Food for Thought: NoGo

I’d explain what’s in this deck, but you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway. Let me just ask instead whether you like taking lots of Time Walks in Type 2? Do you also like to do large amounts of damage directly to your opponent’s dome? Perhaps you just wanted to find a deck where you could finally abuse Serum Powder? Check inside if you find yourself at all intrigued, but please God, don’t play this deck at Regionals!

Hola, it’s been a while. I was planning on writing a report on GP: Oakland (37th, woot!), but my computer melted. It’s okay, because I hardcopy everything, right? Well everything that’s finished, not stuff in process. And what that means for the reading community is no decklists, no sealed deck card pool to critique and learn from, and in the case of me, a lot of catching up for school work that also vanished into the ether. All this had kind of made me sub-interested in writing Magic articles. But now it’s break time, and I got the itch. So.

I’ve been working on a deck that is completely unknown in the current T2 environment, can win in multiple ways on turn 2, and that I’ve totally dismissed for Regionals play. With pride, and a little derision, I give you NoGo:

4 Timesifter

4 Chrome Mox

4 Serum Powder

4 Seething Song

4 Goblin Charbelcher

4 Slice and Dice

4 Krosan Cloudscraper

4 Wirewood Guardian

4 Elvish Aberration

4 Chartooth Cougar

4 Krosan Tusker

4 Zombie Cutthroat

6 Forest

6 Mountain

Sideboard: We’ll cover the sideboard in a bit.

Interesting? Insane? Impossible to beat? Yes, yes, and no. But before we get to why this fun and powerful deck has no place at tier numero uno, I’ll explain how it works.

Step 1: Get Timesifter into play.

Step 2: Win.

That wasn’t too tough. Okay, it’s a tad more complicated than that. Your goal is to have zero land in your deck, and stay alive while doing it. Timesifter gives you near-infinite time to do this, and is perpetual upon you having less land in your deck than your opponent. Eventually you win with Charbelcher for 353452 damage, or your limited superstar landcyclers take to the attack. It’s all good.

Frankly, while there are choices to be made, it’s usually done before turn 1, with mulliganning and the awesome, awesome Serum Powder. I don’t exactly like the card in general, but in this deck it’s a Godsend. My rule with Serum Powder is to use it early (very early) and often. If it’s in your opening hand, it’s probably worth pitching, unless the other six are perfect. Don’t worry about throwing away one Sifter or Charbelcher, although I’d take a good look at a hand that contained both. You do only need one or the other.

Why this deck is good: It literally can beat anything. It can and has won on turn 2 via:

*T1 Land. T2 Land, Mox, Seething Song, Timesifter.


*T1 Land T2 Land, Mox, Seething Song, Seething Song, Charbelcher, activate it. (The second Song and activation is superfluous, but why not?)

Why this deck is bad: Hello! It revolves around artifacts! No one plays artifact kill these days, right? And certainly no one’s packing Damping Matrix, which is good because it’s a real problem. Don’t even get me started on Molder Slug. The breakdown is something like: Molder Slug > Infinite Turns > Everything Else.

Then of course Timesifter, while fairly consistent, is not absolute. Sometimes you’ll give them a turn. If that happens when it’s late enough in the game, that turn will kill you.

Finally, if the rest wasn’t enough, sideboarding is not fun. Here’s what I use right now.


4 Pyroclasm

4 Naturalize

3 Trash for Treasure

4 Ravenous Baloth

The sideboard sucks. Not for the card choices, although they could probably stand improvement, but because whatever you take out reduces your Timesifter chances significantly. Lose four Cutthroats, add four Naturalize and suddenly Astral Slide can win Sifting wars. This is not a deck where you can sacrifice edge, yet it’s necessary to win. Catch22 or bad deck?

Now I know from reading the forums that people need percentages and matchup analysis before a deck is considered”valid.” Frankly I have not played a ton of games with this, as I dismissed it pretty early. But I did play some, and here’s the rundown of what I played against in #apprentice on IRC (according to our esteemed editor, the Nut Low.[he’s right.]) with Win/Loss percentages, for validity’s sake.

Affinity with Broodstar – 50/50%

Although this matchup no longer exists, it’s quite the pain. Broodstar trumps everything Sifter, Myr Enforcer comes very close, and they run a tiny amount of land. Furthermore, they have the counters and speed to disrupt things nastily. I played a total of two matches against this deck, and won one, but only with the turn 2 Charbelcher and turn 3 Charbelcher. I would say this non-matchup is poor for NoGo.

More relevant is Ravager Affinity, which isn’t nearly as bad. They have less land, but slightly less pricey things and more one-mana cards. Slice and Dice is decent as a cycle or hard cast in this matchup. Things are okay, unless they run the four Naturalize version, which they should, in which case you’re a goner. But since you shouldn’t play this deck anyway, no big deal.

WW Equip – 80/20%

A popular, terrible deck on IRC. Zero disruption, a fair amount of lands, and all cheap things makes this matchup eminently winnable. There is a clock, and if all you’re drawing is Moxes and Seething Songs, they will overrun you. However, I have never lost a game against this deck with Serum Powder activated on turn 0. So if probabilities are with you, you should win.

Goblin Bidding – 30/70%

Not a great matchup, especially after sideboarding. You got the Baloths and Clasms, but they have artifact kill. Winning game 1 is important, yet difficult to do unless their draw is poor and yours is phenomenal. It’s not impossible, it has been done, but this probably not the deck to play if you expect anyone to play Goblin-Bidding at your local Regionals.

This Blue Green Thing that had Wall of Deceit and Nourish and Phantom Warriors-100%

If you’re playing Torkuk100 at Regionals, you can fill out the results sheet ahead of time; you’ve got a bye. His deck is terrible! He’s a pretty bad player too. For example, one game I killed him with Elvish Aberrations (But I had to do twenty-six damage!) so the next game he would never, ever re-morph his Wall of Deceit. We played quite a long set, and I have to say, NoGo was never in any real danger. Play this deck at Regionals if you think you’ll be playing against Torkuk100 or any one of his subsidiaries.

So there you have it. A deck I like that simply should not be played. In actuality, NoGo isn’t bad (far from it), but the environment is simply too hostile for it right now. I had thought about replacing the Green with White for Leonin Abunas and the two land cyclers, but I kinda gave up on the whole thing. If anyone wants to take up the mantle of NoGo, good luck, I wish you the best.

Noah Weil

[email protected]

Noastic on Magic Online

Bonus Section

Ever played a big Magic event and wanted to wind down with some fun? Try a round of Stipulation Draft!

What is a stipulation? Just a clause or alteration on how one can normally draft.

Here’s how it works: Get eight people together for a normal booster draft. Before the packs are cracked, everyone needs to come up with some stipulations for drafting. Everyone writes a couple of these down on a piece of paper and puts them into a hat. Or to make sure no one picks anything too dumb, everyone can agree on what does or does not go into the hat. Then, everyone grabs a stipulation, doesn’t show anyone, and drafts with that clause hanging above their head. It’s great fun! Here are come possibilities:

*Can only play cards A-M.

*Can only play creatures with a base power of two or less.

*Can’t play uncommons (deadly!)

*Must play seven rares.



I’ve done Stipulation Draft a few times in my life, and it’s always been hilarious. Yes, me and the people I’ve done it with have been intoxicated, or”whatever” in some way, but that only adds to the humor. I would recommend that everyone in the eight-man be stipulating, as opposed to something like half-and-half.

The first time I did a stipulation draft was after some Invasion Block Limited Grand Prix. Me and three other guys came up with a bunch of stipulations and decided it would be fun to do it while being in an actual, sanctioned sidedraft. This turned out to be a poor choice, as the four normies had fantastic decks, because we kept passing excellent cards, and we got our collective asses kicked. It was funny, but not as funny as it could be.

So get seven buddies, or if you’re lonely, get five and do a three-on-three Team Stipulation Draft. I promise good stories and loads of fun.