman. Bloodghast, Vengevine, Extractor
Demon, and Demigod of Revenge are essentially free discards, and they can power into some brutal turns. Additionally, you also have a LD package with
Fulminator Mage. You can even live the dream of turn 2 Renegade Doppelganger, turn 3 Fulminator Mage! On another note, Bloodghast may be better as some
kind of looter.

In the same vein of Gerry Thompson SCG Open winning deck from
last year, a deck like this is still very strong. It has some quick starts that can either abuse the graveyard or just go Bloodbraid Elf and Vengevine
beatdown. If you want a deck that beats Faeries, this was beating Faeries pretty convincingly and holding its own against a number of others. The
Fulminator Mages felt pretty good here, both being chainable under Fauna Shaman and also awesome with Renegade Doppelganger.

I started with Michael Jacob 2009 Worlds list of this archetype and worked from there. The main changes are the mana gets slightly upgraded,
and you get a few extra Tome Scours in the form of Memory Sluice. I found the one maindeck Kederekt Leviathan was necessary in a lot of matchups to
bail you out. I was trying out one Worm Harvest for a little while but found you didn’t have the land to pitch often enough. Beseech the Queen
was unfortunately too slow.

This is the Conley Woods Ooze deck… Except it also has Pyrrhic Revival slotted in. The original deck sometimes has the problem where you blow up
a bunch of their lands, then you do nothing, and they draw out of it. Casting Revival when you already have some land-destruction creatures in the
graveyard punches them out of the game.

Additionally, Revival sets up your combo well. Since the creatures come back with an extra -1/-1 counter, your Grim Poppet and Quillspike will die and
go back into the graveyard. Devoted Druid can be killed anytime you want, and once Grim Poppet is back in the graveyard with the Druid, then your Ooze
can kill off your Fauna Shaman and Thornling if you don’t have the Masticore yet.  

You could also try and play Hedron Crab in this deck to mill into your combo pieces faster.

This is similar to the Pyrrhic Revival deck

I talked about last week

, except you can also combo-kill with Ooze. Well, okay, you can’t Fauna Shaman them for the instant kill, but you can make them discard their
hand and remove all of their creatures, then have unlimited ammo for Masticore activations off of Crypt. (Albeit limited mana.)

This is similar to last year’s Living End deck, except this one requires a six-mana sorcery instead of a three-mana cascade spell to win. The
flip side is you get to run cards that cost one and two mana to protect your combo. I think you need the Finks plus Shriekmaw to have a chance against
beatdown decks. It felt fine on lands when I was playing it, but without Street Wraith, you might end up needing one or two more.

I wanted to see if I could abuse the graveyard without having to play Crypt and cyclers. It ended up being a cute deck with some nut draws and some
draws that had trouble getting off the ground. I don’t know if Fulminator Mage is the ticket here because it’s so stand-alone to what the
deck is doing, but the interaction with Renegade Doppelganger is tempting.

On top of all of my other graveyard decks, I wanted to try a more traditional strategy. Every now and then, reanimator is actually good. In its current
iteration, I feel like this deck is just worse than other graveyard decks. You can goldfish turn 4, but if your opponent is packing any disruption
— which people tend to do in Extended — it’s an issue. However, with enough tinkering, that could be improved.

Raven’s Crime Decks

As you’ll soon find out below, I discovered Raven’s Crime is a well-positioned card in this Extended format and wanted to try it out in a
lot of different kind of decks. These are just a few of the decks I ended up putting it in.

This deck beat the decks you’d expect it to beat (unless they cast Jace, then you were done for) and lost to the decks you’d expect it to lose to.
Nyxathid was added for a way to close. This deck taught me that Raven’s Crime is awesome in this format and caused me to make more decks using
the innocuous sorcery. The issue, of course, is making a deck with the right constraints to allow Raven’s Crime to work.

I guess this deck could play Mulldrifter if you wanted to, but then you probably want to max out on Mannequins and go a slightly different route.
River’s Grasp is experimental, but one of the issues with discard decks is that sometimes you can’t beat their topdecks and permanents. You
have to kill a planeswalker somehow. You might also not need as many discard spells.

I never fully explored this deck because I moved onto other ideas, but it has its niche. The question to ask, of course, is if Faeries is just better.
(And if you have to ask that question…)

The retrace cards seem so powerful in this format that I wanted to see what would happen if I ensured I could just keep using them over and over. The
problem is that the deck is pretty un-interactive at its core, but I think there’s something here if you tune it and work on it enough.  

Milling Strategies

Milling isn’t traditionally a strong way to attack formats, but there are a lot of cards in Extended that mill quickly. If you have enough
saturation of a strategy, even if it’s weak, it can eventually be good. (See: Mono-Red Burn.) Additionally, there are some decks like Five-Color
Control and Wargate that milling is actually very effective against. It’s a strategy I wanted to explore.

This deck eats slower decks and Wargate (provided they don’t start off with Leyline of Sanctity on the battlefield) alive. However, Faeries was
pretty hard, and Jund was a little worse than 50%, often proving one turn too slow. Demigod of Revenge is also a big problem, and you have to either
Cryptic Command to buy time, trade with Plumeveils, or just hope they don’t draw it. I tried Howling Mine but didn’t feel like I really
needed it; it just gave the beatdown decks more ammo to use against me.

I looked at most of the popular decks and did some tests, and Mind Funeral ends up milling slightly less than Sanity Grinding but at the advantage of
not requiring you to build your deck around a mono-blue package. Haunting Echoes is a complete backbreaker, not only dealing with Demigod of Revenge
but also just taking out all of their nonbasic lands, crippling them entirely and removing a lot of their library in the process.

Okay, so this is definitely one of my sketchier brews. After losing against Faeries with the other mill decks, I wanted to see if I could make an
“aggro mill” deck that beat Faeries. Turns out, the answer is no.

The deck is interesting but was ultimately one or two good creatures short. It can have some quick draws, though. I wonder how many other people have
conspired Memory Sluice with two Grimoire Thieves in competitive playtesting?

If you want to mill them, this is a reasonable way to do it as long as you don’t mind everyone hating you in the process. Your Faeries matchup is
a little sketchy (though definitely winnable), and any of the control decks or Wargate are very good for you. Jund is slightly unfavored but not by
much, and you can sideboard numerous cards for them.

One of my favorite decks theory-wise in recent memory was AJ Sacher Turbo Fog deck that was proactive in winning the game. This is my Extended
take on it. The short version is you deploy a bunch of Mines, Time Warp yourself, and Silence plus Fog them to reach the point where you have no cards
left in your deck, and then just discard Emrakul and loop Time Warp every turn, slowly building up Jace to kill them.

Time Sieve Decks

I have a soft spot for the Sieve. Maybe it’s because I love taking extra turns. Maybe it’s because I have the gorgeous artwork for Time
Sieve hanging up in my living room. Either way, it’s a place I was excited to visit post-Scars of Mirrodin. New artifacts and ways to use the
Sieve? Sign me up! (Expect me to come back to this deck post Mirrodin Besieged.)

This is your basic Time Sieve list. I tried a number of variations on it, including with and without Hulk, with Pollen Lullaby over Angelsong, with
more Thoughtseizes, with the fourth Sieve, with Savor the Moment, with Nihil Spellbomb as another cantripping artifact, with Thopter Foundry, and so
on. I’ve tried ten or so different iterations of this basic archetype, and this is where I’d start if you were going to work on a Time Sieve
deck. And yes, Mox Opal is as good as it looks in this archetype. (Though it’s worth noting it has a poor Open the Vaults interaction if you have
two of them.)

You beat all of the slow decks, coin flip with Jund, and lose to the fast beatdown decks and Faeries.

For those who don’t see the combo here, you have a Semblance Anvil on artifact or two Etherium Sculptors, and then you cast Selective Memory,
remove all of your nonland cards except for artifacts that cost two and cantrip, speed through your entire deck with cantrips and Riddlesmith, then hit
a board state where you have Elixir of Immortality, a mixture of five Kaleidostones, and Elsewhere Flasks, and Time Sieve. You can crack all of the
artifacts for an extra turn, Elixir them back, play them all for free the next turn, and use a Riddlesmith to ensure that the Elixir also always
cantrips. At this point, you can just attack them to death with Riddlesmith or eventually ultimate Tezzeret. The one Relic is to wear down your
graveyard, so when you eventually Elixir, there’s no extra junk in there that will mess up your draws. The two Chalices are so you can get UB out
of two Prophetic Prisms to cast Time Sieve on the turn you go off if you need to.

Unfortunately, for how complicated and cool the combo in this deck is, it’s not that good. Even with only twelve lands and eight fetches, you end
up fizzling after casting Selective Memory a lot, even when you have a Riddlesmith on the battlefield and a couple cantrips in your hand.

I figured that you could jam the Time Sieve and Pili-Pala combo decks together. If you had infinite mana, you could probably win in a deck that played
a ton of cantrips and could cast Open the Vaults. You also had the really cool interaction of Grand Architect plus Thopter Foundry: since the tokens
are blue, for each artifact you have, you actually end up netting one artifact mana (which can be turned into real mana via Prophetic Prism)
on the exchange. Unfortunately, this deck proved too inconsistent and (unsurprisingly) like it was trying to do too much.

Land Destruction Decks

Like graveyards, a lot of decks is Extended seemed susceptible to land destruction. There aren’t many pure beatdown decks; there’s much
more midrange. Land destruction is typically good against midrange and control. It was worth a try.

I originally tried out Fauna Shaman here, but there was enough land destruction redundancy anyway that the Shaman proved to be little more than a
lightning rod. In any case, this deck has some draws which are fair and slow and others that blow the opponent out quickly. Being on the play is
obviously important as well. There’s definitely a deck here if tuned properly.

The idea behind this deck is it’s an aggro shell with an LD strategy on top of it. You can get a quick start, blow up a few lands, and then let
Vengevine and Bloodbraid clean up the rest. You may want to max out on Deus. It’s also worth noting I considered Lodestone Golem but
couldn’t find room. 

Instead of a more aggressive LD approach, you can just go all in on LD, hope to blow up their lands quickly, and then win eventually with Roiling
Terrain or random creatures. If the opponent doesn’t cast anything significant before you cast your first LD spell, you will almost always win. Of
course, there are also the games where they have two Putrid Leeches or a turn 2 Bitterblossom that end up being very hard to win. However, if you can
win all of your dice rolls and play against tons of Jund and 4-Color Control, this is the deck for you.

If you want more three-cost land destruction, you can play Moonhold, which is essentially just land destruction in a deck that will always be able to
follow it up with land destruction spells. It isn’t likely to matter, though, since the most dangerous cards for you are often turn 2 plays.

This version of the deck cashes in the extra green ramp for card manipulation. You could run more countermagic like Spell Pierce or Mana Leak (the
Cryptics in this deck usually bounce a land and draw), but I think having a critical mass of LD is the most important thing.

The Tectonic Edges are almost never relevant, but the mana in this deck is so simple you can easily include a couple of colorless nonbasics without


Besides just trying out linears, I made a lot of decks that didn’t fit into any of the above categories. Here are several.

At first blush, this may look like a Polymorph deck. In reality, this is a U/W Control deck masquerading with a Polymorph package! Those Squadron Hawks
might seem to mess up your combo — but think on it for a second. Was your mind blown? Yeah, so was mine. You might want a second Iona, but I
think you can actually reasonably cast her if you draw the one-of anyway, and you don’t always have to Polymorph to win with this deck. (Plus,
you have Jace to put her back.) The Mistveil Plains is awesome with Squadron Hawk, creating an ultimate grind-’em-out strategy in the long game.

This is not a deck Faeries likes to see. In fact, this deck actually showed a lot of promise. It’s pretty good at casting its fatties, if
you’re into that kind of thing. (Cue Ken Nagle.) It’s extraordinarily one-dimensional…but sometimes, no matter how flat the bottom of
an anvil is, it’s still going to pound you into the ground. If the metagame is right, this deck is insane against a number of decks. Just
don’t run up against any Day of Judgment-heavy decks. (Though Ravine helps there.)

I don’t think Primalcrux is good enough, but I could be wrong.

This deck actually showed a lot of promise. Jace is no Dark Confidant, but it helps to fill that role. The largest issue was just drawing the right mix
of cards: not too many spells and not too many creatures. It’s possible you want Abyssal Persecutor or some other cheap, large creature to help
close the game out. The mana worked surprisingly well. I could see upping the Tar Pit numbers.

I have always loved this deck, and it’s something I wanted to try. It does have a lot of matchups that could be favorable out there. There are a
number of innovations you can expand on with this deck with cards like Grim Discovery. The problem, however, is that it has a weak Faeries matchup and
is likely just worse than Faeries overall. (There could be a whole category of decks in this article called “U/B decks that are just worse than
Faeries” if I chose to group them that way.)

I worked on Reveillark a lot until it looked like Faeries was going to be the most popular deck. You can sideboard 10+ cards and try and salvage the
matchup, but in Extended it’s just not worth the space.

Wall of Omens and Trinket Mage were both underwhelming for me. The former didn’t really do anything because few of the top decks are really
attacking on the ground with creatures Wall is good against. I was really excited about Trinket Mage coming back, but there just aren’t enough
good targets for it right now. Interestingly enough, though, Chalice was good enough, so a couple of those stayed.

Similar to Wall of Omens, Day of Judgment was dead too often. It made for a better sideboard card, and your beatdown matchups are already very good

Venser was usually just win-more.

Some people may question Meddling Mage over the tons of robust options for the deck. I could see cutting him for more Vendilion Cliques and another
Chalice, but if you play him on turn 2 and name a two-drop — especially Putrid Leech or Bitterblossom — it can really put those decks
behind if they were banking on one resolving.

Boat Brew has a lot of neat things going for it. Yes, it does have many expensive spells, but it still has an aggressive enough curve and top end to go
toe-to-toe with many of the decks in the format. Cards like Siege-Gang and Reveillark on top of everything else are huge sources of card advantage in
midrange mirrors like Jund and against control. This is definitely a deck to try out.

Remember this deck? If you don’t, the short version is you take a bunch of turns with planeswalkers and then eventually kill your opponent with
Beasts (and likely Overrun) or Jace milling them. In this list, you may also want to consider one Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to ensure you mill them and
also as just a card you can cast sometimes and win the game.

This is a Bant deck, but you can just use Time Warp to kill out of nowhere. Sometimes you’ll pass to this deck, utterly confident, and then three
Time Warps later, you’ll never get to untap. Is it better than Mythic? Well, it has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. It’s
certainly powerful — and fun to play.

This deck is fast and has a lot of troublesome creatures to deal with. Shield of the Oversoul on Gaddock Teeg is a nightmare for many decks, but even
shielding a Knight or Liege creates a huge threat. Path to Exile deals with your two cards, but there are a surprisingly low number of Paths being
played right now.

It’s worth noting I also tried a version of this deck with Naya Hushblade and Bant Sureblade with Knight of New Alara. There are a lot of
interesting takes on this idea out there you can mess with.

This is a deck I brewed up, and apparently several other people have also come up with it, since they have e-mailed me for deckbuilding advice.
I’ve incorporated a few unique elements into this build.

First of all, the Certarchs allow for interaction to get your pieces online. Secondly, in addition to just having some fast combo draws (more on that
in a second), it also has Lodestone Golem to just administer the beatdown on occasion.

In addition to just Transmuting or Forgemastering in a lot of different pieces, though, this deck can also lock the opponent under Mindslaver. If you
have a Mindslaver in the graveyard (easily powered out with Grand Architect and Forgemaster; the deck could easily play more) and a Master Transmuter
on the battlefield, you can use the Transmuter to put Sharuum (also easily found) onto the battlefield and return the Mindslaver. Then every turn after
that, you can return Sharuum and put her back onto the battlefield, continuing the loop to take all of your opponent’s turns!

This deck is fun to play and has some great combo draws. Give it a try.

This deck can really have some powerful draws. I’m not certain I have the mana perfect — it might need Copperline Gorge — but it
works pretty well. You might also want some more Scullers. He always seemed great, but it was difficult to find room for more.

If you want to beat people down with the best Extended has to offer, this is a great choice. If they bolt your early mana guys, you can really fall
behind, but few decks have as absurd starts as this one.


Phew! I hope you enjoyed those forty decks and found some inspiration in them. If you have any comments, ideas, or suggestions for them or that sprung
out of them, please either post them in the forums, tweet me @GavinVerhey, or send me an e-mail at gavintriesagain at gmail dot com. I’d love to
hear about which decks you liked!

If you’re going to be in Atlanta this weekend for the Grand Prix, I’ll see you there! Hopefully this article will help you come up with
something new.

If you’re not going to be in Atlanta, I’ll see you again next week. Talk to you soon!

Gavin Verhey

Rabon on Magic Online, GavinVerhey on Twitter, Lesurgo everywhere else