Last article, I hinted at a Blue Green deck that I was working on with possibilities for Regionals. At the time I had a little fun keeping it "under my hat," playing that little game of secrecy – but really, I didn’t reveal the deck simply because I hadn’t spent enough time fooling with it. Today I will reveal that deck, which has a winning record against Fires but has trouble pulling up to the decks running counters, and is tough to get by Red Black as well.
Going further from the non-allied Blue Green pairings, I thought I’d do a bit of outlining for decks that run non-allied colors. Our team, Binary 21, took to working on these ideas for several reasons. First, some of our group loves to get well off the beaten path; and second, it’s not too hard to get good base ideas for the allied pairs, the dominant color pairing of this day in standard, by just following the game by surfing around on the net. There is the very obvious Green/Red pairing in Fires, two Blue/White decks in CounterWrath and CounterRebels, several Black/Red ideas – including Machinehead, Scutacide, and Turbo Haps – while Green/White has FattyGeddon, and Blue/Black is the basis for Nether Go. Of course, we all see lots of very solid ideas there and the top decks in the format spring from that. This seems to be rather expected, and many of us have heard the outpouring of feelings that "Wizards built our decks for us."
This was not the case with Binary, where Mike Mason wound up building the Red White "God" deck around the time of Pro Tour: Chicago – a deck which we still feel was the best in the format prior to Planeshift.
Non-Allied Pairs: Working from a Green Base.
To kick things off, I will talk about the Blue Green deck I’ve been toying with and work through the non-allied color pairs from there.
As a team, we had discussed the viability a bit of the Blue Green idea – or should I say Green Blue idea? – at the early stages of preparing for Regionals. Many others talked about the viability of Five-Color Green and I think there is a strong case that Green is the strongest color in the environment.* Generally, the foundation is so strong because any multicolor Green design will probably have the ability to pump out a third-turn Blastoderm – simply one of the strongest plays in the game, next to having that creature hasted. In the case of adding Blue to the deck, I took that play and backed it up in the aggro-control fashion with counterspells and blue tempo and card advantage possibilities. So the base was…
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Llanowar Elf
From here the other Green cards that seemed to be worth considering were also mostly cobbled from Fires namely Jade Leech or Saproling Burst, each having the power to either outright win the ground game and thus the game or to stall the game long enough for the power blue cards that I wanted to add could swing the game. Hunted Wumpus, because of its speed to the table and 6/6 size, has also been worth consideration – but I don’t like the gamble, especially in the wild and wooly Regional environment where you could give away a free Dragon to your opponent. The blue cards for consideration were Counterspell, of course; Power Sink, with a nice single blue requirement in a deck that can produce a lot of mana; Bribery, Dominate, and the little-played Desertion; plus a smattering of tempo cards in the form of bounce like Rushing River and Seal of Removal. The last two cards upped the consideration for Hunted Wumpus, as one could hope to land the 6/6 fattie by bouncing the "free" blockers to hand when the Wumpus would swing. I may be one of the few that like Desertion, but its card advantage possibilities can’t be ignored in an environment lead by a 5/5 untargetable creature. I think the only other blue cards I considered were a pair of Zanam Djinn, as in most cases when cast in an environment filled with Rebels, Birds and Elves it would not get the size reduction, dropping it from a very favorable 5/6 with flying. So we might have a deck like this…
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Llanowar Elves
3x Jade Leech or Saproling Burst
4x Seal of Removal
2x Zanam Djinn
4x Rishadan Port
4x Wash Out
4x Tranquil Grove
Obviously, this kind of deck idea was brought out as a Fires beater, and we can see why. When you can play Bribery and often find a Shivan Wurm for five mana and almost be as assured of paying the gating cost as the "home" deck, you have a good deck idea. In fact, I’ve never lost to a Fires deck when Bribery resolved…but Fires wasn’t the problem for this idea, white was. There is little in this deck to stop the Rebel mechanic other than tempo cards, like the four Wash Out in the sideboard. Basically, to win that matchup you have to somehow get (and keep) Lin Sivvi on your side and then rob them of probably their Sky Marshall as well. Of course, as mentioned, the deck is capable of just running over a lot of decks as well with early ‘Derms and the other fat, plus a bit of clearing from say Seal of Removal. I’ve also toyed with running maindecked River Boas to help against the blue and blue/white decks, as they have little but Wrath usually in the main to deal with such a creature. How much this would hurt against Fires is uncertain, but the Boa can be a good stall card and the blue/green deck gets stronger as the game goes on with Dominate and Desertion…And if burning out a mana critter is a good trick for other decks, an early Dominate on one is pure gold. I don’t believe I’ve ever lost off that play either…
From here I’ll move to Green Black, for which I’ll be short and sweet. The basic idea is one that has some history – namely a tweaked Snuff-o-Derm. Here’s the base deck again:
Mean Green Black
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Llanowar Elves
4x Jade Leech
4x Phyrexian Scuta
4x Fallen Angel
4x Saproling Burst
4x Snuff Out
4x Rishadan Port
That is some serious fat! Now if that doesn’t win the game, there is also the neat little "Fallen Angel plus Burst" combo that can probably finish. In this case, Jade Leech is a candidate to be yanked for either Vampiric Tutor to facilitate getting the "combo," or you could go real nutty with the acceleration and add Dark Ritual for the possibility of a second-turn Burst! Yow! Another big monster in either color is a possibility for this slot as well, just to cut down on the Leech’s drawback, and either color offers several options – including Delraich, Derelor, Evil Eye, Necrosavant, Hunted Wumpus (again), or perhaps a card like Kavu Titan. This may all seem a little flunky, and I’d probably admit that it is, but any deck that can churn out the fatties turn after turn like this one can isn’t terrible either.
Non-Allied Pairs: Working from a White Base
I won’t have a lot to say here. The first pair is Red/White, and the epitome of that idea I believe is Mike Mason "God" deck, which I’m sure if you check his link on the Featured Writers page will lead you to a very good in-depth analysis of that deck. The black/white deck that I know of is in fact another version of "God" again, running the Glittering Cats plus Cursed Totem and then sporting some black removal plus Pestilence. This seems to be a decent deck from our testing, winning above the .500 mark and dubbed "Dark God."
The basic idea here is, or has been the classic Counter Hammer idea. This seems to be at least decent, although I haven’t looked into it. With enough burn to progress decks like Fires and Rebels to the mid game the blue red deck then needs to get into a card advantage position with the drawing power of blue and the recursive potential of Hammer. Here is a Counter Hammer build that owes a lot to Sean McKeown "Counter Tahngarth" IBC deck.
4x Power Sink
4x Urza’s Rage
4x Seal of Fire
3x Hammer of Bogardan
3x Tahngarth, Talruum Hero
4x Terminal Moraine
Probably not a very good build and Tsabo’s Web my be necessary over a couple of the other spells, but this was just to throw a visual idea of the deck out there.
Another idea on this is the interaction one can get from Wash Out and Blood Oath in the general metagame environment. This is, in fact, one facet of one of Mason’s decks, which is hanging in there as one of our better decks in testing for Regionals. That deck also includes the mana control of Ankh Tide backed into it. You can read about this Red Blue deck, "Crimson Tide", down lower on the page of the article found with this link…
The logical extension from opposing color ideas are three-color ideas, where you can find a myriad of variations. In fact we are seeing this with a deck like McKeown’s "Probe Go" using blue, white, and black, Fires decks splashing black for Thunderscape Battlemage kicks, and of course "Red Zone" the G/R/w deck that Kibler played in Chicago.
Once again I hope this has stoked the fires of thought. (And quenched the Fires of Yavimaya – The Ferrett) Good luck this weekend.
* – I have written on this subject before and chose White as the strongest color, with Green following closely behind. No matter. Green is, perhaps, the most potent foundation for any multicolor deck simply because of Birds of Paradise and their mana-generating ability.