For the last month there have been only two things people want to talk about: the state of the Standard environment and the death of Rogue decks. This was all fine and dandy, since we were leading up to Regionals, and the Knut’s gotta give the people what they want to read. On the other hand, I’m sick of it. If you want a relaxing, post-Regionals cocktail of interesting decks, read on.
Rogue is not dead and I’m tired of people saying so. Perhaps no one discovered a niche deck that will top 8 at a few different spots around the nation. Perhaps there isn’t such a deck. But that surely didn’t stop rogue deckbuilders from coming out in force for Regionals and it’s not going to stop them come the next set, or the next. Thinking about all the fresh new ideas that Fifth Dawn will bring makes me all tingly.
To give you a better idea of what goes into making a good Rogue deck, I visited my good friend Dictionary.com. This is what he said:
1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.
2. One who is playfully mischievous, a scamp.
1. Large, Destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable.
While I didn’t specifically take these tenets in mind when I tried to make a deck around Shared Fate, what I have to show actually follow them quite nicely. I’ve got Large Destructive spells, the decks are unpredictable (and sometimes downright unreliable!), I’ve been accused of rascality on several different occasions. In their current incarnations, none of the three decks I am about to present are tier one; that’s where you come in, dear reader! Take one of these ideas to the next level!
Now that all of you have carefully read the text of a card you had previously
disregarded immediately, I can give you a primer on what you want to do. The first and most obvious problem in building a deck with Shared Fate as your victory condition is that you have to build a deck without threats. There can’t be anything in your deck that either 1) kills you or 2) removes or otherwise destroys Shared Fate, since they will be drawing from your library. You also must avoid tutors of all types, since your opponent will be able to search their library for a threat. You also must avoid bounce, since the targeted permanents always go to their owner’s hand, which most of the time will mean your opponent.
Artifacts / Enchantments (14):
4 Talisman of Progress
4 Darksteel Ingot
4 Shared Fate
2 Darksteel Pendant
4 Ancient Den
4 Seat of the Synod
2 Darksteel Citadel
To win, you want to keep the board clear of creatures and empty the opponent’s hand. When they have no creatures in play and no cards in hand, if you slap down a Fate, you will win the game. It’s virtually guaranteed. Getting to this point can be pretty difficult, but if you do, it’s worth it. There are several ways to accomplish this. The best way is by casting Shared Fate, getting an untap, then casting Temporal Cascade* – this allows you to get rid of any cards left in their hand. If you add the entwine, you get seven fresh cards from the top of their deck with which to start killing them. You can try to slap down a Fate early and just win by drawing threats off the top of their library, but this is difficult since it exposes your key cards to whatever they have in hand and often you will draw a whole bunch of crapola. It’s also better to delay until you’ve got a Darksteel Ingot or two, since that way you can begin playing spells from your opponent’s library immediately.
Each of the first two versions have Mana Leak as an essential tool. These decks have virtually zero ways to deal with artifacts and enchantments. You have to be eagle-eyed about when is the right time to play that turn 2 Talisman and when you can wait, since Mana Leak is your only out for a number of problems. For example, if your opponent drops Oversold Cemetery and you’re stuck without a counter, you’re in a lot of trouble. Anything that lets them return creatures to their hand from the graveyard means that you’ll have to deal with it for the rest of the game, even if you otherwise manage to get them in the Fate Lock.
This version does some things well and others not so well. It keeps the board free of creatures, but it has difficulties getting the opponent to zero cards. The Cloudposts allow you to accelerate quickly into Shared Fate / Temporal Cascade, but you must risk the Fate getting destroyed. The Darksteel Citadel and Darksteel Pendant were both included only as additional artifacts for Thoughtcast and Thirst for Knowledge, but the Pendant really pulls its weight. When playing this deck, you’ll be searching for some kind of answer a lot of the time and it really comes in handy. One thing that’s great about this version is Pulse of the Fields. Many times vs. aggro, you can simply play the Shared Fate as early as possible, then maintain your life with the Pulse until you out-threat them with their own deck. Remember that once you drop the Fate, unless they have a way to get rid of it or a tutor for the answer, it’s going to stay for the rest of the game.
This version seeks to do basically the same thing as the other version: sweep the board, get rid of their hand, drop Shared Fate. Persecute on the third turn can be game over for a lot of decks. It’s clear that Barter in Blood is no Wrath of God, but it does pick up enough of the slack that you will survive until you can use your real removal. A cycled Decree of Pain plus a Barter will almost always destroy the entire board, but a hard cast Decree of Pain will often win you the game. The deck regularly attains eight mana by turn 5, and almost always by turn 6, making this card great. Even if you play Fate earlier than you’d like, the Decree can provide a massive tempo swing: You opponent will play out a few creatures of those left in his hand while drawing garbage from the top of your library, then you kill them all and draw your own beaters off the top of his deck.
The last version of the deck is one I have not yet built or tested. I looked at what the other decks were lacking, like instant speed removal and disruption, and decided to go a little more proactive. Problem matchups are control-ish types of decks like Slide, and those with a lot of artifact removal like Tooth and Nail and B/G Cemetery. This is what I came up with:
The idea behind this version is to start blowing up their lands as soon as possible. I used Chrome Mox to facilitate this happening on turn 2; the decision was made easier by the fact that there is no U/R talisman. This deck can deal with pesky artifacts in the form of Demolish, and the LD makes the match up vs. control decks much more valuable. I also threw in the Glimmervoids to help with the mana; this is a development that could possibly go into the other versions of the deck, but would require more testing.
Specific matchup information is kind of beside the point here, since you don’t have much chance against tier one. So, here are some laid-back matchup tips and some mulligan info:
Use your removal early and often. Try to counter or destroy Skullclamp because it makes things incredibly difficult. Don’t worry about playing Shared Fate early if you have card drawing still in hand; your Artifact Land package will let you play the threats you draw off of their library just as fast as they could. Remember that if you play Thirst for Knowledge with a Fate on the table, you will have to discard from your real hand (i.e., not your removed from game pile) so if there are other cards in there you want to play, play them first (Barter, Decree, etc).
Use removal ASAP to avoid dying. Siding in Infest works well. Once again, Skullclamp is bad, as is Patriarch’s Bidding. This isn’t an impossible matchup, but it’s a terrible one. Your best option is to accelerate to large amounts of mana as fast as possible, drop Fate, then Temporal Cascade or hardcast Decree.
Tooth and Nail
Save your counters for Tooth and Nail. Protect your Shared Fate, since a lot of builds pack Naturalize. Try not to let them outrace you in mana development – this can be hard if you aren’t playing with your own Cloudposts (I have considered putting them into the U/B version instead of the Polluted Delta).
Try to drop Fate ASAP. They can’t cycle cards if they can’t discard it (and you can’t discard a card from your removed from game pile). Just save a counter for Akroma’s Vengeance so they don’t wax your Fate later. Kill any creature that has a”comes into play” ability like Solemn Simulacrum or especially Viridian Shaman.
You need to mulligan if you don’t have two lands in your opening hand. Job in Retail has to play a precarious game a lot of the time as far as managing life goes, and many of your wins will come with you sitting at five or less life. Therefore, no matter how good that opening hand with one artifact land, a couple of Talismans, and two Thoughtcasts looks, throw it back, because if you don’t draw that land right away, you’ll die. What you want to look for is a piece of removal, some lands, some acceleration, and some card drawing or a combo piece. The deck mulligans pretty well, since the cheap card draw can lead to explosive starts.
Bonus Section! Other cards that look plausible!
1. Serum Powder –
You can throw back a crappy hand, it adds to your Affinity count, and it has mana acceleration. But the deck mulligans well already.
2. Machinate –
There are a lot of artifacts in the deck and this card could easily become an eight-card Impulse, although I’m not sure how many situations there are when I need that specific one card.
3. Death Cloud –
I toyed with this idea for a while, since it does basically everything I want to do: kill creatures, force discards, slow mana development (not yours though, since you have so much artifact mana). The problem is that it can also kill you, since in a majority of games you are sitting at a pretty low life total when you drop the lock. It would take a pretty large sample size of test games to figure out if this card is worth it.
4. Unburden / Mind Wrench / Mind Rot –
It could be possible to create a turbo discard version, which is what I originally went for in the U/B version. But I’ll probably save that for after Fifth Dawn, since discard isn’t the greatest right now.
That’s about as far as I go, folks. I’ve given you three distinct decks that all try to do the same thing: win with your opponent’s cards. I’ve had varying degrees of success with the decks so far; I’ve pulled of ridiculous wins, but sometimes it just loses. If you think you can turn this deck into a winner, do it! No one else is going to.
John Matthew Upton
“I like back, feed me!”
jmumoo AT yahoo DOT com
* – It is rare that you will use Temporal Cascade for something other than knocking cards out of your opponent’s hand. Occasionally, your last chance to”not die” will be to cast it for seven cards and hope to draw removal, or to topdeck an answer to a threat already on the board.