Why Spellbane Centaur Is Better Than Glory
Inspiration is a funny thing. It can strike you anyway. The only real question is whether or not you respond to the inspiration. I’ve written entire songs simply because I heard someone say one sentence. This piece happened because I was listening to NPR on the way home from work one day.
Yes, I’m a National Public Radio geek. I love A Prairie Home Companion, especially Guy Noir and the adventures of those sensitive cowboys Lefty and Dusty. I love all of the jazz and blues our local NPR station plays. I love the Irish and Irish-flavored music on Thistle and Shamrock. (And, even though I’ve never seen her, I picture host Fiona Ritchie, with her lilting Irish accent, as a freckle-faced redhead with curls down past her shoulders and piercing green eyes.) [Don’t tell me if she’s not. I don’t wanna know.]
So, I’m driving home, listening to the radio. It’s almost 6:30, so I turn on NPR because that’s when Earth and Sky comes on. What should the subject be that day but glories. A glory resembles a rainbow, but it’s smaller. It occurs when the Sun is behind you and light gets scattered among droplets of water that are in front of you. Mountain climbers often see glories when they’re high enough up in the mountains. People are more familiar with them today when flying closely over clouds. The plane’s shadow projected onto the cloud is often surrounded by a multi-colored ring. That’s its glory.
All that day, I had been thinking about my Regionals deck. If you want your deck to have a fighting chance in the current environment, it has to have a way to deal with all of that targeted blue stuff out there right now. That means Aether Burst and Opposition. If you’re playing white, that usually means Glory and/or Disenchant out of the sideboard.
Glory is just nuts against spells. Burst my guys? Not if I have 2W available. Even if 2W is all I have open, you need to waste two Bursts. I’ll take that.
But, against Opposition, Glory just blows rainbow-colored chunks. At any time, in response to you giving your guys protection from blue, they can respond by tapping stuff down. This is where Spellbane Centaur shines. Once he hits, none of your critters can be bounced or tapped down by Squirrels.
Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that I am indeed talking about a green and white deck here. The good news is that this is one I’ve been working on for a while, and I can tell you that it works very well. It pulls out wins that it shouldn’t against decks that should own it.
My Ultra-Super-Secret tech is…
You gotta promise not to tell anyone . . .
Seriously, this is just between me and you . . .
Are you ready for it?
My Ultra-Super-Secret Tech is…
Hold on! I’m serious. Do you know how hard it is to kill those guys? A single Phantom Flock stops a flying Wurm not once, not twice, but three times. A Phantom Flock with a Shared Triumph locks out a flying Wurm forever.
Now, I know that my intro will have you thinking,”Geez, he’s gonna play white at Regionals without Glory?!?” Don’t worry. We’ll have Glory in there, too. But Spellbane Centaur is better in the matchup against Opposition, and I expect to see a lot of Opposition. (“And this year’s award for Least Helpful Obvious Prediction goes to . . . .”)
Please, don’t be thrown off by the fact that not one single Masters deck ran a single Spellbane Centaur. Those guys know an awful lot, but they don’t know everything. Heck, some of the guys ran green/red decks without maindeck Anger. Nothin’ like lettin’ your guys sit around for a turn to get picked off.
So, after my Glory inspiration, I sat down to tune the deck. And I came up with the card that simply makes this thing a house and a half: Shared Triumph. Yeah, that card came up several times in the past few weeks. It makes Birds bigger. It makes Soldiers bigger. Heck, it makes Elves and Slugs and Goblins and Antelopes and Illusions and everything bigger. You just have to call their creature type as it comes into play.
[SohelpmeGod, if you mention Flaring Pain, I will rearrange your genetic structure so that your kids will actually have the words”squirrel” and”lover” as birthmarks on their foreheads.]
Then, I started thinking about ways to remove my opponent’s critters. The best piece of removal a green/white deck will have is Wrath of God.
Yet Another Plea To New Players:
If you don’t have four Wrath of God yet, get $30 and order them from StarCity. I’m not suggesting that you do anything illegal. Do not sells Mom’s prescription drugs (especially if they’re for hormone replacement therapy). Don’t steal hubcaps. (You won’t get much for them anyway.) Mow lawns. Babysit. Pick up trash along the roadway, keeping the cans for recycling. Tell people that all you want for your birthday are four Wrath of God. Or just ask Dad to get on the internet, head over to this here site, and pop in his credit card number and address. But whatever you do, get these cards into your collection, pronto.
As I was saying, Wrath of God is the primo piece of white mass removal. Or is it?
“Oh, here he goes with those rhetorical questions?”
Is It Still A Rhetorical Question If Someone Answers It?
Look at Harsh Mercy again. I mean, I know that you looked at it when you got it as your rare in that last pack you drafted. (You took the Pinpoint Avalanche and passed the Harsh Mercy, though, didn’t you?) But really look at it this time. Do you see what it says? It says:
“If your opponent has a Squirrel, a Hound, a Wurm, and a Merfolk in play, make him or her squirm deciding which one to keep. Kill the other three. You keep all of your Spirits. Chortle tauntingly.”
I would say that a one-sided near-Wrath of God qualifies as A Good Thing.
However, Harsh Mercy is a big-time metagame call. There are two main situations in which it’s just no good. In the first, your opponent is only playing one creature. This is called The ‘Tog Dilemma. You cast Harsh Mercy, they call the type of the one and only creature that they control. The other, of course, is where you’re facing another Tribal deck. If all they have on board are Goblins, Harsh Mercy is bad. So, if your local metagame is dominated by these two, use Prismatic Strands instead.
Of course, green and white give us a great maindeck answer to all of those enchantments running around, Ray of Revelation. And you only need to dedicate two maindeck slots to that card to get the effect four times.
After much testing, I am down to this deck. I’ll be testing it against the phalanx of Tier 1 decks over the next few weeks. I hope I’m not the only one who’ll take this plunge.
3 Angelic Page (’cause she is indeed a Spirit) or Devoted Caretaker (a nice post-Upheaval one-drop)
4 Phantom Nomad
3 Phantom Tiger
4 Phantom Nantuko
4 Phantom Centaur
3 Phantom Flock
2 Phantom Nishoba
3 Compost: I used to run four. I can’t tell you how many times I would end up with one in my opening hand… Only to have it Duressed away on turn one. Actually, I can tell you how many times that happened: Five. After the fifth time, I cut these down to three.
4 Spellbane Centaur: You simply MUST get this guy against blue decks. So in game two, you bring in three, leaving one in the sideboard; this gives six chances to get the Spellbane. And if it gets countered or blown up, no problem. You can also get it back with Genesis, since you’re going to bring one of those in and leave one in the sideboard.
Two each of Glory and Genesis: If you see that you really need these for game two, bring in one and leave the other in the sideboard, just as with the Spellbane Centaur. This gives you four chances to get one rather than just two. Have I mentioned how much I like that Living Wish?
1 Phantom Nishoba: Nishobas are in the deck for two reasons: they trample; and they gain life. You’ll need the life gain especially against Goblins, which hit fast and then chump block while burn ends the game. There are already two Nishobas in the maindeck, and they’re expensive to cast. If you see that you need one, Wish for it. But this copy should always remain in your sideboard.
Don’t you wish (Ha ha. Get it?”Wish”?) that your sideboard could be about 43 cards? I’d love to have more Bearscapes to help against the inevitable mono-black decks. But I don’t want to lose anything else, so I’d also like more Glories and Disenchants and Naturalizes. If I were playing at a Pro Tour event (stop laughing!), I’d forget the Ravenous Baloth and the Glory simply because so much of the targeted removal the pros are using is blue. But I’m shooting for Regionals; I’ll probably face a Goblin deck or two, so I know that I’ll need lifegain. And someone will be playing all sorts of Smothers, so I know that I’ll need to protect my guys from black. Plus, Glory is huge against other white or green decks.
Romeo, Dude, Legions Will Be Legal When Regionals Rolls Around.
I know. I know. I keep looking for Legions cards to add, but I don’t see any. Right about now, you’re thinking of Seedborn Muse. Yes, I like her – I like her a whole lot. People keep talking about her as the answer to Opposition. Why? The Opposition player can still tap my stuff down and keep me from attacking. All the Muse allows me to do is block. But if they can keep making enough tokens, they’ll be able to tap down my biggest stuff and make an alpha strike, so I don’t think she’s the answer against Opposition. (Unfortunately, she is also good for Opposition decks. She’s just wrong.)
She may, however, be the answer against other, more aggressive decks. You can attack and then get all of your guys back to block.
“Holy Conventional Wisdom, Batman! Are You Saying That Seedborn Muse Is Really A Beatdown Card?!?”
“So, What About Caller Of The Claw?”
Against mass removal such as Mutilate and Wrath of God (the kind of stuff against which even Phantoms can’t stand), he could be huge. Holding Caller of the Claw means never having to say,”Dagnabit, I overextended.”
So, where do we fit these bombs? Any ideas? Do I lose a Compost? Forget Glory altogether? What about Prismatic Strands? I have no Strands in the deck or sideboard. And no Circles of Protection. Shouldn’t I have Circle of Protection: Black, Red, and/or Green in here? Probably.
Do you see why I keep saying that white needs some really good player to point the direction? Contrary to that conventional wisdom (mentioned above), it’s not that white’s choices stink. It’s that white has too many good choices.
Of course, so does green. Notice how I didn’t get any Silklash Spiders in there? Those are also very good out of the sideboard against flying, well, anything. I didn’t even get anywhere near my favorite pump spell, Sylvan Might. And where is **gasp** Wild Mongrel? I mean, the deck’s got green in it. Isn’t Mongrel a requirement in all green decks at sanctioned tourneys now? (And no Anurid Brushhoppers to get around this annoying”Global Effect” thing? – The Ferrett)
Hmmm… Whaddaya think? Maybe I should go with a 75 or 80-card deck?
If I’m gonna do that, I’ll play a Battle of Wits deck.
Hey!…. No forget it. That’s just too silly.
Anyway, that’s the thing about using Living Wish. Your sideboard needs to be filled with creatures (or lands). You put other cards in there at the risk of making your Wishing less effective. So, it looks like I’m gonna have to go this way for now. Only testing will tell.
As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Please, pick up your commemorative”I went 0 – 2 – Drop, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirts on the way out.